Number Crunching: How Much Of A Factor Is Weight In MotoGP?

The debate has been rumbling under the surface for some time, but at Jerez it finally burst to the surface. It emerged that Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi had submitted an informal proposal to the Safety Commission to examine having a combined minimum weight for both bike and rider in MotoGP, just as there currently is in the 125cc class. Their argument was that lighter riders had an unfair advantage, and that by setting a minimum weight, the larger riders would have a better chance of competing.

The main advantage, it was said, was one of fuel consumption, especially since the introduction of the 800cc bikes, which also saw the fuel limit reduced to just 21 liters. Nicky Hayden related that while he was at Honda, his was forced to run a much leaner setup than his erstwhile teammate, Dani Pedrosa. Rossi agreed with Hayden's assessment, but admitted that taller riders did have more leverage over the machines. 

On the other side of the argument, Dani Pedrosa dismissed it altogether, saying this debate had dogged him since he had entered the class. He pointed out that when he first switched to MotoGP, many fans and journalists had said he would never be able to manage the heavier and more powerful machines. Now he was winning regularly, the arguments had been turned on their head, and what was previously flagged as a weakness was now being hailed as an unfair advantage. Pedrosa put the complaints down to the universal human mistake, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. If Simoncelli and Rossi thought that Pedrosa had an advantage, he said, "they should try being small."

The debate made us curious, and thanks to some solid legwork from a loyal forum visitor, it is possible to test the hypothesis that smaller and lighter riders have an unfair advantage over taller and heavier ones by examining the weights and heights of all of the current riders in the MotoGP class, and comparing them to their results. Below is a table containing all of the weights and heights (as listed on the official MotoGP.com website) of all of the current MotoGP riders, along with Chris Vermeulen, as the only other rider to have won an 800cc MotoGP race. The table shows the average height (171.7 centimeters) and average weight (62.6 kilograms) for all of the riders currently in the class (plus Vermeulen), as well as the deviation above or below the mean for each rider, and the standard deviation (SD) for both height and weight.

SD Deviation Weight (Kg) Rider   Rider Height (cm) Deviation SD
1.40 9.4 72 Simoncelli 1 Simoncelli 183 11.3 1.58
1.40 9.4 72 Abraham 2 Rossi 182 10.3 1.44
1.25 8.4 71 Spies 3 Abraham 181 9.3 1.30
0.95 6.4 69 Hayden 4 Spies 180 8.3 1.16
0.66 4.4 67 Rossi 5 Edwards 179 7.3 1.02
0.51 3.4 66 Crutchlow 6 Hayden 173 1.3 0.18
0.51 3.4 66 Edwards 7 Lorenzo 172 0.3 0.04
0.36 2.4 65 Lorenzo 8 Stoner 171 -0.7 -0.10
-0.08 -0.6 62 de Puniet 9 Crutchlow 171 -0.7 -0.10
-0.53 -3.6 59 Bautista 10 de Puniet 169 -2.7 -0.38
-0.53 -3.6 59 Capirossi 11 Barbera 168 -3.7 -0.52
-0.67 -4.6 58 Stoner 12 Bautista 167 -4.7 -0.66
-0.82 -5.6 57 Aoyama 13 Dovizioso 165 -6.7 -0.94
-0.82 -5.6 57 Elias 14 Aoyama 165 -6.7 -0.94
-1.27 -8.6 54 Dovizioso 15 Capirossi 165 -6.7 -0.94
-1.41 -9.6 53 Barbera 16 Elias 163 -8.7 -1.22
-1.71 -11.6 51 Pedrosa 17 Pedrosa 160 -11.7 -1.64
0.81 5.4 68 Vermeulen   Vermeulen 177 5.3 0.74
Mean Weight 62.6     Mean Height 171.7  
Standard Deviation (kg) 6.8     Standard Deviation (cm) 7.1  

So given the weights and heights, we can calculate whether the number of victories bears out the hypothesis that lighter riders are at an advantage over the heavier riders. If lighter riders have a significant advantage, then surely they would have more victories than the heavier riders? And given the claim that the effect has been magnified by the 800cc machines and their frugal fuel limits, there should be a clear pattern to the results during the 800cc era.

Based on the table above, we can divide the riders who have won a MotoGP race into two groups: those who are heavier than the average of 62.6 kg, and those who are lighter. Just 7 riders have won a MotoGP race since the class moved to the 800cc formula, from a total of 73 races held. Four riders have taken victory who fall into the "light" category: Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Loris Capirossi and Andrea Dovizioso; while three riders from the "heavy" have won races: Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Chris Vermeulen.

Adding the numbers of victories to the rider names gives us the following table:

"Light" riders Victories "Heavy" riders Victories
Casey Stoner 24 Chris Vermeulen 1
Loris Capirossi 1 Valentino Rossi 21
Dani Pedrosa 10 Jorge Lorenzo 15
Andrea Dovizioso 1    
Total: 36   37

It would appear, then, that the two categories of riders are evenly balanced, with the heavier riders taking a single victory more than the lighter riders. Going on to look at championships gives a similar picture, with three of the four 800cc titles going to heavier riders (Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo) and just a single championship going to a lighter rider (Casey Stoner). See the championship table below:

"Light" riders Championships "Heavy" riders Championships
Casey Stoner 1 Valentino Rossi 2
    Jorge Lorenzo 1
Total: 1   3

There was much debate after the Jerez race, with fans on both sides of the argument drawing conclusions from the race to bolster their own case. But the raw numbers above appear to show no correlation at all between rider weight and rider success, with flyweight Toni Elias having just as many 800cc victories as man mountain Marco Simoncelli. Looking at the list of winners, there is only one common factor shared among them, and weight is certainly not one of them. Only four riders have won more than one 800cc MotoGP race, with Capirossi, Vermeulen and Dovizioso all taking victory in either wet or very mixed conditions.

Stoner, Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa have the vast bulk of wins between them, taking victory 70 times out of the 73 contested races. And of that foursome, the spoils are split fairly evenly, with lightweights Stoner and Pedrosa sharing victory 34 times against 36 victories for Rossi and Lorenzo.

The only correlation here is talent, and the ability to ride an 800cc MotoGP machine at the very limit for a 120km race. Weight and height would seem to be as relevant to victory as hair color or favorite soccer team, an unrelated and non-causal factor. To win, you just have to work harder, be in better shape and have more talent than your rivals, and though taking a second pass at the dessert trolley is probably inadvisable, this has more to do with the effect of cake on your fitness levels than on your actual ability to ride fast. More weight may affect your fuel consumption, but going by the numbers, the advantages in terms of bike setup and corner speed probably outweigh the minor benefit of using less fuel. What the numbers show is that talent, not kilograms, determine your success aboard a MotoGP machine.

The debate has been rumbling under the surface for some time, but at Jerez it finally burst to the surface. It emerged that Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi had submitted an informal proposal to the Safety Commission to examine having a combined minimum weight for both bike and rider in MotoGP, just as there currently is in the 125cc class. Their argument was that lighter riders had an unfair advantage, and that by setting a minimum weight, the larger riders would have a better chance of competing. The main advantage, it was said, was one of fuel consumption, especially since the introduction of the 800cc bikes, which also saw the fuel limit reduced to just 21 liters. Nicky Hayden related that while he was at Honda, his was forced to run a much leaner setup than his erstwhile teammate, Dani Pedrosa. Rossi agreed with Hayden's assessment, but admitted that taller riders did have more leverage over the machines. 

Comments

Perhaps...

Very interesting work.

Perhaps a different 'metric' for results would be more enlightening.

Say, taking total points scored by each rider divided by the number of seasons they competed would be a better analysis, as just taking wins seems a bit too simple.

Total votes: 265

Interesting analysis, however...

While I don´t really believe this weight thing to be very important I do believe that it requires a deeper analysis. In the one hand, the weight is supposed to be a grand factor affecting all riders therefor the analysis should not be limited to winning but to race position altogether, if lighter riders have more points at the end of the season that would be a more statistical significant data than simply winning or not, actually the analysis should consider the points obtained throughout all the 800 history.
Also "light" and "heavy" riders needs a few more considerations, for example while Rossi (the heaviest rider to have won) deviates from the mean 4.4 kilos, dani does it by 11.6 kilos.

I believe the one true problem with MotoGP this days is the fuel limit, I think it makes racing more boring. But of course I´m just a fan not very knowledgeable of tecnic aspects.

Total votes: 274

Seems to be good

So there is a definite link between this. Although the link does not equate to the championship, could that be a case that the heavy riders are still scoring points 2nd and 3rd places while the lighter riders swap between the top step of the podium?

Total votes: 268

Look at wins

It would be more accurate to say that the heavier riders are swapping the top step of the podium.

As for analyzing the points, the MotoGP.com website has a full set of statistics, and it should be a trivial (if tedious) task to work out a points per kilo ratio for each rider.

Total votes: 256

Points

Mototheory.com makes it easier

Average points (800cc era):
Heavy Riders: 8.38
Light Riders: 7.41

Total votes: 260

Sorry didn´t meant to

Sorry didn't meant to tediate anybody. I've done it my self, while the analysis seams rather poor to me, seeing that talent, experience an machinery add a lot of noise to it, here it is (done on a hurry)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Not a very clear advantage either way.

Total votes: 273

Nice

This is more or less what you would expect from MotoGP if you study rider performance within 2-3 standard deviations of mean weight. Looks like discrete uniform distribution to me.

Total votes: 252

Don't Ignore Newton

It's difficult to argue that there is zero disadvantage for the heavier riders despite the split results as shown above. Sir Newton's second law of motion says that is takes more force to accelerate a heavier rider than a lighter rider, whether that acceleration is positive (out of a corner) or negative (braking into a corner.) If a heavy rider wasn't a disadvantage, all the riders wouldn't be pint sized horse jockeys as they are now and a 100kg gorilla man would be the fastest rider given his ability to man-handle the bike into corners.

The question is really to what degree does the rider's weight affect overall performance. I don't think that there is really enough data to support either way at the moment considering that a) Lorenzo should be statistically represented as the average due to his weight's proximity to it and b) that, as mentioned, the four riders account for (a disturbing) 70 of the 73 wins.

I have an alternate proposal: The total energy alloted to each rider should proportional to the overall machine/rider mass. In other words, give the heavier riders more fuel than the smaller riders. Gasoline has a specific energy content. Energy is work. Work is a time based unit (i.e. 1 Joule = 1 kg * (m/s)^2.) Thus, the proportion of energy expended per lap could be normalized per a given riders plus machine mass quite directly. In fact, I'd be happy to be hired by Dorna to be the consultant to work this out for them! Ha!

Total votes: 270

Oversimplification

If this were drag racing, a simple fuel to rider weight formula might make sense but there is a lot more to roadracing than acceleration.

Total votes: 266

That's all very complicated..

Doesn't it seem that the amount of time gained through cutting weight is made negligible by the time still available in the corners? I'm all for a good thought/science project, but it feels like there is so much more to be gained in optimizing the bike.. the riding position.. the racing line... etc, before weight becomes an obstacle.

That being said, I'm all for some of these guys putting on some pounds. When I first saw these guys at Laguna Seca several years ago, I was shocked.. shocked! at how small they were. Television can be deceiving.

Total votes: 254

Braking

If tires or the brakes were the limiting factor, I'd agree with your assessment; however, the rider's ability to keep the rear wheel on the deck is what makes the difference in motorcycle racing. A MotoGP bike can go end over end if the brakes are applied with too much force; we've been unfortunate enough to see it happen on a few occasions. Bigger, heavier, riders should actually have a slight advantage in the braking zones, imo.

The real question is whether or not 21L allows larger riders to exploit their supposed braking advantage. The other question is whether or not being a light weight is actually beneficial for the hard-carcass Bridgestones. Bridgestone predicted that their tires would disadvantage smaller rider (they actually named Elias and Pedrosa). Hasn't happened to Pedrosa, but maybe he is already running some ballast?

Total votes: 254

Elias should try that

Maybe this could really work for Elias? Or maybe they should try to get the excess heat of the engine into the front tire somehow.

Total votes: 266

I agree with you on the underestimation of Physics in this....

Possibly solutions and how none of them will really work:

1. Raise the fuel limit. You raise the limit to allow more flexibility amongst the teams. However, this is just a band-aid to the solution. All you've done is moved the problem from 21L to 24L and after a couple years, the same problem is readdressed. You raise the limit, horsepower numbers go up, Dani Pedrosa potentially goes faster. He influences the weight of his bike less than Rossi/Sic right? Riders get smaller?

2. You do nothing. Pedrosa continues his turn 1 slingshot. Rossi runs out of fuel in an aggressive attempt to win. He leaves MotoGP since they won't adjust the rules to what he believes is an unfair advantage. However it supports the notion "run what you brung." If you can't physically make yourself lighter, you better find a way to make your bike lighter because this is prototype racing!

3. You set individual fuel limits for each rider. A fuel to weight ratio. An interesting solution I came up. You somehow find the balance ratio that allows heavier riders to consume the same exact amount of fuel as lighter riders on indentical machinery. However the mathematics is far too complex for me to undestand as it is probably logarithmic since Dani weighing 29% less than Rossi shouldn't provide Ross with a 29% larger quantity in fuel.

4. You make the Rider + Bike a control. As suggested by Rossi/Sic. This is by far the easiest to control and puts everything on a level playing field for all of the riders so that their physical size does not influence performance.

The pros - Fair. More competitive racing. Closer weight bikes will create tighter racing.
The cons - You have now inherently limited the factory interest in innovation for lighter weight materials in order to reduce the weight of the motorcycle.

Some stats to think about:

Difference in weight between Rossi/Sic and Dani: 21kg ( 46.2 lbs)
Weight of a gallon of water: 3.8kg/8.35 lbs
Number of gallons of water it would take make up this difference: 5.5 gallons

Minimum weight of a 2010 MotoGP bike: 150 kg (330 lb)

Here's where things get interesting:
Rossi/Sic sitting on bike weight: 222kg/488 lbs
Rider Weight to Rider+ Bike Ratio for Rossi/Sic (Rider: 72kg/Rider/ Bike 150kg+Rider 72kg): 32%

Pedrosa sitting on bike weight: 201kg/442 lbs
Rider Weight to Rider+ Bike Ratio for Pedrosa (Rider: 51kg/Rider / Bike 150kg+ Rider 51kg): 25%

Total votes: 254

#1

Raising the fuel capacity is not just a band-aid as it would likely completely change the bikes and the way they are engineered.

Right now, horsepower over race distance is controlled by the fuel capacity. We have this god-awful fuel capacity limit not for Indonesian scooters, but b/c the MSMA believe that MotoGP should be "an aggressive competition" (no horsepower cap). I don't necessarily disagree, but the MSMA and Dorna have not proven they have the ability to manage a horsepower war without getting people killed at unsafe venues or without bankrupting the sport. Dorna have control of the tires now so I'd love to see them follow KRJR's advice and use the tires to control the spectacle and the performance, but Bridgestone will likely not be a willing accomplice.

Long and short, if they raise fuel capacity to 24L the 81mm bore limit will regulate max power and create a defacto horsepower cap at approximately 250-260hp. The extra fuel could change everything b/c the engineering paradigms would shift back to the 990 era when Rossi's M1 proved that the engine needed to be jammed as close to the front tire as possible, and the rear shock needed to be as soft as a pillow so weight could transfer to the rear wheel during mid-corner acceleration. It was basically the opposite of Honda's mass centralization philosophy.

If the Bridgestones are compatible with the old 990 design philosophies, rider mass will not be nearly as important, imo. Acceleration and deceleration will be controlled by the engineers and the riders as they alter bike design and riding style to keep the front wheel and rear wheel connected to the racing surface (or hovering just above it actually).

24L would likely be a significant and costly change. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that they have continued 21L simply b/c the MSMA were too lame or too poor to redesign their GP bikes again. I desperately cling to the ludicrous idea that Ducati have hired Rossi/Burgess b/c 24L is imminent and they want the best 990 outfit in the biz. I like to imagine that the Suzuki I-4 rumors are not about cost-cutting and race-only production bikes, but about Suzuki's desire to create a compact engine with a forward weight bias for the imminent return to 24L. I can dream right?

Total votes: 244

Huge Assumption

You've ignored the entire discussion that prompted this article. At this point, there is zero evidence that rider weight has any influence on results. There isn't even any evidence that it affects lap times.

A number of people have referenced Newton and all sorts of weight to acceleration formulas to support their gut feeling that there must be an advantage to being small but none of these theories have actually been proven to actually be meaningful in motorcycle racing.

Until you can verify the actual impact of size on the racing, all of your solutions are wasted discussion.

Total votes: 260

gut feeling?

The actual physics involved in motorcycle racing is not a got feeling. Its a proven science of mass, acceleration, and time. I originally wrote a response that was almost 2 pages in length and condensed it down into a couple paragraphs. Unfortunately I do believe that David's article is misleading. I'm an avid supported of him and his articles, but in this particular instance I don't believe its being argued correctly. The problem is far too complex to say oh, well Vale's won championships before, size doesn't matter. I'm also not saying that its the end all be all of making a winning championship bike. What I'm saying is that Rossi/Sic are at a disadvantage no matter how you look at it compared to Pedrosa and they are forced to find increased setup or racecraft (or in their case, aggressive racing) in order to stay in front. When's the last time you saw Dani actually have a good battle with anyone?

If you really want I can break the physics down first year college style so that everyone can see exactly how big of a deal this really is. And as previously mentioned, I really don't know what the correct solution is, I'm just saying that it is a problem.

Total votes: 257

I understand your point

I think everyone understands and would not argue your basic point: Dani Pedrosa has an advantage in terms of acceleration, and also an advantage in terms of fuel consumption. What we are really arguing about is not that advantage, but to what extent that advantage is counterbalanced by other factors.

A lighter rider is generally shorter, and can therefore not move his weight around as much to generate more lean angle, or load the front or rear tire more on corner entry or exit. A lighter rider generates less mechanical grip. A shorter rider has less mechanical leverage. A shorter rider may also lose out in terms of aerodynamics, as the arch of his back may be less aerodynamic than a taller rider. Lighter riders usually have less muscle mass, and therefore less strength, which in combination with shorter limbs provide much less leverage on the bike. Lighter riders mean less weight for a bike to stop, but they are also less efficient at loading the front tire to maximize braking force.

All of these factors are basic physics. But the effect of all of these factors is very hard to measure. The difference with weight (well, actually, mass) and acceleration is that that effect is simple to calculate. The way these factors interact is almost impossible to judge accurately. The sample is too small, and the reality too complex. Just looking at the people who are successful in MotoGP suggests that weight and height are less of a factor than you might naturally suspect.

If you would like to set out your arguments in a longer article, I'd be happy to look at it and would almost certainly publish it (the only proviso being that you publish it under your real name, not your registered name). 

Total votes: 259

Thank you for the opportunity, but I don't think I'm...

Thank you for the opportunity, but I don't think I'm that great of a writer, and second, and most importantly, I don't fully understand all of the physics involved in motorcycle racing especially when it comes to things like leverage on bars and weight-induced wheel traction. I really need to go back and look at some of my old physics textbooks to study rotational motion and momentum, however I'm pursuing architecture, and currently not finding much time for anything else.

If I proposed a simple problem that asked you to design a rider/bike combination by whatever imaginary technical advancements possible where the objective was to get from A to B with corners in-between, the logical decision would be

Something as light as possible, mass itself creates all of the problems faced in solving suspension setups and tire wear issues. Theoretically the best outcome would be to have a weightless bike/rider. This provides the optimum centrifugal acceleration for an object that needs to enter and exit a corner with the highest acceleration possible. The outward 'g' forces exerted on the bike are less.

As mentioned earlier, I'm not a physicist, and I know that one must study the kinetic friction involved, since these bikes don't hover and have to make a physical connection to the ground. On the issue of inducing traction, my gut inclination is to say that by having less weight on the bike, therefore reducing the downward forces of adding traction is counterbalanced by the lighter inertia of the bike/rider and causing a reduction in outward acting forces that would potentially cause a loss or reduction in traction. I would like to hypothesize as well that being lighter on the bike has a positive effect on tire wear allowing a lighter rider to ride a bike harder longer without fear of chewing up a pair of slicks with too many remaining laps to go.

What I really would like to talk about is the benefits/negatives of if there was a minimum rider + bike weight.

I'm very new to avidly following motorsport racing. I've always enjoyed drag racing cars, and once I bought my bike I started doing track days. But I am very passionate about it and willing to try and create a viable solution to the problems in the series that I believe are voiced on a daily opinion about why the sport has become boring, why it's no fun watching one man run away with a race and lap the guy in 17th.

I'm really wondering what would racing actually be like if Pedrosa does have to ride with ballasted weight? The idea of implementing more control is both a negative and a positive thing. It denounces innovation, and this is the main reason I'm really struggling trying to decide which side of the fence I'm on regarding this topic. At the same time, the implementation of a control also creates numerous positive opportunities. For one, it can actually promote innovation as has now become another limiting aspect that teams must design around, and even more intuitively, exploit. Some pretty amazing technologies are developed in order to provide an edge based around this control. Now this theory can quickly be thrown into the grinding debate on reducing costs in MotoGP. Regardless, implementing controls can also provide another amazing benefit, closer racing. We need look no further than the Moto2 class to see how a spec engine can create some amazingly tight racing. You know what I want to see more of? I want to see more Rossi/Lorenzo Catalunya 09, I want to see more Motegi 10', I want to see duels that last lap after lap, I want to see guys seemingly riding in harmony as if its figure skating, or a putting on a theatrical display. And right now, I'm simply suggesting that a minimum rider + bike weight limit could potentially make the racing tighter.

I'm going to see if I can get some advice from my old physics professor and see what he says on the issue, granted he is no motorcycle expert, but does have a phd in physics.

What would really be an amazing interview David would be to get the opinions of Jeremy Burgess, Mike Leitner,or Herve Poncheral, of course they may have biased opinions, but I would really love to hear the thoughts of not only someone who understands physics to the exponential level, but also the mechanical aspects and actually works on these exact bikes.

Sorry for the long write up!

Total votes: 254

Don't ever, EVER...

...apologise for a long post! This is part of what makes us THE best community in motorcycle racing. Try asking one of the other journalists/site administrators to let you write an article on their website, and see what happens. David's sheer brilliance and competence in understanding and being well-informed on our sport is matched only by his fairness and humility. I say make the most of it!

Feel free to make it as technical as you wish. The (true) members of MM can actually understand it, and even if they disagree, I think you'll find that they won't, for the most part, sling mud/derision/cynicism at you. We do, indeed, have a couple of recalcitrant curmudgeons here, but they can't jump through your computer screen and physically punch you, so no worries there. :)

Even if we disagree, (which I believe you'll find that you and I DON'T in most ways) I'll still gladly listen to whatever you have to say. I've always thought, and been unwavering in my belief, that when F1 has a driver/car weight limit, and when that's a ratio that's miniscule concerning pilot to vehicle, then Moto GP should have one also. We're talking HUGE differences in percentages of total weight, and as I wrote elsewhere in the comments on this article, I think that while the effects haven't been huge up until now, next year will dramatically illustrate the ramifications of this issue.

In the past (and present), fuel allotments have been very important. The only thing that exceeds their importance...is the sheer, unadulterated STUPIDITY of the restriction of available fuel. I've never been able to dream up an even semi-sensible reason for them. Also, there's the hypothesis put forward from Dennis Noyes stating that one possible solution would be to once more have more HP than available grip, which I also support. That would put paid to the HP war, IMHO.

Anyway, I believe that the fuel limit issue is going to explode next year, as there's going to be bigger, hungrier mouths to feed. And every gram of extra weight that the engines have to propel...is going to (adversely) affect the performance of the new, bigger engines. Nicky Hayden is already on record as plainly stating that next year will be just as boring as the current state of affairs, given the muzzling of the engines' available fuel. Even the biggest Rottweiler isn't going to protect you very well when he's only given a half cup/125g of food a day.

Increase the fuel available, increase the weight to make it equal, or give the bikes less grip than HP, and the racing will get exponentially better. I would settle for one of the three...but next year, if none of them is adopted, I believe that the proverbial excrement will hit the oscillating air mover.

Besides, more weight would probably help poor Tony Elias... :)

Total votes: 257

He can apologize

For offering to write an article breaking the physics down to first year college level then following up with 'I don't fully understand the physics involved in motorcycle racing.'

>>If I proposed a simple problem that asked you to design a rider/bike combination.......

We do have this competition. It happens every MotoGP race and the winner is usually not the lowest overall weight! Also, a weightless bike/rider combination would not have any traction and not be able to get from point A to anywhere.

It is a pet peeve of mine when people offer opinions on a highly technical subject then reveal that they don't really know about the technical subject they are opining on. I know, everybody's got an opinion, but physics doesn't care much about people's opinions.

first we get
>>The actual physics involved in motorcycle racing is not a gut feeling.

then we get
>my gut inclination is to say that by having less weight on the bike.......

The facts shown by the results are that overall bike and rider weight DO NOT have a statistical influence on the outcomes of races. If you want a minimum weight implemented, fine, its your opinion. It is not going to make things 'fair' but it may make it easier for a certain popular rider to return to his winning ways.

Tony Elias is a great example, one of the lightest riders but he seems to have no acceleration advantage on anybody! Maybe it's Pedrosa's talent that makes him so fast _despite_ his small size and light weight. Dovi and Barbara are also not setting the world on fire despite their extreme lightness. Another point towards Pedrosa's talent. And that is coming from a Hayden fan.

Oh, and fans don't oscillate..... ;)

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 277

As I've said before...

...this is, IMHO, going to become much, much more of a factor NEXT year. Rossi and Sic have timed this perfectly, because they see the writing on the wall. It will become a big deal next year. Hayden DID run out of fuel before, and also, having the computer lean you out definitely hurts your chances at a race win.

I think our loquacious friend has enough humility to admit that he doesn't have all the answers. There's no need to be condescending here. That's not how we (ideally) do things here. His saying that he doesn't understand it all is a bit of a non-issue, since NONE of us here understand all of it. It's a bit of a "Captain Obvious" statement, because it's true of everyone here. Cheers to him for not being arrogant, or assuming that he DOES know everything. It's when someone claims to know it all that their credibility goes down the proverbial "tubes".

He may come up with something golden, even with the understanding he has. After all, you and I have come up with our opinions without doctorates in physics, right? Besides, it doesn't take a genius to come up with a pearl of wisdom. Again, look and you and me. :) You know the old saying, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day"...

There is NOTHING about which to apologise.

Total votes: 255

Sad day for this forum

the one where people will have to apologise for try to discuss something.
We may be right, we may be wrong, what distincts this community is politeness, mutual respect and a bit of humility.
Recently some people didn't really fit the bill ... but that is not the case of our friend over there.

Total votes: 270

+1

Condescension and ridicule have exactly NO place here. NONE of us know it all, and to even suggest otherwise kills your credibility. Feeling the need to be a bully reveals just as much in adulthood as it did on the playground in first grade. It's unacceptable, and it's not the MO of MM.

That's for crash.net, et al...

Total votes: 260

wow

CT, I was responding to his 'break it down first year college style' for us so that we can understand comment which is really the only condescending comment so far. Where was ridicule? if you want to be so PC that you don't like it when factual errors are pointed out that that is your prerogative.

Briga. Read the posts. 'nuff said.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 284

why is it a problem?

Racing is dependent on physics but I think you will have a very hard time figuring out what each factor's influence is. I will hazard a guess and say the rider's brain is the most important factor. Over the years there have been great big riders and great small riders but what they all had in common was their brain had the ability to tell whatever size their body was what to do to go fast.

David was correct and not misleading is his conclusion that rider weight has little statistical significance to winning in MotoGP. The actual race results allow for no other conclusion. Simonchelli would have no audience for this issue if it was not for Rossi being behind the eight ball on the Ducati and needing any way possible to slow down Stoner and Pedrosa so lending his voice to the 'problem'.

What I dislike about this issue coming up is that who ever said that everything was supposed to be equal in racing? You try to find every possible advantage over your competition. From what is seems rider weight is not one of those advantages or every rider would already weight 52kgs. The fact that one of the most successful (and highly paid and most visible, etc) riders of all time is relatively tall and heavy makes the idea even less credible. Spies does not seem to be complaining about the disadvantage his size is. Lorenzo is one of the heavy ones yet wins a lot and has not had any problems that needs a special rule to 'fix'.

Yes, different sized riders will have different advantages and disadvantages. That is the way life is, we're all a bit different and bring various things to the table. If you make a minimum weight requirement to prevent bigger riders from being 'penalized' then don't the smaller riders have a justifiable gripe that the bigger and heavier riders have more physical strength and therefore need some mechanism to limit their leverage? Mabye straps that limit a rider's mobility on the bike so that the amount of weight a rider can shift is equalized. There is no end to the ways you can 'equalize' riders physical attributes, none of which have a place in MogoGP.

This argument can be carried on ad naseum so why we don't just let the riders of whatever size ride the bikes and see who is best?

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 254

Last time Pedrosa had a good battle?

Last GP, best overtaking moves of the race, especially on Hayden and Spies. He was 9th at the end of the 1st lap and got second place from lap 12. A few crashes helped him make his way up but he made some daring moves on Hayden and Spies to recover from 5th to 3rd in only 2 laps.

Total votes: 250

Pedrosa's Opinions

From Pedrosa himself (thanks to faster1 from the forums for finding this): "This story has followed me through my whole career. In 250s everybody said I could not ride the bike because I was too small and then when I started winning they said my weight gave me a big advantage. Now it is the same in MotoGP and I am getting really tired of it because it seems that some people don't want to see me at the top. It's incredible. I've had to keep going without saying anything because of course on the straight I have an advantage with acceleration that is clear. But the other side that people forget is in the corners I have a lot less grip and I can't brake in the same way as the rest because I'm lighter and I don't resist the wind as much. I have short arms and legs and I can't distribute my weight like the bigger guys can. I have desired a lot in the past to be 10cm taller. This would help give me a better position on the bike. If I was taller I could use my body more to put weight on the front and rear at the same time but with my size I can only weight the bike in the front, middle or the rear at one time."

Total votes: 276

I know this is flippant, but...

If Simoncelli is so worried about weight, why hasn't he shaved his head? There's got to be pound or two of savings right there.

Total votes: 238

+1

Jeremy Clarkson once challenged J.Button on something similar, asking how he could justify not shaving his face fuzz when a team of engineers are working around the clock to shave grams off his car here and there!

Total votes: 267

Talent + weight?

Whilst the victories are almost evenly split between the "heavy" and "light" riders - the obvious question is: Would Dani have won as many races as he did if he weighed the same as Simoncelli?

Has being slightly heavier than a garden gnome allowed him to beat more talented riders who dodged too much salad?

Clearly there is a sliding scale where weight makes it progressively harder and harder to compete? Otherwise, why is the heaviest rider only 72 kilos? So surely it must be true the same way?

Total votes: 282

Track Stars

Would you ask the same question about a sprinter or an olympic swimmer?

Obviously, there is a point at which weight becomes a serious detriment but I'm not convinced that the break even point is as low as seems to be believed.

Simoncelli might be at the top of the optimal range for a MotoGP rider but I'd argue that Pedrosa is at the bottom of that range. I also suspect that the top of the optimal weight range may be higher than 72kg.

Total votes: 244

You miss the point, with

You miss the point, with Dani's talent I have no doubt he would be up there if he weighed the same as Simoncelli.

The big debate is whether Dani would be as fast or faster with a lump of lead slung off the belly pan?

I think not.

This is silly for an open class world championship, if they are going to introduce a handicap system, and that's all this, is then it belittles the whole concept of an all comers best of the best competition.

Total votes: 262

Solution

Just add more fuel and be done with it.

Total votes: 270

This is good and simple math

and it shows no advantage for lighter riders. But, the truth is bigger weight needs more energy to accelerate.
What would probably equate to the "alter ego" of the discussion, is finding out how hard each rider has to work, in order to ride a motogp machine. This possibly means some complex biometrics (or whatever) which I think already exist in the secret files of the teams, but would be impossible for anyone else to get, without special data acquisition systems on the body of the rider --and his consent to use them of course. I would be much impressed if anybody managed to steal these figures, read and publish them.
And what about talent? Regardless of whether the total "talent mass" in the motogp level has a limit or not, what would happen to the above statistics, if we took out a single guy, like maybe Rossi or Stoner?
Can anyone measure talent? Maybe it's doable, provided that somebody would be willing to find the correct formula.
Or maybe just ask the betting guys. Allegedly they are already in procession of some higher mathematic formulas, helping them to predict the outcome of individual performance, race outcome, and even championship winners.
Still, nice work David and thanks to all you guys for the interesting time reading your comments.

Total votes: 269

A measure of talent?

How about how many World Championships have been won by each rider? Or number of overall victories in the premier class?

Either way, Rossi wins on both counts, and he's one of the 'heaviest' riders in the bunch.

It's what's behind the smokescreen that matters.

Total votes: 264

Rossi's titles

was mostly won when there was no fuel restrictions. I say get rid of the fuel restrictions. Let the heavy man run more fuel in his tank and the lighter man run less. Hopefully they both get to the finish line somehow. Then loudly shout at them to STFU and race or go play a sport where they think they will win.

Total votes: 262

Ugh.

Ballast for smaller riders? NO!

Detuned engines and reduced HP for heavy riders? YES!

21 Litre restriction is skewing results.

Total votes: 261

It might help...

... if the same analysis was done with the Moto2 riders, as in theory they all have the same power under them. But even in Moto2 there's too many variable to isolate the weight factor.

Just wondering, if the theory is that the 800's need to be ridden more like the old 2-stroke 250's (smooth with high corner speeds, maintaining as much corner speed as possible), doesn't it follow that someone like Simoncelli should've had much difficulty on the old 250's as well? But he won a championship, and really had a every opportunity for two.

I think the winners have just been the guys that have been able to master the Bridgestone's more then anything else.

Total votes: 270

Worthwhile endeavor

Great analysis. If you are so inclined, you could probably mine even more relevant info from this data.

The wins stat should probably be represented as a trend line so we can see the nature of distribution curve (normal, random, uniform, etc) as it relates to the mean weight. Rats has already calculated the standard deviation so half of the work is already done. Dividing wins on either side of the mean is basically binomial testing. Binomial testing doesn't really generate meaningful info unless you are examining data that is expected to have a particular distribution (e.g. is this coin fair based upon the distribution of tails we have observed?). In theory, I suppose binomial testing assumes that MotoGP should be fair (fair meaning 50/50 distribution of wins on either side of the mean), but I discrete uniform distribution within 2-3 standard deviations is a better representation of fairness. The wins data actually looks a bit like discrete uniform.

Also, total points for race winning riders is probably a better stat than wins. You could also graph the weights of the top 5 or 10 championship finishers to check the distribution.

It also might also be beneficial to eliminate one of the major variables (the bike) by examining the points scored within a single manufacturer. Honda would probably be best since they field the most bikes.

Just suggestions. You could make this one of your marquee articles if you have the time and the motivation to do so.

Total votes: 257

We're not factoring in what IS GOING TO happen...

Next year, this is going to really explode. The stupid, idiotic, ill-advised, half-witted, moronic fuel limits are going to really bite some riders in the backside.

I've been grumbling about the weight issue for a long time BUT...

There wasn't SO much of a need for it back when there was more power than traction. And there was more fuel than there were laps in the race.

The fuel situation has definitely brought this to a head. Of COURSE a lighter rider uses less fuel. Of COURSE they can accelerate harder when there is more traction that horsepower. Of COURSE Dani and Casey get to the first corner...first.

I totally agree that being able to manipulate yourself around the bike and weight distribution, etc. are very important. I totally agree that they can give a handling advantage.

It doesn't change the fact that more fuel will be used for a heavier rider.

What has happened up until now...has happened with either:

1) A BIG engine with more power than traction, and enough fuel to exploit that, or
2) A SMALLER engine with juuuuuuuuuust enough fuel, and more traction than HP.

Now, when we go to a BIG engine WITHOUT enough fuel to run wide open with a heavier rider, the advantage to the smaller riders will double or triple from the meaningless advantage that it has thus far been, to an advantage that will DEFINITELY be noticeable.

Up to now, it hasn't been a big deal. Next year, it will be.

The fuel limit is what is killing the fun of MotoGP. Get rid of it, already...

Total votes: 267

Rossi is now officially grasping at straws

800s were nearly as fast as the 990s in only the first season with a lot less power yet nearly the same weight so that says a lot about how corner speed is the primary influence on lap times. Rider weight has minimal effect on corner speed. Yes, lower rider weight allows the use of less fuel for acceleration but the ability to shift the additional weight of the heavier riders compensates during braking, anti-wheelie, and cornering activities. All in all a fair compromise. As Dani said, if they think being small is such an advantage they should try it. And as Stoner said, what the hell is the rider safety commission doing proposing a minimum bike and rider weight requirement?

The only reason we are hearing about this from Rossi is that his ability to get preferential treatment from mfgrs and tire makers is at an end so he needs as much help as he can get with all the fast young guys pressuring him. What is funny is that he expects us not to see through this thin veneer of 'concern' for fairness to all riders to his concern for his own win count, which as high as it is works against his point.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 271

Thecosman said...

"As Dani said, if they think being small is such an advantage they should try it."

If you havent noticed over the past few seasons, all the big guys have been deliberately getting skinnier and skinnier in an attempt to do exactly that.

Total votes: 242

small and light are different

I think none of the riders would want to exchange leverage for weight. The loss of weight, skinny riders, is a result of the extreme physical conditioning they need to be in to rider these bikes at 100% for an hour. Not too much body fat can survive such a training regimen.

Dani is not particularly skinny, he is just very short and his low weight is a result of that. That's also where his lack of leverage comes in. Pros and cons to such a small frame.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com

Total votes: 271

SquidPuppet said...

"If you havent noticed over the past few seasons, all the big guys have been deliberately getting skinnier and skinnier in an attempt to do exactly that."

True. On the other hand, Dani has been deliberately gaining some weight (reportedly, 3 kilograms past season). Not only advantages in being small. If not, he would try to weight 45 kg.

Total votes: 253

Drowning man...........?

Rossi's straws are getting shorter........................

If he wants " equality ", he should use his influence to get rid of the fuel limit.

Total votes: 245

All that is certain is that

All that is certain is that those that have to add weight will be disadvantaged, while others stay the same. Given that up to now there has never been a clear optimum weight,as demonstrated by the statistics, why change. Take horse racing, there the demographics have clearly demonstrated lighter riders have advantage, and weight limits are applied, there has been no such trend in MotoGP, except of course the unfortunate Guareschi who is clearly just too big.

So what can we read into this, Simoncelli and Rossi gain advantage, this is nothing new, Rossi has a well known history of using his political clout to leverage advantage, and right know he is a desperate man approaching the end of his career.

What will happen will happen, I guess Stoner could get a few kilos on, it would be beyond serendipity that they make the limit suit Rossi exactly, so maybe only 3 or 4 kilos will be needed, start beefing up Dani and Casey.

So many other interesting questions though, if combined bike and rider weight is measured then maybe some latitude with the bike would be good, and do they weigh everyone before or after the race, I bet they sweat off two kilos during the race, I just see so many complications in trying to set and enforce this rule that it will be unworkable, or too easy to manipulate.

Total votes: 272

Alastair58 said...

"Rossi has a well known history of using his political clout to leverage advantage"
Can you give an example of this please?

Total votes: 252

I say!

let's give extra fuel to heavier riders or a fixed rider+bike weight. But then we have to provide lighter riders with super powers and force fields to get them even in the man to man battles and bike control :)

Total votes: 265

non-finishers?

How about asking how many of the heavy riders ran out of fuel during a race versus the number for the light ones? I don't have the numbers, but if my memory serves me right
I don't remember lighter riders running out of fuel as often as the heavies.
I do recall riders saying the machines would start to sip fuel as they calculated
what it woud take to finish being a bit too far for the horsepower of that moment.
Sometimes the calculation was wrong and folks didn't finish. I seem to remember
this happening to Nicky once.

Total votes: 256

Not A Good Measure

Running out of fuel is a symptom of a failure of the ECU and not an indication of not having enough fuel.

The only time a rider runs out of fuel is when the ECU has miscalculated either the length of the race or the amount of fuel remaining.

Total votes: 260

Limited fuel has to go...

If all other variables were the same then there is no question that less weight is an advantage. The problem is - the other variables will NEVER be equal.

I've been saying this for years. MotoGP MUST get rid of the idiotic fuel limit.

These are race machines, not fuel saving commuters!!!!!

Total votes: 258

Different machines

As much as I like the exercise, I don't think it can be used to draw a conclusion on the topic. If all the riders were on identical machines and tires, then yes ..... The machine is still playing quite a role ... 30, 40 %? who knows ...

Total votes: 257

I agree that the fuel limit

I agree that the fuel limit needs to go. They still have to get 3 races out of an engine; its not like they'll be able to just make 18 grenade motors that can burn themselves up in a race to get as much HP as possible.

Remember Jerez 2010 where Lorenzo "amazingly" caught and passed Pedrosa? That was due to a low fuel situation that caused Pedro's ECU to start conserving fuel, and the first thing to go was the TC, causing Dani to run wide and go slower.

If a rider needs to run more fuel to get optimal performance, let them. By all accounts fuel is still the cheapest form of HP there is.

Total votes: 261

fuel

cant we protest at our home rounds?? cant we all come together to influence the people making the rules and limiting fuel??....we are the most important thing in motogp! without paying fans they have NOTHING!...im not saying to dont watch or go to the race but bring a sign that says " no fuel limits" or something that will get the message out...i tihnk if we had enough people getting these signs on tv it might stir things up a bit...

Total votes: 248

YES!...

I like that suggestion.

I'll be the one at Indy with my sign saying "Size matters - Real men have bigger tanks".

It's silly to even be discussing fuel limits in a racing series.

Total votes: 265

I like this.

T-shirts and banners ....

"Fuel limits suck"

Total votes: 251

+1 Great idea!

Great idea, we really should be doing this!
I guess the ones who need to be influenced are the manufacturers, and if they see fans on TV wearing signs or T-shirts it may really work!

Total votes: 265

Banners

The one location where a banner is almost certain to get on TV is on the main grandstand on the front straight. Having a banner which is easily understood to non-native English speakers hanging there would be a good way to get noticed.

Total votes: 235

Censorship

Would Dorna, who man the TV cameras, be likely to show such a banner?

Total votes: 228

Already done

I've already done a lot of work regarding some kind of anti-fuel limit demonstration. My first thought was T-shirts b/c it makes a very big scene, but t-shirts are cost-prohibitive and the production risks are quite high. Furthermore, people want to wear their race gear at the track.

I focused my attention on buttons next, but they aren't terribly comfortable, and they damage racing gear. They are also a bit cost prohibitive compared to other grass-roots promotional tools.

After exhaustive research I've settled on stickers. Simple circular stickers of 3" to 3.5" diameter (7.5cm - 9cm). I've commissioned a design with a simple 21L prohibited symbol (circle with the strikethrough) and I've got samples of all kinds of stickers that I've been testing to make sure they stick without damaging shirts, hats, and pants. I'm also testing how they work on motorcycle helmets, car windows, etc.

The goal would be to sell bundles of around 20-25 stickers of various sizes for a nominal price. The purchasers would pass the stickers around at the event as a kind of grass-roots demonstration. I reckon if you can get 10,000 to 20,000 stickers circulating in the stands during a race weekend, even the MSMA would notice. The risks of producing that many stickers seems fairly contained as well.

I'm going to start a thread in the forum to get the ball rolling.

Total votes: 250

I'm filing this under 'M' for mischievous

sub referenced to 'Lies, damn lies and statistics'.

Way to many variables going on with a dynamic racing motorcycle for simple stark height / weight figures to shine any light.

I was always of the opinion that Pedrosa's weight and stature was on balance more hinderance than advantage.

Although there is something in this 21 litre leaning off argument it only swings the pendulum back Pedrosa's way fractionally.

So in summary I back the stat's. All's even in love war and GP racing!

Total votes: 244

fuel limits in racing

i would love to see a comparison on fuel used by just the bikes in a gp weekend compared to a f1 car or sad to say a nascar im sure the numbers are mind blowing...plus nascar runs one of the longest seasons with the biggest grids and almost every sunday...yet fuel usage never seems to get mentioned (i am NOT a nascar fan)

Total votes: 247

In the immortal words of Homer Simpson...

You can come up with numbers to prove anything.
30% of people know that.

Total votes: 222

Being a fat bastard

didn't seem to slow Anthony Gobert down much : )

Total votes: 234

There are no 2 categories, but 3 (light, avg, and heavy)

By putting Stoner with the light riders you are seriously biasing your numbers.
Stoner weight is a bit bellow avg, but his height is just avg (and size matters more than weight to handle the machine). Putting Stoner with dani makes no more sense than putting Lorenzo with Simoncelli.

If you want to make any sense, you should make up 3 categories and reaching the obvious conclusion that:
- the best thing is to be about average, not too big, not too small.
- certainly both very big riders like Simoncelli have a handicap, just as very small riders like Pedrosa have a different one.

Putting a combined weight for man&machine would seriously handicap tiny riders while not really making a significant advantage of the heavy vs. avg ones.

Total votes: 236

Bell Curve

wait, you mean it is sort of like a bell curve? That is somce crazy, revolutionary thinking.

I'd agree that it is a simple task to create an artificial handicap for smaller riders and very difficult to counter any disadvantage of very large riders.

Total votes: 244

bike weight

So are all the bikes at the min. weight limit?

Can anything be said about the difference in design trade=offs between designing a bike for heavy or light rider? well, beyond seeing Nicky and Sic ride the toy bike Honda designed for Puig.

I find it interesting that the vast majority of "heavy" rider wins are on the same machine - perhaps designed to a "heavy" target.

A big part of the Ducati redesign may be changing to a Phat Design

Total votes: 252

These numbers are just that.

These numbers are just that. Numbers. They don't account for physics which is what is at play here. Change the fuel limits and be done with it. Still won't make things equal but more entertaining at least.

Total votes: 236

type II error

Without getting fancy with statistics jargon, it is clear that this analysis has some basic flaws: lack of a control, little sample size (ie. power-> large type II error), and inadequate endpoints. Self control would be ideal. For example, measure lap time with same rider, track, weather, bike, tire, etc... but vary rider weight somehow.

Valentino should have proposed getting rid of these fuel limits. I don't know why riders are not more outspoken about this. I am tired of the boring and processional racing. Let them spin the tires up!

Total votes: 237

The real problem with these numbers

... is of course the fact that n=18. There are very few statistically reliable conclusions that you can draw from the raw numbers based on such a small sample size, and even worse, there are far, far too many other factors which may have a bigger influence on the results. The reason for carrying out this exercise was merely to point out that fingering rider weight as the culprit is being incredibly short-sighted. Does rider weight have an effect? Who knows, the data doesn't really say very much. Do the riders believe it has an effect? Certainly. But the riders also believe that certain lucky charms, numbers or colors also have an effect. And the data there is just as inconclusive.

Total votes: 257

Spot on. And the only 100%

Spot on.
And the only 100% logic argument would be a comparison:
avg. lap time by Pedrosa weighting 50Kg with the avg. lap time by Pedrosa weghting 70Kg.
which is quite difficult to achieve.

I believe that David has just shown that the argument may be true but is quite speculative since standing the current information is quite impossible to have something certain.

On the other side if you get rid of fuel limitation than it is not a point even more. Weight is one of the human characteristics of a rider as is talent, and it is even arguable if it should be offset or be part of the equation. It becomes a point only if some "added" factors (like the fuel) make it more relevant than it should be.

What if statistics show that brown eyed riders are on average 2% faster that bold ones?

Total votes: 243

70kg AND 1.80 metre Pedrosa

His stature and relative lack of ability to move what weight he has around, is comparitavely a big issue for Pedrosa.

Total votes: 239

more analysis

... point David, My analysis shows that the #1 plate on the bike is highly correlated to doing well the prior year. ;-)

Total votes: 233

what a joke

Rossi never complained when he was the beneficiary of an unfair advantage, so it's a bit hypocritical for him to start now. Saturday night special tyres anyone?

If these guys really want to save fuel, then they need to turn off the traction control systems. It's no secret that Stoner doesn't suffer from these fuel problems as much as some of the other guys because he doesn't rely on fuel inefficient traction control technology under acceleration to the same extent as some others. You only have to listen to some of the bikes combusting unburnt fuel in their exhausts to know the riders are just pinning the throttle and letting the TC do its stuff, while unburnt fuel goes straight out the back.

Ultimately, they should all be given another couple of litres to play with, otherwise the new 1000cc formula next year will look more like an efficiency trial than a motorcycle race.

Total votes: 275

I think they should run less

I think they should run less fuel and see how they get on.

The whole 'issue' is a non issue.

Total votes: 258

+1

Yes, send them out with 12 (for example) litres, make them pit! Teams would still only have 21 litres but could only put in 12 maximum at a time. Would liven things up a bit!

Total votes: 229

Cornering

It's not just braking and acceleration where being on the heavier side of average is an advantage. In the corners, if a rider can shift his weight further off the side of the bike (by being taller and heavier) he will move the overall centre of gravity of the bike further to the inside of a corner. This means less lean angle for a given corner speed (using a fatter part of the tyre) or more speed for the same lean angle.

Of course this is all influenced by tyre design: carcass shape, compounds etc.

I have a feeling that someone like Pedrosa will be riding on the edge of the tyre more often than Rossi. Any slip of the tyre (and increase in lean angle) will penalise Pedrosa much more as he "falls off the edge of the tyre" and probably the bike whereas Rossi would still be on a usable part of the tyre.

As an aside, Dave Jeffries was a very big chap but the undisputed king of the TT about 10 years ago. A big bloke with huge tallent.

Total votes: 240

weight vs speed

during each race the bikes use at least 20L of fuel, im not sure of the exact weight but from memory 10L of fuel weights about 7.5kg.
so the bikes are 15kg lighter at the end of each race than at the start, using the figures already worked out by the awesome commenters pedoras bike/rider is 7% lighter and rossi's 6.3% lighter at the end of the race.
the lap times at the end of the race arent 7% better than the laps at the start.
you only hear riders complaining about how a full tank affects the balance of the bike, not how the extra 15kg really made it feel sluggish out of the corners etc.

as for the fuel comsumption issued for heavier riders.. well it may affect them a little bit, but i dont think its nearlly as dramatic as some like to make it seem. IMO i think the main reason that hayden had to use a leaner mix than pedrosa was because his style spins the rear a LOT.

edit: well he used to spin the rear a lot anyway... these riders are always learning and changing their style to suit the current bikes/rules.

Total votes: 249

Weighty issue

I find it interesting that Stoner & Lorenzo are almost the same height but they are separated in weight by 7 kilos. From photos seen of JLo without a shirt (he seems quite into getting his gear off) it would appear he lifts weights and as we all know packing on muscle adds more weight than packing on some fat. It would seem to me that he chooses to be heavier as the strength he gets obviously outweighs any perceived advantage being lighter gives. I think the weight debate is a non issue and more fuel in the bike just adds more weight, so it just seems like a bit of a revolving door to me.

Total votes: 230

Even as the Rossi-fan that I

Even as the Rossi-fan that I am, this attempt to change rules leaves me somewhat puzzled. He can´t be serious with that.
MotoGP is about prototypes...and it wasn´t even funny anymore how superior VR was on the Honda´s, because he AND the bike have been so good. Now he is suggesting that all bikes are at such an equal level that the weight of the rider is making a difference who will win a race?Not the talent?Not the set up skills?
David Jefferies won the Isle of Man 9 times and gee! that was a heavy bloke! You have to be strong and the endurance of a marathon runner, but weight does not really matter in my eyes if you have a 250HP bike pulling you.
Vale must be really struggleing with that Ducati, if he is searching so hard for excuses.
Why did he win at the last corner in Jerez(?) against JLo on the same bike?
Because of a weight difference or because he had better nerves?
Shall all the riders drink a warm milk now before a race to equal the mind set as well?Its no frigging club race!
It will never be fair in MotoGp, but its the survival of the fittest and maybe VR should get used to the idea that he cant finish his career with another title, because the second is the first looser already at this game called MotoGP racing and no vice champion ever said: I could have been world champion if I only lost 5 more kilo´s before the season.No way!I think Wayne Rainey would rather stand up, walk towards Vale and slap him silly then!

Total votes: 233

Sad!

It feels like David made up his mind about this before the article was written.

If there was no advantage being a small rider, why does MotoGP riders more and more look like school boys?
Why don't Stacey and Grumpy carry 10-15 kilos extra the next race to prove the can go as fast as today?

I hope they get a minimun weight limit for MotoGP (rider + bike) before we see the same problems as ski jumping hade a few years ago!

Total votes: 233

I believe thats because

I believe thats because nowaday´s riders are more and more hired by talentscouts/headhunters and not by a "normal" deciding process.
Because it is so hard to judge how much talent somebody really has, they try a somewhat conservative way to guarantee success in choosing somebody who has a good mixture of talent, rich sponsoring and also being small and lightweight can´t be wrong to compensate bad luck with machinery.
Only my opinion.

PS:I think all of the rule changes within the last years have gone into the wrong direction-besides the one going from 2 strokes to four strokes.
That way the manufacturer really could transfer more radical technology into street bikes than possible with WSBK....but who am I to say that?

Total votes: 212

Making my mind up

Of course I made my mind up before writing the article, it is hard to write an article without knowing what the conclusion is going to be.

However, I didn't write the article until I had examined the data, and it was the data I used to make up my mind. The reason that riders look like schoolboys is because they start so young nowadays. The reason that the riders all look so thin is because they believe it helps. If they believe it helps, then it helps, but whether that is down to the lower weight or because of their increased confidence is a separate matter ...

Total votes: 251

+1

:D

Total votes: 237

I'm sure that, much like any

I'm sure that, much like any athletes, the riders have maximum weight built into their contracts. Look how much smaller/skinnier/malnourished looking some of these guys (Nicky) have become over the years. Obviously someone, somewhere, believes that rider weight is very important. It really seems that the data shows this isn't too big a factor, but riders are still very likely being judged on it. Realistically, even the "big" Simoncelli isn't very big at 160 lbs and 6' tall. Rossi is 6' and 150 lbs. Honestly the small riders are pretty much girl-sized.

Honestly I think that this could be a rider health issue, which sort of relates to safety. It's not healthy for the riders that have to reduce weight like that to do so. The older you get, the harder it is to maintain that same weight. Rossi is pushing into his 30's, and he'll be getting to that point. It was when I was about 32-33 that I had to stop fooling myself that I could still eat like I did in my 20s. It's probably getting harder for Rossi to meet his contractual weight requirement; if he can get a total bike/rider weight limit implemented, he can then eat all the pasta he wants.

Total votes: 231

2012 new MOTOGP rules

This is simple :
For 2012 the "safety" & competitive rule changes should be as follows :
1. Same age requirements for riders etc......
2. Minimum weight of rider 60kg (safety precaution)
3. Weight of bike a little higher than now (cheaper)
4. Fuel limit same or lower than now (safety and environmental measure) The size of tank could be reduced further over next 10 years.

These few changes solve many problems.
1. Dani/midgets will have to bulk up which a) will minimize his fragility and b)minimize larger rider disadvantages and c) the manufacturers will have rules which they can design their bikes to.
2. Heavier bikes mean less exotic materials and those new muscles Dani has will be useful (btw : did anyone see how weak Simoncelli was when he tried to lift his bike?)
3. If we have unlimited fuel in 2012 (or 25L for example) the bikes will be rocketships ! 20 litres will be a tad slower but safer and show Motogp is listening to green concerns.
4. Hybrid bikes will probably be introduced in 2025 so we need to move in this direction.

Why I don't have a job at Dorna I'll never know.

Total votes: 224

Hmmm . . .

What's the argument AGAINST a 'total' weight limit? F1 has had a weight limit for years (1250 isn't it?) and I've never heard anyone talking about 'unfair' advantage. How can a 'total' weight limit, in Moto GP, for bike/rider be a negative? It actually makes more sense for bike/rider then F1 as the % for the 'pilot' would have more of a bearing, i.e. 150 lbs rider/driver in a 1125 lbs F1 car vs a 330 lbs M/C . . . .

Quite frankly, this 'proposal' makes total sense! and I can't believe it hasn't been put into the rules earlier. And no, I'm NOT 4/against any rider . . .

Total votes: 249

Interesting comparison, opposite reasoning

A 10 kilos difference in rider weight means less in F1 than MotoGP due to the vast difference in the vehicle weight, agreed.

BUT a superior weight in F1 will not give you any advantage over light weight riders, you don't actually use your weight to move your body inside the cockpit.

This is a fundamental difference between F1 and MotoGP. Whereas in F1 weight is only detrimental, in MotoGP it has the same drawbacks (less acceleration, more fuel consumption...) but is also associated with benefits far from being negligible:
- easier to load the tires (very important!)
- better traction/grip
- higher corner speed
- easier to flick the bike from one side to the other/easier to move your weight around the bike (left/right as well as front/back)
- better endurance

Combined rider+bike weight is meaningful in 125/Moto3 because they are low-powered lightweight bikes. On MotoGP 220+ hp beasts, the added weight helps you manhandling the bike, so it's more balanced between light and heavy riders.

Another massive difference is that size doesn't matter in F1. In MotoGP, short arms and legs make it more difficult to shift your weight away from the bike, to use any kind of leverage. Plus the natural consequence is that tiny muscles get sore more quickly.

Eventually you can definitely not separate the effect of size and weight in MotoGP. A 70 kilos Dani Pedrosa will still be at a big disadvantage against Rossi and Simoncelli since he will always have to deal with shorter limbs, tiny muscles and a small body structure more prone to injuries.

There are pro's and con's, you have to make the best with your own body, as in any other sport. You can gain or lose weight, gain or lose some muscles but you will never be able to change your height or arm length.

In the end ballast may balance things up in F1 but would not in MotoGP.

Total votes: 216

Safety ?

No doubt Rossi and Simmo are looking for an advantage based on a notion that the racers of lesser physical stature have an unfair advantage. In the name of safety ? Approach the safety commision with this slant ?.
I agree with the opinion of the majority that the fuel restrictions should be softened up but allocating ballast is just idiotic in the name of safety.I guess they had to start somewhere.
Currently,even the argument that a lighter package uses less fuel is nonsense per any particular race.Take Jerez last year. You guessed it.It was Dani whose bike started sipping in the closing laps not Rossi's,nor Lorenzo's. Yamaha got their mapping sorted best and Honda missed the bus by a hair.But,Dani did finish ahead of Valentino by some margin.
What next ? How about an ideal height/weight rule for GP based on the average of the stats of the previous season. Should you not be within 107% of the optimal height and weight you may not enter a race.
I would dearly love to hear Ben Spies' take on this,I do believe he is a little bigger than Nori Haga and Nori's Ducati had a 200cc torque advantage off the line back in SBK 2009 with plenty fuel to spare.
File # 13 for this proposal I hope.

Total votes: 252

Ideal Weight for your height

None of the riders are too thin, all make it into their ideal weight for their height range, so would therefore be considered very healthy. I guess if Hayden lost some weight it would not be a bad thing as he is the closest to exceeding his ideal weight range.

183 cm: 67 to 84 kilos (Simoncelli 72 kilos)
182 - 181 cm: 66 to 83 kilos (Abraham 72 kilos, Rossi 67 kilos)
180 cm: 65 to 81 kilos (Spies 71 kilos)
173 cm: 60 to 75 kilos (Hayden 72 kilos)
172 cm: 59 to 74 kilos (Lorenzo 65 kilos)
171 cm: 58 to 73 kilos (Stoner 58 kilos)
160 cm: 51 to 64 kilos (Pedrosa 51 kilos)

Total votes: 207

More Fuel? Why?

Why would you want more fuel??

In a world where fuel is becoming rarer/dearer/ and more problematic for our environment you want an international sporting body to have bikes use MORE than 21 litres for a 120km race?? MADNESS

MOTOGP has to at least APPEAR to be green !

Going to minimum combined weight seems good (like F1) unless you're a bike manufacturer. You want to be able to build the best bike that a variety of riders can compete on. That's why a minimum weight of 60kg is so elegant (if I do say so myself)

Total votes: 210

24 litres per bike, 17 bikes

24 litres per bike, 17 bikes a race, 18 races a year. How much do you think burning 7344 litres of fuel a year affects global warming?

I´m sorry but all of this green racing talk annoys me. Tons of people screaming to the motorsports that they should be more conscientious about their CO2 when their impact to the hole matter is infinitesimal. Industries around the world produce massive amounts of the stuff and people say the solution is to drive priuses (with extremely environmental hazardous batteries on them) and ban racing.

Total votes: 221

Forget the calculation

It gets much more complicated than that, for fuel only (far from being the only factor) you'll have to count every session from every class plus the travels (bikes being shipped, crew traveling by bus or plane) so in the end consumption of the bikes would not change much.

Plus as any other major event, the biggest part of pollution does not come from the show itself but from people attending...100 000s of people burn more fuel to attend the races that they would burn watching it from their couch...and much more that the actual GP bikes on the track.

Every reduction is important, this reasoning is getting extremely annoying (Europeans blame the Americans who blame their industry who blames the Chinese, the cycling student blames the car owner who blames the SUV owner who blames the factory...), in the end everyone think they have a good reason not to do anything since they will always find a bigger polluter than them. It's all about what you have done at your own scale VS what you could have done, simple.
Plus the battery argument is not accurate anymore but we will still hear it for decades, get up to date, research and the industry are moving forwards and they are not waiting for you.

Anyway, to answer previous posts and as David on this website and Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology for MotoGP) underlined, the drive towards better fuel efficiency is the main reason for manufacturers to invest R&D in MotoGP, it's how they get return on their investment. This is their biggest and latest technological challenge, with fuel prices going up the roof, people are increasingly concerned with the fuel efficiency of their vehicles (both for financial and environmental reasons). Plus stricter legislation all around the world require less and less emissions to meet standards and be able to commercialize a new vehicle and reducing the fuel consumption is a straight forward manner to reduce emissions.

Increasing the volume of MotoGP tanks would have negligible effect on the carbon footprint of MotoGP but major effect on the involvement of factories. With barely 17 bikes on the grid and Suzuki on the verge of retiring from the series, it's simply not going to happen.

Total votes: 236

I did not said that global

I did not said that global warming was a lie or that nothing should be done about it. I said it not affected by racing.
About watching it on TV en less all those fans have windmills to power their TVs and keep the AC off while watching is not as simple as you put it.
The talk about batteries is not out dated, is hush´d and ignored. While current battery technology is less contaminant than ever before it still relies on heavy metal, which extraction from the ground and disposal when car is trashed is not environmentally safe, if you were to replace fuel power cars with battery ones this would become a big problem, research on this matters being behind of research (and specially commercialisation) on powering cars with batteries.
Also R&D is not the mayor reason for factories involvement, publicity is. If you don´t believe me go ask the folks at ducati, if you still don´t believe me go check-up on the situation of factories involvement on F1 a few years ago when massive amount of money was being spent on R&D. Increasing the volume of the tanks would make racing cheaper and that is always a good way to attract factories. If you don´t believe that go see whats happening on WRC.

Total votes: 247

Ethos of the consumer

You are extolling the ethos of the consumer. MotoGP does not consume oil for utility, it consumes oil for profit. Same is true of the manufacturers. Efficiency is their end goal.

If the FIM/MSMA were worried about fuel efficiency, they would have bore-limited much lower than 81mm or they would have moved to 600cc machines. If they cared about fuel efficiency, they wouldn't have banned KTM's KERS system. If they cared about production-relevant fuel efficiency, they would ban pneumatic valves.

Fuel-efficiency is an April Fool's joke gone bad. How many manufacturers can afford to make fuel efficiency technology in MotoGP? Two-and-a-half. Three-and-a-half if you pretend that one of the teams is not funded by an illegal sponsor. Dorna are trying to convince me that the manufacturers won't play without fuel efficiency, but apparently the manufacturers won't play with the fuel-efficiency rules either. Maybe 2012 will bring more manufacturers, but it will likely be attributable to Dorna's new manufacturer contract policy.

I don't know who started the April Fool's joke, and I don't know who won't let it die, but it's time to put it to bed. I don't care that MotoGP wants fuel efficiency. I care that they say one thing, and then clearly do another. Same with the horsepower war. The MSMA say they want aggressive competition, but they are a Japanese cartel. It is cartel culture to negotiate a truce and stabilize the cartel immediately after the war starts.

This has nothing to do with fuel efficiency or global well-being. This is a turf war between factions who want control of MotoGP. They cling to dumb ideas, bad concepts, and they even lie to themselves about what they want, what is useful to them, and what they are trying to do. I feel like I'm back in college, doing a case study on market-failure, and allocative inefficiency of contractual negotiations.

Somebody shoot me.

Total votes: 216

Factory Involvement

"Increasing the volume of MotoGP tanks would have negligible effect on the carbon footprint of MotoGP but major effect on the involvement of factories. With barely 17 bikes on the grid and Suzuki on the verge of retiring from the series, it's simply not going to happen."

The only factories that go racing in order to develop their efficiency tech are Honda and maybe Yamaha. None of potential new entries to MotoGP are interested in using the series to improve efficiency.

It is these very rules that are the reason we only have 3 factories involved - it is simply too expensive to compete against Honda on their home court.

Dorna is so busy tripping over itself trying not to drop any more balls (factories) that they are unable to see how many other balls they could simply pick up if they stopped panicking.

Total votes: 253

If there were no fuel limits.........

Honda wouldn't give a flying f**k about fuel efficiency.

Their interest stems from the fact they have the deepest R&D pockets and believed that a fuel limit would give them an " unfair " advantage. Never, ever underestimate their resource base, even if their results get a little skewed sometimes , that is the human element. Is that a logical train of thought.......?

Like a high stakes poker game with budgets as chips....

Total votes: 230

agree

it was fascinating to hear Dennis Noyes talk about the mentality of the Japanese manufacturers as it pertains to the rules.

As for all this 'green' talk, I am all for technology that reduces my country's dependence on foreign oil and preventing global warming, but until we run out of fossil fuel we will always love and appreciate our ICE much the same way individuals still love and ride their horses in spite of their obsolescence as a mode of transportation (I live nearby a ranching community). If not for everyday commutes, at least for fun at the track and for the spectacle of top level racing. My desire for more fuel in MotoGP is all about bringing back the spectacle on track.

Total votes: 223

Vanity

When the MSMA reduced fuel to 21L, how much fuel did they actually save per year (percentage)? How much has it cost the sport?

MotoGP is a business, not a morning commute. We should call the 21L rule what it is--the biggest waste of fuel in the history of MotoGP. If it's not the biggest waste now, it will be when Rossi retires. MotoGP would be much more efficient if it increase fuel capacity to 24L (.001% of total annual fuel consumption?) b/c it would raise revenues, profitability, and economic activity in MotoGP.

If MotoGP goes from $40 of throughput per gallon to $50 of throughput per gallon, they are using fuel more efficiently and generating more societal utility (more than likely) even if they are burning more fuel. If politicians were actually as obsessed with Kaldor-Hicks as much as they pretend to be, they'd take petrol away from the commuting masses and give it to MotoGP.

Chasing vanity only cements one's standing as a likely candidate for natural selection. Don't embrace the lunacy of political optics, it will kill MotoGP faster than a Japanese cartel.

If the Japanese cartel were concerned with fuel efficiency, they would have bore-limited or rev-limited MotoGP without changing capacity from 800cc. As I have said on numerous occasions (as the MSMA have said themselves indirectly) the 21L rule is not about fuel efficiency! It is about preserving MotoGP's aggressive competition a.k.a. the horsepower war.

Total votes: 231

Hard to argue.

Hard to argue that there is not a performance advantage if you and your motorcycle together weigh 40 pounds less than a guy on the same motorcycle. Manufacturers reduce the weight of their 1 litre sport bikes almost every year. If there is no performance advantage then why go to all the trouble and expense to make the bikes lighter, because there is an advantage. You can slice it, dice it or chop it and taking weight off of a motorcycle or with almost any type racing total weight and distribution is very important.

So to my way of thinking there should be a combined rider/bike weight rule.

Two things I am concerned with.

Some of these riders look very unhealthy. Does not take a double knot spy, fry cook or brain surgeon to see some of the riders could make runway supermodels look hefty. These are world class athlete's. Some of these guys look like they need to go to ABA for treatment. If it is not an advantage then why are some riders so thin? Plain and simple it is an advantage and the heavier riders are losing every single ounce they can to offset it.

The other thing is I do not like seeing the 21 litre fuel limit affecting race results. Sic out there running around with the bike chopped back to make it to the end of a race sucks in my opinion. This is racing not trying to beat Prius fuel economy numbers. I understand that electronics play a big role in MotoGP racing and that is where a lot of the research and development to roll into their production machines evolutions. But again I do not like the idea of fuel consumption affecting race results. Not my idea of racing.

To my way of thinking there is not a doubt in the world that MotoGP needs a weight rule and they need to ditch the 21 litre fuel rule. I mean come on guys. No doubt the lighter riders have an acceleration advantage and fuel consumption advantage.

Total votes: 251

The argument is not that

The argument is not that lighter racing means higher speeds. Making a lighter bike works, they say that having a smaller rider does not. I do ask myself if muscling the bike around is such a big problem. Why doesn´t our 51kg Dany hit the gym, starts doing some weight lifting and gains some 5kg of muscle?

Having said that we (the fans) don´t really have any reliable data to say that is good or bad for his racing to be that small.

I have wonder in the past why some riders seem to be able to pick up their bikes on there own and some other need assistance.

Total votes: 226

Two metrics that should be looked at

I would say rather than look at overall success (wins). Look at starts, i.e. positions gained at the start. How many positions did a rider move up on the start into turn one? While this would have to be adjusted, obviously you lose information if a rider is always starting from the front row, etc. Pedrosa always gets lightning starts. The second could be top speed analysis. Compare riders top speeds. While supposedly taller riders are better aerodynamically than smaller, check that data. One could also analyze corner data (speed, lean angle, etc.). Some of this might not be available from MotoGP.

Total votes: 201

I think most of this has

I think most of this has already been said in the comments, but here's my take.

This 'study' is terrible.

acceleration = force / mass
momentum = mass * velocity

This means less mass requires less force to start moving and to stop moving.

The visual evidence can be seen at the start of just about every motoGP race as dani takes the holeshot and the fact that he is near impossible to catch out of a corner due to the greater acceleration his light mass provides him.

To say dani has trouble turning the bike due to his mass is ludacris.

An area where mass has an advantage is tire traction.

traction = mass * tire grip coefficient

...however the bridgestones have such crazy grip levels that rider mass is not such an advantage here as in say, WSBK, for getting the power down.

If I were the king of racing I would remove just about every rule and restriction except for the 2 wheel limit. This current rule set is trending toward 90lb midget jockies... is this what we want?

I think the laws of physics are enough rules for motorcycle racing.

Total votes: 238

Lean Engines, sign of a real problem

Your numerical analysis seems pretty flawed in too many ways to refute point by point.

The bottom line is that ANY rider, big, small, purple or blue, should not have to run his engine leaner than anyone else. Having a less powerful engine because you can't run it as rich as your smaller teammate/competitors is just wrong.

We all realize that there are inherit advantages to different body sizes as far as how you are able to wrestle the bike, shift weight, tuck in behind the fairing, etc.

But, when engine power has to be compromised (albeit because of the fuel limit), something should be done to rectify this...

Just my 2 cents... Peace

Total votes: 219

Weight Handicap

Ok, sorry if this has been posted above but theres like 80 posts!

Why not introduce a handicap system ala horse racing? The more wins (and the better the competition in those races), the more weight that horse has to carry next race. There is a maximum weight (so a super-Arkle-RedRum_Denman couldn't enter a Grade 3 chase and carry 20 stone extra. Not that that would happen..) and a horses handicap decreases with poorer results and time.

They had something like it in WSB last year I think, the Ducatis were allowed a couple kilos less because of the dominance of the 1000/4s. I believe they have a similar system in WTTC but don't really follow it so not sure.

Ignoring the fuel issue for a sec, the 70/73 wins for 4 guys (of various weights) is perhaps a bigger barrier to competitive races. Maybe its not fair to handicap a rider just because they're doing well but it would tighten up the field

Total votes: 225

Major problem with Jorge's weight.

You have Jorge listed as 65kg, I know that motogp.com has it down as such, but the Yamaha website has his current weight, updated as of 15.11.2010 as 55kg.
http://www.yamaha-racing.com/Racing/motogp/rider_team/lorenzo.jsp#
If you click on that link, then click on the personal profile tab, it will be quite clear.
Last year, the motogp site had Jorge down as 55kg too. Unless he put on 10kg over the last seven months, that is certainly a typo.

If Yamaha has accurate information on its rider, which I believe it would be, your analysis is unfortunately way off.

The yahoo/eurosport website also has him at 55kg.
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/motorsport/moto-gp/jorge-lorenzo.html

Total votes: 238

???

Before reading this article I always thought JLo was lighter than Stoner, but who knows? The Yamaha website cannot be trusted to have his weight correct as they have him listed at a height of 170 cm, and one thing that can be confirmed by all race fans is JLo's definitely taller than Stoner (171 cm) so it seems that a trustworthy source for correct rider height/weight stats is hard to find. I wonder if the height and weight they have for JLo was taken in 2008 when he first started with them and has not been updated since.

Total votes: 220

A 2cm difference could depend

A 2cm difference could depend on the shoes he is or isn't wearing while his height is being measured, same for Stoner. A 10kg difference is much harder to mistake. When a guy that has a 5% body fat and is 5'8ish, puts on 10kg, it's noticeable. He hasn't changed that drastically since it listed him as 55kg last year on the motogp site.

Total votes: 202

I agree

I also doubt he is 7 kilos heavier than Stoner, I am guessing his weight is incorrect on all sites and I would estimate he is between 58-60 kilos. If this is the case, being just below average height (for a man) and at the lighter end of ideal weight/height range equals the best height/weight combination for a rider, all sports have an ideal athlete height/weight and all sports have had this ideal destroyed by somebody who shouldn't, couldn't, won't be able to achieve results, doing it. Case in point Rossi and Pedrosa.

Total votes: 233

When lean ain't mean.

So lighter riders get the benifit having a better horsepower to weight ratio and it is not an advantage. How ??? If some feel it is a no big deal then ask Dani to add 40 lbs to the bike. I mean if it is no advantage to being light and according to some a dis-advantage Dani should welcome 40 lbs with open arms right ??? I do not think that is going to happen.

Add in that the electronics are reducing horsepower to the heavier guys so they can make it to the end of the race and ??? Nahhh no double dip advantage there fella's. A simple power to weight ratio calulation. Bike has 240 horsepower. Rider and bike weighs 480 pounds.

That means for every 2 pounds you take off it would be like adding one horsepower. 40 pounds lighter combined weight would be like adding 20 horsepower without actually changing the horsepower number.

So instead having a combined rider/bike rule just give the heavier guys 1 horsepower for every 2 pounds they are over the lightest rider. Yeah that is the ticket...Give a guy who weighs 210 lbs. 50 more horsepower. Krispy Cream and Pizza the breakfast of future MotoGP Champions.

It is a huge advantage for Dani Pedrosa versus some of the other riders...Especially guys who weigh 40 or 50 pounds more than him. Add in the fuel mileage advantage not being leaned out and it should be addressed.

What Sic and Val are just crybabies, because there is not advantage ???

Total votes: 224

Aprilia study

please take the time to read the article carefully as well as the comments or why bother commenting? From your first sentence you are wrong.
First of all, no one here said that lighter riders having a better hp/weight ratio was not an advantage, the discussion is about the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of being a small and light rider on a 220+ hp MotoGP.

Second, Joan Olive said on his twitter account that Aprilia did a study a few years ago (probably for 125 or 250 2 strokes) and they estimated that every 4 kilos (8.8 pounds) is equivalent to 1 hp in acceleration.
Obviously if the 20 kilos difference between the lightest and the heaviest MotoGP rider was equivalent to 20 hp difference it would be much more noticeable, 20 hp!!!
According to Aprilia calculations, and assuming they apply to MotoGP (if anything, weight should be less important than for the smaller categories) Pedrosa gain on Rossi would be equivalent to 5 more hp for acceleration (at the maximum).

These numbers shed some light on the issue, and the debate goes back to "do the disadvantages of being light and small outweigh the benefice of the higher power/weight ratio?"

The disadvantages of being light and small have been listed before and the unfairness of ballast has also been detailed previously.

This is a tough question, but the debate deserves at least some honest arguments.

Total votes: 239

Adding Weight

If you were to add weight to a light rider's bike you're expecting him to manoeuvre a heavier bike around with less leverage and less muscle power, so a double disadvantage in that respect!

I remember Honda tried an upside down configuration on their GP bikes many moons ago (engine lower in the frame and exhausts above it where we'd expect an airbox these days) and found it to be a disaster. Carrying all that weight lower in the frame didn't load the tyres enough. Similar to being a light rider (less weight high up on the bike). I can remember seeing Pedrosas bike pitching backwards and forwards on the power last season, possibly because he has to have the suspension so soft to get enough weight transfer due to his light weight. If the bike was still leant over to some extent it would then weave from side to side as well as the tyres were unloaded making for a very unruly bike and almost certainly a slower one. Another facet of being light?

Total votes: 214

Statistics

As a professional statistician, I can say that... stats can be used to prove anything :)

First, the only way you can test the idea really is to go to an alternative universe where Rossi is short and Pedrosa is tall. There is simply nothing you can learn by comparing a small number of extremely unusual (ie talented) individuals on one parameter among the many that influence their ability to ride fast.

Secondly, so what? Rossi is tall, Pedrosa is short, I have no talent. Why worry about balancing the first two and not the third? Racing is not an equal opportunity therapeutic pastime, it's a competition for who has the freakiest combination of the many factors required to go fast.

Yes, the fuel limit adds an additional complicating issue (and it sucks). But so do minimum weights and maximumum capacities. They are all essentially arbitrary constraints which advantage some riders and penalise others.

Total votes: 222

One thing is for sure.............

a large ( and obviously fragile ) ego is also a handicap.

I have no recollection of Hailwood, Roberts Snr, Rainey, Lawson, Doohan, Read et al, ever snivelling about their competitors perceived weight advantage.

Consider this scenario; Pedrosa or Stoner have to carry X kg of ballast. They find that by judicious placement of said ballast, it gives then a serious reduction in lap time, through elimination of chatter, improved weight transfer, etc.. What would be the next " equalizing " step suggested by the " physically disadvantaged " ? Mandated location, size and density of ballast ? That's heading down the slippery slope towards F1 levels of rules...........Be careful what you wish for.

It is rather contemptible that such a suggestion has seen the light of day.

Total votes: 208

Well said Kiwi

I find this amusing as a topic as it has never raised its ugly head since the sports inception in 1949. Valentino has had all the time from 2000 to 2010 to raise the issue if he really believed it was a just cause. Comparisons with F1 are invalid. This is two wheel road racing. Maybe his current thinking is based on his F1 testing excursions.
Assuming he gets his way (yet again) and fails on track,is it safe to presume that he will propose to the Safety Comission that they set a width and wheelbase criteria aswell ?
'A more diminutive rider will have to carry an upper fairing width of not less span than the shoulder width of the broadest shouldered rider'.
Another shoulder issue !!!
Jokes aside,the only people that really need to concern themselves with a riders physical stature are those who supply the race suits,boots,gloves and protective gear.

Total votes: 215

The comparisons and

The comparisons and percentage are based on different regulations, it's difficult to conclude that next years rules will produce the same outcomes. Engine power is limited because of fuel and the familiarity with electronics limits anyone taking a big advantage in that area, add to that a control tyre and it looks like weight difference between riders could be a major and decisive and only factor that matters in the coming seasons...
Don't think the fuel will be increased though if honda have anything to do with it. Looking at Sepang last year, extra fuel and the yam had the same pace. Honda I reckon have the best fuel management and will have the most to lose, they coincidently have a gaggle of very small riders...

Total votes: 240

Interesting

But can you do this one more time after the 2013 season ?

There has been only one "heavy" rider to win any round ( exept the fluke Rossi win in Assen ) since 2011 and all the rest has been the "light" ones..

Total votes: 18

2013 season

The trouble is, only Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez won more than one race in MotoGP. And it was clear that their weights were irrelevant, they were a cut above the rest in terms of talent, and on the best bikes. You would have to do it eliminate the top three, then it might make a little bit of sense.

Total votes: 23

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

GTranslate