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.

I’m Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata, Bitch.

08/05/2011 @ 5:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Im Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata, Bitch. 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Mugello spy photo

The tale that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s business card at one point read “I’m CEO, Bitch” is in fact true. Perhaps tired of dealing with investors and businessmen that didn’t take him seriously, or perhaps the young entrepreneur faced a tough time telling industry specialists twice or three times his age how the world was about to change, ol’Zuck was surely responding to the titles others had placed on him. Enervated at hearing phrases like “that kid” or “the Harvard dropout”, Zuckerberg’s “I’m CEO, Bitch” business card was not only about the young CEO having an equal seat at the table, but also about his personal brand, and reminded whomever held the card that were talking to the creator of one of most popular websites ever on the internet.

If we can stretch that metaphor a bit further, the new Ducati Superbike has its own identity crisis in the eyes of the public. Like the Ducati Vyper and Ducati Cayenne that came before it, we were first introduced to Ducati’s new flagship with its internal name: Xtreme. Whether out of the desire to drive webpage hits by creating controversy, or just actually being that gullible/naive about the story, mainstream outlets began using the nomenclature as if the Bologna brand had adopted product names that tugged on a common heart strings from the Twilight faithful.

Cleverly deciphering Ducati’s secret model numbering scheme, more educated publications latched onto the more likely Superbike 1199 verbiage. There was over course precedent for this +1 trend, after watching the Superbike 998 become the 999. Knowing that Ducati would be releasing a ridiculously over-square v-twin motor with the new Superbike, we also learned early on that the new power plant would be known as the Superquadrata, which sounds far more clever in Italian than its translated English. With all these different names being banded about for the same machine, we wanted to definitely put the business card wars to bed, and say conclusively that the new flagship from Bologna will be called the Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata.

So what about all this Xtreme nonsense, you might ask? For that answer, you need to go back a bit in time when Ducati was preparing to unveil two very important motorcycles: the Multistrada 1200 and the Diavel. You may recall that the name Ducati Cayenne was offered as one name for Ducati’s adventure-tourer. With Porsche enthusiasts ready to file the trademark infringement papers on that issue, the Cayenne name came about from how Ducati viewed the MTS1200, and what it meant for the brand as a whole.

In many ways a few years ago, Ducati was going through the same growing transition that Porsche went through a decade earlier. As a brand the centered around racing and sport cars, Porsche found itself getting painted into a corner as it tried to grow beyond its basic sales levels, become more sustainably profitable, and continue to prosper under the growing trend of more stringent environmental regulation. Needing to be more than a brand that centered around the 911 platform, Porsche ventured off into the lucrative SUV market with its sporty take on that market trend: the Cayenne. The sportiest SUV on dealer floors at the time, the Cayenne was a huge hit for Porsche, and was not only the leading vehicle in the company by unit sales, but also by revenue. Though the pushback was huge from Porsche enthusiasts before the Cayenne’s launch, Porsche had carefully navigated its way out of being a pure-play sports car brand, and into a multi-faceted company known for its performance, engineering, and luxury.

If any of this story sounds just vaguely familiar, Ducati, like Porsche, had the problem of being a sport bike-only brand, and needed to adopt to the changes to adapt in the economy, market, and industry if it wanted not only to stay relevant, but more importantly in business. Luckily for Bologna, the Italian company had the game plan laid at its feet by zie Germans. The company needed a Cayenne though — they needed a model that was a departure from the Superbikes, Monsters, and Sport Classics. The answer was the Multistrada 1200, a motorcycle that borrows its name and basic theme from Pierre Terblanche’s hotly contested work. The Multistrada, despite the public’s perception, wasn’t a sales flop. Its demise instead stemmed from the company focusing on being a “superbike brand” — precisely the path Ducati is currently backtracking from at this point in time.

With the Adventure bike market now peaking and becoming a lucrative industry segment with well-funded riders, Ducati saw in ADV bikes what Porsche saw in the SUV market. Even if a single Multistrada 1200 never went off road (as has been said of the Cayenne), the allure that one could go anywhere with the Multistrada 1200 would drive sales, and 150+ bhp wouldn’t hurt either. Knowing that the MTS1200 had to be Ducati’s Cayenne, the name was used often in Bologna when talking about the bike, both as a metaphor and a direct reference. In the end, Ducati released a sporty and very Ducati-esque play on the adventure theme. Two years after its unveiling, the Multistrada 1200 is still driving sales for Ducati, outpacing the company’s flagship model the Superbike 1098/1198. As for the the Vyper name for the Diavel…I dunno, they were probably high (full analysis here), just as were publications that printed the internal “Xtreme” name as a likely badge for the new 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata.

Though we expect that “Superquadrata” name to be dropped in the common vernacular, Ducati’s latest naming convention harkens back as recently as the 2001 Ducati Superbike 996R Testastretta, which debuted before the 998 successor that used the “narrow head” motor across its whole line. While much of buzz around the new 1199 has been about its lack of a trellis frame, in favor of a stressed aluminum headstock/airbox chassis structure, what will likely sell hardcore Ducatisti on the new Superbike will be the near 200hp Superquadrata motor.

Expected to be the highest revving Desmo-twin ever from Ducati, the Superquadrata will have peaky horsepower, just like the Japanese inline-fours it will compete against in SBK classes around the globe. It will be interesting to see how rideable on the street the Superquadrata engine will be, though we suspect that for 90% of owners, what’s going to matter most is the claimed peak horsepower figure. Expecting to please in this department, it’s no small wonder that Ducati has seen it fit to include the motor’s name in the model’s official title. If the past of the Tetastretta tells us anything, the Superquadrata could be around, in one form or another, for a time span measure not in years but in decades, and as for how personal brands goes, a motor’s brand is one of the most important, Bitch.

Source: Bothan Spies


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  3. Spanyard says:

    Hi guys!

    Are you telling me that you people overseas are “exited” with the fact that this (maybe) to-much-modern machine has a lack of what has been the condicio sine qua non of all Ducati’s?

    I dont know… I’m buying the last 1198 bike here in Spain and I’ll see how that Modern 999 is doing in the market and streets.

    I remember some old Italian Ducatisti talking REALLY BAD about the (for shure) to-much-moder 999. A bike the riders were not able to understand coming out of Bolognia. 1199 reminds me that laboratorybike.

    PS: sorry for the spanglish

  4. Other Sean says:

    Good article, thank you, because as you say, a few publications made a big deal about the “Xtreme” and I couldn’t believe anyone would take it seriously, unless Ducati really is losing their minds.

    Superquadrata is the name of the engine architechture, just like Testastretta before it, and Desmoquattro before that. I hope the bike WILL say Superquadrata on it somewhere, just like the Testastretta’s did.