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 MotoGP.com 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 Considering SuperSport Model

07/18/2011 @ 2:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Ducati Considering SuperSport Model Ducati Supersport Luca Bar Design girl 635x476

One of the cooler parts that comes from running Asphalt & Rubber is the feedback we get from our Bothan spy network that read the site. No sooner did we publish Luca Bar’s renders of his Ducati SuperSport concept, did we get tips that Ducati was actually currently considering such a model for its future model road map. There’s no doubt that the SS line had a cult following in its day, and the fact still remains that Ducati does not have a “tamer sport bike” in its line that would appeal to the veteran Ducatisti.

Sure, there’s the stripped-down 1098 superbike Streetfighter, but the streetfighter genre is a young man’s game, and the case can be made that an SS owner and a Streetfighter owner are two very different people. The same can be said for the Monster’s core constituency, which the SuperSport would likely share pieces with from the common parts bin. Ducati also has the Diavel and Multistrada 1200 as alternatives for the torture rack Superbike series, but again the issue is that the owners of those bikes are likely different buyers than the ones found in the SuperSport’s air-cooled sweet spot.

Likely to be based off the Monster’s two-valve air-cooled motor, we could see Ducati hot rodding the 100hp DesmoDue to a more stout spec…say 110hp or so, which thus also helps differentiate it from the Monster line, and emphasizing the sportiness of the bike. We doubt such a model will debut at EICMA this year, but we’ll be keeping our ears out as to whether this project gets some legs and enters the development stage.

Comment:

  1. Anon says:

    I’d be happy if they made a few more like the Paul Smart replica from a few years back

  2. Andrew says:

    They will have to get a move on, as the time of the air cooled twin is going to get quickly eclipsed by the new EU pollution regs in 2013.

  3. Ades says:

    I’d be happy to ride both those models in the pic…………..

  4. 1198freak says:

    I would love a bike like this, one with the motor and power delivery of a Hypermotard in a sportbike chassis, but not a WSBK level chassis like the 1198 and all the Jap literbikes. The closest thing they have now is the new Monster 1100 Evo, just take that bike and give it a small fairing and suspension upgrades, I would buy it…

    It probably wont happen as I guess that this engine is going to be phased out soon due to new emissions regs, but it would be nice.

  5. Bjorn says:

    The were a few hot-rods built with tuned belt-drive, air cooled motors slid into 916 chassis back in the day to get around the drawbacks of the very basic suspension of the Super Sport models.
    As a real world bike the Super Sport was a great unit with it’s light weight and gobs of torque. I’ve ridden belt-drive 900′s that on all but the fastest roads would out run a 4 valve in anything but the hands of an A grader. They were cheap to hot-rod too; flat slides, open up the top of the air box, a high flow filter element and a collector box modification was all it took.
    Bring on the new Super Sport.

  6. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: #Ducati Considering SuperSport Model – http://aspha.lt/p7 #motorcycle

  7. Alonzo says:

    Looks cool. I’ll keep my Diavel and ride her

  8. Tyler Sanborn says:

    I would consider the Hypermotard as a kick-ass “tamer” alternative to either the 1198 or the 848, no? It’s amazing on track & road, has race spec components, and weighs less than the rider the does (almost).

  9. Gary says:

    Ducati needs to continue production of the 2-valve air-cooled Super Sport series alongside the similarly constructed Monster line, to round-out their model offering, but they need to proceed with caution. I know I’m not alone in my opinion that the aesthetics of the Monster were ruined through its last major revision (not to mention that you can’t even see the motor anymore). The SS/Monster series’ should have more of the pure, flowing, purposeful styling that Ducati was known for. They can experiment with (or follow the crowd on) clownish designs and superfluous features on bikes like the Diavel and Multistrada all they want, but the company should never disassociate itself from its core strengths – a unique engineering approach, exhilarating performance, and design-work that draws universal admiration, not mockery. Ducati, if you’re listening, please do not make the same mistake you did with the post-1999 (Terblanche) Super Sport series!

  10. duxbros says:

    I’m with Gary. Ducatis used to scare potential buyers off with a reputation for questionable reliability and frequent maintenance. They’ve made vast improvements there but in the process compromised their other reputation–gorgeous design! It seems like they’ve chosen styling that has aggressive attitude over something that works aesthetically. At least the Superbike line still rocks. I’d buy a used S4RS or 888SPO over a new Monster without any hesitation.

  11. Johndo says:

    God that SuperSport model is sexy. The bike doesnt look too bad either.

  12. BikePilot says:

    Gary makes some good points. A 2 valve sporty-bike would be nice and the half-fairing suits it well. I suspect most street riders would be better off with the much easier to maintain, easy to use 2-valve motor anyway. Cost to produce the model should be minimal – same motor/frame as the Monsters, just bolt on a different tank and fairing, re-tune the suspension for the altered weight distribution and call it good.

  13. Jaybond says:

    It’s about time Ducati should bring back the Ducati SS line-up. Not everyone is a fan of streetfighter/naked style bikes. This should bring back the interest in the air-cooled & faired bikes, which also could serve as an entry-level superbikes.

  14. MikeD says:

    I like it…just don’t like the Desmo in it.

  15. Jesse says:

    I rode my buddy’s 900 SS a few years back and really didn’t feel it was tamed down much, or even that streetable at all. It had so much torque that the front tire was tough to keep down, and standing-turning starts (turning at stop signs) was difficult to keep the rear tire under my rear-end. I guess it’s not my kind of bike (I ride a z1000) but it felt like it would be way more at home on a track. . . way too twitchy and untamed around town. Maybe that’s just how they are? Perhaps his wasn’t stock? I thought it was though.

    Luckily Ducati bodywork isn’t any more expensive to pay for patch and paint than any other bike. Crazy riding thing. It was all grunt and midrange. Once it got out on the open road, it felt exhausted by 100-110. (Closed circuit course with professional rider of course.)

  16. Kanntet ihr schon das Supersports-Gerücht – oder kennt ihr wenigstens die Fahrerin? http://t.co/4JTuUKl

  17. john says:

    she’s my sister.