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.

MotoGP: A Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Production Racer?

06/29/2013 @ 12:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: A Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Production Racer? 2013 Desmosedici GP13 LCD dash Jensen Beeler 635x421

Speaking with, Ducati’s MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti has revealed that the Italian factory is considering making a production racer version of the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 that will be made available to privateer MotoGP teams.

Conceived along the same vein as Honda’s RC213V-based production racer, the Ducati race bike would be available only to privateer teams in MotoGP, and would fall under MotoGP’s new rules, which make distinctions between factory and privateer bikes.

“Since the new rules came out for next year, where it is actually possible for a full MotoGP bike to run in what would have been the CRT class – using the single ECU and single software – we are considering to make available the 2013 bike with this package,” said  Ciabatti while talking to

With MotoGP doing away with the “CRT” distinction, in 2014 the guiding light for determining factory and non-factory machines will be the ECU software. Seeing a spec-ECU introduced into MotoGP starting in 2014, the bargain that Dorna had to strike with the MSMA was that the factory teams could use their own software on the Magneti Marelli ECU’s.

To help close the gap to the factory outfits, privateer teams that are on the Magneti Marelli electronics will also get an additional four liters of fuel (24 liters in total), and will be limited 12 engines, instead of the five engine for factory teams, for the entire season.

With this distinction in mind, Ducati sees an opportunity to offer its current full-fledged MotoGP race bike, the Ducati Desmosedici GP13, to private teams with the spec-ECU and spec-software taking the place of Ducati Corse’s technology.

Since the GP13 has struggled in MotoGP to-date, even in the hands of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, some may question the feasibility of the project, and potential interest from race teams for a production racer variant of the Desmosedici, however the move might be a master-stroke from Ducati.

For the 2013 season, CRT teams have access to an even softer compound of Bridgestone tire than the factory machines, which has helped the production-based machines close the gap to the factory-built equipment.

Ducati personnel have made no secret out of the fact that the CRT tire would help aid them in their front-end troubles, so if the same tire distinctions are held in place for the 2014 season, a production racer Desmosedici could be surprisingly competitive.

It remains to be seen whether Ducati Corse follows through with its production racer plans, and whether any teams will nibble at the chance for an alternative to Honda’s similar project, but with HRC so far ahead of Ducati Corse in developing a production racer, one too has to wonder if there is enough time for Ducati to build and develop production racer variants of its GP13.

However, if the bike is kept very close to spec as the current GP machine, the development time may not take long at all, with the real R&D residing in bringing the electronics up to par. As always, time will tell, but it looks like Ducati will have a go/no-go announcement by the Laguna Seca round.

Source:; Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. dc4go says:

    I don’t hate Ducati and I have 3 of them in my garage, but… Why on earth would any one buy a “PRODUCTION RACER” from Ducati when they clearly can get their own bike to work?? Every Ducati finished behind Alexi in a ART bike in Assen. I’d rather lease that out . Wonder how the Honda production racer and Yami leased bike compare to the current ART bike in terms of speed?

  2. TexusTim says:

    didnt you hear ? there about to solve there problems….just in time to sell a racer spec production bike ? whaat ?

  3. CTK says:

    The CRT front tire is a wildcard. It could be the key

  4. crab753 says:

    Perhaps a better idea would be for Ducati to lease or sell engines to a team like Marc VDS or NGM. Maybe someone like Kalex could shed a completely new light on the chronic under steer and pumping problems with that beast. Hayden and Dovi are both podium finishers. On the Ducati they’re lucky to finish 5th or 6th or scrapping with the CRT’s for 10th & 11th. Unless Ducati is developing a secret weapon I can’t imagine anyone investing in the whole package.

  5. Norm G. says:

    i’ll co-sign the engine lease idea. once ciabatti mentions lucky model year “2013″, that full bike idea immediately becomes a non-starter. :(

    like yam, put engines on lend and post a boffin with each team. and YES, some of these teams might be able to build a better ally chassis than you. ok, so you can’t build a frame, who gives a crap. but therein lies THE BIG IDEA.

    swallowing a little pride now will see them reap a HUGE windfall later. it’s a WIN/WIN. the teams get what they want, and they get the revenue stream, paddock proliferation, and product control THEY want.

    and if they’re really smart, they can even offer an OPTIONAL deal to the teams. ie. those willing to feed back chassis data to bologna…??? qualify for a reduced lease rate. it’s brilliant.

    remember, the goal here is for them to play to their strengths, and their strength is in the DESMO…!!! always has been. thank you Norm G, you’re welcome Ducati.

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “Since the GP13 has struggled in MotoGP to-date, even in the hands of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, some may question the feasibility of the project, and potential interest from race teams for a production racer variant of the Desmosedici, however the move might be a master-stroke from Ducati.”

    perhaps they haven’t been keeping up with current events, but THE ENTIRE PADDOCK just watched their “lucky 13′s” suck wind in the Netherlands.

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ducati personnel have made no secret out of the fact that they (think) the CRT tire would help aid them in their front-end troubles”

    and Honda have made no secret they’re engine is actually a 90V, and they’ve been able to make their kit work WITHOUT “stinkin’ badges” or “soft tyres”.

    best to assume worst case scenario, that when CRT goes away so will their special tyre allocation. it’s the only way to be sure.

  8. Westward says:

    Some of you clearly read the title of the article without actually reading the article. If you had then one would know why this could be a win win for Ducati, and maybe even an actual win.

    Both Hayden and Dovi have qualified well, as well as raced near the front. If the CRT tyre is an advantage, the Ducati would not have to change a single thing on the bike and they would gain better handling and enough fuel to full throttle it without being nearly as conservative.

  9. Westward says:


    That’s what I ve been sayin’, Kalex seems to have found a solution in Moto2, which they seem to dominate.

  10. dc4go says:

    Ducati should follow Yami and lease out the motors. The Desmo is the most powerful bike in MOTOGP with the worst chassis. If Kalex or Suter can make the bike handle then it’s a WIN/WIN situation. They can help each other out and make it back to the front..

  11. paulus says:

    How about if Ducati cease their factory entry… and ‘support’ satelite teams only.
    More fuel, stickier tyres, still have race presence and possibly better results
    Just a thought!

  12. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ducati should follow Yami and lease out the motors. The Desmo is the most powerful bike in MOTOGP with the worst chassis.”

    re: “How about if Ducati cease their factory entry… and ‘support’ satelite teams only.”

    see dc4go and Paulus get’s it. gentlemen, I’ve scheduled your medal pining ceremony for 08:00 tomorrow and given you extended weekend liberty starting thursday. carry-on.