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.

Ernesto Marinelli Explains the Panigale in 11 Minutes

11/23/2011 @ 9:55 am, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS

Ernesto Marinelli Explains the Panigale in 11 Minutes 2012 ducati 1199 panigale track 635x423

The 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale comes loaded with a bevy of new features and technologies, along with enough three-letter acronyms to go double-word score on any unassuming rider. ABS, DTC, DQS, LED, EBC, DDA+, DES, RbW, OMGWTFBBQ, this alphabet soup all stands for key components on the Ducati 1199 Panigale, and to help explain those letters Ducati has enlisted Ernesto Marinelli, the head of the Ducati World Superbike effort.

At 11 minutes in length, Marinelli takes his time explaining the thought and process behind the new Panigale, though if you’re a nitty-gritty technical egghead who was looking for information like how Ducati implemented the first production LED headlight on a motorcycle, you’ll likely be disappointed by this video like we were. However for the die hard Ducatistas, your Wednesday Ducati fix is after the jump.

Source: YouTube


  1. johnc says:

    “OMGWTFBBQ” … really!? everyone knows what that acronym is.

  2. adam s says:

    11 minutes? i’ll give you the panigale in FOUR words…

    “the V-Rod of Ducati”

  3. AK says:

    Oh My God What The F*ck Better Be Quick

  4. Tom Z says:

    V-Rod? Are you thinking of the Diavel?

  5. Westward says:

    What’s a V-Rod?

  6. Andrew says:

    Wow, that does look and sound pretty special, and makes me wish I was 20 years younger!! :-)

  7. TonyC says:

    Truly a engineering marvel of a motorcycle

  8. MikeD says:

    Haaa, so thats why it only comes with ABS on the front wheel ! When they put it like that it makes sense. I’m officially liking it…SUDDENLY not “looking wierd” anymore…lol.

    C’mon Triumph, WTH u waiting for ?!…Slap that new 1215cc Beast on a SuperSport 675 Frame and call it a Daytona 1200 or Sprint 1200 RS…or DO SOMETHING SPORTY WITH IT !

    OK, back to regular programing now.

  9. Jelle says:

    Very interesting bike. I didn’t know much about those codes, but it will be another break through of Ducati. It will be worth the price, I’m sure.

  10. digfoto says:

    This is one sweet bike. Design wise ..nothing even comes close. The engineering changes all seem to make great sense. The more relaxed rider’s position is going to be a BIG plus over the 1098/1198 design. Wet clutch? Of course necessary, but disappointing nonetheless. But in the performance picture a plus. Quick shifter, exhaust placement, tank design ..all GREAT! Can’t wait to see this bike in the flesh!

  11. dc4go says:

    That is one sweet bike!! To bad they’re not racing it in WSBK!!

  12. dc4go says:

    Oh kind of ironic that once they do race it, they’ll be forced to carry 20lbs. of lead to meet weight restrictions for a twin…

  13. mxs says:

    The will be forced to carry extra weight, not because it’s a twin, but because it’s a 1200cc bike …

  14. Jason says:

    AGAIN, not the first production bike with an LED headlight. Zero S/DS had LED headlights available months ago (nearly a year).

  15. Michael says:


    I went to Zero’s website. Where does it say or show that their S/DS headlights are LED? From the pictures, they look like conventional (halogen?) lights.

  16. Seriously Jason, you gotta get off this horse, it just makes you look like a Zero sycophant. The Aprilia RSV4 has an “optional” gear-driven camshaft that you can buy from Aprilia, should I go revise that article to state it comes with gear-driven cams then?

  17. Jason says:

    Stop running *fresh* articles with a factual error in them and I’m happy to stop commenting on them. I’m not asking for a revision or even a correction. Just for you to stop saying it. One of the other commenters said that “optional” doesn’t count (which seems to be your postion from your comment above) but you also wrote “the first GPS-assisted data acquisition system for a production motorcycle (the DDA+ package is an optional equipment item for the Panigale)”. So an option counts when Ducati does it, but not when Zero does it. I only quoted Zero because I know pretty much exactly when it was released for the 2011 bikes (which were released late 2010, over a year ago). HD also has an LED option that I’ve known about for 6 months.
    I think that I might look like a Zero sycophant, but then I’m not calling myself a “journalist”. You’re very much looking like a Ducati fanboy (I like Ducati’s too and quite possibly have owned them from before you were born, first being a 600SL bought new in 1982ish)

  18. Jason says:

    September 2010. That’s 14 months ago you could have them for your harley as an option. I never said Zero was the first, I’m not saying Harley’s the first, but I know for sure Ducati Panigale *isn’t* the first.

  19. You need to come to terms with the difference between standard features and optional accessories before we can continue this conversation.

    Also, DDA+ is a standard feature on the Ducati 1199 Panigale S.

  20. Jason says:

    If DDA is a standard feature, why did you write that it’s an option?

  21. Because it is an optional equipment item for the base model Panigale? Are we really splitting hairs over equipment lists for different trim models?

  22. Jason says:

    How about next time you write “First to offer LED headlights as standard equipment (but not on the base model)” Perhaps because it’s absurd?

    The one with higher trim has more of the options together as a package. We’re splitting hairs over trim levels because you’re splitting hairs. With the Zero and the Harley, you can get a factory LED headlight if you pay more money but they don’t call it a different model. With Ducati you can get DDS if you pay more money but they do call it a different model.

    If Harley had called the bike with the LED headlight the FXABC-LED instead of the FXABC then they would have been first to market with an LED headlight but because they didn’t play alphabet soup games they’re not and Ducati is? Is that what you really mean to say?

  23. But the LED headlight is standard on all the Panigales, that’s my core point. This isn’t an aftermarket option like the examples you bring up, which is what the definition of a production item is all about.

    Also, I’m still waiting for the part where you realize the “Zero” LED headlight and the “Harley” LED headlight, are the same headlight from the same aftermarket parts supplier. It’s also not DOT legal in all 50 states.

  24. Jason says:

    Ok, I get your core point, only stuff that’s “standard on all” counts for “first”. Why then does DDA count as first when it’s not “standard on all”, it’s an optional extra? They can’t *both* be correct statements and surely you need to back down on one of them.

    I obviously knew that the Zero and Harley headlights come from the same manufacturer. Just like Brembo brakes are found on lots of different bikes, Mikuni carbs are found on lots of different bikes and the same spark plugs are found on lots of different bikes. That’s completely beside the point. They’re just as much “genuine” parts as any other genuine part sourced from a third party. That’s a red herring.

    Another red herring to muddy the water (to mix a metaphor) is legality in different jurisditions. Every bike has slightly different specifications for different markets. If you’re going to pull that one out, the headlights on the 916 weren’t legal in Australia and it came with a horrible square headlight. You can’t say a maker doesn’t have a product because it’s not legal in some out of the way place. You’ll probably find that the LED headlights in the Panigale aren’t legal in Australia and the UK (yet) because the dip pattern hasn’t been made for the other side of the road yet. Anyway, HD says “The LED lamps are DOT approved for use in all 50 states.”

  25. Jason says:

    My comment seems to be “awaiting moderation” and has been since 12.25am on the 3rd of Dec. There are links in that comment so perhaps that’s why or maybe the moderator is having a well deserved weekend away from work.

    Anyway the links point to the web archive org page that has the spec sheet for the Confederate Motorcycles Wraith from 2007 that shows an LED headlight is standard equipment. Not an optional extra but standard fitment on a series production motorcycle from five years ago.

    Surely that ends the “splitting hairs” and just shows an error. I didn’t want to rub anyone’s nose in it. Just a simple “oh yeah” or even refraining from continuing with the error on subsequent articles would have been fine.

    I naively thought I was helping. I guess if you’re driven to call your readers “sycophant” then it wasn’t percieved the same way at your end.

  26. You clearly don’t seem to understand the concept of production motorcycles, aftermarket parts, and how this all relates to this conversation. Clearly you have an axe to grind Jason. Grind it somewhere else.