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.

Karel Abraham Releases Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Details: 999cc, 250hp, & 360 km/h Top Speed

01/20/2012 @ 6:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Karel Abraham Releases Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Details: 999cc, 250hp, & 360 km/h Top Speed Karel Abraham Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Valencia test 11 635x423

After testing for three days at Jerez with Carlos Checa and Franco Battaini, Ducati Corse may not be saying much about the new Ducati Desmosedici GP12, but that hasn’t stop Karel Abraham from releasing some details about the new Italian steed today. The “official” technical specifications of MotoGP race bikes are always a bit vague, and Ducati Corse has unsurprisingly stuck to that trend with the GP12. Stating horsepower in the 250hp range, 15hp more than what was quoted for the GP11, Ducati also lists a top speed of over 360 km/h, up from the GP11′s 340+ km/h quoted figure.

Perhaps more interesting than the power and top speed figures is the quoted displacement for Abraham’s GP12. With fuel restrictions not increasing with the maximum displacement allotment for 2012, and the maximum bore size set at 81mm for the new MotoGP era, Ducati in particular was rumored to be exploring a displacement figure in the 900cc range, but interestingly enough appears to be taking the GP12 up to the maximum cylinder volume. There is also of course some speculation that Ducati Corse could use a narrower V° angle, a change from the standard 90° V4 we’ve seen from the Italian brand.

Fortunately for Abraham, the return of the 1,000cc format means that his satellite team will start 2012 with more up-to-date equipment. Using the winged-Desmo last season, it was rumored that aside from Ducati’s persistence that all the bikes on the 2011 grid were designated as GP11 machines, the young Czech rider was in fact racing on a leftover GP10 (the GP10 had winglets attached to the fairings that most members in the paddock agree were used for aiding engine cooling, and not for extra downforce to prevent wheelies).

With MotoGP changing its format this season, most of the satellite teams will start the Championship with bikes that are closer in spec to the factory units, though factory teams will surely be updating their designs throughout the season, while the satellite teams will not. However, there is reason to believe that the satellite Ducatis will run bikes similar in spec to the GP0 that was ridden in the post-season test at Valencia. If this is the case, the information we’re seeing here from Abraham could very well apply only to the satellite Ducati teams, while the factory GP12 could be an entirely new creature.

“I tried the new bike during the post-season test in Valencia, but the first real test will be held at Sepang in Malaysia at the end of January,” Karel Abraham. “We need to be well prepared for the first test because we want to try a lot of things. We also must work on the set-up of the bike because the 2012 MotoGP season kicks off in Qatar on April 8th.”

Photos of Karel Abraham Testing the Ducati Desmosedici GP0 at the Valencia Test:

Comparison of Ducati Desmosedici GP12 and GP11:

Ducati Desmosedici GP12Ducati Desmosedici GP11
Weight: dry 155 kgWeight: dry 150 kg
Max. speed: >360 km/hMax. speed: >340 km/h
From 0 to 100 km/h: 2,6 sFrom 0 to 100 km/h: 2,7 s
Power: 250 HPPower: 235 HP

Technical data of Ducati Desmosedici GP12

Water-cooled four-stroke engine with four cylinders and four valves per cylinder which are controlled by desmodromic valve system. The cylinders are formed in an angle of 90 degrees.
Capacity:999 ccm
Electronics:Magneti Marelli
Six-speed, with the possibility to adjust the ratio of degrees.
Clutch:Dry, multi-plate
Ducati aluminium frame
Fronf fork:Öhlins with a diameter of 48 mm
Rear suspension:Öhlins
Brakes:front four-piston Brembo calipers, 2x disc Brembo with a diameter of 320 mm, rear two-piston Brembo caliper, Brembo steel disc
Discs:16,5″ magnesium Marchesini
Fuel tank:21 litres

Source: Cardion AB


  1. MikeD says:

    Sweet Baby Jebus…+360kph…+250hp…and im sure they are playing stupid SAFE with those numbers…im sure they are squeezing more than that.
    Kudos to Duc for going the FULL LITRE WAY…screw 900cc something.

    Now let’s see how it all WORKS togheter…if it does.

  2. Bryan says:

    Why in the World is Karel Abraham’s team saying all of this when the factory team is being very quiet? The Cardion AB team is one of the back of the pack teams and will probably be one of the first to be beaten by one of the faster CRT’s by the end of the season. An increase of 15 hp just means that Karel will crash that much more.

  3. Beary says:

    Lets see if Karel can keep this one on track and out of the kitty litter. Last years Rookie show was kind of lame.

  4. Karel Abraham Releases Ducati Desmosedici GP12 Details: 250hp & 360 km/h Top Speed – #motorcycle

  5. 76 says:

    ?? Abraham did a pretty dam good job for his rookie year in MotoGP, he held his own and beat Cap, Elias & De Puniet. Was within 10pts of Crutchlow and 3 of Bautista, and all of it on a fickle Duc. Lame? I honestly think he did a fine job with his experience and machine.

  6. MikeD says:


    Thanks for saving me typing something alike at the above. I think the kid did good. Not GREAT…but still good.

  7. beary says:

    Beating cap, Elias, and Randy, you call that a good job, hahaha

  8. 76 says:

    You obviously have a distorted understanding of the level of riders in Motogp. It takes champions from across the world and spits them out without batting an eye, anyone who can handle that level of riding deserves quite a bit more respect than you seem to give.

  9. wayne says:

    @76: +1
    @Beary: let us know when you get your CRT or satellite time ride and then, perhaps, your comments won’t seem quite so trite.

  10. Beary says:

    Bollocks….There’s 100 other riders much more harder working and more deserving th6an Karel, so Dad bought him a ride in the show and he battles the much more worthy but injury plagued Cal for rookie of the year, so sorry, but it’s hardly stirring stuff. Get over yourselves, not everyone who rides in motogp deserves to be there. Some get lucky, some work hard for many years, and some get an easy in.

    6 years, 109 races, 2 podiums and one win. Oh yeh, he deserves to be in Motogp.

  11. Mustang says:

    Yeh Beary Boo, as the other guys say let us know when you get your ride and how well you do…. oh yeah there it just went, big mouth WTF do you know???

  12. 76 says:

    I think your missing the point, he is in motogp, and has proven he can hold his own among the best in the world. You just have a problem with how he got there it seems. If you say hes not worthy somehow well then I guess half the field should leave the series according to you. Crutchlow was on a bike that Spies took to 6th in points in 2010? You have to go back to 2007 until you find a Ducati Sat team cracking the top 10 (Barros in 10th). The Ducati has been a tall order for any rider let alone a rookie, Abraham had just as many finished races as Crutchlow with just as many bins and finished 6 points behind him? Crutchlow should leave too? No you say cause he doesnt have a rich dad? Abraham finished 10th his rookie year in Moto2, 1 pt behind 9th Bradl the 2011 Moto2 Champ.

    I love how you make riding in moto2 staying in the top10 8 times, the box twice, and winning 1 is some sort of cakewalk let alone his accomplishments his first year in GP on the Duc. Did he take the world by storm, no, who did on the Duc? Stoner on a factory in 2007? So hes not Stoner, point taken.

  13. JoeD says:

    Nice bike and I wish them well. Except for the Norton, my other 3 are Italian and we know how I feel about Asian bikes in general. One thing that has always bothered me is how all manufacturers quote horsepower numbers when engines DO NOT make it. The only power produced is torque with HP being the “rate at which work is performed”. 50lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm is less work than 50 at 10000 but the two engines produce the same amount of torque or power. Of course we all know why HP is used- It is a bigger number and sounds better on the sales floor. (Mine is Bigger Than Yours mentality) Perhaps HD is the only one being truthfull when they do not publish HP info. (Oops- ours is smaller) A 1.5 litre V2 with 95 lb-ft and only 65 hp because the redline is a lowly 5000 rpm. The HD will launch easier and harder than a litrebike but runs out of puff early. Given enough gears, a washing machine motor could pull a train because of torque, not horsepower. Cheers.

  14. Spamtasticus says:

    “bollocks” + Kare Bashing = Crutchlow fanboy.

    Dont put the kid down just because his old man worked his ass off, made good business decisions, uses his resources to further his kid’s career, and England cant seem to catch a break in MotoGP.

  15. 1198freak says:

    Any rider that is even somewhat competitive in MotoGP is a world class rider, one of the best in the world, period. Not everyone can be Stoner or Rossi, and while Abraham is not as good as those guys are he is still a world class rider.

  16. Minibull says:

    You notice what anyone who isnt riding MotoGP says when they do get a chance? Hayes, Checa, Bostrom, etc, etc. All are world class riders, some are champions in their current series. And yet the shift to GP is just such a huge one, that they cant keep pace. The tyres, arm pump, blah blah.
    He has proven himself to the naysayers. Good on him and hope he keeps going

  17. Damo says:


    I was seriously about to type the same exact thing. We all know Karel is a rich boy, but he did nothing but impress me last season.

    Oh well, haters gonna hate.

  18. MikeD says:

    Has anyone else heard “the other guy’s rumors” of Karel’s bike not being the SAME end product that Rossi and Hayden will be riding ? What do u think ? Could it possibly be true ?

  19. It’s an almost certainty that the satellite Ducatis will be a GP0 chassis, while Ducati Corse will run its GP90% version that will debut in Sepang.

  20. Beary says:

    @Mustang…take your text speak back to kindergarten.

    Karel hasn’t proven himself at all. He’s never threatened a podium and his record speaks for itself. Highly amusing though when an opinion backed up by years of stats is debunked by Karel fanboys who think youth and ambition and giving it a red hot go is enough. Sorry, but it isn’t.

    @spamtasticus england can’t catch a break in motogp – hilarious! england can’t catch a break in most sports on the world stage. I mean seriously…is there anything England is good at any more ? Darts, anyone ?

  21. Rich says:

    If any of you naysayers have actually seen in person not on the tube a MotoGP race, stood in a corner and watched these guys ride these beasts your opinion would be very different, these guys are aliens and Karel is one of them!