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.

Ducati Anticipates 20% Growth by the End of 2012

11/15/2012 @ 2:52 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Ducati Anticipates 20% Growth by the End of 2012 Ducati 635x475

Although Ducati hasn’t closed out the year yet, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding Gabriele Del Torchio was confident when speaking to the press at EICMA that the company would top last year’s record numbers, with a solid 20% grow margin. Expected to take the company to 44,000 units sold worldwide, 2012 is the best sales year by volume in the history of the company, and comes just after the company’s acquisition by Audi AG.

Doubling its marketshare worldwide, the Bologna Brand says it has made a 10% increase in what it calls its “Ducati Relevant Market” – the company’s core demographic of buyers (or what Mitt Romney would call, the brand’s 53%). For fun facts, nine out of ten Ducatis made in Borgo Panigale are destined for foreign markets (read: Italy now accounts for 10% of Ducati’s sales). We already knew that the US is Ducati’s top stronghold, with the American market growing by double-digits this year.

“Since 2007, we have only seen ‘red’ on the bodywork of our bikes,” said Del Torchio. “Ducati’s record turnover of 2011,looks set to increase 20% further by the close of 2012 with over 44,000 motorcycles registered. Our market share has also grown from 2.4% in 2006 to 5.2% in 2012, an equivalent of over 10% share in what we call the ‘Ducati Relevant Market’. Ducati has become even more global today, with approximately 9 motorcycles out of every 10 produced in our Borgo Panigale factory in Bologna destined for foreign markets.”

“The USA is currently our top market, achieving a consistent two-figure growth, while other geographical areas, such as the Far East and Latin America where we are investing major resources and reaping promising results, are still yet to reach their full potential.”

“With the arrival of the new shareholders, Ducati is in stronger hands than ever, and being part of the Audi Group will definitely contribute to Ducati’s growth and expansion,” added Del Torchio. “This acquisition acknowledges the value of everyone who works in our company, the value of the Ducati brand, and of its past achievements.”

Source: Ducati


  1. And who are all these people with their vast expendable income who buy three Ducati’s a year, which than sit in theirt eight car garages unridden, only to be parked in driveways, freshly washed and shined to show off before dinner parties? These are the same bikes that wind up being sold ‘used’ two years later, to real motorcycle riders, who get a bike with 70 miles on it at a nicely discounted price. Definitely better to buy one of these brand-new Ducati’s, at a third to one half off the sticker price, the price they should be in the first place.

    Ducati make great bikes, or at least they did, until the bean counters started calling the shots, perhaps they’ll return to their former glory under new ownership, let’s hope so, but in the current corporate environment I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  2. MikeD says:

    44k Units worldwide ? ROTFLMAO. Sorry, i know they are not Honda or Piaggio and there’s a lot to it…but 44k ?…LMAO.

    I can’t possibly imagine what MV Agusta does ? 1000 ?

  3. smiler says:

    Aaron put those nails away. It is a premium brand and as such people cherish their Ducati’s, what is wrong with that. That they do not get ridden?
    Go to a trackday…Are you seriously telling me Monsters, Multitradas, Hypermotards, ST3 and 4s as well as their sportsbikes dont get ridden.
    As to whether they still make good bikes. If you like your bikes inconsistently built, full of character (ie break down) and service intervals of a few thousand miles then no.
    The 1198 and Panigale are clearly better bikes than the 916. Although I love my 996R (and thrash it hard at trackdays). I would prefer Ducati make 40k bikes a year and survive than making 3000 (MV) with inconsistent quality and constant discussion about whether they will still be there in a few years.

  4. Bruce says:

    +1 smiler. I don’t personally ride any Ducatis at the moment, though I do have some Aprilias. But I never understand what one’s income has to do with your enthusiasm to ride. It’s not the first time I have seen comments like Aaron’s posted here. Often when Jensen posts a story about BMW, Motus, Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta, etc., someone loves to comment that those who can afford these bikes don’t ride them. It’s such a crock of sh*t. You don’t have to be poor to be a “real” motorcycle rider.

  5. meatspin says:

    i dont make 250K a year and I can buy a ducati if I wanted to.

    seeing these sales numbers, its not so hard to see the growth, when you produce so little to begin with compared to the asian manufacturers.

  6. Iwan says:

    We’ve got all Del Torchio’s slides from his EICMA presentation on the website, quite interesting stuff…

  7. joe says:

    i am surprised no one has mentioned how the 2013 Ducati models looks like shit. Diavel Strada?? Hyper Strada? All they did was take current models and add wind screens and luggage.

    I hope they get back to their basics with style and they take a note from the Japanese manufacturers about how to produce a bike with low maintenance and high reliability

  8. TRL says:


    Ducati has a worldwide corporate staff of a something over 1000 if I am correct. The others much more. Its a big brand but a small company that still manages to get to the big show.

  9. TRL says:

    It’s – damn autocorrect

  10. MikeD says:


    LMAO. Yes, some of them are a little on the borderline…..Diavel Strada….but then again i never liked the standard version to begin with.
    But with motorcycles is all about perception and taste…a good thing there’s lot to choose from.
    Personally with Ducati i have always been on the fence, they have always caugth my eye but not my money, LMAO.
    Although i have found myself OOOGLING a couple of used 999(considered the high water mark of Ducati’s f*&%-ups by many) on Craigslits more often than not…even tho i have ZERO use for such a bike…i live on the Pancake State…better off with a ZX-14R, Big Lazy Cruiser or Honkin Dual Sport.

  11. MikeD says:


    INDEED my good Sr.

    I consider it a feat them being there competing with Honda and Yamaha on MotoGP even tho they are small.

  12. For the record, my only real interest is full fairing sport bikes, while I might have an opinion on other types of motorcycles, I’ve never bought or owned one, at least not since I was a teenager, nor have I ever had any interest in riding anything on the street but repla-racers, Super Moto style being the exception. I’ve owned a few other types and always laid them down pushing too hard, they just didn’t fit my riding style – balls to the walls healed over at every opportunity – within the context of street riding legalities. To be clear I’ve always strived to be a responsible rider, taking only calculated risks, not foolish ones. I’ve never laid down a sport bike in my life.

    To my way of thinking such bikes are meant to be pushed hard through corners, that’s what they were designed for. I don’t know why anyone who’s not into that would buy one. For me street riding was mostly just a lot of waiting, accelerating and braking hard, until I got to my next favorite corner. I spent a lot of time dialing in my suspensions with the best possible parts, and best tires, in anticipation of the next apex. I suppose that makes me a purist, of a sort.

    The only cycling memories I can recall with total clarity are those punctuated by shots of adrenaline precipitated by some unusual mid-corner event. Like going north through the intersection where Sunrise Boulevard and Federal Highway split in Fort Lauderdale, seeing a rider sitting on a blue bike (R1) on the other side of the intersection, as I snap my Honda into that hard left-hander, with a knee 3 inches off the pavement at about 45 mph, a bit faster than I’d done that corner 1000 times before (showing off) then noticing the 8 foot wide flowing stream of water, running across the intersection, the result of a broken sprinkler, and in those microseconds before hitting that hydroplane patch, excepting the consequences of my commitment with only a slight twinge of fear.

    Then the sensation of both wheels breaking loose simultaneously, the bike sliding almost imperceptibly off its line, before hitting the dry again, the Dunlops regaining traction, and pull it out seamlessly. No time to sweat or think or regret, just reacting on instinct followed by feelings of relief and satisfaction flowing together, the sensation of being totally ALIVE in that MOMENT. Then giving a look over my shoulder and a little nod to the Yamaha rider who just witnessed the whole thing from a perfect vantage point, and seeing him shake his head in disbelief. :) Always best to be able to share those moments with someone who understands them, a rarity for street riders. It’s those moments that bike riding is all about for me, the rest is just… waiting.

    So when I walk over to somebody’s Bimota or Ducati (and when I say Ducati I’m only talking about their top-tier attack bikes 748 on up, I hardly even notice anything else) and I look down at their rear tire and notice the last 2 inch of the tire before you get to the sidewall hasn’t even been broke in, and the tire is nearly done in the middle. Few things illicit more sheer disgust and revulsion in my twisted little heart. What a waste of a good tire, waste of a great bikes potential, that reminds me too much of a life unlive. Why would I even want to talk to that person, we exist in different universes.

    It’s like someone who buys a fine thoroughbred racehorse, created through manipulating bloodlines for 100 generations, to produce a confluence of blood, bone and muscle that was born to run. Then leave that masterpiece to rot in a stable, only taking him out to cantor around a tiny padlock, or show off for the amusement of friends who have no idea what they’re even looking at. To never let that animal run wild and free across the open fields without fences or controls, to never mount him with the intent of giving the beast his head, and hanging on for dear life as they do what they were born to do, really? To my way of thinking that is a crime, a crime against life itself.

    So I hope y’all will forgive me when I spit at the feet of those who haven’t got a clue. I know I’m uncouth and ill mannered, my mama told me so long before any of you. I’m not making any excuses, I don’t make excuses for my behavior anymore. My only intent is to provoke an emotion, wake their asses up, so they might actually live a few moments before life is done. Misguided though I may be in the eyes of some, my method brutal and tactless, but the way I see it I’m doing them a favor. Don’t worry I’m not expecting any thanks.

    Again for the record, I don’t have a problem with people who have money, I have several multimillionaires in my family. They got there by busting their ass, building something from nothing. But I do have a problem with people who got handed their millionaire status by rat-fucking their fellow man at every opportunity. Corporate owned weasels whose primary job, though they’re not even bright enough to realize it, is to keep the rest of the slaves in line. Those who always play it safe, those knuckle under and crawl at the feet of anyone who has power over them, and treat everyone they see as beneath them like dogs to be kicked at every opportunity. Yeah, you know who fuck you are.

    We now live in a global corporate culture that perpetuates and rewards the careers of far too many of these verminous swine (Willard Mitt Romney). Everything they own they got by screwing millions of working people out of their rightful due. Their idea is to teach a whole new generation of young people growing up to believe that being a bloodsucking leech on society is an acceptable even admirable existence. Hay, everyone is doing it, why not me? Yeah well, fuck-you cock-sucker.

    Do I look down on people like that, damn right I do, because they are most definitely beneath me and everyone else who clings to some semblance of morality and ethical conduct. It’s called character, and you sure as hell can’t buy it.

    I have far more respect for real criminals, genuine outlaws pirates and brigands willing to take genuine risks to life limb and incarceration, as opposed to those who are protected by a corporate owned legal system, bought and paid for judges and politicians, who grow wealthy themselves by characterize the activities of these amoral worms as entrepreneurial and capitalist, when they are in fact antithetical to everything free and open markets are, by definition. These creeps are a blight on humanity, and here in my country they are most certainly traitors to the American people, the United States and everything it stands for. The last election proved that the majority of voters agree with me. Though it would NOT matter if they didn’t, because right and wrong should never be put to a vote.

    Mark my words, one day there will be a reckoning for all these rat-fuckers, history is replete with examples of how they ultimately meet their end, and it won’t be pretty for them, or for the people who make a living by tossing their salad. Get me? LOL

  13. MikeD says:

    Somebody buy Aaaron a drink, no….make that a lot of drinks.
    The guy’s got too much going on his mind…A LOT.
    I pity the fool that picks a discussion with him…if i knew it was him i would run…make no mistake…at least ’til his really drunk and happy (do u get happy when u are drunk ?, those are the best)…LMAO.

  14. Bitch! I am drunk, it’s 2 AM on Friday night, what you think I’m doing, I just get more articulate when I drink, And with this iPhone 5 I don’t even have to text, I just dictate. Fuck, I haven’t lost an online argument since I got this, motha’ Fucker’ :D

  15. David says:


    If you can’t see that both parties in the USA are the same (lessor of 2 evils was the choice), then you probably have smoke blowing out your ass when you fart.

    WTH….your rant stays and mine gets deleted……LOL…..At least we all love motorcycles.

    Probably should keep politics out of here. IMHO

    But in both of our defense, JB did start it by mentioning Romney. Lesson learned.

  16. Joe Dirt says:

    More words doesn’t mean you won the argument. Sometimes you are just proving your ignorance, as in this case. You are pathetically wrong on all of your political, class warfare & motorcycle observations. …But, these are things that you will have to learn for yourself because your are obviously beyond listening to anyone. Too bad your mother didn’t do a better job!

  17. MikeD says:

    Probably should keep politics out of here. IMHO

    Too bad your mother didn’t do a better job!

    YES, let us strive for that, I don’t come here for that.

    And let’s leave family out too………..just tell the guy about him, that’ll be more than enough to catch his attention.

  18. Duc Rider says:

    I still love my 1100EVO (3800 miles since August 2012). As for Mr. Brown and his rant…. Whatever. My bike made by a small company might not be everything you want it to be, that’s OK by me. I really don’t want or need your approval.

  19. Ha, ignorant bastards can’t tell the difference between a rant and literature. Pearls before swine, and this is a motorcycle side after all, I realize most to wheel jockeys have difficulty tying their shoes, let alone cogitating. :)