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.

Up-Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore

11/15/2011 @ 7:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 32 635x444

The pinnacle of Ducati’s Superbike offering for 2012 is the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore. Incorporating the key features from the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, like its traction control (DTC), electronic quick-shifter (DQS), forged Marchesini wheels, and Öhlins-made Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) front forks and rear TTX shock, the Tricolore package adds anti-locking brakes and the GPS-assisted DDA+ Ducati Data Acquisition system as standard items to Tricolore’s technical list.

Add in bounty of carbon fiber, and a stunning three-color paint scheme (hence the name), and you’ve got a stellar motorcycle that should please all of a rider’s senses. Helping celebrate Italy’s 150 year anniversary of unification, the Tricolore is Ducati’s ultimate expression of Italian design and engineering. Up-close the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore instantly makes the plain Rosso Corsa-clad Panigale look pedestrian and commonplace, which is a shame. However, if this is the new Corse paint scheme for future bikes, we could get used to that.

Common to all the Ducati 1199 Panigale superbikes, the LED headlight really is something to behold. In its low-beam setting, the two groupings of LEDs near the center of the Panigale’s nose illuminate the way ahead. They are noticeably bright, with a slightly bluish hue. Flipping the switch to the high-beam setting though, and the lux value doubles by our estimates, with the entire headlight array projecting photons. Sources have told us that the entire headlight package is very thin, and surely there is some significant weight savings occurring here because of the LED implementation.

Especially intriguing is the Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) by Öhlins and the new DDA+ data acquisition software. Having played with the DES on the Multistrada 1200, the package is really more of a convenience than something earth-shattering, and merely makes adjustments from preset settings easier and wrench/screwdriver free. Similarly the GPS-assisted data acquisition is also a step forward, but again is how all data acquisition packages should operate (who are OEMs kidding with manual lap timers?), since the DDA+ uses the GPS data to know what turn you are in on a track, and when you’ve crossed the start/finish line.

However what compels us the most about these two systems is the fact that now a motorcycle not only knows where it is on a race course, but also has the ability to adjust its suspension setup on-the-fly while on the track. At this point, it is only going to take some clever individuals to make the two systems talk to each other, and finally bring dynamic body control to the motorcycle industry. We imagine such a system already exists somewhere in Sweden, though it is anyone’s guess as to when the public will see it. Best guesses would be another 10 years. How long will it take a systems hacker to achieve the same feat? We give it 12 months.

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 19 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 33 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 03 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 08 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 23 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 25 635x444

Photos: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Jake Fox says:

    Enough already! Alright Jensen, you win. I’ll take one with one condition. Those girls must deliver it personally.

  2. MichaelL says:

    Maybe it’s because I am partial to the red, black, white, and exposed aluminum of the previous Corse liveries, but I’m not as overtaken by this Tricolore. Does it translate better in person than it does in pictures?

  3. Other Sean says:

    I’ve been a pretty rabid Ducatisti for 6 years now, but yeah, somebody’s drinking pitchers of Kool-aid on this bike.

    It was also named most beautiful bike of the (Italian) show. Luckily for it, the new MV triple was unveiled LAST year…

  4. Gary says:

    …still, I liked the in-your-face expression of Italia on my `86 F1 better than this watered-down paint scheme (same went for the 1098 version).

  5. Aaron says:

    I think the Tricolore is fantastic, as is the bike’s design. Rossi may not like it for the race track, but damn, it is hot. More supermodel than girl next door, with all those angles, sweet lines, and slightly different looks.

  6. BikePilot says:

    My fav would be that bike with the bare aluminum tank.

  7. Michael L says:

    I agree with BikePilot, I prefer the bare aluminum tank Superstock model, but I will reserve judgement on the Tricolore until I see it in person.

  8. aaron says:

    I’ll take the smaller version (when it comes out) in a senna colour scheme. until then, I’ll be bothering anyone who goes racing a 1199 for the headlights they obviously won’t be needing anymore – my speed triple will love the led look!

  9. Billy B.Tso says:

    apart from the protruding rear exhaust loop tumour, it’s a stunning bike!…and another thing i’ll say for ducati, is they know how to pic a good model to sit on a bike …virtual hi-five to ducati ;)

  10. SBPilot says:

    @ Billy B.Tso

    I absolutely love the rear exhaust loop tumour, it reminds of an exhaust from a stroker! If I ever owned a 1199 I’d take the exhaust cover off and fully expose that beautiful bent piece of metal. Actually scratch that I’d employ someone to make a high number pie cut purge welded titanium tubing exhaust. I can see it now!

  11. Shawn says:

    Rear Shock slider anyone?

  12. Spyker_May says:

    Will we see it on the WSBK circuit..? That should provide some answers re the notion of it being “unrideable” or otherwise…

  13. Telboy says:

    What a fantastic duke they sure know how to make a good bike 195bhp, and it looks great except not so sure about the wing mirrors , looks a bit antilopee , roll on March 20012 when mine should arrive.

  14. John says:

    Very nice bike! Wow! Can you say maintenance hog! You will need a computer lab to work on it. Way to complicated for the average rider. Better bring the wallet. Look fwd to seeing it on the track.