2012 Laguna Seca MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: Contrasting Styles, Racing Softs, And A Decision Is Nigh

Laguna Seca has a habit of throwing the championship a curve ball. The epic race between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in 2008 was a prime example, a turning point in the championship when Rossi halted what looked like the inexorable rise of Casey Stoner. Last year, too, Laguna proved to be key moment in the championship, when Stoner stopped Jorge Lorenzo's resurgence with one of the bravest passes in racing for a long time, through the ultra-fast Turn 1. With Laguna Seca the last race going into the summer break, winning or losing at the US GP can have a dramatic effect on the momentum of the championship.

Whether the same will be said of Laguna Seca in 2012 will only be clear at the end of the season. But it has all the signs of being a significant moment, for more than just the five points Casey Stoner clawed back from Jorge Lorenzo. The race, if not thrilling, was at least tense: there was little between the two men for most of the race, Stoner shadowing Lorenzo closely, snapping at his heels but not quite able to attempt a pass. The turning point came on lap 18. As the leading pair plunged down the Corkscrew, Lorenzo's sliding rear tire almost threw him out of the saddle. "I closed my eyes during the highside," the Yamaha man said afterwards, "and I was happy to still be in the seat when I opened them again."

Like a wolf scenting weakness, Stoner knew his prey was ripe for the kill. It took him a little over three laps, but as they powered out of the final corner and onto the front straight, Stoner managed the drive better, Lorenzo hesitating slightly as he fought the Yamaha's urge to wheelie along the the straight. Sliding through on the inside - a much easier pass than a year earlier, when Lorenzo had forced him to take the terrifying outside line through Turn 1 - Stoner was past, and pressed on to pull a gap. The winning margin, though not huge, was still very comfortable, large enough for Stoner to cruise across the line to seal victory.

The race had been one of tire management. Lorenzo, long with factory Yamaha teammate Ben Spies and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa, had gone for the hard tire, the more conservative choice with the sun out and the temperatures starting to rise. But Stoner had not been able to make the hard rear tire work, struggling as they had for most of the season, and his crew took a gamble on the softer rear option. It paid off: though the Australian had to go easy on his tires in the middle of the race, to stop them from getting too much temperature in them, they gave him exactly what he needed to beat Lorenzo. While the hard tire was sliding more than expected, Stoner could exploit the extra grip he had to take the win.

The win was important to Stoner, but what he and his crew found at Laguna Seca could be even more significant. After being banned from racing the soft tire at Mugello, and fears that Bridgestone would prevent them from doing so again at Laguna, being able to race the softer of the two options opens up perspectives for the rest of the season. Now they have data for Bridgestone that shows the softer tire can be made to last without destroying itself, an issue which surfaced at Assen and has thrown Bridgestone into safety mode, the Japanese factory now being very conservative in all of its choices, issuing strong recommendations over tire choices and counseling teams to run with a little more pressure than they would like in order to keep temperatures down. If allowed a little leeway, the Stoner and his crew could be much more competitive for the rest of the season.

That still leaves him with Jorge Lorenzo to beat. The gap from Lorenzo to Stoner is 32 points, an easily achievable target with eight more races to go. But it will be very far from easy: a bad day at the office - an ordinary bad day, not one where he is being skittled into the gravel by another rider, that is - for Jorge Lorenzo merely means he finishes second rather than first. Lorenzo's results this year have been intimidating - 1 - 2 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 1 - DNF - 2 - 1 - 2 - and the Spaniard has never really looked like he was trying. The change to the capacity has brought the performance of the Yamaha much closer to the Honda, meaning that Lorenzo is no longer having to ride at the very limit every lap just to try to match Stoner. If Lorenzo was having to use the Hammer too much in 2011, this year, it's all about the Butter.

Watching the two men circulate provides a stunning contrast, and is a thing of beauty to behold. Lorenzo, at his most 'Mantequilla' is smooth as butter on a summer's day. He never looks like he is trying, riding more like he was being scored for style than racing a motorcycle at the outer limits of its performance envelope. Stoner, on the other hand, punishes the Honda RC213V beneath him as if he had been taking lessons from Torquemada. His style is wild, ragged, throwing the bike around and letting it squirm and wriggle like a captured eel. Lorenzo rounds the corners with the grand sweeping gestures of a medieval nobleman, while Stoner flings the bike into the corner, squares it off, and squirts it out like a Victorian pugilist, doing it what it takes to beat the corner into submission. Though there may not be passing on every lap, yet there is great aesthetic appeal in watching the two best motorcycle racers of the moment slug it out.

While everything is going perfectly for Jorge Lorenzo, the same cannot be said for Ben Spies. A mechanical failure could be said to vindicate Spies' earlier announcement that he would be leaving Yamaha, a collapsed swingarm leaving the Texan in the gravel. The official explanation was "a technical failure of the swingarm" - a phrase Spies needed prompting from Yamaha's press officer for - though no real details were revealed. The swingarm itself looked to be in one piece, with the failure clearly related to the shock support structure. Whether the failure was due to a bolt breaking, a linkage failing or snapping or a mount shearing, we are unlikely to find out. But what is clear is that Spies' run of bad luck is apparently endless. Two mechanical failures in a season - a cracked subframe at Qatar, and now a swingarm failure at Laguna Seca - is not acceptable at this level. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to have one mechanical failure in a season may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two....

Spies was not the only rider to suffer misfortune, Valentino Rossi crashed out late in the race. The Italian locked the front under braking for the Corkscrew, throwing his Ducati Desmosedici into the air fence. The problem Rossi has is much the same as it has always been, getting temperature into the front tire, and providing feeling and feedback from the front end. The front tire was "like new" after the crash, 30 laps in to a 32 lap race. It was an ignominious end to a difficult weekend for the Italian, and does not bode well for his future at Ducati. The Italian had a meeting with Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio at Laguna Seca, where he was presented with an offer for next season. The offer - Rossi strongly denied the rumored 17 million euro salary level, saying that it was less than the last two seasons, a reduction he said was justified by the results he has scored on the Ducati - was less important than the conditions of the deal, and the promise of improvements from the Bologna factory. Spanish magazine Solo Moto is reporting that Masao Furusawa had meetings at Borgo Panigale, suggesting that Ducati is doing everything in their power to keep the Italian.

Rossi was asked many times this weekend about what he will do, and each time he replied that he will go away for a holiday to think about what he wants to do. The choice is clear: to be immediately competitive on a Yamaha or to continue on his quest to win a title on a Ducati. The Yamaha will give him a shot at Agostini's record of wins in all classes; the Ducati offers him the opportunity to write history of his own, and be the first man to conquer a title in the premier class on three different makes of motorcycle. The temptation of that challenge is great - Rossi emphasized it again and again, especially to the Italian press - but he needs Ducati to start making progress which they simply haven't shown so far. He does not have too much longer in the class, two to three years at most, and he may not be able to hold out until the influence of new owners Audi starts to trickle through to Ducati Corse.

What will Rossi do? I really do not know, though most paddock insiders are convinced he will make a return to Yamaha - whatever the conditions imposed upon him. As far as I can tell - harder than usual, sitting in my home instead of at trackside in Laguna - I don't think Rossi has made his mind up yet, and his decision will depend on the time of day you ask him. Another week, and he will have made a decision; a couple of weeks more, and that decision will be public. Whatever his decision, the title of his autobiography is as relevant as ever: What if he had never had tried it?

Laguna Seca has a habit of throwing the championship a curve ball. The epic race between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi in 2008 was a prime example, a turning point in the championship when Rossi halted what looked like the inexorable rise of Casey Stoner. Last year, too, Laguna proved to be key moment in the championship, when Stoner stopped Jorge Lorenzo's resurgence with one of the bravest passes in racing for a long time, through the ultra-fast Turn 1. With Laguna Seca the last race going into the summer break, winning or losing at the US GP can have a dramatic effect on the momentum of the championship.Whether the same will be said of Laguna Seca in 2012 will only be clear at the end of the season. But it has all the signs of being a significant moment, for more than just the five points Casey Stoner clawed back from Jorge Lorenzo. The race, if not thrilling, was at least tense: there was little between the two men for most of the race, Stoner shadowing Lorenzo closely, snapping at his heels but not quite able to attempt a pass. The turning point came on lap 18. As the leading pair plunged down the Corkscrew, Lorenzo's sliding rear tire almost threw him out of the saddle. "I closed my eyes during the highside," the Yamaha man said afterwards, "and I was happy to still be in the seat when I opened them again."

Comments

Laguna 2012

It was a great race unfortunately I had to work so I was not able to watch it live but I watched it afterwards... Lorenzo had it down,, nice move from stoner wich we knew would happen if they were close to battle.. Good win for stoner,, still rooting on Lorenzo to take the title this year.. I watched the whole laguna weekend it was great always love watching motogP boys laying it down on the Tarmac.. So sad about spies crashing out,, and even Rossi had a fast crash braking for the corkscrew.. Idk about Ducati anymore. My choice is that he returns to Yamaha, and say it just didn't work and try to win the championship before he retires.. Can't wait for Indy...

Total votes: 102

That 32-point gap...

...is more like 20-25 points (and that much less to Pedrosa), if there are no other complications.  It is highly likely that Lorenzo will need to take his "Bautista" engine late in the season, and it may come at a time that is least desirable for his chances in The Championship.

Meanwhile, no doubt Stoner is looking back at a couple of races and figuring in a few more point he "should have had" if he had gotten his way over the tire engineers.

Total votes: 105

Oscar Wilde also said

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative", which is why the paddock next year will be so much less without Casey and his wild man bike riding skills. This is not a shot at the amazingly talented Lorenzo, just that the display of different styles is always for the best.

Rossi, yes I hope he stays at the duck factory, but after having slid over so much tarmac for the last 2 years, its hard to imagine him staying.

Its funny how at the end of 2007, it seemed that the Ducati was right on track, in the end its proven to be anything but. For the bike to have been so ordinary, while under some truly great riders, proves to me that there is some sort of fundamental problem with the design and MORE importantly their culture. 5 years and they are moving backward down the grid.

Another quote, this time from Albert Einstein "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results", do not apply it to the bike, but rather apply it to the Ducati culture - someone senior MUST be the problem. They've had long enough.

Total votes: 126

Styles and TC

I wonder how well Lorenzo's style would work on the Honda and Ducati. Early in the Laguna race there was a throttle trace comparison between Jorge and Stoner when Stoner was on Lorenzo's rear wheel. The difference in how they were using the throttle was very apparent - where Stoner was inching the throttle open on exits and sometimes not even getting to WOT, Jorge was definately employing the 'Lightswitch' throttle control method and was regularly showing 100% throttle immediately after the apex. Not a critisizm, just wondering how well that style might work if he weren't on such a supremely sorted electronics/engine/chassis package.

Total votes: 114

I think a similar thing

When I hear comments that Ducati are needing to reduce the agressiveness of their engine, why don't their riders use better throttle control (a simplistic thought at best but), and as Nicky Hayden remarked, one Casey's best attibutes is his ability to maximise acceleration without the electronics - throttle control.

Its also the most likely reason he can make the soft tyre run to the end of the race when others are getting chunking problems by half way, its finesse... He feels the tyre's condition and makes micro-adjustments all the way through the rev-range to full throttle, in order to minimise spin (unless he wants it), maximise drive and minimise wear... one can only imagine...

Total votes: 115

I'm not sure you can safely

I'm not sure you can safely assume Jorge would use the same style on a different bike. He might be adaptable but we'll probably never know as he realizes he's on to a good thing.

Total votes: 111

Last year..

In 2011 Stoner was riding: supremely sorted electronics/engine/chassis package. And Lorenzo was over the limit. And in 2011 Stoner was knocked out by Rossi as Lorenzo this Year by Bautista.

So you have the ansver to .... how well that style might work.

Jorge is on the same level as Casey. No doubt about that.

Total votes: 107

OBVIOUS

Yeeeeeep they've had long enough.

The Duc hasn't had the necessary developement (sorry, stating the obvious) - if it's purely resources, thats sad.

What the hell would del Torchio be saying to VR - 'We haven't quite managed to give you what you need, but boy oh boy we will kick butt next yr. Alternative version 'We will have more than $2.50 to spend on developement next yr.'

Auskid27: 'someone senior MUST be the problem.'
Persuant to seeing a photo of JB looking ready to explode, I'm thinking you're likely correct.

Presumably 'they' thought 'here's the bike, ride it, like Casey.' (It understeers badly, oh just ride it like Casey).

Auskid27: '5 years and they are moving backward down the grid.'
Not objectively, but relatively (not criticising your writing one bit) - wasn't NH quoted as saying a race or two back, they were 2 seconds faster than last yr. Sorry, you're right - lap time and moving backward down the grid are 2 different things.

Looking from the outside over a cup of coffee, I'm thinking it would be best if VR jumps and his fee is ploughed into Duc developement.

Furusawa is supposedly involved: does that mean consulting?
What's he going to say? Your swing arm is too short?

Total votes: 103

Ducati made him "The Offer he Can't Refuse"

This is the REAL offer Ducs made to Rossi:

Del Torchio told Vale that they have kidnapped Uccio.....!
and he was given a week before they start cutting bits off the poor chap! :-)

(this is the latest rumor is by far the closest to reality).... I mean,
look at how Del Torchio was dressed....very likely a boss!!!)

Vale, in repraisal/disgust, gotalso the (modest) satisfaction of launching the Desmo16 into the barrier this weekend..... sometime you need to follow what your heart say! :-)

Let's now wait and see...will the poor Uccio be freed???

Silly Season rules again!

Total votes: 111

Pretty much bang on...

It's sad, I have Ducati's and love the brand - but damn, they have had the same complaints for years. Stoner even said Ducati's main problem is the bike you start the year on, is the one you finish on. We are half way through the season, only VERY minor changes to the bike, I wouldn't even call them changes, as my Dad makes these same changes on his old dirt bikes - not exactly ground breaking... Filippo stated in the bikes debut that this is GP13.0....when are we going to see GP13.1? I thought it may of popped up in round 4....guess not...JB stated on OneHD interview a few simple ideas that had not even been black boarded, I think it was changing the cam shaft cover or something to make the motor slimmer so they could move it more (someone correct me if im wrong)...

If I were VR I'd be at Yamaha arms wide open. Ducati is a small factory yes, but you think they would of come up with a solution with in the last 5 years. Vale hasn't got long left either, regardless of anyone's thoughts - if I were him I'd be thinking about himself, he's given a lot to the sport, have some fun, enjoy yourself...

I just hope Ducati finally learn to listen to their riders, crew cheifs & insiders and make changes to try and improve the front of the bike, I'm sure soon after it will be competitive & attract capable riders.

Total votes: 108

Next year

It is hard to look forward to next year with too much excitement. If you look at the 1s and 2s there is only one race that somebody other than Stoner has beaten Jorge. In other words Jorge would have won ALL but one race (ignoring being belted in Holland).

Do many people other than Rossi fanatics really believe he is going to beat Jorge on a regular basis? He was slower this year with a better frame and 200cc more... Trouble is without Rossi, how long would Audi throw resources at MotoGP? Signing Nicky to one year contract could be an indication.

Marquez is very good but again is not going to trouble Jorge in his first year.

Total votes: 101

"Spanish magazine Solo Moto

"Spanish magazine Solo Moto is reporting that Masao Furusawa had meetings at Borgo Panigale, suggesting that Ducati is doing everything in their power to keep the Italian"

I think this is the most interesting piece of news if this is true.

Total votes: 107

No way. Really?

Does this mean that ducati are trying to hire furusawa to develop the ducati. I mean is that even possible for a lifelong Japanese factory Yamaha man.

Well if they produced a bike by Furusawa is would be a winner but it wouldn't be a ducati.

Total votes: 107

I'm no engineer but it would

I'm no engineer but it would seem obvious what Ducati needs to do is swallow their corporate pride, narrow the angle of the L motor and push the whole thing closer to the front wheel. This may also shorten the bike allowing it to turn in a little quicker. There must be more to it, though. Tell me if I'm being a simpleton here.

Total votes: 109

Nevermind revising the

Nevermind revising the engine. They need to be able to push updates to the bike faster than halfway through the season.

Total votes: 103

narrowing the V

is an idea that was once proposed (for some of the reasons you mention) by the owner
of this site, a certain David E. There have been rumors that they will do this, but
given how little we know even about the capacity of the engine I'm not sure they
would tell us (immediately).

Total votes: 112

Millions of dollars

Millions of dollars in development and they are just now breaking 4-5 year old records? Colin was right in that the concept of the CRT is good. It's just poorly implementated. Why can't Honda or Yamaha sell an engine design based on a 7 year old 990 relatively cheap to a CRT? At least sell the rights to another company to build such an engine. As it stands Edwards was lapped in a GP race. No one wants to see that continue.

Total votes: 115

I don't totally disagree

Although I like your idea and think it makes perfect sense, at this point I don't think the CRT guys are complaining about their engines, the chassis' are the issue and how under developed they are.

Total votes: 92

If moto2 is any indication we

If moto2 is any indication we should see some serious chassis improvement next year.

Total votes: 114

Plenty of reasons they can't

One: the Honda 990 was a V5, no longer permitted under today's rules. Two: there is a bore diameter limitation now that didn't apply in the 990 days. There: there are engine limits now that influence the design of the engine and components for longevity.

I'm sure there are more reasons that could be quoted, related to the cost-benefit for Honda or Yamaha of reproducing and supporting a whole other line of obsolete racing engines, but in any cases the design of those older engines is unlikely to be suitable for adaptation to the MotoGP class of today.

Total votes: 105

Do those rules apply to?

Does anyone know if those rules apply to a production based engine? So if one of the manufacturers put out a high end version of their bike for limited production with a totally different engine that was loosely based on the 990 they used to use (or something similar), could it be used? Again I don't think the engine is the key just yet but it is a possibility in the future I guess.

Total votes: 109

Engine rules

Engine rules are the same for everybody. There is nothing in the rules about prototype or production engines. The rules only state that CRT teams get 12 engines and 24 liters of fuel, as opposed to 6 engines and 21 liters of fuel. The other engine rules are identical: a maximum of four cylinders, a maximum bore of 81mm.

Total votes: 112

Engine list

David, any chance of a mid season update on engine usage by the teams?
Thanks.

Total votes: 107

Millions of dollars

Millions of dollars in development and they are just now breaking 4-5 year old records? Colin was right in that the concept of the CRT is good. It's just poorly implementated. Why can't Honda or Yamaha sell an engine design based on a 7 year old 990 relatively cheap to a CRT? At least sell the rights to another company to build such an engine. As it stands Edwards was lapped in a GP race. No one wants to see that continue.

Total votes: 105

Old records

In 2008 MotoGP have used qualifier tires for qualification. Ultra sticky tires which were made for a few fast laps to set fastest pole From 2009 onwards quali was driven with standard racing tires. That is the main reason for 2007 and 2008 records.

Total votes: 86

LORENZO & STONER

David's description of Stoner on the Honda is apt: "His style is wild, ragged, throwing the bike around and letting it squirm and wriggle like a captured eel." I think that's his dirt-track heritage: he does not mind if the bike is bucking and sliding beneath him. Now, cast your mind back to 1988 and it seems we have a replay of the Eddie Lawson vs Wayne Gardner battles in the World 500 Championship. Jorge is every bit as smooth as 'Steady Eddie' and Stoner is every bit as loose and seemingly on the ragged edge of disaster as Gardner. I know it makes my pulse beat faster watching them, because you never know just what Stoner is going to do, and when. Like his 100 per cent racer attempt to snatch the win from Dani at Sachsenring that went pear-shaped. He must be regretting that now. David may be right, Laguna may prove to be a turning point, but for Stoner to pull back 32 points on Lorenzo with eight races to go seems like long odds. Unless Jorge suffers some problem. But the way he is riding is definitely championship winning material.

Total votes: 103

I think Nicky would disagree

I think Nicky would disagree a bit with you guys about Stoner. Remember he said that Stoner was smooth and didn't fight the bike, he just let it move underneath him. I'd imagine the movement we're seeing is a byproduct of the very limited electronic controls that Casey runs. Either way, he was able to make a soft tire last race distance, he can't be too rough on the thing.

Total votes: 123

You make a valid point!

However I do feel Casey's ability to ride a bad bike fast comes down to something NH also said, and that is Casey lifts himself slightly up off the seat and lets the bike wobble, twist and flex under him (this would absorb a lot energy, that should've been absorbed by the suspension) without him being tossed about (and off in some cases) the bike.

I feel Dave is spot on in his analysis, and that Stoner is like a wild man, by allowing a poor handling bike to dissapate unwanted energy, and I think you're right in pointing out that Casey is smooth, as he needs to keep everything balanced and controlled once the gyrations stop.

That's why Casey can ride a bad bike so fast, one can only imagine how fast he could go if he had a great handling bike, he and freddy spencer in a one on one match race with this year's M1... Only in my old but fertile imagination.

Total votes: 101

Contrast in riding style

I find it mind boggling that Stoner rides the bike wilder relative to Lorenzo's smooth mantequillia style yet have more tire left in the end given that he (Stoner) chose the softer compound of the two.

Was it just a case of choosing the right tires/setup for the conditions? (not taking anything away from Stoner's or Lorenzo's supreme talents in riding this little monsters)

Anyways, gonna be a long wait for the next race (sigh)... Oh well, guess we have to read more of the where will Rossi ride next season to keep us entertained :)

Total votes: 126

Classic Lines.....

Jorge's 250 style with classic apexes and stylish sweeping lines are a wonder to watch, but it does mean more time spent on the edge of the tyre, where grip is lower and the radius is smaller, and hence the tendency to spin up is greater.
Casey and Dani both have a style which tends to square off the corner and hence more time is spent on the middle of the tyre. Both styles have their advantages and disadvantages re wear.

I love Jorge's centimetre-perfect style, but I love Casey's wild-arse sliding more.

Would that I could ride like either of them.........(wistful sigh)

Total votes: 114

stats

A few interesting things looking at the times from last year to this year.
1. If Ben had not been dumped from the bike the first 5 would have been the same
2. Casey would have come 3rd this year on the 800 - and that is against himself on the 1000 else 2nd behind Jorge.
3. Biggest gain was Nicky - 10 seconds better than last year. Casey was only 6 seconds and Jorge, Dani & Andrea were all 8 seconds.
4. Assuming Vale was not going to lose any more time to Nicky (10 seconds last time across the line) he would have been .5 second slower than last year.
5. Go back another year and Casey's race time on the 800 Duc would have placed him 3rd this year behind Jorge and Dani....

Total votes: 113

I reckon the bs soft tyre

I reckon the bs soft tyre should be checked for performance enhancing substances. What's going on?? The hard tyre went off earlier in the year, then a quality control issue and it appears we are back to tyres that require zero management again huge disappiontment. Despite the talk of management the soft was still able to complete the race quicker than the hard with just as little wear . Can we get any comment out of bs?? Clearly a gamble for casey which paid off hansomy. However Jorge was also a lot quicker on the softer tyre but had a lot more to lose by gambling. If the soft tyre is indestructable now I'd expect to see everyone using it next time out.. Great ride by casey all the same. I'm less impressed than most with passing on the straight and suspect most riders given enough power would do the same without thinking . What is clever is the way casey utilizes his power maps. Clearly throwing all the horses at it when he wants to break away or overtake. Rossi? Get out, if Ducati knew how to make a bike that handles they'd have already done it. Funnily enough even the crts handle they are just down on power/electronics. It's almost inconceivable that Ducati can spend as much as they have yet can't get the basics right makes you wonder just how big a difference the extra 200ccs make in wsbk. I suspect given a 1000 engine like the japs their wsbk effort would suffer the same fate. .. Like him to go to Honda in his own no doubt he can still win races, as casey could when Nicky was finishing ahead of him in the first half of 2010. Rossis pace comes from the tea he gets out of the front end the duke doesn't have one.

Total votes: 123

But the Turn 1 on Laguna....

Having ridden a trackday at Laguna, Turn 1 is not like how it looks like on TV!!! It's blind as it's uphill and you're on the gas because you think T1 is just a kink...until you are at the top of T1 and freak yourself out the track turns to the right. Setting up a pass at T1 means you have to know where you will end up on after T1 without actually seeing the turn yet, while accommodating the other rider too. Not to mention hard braking into T2 where the track gets a little flat that it almost felt like negative camber...slight front end slide while trail braking, scary!

Corkscrew, is actually not that bad (on a trackday) because everybody expected it and roll off pretty early in anticipation.

Ben Spies gave his 2 cents with his mouth full:
http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2012/Jul/120729lunchwith.htm

Favourite races for me are the ones I had a chance to do trackdays on, it gives a perspective how great these racers are. (Sepang, Laguna Seca)

Total votes: 111

Perspective...

Nologicone, If you don't mind... What kind of lap times are the expert group posting?

I've always wanted to compare how far away the very skilled, but non-professional guys are compared to not just professional riders, but the GP guys. (The few tracks I run at don't even hold AMA events)

Lorenzo's pole was: 1'20.554

Total votes: 104

I am unsure of the specific

I am unsure of the specific times set by the A group track day riders at laguna seca itself. But from experience, the best couple of guys at local track days are maybe .5 to a second off the back end of the typical AMA group. So probably high 1'28s or there abouts. The talent of the riders in the very back of the AMA is not really all that higher from the local amateurs that make up the fastest track day riders. They just happen to have the money and committment to race full time.

Kind of funny actually since the very front of the AMA could probably be in WSBK if they had the sponsorships, and were a tad younger.

Total votes: 109

+1 to yello13!

Couple of my friends are racing the AMA Motorcycle Superstore Supersports class (not even DSB level) and are running 1'30 ~ 1'33. They are self funded privateers not even in the top 25, but are guilty of being in the expert group during trackdays ;)

http://www.amaproracing.com/rr/events/results.cfm?year=2012&eid=20120112...

I agree with yello13 that if my friend could race full time as a job, he will do it without thinking twice. Most of the grid fillers in the Supersports are simply Group A trackday junkies ;)

I can only wish for the day my lady will grant me the nod for an AFM license...

Total votes: 98

Thanks guys...

That is exactly what I wanted to know. I know when I'm on the track and feeling invincible... and then very shortly afterwards get passed by a guy (or girl) reading the morning newspaper and having his morning coffee... it's a little deflating. :)

There's fast... then there's faaast...

Then there is GP.

Total votes: 108

Hugelean, an argument against one of your points:

"it appears we are back to tyres that require zero management again huge disappiontment" -- In every interview given after the race Stoner clearly described how he had to carefully 'manage' the tyres so that he didn't burn them out. His management strategy included backing off mid race and many other things you can find described first: in David's article and second in his podium address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTWBh50guYE

I could continue with a few more arguments but I have to cook dinner instead :) enjoy your evening.

Total votes: 95

Casey's style

I think describing Casey's style as "wild" does him great discredit. I believe Casey is capable of riding extraordinarily smoothly, and he showed that during the middle part of the race when he was preserving his tires and sitting back and waiting for his time to strike.

I'm sure he can feel how his tires are developing throughout a race, and therefore knows when he can start attacking with his super aggressive style, which is probably slightly faster than the smooth style. Pedrosa's style seems to be somewhere in between Casey and Lorenzo. I think Lorenzo would have a dreadful time on the Ducati. That stoner can win so decisively on such different bikes is a credit to his ability.

As for Ducati - I have always thought that Ducati's 200 cc advantage in WSK is outrageous and unfair. They have so much more torque coming out of corners it is ridiculous. They should have a weight advantage (as practiced successfully in motogp) - and CERTAINLY NOT a cc advantage. Who on Earth came up with that idea? Everyone can see it for what it is though. Imagine if the Honda V5 had only been allowed 880cc? It wouldn't have been nearly as successful.

I would also like to see the top riders all choose the soft option for the remaining races. Would make racing far more competitive if Laguna is anything to go by. No more complaints of "no edge grip" etc.

Total votes: 94

2 different kinds of heat in

2 different kinds of heat in a tire, tread heat and carcass heat. a softer tire can actually run a cooler tread temp by not spinning.

Total votes: 109

Strokes for folks

The contrast between Stoner and Lorenzo's riding styles has been apparent for a good few seasons now. Just a thought. Many have entertained the notion that Casey would cream everyone on the M1. I'm not so sure. Lorenzo's style and meticulous poise suits that bike perhaps more than it would Casey. Manhandling it,albeit with a super sensitive wrist is a contradiction that the M1 may have not taken too kindly to. This might just explain why Casey was second fiddle to Dani and George on the precision 2 strokes. We will never know for sure. Dani slots in somewhere between the two. No one picks up and rockets the bike out quicker than he does.
Mid season and only 8 left before the Sun sets, if only temporarily for Stoner.
Just one consideration in terms of Casey. Were he to win the remaining 8,which of course won't happen,he will have won 45 GP premier races,23 of which were for Ducati.
Stoner will be missed next year for sure. I remember how badly he was missed in 2009. He announced his retirement a while back, but retirement is not necessarily forever especially at his age. A year or two out, a change of heart for a return for a season or two.
I wouldn't rule it out.

Total votes: 110

Not sure where Stoner was second fiddle to Pedrosa and Lorenzo

The last year they all 3 raced together before MotoGP was 2005 250GP championship.
Pedrosa 1st (8 wins, 11 podiums), Stoner 2nd (5 wins, 10 podiums), Lorenzo 5th (0 wins, 6 podiums).
It was Pedrosa 3rd world title in a row and 2nd season in 250 while it was Stoner and Lorenzo 1st season in the category (except for Stoner debut year in GP in 2002).
Fact is Lorenzo never beat Stoner in 250GP championship and they finished once in front of the other in their 2 common 125GP seasons.
Admittedly Pedrosa dominated both in both categories.

Total votes: 105

Just not accurate about Stoner

It has been shown, and commented on by other MotoGP riders, that Stoner uses fewer electronics than anyone on the grid, and that his control of brakeSSS and throttle is more sensitive. He is not a "wild man". He is a guy that can ride the fastest motorcycles in the world at THEIR limits, all the time. His feel must be outstanding, which is why he was surprised to loose the front the last race.

Unless Marquez has something more than a Simoncelli style, it is going to be a very boring Lorenzo/Yamaha show the next couple years without the Australian.

Total votes: 111

It's going to be a really

It's going to be a really long summer break for those of us who don't really care where Rossi rides next season.

Total votes: 111

Stoner, Lorenzo, Rossi

Watched the race again. Someone posted that Lorenzo uses the throttle like a light switch. I believe them, I was at Laguna on one the years he threw himself to the moon by relying on the electronics too much. Lorenzo by himself has proven that TC will not save you from being launched like you are on a 500. It is clear, that he relies heavily on his electronics. Casey, I would dare say is the total opposit. He says he turns down the TV settings. And he is also able to get better drives coming out of a corner than just about everyone.

Looking at their two styles, I think Jorge would have the bigger problems adjusting to different bikes. Don't doubt he could do it, (maybe not with the Ducati.. he may have a problem adapting to that), but Casey I could see being able to ride even the two stroke 500s and be dangerously fast.

Rossi. I do not see Ducati fixing their problems before Rossi is too old and used up. Looking back at the last season Casey Stoner was on the Ducati, even he was having problems overcoming the front end issues until the end of the season. There may be more or less to the problem than any of us on the outside know, but one thing is for sure. There is a serious problem. If Rossi leaves, Italy may burn down the Ducati factory for tarnishing Rossi, (joking). IMHO, Rossi needs to leave. Damn going down in flames. Even if Ducati get more money, it does not matter if their engineering team cannot design the goods. Their progress has not been good enough. Yes they are a small factory, no they do not have the Japanese companies budget, but they should be closer to the front. Which all of this is easier said than done. Good luck to both. Ducati IS and will always be, my favorite factory. I am a fan of Rossi, and watching him not be able to ride the Ducati is painful.

Total votes: 108

Accepted Frenchie

Dani,Casey and George are one unforgettable era of great riders climbing through the ranks.
Nothing to add and thanks for the stats.

Total votes: 126

Rossi should retire at the end of the season

Rossi should try to get Furusawa to consult for Ducati and stay on there with the hope that something can come out of it. If he is convinced that Ducati cannot do anything for him then he should gracefully retire. His reputation as turn around specialist, though deserved or not, is gone anyway and I do not for one believe that if he gets on a Yamaha he will magically return to winning ways. 2013 is not going to be like 2005, that much is for sure. If Rossi goes back to Yamaha and does not do spectacularly well, then just imagine what that would mean to his reputation. I think Yamaha will not be too supportive of him anyway after all the tantrums that he has thrown in the past. All they need to do is give him slightly inferior machinery and he will look like an idiot next to Lorenzo. Japanese factories have a notorious reputation of exacting revenge if their egos are played with and Rossi did just that. I still think Rossi should retire, does not matter what history says. No one can take away the fact that he won seven titles in the premier class. Everyone has an Achilles heel and people will simply see Ducati as Rossi's Achilles heel. In tennis the great Bjorn Borg never won the US open. That does not make him any less a legend than he is. Ideally this is the time for Rossi to go rallying or whatever makes him happy and leave MotoGP for good.

Total votes: 110

Couldn't agree more

In fact he should have gone at the end of 2010, having recovered from the leg and been back at the pointy end.

If he's to make a career of some sort in car racing then he should get into it while he's still reasonably young. Raikkonnen, Block and Rossi himself have shown that WRC is not an easy nut to crack and you need a couple of years to find your way. If he wants to have a serious go at being WRC champ he needs to get started.
And as has been said, he really has nothing left to prove and a lot to lose trying to prove a point against a younger MGP generation. Motorcycle racing tends to be a harsh mistress.

Saves Audi/Ducati pouring endless dollars down an unstable and currently bottomless pit too. Ducati should withdraw and concentrate back on SBK, which is understandably enjoying an ascendency in popularity again, not unlike it was in the mid 90's. Audi can then "inherit" Rossi - an instant boost in profile for their WRC, LeMans, DTC or whatever else Rossi feels like trying.

Total votes: 109

Observations

I was at 'Seca and here are some bike obs:
1) the speed through the trap, displayed on the walkway over the front straight was 'interesting. The fastest speed was Casey during the race (165) which he hit twice. He was consistently running 163-164 w/Dani at 162-163; Jorge at 161-162; Nicky 160-162 w/Rossi 158-160. The fastest CRT was at 155 w 3 of them running 144-150 (as a comparison Hayes R1 AMA SBK was 150, so you have to ask yourself what the hell is the matter w/some of these CRT engines when a SBK is going so much faster!)
2) watching Casey exiting turn 5 and running up the hill to turn 6 was.......scary/dumb founding! His bike shook/wobbled violently is BAD that the first time I saw it I thought it was gonna spit him off! But no, he just kept the throttle WFO/PINNED!!!! This was on Saturday, during FP/qual'ing and he was better during the race, but compared to Jorge M1, which was on rails in the same place, it was amazing sight. If HRC can fix his bike......
3) same turn Nicky/Rossi bikes consistently ran wide/pushed the front! Again, amazing to watch them bend the bike in and it push the front.
4) watching the 'big boys' enter turn 1 vs everyone else was 'audible'---ALL CRT's and non- big boys would roll the throttle off as they approached the top of the hill.
5) Casey's pass, like last year, takes some BIG ____!!!! I was sitting in the same place...between turns 1&2 and passing ther, over a blind crest, at 160+.....

Having ridden a track day at Seca and then watching 'these' guys......the word alien is an understatement. A BIG understatement!!!!

Total votes: 115

Like your last statement!

"Having ridden a track day at Seca and then watching 'these' guys......the word alien is an understatement. A BIG understatement!!!!"

Imagine being able to do a trackday or 2 on every MotoGP circuit, watching the races will not longer be the same! IF...a big IF I stumbled upon a windfall like the Mega Lottery.....

Total votes: 80

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