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 Willing to Stop WSBK Efforts to Get Rossi?

06/25/2010 @ 6:13 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Ducati Willing to Stop WSBK Efforts to Get Rossi? ducati 1198r corse special edition 1 560x332

This Friday silly season rumor was too good not to publish, but according to GPone (usually a very reliable site) Ducat is at least pondering closing its World Superbike effort if it means securing Valentino Rossi on a MotoGP ride. It sounds like the work of fiction, but let’s take a minute, and forget the fact that Ducati rests its racing laurels on WSBK victories, and examine this rumor a bit further before we dismiss it.

In World Superbike, Ducati is facing two major issues: the un-competitive nature of its team, and rules that favor in-line fours in WSBK racing. The first issue likely stems from the dismissal of Davide Tardozzi, whose talents are noticeably now seen at BMW, while the second issue stems from Ducati’s ties to the v-twin power plant, and the current drafting of WSBK regulations.

With the absence of Tardozzi there is a serious lack of leadership at Xerox Ducati, and the team is obviously going through teething issues as it re-organizes itself without him present. There is little question that Haga and Fabrizio are capable of winning races, if not the Championship, but at the pinnacle of superbike racing, it’s not just enough to have good riders, the support team must be there as well.

Another element to that puzzle is the racing platform, i.e. the motorcycle. Ducati has already successfully lobbied for weight concessions this season, and will likely see more concessions from the series as WSBK wears on. But the fundamental problem, running a v-twin motor, is almost surely not going to be remedied. For Ducati, racing with v-twin is tangibly linked to the brand identity, and it’s unlikely that we’ll see the company start producing in-line fours anytime soon (you might be able to hold your breath for a V4 though, but we wouldn’t suggest trying).

However as we’ve seen in the results, the in-line fours are favored very well, and have become the paddock favorite for some time now. Unless World Superbike returns to the v-twin favoring rules that brought about the TLR and RC-51 Japanese twins, its unlikely that Ducati will have a sure-footing in the series.

Neither of the issues are easy to fix, and will likely take additional seasons to rectify, meanwhile Ducati has an unparalleled opportunity to put the nine-time World Champion on its GP11 race bike. Making things more enticing is the presumption that focusing all its efforts on MotoGP, Ducati would not only be able to put more resources behind developing the Desmosedici and winning races with Rossi on-board, but also marketing itself strongly around these efforts…in perhaps a manner that makes the Ducatisti forget the Italian company has made an exodus from a series it helped build.

With the current WSBK team in shambles, and Ducati’s star MotoGP rider likely to jump ship, this is a definitive moment for the Bologna brand, and it’s not completely out of the question to see them make some decisive actions in the near future. Whether those actions would be as drastic as trading WSBK for MotoGP is up to speculation at this point, but if GPone is correct, Ducati is at least contemplating that very action.

Source: GPone


  1. doug says:

    I love GP racing, but WSBK is 100 times more exciting. May God help Ducati if it pulls the plug on WSBK racing. In my humble opinion, WSBK made and makes Ducati what it is, not Moto GP.

  2. scott says:

    WSBK is what I prefer, its what the public can relate to in terms of riding the product they see on the track. I would much rather Ducati consentrate their efforts on all of their WSBK riders, and teams that choose Ducati as their ride.

  3. Sean Mitchell says:

    Agreed. MotoGP isn’t linked to production bikes like SBK is. This would be a huge mistake. To turn their backs on the better racing series, which put them on the map, just to get one rider is insane. I’ve never liked Rossi, and this makes me like him even less. How many people would lose jobs just to get that one rider? WSBK is where companies should be putting their money. We don’t need MotoGP. It’s more expensive, less exciting, and barely linked to customer machines. I say scrap MotoGP.

  4. Skip says:

    I have never liked v-twin motors and maybe Ducati should look at a V-4 or inline 4. I think a major reason for the poor sales of Ducati is the problematic v-twin motor. Ducati is like Harley Davidson in many ways as far a being married to the v-twin.

  5. Joe Silverio says:

    I think it’s premature for Ducati to make any decisions until they get consistent riders first. Bayliss testing with Haga and Fabrizzio didn’t help at all since Troy was riding circles around the two after being retired for over a year. The Ducks are special bikes that require special riders and Polen, Foggy and Bayliss are a very rare and elite bunch of jockeys able to harness the Italian Stallion.

    Ducati’s Moto GP squad is only in its infancy stages compared to the Japanese manufacturers. With that said it’s still a large feat to win a title in the 4th year of its return to the premier class with a rookie Stoner at the helm (Krapasaki and Suzucrap haven’t even come close). Acquiring Rossi ( I am a Rossi fan ) may be good now since Rossi is an icon worldwide, but may backfire down the road. I seriously doubt Vale can win the title back in 2011 with the displacement going back to 990cc but then again he won it on his first year with Yamaha in 2004. The competion is stiffer this time around with all the talented riders going after Rossi and his throne. You have Lorenzo mimicking Vale’s celebrations, Simoncelli trying to look like Rossi and Spies saying he’s not affected by Rossi’s mind games.

    One things for sure, economic downturn and all sure doesn’t affect the abundance of hearsay,gossip and flat out creative imagination in our two wheeled world.

  6. scott says:

    Skippy, is that what they call you? the twins and the ducati bashing have nothing to do with the topic on hand. Do triples intrest you at all? We can let Triumph in and all meet in the middle with trips!

  7. Ducati Willing to Stop WSBK Efforts to Get Rossi? – #motorcycle

  8. RT @Asphalt_Rubber #Ducati Willing to Stop WSBK Efforts to Get Rossi? – #motorcycle

  9. aarwar says:

    why not just let the ducati bikes run 1400cc motors? I mean, seriously… what’s with these tiny motors manufacturers are forced to run? if things go too much in favour of the twins again, the fours can always be boosted to 1100 or 1200cc to even things up again.

    sarcasm aside, ducati has a very good 4cyl streetbike already. just restart D16 production if fours have it too easy!

  10. aarwar says:

    ducati did (kinda) make an inline 4. in the 90′s parent company cagiva thought it was the way to go. they even put some ferrari formula 1 tech into the design to make it competitive. when money got tight and cagiva needed to raise some cash to both stay stay alive and continue development of the 4cyl, the ducati brand was sold. the engineering of the 4cyl ducati was retained and when it went into production was badged as a mv agusta.

    …I think. maybe my memory is off, but I’m positive the MV F4 started life as a ducati project. I ‘m also pretty sure there were a few inline 4 prototypes in the 60′s when ducati was looking at designing a grand prix bike.

  11. Sean says:

    Im not sure that i believe this argument that the rules in WSBK favour the inline 4s. The results are more a reflection of the failure of the factory team. Checa’s results in a privateer team suggest the Ducati is very competitive. The fact that Ducatis arent winning half of the races doesnt mean the rules favour the inline 4s.

  12. Dr. Gellar says:

    I agree with Sean. If you check qualifying so far for the Misano WSBK round, you’ll see the fours and twins are mixed pretty well throughout the grid. The current rules for WSBK are not four-cylinder biased at all. It’s just that the fours are all more or less catching up to the Ducatis in terms of performance, and as Sean states…the factory Ducati team doesn’t have their s#&t together this season. Besides, it is rather refreshing to see other brands at the top of the points, both in rider and manufacturer rankings.

    If what this article mentions is true, maybe Ducati feels it can still have a presence in WSBK through a very well supported privateer team, such as the Althea squad, while it puts all it’s eggs into the MotoGP basket. Carlos Checa has certainly been very competitive on non-factory equipment.

    Ducati is definitely struggling in WSBK this season, and not just from a factory team perspective. Checa, despite having a great season, lost two sure victories at Miller due to mechanical problems, and Jakub Smrz’s Pata-sponsored team is considering a switch to BMW. Neither of those issues look good for Ducati on the WSBK front.

  13. Jake22 says:

    This is typical. If the factory Ducati team struggles the rules need to be changed because they are unfair. I really would hope Ducati pulled the plug on their WSBK dept because then I wouldn’t have to listen to cry all the time when they are getting beat.

    funny how these unfair rules allow the private Ducati teams to out pace and run with the 4s. If Checa’s team could keep his bike running or SMRZ could find race consistancy there would be more Ducati wins these season.

    I guess since they haven’t won or podiumed in MotoGP that means those rules are stacked against them also?

  14. Grimmy says:

    I have to agree with both Dr. Gellar and Jake22. Also maybe it is time for some serious development by Ducati. Look at the Aprilia, leaving the V-twin format and developed a V-4 which was pretty much a competitive bike straight from the first meeting.
    I think if Ducati pulled out of WSBK it would do more damage than good, the link between the product they sell and what they see racing on the television is gone. I lost all interest in Ducati in the MotoGP after Stoners little after race performance. He got back everything he gave to Rossi and he was just out ridden on the day. Here is one for you, Max is doing a brilliant job this year, what about putting Rossi on the RSV4 next year!