2011 Assen MotoGP Post Race Round Up: It's That Man Again

Saturday's MotoGP race was either a real snoozer or a fantastic spectacle, depending on your point of view. For the racing purist, the kind of fan who appreciates seeing masterful riding, watching someone push the bike to the limit constantly and precisely for full race distance, there was plenty to marvel at. For the casual fan, someone who wants to watch several riders giving it their all in a close battle right to the end, it was dull as ditch water, the first-lap crash giving ultimate winner Ben Spies a gap that he could exploit, and one more pass for the podium positions on lap two settling the race.

If you're a Ben Spies fan - and there are plenty of them, including quite a few recent converts after the Texan proved himself first in World Superbikes, then in the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team - then Assen was a race to treasure, Spies seizing the bull by the horns and dominating the race from the off. Spies had a strategy for those first few corners - push as hard as possible through the right-hander Haarbocht, Madijk, and Ossebroeken corners so that he would be safe from attack at the first left hander of the track, the horribly tight Strubben hairpin - which worked perfectly and turned out to be highly prescient. Once Spies had a lead he pushed to build up a cushion, then watched the gap to the chasing Casey Stoner, responding as and when necessary.

This was Spies' first win, and the first win on a dry track by a rider other than Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa or Jorge Lorenzo since the 800cc era began back in 2007. Spies may have had a little help from the first-lap crash, and the track conditions were not quite 100% dry and normal, but the mastery which went into the Texan's victory said a lot about his ability. At a historic track, on a special occasion for his employer - Spies' factory Yamaha was decked out in a stunning red-and-white livery to celebrate the Japanese manufacturer's 50 years in racing, and there were both legendary figures from Yamaha's past such as Phil Read and Giacomo Agostini looking on, as well as a number of bigwigs from Yamaha's European headquarters in Amsterdam - Spies got the job done with ruthless efficiency, oblivious to the pressure. The Hondas may have the edge over the Yamahas, but in the right hands, the Yamaha isn't that far off. Ben Spies clearly possesses a pair of those hands.

There was plenty of interest further back as well. Almost as impressive as Spies' ride to victory was Jorge Lorenzo's unrivaled charge through the pack after being taken out in the Strubben hairpin by Marco Simoncelli - there's that name again, more of which later. Take away the lap time from his first-lap crash, and Lorenzo's race time is just 12.5 seconds slower than his teammate's, 7.5 seconds slower than Stoner's, over 12 seconds faster than 3rd-place man Andrea Dovizioso, and 14 seconds quicker than Valentino Rossi's on the new-and-improved Ducati GP11.1. After being knocked off his bike, Lorenzo had the presence of mind to remount and run at a pace worthy of a podium, while passing 6 other riders on his way forward. It was a very cool performance under a lot of pressure.

And so we come to Marco Simoncelli, the man once again in the eye of a storm of comment, conjecture and opinion. Simoncelli's eagerness got the better of him once again, and he seized an opportunity that was almost within reach, but not quite. The incident itself was almost trivial: Simoncelli dived cleanly and fairly inside the gap left by Lorenzo, and just as he started to open the gas to press home his advantage, the rear came round, slamming his bike into Jorge Lorenzo's and taking both men into the gravel. Everyone asked about the incident - including the victim of Simoncelli's mistake, Jorge Lorenzo - labeled it as a racing incident, the kind of thing that happens when you have motorcycles competing with each other at speed. But they also pointed out that these incidents always seem to involve Simoncelli in one way or another.

Simoncelli's record in his second year of MotoGP is astounding: a 4th, a 5th, three 2nds and two 1sts in the seven races we have had so far this season. But those figures pinpoint exactly what Simoncelli's problem is, for those results are his positions during qualifying, not during the race. On race day, Simoncelli has had two first-lap crashes, has crashed out from both the lead and a podium position, been given a ride-through after his collision with Dani Pedrosa, and had a couple of decent if not remarkable finishes, coming home 5th and 6th. Despite having had two poles this season, the Italian stands 10th in the championship, just ahead of the mostly anonymous Hector Barbera. If he hadn't been able to rejoin the race at Assen, he would be down in 14th place, with only the Suzuki and the Pramac Ducatis behind him.

Simoncelli's unadulterated raw pace is beyond question. The Italian has consistently looked the most comfortable rider on the factory (albeit painted in San Carlo Gresini colors) Honda RC212V, with only Casey Stoner capable of going faster than him on a regular basis. During qualifying, he is the second fastest man of the season, bested only by the Australian on the Repsol machine. Come race day, Simoncelli's mind seems to falter, and his season has been a paean to poor judgment.

Saturday's race at Assen was the perfect example: Simoncelli dominated all weekend in whatever conditions the Dutch weather could throw at the MotoGP class. The paddock had spent all weekend talking about how tricky it was to get the tires up to temperature in the cold weather, and that this was a major problem for the left-hand side of the tire, requiring caution in the left handers in the first few laps of the race. As if to underline this point, all three Repsol Hondas had crashed in left handers on Saturday morning's session of free practice, with cold conditions given the blame.

Yet in the first left hander of the race, Simoncelli made a pass that pushed the left-hand side of the tire beyond its limits and crashed, taking Jorge Lorenzo with him in his fall. As if to underline just what he had thrown away, Simoncelli then remounted and rejoined the race, completing the remaining laps in the fourth fastest time of the race, just 24.5 seconds slower than Spies, and 12 seconds off the pace of Lorenzo, all done on a Honda bearing significant damage. If he had held back for a few more corners, or saved his pass for a right hander rather than a left hander, Simoncelli would have had a legitimate shot at scoring his first ever MotoGP podium.

Unsurprisingly, the reigning World Champion was livid, telling Spanish TV that Simoncelli should be banned for several races to teach him a lesson. An hour or so later, once Lorenzo had calmed down a little, he was less adamant about the ban, but his complaints remained the same. Simoncelli does not learn from his mistakes, Lorenzo said, his crashes don't seem to have any effect on him. "He's riding like he's playing with a Playstation," Lorenzo said, "Maybe he doesn't see the risk, because he hasn't been injured in the past." A normal rider, Lorenzo added, would have been conscious of the fact that they were riding in difficult conditions, there was a problem with the tires, and that they had to take it easy on the first lap. Not Simoncelli: "He just saw an opportunity to overtake me, and just did it."

Simoncelli immediately admitted it was his fault, and expressed his deep regret at what had happened. After the race, he was perfectly clear about what he had done wrong, and that he hated that this had happened again. But perhaps more telling was Simoncelli's face once he returned to the pits again. He looked, in the words of Randy Mamola, "like a kicked puppy," walking into the pits looking utterly crestfallen, all the fight taken out of him. In previous incidents, he'd been upset, but for the first time, he looked truly stricken.

Simoncelli's main problem in the past is that, as Lorenzo said, he has not learned from his mistakes, letting his enthusiasm get the better of him and making the same mistake over and over. As Venancio Nieto Martinez, a Spanish journalist from Motociclismo said to me, "if Simoncelli would think for a fraction longer, he could be the next Kevin Schwantz." Italian journalist Nereo Balanzin of GPOne.com summed up the hopes of the Italians perfectly, saying "if we could add Marco Simoncelli to Andrea Dovizioso and divide them by half, we would have the perfect motorcycle racer. One thinks too much, the other not enough."

This could be the moment when things change for the Italian, the moment when he fully realizes what he has thrown away. If this is that Eureka moment, the point at which everything falls into place, and Simoncelli understands both the consequences of his actions and what he can do to change them, then the rest of the field had better be afraid. When that moment comes, he's going to be a fantastic rider to watch, and a terrifying rider to compete against.

 Marco Simoncelli's right hand
The most feared object in MotoGP: Marco Simoncelli's right hand

And Italy needs something: Valentino Rossi's adaptation to the Ducati is still slow, though the completely revised GP11.1 (basically a destroked GP12) did finally show some promise on race day. Rossi's problems at the rear have been more or less solved - plenty of traction and virtually no pumping - but the front-end problems have reappeared. The cold temperatures made getting feedback from the tires very difficult, Rossi said, and were clearly a factor in the lack of front-end feel, as the GP12 which Rossi rode at Mugello had not had the same problem. Temperatures at Mugello were completely different, however, both ambient and track temperature a lot hotter. With conditions helping to get heat into the tires, the front end felt more stable, and Rossi and his crew are hoping that the GP11.1 will respond as well under the Tuscan sun as the GP12 did.

More work was needed, Rossi said, and he called for yet more new parts from Ducati. The front end needs to be fixed to get more heat in the tire, and given the conditions MotoGP had faced so far this year (wet and cold as a rule), the sooner that problem is solved the better. The GP11.1 at least allows Rossi to ride more naturally, he said, but the bike remains immensely complicated to set up. The horde of Rossi fans that always turn out at Mugello will expect a miracle, but that's too much to hope for at the moment. But at least Rossi is now in with a chance of being competitive in front of his home fans: the Ducati factory in Bologna may survive next weekend without being torched.

Total votes: 86
Total votes: 406

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Comments

Corrected now, thanks.

Total votes: 398

I've been watching racing since I was 6 year old, I've watched F1, WRC, MotoGP, Motocross, touring championships and a hole lot more. I enjoy watching qualifying session and tests. I wouldn't say I´m a casual fan of racing and the race was very boring to me. Is it wrong of me to expect different emotions form a race than from a quali? I think this race was exiting only as a first win for Spies. And (just to make friends) I think Simoncelli´s charge through the field was far more fun than Lorenzo´s.
One thing that racing "purists" always seem to forget is that this kind of racing draws crowds away and that hurts the sport.

Total votes: 414

No casual fan has ever become a diehard by watching races like that. Kudos to Spies but it was otherwise pretty dull, as has been the beginning of this season.
I'm going to Laguna so I hope things tighten up some before then.

Total votes: 402

re: "No casual fan has ever become a diehard by watching races like that."

diehards (by definition) would never watch a race with "false expectations" that every round is going to end in a draft pass at the line. these kinds of fans aren't cultivated...? nor or they artificially created in a "lab"...? they have to be born.

Total votes: 379

I'm not the one to go on about how boring the race is and the majority of the races that people say are boring I enjoy.

After Cal and Colin had tire problems and Rossi dropped them, most of my "excitement" was checking the timing to see how Jorge was coming through the field (not a lot of camera time) and checking to see if Casey was cutting into Ben's lead. So that in itself isn't a lot of excitement at all. And being the huge Spies fan that I am, watching the gap between Stoner and Ben and just about praying that Ben win was more nervousness than jumping up and down excitement by far.

Total votes: 383

That was a BORING race.
I couldn't care less if the rest of the world wants to look down its nose and call me a "casual fan". I've been watching racing for many years. I've been a club racer. I agree that Ben's control of the race was masterful, but it was boring to watch, painfully, agonizingly boring.

Sure, Lorenzo and Simo charged through the pack. So what? What's so exciting about watching one rider who is several seconds faster than another rider breeze by completely unchallenged.

You all can flatter yourselves about what dedicated fans you are.
That race was boring.

Total votes: 392

Watching motorcycles race is like eating spagetti - any spagetti is better than no spagetti at all.

I always enjoy a motorcycle race but I have to agree with Dennis Noyes position. He always has (like David here at motomatters) a great overview of what is going on. Mr Noyes said... "Aren’t electronic rider aids a bit like allowing auto-correcting spell check technology during a spelling bee?".

The entire (very insightful) article is here... http://moto-racing.speedtv.com/article/motogp-noyes-notebook-the-missing...

Total votes: 376

Frankly spaghetti are way better than spagetti.

Total votes: 406

I spose yer rite.

Obviously my Italian spelling is lacking. :-)

Total votes: 382

Aye :)

Total votes: 431

"This was Spies' first win, and the first win on a dry track by a rider other than Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa or Jorge Lorenzo since the 800cc era began back in 2007." - Nice! And also self explanatory on the difficulties of getting a MotoGP win - those guys there aren't slouching in any way.

I'm at a loss for words on Simoncelli and really stunned that he's struggled in the races this much. I would have bet that he would have been getting podiums and his first win under his belt but it just hasn't happen. I think most want to see him get it together so he can mix it up at the front but he just leaves everyone scratching their head.

Still early days for the GP11.1 but it would absolutely tragic for Preziosi if he has made another bike with front end problems and/or a bike like Suzuki that has trouble getting heat into the tires. Every race isn't going to be held in beautiful Tuscan weather that's present at Mugello.

Total votes: 387

"This could be the moment when things change for the Italian, the moment when he fully realizes what he has thrown away. If this is that Eureka moment..."

I feel like we've said this a few times now! haha
If he just took it easy his first lap, JUST THE FIRST LAP, he'd be a real threat. Even if he was down in 8th after lap one he probably still could've challenged Ben for the win.

What a mature ride by Ben, killed it, unmerciful! Sometimes I wonder if maybe HE thinks too much and maybe has a little extra that he doesn't know about. If that was the case he found it on Saturday. First American to win a GP in what? at least 4 years now.
Awesome!

Total votes: 387

As much as I'd love to have seen a full-on battle for the lead between Simo and Spies, I think what happened was a perfect example of how that would end. We now the Honda is faster, and Simo can match Spies for outright speed, if not his sharp analytical mind. However, Spies main advantage is that mind -- the way he approaches everything so calmly and coolly, never getting ruffled. Assen was a perfect example of that. They were both fast, but Ben had quietly calculated every move, executing them to the Nth degree, while Simo saw Spies get past Lorenzo and thought (if he thought at all), "GOGOGOGOGOGO, fastfastfastfast! Oh, darn.." Then blew his load all over the unfortunate Spaniard. The kid needs to keep it in his pants. A gun in the pocket is far deadlier than a gun in the hand (or an empty one after you get excited and empty your clip in the air), and Spies knows that. He draws when he needs to, and only then -- shooting only as many rounds as needed. I'll bet he's awesome at poker.

Total votes: 372

"The most feared object in MotoGP: Marco Simoncelli's right hand"
Hyperbolic BS

Second only to that ridiculous Freudian slip describing Ducati's shrewdness as some murderous psychopathic rampage on the rulebook.

Total votes: 429

You don't think the other riders are terrified of what Simoncelli will be able to do once he twigs he doesn't need to win the race on the first lap?

Total votes: 414

Quite harsh and unnecessary....

The little anecdotes like "The most feared object in MotoGP: Marco Simoncelli's right hand" with a pic is one of the things that makes these articles stand out from the hundreds of other websites and gives most readers a little smile.

The original, in-depth analysis and creative writing is why most of us come here.

So... relax.

Total votes: 417

It's in perfectly relaxed amazement that I see someone try to color his commentary with ludicrous exaggeration like the Ducati rapist-mass-murderer analogy. Why not just compare em to Hitler while he's at it.

"original, in-depth analysis and creative writing"
Yeah right. As if that had anything to do with comparing Ducati Corse perspicaciousness of the kind that all team/factories will exploit to the max given half a chance, to something/someone like Jeffrey Dahmer or Charles Manson.

Ludicrous.

Total votes: 401

The image I used in that story was completely and utterly over the top, a gross exaggeration for effect. Writers do that sometimes. At the time, I pondered whether to use it or not, realizing that some would take offense at my choice of words. I used it anyway, just because it amused me, despite knowing others would be offended by it. There is always somebody who is offended by something I write, and if I wanted to avoid offense, I would never write or say a single word.

Though the image was offensive, the point stands. I heard a number of people from the other manufacturers use the words "spirit of the rules" multiple times. I also pointed out to them that if the rules had been written properly, then we wouldn't be having this argument in the first place. For what it's worth, I admire Ducati's clever use of the rulebook.

Now, if you are offended by what I write, I suggest you stay away from the site. After all, every time you read a story, you earn me money. Every time you post a comment, you earn me even more money, as it takes 2-3 pageviews extra to post a comment. When I run out of money, I'll stop running the site. Given the outstanding and heartwarming response to our offer of subscriptions to supporters of the site, it appears there are more people who are prepared to forgive the occasional piece of hyperbole than stop reading the site once I step out of line. 

Total votes: 373

There's another couple of page loads for you. I loved your description of the Ducati rule-stretching, and have relayed it to others. You actually take a position and state it, rather than all the politically correct don't-offend-any-potential-sponsors/advertisers wishy-washy claptrap found elsewhere. Top stuff, keep it coming!

Total votes: 418

Hey Einstein. Note how I didn't reply to the image part but did press the Ducati rapist bit. Cause that's as bad as any sophomoric broken analogy you hear outta english 101 students.

And.. I'm not offended. I mean.. That oughta be clear. I clearly said it's just ridiculous an analogy.

You wanna spin that as something it's not.. Someone who's offended or.. whatever. That's your call.

" it appears there are more people who are prepared to forgive the occasional piece of hyperbole than stop reading the site once I step out of line. "
Yeah, like me. Not inherent to appreciating the good bits is gobbling up retarded comparisons like the Ducati rapists.

And again... Offended? Seriously? Get real.

Total votes: 409

By image, I meant verbal image, not the photo. And I take offense at your suggesting my analogy was sophomoric. It was way, way more childish than that.

Tragically, it made me laugh like a drain when I thought it up, which is why I used it.

Total votes: 413

David was just being young, dumb, full of piss and vinegar, ready to rip your head off and shit in your neck. But I am guessing you are not a big fan of Edwards.

Total votes: 401

StMoot I eagerly await your website filled with commentary of the most dry and boring nature imaginable, drier than the Sahara desert in the middle of summer, with the burning heat of 1000 suns shining upon its endless expanse. I'd sooner tear the ears off a million orphans and rape a billion nuns than deny myself the orgasmic, endless, nirvana like pleasure of reading your godlike words and opinions. My heart bleeds the blood of a trillion regular hearts, in anticipation of the day I can cast my virgin eyes upon the zenith of journalistic integrity that beyond the shadow of a doubt is your work. I'll wait an eternity for it.

Total votes: 422

I haven't been watching bike racing for so long, but I do not remember anyone ever having so much trouble going from crasher to winner. Lorenzo crashed a lot in 2008 and also in 2009 - I ultimately believed his crashes cost him that title that season - but he still had 4 wins and another 8 podiums to show off once it was all over. Casey also went from crasher to winner even though he did have some flashbacks in 2008 and 2010, but he has learned.

When will SuperSic learn?

On the other hand, we have Spies. He has improved so methodically it seems robotical. Even with a rough start to this season, he has been ticking his boxes and making the 'to do' list shorter and shorter. Points, check. Podiums, check. Pole, check. Win, check. Maybe he isn't an alien, but a robot or something. Like a chess computer that learned after every single game played and memorized... Maybe I should get a hold of myself.

I'm worried for Rossi and the GP11.1.1.1... It's no good if they are too far back.

Stoner looked a little less like himself yesterday. But still perfectly championlike. Win every race you can. Maximize the score on every race else.

Total votes: 399

Go back and look at Simoncelli's years in 125s and his first couple of years in 250s. Back then he was as much a crasher as he is now and I wondered why people thought he was a talented rider. Eventually he figured out how to keep the rubber side down most of the time and his last two years in 250s were brilliant.

I hope he sorts himself out soon and stops crashing every race, I like the kid and he's fun to watch.

Total votes: 388

In both cases people are saying things are getting better against all evidence but one to the contrary solely in the hopes of things actually getting better. The stock market is up and Rossi finished 4th. Neither fact tells anywhere near the complete story. I don't think the GP11.1 showed more promise on race day, if you eliminate the obvious crash that is 2 more riders ahead of him and add Pedrosa and you have 7th for Rossi on the GP11.1 and 8th for Hayden on the GP11 step2. I know, Rossi earned his 4th because he stayed on and people ahead of him crashed, but that does not make his pace any better. The gap to the front is still large and he has a nearly 1 sec gap on race pace. This from the rider/tuner combo that on race day always seemed to have an extra 1/2 sec in his back pocket and a few more tenths scattered in the transporter seat cushions if they had to be bothered to look.

Compared to Hayden it seems the gap is about the same regardless of what version bike either is riding. Rossi's comments on how they still don't understand how to adjust the bike are telling. I wonder what JB's take is. He's been surprisingly quiet since giving props to Stoner.

If the unthinkable happens at Mugello (Simoncelli doesn't take 1+ top riders out) and Rossi is not on the podium I think things will get a lot more heated in the Ducati garages. At this point I believe that Rossi would be doing better on the Suzuki.

Oh yea, congrats to Spies on the win. That was just like one of his AMA runaways. Looks like he is getting more comfortable pushing the tires in the early laps. He'll be another guy that is dangerous with a gap.

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

Total votes: 387

Looking at the lap times in the race, tangible evidence of progress of the Rossi/GP11.1 combination was hard to come by this first race. Spies and Stoner lap times were mostly in the high 1'35's while the majority of Rossi's laps were in the low 1'37's - he was losing over a second a lap the majority of the race.

But I think the progress has come from renewed confidence and feel. Val showed in the wet sessions that he does have a better feel for this chassis. Of course it's debatable how hard everyone was pushing. And as reported, the rear seems to grip more which was a problem with the other chassis.

Total votes: 390

Rossi's already been at or near the top in previous wet practices on the GP11 so any increase in confidence that does not produce correspondingly quicker dry times is really just wishful thinking.

The results of the Mugello weekend will I think determine the future of the Rossi-Ducati pairing. They have tested recently there on the new asphalt with the new bike (except for the different crank and conrods) and it is a favorite track of Rossi. Failure to show an improved dry race pace will be looked at as a complete failure of the VR-JB team to make any sense of the bike that Stoner won so many races on and crashed out of the lead in so many others. It will also be a serious indictment of the GP12's performance as no test times have been released.

In many ways these results are not surprising. Rossi is a product of the Japanese race industry. His victories and bike development skills were honed over a decade in conjunction with Japanese engineers and managers with large R&D budgets, a very conservative R&D schedule, and equipment which has an edge over everyone else. Ducati is a completely different organization and does not have the luxury of working with known technology, they have to differentiate themselves from Japanese technologies. Mimicking another manufacturer is not good enough these days. The reason why Ducati refuse to test an aluminum beam frame is the same reason that Honda does not run desmo valve gear- it would require swallowing corporate pride.

On a separate note, do we have Ducati to thank for Honda and Yamaha withdrawing from the post race test of the 2012 bikes? Are stakes so high that now even showing a bike before its race time is revealing too much information?

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

Total votes: 396

I completely agree.

I also think that if Ducati doesn't swallow their pride and change the frame to something that can be tuned on race day they will never be competitive. At least this year anyway.

Maybe Vale can man handle next year's 1000cc machine to get it turned even if they stay with the carbon fibre. If anyone can he can.

Total votes: 384

"If anyone can he can."

I'd suggest that maybe Stoner might be the bloke that can rather than Vale. He got the old one to turn where Vale couldn't.

I can't help but wonder where Ducati would be this year if they still had Stoner. The bike was a weapon during the last 5 or 6 races last year. Even If Stoner had stayed at that level and improved a little over the offseason tests he would have been getting podiums regularly this year.

I thought it was quite telling at the end of the Assen race, where during the warm down lap at the end the camera's cut from a shot of Rossi to a shot of his garage. Uccio realised they were on Tv and started clapping and cheering and tried to get the team to respond in kind. All part of the show. The rest of the team were not particularly enthusiastic. You would have to think Ducati is wondering if they've done the right thing in letting Stoner go.

Total votes: 399

As usual David a great article with insider only type analysis.

Simo will eventually get it together and I for one can't wait to see the battles with the other talents that are a part of the MotoGP circus.

Ben's win was fantastic but to us long time fans it was no supprise. This excellent article will explain why... http://moto-racing.speedtv.com/article/motogp-spies-retrospective-the-pa...

Total votes: 409

Are we about to move from the GP11 to the GP11.9 to the GP12.1?

Not a lot can be read into this Assen race for Rossi with conditions as difficult and fickle as they were. When was the last 'dry' race in which we saw riders lapped? I thought he rode a very sensible race for a solid if unspectacular fourth. Yet I do wonder where they are heading.

One fairly useless race weekend from a data gathering perspective and Rossi is calling for more parts (whatever the hell that means). As if throwing money at the problem will cure it. Rossi has stated he doesn't yet know how to work with this new machine nor the previous incarnation for that matter. Surely figuring it out first would be a priority over 'new parts'. If the problem is back to the front end then how long before Rossi and Burgess call for the vee angle to be narrowed? How far can they push Ducati before the factory says enough? I think there are enough people (within the circus and the die hard MotoGP fans amongst us) who know this game who will be aware not all blame lies at the feet of Ducati.This heaven sent Italian marriage remains on rocky ground and could implode at any moment.

Total votes: 399

when we'll see were the blame falls - once Nicky gets his hands of a GP11.1. I've said since last year that Ducati hasn't been able to solve their problems and just because Rossi/JB shows up doesn't mean that would change. Ducati has the same designers (mainly Preziosi), engineers, and people at the factory than before Rossi/JB got there. Rossi/JB may be able to get the GP11.1 to work in the next couple of races or maybe not.

BUT if Nicky is given a GP11.1 and outperforms Rossi from the off than I would have to shift my blame from Ducati to Rossi. Rossi has stated of the old GP11 that he needs to adapt his style to the Ducati - I suspect that the GP11.1 doesn't handle like a Jap bike either. But Nicky has been at Ducati for a few years and had good results last year so he knows what to expect and has somewhat adapted. He's been left out to dry this year so it remains to be seem if he's given a fair shake on a full on GP11.1

Total votes: 372

Nicky Hayden is now on his third year at Ducati. He will be lucky if he gets a fourth. He only beat Stoner on a couple of occasions early last year, so, I dont expect him to beat Rossi even if he gets a GP11.1 or GP11.2 , or GP11.3.

Total votes: 389

Nicky already has a 3rd and a 4th. And Rossi isn't exactly looking like Stoner at Ducati now is he? Everything has been catered hand and foot to Rossi yet he's only 10 points up on Hayden - not that impressive and closest of any team mates on the grid. If Nicky troubles him it wouldn't be surprising to me at all. Oh, that if he's allowed to play with the same toys as the Doctor.

Total votes: 397

After Stoner, Hayden is by far the most succesful Ducatista in the 800 era. I think Ducati value him a lot and besides, all big dogs are under contract next year. Who is (willing to be) the alternative? Stefan Bradl?

Total votes: 421

I take a bit of umbrage at the idea that not finding that race interesting makes me a casual fan.

That was a half lap of racing, followed by a 25.5 lap time trial. While I can and do enjoy watching Spies sliding both ends of the bike, pushing to the very last lap, it doesn't make for passionate racing.

Time, and the rules, march on, but this racing purist appreciates seeing masterful riding, watching someone a group of riders push the bike to the limit constantly and precisely for full race distance, like so:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIctPymfccY

Total votes: 392

Anyone with the patience to put up with wading through page after page of my reports and opinions is de facto a racing purist, whatever their preference for racing.

Total votes: 417

as a racing purist that watches free practices and qualifying,
but also the smaller classes racing, let's just say that
"processional" doesn't even begin to describe this year's
top class.

the 125s and Moto2 races have had me gripping the edge of
my seat, while MotoGP ... umm... it seems -as someone else on
here commented- that it's all about riders slotting into a prime
position in the first lap, and then distancing
themselves from anyone around them. Sad...

Total votes: 370

Well, if there wasn't a rider taking out race/podium contenders one after another (including himself) on each race I'm sure there would be much better racing to watch.

Personally I agree with Jorge (may be 1st time ever) on this one, and for me he should be banned for a few races, since obviously his body is strong enough to withstand falling down unlike his rivals.

Personally, I think the whole paddock already "fears" Simo, and not in the way anyone would like to "fear" an opponent. Also you seem to believe it's enough to tame the beast to make it the best, but:
1) I don't think Simo is smart enough to do that.
2) You forget just how easy is to be fast when riding with no fear. That gaves you no limits, lets you push like no-one else does, but obviously ultimately ends up with you going down (unfortunately not always alone).

If Simo ever manages to control himself, he may also find as well that he is suddenly not as fast as he thought, not when finishing every race on a season (i.e. fighting for the champ) is the top priority.

PS1: I don't think Spies would have won the race if Stoner was 18 points behind Lorenzo and the later hadn't been taken off by Simo.
PS2: Talking race perf based on finis-line times makes little sense. Obviously riders with assured podium positions ease the pace towards the end whereas those fighting for points (Lorenzo) don't.
PS3: I was shocked to see both satellite Yamahas experiencing "surprise" problems to leave room for Lorenzo's title chances... Same tires, similar setup (according to Colin Edwards...)

Total votes: 394

Impatience waiting for their posting more like. The majority on here devour said reports like a T-Rex that hasn't eaten for a month.

Total votes: 397

Thanks for the link, great race from the best season in Gp I've seen.. I'd forgotten how good Capirex used to be. What happened to him after that season?

Total votes: 354

That was a great race. Just goes to show you how fast Nicky can be on a competitive machine.

That was sure a violent crash Casey had. Wow.

Go Spies !!!

Total votes: 377

re: "That was a half lap of racing, followed by a 25.5 lap time trial"

iom anyone...? for me, seeing jeffries WTFO upon the mountain all by his lonesome with see through was no less impressive than down through bray hill.

Total votes: 403

I wonder if anyone in the Ducati garage is arguing for an aluminum chassis to replace the carbon-fiber one they've got? All of Burgess's and Rossi's experience was acquired on chassis using the more conventional materials. This experience does not appear to be helping them with the composite chassis on the Ducati. Even Rossi himself has said it's strange how their experience leads them to make a modification in the setting, but the result is that the change induces some entirely unexpected or bizarre behavior.

Total votes: 397

There is one team of mechanics who know how to set up a Ducati well enough to win on it. And they work for Casey Stoner. That same team of mechanics has taken Dani's old Honda that was good for a few wins a year and turned it into the title favourite. Casey has already won more races than Dani did last year.

I don't think that is a coincidence. Maybe Rossi's team aren't actually the best crew in GP as we have been led to believe for all these years?

Total votes: 407

Well they knew how to set it up for 3 races a year, the rest of the time Casey was nowhere near fighting for the win. That was after 2 years with the CF bike and 4 years with ducati...Not so sure you can count 4th as a success for a factory no1 rider.
I agree the cf appears to be the big stumbling block, with neither ducati fully understanding it and Rossi and crew NEVER using it before..
The crucial point being they are not trying to imitate last year or the year before(looking at the honda that may not even be good enough for top six this year) they are trying to make a bike that can be set up at every track to fight for the win, completely new to the cf duke... Not so easy, and I have my doubts it can be done on the spec tyre ie if the tyre works perfectly with one specific setup(Honda and maybe Yam) how can you build something totally different and yet make it respond the same?.. not easy, and you have to ask why bother to be honest.. but with the new road bike having the same layout it they don't appear to have much choice.
I suspect ducati will put a lot of pressure on the governing bodies to remove the spec tyre rule as it's already under pressure.

Total votes: 364

loved it. Great photo as well - I thought of "Rollerball" when I saw the photo....

Another outstanding article Dave. Thanks

Total votes: 370

a boring motogp race...? pfft, never seen one in more than a decade of watching. anyone who considers any world championship motorcycle race boring might want to consider the possibility that they aren't fans but "consumers"...? or they're fans who've allowed themselves to become desensitized and have "lost that loving feeling"...? personally, i can ALWAYS find something entertaining about a multi million euro bike circulating a track at speed... ESPECIALLY at van drenthe...! for those who missed it, ben "speedz" put on a clinic. next time do both yourself (and the sponsors) a favor... slam a redbull or a monster. the product is in your face every round ferchrissakes.

Total votes: 390

I think even racing purists could have found this race boring. But for those poor, unfortunate souls who find themselves not to be purists or casual fans, but absolute fanatics of MotoGP, they probably found the race exciting and enjoyable, just not good or great. I know I did. As others have said, watching the lap times of Lorenzo as he cut through the field in a true champion/alien manner, was immensely enjoyable. I already had tremendous respect for him, it somehow just increased. If a pussy can be that mentally tough and fast, I hope to one day be a pussy.

Total votes: 390

I can see that some found it a bit boring, but for me it was an great race to watch, apart from all the build up and watching how the GP11.1 fared, it was exciting to watch the splits and lap times. I really do strongly recommend a subscription to MotoGP live timing, and the iPad MotoGP App. For a while there I thought Dovi had the measure of Casey, but then after lap 12 he starting falling off.

Would of/should of's are always easy with hindsight, but still here are some interesting numbers - if the race had been over 25 laps (after the Simoncelli incident), then the finishing order with gaps to 1st place may have been: Spies 0.00, Stoner 7.70, Lorenzo 12.59, Simoncelli 24.49 and Dovi 27.51.

Lorenzo rode his heart out, I don't think he could have gone any quicker, he set his fastest lap at the death, whereas Casey said he had something in hand but he knew Ben was gone and so he rode in his comfort zone. Difficult to say for Simoncelli, his bike was not in good shape, and I don't know how anyone rides at that pace without a footpeg. Might be he threw away a second place.

No doubting a good win for Spies, sincere congratulaions are due, but should be tempered with a look back at previous results and realise that there were some abnormal circumstances in play here which skewed things in his favour, once we get back to a better balance between climate and tyres expect the normal pecking order to be resumed.

Dave - another great weekend of reporting and feedback, thank you. Any more news yet on who vetoed the tyre delivery?

Total votes: 375

I'd like to know if the testing ban has really made it any cheaper for teams in the long run. I say it has cost them dearly in crashed parts and sponsorship due to lack of race results.

Anyway, as they say, it all comes out in the wash. You still need a factory bike to win in MGP, but with more testing Ducati wouldn't have to bend the rules and even less well funded teams could be closer to the front. The gaps times are actually rather silly. Dorna are struggling to keep 17 bikes on the grid and after 5 laps it looks like a track day. The ban needs to be lifted and the teams that can find money will do well and those that can't will suffer, but why punish everyone?

Total votes: 380

because otherwise the satellite bikes would disappear, making the show even sadder...
Satellite teams are already struggling to make it to the grid because of the lack of sponsorship, it's already pretty difficult for them to score a top6 (even with a rider as Spies), with unlimited testing they would be competing even further down and you wouldn't be watching a race with 16 riders but with 10 or 12...

Total votes: 360

What I find the hardest to stomach are satellite teams given electronics that (supposedly) purposefully have stunted acceleration compared to the factory teams. I can understand a factory not wanting to bend over backwards and spending factory-level expense on a satellite team, but to go out of their way to ensure that the satellite teams not have the same acceleration (all through making some software changes to the electronics package) just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

Total votes: 359

I'm staggered that you could do a whole race report and not mention Casey Stoner. He got held up by the Simo/Lorenzo kerfuffle and, by the time he'd cleared that, Spies was already nearly 4 seconds up the road. He tried to bridge the gap for a couple of laps, found he was unable to do so and rode the sensible-est of races to pick up 20 points and increase his lead in the championship to more than one race ahead of the rest. What's not worth mentioning about that?

Total votes: 361

It was a very mature ride by the champion elect. But by his own exacting standards that was little more than a day at the office grind.

Total votes: 393

The Simoncelli/Lorenzo crash barely slowed down the preceding bikes and Spies pulled away big time all through the next laps. Casey just couldn´t match Spies pace (he said it) the crash had almost nothing to do with that.

Total votes: 406

Spies was already 2 seconds ahead at the end of the first lap. That was mostly because Stoner had a very bad start. By the time Stoner got past Dovisioso Spies was already 3.5 seconds ahead, and that was lap 2. Stoner closed to with 3.2 seconds before easing off (and Spies increased his pace). But still, I don't think anyone was going to beat Spies in Assen, and I think Simoncelli would have struggled to beat Stoner.

Total votes: 354

Stoner said during the post race conference that nobody is gonna beat Spies that weekend, no matter what the condition.

Total votes: 354

Riders getting lapped, riders going into pits change a front tyre and still finish in the points? Motogp is in dire straits at least we will have CRT bikes next year which will fix things!! Super sic, well not sure where to start, interesting to see if he knocked stoner off or his chum rossi what the reaction would be...

Total votes: 362

..., Lorenzo or Spies had done the same mistake as Simoncelli this article would have focused on the tricky Bridgestone tires!

Total votes: 380

I have another piece in the pipeline about the tires, it's such a big subject that it needs a slot of its own. However, you're right, if Lorenzo or Spies had gone down at the same corner and taken another contender out, there would have been a bit less focus on them. But then, this is the 4th race of 7 that Simoncelli has crashed in, and the 2nd time he crashed on the first lap. Spies said he had a plan to deal with that tricky first left hander, knowing the tires would be cold. Simoncelli just tried to pass there on the first lap without thinking about the tires.

Once Simoncelli figures this out (and I actually think this weekend may be the one incident from which he learns) then he's going to be fearsome.

Total votes: 409

I agree with you that Simmo could be a big threat (no pun intended) to the big four once he cools down a little, David. I do however think it will take some time. He needs to take a step back and build from there. Making sure this is the last silly mistake and finding new margins might take a while. I predict, IF he learns from this, he will only be in winning form by the end of the year. This is ofcourse stated by, to use an old Dutch saying, the best skipper standing on the shore.

Total votes: 392

I find it interesting that there is so much discussion about tyres this year, and to be honest I find it all a bit stupid. The good guys are finishing races on them. It is testing them. Good. They just need to deal with it and make sure they get them up to temp. Otherwise they will catch out the immature, inexperienced and silly. That is how GP has always been.

It's only news for two reasons. The first is the unusually cold weather that we have seen this year (which should end once we head south) and the second is that Rossi is now struggling with the tyres on the Ducati. It has always been a bike that has caused problems for it's riders in terms of getting heat into them, as has been spoken about by everyone ad nauseum over the last year or two when discussing the Ducati and Stoner's occasional habit of crashing early in a race, when he was in that dead zone where the tyre was not working but had to be pushed in the hope that it work eventually. But now that Rossi is the one struggling some people are looking for excuses, or reasons.

Yamaha and Honda and the satellite Ducati's are getting on with the business of getting the best out of the tyres. Everybody who was realistic about the Rossi move to Ducati knew the biggest challenge was making the front tyre work. Stoner proved that when the bike fires, it is just about unbeatable. But Rossi and his team failed to get the old bike to work at the early test, then they failed to get the GP11 to work, and now at Assen the GP11.1 was really no faster than the GP11 (he was no further ahead of Nicky than usual). It was always the big question mark and so far they haven't been up to it.

Everyone else is getting on with the job, with most of them usually picking the harder of the compounds anyway for race day, which in itself shows that they are prepared to deal with the slow warm up for the other trade-offs that it delivers.

Total votes: 364

what satellite Ducati riders are you referring to about getting the best out of the tires? Karel is your really only guy seemingly doing that well with the tires...The entire Pramac team has had an awful start to the season. Hector Barbera has been about as dull as a plastic butter knife, and both factory riders are having problems with getting heat into the tires. This isn't just a Vale problem, this is a Ducati problem, and Ducati expects Vale to fix it.

Total votes: 360

Yeah, there wasn't ANY problems with the tires or tire competition or who had what as long as Rossi had the overnighters and the best tires and winning races - no one cared about tires. But when he didn't have that advantage and started to complain that tires played too big of a role in the outcome than tires became a problem - and everyone cared about tires. So the rules were changed and everyone had the same tires and Rossi was winning again - and no one cared about tires again. Now Rossi isn't winning and has a bike that has problem getting heat into tires - and now people care about tires again.

EVERYONE had the same tires - no excuses for anyone. If you couldn't get your bike/tire combo to work in the conditions than better luck next race because some got it right.

Total votes: 382

Wow, Rossi really rubs you the wrong way. Doesn't he? I haven´t read anywhere Ducati (or Rossi) saying that there was a tyre problem, he said HE (actually the bike) couldn't get heat into the tyres not that brigedstone is giving him bad ones.
And when the rules were changed Rossi already had the Bridgestones and him an Casey were killing the Michelin riders so the change of rules took away that advantage from him not the other way around.

Total votes: 355

I guess the 3 repsol hondas that all ate asphalt on friday doesn't show a sign that other manufacturers were having trouble with heat as well. As astronomical of an excuse as it is, track temperatures have been at all time lows this year.

You think this is because I'm pro-Rossi? No, I'm saying this because the Bridgestone tires this year are a major culperate to the processional racing we are having this year. B-stone should start bringing the "softer" option tire every round. Then perhaps you'd have some other bikes being able to mix and mingle early before their tires fall off. Can you imagine the entertainment it would create when guys like Karel, Alvaro, and Elias are given the option for a softer tire?

Total votes: 383

Stoner that was first to criticize the Bridgestone tires, not Rossi. He said so in the post race interview just three days ago. He's been leading the fight to get BS to change their construction. Seriously, watch the podium presser, it's all there.

As to why everyone else is suddenly taking up Casey's cause as well? I have a feeling it has a lot less to do with a certain less competitive Doctor and a lot more to do with how many broken legs, broken arms, broken collarbones, and broken races we've seen over the last two seasons due to cold tire issues. I don't think the processional races have helped anyone's opinion of the matter, either.

Total votes: 334

Ducati must have given up on this year, they are now preparing for next year. That is what Rossi is doing. They are using the same engine as next year, with an 800cc capacity. So now they get the rest of the season to develop the chassis, who could ask for more. Next season they should be ahead of the game.

Total votes: 306

I love MotoGP and I love the technical side of it - but we all watch it for the thrill of the racing - don't we? Unfortunately, a never ending run of amazing technical displays isn't going to bring the viewing figures, the sponsorship bucks or indeed new teams.

We had a brief, exciting period when we had 4 competing aliens but after a succession of some pretty nasty injuries it's kind of faded away.

It's too just sanitised. We'll be having F1 style DRS overtaking zones before too long if we're not careful.

A tirade of useless rule changes had led to expensive little peaky engines which are kept on a leash by complicated electronics and forced to race on about twenty quids worth of petrol. Running on one size fits all middle of the road rubber doesn't help either. Add to that whiny riders who have lost touch with what it's like to compete and you have a procession of 200mph advertising billboards.

One thing I do know is that keeping things simple works.

We need great big, lower revving, massively overpowered engines, no fuel limits and competing tyre makes. Get rid of the more expensive electrics and make the factories lease out engines to independent chassis manufacturers.

There you go. Simple.

And none of this CRT crap adding yet another layer of pointless regulation and confusing the casual viewer - who, on a Sunday afternoon, just wants to see racing.

Total votes: 317

Very interesting article from Dennis Noyes. But those who think that removing electronic aids like traction control will improve the racing ought to consider the F1 experience. F1 had the same debate a few years ago about traction control and eventually banned it. It made absolutely no difference whatever to the racing. No difference at all. Frankly I think it will be the same in MotoGP.
What F1 has discovered with the move to Pirelli is that it is softer, faster degrading tires that have made the biggest difference to racing. This makes sense. Going back to the Doohan era, and Rossi's early MotoGP years, the Michelin tires showed significant degradation over the course of the race, and a substantial increase in lap times. It was common to see Doohan and Rossi back a few places and then work their way forward to win. The degrading tires brought extra dimensions of skill into the race; the ability to set up a bike to perform well on degrading tires, and the ability to ride a bike fast when it is sliding around on worn tires.
At the moment the Bridgetone tires are so good that the top four guys can lap consistently for an entire race. The problem is that once a gap develops it is very difficult to close it down, when the difference between the top guys is just a tenth or two per lap.
It may be significant that F1 changed from the very conservative Bridgestones to Pirelli, a company willing to assist improving the racing by developing more suitable faster degrading tires.
Finally, electronics are an essential component of modern automotive engineering, like it or not. It just isn't realistic to expect companies like Honda, Yamaha and Ducati to accept the removal of electronics at the premier level. And afetr all, even world SBK has traction control.

Total votes: 320

Getting rid of those tires maybe the faster way to have some closer racing. Or at least bury this constant lap times no catching up races. Having more competitive bikes upfront could be the second.

But I am afraid is not on Dorna's agenda (the tires one).

Total votes: 329

F1 hasn´t banned traction control, they introduce spec ECU for every team that limits it.
Pirellis were introduce this year, spec ECUs in 2008. 2008 and 2009 seasons were a very clear improvement from previous season when it comes to close racing.
I do agree that tires need to change, both things need to change. I would ban electronics in every form of racing but if so many people find it a technological crime then spec ECUs with limited TC sure helps.

Total votes: 301

No, traction control is completely banned in F1, Article 9.3 of the Technical Regulations. The standard ECU is a measure designed to prevent teams from circumventing the rules. And I would disagree with you about there being any improvement in racing in 2008/09, at least in terms of producing more overtaking. It is because the traction control ban didn't produce better racing that F1 introduced DRS this year. The tire changes were not actually planned as a measure to improve racing, it happened almost by accident because Bridgestone withdrew as a supplier. It just so happens that Pirelli agreed to introduce faster degrading tires as an experiment to improve the racing, and it has worked brilliantly. It does seem to be one measure that might work in MotoGP.

Total votes: 308

There's no way you can ban traction control in MotoGP when almost half (and soon every) production superbikes offer it for less than 20K (ZX10R, S1000RR and the pricier RSV4 and 1098).

Total votes: 313

That may be true for WSBK but MotoGPs don't really relate to street bikes. Street bikes also have ligths and licence plates but you don't see those in race bikes.
I do see your point of street bike technology leaving MotoGP technology behind.

Total votes: 315

Most (all?) new cars have anti-lock braking systems and many have traction control systems. F1 and most other car racing series don't allow either of these systems. Braking and throttle control are considered a critical parts of the driver's skill. Why would racing motorcycles HAVE to have traction control just because street bikes do. These are the best racers in the world on a race track, not some 18 year old novice on a wet, greasy city street.

Total votes: 316

Because MotoGP is in direct competition with World Superbikes in the eye of the media, the sponsor and a fair share of the audience.
As said before, million dollars MotoGP slower and less refined than much cheaper Superbikes is the end of the sport...at least the end of factory support and sponsorship.

You have a good point but Formula 1 doesn't have to compete every week with "Supercars", they are still by very far the fastest cars on a racetrack (with real turns might I add), nothing will take that away from them.
Can you imagine them still pouring millions the day a supercar or DTM will be more evolved and faster than a Formula 1 car?

Why would a sponsor or a factory invest in a prototype series if they can spend much less and be outright faster and more competitive on a production-based series?

Total votes: 277

The better question is why is traction control allowed in the Superbike class. Like I said most car racing series don't allow anti-lock brake or traction control systems.

Total votes: 295

I think 2008, 2009 were more fun just not enough but you are right about this season being a lot better. I still think e-aids need to go but that discussion it's very very long. Any way changing the tires would help a lot

Total votes: 328

Is it my imagination or has Spies tidied up his riding style, to me he does not stick his elbows out as extreme as he used to. Good win for him and Yamaha, i think we will see him on the podium much more now.
Must admit i thought the race was a bit dull after that first lap incident.
Maybe they should reduce riders contract money and have bigger bonuses for the results they achieve, or am i being too cynical about Motogp riders?

Total votes: 314

Tyres problem is not new, I remember Stoner, arguing after leading a race as he loves to, breaking lap record after lap records on the same Ducat ... then falls ... that he still was pushing to keep warm on the tyres...

I don't remember which exactly what race it was .. but i remember we (and I the first) were laughing ... come on Casey, be serious, u were too ambitious ...

When I see Rossi, the best motorcycle pilot ever, having so much trouble to keep these DAMN TYRES hot, when I see Lorenzo put his fastest lap on the last one, when I see Simo get down ... I just think ... maybe ? stop doing alien tyres, we don't need 60° angle, we need races, we need pilots in confidence, no scary ones ... we need smoke, we need Simo, MC Coy and old style Capirossi and Rossi.

I'm sure Spies, Pedrosa and Lorenzo can be good with such tyres too ... and Stoner is Stoner ... deserving a better fight than that.

Im not naive, tyres is not the only issue, electronics can be, I m unfortunatly not a moto engineer (even if im an engineer - civil aviation one) but im sure with concertation, we can do better than 15 bikes looking each other.

Anyway, i will still watch motogp untill the end of my life ... but who will do the same ? Unfortunatly, I've never been a "fan", I just will love Rossi for ever for all the emotions, the passion he gave me for motorcycle .. but if he has to be slow, that's life, no problem with that, but put please somebody helse in the light for the show...

How much time we will have to wait a glorious fight between Lorenzo and Stoner ?

Total votes: 288

It looks like I'm a casual fan! Because even with all the added drama of a different front row and a new Ducati, the excitement had essentially run out by the end of the first lap and we were treated to another race with less overtaking that you would see on the M25 on a Friday evening.

One thing is for sure - proper casual fans (namely those that don't know more than a handful of riders, have no idea of the championship standings and don't watch every round) must be falling away from MotoGP in their thousands. And the more of them that leave, will mean more sponsors looking for another way to promote their products.

If I wanted to watch a time trial, I would (and do) watch the IOM, it is probably the only motorcycle racing event that doesn't need over-taking. Watching riders scream through towns at ridiculous speeds just inches from houses and brick walls beggars belief. Watching bikes circulate on a track without the everyday monuments to give an indication of speed does not impress in the same way (much like rallying often looks "faster" than F1).

MotoGP is already struggling for coverage in the UK, currently the only way to watch it live is with the BBC, who clearly do not consider it a priority (especially compared to F1). I remember watching it on TV with my family when I was a small boy and there were only 4 channels then; there are hundreds now and we are often forced to use the "red button" to watch it, while F1 gets the red carpet treatment. How many young children are going to watch it if they don't know where it is?

Back to Sunday's "race", what we saw was essentially another rider way out in front managing the gap to the rest of the field. I don't expect the lead to change hands 3 or 4 times in the last lap; however it might be nice if it changed once in the last 20 and the result wasn't decided by the time the tyres had reached temperature.

Congratulations to Spies on his first win. About time. It looked as though Suicidal Sic might have helped him with the initial gap, however even after the lunatic self harmer had made sure he (and Lorenzo) had no bearing on the result, he still gapped everyone else.

The new Ducati turned out exactly how everyone who isn't totally obsessed with Valentino thought it would. Brand new bike, cold temperatures, free practice for Mugello. Anybody who thought that he would be challenging for a podium here has clearly watched Rocky 3 too many times.

On to Mugello where we can only hope that we will see some action worthy of motorcycle's premier class.

(sigh)

Total votes: 298

...the M25. On a Friday afternoon it can have lots of [bad] excitement.

I fully agree with your complains ... or worries would be more accurate. Problem is I don't see it changing in a close future. Sic could be a catalyst for some sparkles but with this way of racing you cannot improve much. Tyres, electronics and the other factors (fuel limits probably) have elevated at the apex the "quality" driving (which is still nice to watch) but left almost no space for the "manoeuvring" side of it.

Getting rid of limits and spec tyre may not guarantee more epic races. And limiting electronic is quite difficult to rule. Having a single manufacturer who is clearly ahead of the others doesn't help too (it was Yamaha now Honda).

Total votes: 298

Funny. I live in the U.S. and until I just broke down and bought a subscription to MotoGP.com, I had to find all sorts of bootleg feeds on the internet to watch live. Speed TV carries MotoGP in the U.S. but rarely live. Even then it is delayed some, the coverage is really cursory and there are endless commercials that interrupt things at the worst moments. Speed TV is about 85% NASCAR, no exaggeration, and will often preempt coverage of anything else if NASCAR has been delayed. Even their truck series trumps F1 and MotoGP. I know it's kvetchy and off topic but Dorna really doesn't put thought into generating more fans here.

Total votes: 286

I would allow teams to use the exhaust to warm the tires if they wanted to. Investing tens of millions of Dollars in Men and Machinery. Only for it to be thrown away, due to a part you had no input on designing is Stupid.

Tires are supposed to be equal for all the Teams. Not what can change a Championship or Hurt a Career. This is not F1 and the Margin for error is too great to be messing around without the best chance for grip available.

Electronic Aids are fine as long as they do not include any mapping of the track.I think people forget these riders today are going way faster around these tracks, then the riders of the past.A high level of skill is still required regardless of the Electronics.

Each Manufacture should have to be made to provide the same kit for everyone of their bikes on the Track. Newly developed parts should be allowed to be kept within a team for 4 races at which point they must be released to all that particular manufactures satellite teams or vice versa.

I would make a Radical Technology Rule, which would open testing after 4 races if a competitor gained a substantial technological advantage (like for instance a seamless gearbox). The Team which developed the advantage would be awarded constructors points.

Single Teams like Suzuki,Norton or a Prototype team would be allowed extra testing time compared to Manufacture teams with satellite riders also.

I'm sure other people have much better suggestions, but everyone more or less agrees many things have to change to save Motogp. This Crt stuff is not going to cut-it.

Total votes: 312