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 MotoGP.com 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.

Just How Big of a Sales Hit Was the Ducati 1199 Panigale?

12/10/2012 @ 1:21 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Just How Big of a Sales Hit Was the Ducati 1199 Panigale? Ducati 1199 Panigale 635x475

It is no secret that Ducati had high hopes for the Ducati 1199 Panigale when it debuted the machine at the 2011 EICMA motorcycle show, and the Italian superbike certainly has proven itself to be popular with new motorcycle buyers in 2012. Selling 7,500 units worldwide so far this year, the Panigale is one of Ducati’s best selling motorcycles ever, and accounts for roughly 17% of the Italian company’s sales for this year (2012 being Ducati’s best sales year ever).

After all the problems Borgo Panigale has had with its program in MotoGP the past few years (most notably the last two years with Valentino Rossi), and with the Panigale drawing heavily on its GP roots for its “frameless” chassis design, critics questioned whether Ducati Corse’s failures would carryover and taint the street bike.

While the obvious answer is probably in the negative, the question could also be raised what a turnaround in the GP scene could have meant for Ducati in sales, let alone the continued star power of The Doctor.

Also of note is the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s mixed bag reviews in the superbike shootouts, which had it rating well, but usually behind Italy’s other superbike: the Aprilia RSV4 Factory. Another factor is the $1,500 price increase on the 1199 ($17,995 base), compared to the 1198 ($16,495 base), which also saw the “S” model commanding $1,000 more than the Ducati Superbike 1198 SP.

If 7,500 units doesn’t sound like a lot, consider the fact that the best selling sport bike of 2010 was the BMW S1000RR, which sold 10,209 units worldwide, and was BMW Motorrad’s best selling bike in the American market (displacing the wildly popular BMW R1200GS).

We don’t have the breakout numbers to know how the Ducati 1199 Panigale sold in North America this year, compared to other markets, but we suspect more than a few of the machines landed in the USA.

Was the Panigale as big of a hit as Ducati had hoped? Maybe not, but it was still a hit.

Source: GPone

Comment:

  1. Keet says:

    are those actual sales or how many bikes dealerships had to buy? (seriously)

  2. Potreroduc says:

    @Keet: good question. Bought mine in July, and I can tell you it was a seller’s market this past summer (or it had the appearance of being a seller’s market-dealer cartel keeping prices high :o) ). I did notice a couple of months ago that Ducati North America was offering finance deals on non-ABS base models. Don’t know if that means that the 1199 line overall was cooling off or if just the non-ABS base model was cooling off.

    As far as the 1199 not being a world-beater, the 1098/1198 has been pretty successful, I don’t remember that ever winning a shootout.

  3. Keet says:

    i ask this because there were always 1198′s able to be found on dealership floors (those were a “sales hit” too) and when talking to a saleman, he mentioned dealerships were told how many they had to buy from Ducati.

  4. @Keet – that would be how many Ducati has sold to its wholesale customers (dealers)… not how many have been sold to retail customers.

  5. Thanks for clarifying Anthony.

  6. Superlight says:

    I guess it depends on how you define “sales hit”. It will be very interesting to see how this bike sells in 2013, given that the initial market hype is over and those waiting for the bike to arrive already have theirs.

  7. Potreroduc says:

    @Superlight – good point. If Checa or Badovini get some wins next year, then I predict sales will be solid. If Ducati struggles in both WSBK and MotoGP, then gosh I could see sales cooling off. I dunno…

  8. Rob Dabney says:

    I just sat on one for the first time at the Long Beach Motorcycle Show and I was shocked at how uncomfortable the bike was. I can imagine it would be excruciating after about 30 minutes in the saddle. On the other hand, the BMW HP4 was soooo cozy. The BMW and the Aprilia are such good bikes and not bad to look at either. But which one would you rather stare at in your garage over a few beers? She’s so beautiful, you’ll overlook a few issues.

  9. Just How Big of a Sales Hit Was the Ducati 1199 Panigale? – http://t.co/XLrcgpX4 #motorcycle

  10. SinoSoul says:

    Duc owners are TOOLS RT @Asphalt_Rubber Just How Big of a Sales Hit Was the Ducati 1199 Panigale? – http://t.co/elaB4rJq

  11. Spamtasticus says:

    Rob, you are not the first to say that. I race a BMW so comfort is not very high on my priorities list, dead last in fact. A buddy of mine who imports carbon bits and upgrades for sportsbikes always buys the latest and greatest offering and then covers it in all concievable upgrades. A rolling ad of sorts. He had the BMW when it came out and now rolls around on what has to be the sickest most tricked out Paningale on the road. We have a friendly BMW vs Ducati banter so I was very surprised when the only comment he made to me when I saw him on his Duck the other day was that it was so uncomfortable, specially compared to the SRR.

  12. Damo says:

    I noticed people complained about the ergos on the Panigale quite a bit (most the heat from the under seat exhaust)

    I always thought the 1098-1198 wasn’t too bad to ride for stretches of time. I did about 25 miles on a 1098R and it was about as comfortable as my RC51 SP2.

    I didn’t like the ergos on the BMW s1000RR, but I dig that you can get heated grips on it right from the factory. I guess BMW realizes that some of us still ride full race bikes in the cold!

    I think the Panigale is great bike and all, call be old fashioned but I would have been happier with a plain old trellis frame. I spend too much time working in the tech industrial field to see how carbon fiber bits age and de-laminate when exposed to excessive heat, UV, humidity cycling, etc.

  13. Minibull says:

    @Damo
    The airbox frame is made from aluminium, not carbon like the GP bikes.

  14. Craig says:

    Most of the buyers ride bikes to put on the street… very few make it to the track and most like me that do make it to the track are hopeful for mulitple visits a year.

    All said, I like hearing what street folks say and race folks. when you on a track, you only want the bike to handle and fit you as far as controls, etc. and give proper feel / feedback.

    On the street; it’s SOOOO different.

    It will be interesting however to see what Ducati does with it on the track this year for sure… I am ready to see one take off that has had the FACTORY BREATH blown on it… should be good; we shall see!!!

  15. Dc4go says:

    Not racing in WSBK surely hasn’t helped them at all.. I have lots of friends who don’t read message boards or surf the web and they had no idea a new Ducati Superbike was out..

  16. Neil says:

    I thought sales were based on how many units were actually warranty registered???

  17. Dc4go says:

    thats how many dealers have on order or in the show room floor.

  18. loki says:

    “Also of note is the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s mixed bag reviews in the superbike shootouts, which had it rating well, but usually behind Italy’s other superbike: the Aprilia RSV4 Factory.”… Hummmm… You guys sure about this one? The only aspect in which the RSV4 seemed to have the best of the 1199 was the sound… And that’s quite subjective.

  19. Damo says:

    @loki

    The RSV4 put in a few faster laps around Big Willow and several European Tracks during a bunch of liter bike shoot outs (as did the CBR1000RR and the BMW, I might add.)

  20. Keet says:

    well, the Ducati ad on the website i just went to advertising that i can get a 1199 @ 1.99% for 60 months tells me they are now trying to unload the 7,500 units made. The “record sales” pitch sounds great… to stockholders (or potential stockholders)

  21. Dc4go says:

    @ Loki….. bikes are personal preferance of course but having alot bikes in my garage including an RSV4 factory i wouldn’t trade my Rsv for a Pinagale.. My Dad has a Pinagale and he trades with me all the time during rides. He wont admit he likes the Rsv more cause he’s a Ducati fanatic but i have to wrestle him off it everytime. Both wonderful bikes but i’ll stick with the razor sharp Rsv, plus nothing sounds better than a v4 at 13k with a full titanium system…. (my opinion of course)

  22. Neil says:

    Sorry, my idea of SOLD is handing the customer the keys and watching him or her ride off….not inventory sitting on dealer floors that they have ordered….that is technically not sold yet but floor planned….

  23. philly Phil says:

    as someone else already said, i’d expect sales to increase this year since they will be in the WSBK…w hich is IMO iw way more interesting than MotoGP.
    So hopefully with the increased exposure, you’ll see a sales increase.

    @keet, i’m pretty sure those are sales figures. Check out youtube and see how many Panigale videos from regualar people are out there…