Recent comments

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   6 min 9 sec ago

    Allowing time for innovations to be perfected can change an apparent bad concepts with bad engineering to a wildly successful future direction. It seems all too easy to dismiss readily ideas that may offer genuine improvements.

  • Rating The MotoGP Riders Mid-Season - Part 1: The Top 8, From Marc Marquez To Andrea Iannone   19 min 42 sec ago

    Thanks as always for your entertaining writings on the MotoGP brain game !

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   48 min 18 sec ago

    stick to a simpler beast..

  • Rating The MotoGP Riders Mid-Season - Part 1: The Top 8, From Marc Marquez To Andrea Iannone   50 min 25 sec ago

    Now I get it. Championship standings! Well, Pol is a very high placed rookie in deed. Ianonne and Marquez have battled in moto2 i guess.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   56 min 11 sec ago

    A splendid article as ever Matt.

    Didn't Gerry Burgess also say that bike was a nightmare to work on? He was talking about something as simple as changing a wheel, you need one spanner on a Yamaha, multiple on a Ducati.

    I was thinking about buying a used 1098; hmmm maybe not after reading this...

  • Red Bull To Back Repsol Honda Team From 2015   1 hour 13 min ago

    "Red Bull have taken their eye off the ball in the motorcycling arena"

    Spot on. Will it be cheaper to outbid existing players now, or would it have been cheaper to have kept some skin the MotoGP game?

  • Red Bull To Back Repsol Honda Team From 2015   2 hours 6 min ago

    Red Bull have taken their eye off the ball in the motorcycling arena - whilst Monster now sponsor a number of riders in BSB, WSB and MotoGP on both helmets and bikes. Its all about profile and getting the brand captured in the media.

    Plus there are the Monster dolly birds and the brand is a bit more bad-ass!

    What Red Bull have missed out on is having their branding on the bike of the rider who has won everything this year - bit of a cock up if you ask me.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   5 hours 58 min ago

    Keep in mind too that 2008 was not just impacted by rule changes. The economy of every market in the world fell like an Illmore. Ducati has a much smaller revenue stream than their competitors. Italy was much harder hit than Japan. I don't know the figures but safe to say budgets dropping were synergistically related w rule changes.

    Odd thing comes to mind...LOVED the 998 and will dearly remember track time on one. Hated the 999 primarily for the choo-choo aesthetics. Look at how strong it turned out to be on track! Lousy street bike. Now look at the Panigale...BEAUTIFUL and full of amazing tech, great streetbike but unimpressive race bike. Ducati is SO Italian, tons and tons of heart and anything but formula bound. Lots of love for life (what other MotoGP pit garage would serve cured meats, cheeses and wine on Thurs of a race weekend and let fans join in?). Keep in mind how amazing it was that they came into the onset of MotoGP with such a blazingly fast motorcycle right off the bat.

    They were very slow to make changes to the physical size of the engine. They put too much focus on the carbon fiber chassis that was not as tuneable and sortable as needed nor provided adequate feel. The advent of Bstone providing a fabulous tire and particularly one a good fit for their bike's needs masked a need for a development change that was needed.

    New chapter is well underway. I CAN'T WAIT to see what riders are able to do w this all new bike! Ducati is able to do it well. If they hit the tire lottery w the Michelin and a certain rider has a sweet feel from the package we could see a red bike at the pointy end. The championship electronics could end up a tough fit for Honda or Yamaha relative to Ducati (Honda appears to have more to lose here from where I am sitting). Fingers crossed for the '4 bikes/2 manufacturer' applecart to come undone.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   6 hours 43 min ago

    john britten's bike was pretty much the last true innovation that actually worked, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Britten for those who don't know him, innovations that don't work are just bad concepts with bad engineering

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   6 hours 59 min ago

    I agree Ducati has tried some very inovative ideas - Mono Carbon Frame, Carbon fiber swing arm, etc, and I applaud them for it.
    But this isn't show and tell, this is racing.
    Titles, wins, trophies, poll position, fastest lap, the top step, riders fighting to get on your bike, sponsors throwing money at you to have their stickers on your bike, your race team's reputation and your corporations legacy.
    As they say - the proof is on isle four, in the pudding section.
    Casey - bailed.
    Marco - nearly broke him.
    Spies - probably responsable for the early retirement injuries
    Rossi - Ugh - went through more leathers with Ducati than he had in the whole of the rest of his career.
    Cal - seems so happy
    Dovi - happy to be in front of Cal

    I think the 2015 Ducati is going to be rife with change and will run up front. Whatever they told Cal & Dovi was the right thing, now I just hope they weren't blowing sunshine up their asses.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   9 hours 48 min ago

    Ducati's unrealistic expectations of favorable future rules changes is the most accurate assessment of the situation, imo.

    Ducati have not adjusted to the control tire, but I reject the premise that Ducati forgot how to build race bikes. They were on the brink of some interesting developments in 2007, but they were caught out by a raft of rules changes. The same rules changes turned Kawasaki and Suzuki into deadwood. Yamaha adjusted best, winning the 2008 and 2009 titles, which explains why Ducati took a chance and brought them both to Bologna for 2011.

    Ducati has not played its hand well, and as a result, they seem to be on the losing end of many battles within the MSMA. I don't disapprove of Gigi's hire, but Ducati are admitting that they want someone who can adjust to the whims of the GPC, rather than a mad-scientist with his own visions of fast motorcycles. Ducati's current strategy is a white flag, though, as you point out, it may be necessary to save their GP effort in the modern control tire era.

    Maybe Michelin will shift the paradigm again in 2016.

  • Red Bull To Back Repsol Honda Team From 2015   10 hours 25 min ago

    Its good news when any sponsor wants to take a greater interest in the sport. It would have been nice to see something that involved LCR as well maybe in a similar way to Red Bull's sponsorship of toro rosso (I think they own the team? probably a step too far). In any case good to see them putting more money into GP. Sponsors like winners or more specifically they like Marc Marquez.

    I was always fond of the Crafar/Dunlop 500cc red bull bike I thought it looked great.

    Red Bull increases HRC sponsorship along with heart rate and chemical dependence

    Follow me @RealMotoNews

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   10 hours 53 min ago

    Absolutely excellent point! The bike is the result of the disfunction in their race dept not the cause of it. You're right that Honda & Yamaha are very quick to respond to problems presented by new tires or tech regulations & in Yamaha's case simply responsing to the advances Honda keep churning out. Would Honda suffer an understeering bike for years? Unthinkable. Would Ducati solve the massive chatter problem Honda experienced at the beginning of 2012 by mid season so one of their riders could dominate the second half? Questionable. There's no doubt racing is in Ducati's blood but it sounds like some of the brains of their company are not getting enough of that bloodflow and are in danger of passing out. Dr Gigi to ER please!

  • Red Bull To Back Repsol Honda Team From 2015   11 hours 17 min ago

    I'll put some in the fridge alongside my VR46 Monsters.

    Let's not hear any glass half empty merchants drawing analogies of doom with tobacco sponsorship, eh?

    This day and age, you've got to take it where you find it.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   12 hours 11 min ago

    Sure the control tyre makes it very difficult for new technologies to be successful - because they have to work with a tyre that's designed for traditional tech - however, Ducati tried going to aluminium twin spar frames to replicate the traditional approach and they still failed.

    If they want to compete in the current environment they need to change; they can't rely on changing the environment to suit their experimental tech.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   14 hours 33 min ago

    The anecdote relating to the use of four different sizes of bolt is very telling. You can see where the designers are coming from, using the correct size bolt for each application, racing however is about speed. That includes in the pit garage so you should need as few tools as possible.

    I used to do a bit of classic preparation, it was hard to work on some sixties and seventies British stuff as you would need AF, Whitworth and metric spanners and sockets...a nightmare when you grab the wrong one in the heat of the moment and round off a nut!

    Overall, this is a symptom of companies which purport to adhere to Kaizan principles but in reality it gets in the way of the ego's of their management.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   14 hours 38 min ago

    What Matt has described is what I was wittering on about a week or two back regarding organisational development etc, not that I'm claiming any great kudos for insight, it's become more and more apparent that Ducati has BIG problems for quite some time. If Gigi does build a wonderbike for next year, which would be great, Ducati will still have the same underlying weakness to sort out. Four sizes of bolts? You can build a better bike for next year by saying to the engineer, 'that's stupid, two sizes max'. But if that engineer goes away saying he's only made the change because you made him do it, you'll probably find him coming back with a compelling reason for 3 sizes in 2016. And so on. Big change is a hearts and minds thing that has to start at the top and needs a critical mass of buy-in from the whole workforce. If Ducati's top brass are as they sound, that's one tough gig for Gigi (excuse the pun), not least because people tend to recruit people like themselves, or who will at least agree with them, so the rot won't be entirely limited to the top floor.

    The other thing is that much of the talk is about sorting out the cornering, as though this is a single issue, 'once fixed it's fixed' type of problem. I'm not convinced. Honda and Yamaha have had near perfect designs for a decade but each year they need to fix something about their bikes. Clearly cornering is the big one for Ducati right now but to return to any kind of enduring competitiveness they need to get to a position where whatever the problem, they have sustainable capability to find a successful solution, as is the case with the Japanese manufacturers.

    Like almost everyone else I really hope they can do it, for the health of the sport alone.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   15 hours 10 min ago

    Never mind where the coffee machine is located, it has always seemed to me that part of the problem during the Rossi-Ducati years was that the crew chief and race mechanics were back home in Australia after every race. While I have no details of travel schedules or work schedules, I have read things indicating the normal pattern was for the crew to show up for the race every other week. I always wondered how that could work. At the same time, the Japanese factories face obvious logistics problems. I admit that I don't really know how they manage their schedules regarding technical development and feedback from the front lines.

    I wish Ducati the best for the balance of this year and the future. Ducati is important to the overall health of MotoGP, IMO.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   15 hours 38 min ago

    Great read and summation to one of the most enigmatic mysteries of the GP paddock. It's been over 5 years since it was apparent that the Ducati was sliding towards the back of the grid Casey Stoner or no Casey Stoner. Oxley's year by year list of results is an indictment no one at Ducati can be in denial about. At this present moment they are very much a has been in GP racing and if they don't turn it around for real that may continue to be the case. The real shame is that the same design egos/ethos that has hamstrung the GP machine has infected their road bike (frameless pig) and took them from regular title chasers in SBK to the same wilderness the GP team finds themselves in. I'm glad Gigi has free reign to change more than the bike. He knows how to design a bike and run a successful race program. If Ducati culture proves so intractable that he can't put them right then I really fear for their future in racing. Who else is there? They have the passion that's for sure and they have the technical ability to be contenders I feel. Maybe rather than grand expressions of supposed innovation maybe they should go a less glamorous path of incremental refinement. Honda and Yamaha are the pinnacles of the art & technology of GP machines through evolution instead of revolution. 2016 looks to be a year that all the factories will be reigned in some and readapt to new limitations. If Ducati can get a bike that can turn and be set up while retaining the sheer power their motors are known for they may find that trail of bread crumbs leading them out of the wilderness.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   15 hours 48 min ago

    Minor detail is that Stoner was riding the Honda on Nov 6th 2011 - but you make a good point.
    Stoner won 3 of the last 6 races in the 2010 season on the Ducati. He finished 2nd behind Lorenzo at Valencia on 7th Nov, almost 5 seconds ahead of Rossi. By the next day, the Desmosedici was a three-legged dog.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   16 hours 51 min ago

    Another excellent appraisal by Mat Oxley. I had no idea how bad the situation was at Ducati before reading this. Looking on the bright side, I think Gigi Dall’Igna is just the man to set things right – his insistence while negotiating his contract on getting control on all of the racing operations is an indication that he knew from the outset all the issues that Mat described.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   17 hours 26 min ago

    Ducati abandoned the steel trellis for a carbon fiber monocoque and carbon fiber swingarm. They abandoned carbon fiber for aluminum twin spar and aluminum swingarm. They take bigger risks than the other manufacturers.

    Ducati and Stoner were both knocked out by the same set of circumstances. They won their first GP title, and then people started screwing around with the rulebook. In 2008, Stoner complained bitterly about the tires, and Bridgestone changed them again in 2012. Stoner went home.

    There is nothing wrong with Ducati. The rules have been unstable. Kawsaki quit. Suzuki quit. Stoner quit. Preziosi was forced out. Ducati have stayed around. Maybe that's their problem. Reasonable people would have quit, but Ducati is just too damn stubborn and temperamental.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   18 hours 51 min ago
    ?

    I'm curious what... Why???... It is nightmare for motogp mechanic to work on motogp bike? (isn't it "just fired" mechanic? ;) :) ) [Maybe it is just me - but everytime I touch and work on GP parts - I feel like I'm waking up in paradise] ...
    Nightmare bike got podium this year and best laptime at PI tests?
    ...
    ...
    ...
    "...it seems like Ducati have forgotten how to design a racing motorcycle..."
    if it is so... They forgot it in one night. Between November 6 2011 - when they won race in Valencia and November 7th when exactly the same bike (but different rider) was 17th in tests ;) :)

    Dall'Igna knows V4 kinematics. He will do it! :)

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   19 hours 35 min ago

    it's all Valentino's fault! ;)

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The problem at Ducati   20 hours 10 min ago

    In racing world where everything is measured by result, people failed to appreciate manufacturer willingness to explore innovation and new technology...true that honda-yamaha mainstream tech such as in-line four, AL frame, etc still delivering best result at the moment... however new tech such as duc's carbon mono frame, proton KR 3 cyl, although they failed to deliver expected result it still bring excitement and fresh blood in world dominate by conventional technolgy, ... they know the prospect & risk of being different, so credit for them by trying to bring new value in motorsport...People only remember the success story like seamless trans,carbon disc,etc. which basically a refinement on existing tech...however more radical engineering attempt like ducati frame is much more difficult to develop, but people easy to assume it as failed-tech or garbage... I believe otherwise...all new tech simply not easy...it require more resources, time & patient to find the sweet spot...but racing is such a vicious world compare to R&D pace...after all, sponsors and spectator only want see the podium finishers.

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