Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

Too Loud for Japan – The Ducati 1199 Panigale Gets Ruined for the Japanese Market

08/14/2012 @ 11:55 am, by Jensen Beeler51 COMMENTS

Too Loud for Japan   The Ducati 1199 Panigale Gets Ruined for the Japanese Market Ducati 1199 Panigale Japan exhaust 01 635x423

We have to feel sorry for our Japanese readers today, as a crime against motorcycling has occurred in the Japanese motorcycle market. The bike of 2012, and arguably one of the more beautiful designs to come out of Bologna (don’t worry 916 fans, we still like the Tamburini classic more), it turns out that the Ducati 1199 Panigale was a touch too loud for the Japanese market, and modifications had to be made before it is released to the island nation next month. Some extra baffle, maybe some tuning to the ECU, and no big deal right? Well…no, not quite.

Getting a black carbon fiber snorkel, a larger plastic clutch cover, and a revised engine map, the Japanese market Panigale is one of those things that once you have seen it, it cannot be forgotten. An abomination to our senses, the revised exhaust system is reportedly adds 8 lbs to the stock system, which it appear to have been just welded onto directly.

If that wasn’t bad enough, peak horsepower is said to be limited to 135 hp. Not exactly an elegant solution to a simple problem, the only piece of solace we can find in this story is that we expect Termignoni sales to boom in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Too Loud for Japan   The Ducati 1199 Panigale Gets Ruined for the Japanese Market Ducati 1199 Panigale Japan exhaust 02 635x469

Too Loud for Japan   The Ducati 1199 Panigale Gets Ruined for the Japanese Market Ducati 1199 Panigale Japan exhaust 03 635x468

Source: Ducati1199.comVisordown, &


  1. Afletra says:

    What the…

  2. Dc4go says:

    That sucks!!! But that’s what the Japanese get they build boring bikes anyways……

  3. MP says:

    Wow. That’s some serious bullshit right there. I wonder if that’s a gov attack on Ducati engineered by a Japanese moto manufacturer

  4. Dave says:

    I had to look those photos over very closely. For a moment, I thought this was a Photoshop hoax.

  5. Aj says:

    What? That isn’t a bad photoshop? OMG

  6. In other news, the Japanese model has got some tasty wheels on it. Daddy likes.

  7. Steve says:

    “a larger plastic clutch cover”

    What’s the reason behind this mod? (Loud clutch?)

  8. Ed Gray says:

    The “old” dry clutch was definitely loud, by moron standards, but this is a wet clutch. I don’t get it. luckily that is real easy fix.

  9. Ganny says:

    I feel like tearing that ugly thing off of the Panigale

  10. Frenchie says:

    It’s also the first time I see pictures of the Panigale with passenger footpegs!
    Has anybody seen passenger footpegs or seats on the European/Amercian version?

  11. Ganny says:

    Could they not have added a 1198 style exhaust at the least

  12. Leo says:

    916 line is still the sexiest moto ever. This is jap model is still way better than 999 but the 916 rules

  13. Leo says:

    @frenchie .. Even better it has passenger foot pegs yet no passenger seat….

  14. Michael L says:

    This is like bad porn.

  15. AC says:

    It’s like Ducati was so disgusted, they didn’t even want to put any effort into making a nicer can. Can’t blame ‘em!

  16. JTB says:

    Well sadly I see this and think it could happen here. People continue to roll around with volume controls in their right hands and make sure everybody looks at them as they ride by. The non-riders will be sure to support anything that makes those “noisy” bikes quiet. Never mind we already have the DOT standard in place but not enforced. Their solution will be a new law with a lower DB and a tamper proof system. So be sure to piss off every non-rider around you with your race pipes you fitted or drag pipes and you can bet we will eventually get punished too.

  17. Dan says:

    @Jensen: Those are the non-s model wheels, so unfortunately for the Japanese they don’t even get fancy wheels to offset all that ugly.

  18. Nick says:

    Dave, I live in Australia and have never seen a 916 with that headlight.

  19. Steve says:

    Nick, that’s because the single headlight 916 didn’t last long here, the huge public uproar saw the twin headlight come back. Every owner who had one did the swap the moment they got it home lol.

  20. Greg says:

    Well I just lost all respect for the Japanese . . . **** :-( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Japan completely ugly-fies the Ducati 1199 Panigale to lower noise levels:

  22. Archer says:

    Why is anyone surprised? Japan-spec bikes, even those from the big four in Japan, have often been neutered. The land of 80 crank HP CBR600RR’s.

    Hey at least it isn’t France.

  23. Spektre76 says:

    This must be Pearl Harbor for Italy.

  24. @Greg: “Well I just lost all respect for the Japanese . . . **** :-( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Don’t be silly. Japanese riders don’t want it this way; Japanese LAWMAKERS do.

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting seeing a Panigale in the flesh. Now, not quite so much. The way they chopped that exhaust onto the bike is just tragic. I suspect there will be a thriving business for aftermarket exhausts for these bikes here. (I live in Tokyo.)

  25. KevinW says:

    I would imagine it wouldn’t be the most difficult thing to just remove that extension and do a remap. Am I off base here?

    Is the government there often this strict about regulating exhaust/engine noise?

  26. Well, Ducati have capped the existing exhaust ends and, likely, have removed the muffler baffling. If you just removed the extension, you’d wind up blowing your unmuffled exhaust straight into the bodywork. Probably not a great idea.

    The government is growing ever stricter with regard to noise regulations. Clubs of bōsōzoku have done a very good job of reducing public support for motorcycles/scooters in general. Many a night I dreamed of having an EM pulse rifle that I could use to shut those bikes down. God, they were horribly loud. (It’s less of a problem now.)

    There are regulations in the works that could have certain vehicles limited to only 68 dB(A) output in a few years.

  27. Bob says:

    It’s really a heat thing, they can’t take the heat… ; )

  28. superdave says:

    Funny thing about Ducati. They sell in europe- and thus go through type approval. However, you import one, and apply the same same tests to it – it WILL fail on noise. Ducati makes machines which are dubiously type-approved, and violate the rules of the territories in which they’re sold!
    My own Multistrada – sold in the UK – does not pass the noise requirements that are required to pass EU type approval.

    They’ve been doing dodgy things with their noise emissions for quite some time.

  29. James Sharpe says:

    I like it…

  30. Damo says:


    Yeah the first time I heard a 1198 fire up it sounded so burly I had to take a look to see what kind of aftermarket cans were on it….much to my surprise it was the stock exhaust. Ducati always finds a way to sneak it past, for this I commend them.

    Japanese bikes are almost always quiet as hell stock, hell even my recently purchased RC51-SP2 sounds like the Jetson mobile until you hit red line with stock exhaust. This shall be fixed shortly :)

  31. smiler says:

    There was a time when, if you wanted to sell skis in Japan they had to have been tested by a Japanese world ski champion, of which there were precisely zero.

    Its just a restrictive practice. Especially given all the catering bean can sized exhausts on all and every performance Japanese car.

    Or is it the 2013 R6 in mock up?

  32. RobG says:

    A bummer, but how many people will keep the stock exhaust anyway? And the aftermarket will fix the tuning too. It’s just gov’t BS, no matter what country it’s in.

  33. NBeato says:

    Its not April Fool’s day?

  34. JohnMc says:

    @ James Sharpe

    As an owner of a late 90′s gsxr, I see nothing wrong with big round exhaust can. A round exhaust can has been a sportbike design trademark since the dawn of the sportbike in the mid eighties. It has only been in the last 5 years or so that shorty “GP” style exhausts have been in vogue. It reminds me of old Ducati 888′s and 951′s.

    I like it too…

  35. paulus says:

    it all unbolts and can be changed for standard parts…. better than no approval to start with
    Just getting around the legistlation

  36. Gutterslob says:

    It isn’t country-wide, fyi. It’s just in major Japanese cities. They don’t even allow some of their locally manufactured sportbikes in these cities, btw (or at least that was the case when I lived there). Pretty sure the standard, non-neutered 1198 is still legal outside these city limits, though don’t quote me on this just yet.

  37. BBQdog says:

    Now I understand why my CBR 250 R is pig ugly. They don’t have feeling for it.

  38. Tom says:

    Bullshit! When I ever see the cops go after the bosozukus on their clown penis bikes 250cc and smaller, then I’ll take this seriously. But then again, most of you have no idea how insulting the Japanese motorcycle test is. Seriously, the mindless bullshit that is required to robotically finish the course is insulting.

  39. Filip says:

    I’m not surprised. I honestly can’t believe how Ducati managed to get the 1199 approved for the European market. It is the loudest thing I have ever ridden and arguably the loudest production bike ever built. Furthermore, the seat gets awfully hot sometimes, due to (part of) the exhaust running underneath. Sadly, the newly designed system did not (and probably could not) solve this annoying problem.

  40. Damo says:


    I have heard this is a big complaint from folks that were going to buy the Panigale for their everyday sport bike. A couple reviewers said in slower traffic they had to keep lifting off the seat because they though the fairing was on fire.

    I personally have no interest in toasting my wedding vegetables.

    I have ridden other under the seat exhaust style Ducatis and never had this problem, I wonder why a header with a heat shield gets so hot?

  41. Westward says:

    No offense, but as Ducatisti, we wouln’t expect GXSR-ist to recognize the design travesty.

    Personally I just think Ducati missed an opportunity to design something more innovative. They were just simply lazy…

  42. @Tom: “When I ever see the cops go after the bosozukus on their clown penis bikes 250cc and smaller, then I’ll take this seriously.”

    ROTFL! Damn it, man, you almost made me wake up my wife from laughing. I’ve actually seen attempts at catching the bikes. It was ~15 years ago and the mess was shown on TV. It looked more like a modern take on the Keystone Kops than it did a real effort to clean up the streets. In the end, I think it did more harm than good because it proved beyond any doubt that the cops simply couldn’t corral the bikes no matter what they tried.

    @Damo: “I personally have no interest in toasting my wedding vegetables.”

    Best. Sentence. Ever. :-D

  43. Krylov says:

    You would think that the original “under-motor-hidden-in-fairing”
    Panigale exhaust solution should be a clever way of solving many problems
    in exhaust design:
    a) you get the big exhaust volume required to get sufficient performance
    _and_ noise emission reduction,
    b) the noise source is put close to the ground and not at the back of the
    motorcycle like a Jerico trumpet,
    c) the weigth coming with the required volume of such an exhaust is
    put close to the motor/center of weigth of the motorcycle
    d) you can optically hide the optical fugliness that usually comes with
    these designs under a piece of fairing plastic.

    Many intrinsic advantages of this construction approach in theory, but
    if you look at the result – faking “fulfillment” of EU emission laws through
    corrupt/incompetent/hearing impaired test engineers and desecrated
    like this in Japan: Epic Fail!

  44. meatspin says:

    it doesnt look that bad, and owners will obviously convert it back after they get it. The clutch cover though is hideous.

  45. superdave says:


    Absolutely true – its amazingly loud. To the point where a *lot* of trackdays are out-of-bounds due to noise, on a totally stock machine.
    Hell, my Multistrada 1200 fails a lot of trackday orgs noise requirements in the UK also!
    To be honest, I rather want to see Ducati held to account for this kind of legislation-bending.

  46. @superdave: “To the point where a *lot* of trackdays are out-of-bounds due to noise, on a totally stock machine.”

    That’s disturbing to read. I might expect that on a bike with a full-blown racing exhaust, but certainly not from OEM pipes from the factory.

    “To be honest, I rather want to see Ducati held to account for this kind of legislation-bending.”

    Hell, yeah, ‘cuz it’s the owners getting pulled over and ticketed who’ll reap the rewards of such a loud exhaust. A lot of communities have some pretty strict noise bylaws that’ll get you ticketed at the merest whim of law enforcement nowadays.

  47. Gary says:

    How do you ruin something already so aesthetically challenged?
    (851/916/1098 Fan Club)

  48. MikeD says:

    Is it really THAT loud ? ! {o_O} WOW.
    I still have to see one in the flesh…….even more, HEAR the darn thing. I have to crawl from under my rock more often, that or maybe i need to move to a wealthier hood. LOL.

    P.S: It looks HIDEOUS. I think CHOPPING HALF of the can off will do WONDERS for it’s look.
    Sato & Arata and who knows who else are going to make a fortune selling aftermarket solutions to a problem that shouldn’t have been there to begin with.