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.

Ducati Desmosedici Gets Wings for Sachsenring

07/18/2010 @ 12:09 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Ducati Desmosedici Gets Wings for Sachsenring Ducati Desmosedici GP10 wing up close 560x377

MotoGP fans in attendance during qualifying at the German GP may have felt like they were watching a Formula 1 race. This is because while at Sachsenring on Saturday, the Marlboro Ducati team used a new fairing design for the Desmosedici GP10 that incorporates F1-style winglets.

Used for only part of Saturday’s sessions, both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were fitted with the new fairing, which has small lateral ‘wings’ on each side of the bike. Ducati says these wings are designed “to help prevent wheelies around the dramatic undulations” of the German circuit. We just think they look pretty cool. More photos after the jump.

Photos: Ducati Corse


  1. Ducati Desmosedici Gets Wings for Sachsenring – #motorcycle

  2. CBR600RR 09 says:

    Sure as hell didn;t slow them down, or stop the wheelies! It was an amazing race to watch and the Red Flag came out on lap 9 for an RdP, Bautista and Espargaro crash. RdP broke his left Tib and Fib, and his bike lit up with flames.

    Rossi and Casey rode like there was a demon chasing them the way they were over taking one another in the later stages of the restart and once Dani got past Lorenzo it was OVER!!!

    Astonishing race, wonderful to watch, why can’t it be like that ALLL the time!

  3. Bjorn says:

    I didn’t think I was watching an F1 race; there was overtaking and excitement.

  4. Rob says:

    I wondered how long it would take before aerodynamic downforce starting playing a factor in GP

  5. Gildas says:

    Aerodynamic downforce is not usefull on bikes because when you lean, the center of downforce would be next to the tyres adding even more pressure thus reducing grip.

    Another issue would be: how to you “unstick” the bike from the downforce to straighten it out?

    You would need movable aerodynamics to do that. And that’s against the rules.


  6. KK says:

    While i agree on the excitement factor this week, it just sucks that it had to involve ppl breaking bones. i hate to see that but yeah, and awesome race over all

  7. Steven Oliver says:

    Wings only create noticeable downforce once you reach a fairly high speed. I would imagine wings of this size probably have little to no effect on the ride in curves because they’re not going fast enough for them to make a meaningful amount of downforce. Frankly, I can’t imagine those wings are anywhere near big enough to combat the wheelies created by the torque. Quieting the air going in/around the fairings though; that I can see.

    I would have to argue, personally, that downforce is probably more or less worthless on a bike. First look at how big wings are on cars (like in F1). Then consider how far over a MotoGP rider leans going around a curve. Your wing then becomes very limited size wise on a bike; after all you can’t have that thing dragging the pavement. Where would even you put a wing on a bike to increase your speed around a curve if you were at full lean? Not to mention wings slow you down down the straight.

  8. BikePilot says:

    I like it!

    Aerodynamic downforce is very useful on a bike, just like on a car. The trouble is keeping the downforce, DOWNforce because as noted the force vector changes with the bike’s lean angle.

    I wonder if the racing regulations would allow for movable aerodynamic panels? If so, I think we will see before long deployable “wings” on the sides of the bikes that operate primarily when the bike is at a significant lean-angle.

    As for the wings, they could easily generate a few lbs of downforce at speed and positioned out front like that even say 10lbs could make a significant difference in keeping the front end plated. At the speeds the bike will reach they may well generate quite a lot more force than that I’d guess.

  9. The winglets on the Ducati are similar to what we’ve been using on the Fischer MRX

  10. Gildas says:

    After looking a them and had a nice long coffee (black, strong, one sugar) this is my two cent worth:

    It’s not a down force system… It’s a vortex splitter.

    The air moving down with the wheel hits air going backwards on the lip of the mud guard, this creates a vortex that hits the bike where the wing is.
    This vortex probably climbs into the low pressure zone behind the rider. This probably does no hinder the bike when going straight (even adds speed by lowering drag). But leaning over it probably has a moment of instability when compressed by the ground. The vortex probably switches going over then under the rider being first a “air cushion” then “ground effect” thus loading and unloading the front wheel = high speed unstability.

    Actually, making a serrated edge on the front mud guard would be more effective…

    In this age of super computers, modelling and calculated fluid dynamics, the punter sometimes forget that some aero problems cannot be modeled or the computer gets it plain wrong. Buffeting chief amongst them.

    How do i post a 2 cent picture of what should be done to that mudguard?


  11. Ralph says:

    It’s no good Jen… Jen talk to me.

    So much for Top Gun!

    The Yamaha YZR 500cc bikes had wings too in ’99.
    Didn’t help Gary McCoy btw. or was he traveling to much sideways?

  12. Shaswata Panja says:

    The authority on motorcycle downforce is Tony Foale As a lot of people sugggested you need movable aerodynamics please take a look at the second half of this article

  13. RT @Asphalt_Rubber #Ducati Desmosedici Gets Wings for Sachsenring – #motorcycle

  14. I picked up on these winglets too, Toby Moody told me they were not for downforce simply to reduce lift on the straights.

    I drew a quick pic to highlight the detail…

    and these pics to highlight the different approaches teams take to their fairings

  15. Thank you for the interesting story, even though it did take quite a long time to understand. (English is not my first tongue) Can I ask where you got your sources from? Many thanks!