Editor's Blog: Another Update On Site Upgrade Progress - Nearly There

Dear MotoMatters.com readers,

First of all, sorry for the delay. Figuring out the site upgrade took longer than I thought, mostly because I chased a couple of dead ends and made some boneheaded mistakes. But that is how we learn, of course...

The good news is that the site upgrade is nearly finished. The migration to a newer version of the site software has been tested and works, and is ready to be done on the live website. The new layout is good enough to go live, and the remaining refinements can be done after the site has been relaunched.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 313: Supercross Legend Chad Reed On MotoGP - A Champion's Viewpoint

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast features a very special guest. AMA Supercross and MX legend Chad Reed joined the show to give his perspective, as a multiple SX and MX champion, on the MotoGP paddock, a place he knows very well. Chad is a frequent visitor to the MotoGP paddock, and has been friends over the years with most of the top riders, having spent time with Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez, Jack Miller, Fabio Quartararo, and more.

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Editor's Blog: An Update On Site Upgrade Progress

The updating of the MotoMatters.com website is making progress, but it is a time-consuming process. I have reached the point where I am ready to start migrating content and subscriptions, but I estimate completing this will take me all of the coming week. The objective is to have the new site up and running (perhaps in a basic form, without much formatting) by the time I leave for the Ducati launch next Sunday.

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Diego Gubellini Interview: On Fabio Quartararo, Battling With The Ducatis, And Developing The Yamaha

Diego Gubellini talking to Fabio Quartararo on the grid at the Red Bull Ring in Austria
Diego Gubellini talking to Fabio Quartararo on the grid at the Red Bull Ring in Austria

Fabio Quartararo missed out on the 2022 MotoGP title by a handful of points. The advantage Pecco Bagnaia had going into the final round was too great to overcome at Valencia. Given the lack of horsepower the 2022 Yamaha M1 had, it was impressive that Quartararo took the championship down to the final race.

Quartararo's feat was down in no small part to his crew chief, Diego Gubellini. The Italian, who was paired with the Frenchman in what was then the Petronas Yamaha satellite squad and moved up to the factory Monster Energy Yamaha team with him, helped Quartararo extract every ounce of performance from the M1.

I spoke to Gubellini on the Thursday before the final race, looking back at the 2022 season and how he and Quartararo worked to get the best out of the Yamaha M1. He talked about his role as crew chief, maximizing the speed of the Yamaha, and his role in the development of the 2023 machine.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 310: Holiday Special - Winners, Losers, Surprises, Races, And Special Moments Of 2022

In the last Paddock Pass Podcast for 2022, Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, and David Emmett take a look back at the 2022 MotoGP season and pick out their highs and lows. They choose their riders of the year, their races of the year, the rider who has most surprised them, and what they would ask Santa Claus to bring them to make MotoGP even better in 2023.

There was a lot to talk about, so it's a long show, and as an added bonus, Neil Morrison sat down with KTM Moto2 rider and 2021 Moto3 champion Pedro Acosta.

Thanks for all the support through the year, especially to everyone who supported the show through Patreon. And special thanks again to Fly Racing and Renthal Street for their support.

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MotoGP's Expanding Calendar - Why MotoGP Races Where, And How Dorna And Circuits Make Money

The expansion of the MotoGP calendar has met with resistance from a variety of quarters. While a section of MotoGP fans are enthusiastic about there being 21 races next year, up from 20 in 2022, and from 19 pre-pandemic, those inside the MotoGP paddock are largely opposed.

That includes at least some of the manufacturers. KTM bosses Hubert Trunkenpolz and Stefan Pierer were adamant that the ideal number of races on the MotoGP calendar was 18. "18 races would be ideal, 20 is the absolute maximum," Trunkenpolz told Speedweek's Günther Wiesinger.

Pierer agreed with his fellow KTM board member. "I made it very clear to Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta that we as a manufacturer want a maximum of 18 grand prix," Pierer told Speedweek.

Trunkenpolz was damning of the choice of Sokol International Racetrack as a venue. "Kazakhstan makes absolutely no sense, as far as we are concerned. The Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi was a better prospect, as India is an important market for the motorcycle manufacturers.

Making money going racing

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 309: How The MotoGP Manufacturers Measured Up With Peter Bom, Part 2

In the second part of David Emmett's chat with former crew chief and now MotoGP expert commentator Peter Bom, the pair dive into the three remaining factories. We discuss what made Suzuki's GSX-RR so special, and why it was such a competitive bike. We discuss KTM, how they had success in the factory team, with Miguel Oliveira winning races and Brad Binder capable of passing so many riders, while the Tech3 satellite squad struggled with two rookies.

We also take a look at Honda, and what they did to the RC213V. Why did they have such a difficult year? What was wrong with the bike? Can the fix it in time to prevent Marc Marquez from leaving? And what happens if he goes to Ducati?

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Valencia Test Deep Dive, Part 2: Ground Effect - KTM And Ducati Follow Aprilia's Lead

Maverick Viñales at Valencia aboard the Aprilia RS-GP. Photo: Cormac Ryan Meenan

For the past few years, Ducati have been the manufacturer pioneering the direction of development in MotoGP. Ducati will come up with a new idea, which the other manufacturers will hastily copy, with a greater or lesser degree of success. Holeshot devices, ride-height devices, winglets. The latest example of this are the tail fins, the four winglets sticking up from the tail of the Desmosedici, which have suddenly also sprouted from the tail of the Honda RC213V and the Yamaha M1.

(As an aside, what do these tail winglets do? Riders report they give better stability, especially under braking. They are too tall to be purely vortex generators – which would reduce drag by smoothing the boundary layer of air on the tail. A possible explanation is that they are directing the airflow coming off the rider, the least aerodynamic part of the motorcycle. But they could also be helping to keep the tail of the bike straight under braking once the load disappears from the rear wheel and shifts to the front. But I digress.)

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 308: How The MotoGP Manufacturers Measured Up With Peter Bom, Part 1

In this episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, David Emmett sits down with veteran crew chief, data specialist and Dutch TV commentator Peter Bom to take a long and detailed look back at the 2022 MotoGP season. In the first part of the show, Peter tells David what he thought of Pecco Bagnaia's championship, and the pair go through the strengths and weaknesses of Ducati, Yamaha, and Aprilia. The other three factories and more will make an appearance in the second part of the interview.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 307: Season Finale Round Up With Carlo Baldi

The final race of the 2022 WorldSBK season is in the books, and Steve English and Gordon Ritchie have a special guest on the podcast, respected Italian journalist Carlo Baldi of Moto.it. The trio take a look back at the final WorldSBK of the season at Phillip Island, and assess how the 2022 championship has played out.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 306: WorldSBK Round Table And Jonathan Rea Interview

In this episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, recorded ahead of the final round in Australia, Steve English, Charlie Hiscott, and Gordon Ritchie get together to discuss the state of the WorldSBK championship. Steve also speaks to Jonathan Rea, who tells Steve how much harder WorldSBK has been for the six-time champion this year, and why Kawasaki has struggled.

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Valencia Test Deep Dive, Part 1: Honda - New Aero, Frame, Engine, And Clutch, But Little Improvement

Over the next week or so, I will be taking a deep dive into what I saw at the test, with the help of photos from Niki Kovács and having talked a few things over with Peter Bom. But examining all of the photos and thinking about what I saw has been an intensive affair, as I tried to figure out what was going on.

But we'll start off with Honda. For a lot of reasons. Not just because Marc Marquez expressed disappointment at what HRC had brought to the test, but also because two new riders switched to Honda, including the 2020 MotoGP champion Joan Mir and the winner of the Valencia MotoGP race Alex Rins.

I gave my first impressions from the test on Tuesday evening after the test, but the trouble with working quickly is that you don't notice what you have missed. There are so many small changes that you don't really have time to absorb them all. And sometimes, there are so many eye-catching changes that you miss out on other big changes, which is certainly the case with Honda.

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Editor's Blog: Content In The Next Few Weeks

Some of you may have noticed there has not been a lot of new content on the site over the past week. That is in part due to the fact that there has been very little real news to report from the world of MotoGP. A new documentary on Marc Marquez to be shown on Amazon Prime around the world in February, Pedro Acosta missing out on riding KTM's MotoGP bike because of rain at Jerez, and the prospect of Danilo Petrucci heading to WorldSBK with Barni Ducati.

I hope that the content which has been on the site - especially Akira Nishimura's fantastic two-part interview with Suzuki boss Shinichi Sahara - has kept you entertained.

The lack of content is not because none is being produced. I am in the middle of going through a mass of detailed photos from Niki Kovács from the Valencia test, from which I have unearthed some interesting detail I have not seen at other sites. However, this is an intensive and time-consuming business. I hope to have the first part, on Honda, up in the next day or two. The rest should follow in the course of the next week. All this will of course be exclusive for subscribers, as it is too good to give away for free.

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