Looking Back At 2013 - Rating The Factories: Honda, Yamaha, And Ducati

In the final part of our look back at 2013, we review the performance of the factories. How did Honda, Yamaha and Ducati stack up last season? What were their strong points, and how did they go about tackling their weaknesses? Above all, what does this mean for 2014? Here's our rating of MotoGP's manufacturers.

Honda
Manufacturer's Championship Standing: 1st
Score: 10/10

It seemed as if every technical rule change and tire decision swung against Honda in 2012. First, they found themselves outfoxed over the minimum weight by Ducati, after the MSMA first told the Grand Prix Commission that they had unanimously rejected a proposal to raise it from 153kg to 160kg. It turned out that only Honda and Yamaha had rejected it, with Ducati voting in favor, which meant the rule should have been adopted and not rejected. As a concession to the manufacturers, the weight was raised in two stages, to 157kg in 2012, and 160kg in 2013. Then, after being tested at Jerez, the riders voted to adopt the new, softer construction front tires, despite complaints from the Repsol Honda riders.

Honda struggled for much of 2012, first working out where to place an extra 4kg (a problem the other factories did not have, as they had struggled to get anywhere near the previous minimum of 153kg), and then running through chassis and suspension options in search of the braking stability they had lost with the introduction of the softer front tire. After the test at the Mugello round, they had most of the problems solved, and Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa went on to win eight of the last nine rounds.

Come the 2013 season, and Honda were well-prepared. They already had their braking stability issues under control, and the only point left was the extra 3kg they had to carry. Having had all of 2012 to prepare for the extra weight, they arrived at the start of the season with few issues. Dani Pedrosa took a little while to get used to the extra weight, his slight frame a disadvantage when it comes to flinging the extra bulk around, but he soon had the situation under control.

All year long, Honda had the edge on Yamaha because of the work HRC had done in 2012. The better braking stability meant that Pedrosa and Marc Marquez could outbrake Jorge Lorenzo almost at will, leaving Lorenzo struggling to get back. The Honda's weak point came on a slippery track, when conditions were either too cold or too dusty, the RC213V struggling for grip out of corners and unable to carry corner speed. Interestingly, Dani Pedrosa seemed to have more problems in low grip than Marc Marquez. Perhaps Pedrosa was expecting a particular behavior from the bike, while Marquez simply didn't know any better. Being 20 years old and in your first year makes it much easier to adapt.

It wasn't just braking stability where the Honda reigned supreme. In terms of fuel consumption, the RC213V was streets ahead of the Yamaha, the Yamaha riders having to cut fuel back at some circuits just to make it to the line. Conditions helped the Yamaha out at some of the very fuel-heavy tracks. The dusty track at Qatar made the surface too slippery for the Honda, while at Motegi, severely limited practice meant nobody really got to grips with the track, allowing Lorenzo to run away with the race. At other tracks, Yamahas had to be pushed back to the pits after running out on the cool down lap, something which never happened to the Hondas.

We can only speculate where the Honda's advantage came from. As a 90° V4, the RC213V doesn't need a power-sapping balance shaft, which helps. Having two separate banks of cylinders makes for better cooling, too, the 2013 bike sporting larger side vents in the fairing for dumping waste heat. Honda have worked hard on reducing internal friction. And then there's the electronics, where Honda are outstanding, providing excellent throttle response even with lean fueling.

The only place where the Yamaha was better than the Honda was in corner speed, but its advantage was small, and outweighed by Honda's better braking and acceleration. It was a clash of design ideologies. On the one side, the harsh V of Honda, hammer into the corner, jam on the brakes as late as possible, get the bike turned quickly and then stand it up and get hard on the gas. On the other, the sweeping U of Yamaha, brake early, carry corner speed, needing less acceleration as the bike is already going faster. The battle has echoes of ancient wars fought earlier, the ideologies of the two parties still intact after twenty five years or more. It is a battle in which the V has trumped the U more often than not.

The 2013 Honda RC213V was pretty much as close to motorcycling perfection as we have ever seen. HRC enters 2014 full of confidence; with 20 liters of fuel instead of 21, they should have the measure of Yamaha, and as for Ducati, they are still a long way behind. 2014 could be a wild Honda romp.

Yamaha
Manufacturer's Championship Standing: 2nd
Score: 8/10

In 2012, Jorge Lorenzo was left to defend Yamaha's honor almost alone, as Ben Spies struggled with a series of bizarre mishaps, crashes, material failures and more. The only help Lorenzo got was from the Tech 3 duo, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow pushing each other to greater heights.

With the return of Valentino Rossi to Yamaha, the Japanese factory hoped for a little more help for Lorenzo in 2013. It would not turn out that way. While Honda's struggle with the softer front Bridgestone in 2012 had masked the underlying weakness of the Yamaha, the RC213V's competitiveness ruthlessly exposed it. The Yamaha had gotten around the problem with the softer front largely by ignoring it, relying on the ability of Lorenzo to carry an inhuman amount of corner speed. With Rossi in the opposite garage, it became clear that Yamaha had been relying on Lorenzo a little too heavily.

Lorenzo continued to take the fight to the Hondas, but the battle was a lot tougher than it was in 2012. Lorenzo's style - brake early, let off early, then sweep majestically through the corner carrying more lean angle than anyone else was capable of - 'the only time we reach that lean angle is just before we crash,' Cal Crutchlow joked - giving him more exit speed to carry him on to the next straight. All of Lorenzo's transitions were so smooth - watching from track side, he looked like he was moving in slow motion - that he never upset the M1 at all.

The trouble was, after letting off the brakes, Lorenzo would find a Honda diving up the inside and then jamming on the anchors right in front of him, hogging his line, destroying his corner speed, and taking away any advantage he had. Braking later was not an option, the Yamaha simply not stable enough on the brakes, so Lorenzo had to find another way of beating the Hondas.

Without Lorenzo's corner speed, the other Yamaha riders simply didn't stand a chance. Valentino Rossi was a distant fourth at most races, the only exception when Lorenzo and Pedrosa were injured, or track conditions played into the Yamaha's hands. Rossi's strength - his ability to brake late, brake hard, and still get the bike turned - was completely useless, the bike simply not allowing him to ride that way, the front too soft to handle it. The less stiff front Bridgestone and Yamaha's failure to address their own weakness worked against the returning Italian.

In part, Rossi himself was to blame. At the end of 2013, Rossi admitted that he had know that the new, softer construction front tire would cause problems when he tested in 2012. But given that he was already, as he put it, 'in the sh*t' with the Ducati, a softer front tire was the least of his problems. If it slowed the rest up, it might give him a chance to get closer to the Hondas and Yamahas on the Desmosedici. Once he swung his leg back over the YZR-M1, he found himself in deep trouble.

The factory men at least got some help after Brno. From Misano, Lorenzo and Rossi had Yamaha's seamless gearbox at their disposal, giving them a big improvement in acceleration. The bike was more stable off corners, and upshifts were possible with the bike still heeled over, making it less tiring to ride and conserving tire wear over the course of the race. The gearbox brought the Yamaha men that little bit closer to the Hondas, making Lorenzo's job just that little bit easier. The advantage on upshifts has been canceled out, the Yamaha much closer coming out of corners. Now, Lorenzo and Rossi are asking for help on downshifts, the Honda riders not needing to use the clutch when changing down, while the Yamaha men still do. The clutchless downshifts mean that the Honda gets into corners better, helping with braking stability by keeping the rear wheel more under control. There is as yet no date on when Yamaha are expected to have this improvement ready.

For 2014, Yamaha will have to work on braking stability, but with tire construction expected to remain the same, or perhaps even firm up a little, that should get Yamaha closer. Their biggest problem will be fuel consumption, the Yamaha being the thirstiest of the three factory bikes on the grid. The long-bang inline four needs a balance shaft to suppress vibrations, and balance shafts use power, and therefore fuel. The inline four also means the two inner cylinders (two and three) run hotter, as they have cylinders on both sides, and not just one. More heat means more friction, and that too causes power loss. The traditional way to cool those cylinders is to run them slightly richer, but that uses more fuel, robbing Peter to cool Paul. And there is little room for extra cooling, as the motor has to be kept as narrow as possible. There are no easy answers to Yamaha's problems in the coming season.

Ducati
Manufacturer's Championship Standing: 3rd
Score: 5/10

Seen from Bologna, the problems of both Yamaha and Honda seem utterly trivial. The list of problems faced by Ducati are very, very long: the bike has chronic understeer, an engine which is too powerful and too vicious, a lack of feeling at the front end, and it requires a lot of physical effort to ride. It is too long, the swingarm is too short, and the gearbox output shaft and crankshaft are in the wrong place. But apart from that …

For the first time since Ducati entered MotoGP in 2003, the factory failed to score a single podium. While Honda and Yamaha were making progress, Ducati mostly went round in circles. At the beginning of the season, Ducati Corse boss Bernhard Gobmeier declared it would be a year of 'evolution, not revolution. The factory did a fair amount of work, figuring out chassis stiffnesses and improving the feel of the bike. By the end of the season, the latest iteration of the chassis had improved front end feel, and in combination with a softer motor, made the bike less tiring to ride. The lap times, however, remained stubbornly between seven eighths and a second slower than the leaders. Evolution had been nice, but what was needed was revolution.

That came at the end of the year, with Gobmeier being moved upstairs and off to car racing. In his place came Gigi Dall'Igna, heading up a wholesale return of Italian talent. He was joined by former Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti, and former team boss Davide Tardozzi drafted in to run the MotoGP team. For 2014 there is more revolution on the cards, with the factory likely to enter under the Open regulations, allowing them the freedom to redesign the engine as the season goes on. That will mean giving up their ability to develop their own software, but at this moment in the company's history, performance gains from limited electronics are the least of their problems.

The engine is at the center of Ducati's issues. Many people - including myself - have written that Ducati's use of the 90°V was the root of the problem, but the revelation that Honda are using the same engine angle proves that this is not the issue. Where Ducati is struggling is with power delivery - too aggressive, needing a heavier crankshaft to calm it down - and engine geometry, with parts all in the wrong location. The V has already been rolled backward to make the engine shorter, but it now needs to be moved further forward to get the crankshaft rotating in the ideal location. Where it is right now - 5-8cm further back than Honda's crankshaft - could be causing the understeer which so badly plagues the Desmosedici. That, at least, is the theory proposed by the extremely perceptive Giorgio 'Manziana' Mulliri of Motocorse. Moving the engine forward would also allow the output shaft to be relocated, simultaneously improving the geometry of the rear swingarm. These issues were why the extensive work on chassis stiffness only paid very modest dividends for Ducati in 2013.

Ducati's problems were more than just technical, however. One major issue for the factory was the fact that the engineers working in the Ducati Corse race department in Bologna never got anywhere near the racetrack, and the engineers working with the race team never visited the factory in Bologna. Communication between the two groups was virtually zero, meaning that data from the track was never assessed and used properly. The two groups functioned as two separate entities. Motorcycle development and design relies heavily on communication, just looking at data provided misses the most crucial element: the input of the rider.

This was an issue which Bernhard Gobmeier never managed to address. As a German, an outsider placed with the factory by new owners Audi, he never enjoyed the confidence of the Italian staff. The first change made by Gigi Dall'Igna on his arrival was to start rotating engineers between factory and race team. It is much easier to make that change as a fellow Italian. And especially as an Italian with the record of success which Dall'Igna enjoys.

What will 2014 bring for Ducati? The switch to the Open class - officially a decision to be made only once a back-to-back comparison has been made at Sepang, but with so many advantages for Ducati that it seems almost inevitable - will allow Dall'Igna to tackle the Desmosedici's weakest point. With 12 engines for a season, he can focus on gradual improvement by modifying engine internals, instead of being subject to both the engine development freeze and the reliability constraints of the Factory Option entries. More changes will be made to Ducati Corse's internal structure, with communication a key focus. With Dall'Igna, Tardozzi and Ciabatti in charge, the project will start moving forward again. A championship is out of the question, race wins are vanishingly unlikely, but being within sight of a podium must be a possibility by the end of the season. In 2013, a podium seemed like an impossible dream. There's a long way still to go for Ducati.

In the final part of our look back at 2013, we review the performance of the factories. How did Honda, Yamaha and Ducati stack up last season? What were their strong points, and how did they go about tackling their weaknesses? Above all, what does this mean for 2014? Here's our rating of MotoGP's manufacturers. Honda Manufacturer's Championship Standing: 1st Score: 10/10 It seemed as if every technical rule change and tire decision swung against Honda in 2012. First, they found themselves outfoxed over the minimum weight by Ducati, after the MSMA first told the Grand Prix Commission that they had unanimously rejected a proposal to raise it from 153kg to 160kg. It turned out that only Honda and Yamaha had rejected it, with Ducati voting in favor, which meant the rule should have been adopted and not rejected. As a concession to the manufacturers, the weight was raised in two stages, to 157kg in 2012, and 160kg in 2013. Then, after being tested at Jerez, the riders voted to adopt the new, softer construction front tires, despite complaints from the Repsol Honda riders.Honda struggled for much of 2012, first working out where to place an extra 4kg (a problem the other factories did not have, as they had struggled to get anywhere near the previous minimum of 153kg), and then running through chassis and suspension options in search of the braking stability they had lost with the introduction of the softer front tire. After the test at the Mugello round, they had most of the problems solved, and Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa went on to win eight of the last nine rounds.Come the 2013 season, and Honda were well-prepared. They already had their braking stability issues under control, and the only point left was the extra 3kg they had to carry. Having had all of 2012 to prepare for the extra weight, they arrived at the start of the season with few issues. Dani Pedrosa took a little while to get used to the extra weight, his slight frame a disadvantage when it comes to flinging the extra bulk around, but he soon had the situation under control.

Comments

Rider Weight and Bike Weight...

...why isn't there some discussion of a combined minimum weight between rider and bike?

Surely this would make much more sense than using ballast in a bike that's being ridden by a bigger and heavier guy, and allow riders to eat a little healthier and more freely than supermodels.

Total votes: 39

because

Because it's nonsense and is only being discussed because some people think it might help Rossi.

I always point to Marco Simoncelli. He never had any problem with it and I think he was one of the tallest and heaviest riders of the modern era.

Total votes: 49

maybe...

just maybe... Simoncelli was the exception that proves the rule.

Total votes: 30

I'm not sure it's nonsense.

I'm not sure it's nonsense. Pedrosa' s light weight generally helps him get lightning starts.

Total votes: 23

That was a long time ago

That was a long time ago, Jorge Lorenzo is the one that starts the best, not Dani Pedrosa, and he is much heavier than Dani.

Total votes: 31

Marco Simoncelli rode 800cc's

Marco Simoncelli rode 800cc's not these 1000cc's. And he didn't have to deal with 20L of fuel for a race.

If he were still riding, and I wished to God he was as I miss him very much, he would most certainly had issues in 2014.

A combined rider/bike weight limit should be implemented. It is fair. They have it in the other classes.

Total votes: 17

Disadvantages AND advantages

Being heavier may have its disadvantages, f.i. in accelleration, but in general it also means more muscle to push a bike around. It's not like you're carrying some bricks in a backpack.

David posted an analysis about the influence of weight, a couple of years ago:
http://motomatters.com/analysis/2011/04/13/number_crunching_how_much_of_...

Total votes: 25

Inequality?

Whether it is a nonsense or not, it seems strange to have a rider + machine weight in moto2 then not in MotoGP.

Total votes: 21

Ducati

Are you sure Ducati is going for the Open category? It makes no sense to me, if they're not in MotoGP to develop their own systems then why are they there at all?

Total votes: 29

Well, I don't know. Maybe

Well, I don't know. Maybe because of the publicity, maybe they believe the bizarre notion that a motorcycle is more than software, or maybe, just maybe, they are crazy enough to think racing is a sport. Who knows? Italians are weird.

Total votes: 34

No one is sure that Ducati is

No one is sure that Ducati is going to the Open category, but it's a good guess, and it makes sense. Open allows more freedom to continue working - more engines, more fuel, more testing. At the end of the day Ducati has more pressing problems than just the electronics - they need to get the hardware right before they worry about the software.

Total votes: 24

Bravo Honda

It's easy to get 10/10 when you write the rules......

The fuel limit when further reduced in 2007 was bad enough, this further decrease is not good news for the already fragile state of the competition. I would love to see a minimum weight rule introduced, especially whilst Yamaha and Ducati continue to persist in playing the fuel/Engine no game. Otherwise go to Open entries and remove the issue, which I actually hope they both do.....

Total votes: 33

Pretty pessimistic re Yamaha

Considering they only lost the title by 4 points, and Lorenzo actually seemed to have the edge after the seamless box got introduced. The tighter fuel limits may or may not be an issue for them, Depends what their pin heads can come up with.

Total votes: 20

with even less fuel

its not a bad to think a rider/bike weight MUST be introduced. aldough honda fans wil say NOOOOOOOO. something else.......

Honda struggled for much of 2012, first working out where to place an extra 4kg (a problem the other factories did not have, as they had struggled to get anywhere near the previous minimum of 153kg),

but wait what do i read on a other site?

There was talk that the first versions of the liter M1 were actually lighter than the 800cc version. Yamaha built the bike to weigh in right at the legal limit. Then Dorna raised the weight requirement (allegedly because Ducati could not even get close). Thus, now the M1 carries a lump of lead somewhere so it can 'make weight'.

so not only honda was struggling

Total votes: 20

honda fans ?

The only people we've seen complaining about weight lately are fans of Rossi. If weight was such an important, unarguable factor in mgp, Dani Pedrosa, the ultimate lightweight, would've been a multiple world champion already.

0 Championship after 8 years with the best team in the paddock.

Total votes: 31

But fuel reduction is plain bad

let's agree on that.

Total votes: 27

Weight

If it doesn't matter why does every motorsport team in the world try to keep it as low as practicable/allowed?
If it doesn't matter why are drivers being excluded from F1 because they are 'too heavy'?

It is wrong to claim that 'only Rossi fans' are commenting on weight.

If HRC think 3kgs is something to make a fuss about, what does it mean for riders who are 10-15kgs heavier than the HRC riders? (and the issues around strength and mobility are well understood, but I don't think HRC have added any weight to DP's leathers or other kit; not to that degree anyway.

Weight is the 'elephant in the room' - it needs to be addressed and a move towards a minimum bike/rider weight implemented sooner rather than later. With fuel limits as well (and there is a lot of acceleration involved and you cannot argue that accelerating mass doesn't take energy) and that energy only has one primary source at present - fuel.

When 1/100ths of a second matter arguing that weight isn't a factor is ignoring the laws of physics.

You don't hear much from the lighter riders about high mass front discs either; I wonder why it only the taller and heavier riders who ask for them at regular circuits. It's not because they like more un-sprung weight.

Rules that affect everyone equally or balance performance are fine and necessary. I would like to see more tyre choices for the same reason - and if HRC choose a stiffer carcase for their front tyre that's fine too. At least no-one can claim an unfair rule is at work.

Total votes: 37

Law of physics ?

If it was that "simple" to perform in mgp, the paddock would've been already filled with F1 engineers, (and let's remember what kind of epic failure those condescending guys faced by trying)
There's just no proof the weight of a rider is an insuperable negative factor in mgp. The F1 example is weak. The F1 drivers don't have to use their weight to brake or lean into turns like the riders need to.

Lorenzo and Rossi, two of the "heaviest" riders in the paddock combined for 4 World Championship over the last 6 years. Try figure that out...

Total votes: 28

Extinction of smaller racers.

A combined rider/bike weight limit makes no sense in MotoGP. I am going to make an even starker statement: a combined rider/bike weight limit will see a series dominated by heavier riders, since someone like Pedrosa will face a 15 kg heavier bike to muscle around. A major disadvantage. Smaller riders will not stand a chance.
You just can't compare the living weight of a rider with the dead weight of a bike, at least not in MotoGP.

Total votes: 41

Indeed

Exactly. It would be like allowing every basketball player smaller than 6 feet to wear platueshoes.

Total votes: 16

Weight issue primary, or

Weight issue primary, or fuel? Wouldn't weight be less of an issue if there were a return to less fuel restictions? Which again makes it easier to get tires up to temp since they are being worked more (both F and R)? AND less a need for electronics to manage fuel and rideability? Engine reliability problems getba big boost w richer mixtures. Sheesh, is there something else that is alleviated w more fuel as well?
IT'S THE FUEL LIMITS.
I am hoping for an Open bike to catch the Honda Factory sooner than later. Let them be the only factory bike out there in 2015 w 19L of fuel and 3 sealed engines from Spring...may the best non-anorexic Open competitor grab the squared-off corner inside line from them and leave some paint on their fairings while they're at it! (Betcha a pint its A.Espargaro and Yamaha)

Total votes: 17

Let's be sensible about weight and energy

Rather obviously, since the ratio of rider weight to bike weight determines ability to leverage the bike, the ratio would have to be taken into account in this process. Just as the mass of the bike and the rider contribute to the overall energy required to get it around the track for the length of the race. Energy is measured in fuel in the bike, and anaerobic fitness in the rider.

The Power and Torque of the bike, across a race distance, are determined by the amount of Energy available, and that's much the same for the rider.

So being a little sensible about things, and fully recognising the uniqueness of motorbikes (that the rider's leverage is the most important thing he does on it) a balanced sliding scale is the ideal 3 wheeled consideration of weight, energy and race length.

So a range of Leverage ratios in consideration of Weight should be available to the teams that in turn determine the volume of Energy.

In other words, have a range of acceptable Leverage ratios:

Leverage ratio must be no less than Lmin and no more than Lmax.

And in consideration of the then total weight, distribute a volume of Energy (FUEL) to that rider/bike combination.

This would mean there's flexibility in the bike's weight, and then fuel should be the third wheel to this balancing act. For each move up in rider/bike weight ratio, the bike should also be able to carry more fuel. A sliding scale.

In this manner little riders can exploit their weight advantages by compromising in their direction, whilst bigger riders can exploit it in their direction.

Having a rider that's 20% heavier than another using the same amount of fuel on the same bike is obviously less fair to the heavier rider. And that's just one of the many clear reasons riders desire to get to their lowest possible race fit weight, all the time.

And the teams constantly pushing them to lose weight is because it impacts all aspects of the bike performance. Not some vanity issue regarding the race gear. But it does have a rather negative impact on their ability to recover from injury and their overall strength when the battle is only weight loss at the expense of all other factors.

The area of tire touching the ground doesn't change in accordance with the weight of the rider, so it's always better to be lighter for braking, acceleration and ultimate turning performance.

The only advantage heavier riders have (at the moment) is absolute bike control (but only if they have enough strength in reserve to exploit that weight, don't forget a bigger rider is using more energy through a race to control his own weight, so he may not have as much relative reserve/residual strength as a littler rider) and transitional forces they can apply by moving that weight (again depends on there being reserve/residual relative strength to use it being available).

One might well argue that Rossi's not as strong as Lorenzo, so Lorenzo is able to exploit his weight better than Rossi.

But they're still both at a disadvantage to the Honda riders, both of whom are jockeys in any meaningful comparison. There's really not much difference in size/weight between Marquez and Pedrosa. They're both VERY small guys.

The other question is how are bigger built riders going to get through the feeder ranks, if there's ever any consideration given to rider size in MotoGP? The answer to that question is probably World Superbikes.

I'm not talking about Rossi or Lorenzo sized riders. I mean for guys 20 to 50 lbs bigger, guys that genuinely have the kind of muscle mass and shape required to absolutely exploit a bike's chuckability. Think bigger versions of Nori Haga.

As we progress more towards the Marquez style of riding in one direction it would be nice to see bigger guys having some chance of keeping up with his light weight waif-ness by using muscle and mass to exploit other characteristics of the bike's handling, as Lorenzo has shown is possible in both ways.

MotoGP is the featherweight cup, at the moment, and Simoncelli really was the exception that proved the rule.

Total votes: 35

Really

I thought the topic was manufacturer acumen given recent history, not frivolities about rider/bike mass. I guess the rider/bike mass argument is as dumb as the Honda/Yamaha/Ducati engine layout crock. Last time I drew two lines converging at 90 degrees they made the letter L, NOT V. Furthermore, the Yamaha layout is a transverse 4. Aprilia admittedly do run an in line V-4.
Guzzi used to build transverse L-twins and blah.
Ducati need to go Sepang 1 with an L-4 screamer,not a big bang slow poke quasi Yamaha. The hell with handling for now. When I watched the speed traps last season,the Ducat's were significantly slower than the HRC and Yamaha bikes.
They made the thing so 'user friendly' over the past 3 seasons to the extent that it is useless. Hopefully,with the likes of Tardozzi,Gigi,Ciabatti & Co at the helm,the days of the fire engine rocketship will regain some composure. Who can forget Suzuka back then? Outstanding and tragic in the same breath. Ducati creaming the rest for about 8 glorious laps on debut with Capirex and then the Daijiro Kato tragedy.
Every off season seems to take longer and longer to endure.
5 out of 10 Ducati...for sure. The game desperately needs them to step up to 9 out of 10. Will we have to endure another boring L-4 HRC vs Transverse 4 Yamaha season ? Probably.

Total votes: 20

L vs V

A 90° angle between cylinder banks is almost universally referred to as a 90°V. Only Ducati refer to it as an L, and they chose the L for the angle of the front cylinder, which is nearly vertical. The Aprilia RS250 also uses a 90° angle between the cylinders, as you can see from the photos in this thread on the Aprilia Forum. I would refer to that as a V-twin, not an L-twin. Since the start of the 2012 season, when Ducati rolled the cylinder banks back by some 20 degrees, the Desmosedici stopped being an L4 (though this was part of a process which had been going on for some time, the 2012 version being the biggest change in one go) and started to be a V4. Despite the fact the angle between the cylinders is 90°. The same angle, incidentally, that the Honda RC213V uses.

Total votes: 16

Afterthought and strategy

Messrs 5 out of 10 need a strategy out of the box from race #1 even if they don't have the race distance tools. The focus from race #1 should be brutally and ruthlessly simple. No matter where they qualify, they need to beat the HRC and M1 machines into turn #1. This in effect will generate its own domino principal all the way through rookie to alien. I guess Tardozzi is already thinking along those lines.

Total votes: 17

Physics or Darwin?

Perhaps those heavier riders are actually better riders. To say weight isn't an issue in the equation is ignoring facts, not opinion. I like deeds suggestion of a sliding scale on relevant factors. It could get complicated and difficult to police, though. A Moto2 type solution is less sophisticated but simple to enforce.
Redding's performances against Espagaro were certainly stronger after the weight issue was addressed. There was a reason for that and it applies to MGP as much as Moto2. It probably wasn't all about weight, but it was a factor.
Talking about weight also seems a lot more relevant to performance than debating if it's a V or an L.......however, an I4 has a lot more against it than for, and HRC's solution seems spot-on to me. I think Ducati should stick with the configuration and move the rest of the internals to get closer to what HRC have.
Burgess mentioned the swing-arm/crankcase issues at least two years ago and that has to be where most of the lap time is to be found (it's the only significant difference left to play with). The last few tenths will take lots of trial and error but as long as they are top 6 it will not look so bad.

Total votes: 19

Self-contradiction much ?

"Perhaps those heavier riders are actually better riders. To say weight isn't an issue in the equation is ignoring facts, not opinion."

As a matter of fact, yes the heavier riders didn't have any particular issues to win in mgp when they were also the better ones, at least up to now.

Thanks for sharing your opinion nonetheless.

Total votes: 20

Weight

It is an issue for heavier riders because of the increasingly limited fuel they are allowed. To shift more weight, they use more fuel, there can be no arguments to this.
It has little to do with physical implications of riding the bike. Why are we seeing Cal and Rossi running out of fuel? It's certainly not because they are tiny guys!

In respect to the other nonsense you posted, it's equally amusing that those against the minimum weight appear to be those constantly here bashing Rossi.

Total votes: 18

Of course I am bashing Rossi

Oh wait... It's a lie, I never did that, not even once ! Don't call people out for bashing your favorite rider just because they disagree with you. You keep talking about facts but it remains unconvincing. You can't prove weight is an insuperable factor for the heavier riders in mgp (which are relatively speaking not heavy at all by the way).

Pedrosa is the lightest rider by an insane margin, he's the least successful of the Aliens. Unless you believe he's just not an Alien, what would be laughable, Pedrosa deals with his fair share of issues by being so light. And for you information, Lorenzo weights as much as Rossi and Crutchlow.

For sure, It's not amusing to see you guys having such poor consideration for the little Spaniard.

Total votes: 11

Pull up a little.

Firstly you're falsely assuming you're being accused of Rossi bashing, then you go onto falsely conflate the discussions of physics with imaginary Pedrosa bashing. But in the middle you're busily suggesting the laws of physics aren't applicable to the combination of rider and bike weight.

Take a breath.

That's a form of energy for humans. Generally speaking bigger people take bigger breaths because they need to spread it out through more blood.

That's an accurate generalisation, but it's not always a fact.

Acceleration with more weight at the same rate as a lighter bike/rider requires more energy, meaning more fuel is required to keep pace. There's also an issue with extra torque being required to be transmitted through the back wheel, so greater wear and tear on the tire to achieve the same rate of acceleration as the littler guy.

It also requires more energy to brake from the same speed at the same rate, when heavier. This is dissipated as heat in the instance of the brakes, and extra wear and heat in the tires.

That's physics.
And these aren't generalisations. Or estimations. They're facts.

Total votes: 13

What about the colossal energy required to stop a mgp bike ?

let alone, to lean it into corners every 3 seconds ? Oh wait that's where the well documented lack of strength of Pedrosa could make sense perhaps ? Now, how do you quantify that within your "facts" & "law of physics", I mean besides a gross over-simplification ?

Being condescending will not make you more convincing, believe it or not but I want a fair game as much as anyone & I'd love to be proven wrong with a legitimate explanation. Not seen yet.

Total votes: 12

Braking forces on Pedrosa are...

...LESS. Because he weighs less.

But that's not the full extent of his advantage under braking. But it is a fact. In absolute isolation. All things being equal, Pedrosa has an advantage in proportion to his weight difference and is therefore not equal to any rival.

How's that

What follows is not always the case, but most often is.

He's also benefitting from the other advantage of being smaller, that he's likely stronger in a pound for pound sense than those bigger than him. So he's pushing back at his own weight as it comes forward on the bike, but relative to that weight he's mostly likely stronger than his rivals.

A generalisation, as I say, but a very reasonable one give that these guys are athletes, all.

As to turning... well, again, at the limit of the turn, once the bike is settled into the turn, and arcing around it, he's at an advantage again... he's only dealing with his lesser weight being subjected to the G's.

It's only in the transitions where he's at a disadvantage, because it would take him more energy to pull/push the bike to a different angle. But, go ahead, add up all the moments on a track when the weight advantage works for him, and then all those that it works against him, and then calculate the relative force differentials.

Should be interesting. I'm betting he's a good few seconds better off across the course of a race distance in just that - BEFORE we get to the fuel, brake, tire and engine wear issues the bigger guys must deal with.

Again, this is physics. You can't dispute these physical laws and expect me to resolve my defence of them as though you've successfully countered their laws. They're standards of our understanding of the world around us, plus the motion, energy and the forces we betwixt, and come from far greater minds than yours and mine, have been utterly proven, and are... for lack of a better term, reality.

So if you're going to counter the known laws of physics... it's your game... it's on you to prove you're right. You might be a few Newtons short of Torquing your way out of this disclaim of physics, but I think google will prove that far better than I.

Total votes: 12

L explanation

That's good - it's what you see when you look at it in the frame. Agreed!

Total votes: 17

The energy required

to accelerate a bike comes from the fuel.
Braking dissipates a lot of that energy in the form of heat.
The rider provides the energy to turn or otherwise control the bike.

The first two points above will use and lose more energy for a higher combined bike/rider weight than a lesser one. Those are facts and an explanation. If you don't believe it (which is another issue) then you are basically denying truth.

The heavier rider will also need to exert more energy to turn a given bike, but this is affected by leverage factors and is minor in comparison to the energy needed to accelerate the machine in the first place.
The lighter rider is able to compensate for his lower strength and shorter limbs by adding leverage at the controls using levers of greater length etc. he probably remains at a small disadvantage for most situations though - especially the ability to move his weight when accelerating, decelerating, or cornering. It will be more difficult to control slides/loss of adhesion using his elbows and knees as these 'levers' will be shorter, and possibly less effective.

Lighter usually means smaller; the smaller rider will have an aerodynamic advantage during all phases of acceleration as there will be less drag. He will possibly suffer a little during braking as the lower resistance will require more mechanical braking - probably a lesser factor though. The weight effects are covered above.

The pros and cons of rider size/weight can be argued to suit your favoured position. However, it is taking such position to an extreme if you argue that a 10-15kg disadvantage is not a performance influence and doesn't require more fuel to complete a race.

By comparing Pedrosa and Rossi you are comparing, probably, the two taller/shorter, and heavier/lighter riders in the MGP paddock.

I would not expect Pedrosa to be penalised to the same weight as Rossi - however, it would not be unreasonable, I think, to introduce a compensatory rule that requires a minimum bike/rider weight and/or for heavier riders to have an extra litre or two of fuel to compensate for the demands of acceleration. This will penalise the heavier rider at the start, but it will at least avoid high air/low fuel ratios that reduce engine performance that the heavier rider needs. The heavier/larger rider is also carrying a possible engine penalty under recent rules, because he needs to work the engine harder.

You only need to look at relatively low-powered machines such as karts and mini bikes to see the effect of weight more dramatically - a lighter rider will always accelerate quicker and has a major advantage.

or, just try carrying 15kgs up a few flights of stairs. Then tell me you cannot understand the difference extra weight makes.

Total votes: 16

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