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.

Up-Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13

04/25/2013 @ 12:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler40 COMMENTS

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 15 635x423

It’s hard to get up-close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13. For starters, she’s always traveling somewhere — a slave to her jet-setter lifestyle. And, when she finally touches down long enough for you to get a glimpse of her, she’s surrounded by men in red uniforms, who whisk her out of sight almost immediately.

Occasionally though, she gets all buttoned-up and makes a public appearance, and if you have the right credentials (not an easy feat in its own right), you can elbow your way in for a look at her scarlet glow.

Dodging other bikes, riders, and mechanics in the hot pit lane of the Grand Prix of the Americas, we had such a brief opportunity, and thus bring you our spoils from the moment. We have been up-close with a number of race bikesexotics, and even exotic race bikes, but the Desmosedici GP13 stands out even in that prestigious crowd.

A rolling piece of unobtanium, with the very best of what is available in the two-wheeled world gring its chassis, and yet Ducati’s four MotoGP riders struggle mightily with the machine. Maybe if we look closely enough, we can figure out why. Twenty-two 2000px-wide photos are waiting for you after the jump.

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 01 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 02 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 03 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 04 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 05 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 07 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 10 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 12 635x421

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 18 635x423

Up Close with the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 2013 Desmosedici GP13 COTA MotoGP 22 635x423

Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. AC says:

    Not to sound like an ass, but I’ll be more impressed with the Desmo when the bike actually starts posting good results!

  2. Unknown says:

    Awesome high-res pics.

    Winner or not, I just appreciate the craftmanship and engineering that goes into all these bikes.

  3. Keet says:

    Too late AC, you just did! its like saying, “i’m not racist, but…” or “i’m not trying to be a jerk, but…”, it usually means you are. ;)

  4. Jaxxx says:

    Thank you for these! Amazing pics…now if they can just get that POS podium worthy!

  5. Ted says:

    The new nose looks like a voodoo shrunken head

  6. John D says:

    A beautiful machine, but then all of the GP bikes (including CRT’s are). Problem is that a ton of dough is being spent to ride around with those CRT machines. Making small but steady progress is probably the way to go. Patience, however, is not something the fans seem to have much left of at this point. It would certainly be ironic to have Suzuki return and stomp Ducati.

  7. L2C says:

    Whenever I look at the Desmo, the look of the thing always makes me think that something is not quite right with it. To my eyes, it looks misshapen, with with odd forms that seem to exist for no apparent reason, meshed with seemingly apparent odd weight distribution choices. I don’t actually know how weight is distributed on the bike, but it just basically seems too heavy here, too light there, etc. Is it going to tip over or flip over or what? The bike doesn’t seem to be properly balanced. I have yet to see any rider look good on it. Even Stoner seemed to be awkwardly perched atop it, instead of a natural extension of it. The bike stands off on its own and any rider lucky/unlucky enough to ride it just seems to be naturally at odds with it. It’s strange because I don’t notice this effect with any other bike on the MotoGP grid. The effect is so bad, my mind won’t let me clearly imagine Marc Márquez riding it. It just doesn’t work. Nothing natural or sublimely poetic about the pairing, at all. In my mind, that is.

  8. L2C says:

    It’s some kind of ugly beauty.

  9. Stanford Crane says:

    They should keep the plastic and secretly put a customer Honda under it. Sorry Nick, Ben, Dovi and Andre, you are not worthy.

  10. orang keren says:

    when will they make it into production bike?

  11. Dc4go says:

    Beautiful bike just goes to show .5 a second is the difference from a winner to 7th. place.. Hopefully the “PROTOTYPE BIKE” has the necessary changes to make the bike a consistant podium contender..

  12. MD says:

    So what is a Manov?

  13. jet says:

    What a massive Gorgeous piece of art,i’m proud to own one,and yes AC your an ass,no dought…Great pics you guys,just some awesome work,THANK YOU …

  14. stevenk27 says:

    Awesome pics and a truly beautiful bike.
    Now all it needs is a #1 on the front and a certain Australian prodigy and it will be back on the podium in no time. Audi have the money, lets hope they can lure him back.

  15. i hope the gp13 will competitive really soon.

  16. pokdoloh says:

    i think only stoner can bring this bike to the podium…he still young, vigorous, more power than marquez..

    maybe ducati should persuade him to ride this bike again..

  17. chris says:

    gp13 = gp12. hope someone’s there to take 22 hi-res pics of a bike we haven’t seen from ducati. pirro’s bike at jerez.

  18. Aestheticist says:

    AC is right. This is a RACING motorcycle, not a showbike. Its purpose is win races not to be some artistic object.

    It has been an utter & complete failure ruining the careers of, I believe 24(?) riders at last count. To mitigate this failure by praising its beauty shows a fundamental misunderstanding of racing motorcycles.

    Perhaps they should enter it in the next Rat’s Hole show..or ask Paul Jr. for a consult…sheesh

  19. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    The bike is beautiful. Is there anything in the works to make it competitive?

    If I understand correctly, the bike is flawed because there’s too little front end feel upon corner entry, riders can’t find the limit and upon corner exit it spins the rear tire and either sends the rider on too wide a trajectory or requires the rider to slow down in order to kill excessive wheel spin.

    …pretty certain nobody here can find the solution, but that nobody at Ducati has a clue is really troubling to me.

  20. Westward says:

    I would be surprised if Suzuki had a machine that was competitive at all. But, I would definitely welcome it. Crutchlow and Depuniet would be my top choices to pilot them if and when they do return….

    As a Ducatisti, I still have confidence that the D16 will get evolve to be a threat in the near future…

    The bike is still amazing …

  21. Doug says:

    @Keet – I wouldn’t go that far. It’s true. He didn’t say he was not impressed. You’d be more impressed with these pics if the bike was winning

  22. Mitch says:

    Is the frame still from FTR or by Ducati themselves at this point? Is there any potential in going back to a a trellis frame or is that crazy?

  23. jzj says:

    Here’s just a thinking-out-loud question after some basic premises:
    1. Everyone is using the same tires;
    2. Let’s assume that the Ducati can make adequate power compared to Honda and Yamaha;
    3. Let’s assume that the Ducati has the same quality brake pieces as Honda and Yamaha;
    3. Let’s assume that the Ducati has the same quality suspension pieces as Honda and Yamaha;
    4. Let’s assume that there is no inherent reason Ducati can’t fool around with all sorts of different head angles and swing arm lengths and weight distribution and rider positioning and whatever else;
    5. Let’s assume that different riders have tried various different riding styles to get around the tracks.

    What other variables exist, other than chassis rigidity, traction electronics, and (to a lesser degree) aerodynamics?

  24. Jack says:

    @jzj – when dealing with the forces of 200+ mph & 60-degree leaning angles, chassis rigidity & electronics are huge realms on their own. Most importantly, you don’t just develop these massively complicated separate realms in silos. Frequenly, The whole deal is affected as each is changed.

  25. R1rider says:

    Is that mclaren box on the fork leg a gyroscope or accelerometer?

  26. SBPilot says:

    @R1Rider – Yes, Mclaren supplies teams with electronics in many race series. In fact, they even supply NASCAR with their spec ECU.

  27. meatspin says:

    JB, did you take these pics? You did a good job. I like how big and in your face they are. That way I can study all the gory details.

  28. meatspin, yeah they’re my work. Dorna is really crackin’ down on web-access to MotoGP, but I’ve managed to get an orange pass (pit lane & track access) for the races this season.

  29. smoke says:

    From a cycleworld list of quotes:

    Bernhard Gobmeier, general manager, Ducati Corse: “The information that I have gotten from Bridgestone is that they don’t change anything. That means we have to adapt the bike to this specific tire configuration, which is very hard. Normally, the issues that we have, Bridgestone could solve within two weeks—easily, with no problem. But they won’t change anything. We are spending one hundred times the money, one thousand times the money, in order to fix what they could fix at no cost in two weeks.”

    The Attack bike looks sexy!

  30. LoneStarBR says:

    I was lucky enough to see it up close in Austin. Watched them all weekend, saw the speed trap and lap times posted in the paddock. It remains the most bizarre thing to me that Ducati cannot fix this – everyone has the same tire issue? I am also a bit shocked that Dovi is faster than Nicky. When Stoner rode the bike – he was off of it a lot, Nicky is very still on the bike – almost no body movement – I don’t think that works. The pictures in this article show the workmanship of this beauty. The is a looker but sadly, all show and no go. I still love my MultiStrada!!!
    Nice article.

  31. 2ndclass says:


    On the Eurosport commentary, Neil Spalding made a comment related to Dovi having a (relatively) better time than Nicky on the Desmo. Apparently Dovi’s preferred seating position on the bike, which IIRC he said was to sit noticeably towards the back of a bike (something he’s done most of his career), is, according to Spalding, helping to somewhat combat the Desmo’s natural weight distribution issues. Just goes to show how such a little thing can have a big difference when you’re dealing tenths and hundredths of a second in top level motorsport.

  32. DC4GO says:

    Bike doesn’t lack power strongest motor in GP.. It does suffer from aggressive power delivery and handling issues when the bike is on it’s side.. Pirro’s lab bike looks real interesting looks shorter and the mufler “Rossi ” requested is finally gone!

  33. A collection of very expensive parts, that don’t really work all that well. This bike would be competitive… 3 to 5 years ago. I remember when Ducati was on the right track in Moto GP some years back, and then they started screwing around with their swingarm design, and it seemed to go south very quickly after that.

    Oh and fuck Bridgestone tires, there’s a company I wouldn’t trust as far as I could throw them. Battleax have been garbage forever, cool name crap rubber. They would get it right once in a great while, and then go back to being crap street and track tires. It seems their Moto GP bid is an effort to resurrect the Battleax name, good luck with that. I wonder how much quicker every bike on the track would be if they were on good Dunlops. When suspension tuners have to make changes to accommodate the narrow performance envelope of the tires, that says everything. There doesn’t even seem to be a difference between the soft and hard compounds, particularly in the early part of a race when the bikes are heavier, that’s not right. Softer tires should have more grip, so why don’t these Bridgestones, because they suck.

    I used to put Bridgestone on my cars, but that was back in the 80s, then they absorbed Firestone and the tires turned to crap, I certainly wouldn’t buy them today.

    Every Bridgestone Battleax tire that came as original equipment on bikes I bought was scary, in the dry they were squirrely as hell, in the wet they were dangerous. Not something you would ever want to stake your life on, and every time you get on a motorcycle you are staking your life on the tires. Moto GP is certainly a different world than DOT approved tires, but the principle is the same, tires either inspire confidence, or they don’t. Every Bridgestone tire I’ve ever tried made me nervous and hesitant, and that’s how Nicky Hayden looks these days, like he doesn’t believe in the bike or the tires.

    We all know Hayden can ride and win, at least on tracks he’s real familiar with, at least when he was riding a Honda, so it’s definitely the bike that is the problem. Maybe the Audi people will make the necessary changes needed to get that bike working, perhaps starting with an engine redesign, but if the Lamborghini people are calling the shots I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  34. Here’s Some quotes from the Cycle World list of quotes that Smoke posted a link to;

    [Blake Young, two-time AMA SuperBike runner-up, Attack Performance Racing: “One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn riding this bike is the Bridgestone tires. They are so different than anything I’ve ever used before. You can’t really mess around with them. If you stay after them, it’ll keep the heat in them. If you lose it, you can’t get it back.”]

    Pretty much says it all, nothing worse than having lousy tires on a great bike. They are your direct connection with the road, if they don’t work properly – provide the necessary compliance, predictability and feedback – the bike doesn’t work either.

    [Marc Marquez, 125cc and Moto2 world champion, Repsol Honda Team: “In the race, I had some front problems that I didn’t have earlier in the weekend. Every lap was worse. Many times, I was close to a crash, especially on the right side. It was a little bit scary.”]

    The issue Marquez was having is certainly a tire issue as well, no wonder he went down during practice.


  35. Erik says:

    I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, MotoGP needs a tire war. Bring a European tire manufacturer back into the sport and you would see Ducati make a leap forward. The bike has flaws, certainly, but does anyone really believe Honda and Yamaha are not going to get preferential treatment from the BS R&D department? Having a single tire manufacturer saves nothing, the money is just being spent elsewhere. True prototypes should exist as uniquely developed machines from the ground up. Right now, anyone not riding Japanese machinery has to build around a tire being tweaked and developed for the Japanese factory teams. I still believe Ducati’s engineers paired with Audi’s management and finances should and will find a way…just one more obstacle to overcome.

  36. Erik says:

    p.s. Gorgeous pics, thanks for taking the opportunity and for sharing! There are still some Ducatisti that love the GP team! :-)

  37. Westward says:

    “We all know Hayden can ride and win, at least on tracks he’s real familiar with, at least when he was riding a Honda, so it’s definitely the bike that is the problem” — Aaron B Brown.

    Really? All Hayden’s years at Honda, he managed 3 wins. Since then, the only pilots on a Honda factory bike win less is Dovi and Marquez, and Marquez just notched his first on his second outing…

    I agree with Erik, when Bridgestone primarily made tyres for Ducati, Capirossi and Stoner won races. Even the Pramac bikes made the Rostrum. Once they started to cater to the Japanese bikes, the Ducati struggled more and more…

    Bridgestone should be able to make tyres suited for Ducati as well as the Japanese Bikes. Or let Michelin, Perelli, or Dunlops play too…

  38. MCRyerson says:

    How long have y’all been following MotoGP? You do know that Bridgestone got the job for supplying rubber after it wiped the floor with Michelin as well as Dunlop who to be honest, were completely out of their depth in MotoGP.

    The new boss of Ducati’s comments sounds like desperation. It’s a sole supply deal, like so many other racing series so how can he expect special tyres?

    All of you quoting that piece from CW should also quote KC’s comments about how good Bridgestone race tyres are, if anyone should know it should be old Kevin.

    There is no other company better suited to supply tires for MotoGP, Michelin couldn’t compete with Bridgestone, Dunlop certainly couldnt and also had problems with tire wear at Austin and Pirelli? Look at how many races they had to shorten recently because their hoops wouldn’t last.

    Talk about uninformed opinion!

  39. MCRyerson says:

    I’m just about to head to the airport and before I do I just wanted to reply to people talking about Bridgestones favourin some teams over others.

    I had the privilege of doing a paddock tour at Indy a few years back, right in the middle of all the success Ducati was having. I talked to a guy at Kawasaki about the tire situation and he said they were very happy with the Japanese and you knew exactly where you stood with Bridgestone, which was different to the Europeans. With the other tire companies, no one knew which riders was running what, it was all secretive but with Bridgestone, everything was open. They treated it like any other business deal and this is probably another reason why they got the job. How many stories did you hear about Michelin giving a rider a special tire and refusin to give it to other guys – thats favourtism amigos!

    Also, I’ve run Bridgestones from time to time on my track and road bikes and they’ve always been good. In fact all tires made in the last 5 years are good, with some cheap expections. People saying ‘Tyre brand X’ is dangerous should be ignored, they are obvious trolls.

    I also ran Bridgestone RE71′s on my 911 back in the day (before the ball and chain took my $$$) and I’ve yet to find a better sportscar tire yet. And that was way before Bridgestone got into Formule 1.

  40. Westward says:

    I ride with Bridgestone BT – 16, 20, 21, or 23′s on my Ducati depending on which has a better sale price and suits my mood at the time of purchase.

    As for Bridgestones dominance in MotoGP starting in 2007, this is true. But I hardly think other manufacturers are just lying down and going to close shop because Bridgestone rules MotoGP. We don’t know what others could produce, because of the single tyre rule. Seven year old data is hardly reliable, as to the possibilities of today…