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.

Yas Marina Circuit + Troy Bayliss + Ducati 1199 Panigale S

02/13/2012 @ 3:11 pm, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS

Yas Marina Circuit + Troy Bayliss + Ducati 1199 Panigale S 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Yas Marina Circuit 021 635x444

The International press launch of the Ducati 1199 Panigale is underway in Abu Dhabi this week, with initial reports on Ducati’s flagship superbike being very positive. A track usually reserved for cars, not bikes, the Yas Marina Circuit is really something to behold. Situated on a man-made island off the Abu Dhabi coast, the Middle-Eastern track cost a cool $1.32 billion to construct back in 2009, and holds the distinction for being one of Formula One’s night races.

Such a setting is of course appropriate for Ducati to introduce its latest creation, and the Italian company will be showcasing the first production motorcycle with an LED headlight, the first sport bike with electronically-adjustable suspension, and of course putting journalists on the company’s much-talked-about “frameless” monocoque chassis design. Expected on dealer floors in April, the base model Ducati 1199 Panigale will cost $17,995, while the “S” will cost $22,995, and “S Tricolore” will hit the wallet for $27,995 MSRP.

While we wait for the Panigale to come across the Atlantic Ocean, Ducati has put together this video of Troy Bayliss taking a lap around the 21 turns of the Yas Marina Circuit. It’s an oddly edited video, but should bring grins to the Ducatisti in your life. Be sure to turn your speakers up to hear the Superquadro v-twin motor in all its glory.

Yas Marina Circuit + Troy Bayliss + Ducati 1199 Panigale S 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Yas Marina Circuit 01 635x444

Yas Marina Circuit + Troy Bayliss + Ducati 1199 Panigale S 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Yas Marina Circuit 03 635x444

Yas Marina Circuit + Troy Bayliss + Ducati 1199 Panigale S 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Yas Marina Circuit 04 635x444

Source: Ducati (YouTube)


  1. Peter L says:

    FYI the first night race was in Singapore, not Abu Dhabi.

  2. jamesy says:

    Absolute soul consuming eye candy

  3. It’s the most achingly beautiful motorcycle I’ve ever seen. I wish I could have it in a 400. I just see no point for 195HP on the street. For me, people. For me. You guys can buy whatever you like. :)

  4. Ken C. says:

    Sounds like a chainsaw.

  5. Scott says:

    It very pretty and I’m sure it’s a fantastic bike to ride. Way too much power for the street and why for the love of is it only available in red. If I’m spending that much on a bike have some color choices. Nice to see some new tech make it to the street though.

  6. MikeD says:

    Sounds like a mix of CrossPlane, RSV4 and “some Duc” still left in it. I like it.

    It won’t be a 400 but they will make a MiniMe version of it, it’s almost a given. Time frame ? Go figure…

    Good point, so much money and yet only ROSSO ? Screw them…what ever happened to that screaming YELLOW that the 1098 once sported in the USA Market ? Or WHITE ? ALL Black is A MUST(rims,swinger,all).

    SWEET RIDE, that’s for sure…wish i had the $$$ to back up my day dreaming. LOL. SIGH.

  7. Shawn says:

    Observing Ducati’s historical sales strategy, don’t buy one now. As there will be a better one next year with better parts and cheaper than the previous model.

  8. Dc4go says:

    Sweet bike needs a set of Termi’s and she’ll beready to rock out at the track!! Can’t wait for mine to get in tracking it next to the RSV4!!

  9. MikeD, the problem ends up being that anything beyond about 80 HP on the street (or, more correctly, 6 lbs/hp) is way overkill for me. I doubt there’d be anything as small as a 696 and even if there were, it’d be breathed on a lot to differentiate it from the M696′s performance.

    Shawn, the “better later” thing is true of pretty much everything everywhere. True, there’s often good reason to avoid 1.0 tech and wait for a revision or two to smooth out the bumps, but I suspect the Panigale will be magical to ride.

  10. MikeD says:

    I feel u, i miss riding some aircooled OBESE(550LBS) clunker i had up to the other day…GS1100G, the thing had just enough power (80-90HP in a good day) to scare the “living shit” out of me and no herky-jerky throttle response TO BOOT! I miss CV Carbs and AirCooled flat crank I4s. (-_- )’

  11. AC says:


    It’s just the first year. It’ll come in different colors next year or even mid-year.

  12. Westward says:

    For collectors, it’s going to be the bike to have in any collection. For riders, I would wait next year too. I personally am looking for the 799cc or less version…

    But lets be real, this bike is not meant to be a daily commuter. That’s what the Monsters are for…

  13. david says:

    195 horsepower would be ridiculously fun on the street. c’mon, guys, people have been making these arguments for decades, now, but we’ve ALWAYS loved more horsepower. i mean, let’s be real. a 1986 gixxer 750 is WAY TOO FAST FOR THE ROAD. but if we compare it to the sportbikes we have now, it would feel like a pig. i have a 1098. it’s meant for the track, but it’s a blast down the 9. this 1199 will be even MORE fun through the twisties. power in every combination possible. i can’t wait for this thing.

  14. @david:
    Hey, nobody said it wouldn’t be fun. :) I’d just rather give hell to a small motor than run out of speed limit before I even hit redline in 1st on a big one. YMMV and all that.

    Disclaimer: Most giggles per mile for me to date was on a ’79 RD400 Daytona Special.

  15. BBQdog says:

    Nice sound, but not for a twin. And as I look at the wheely photo I am still not
    convinced of the looks. Seems like another bad 916 variation but without
    the exhausts in the seat.

  16. Keith says:

    track must suck, rarely breaks 200kmh. Motor sounds like he’s lugging it all the way around the track…meh.

  17. BBQdog says:

    >>, but we’ve ALWAYS loved more horsepower

    No, I don’t, I would pay for less weight.
    A 125 kg weighting nice mono with 50 bhp would enough for me.

  18. YzrM1 says:

    Its FAKE!!
    See the video again, from 45 sec and you see troy braking towards chicane. but while braking and tip in the corner you hear the engine reving and up shifting!!!


  19. Halfie 30 says:

    Love all the comments on less horses. My 800 SS puts out around 80 horse power moded, and with the gearing change I made to it, I get that 80 to the rear almost too fast. She hates traffic and slow speeds. However, this bike will be great for the sport. I’m personally still hoping to get an RC8 for the track… Still prefer human go fast ability over computerized assisted ability, but some one like Mr. Bayless exploits both rather well…

  20. Damo says:


    Are you insinuating that you have an RSV4 and you are also buying one of these? If so I would find that….odd to say the least.

    I like the look of the bike, but still think the 1198 was better in the looks department. That being said it should be a great bike overall, especially with the improved ergos and 15k mile service intervals. I buy bikes for the road, not the track.

    I am very interested in it, but I will wait until some jackass with too much money buys one, realizes it is too much for him and puts it on craigslist for $7k less than he paid for it lol.

  21. Damo says:

    Also the video ISN’T fake, the audio track is just completely not in sync.

    Give Troy a break though, he wasn’t trying to set a lap record, he was just doing this for a press event.

  22. Westward says:

    @ david

    It’s not the 195 horsepower that makes the bike any less of a pig. It’s the overall engineering of a GSXR 750 bike in 1986 that makes it seem like a pig…

    It’s the technology advancements in chassis design, suspension, aerodynamics, light-weight materials, etc. etc…

    A 750 gixxer of today should feel light-years better than one in 1986, if not, then Suzuki is not the manufacturer everyone makes them out to be…

    Make mine Ducati…

  23. MikeD says:

    BBQdog says:
    February 14, 2012 at 6:01 AM
    And as I look at the wheely photo I am still not
    convinced of the looks. Seems like another bad 916 variation but without
    the exhausts in the seat.

    Yes, i was wishing too for more “futuristic” DESMOSEDICI (central ram air) than “classic” 916 fugly front end…but hey, beggers can’t be choosers, right ? LOL.

    I think their xcuse was that if they were to venture into a whole new look with out “injecting” any “past’s cues” into it it would scare away/alienate their “core costumer base”…(did i sound a bit H-D PR Puppet there ? , LMAO)

  24. 1198freak says:

    Not as beautiful as the 1198 but more angular and muscular looking, I love it. Cant wait to get mine…

  25. MikeD says:

    According to the tank is now made of aluminium and carries a bit more fuel than before from 4.0 gal to 4.5 gal.
    No more swelling…of the gas tank at least. LOL.
    As a side note, looking at the power/torque graph the 1198 used to be “more of a V-TWIN” than this new version of the 90* V-2 Legend.
    It’s power/torque albeit lower it came up sooner on the rev range=more urgency all over the place.
    Even some testers seem to be saying how this new mill likes to have it neck twisted like an I-4 somehow confirming the curve’s shapes on the graph.

  26. Backmarker1 says:

    I hate to correct you, but BMW pioneered Electronically Adjustable Suspension on the K 1200 S back in 2005. Ducati’s a little late to the party there.

  27. BBQdog says:

    Got some comments on this Duc but that doesn’t mean I would be unhappy to own one :-)