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.

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1

10/28/2013 @ 11:41 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1 Troy Corser James Haydon Sepang Petronas FP1 WSBK

The story that surrounds Petronas and its ill-fated Petronas FP1 World Superbike project is one full of intrigue, and was seemingly put to bed long ago when the Malaysian oil giant folded its motorcycle business and racing plans in 2006.

The story was brought back to life though when a bunker full of Petronas FP1 street bikes was discovered in the UK. The bikes have their own intriguing story of how the Malays did, or did not, “bend” the homologation rules for WSBK, and how the machines then found their way to be forgotten in a bunker in Essex.

With that discovery, new life was spurred into the Petronas FP1, whose fire-breathing three-cylinder engine and powder blue paint scheme has tantalized the fancy of collectors worldwide for some time now.

This gave birth to the Momoto MM1 project, an outfit that bought the 129 derelict Petronas bikes, and rebranded them for sale just last year. That venture has hit a snag though, as taxes and duties for a vast majority of the machines were apparently not paid, which resulted in the Malaysian government seizing all 129 motorcycles, which in-turn has lead to a recent lawsuit for RM260 million ($83 million USD).

According to the The Malaysian Insider, Momoto’s lawsuit claims that Petronas Technical Services registered only two of its motorcycles with the Malaysian Road Transport Department, and that there were no approved permits for either machine. Momoto further claims that customs and excise duties, totaling RM29 million ($9.25 million), were not paid by Petronas Technical Services.

Buying not only all of the found Petronas FP1 street bikes, but also the spares, designs, blueprints, and patents as well, Momoto is claiming that a breach of contract has occurred between the two parties, and wants restitution.

“We took it for granted that Petronas Technical would have complied with the basic requirement of obtaining the APs and settled all dues to the government at the point of bringing the motorcycles into Malaysia,” a spokesman for Momoto said to The Malaysian Insider.

The issue now seems headed to arbitration, but for motorcycle fans it means one of the more iconic machines in WSBK history will continue to remain unobtainable, for at least a while longer. A shame really, as Momoto reportedly has plans with Suter Racing Technology AG, of MotoGP fame, to continue research and development on the FP1 project.

Photos of the Momoto MM1:

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1 Momoto MM1 Petronas FP1 06

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1 Momoto MM1 Petronas FP1 07

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1 Momoto MM1 Petronas FP1 03

Momoto Sues Petronas for $83 Million over Petronas FP1 Momoto MM1 Petronas FP1 11

Source: The Malaysian Insider


  1. Autolegend86 says:

    Lets just burn them all already and be doen with the satan beast.

  2. SBPilot says:

    Momoto’s lawyers should have had the clause in there stating that all the bikes were full paid off in taxes and that registration on all bikes would be ready upon closing of the agreement. A pretty obvious clause one would think. The fact that Momoto says they “took for granted” means they assumed wrongly, that’s business.

    Petronas whether intentionally or unintentionally didn’t mention that the bikes had tax owing on them in the agreement, is up to the courts to find out, but since it’s not going into litigation, than no one will know. I have a feeling Petronas ditched those bikes in the first place to avoid paying the tax, and now they will have the new owners pay some of it for them, I’m sure they are smiling.

  3. TexusTim says:

    wow that sounds mean and looks like it pulls good…I guess there wasnt a clause that said “you assume our tax liability” ? if not that was racked up by the previous owner and unless stated I cant see how momo becomes responsable for a previous “tax” debt any way I want to get ahold of one of those…for the track hehehe I bet it could handle the panigale.

  4. kww says:

    If you don’t sell the bikes, export them, or permit them, or let them out of the box (warehouse) then I would guess that no tax is required. Of course, who is the expert on motorcycle tax law in Malaysia?!?

    Fact is, Petronas never sold them, so they dodged this issue handily. I bet Momoto is going to get hosed on this.

    Till then, the bikes can only be enjoyed inside the box by Schrödinger’s cat (or not).

  5. digi says:

    Man those government thugs sure love them some seizing.

  6. mak lampir says:

    bravo Malaysian government….they cannot sell it, then throw it into the bunkers and money of Malaysian’s people burned just like that..

    can all of you guys see, how intelligent, brilliant of Malaysian leaders?

    to whom may involved with this, you will answer it at doomsday in front of Allah, and believe me, its very very hard to answer it

  7. donno says:

    From the start, the programme is managed by people in Petronas with no background in automotive manufacturing, and the laws and ways to navigate those laws. They are mostly R&D and marketing guys.

    There are ways to navigate those minefields, and frankly those guys have no idea how.

    But they did actually follow the WSBK homologation rules to the letter. Actually buliding 150 of those FP1′s (75 in UK and another 75 in Modenas Malaysia 6 months later). And they actually build 150, not 75 in UK, dismantled and rebuilt in Malaysia for the illusion of 150bikes…

    sad to see how this thing get to this stage…

  8. Norm G. says:

    re: “they assumed wrongly, that’s business.”

    actually no, lack of disclosure isn’t business, they have a seperate name for it… FRAUD.

  9. Jaybond says:

    Those who’s in charged earlier at Petronas just did’nt seem to care about how to market the FP1 streetbike and what are the rules & regulations governing the delivery/distribution of the bikes. They just built the bikes and let them rot inside the bunker, for what? It’s just unacceptable for a big company like Petronas..

  10. The first element of fraud is criminal intent to defraud — a very difficult thing to prove in a court of law.

  11. Amfin says:

    Welcome to Malaysia guys.I’m a Malaysian and we’re actually screwed in the Motorvehicle scenario.We’re the 2nd (SECOND) most expensive place to own vehicle in the world (cars/bike & truck etc).As per : (, you can clearly see it is just sole purpose to protect PROTON created by our Tun Mahathir (ex-PM).You guys must be wondering, heck why does this involve bikes? Guys, we have 365 days of Tropical Weather riding be it long highways from Singapore to Bangkok,great trail riding from Kuching,Sarawak to Tawau,Sabah and many more. So imagine if every Malaysian ditch the PROTON and start riding in decent sized bikes.It is HEAVEN, but again to protect PROTON, they taxed bikes too like crazy, Example Honda Gold Wing in USA is $29,550 (ABS/Airbag Model) while in Malaysia its RM 155 000 or $49,143 ( :(

  12. Chris Cornell says:

    We dont what transpired in the sales & purchase agreement. Who knows maybe there’s a clause that says it’s free from encumbrances. Probably that’s why Momoto took it for granted….who knows.

    What I understand from a friend in Malaysian Customs, motorcycle manufacturers in Malaysia are taxable once the bikes are fully assemble in the factory regardless you sell the bikes or not. So that explains the RM29million tax & duties not paid since the bike was manufactured in 2002.

    Another issue would be no import permit. How did they brought in 75 bikes without AP??? Declared as spare parts..maybe?..but you still need AP spare parts which is taxable as well.

    Petronas is a mess. They shud just stick to their core business.

  13. Dat Guy says:

    AnR…Thank you for your coverage..and courage! ;-)

  14. Dat Guy says:

    Copied from The Malaysia Insider…
    “A bipartisan parliamentary committee will recommend that action be taken against a unit of national oil firm Petronas for evading taxes and not having approved permits (APs) when it brought in 129 superbikes from the United Kingdom.

    Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (pic) said they cannot call Petronas Technical Services to appear before them to get further clarification on a RM260 million suit against them by superbike maker Momoto as Petronas has its own legislation and comes under the prime minister’s purview.

    “We will send a letter to the prime minister soon to recommend that they take action against the company,” he said at a press conference in Parliament today.”

    Seems like Petronas are Untouchable and only accountable to the Prime Minister.