2011 Mugello MotoGP Sunday Round Up - We Had Some Racing, For A Change

What a difference a track makes. At the fast, flowing Mugello circuit, we had three pretty interesting races, two tense duels and a full on battle in Moto2. After a season full of races decided in the first few laps, to see a race day full of overtaking brought some much-needed relief to those suffering with the racing bug.

The 125cc race only saw two passes for the lead, Johann Zarco passing Nico Terol, and then Terol taking the Frenchman back to take victory, but the two protagonists maintained the tension all the way to the end. Never separated by more than a couple of tenths, the race became a case of two men trying to pressure the other into a mistake. Fresh back from having a tendon reattached in his little finger, Terol was the first to crack, running wide in San Donato, the wide, uphill hairpin that comes at the end of the straight. But Terol kept his head, latched onto the back of the Zarco, and waited for the long drag towards the finish line to make his move.

A smart race by Terol, and a strong and smart race by Zarco too: Terol looked to be on a planet of his own, but Zarco came along and joined the party. A strong race, too, by young Spaniard Maverick Vinales: at a track which is as notoriously difficult to learn as Mugello is, Vinales ended his first race at the track on the podium. The rookie sits 3rd in the championship, with big things expected of him in the future. He is, after all, just sixteen-and-a-half years old.

The Moto2 race turned into bit of a knock-down-drag-out four-way fight, with Stefan Bradl, Marc Marquez, Bradley Smith and Alex de Angelis all joining the fray. They were briefly joined by the ebullient Andrea Iannone, but the Italian had asked too much of his tires to come all the way forward from 14th on the grid, so by the time he actually arrived at the front, it was time to back off and nurse his protesting Dunlops home. Marquez eventually came out on top - after a hard but clean move on Bradley Smith to take the lead on the last lap - and the Spaniard took the win. Now that he has found his feet in Moto2, he could yet come to dominate the championship - assisted by the absence of pre-season favorite Julian Simon. He has only finish four races so far this season, but he has won three of those, and finished 2nd in the other.

We even had a relatively exciting MotoGP race. It was not exactly one for the ages, but there was a pass for the lead, more overtaking at the front, and tension throughout the race. Jorge Lorenzo came out on top after Casey Stoner looked like walking away with it, stopped in the end by the wrong choice of tire pressure. The Australian even had to let his Repsol Honda teammate by, though he put up a ferocious fight to prevent the Italian from passing. Ben Spies battled Marco Simoncelli all race long for 4th, while Valentino Rossi gave the Ducati fans something to cheer about - perhaps not as much as they would have wanted, but more than they had feared - by taking 6th, after an entertaining battle with a large group scrapping for the position.

The tire pressure question proved deeply frustrating for Stoner: the team decided to use a particular tire pressure based on the recommendations from Bridgestone - Stoner did his best not to throw his tire tech under the bus, but was visibly struggling with the effort - and that proved to be too high. As the heat got into the tire, the tire pressure increased further, reducing the contact patch and drastically reducing grip. The rear wheel of Stoner's Honda was spinning drastically - so much so that both Lorenzo and Dovizioso commented on it, and identified that as a factor that helped them get past. The rear also affected front grip, however: a lack of edge grip meant a lack of drive, and that meant Stoner lacked the ability to put pressure on the front by using the throttle and helping the bike to turn.

No such problems for Lorenzo, however. "The Hammer was not working," Lorenzo said after the press conference, "but now I have the performance to fight." And fight he did, putting the hammer down in the final stages of the race, setting the fastest lap and leaving Dovizioso and Stoner with no alternative but to submit to his will. The mixture of 2010 and 2011 parts - exactly which parts are being used where is as closely guarded a secret as the recipe for Coca Cola - has worked, and Lorenzo believes he has a weapon which will allow him to fight with the Hondas for the rest of the year.

They even found something at Ducati, as Valentino Rossi's ride through the pack demonstrated - still 26 seconds off the pace, but some of that time lost to having to get past so many people. Rossi's crew raised the entire bike 20 millimeters, while keeping the same wheelbase, giving a lot more weight transfer under braking and acceleration. The change improved the front-end feel, but it sacrificed rear grip, but the most important thing about it is it gives Rossi's crew another dimension to play with.

This is the most important reason for the switch to the GP11.1 with the revised rear end. With the previous bike, raising the bike caused the rear to pump dramatically, negating any benefit of the better weight transfer. The new machine has virtually no rear pumping, and the raised center of gravity does not provoke any. With another variable to throw into the setup mix, Ducati hope that they can make the bike a good deal more competitive than it has been so far.

Watching Rossi barely improve on the GP11.1 has given Nicky Hayden pause for thought. Ducati will have a couple of the new bikes ready for Hayden at Laguna Seca, but Hayden is less than enchanted at the thought of going into one of his home races at a track he loves on a bike he has not yet ridden on. That the bike is no magic bullet is obvious - the bike has not given Rossi the second or so to battle with the Hondas - and Hayden would prefer to face Laguna on a bike he is familiar with. The ideal solution would be to have the bike at the Sachsenring in two weeks' time, but the timescales needed to produce the carbon fiber parts mean this is very tight indeed.

A part of the paddock will return to the Mugello circuit on Monday to do a little more testing at what was scheduled to be the first public outing of the 1000cc machines. However, with Ducati having used up 5 of its quota of 8 days of 1000cc testing already, and first Honda and then Yamaha pulling out, the test was redesignated as an 800cc test, with the 1000cc testing pushed back to after the Brno round of MotoGP in mid-August (originally scheduled to be the last test for the 800s). So instead, the Hondas and the satellite Ducatis will be out on track, the rest having packed up and headed for home.

An interesting rumor/conspiracy theory currently doing the rounds of some parts of the paddock is that the factories decided against running the 1000s for fear of espionage. One unnamed team is rumored to have got a hold of software that can analyze the sound of a MotoGP bike and calculate the bore, stroke, and firing order of the engine being used. That this is possible is well known - back at the beginning of the 990 era, a Spanish magazine asked a local university to do just that, and the tools to do so have moved on immensely in the past 10 years. Whether the rumor is true is another thing altogether, but true or not, the only 1000 lapping the track with the BMW-powered Suter, being run by the Marc VDS team. Once we have times for that, then we will have an idea of just where the CRT teams stand.

Total votes: 259
Total votes: 66

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Comments

for really starting to display some tiger this season, in a very well-controlled and effective way - his pass on Stoner was pretty wild, and it looked as if Stoner anticipated him getting it wrong and moved left to give him room to make the mistake but he gathered it beautifully and hung on for the position. He may not be a potential team leader (yet) but his value as a team rider is going way, way up.

Total votes: 287

". . . at a track which is as notoriously difficult to learn as Mugello is . . ."

David - what makes Mugello more difficult to learn than any other new track? The answer may be hidden in your wonderful descriptions of each race track, which we read often in 2008 and 2009, but I had trouble finding searching through the archives. (I miss them).

Total votes: 283

It was great to finally see some racing. Typically I am not too worried about Stoner skipping off to an early lead (comes with being an Aussie no doubt!), but seeing the Lorenzo/Dovi battle play out and then seeing them lay down the gauntlet to catch Casey was really great to see, tyre problems or not.

Lorenzo will have his hands full for the rest of the year, especially once Pedrosa finds some form. If he manages another world championship this year he will have definitely earned it and his talent and consistency would have got him there.

The same will go for Stoner. He may be on the same machinery, but sitting atop the pile with Pedrosa, Simoncelli and a refreshingly formidable Dovizioso is no easy task.

With Yamaha now taking the battle to Honda and hopefully some dry weather ahead, there is plenty of this story to be written yet.

Total votes: 255

did you watch the race? nobody, i mean nobody ever pulled almost 1 sec from stoner in a lap in normal conditions!!!! did you hear how many times he said he lost the front? did you see his tires spin up so badly? lucky day for lorenzo and dovizioso. without the tire issues, stoner would have done what he knows how to do best...lead and manage the gap at the front. especially as lorenzo and dovi were battling, there would have been no chance in hell of ever catching stoner!the constantly increasing gap stoner was pulling on lorenzo early on and setting that early fastest lap was awesome to watch once again!stoner is undoubtedly the fastest rider/bike combo and the man to beat!

Total votes: 271

"without the tire issues, stoner would have done what he knows how to do best...lead and manage the gap at the front."
That may be very true, but one of the reasons Casey was able to pull away so fast in the first few laps was due to his tyres coming up to temp very quickly because of the higher tyre pressure. Unfortunately, the tyre temp kept on rising and caused his troubles later in the race.

Now if he had the correct pressures and the tyres stayed cooler, it would have been more interesting/closer in the early laps. He may then have been able to pull away later as he's wont to do, but Lorenzo may have kept him honest.

Total votes: 286

It's the opposite actually. Running lower pressures increases sidewall flex and causes the tyre to heat up faster, so with Stoner starting with pressures that were too high, his tyres would actually have taken longer to get up to temp, so your argument is not correct.

I don't think getting up to temp was an issue though, considering Stoner broke the lap record on lap 2. The warmer track temp cured the problems they've all been having with heating the tyres up.

The issue was that once they were up to temp they kept getting hotter and that increases the pressure in the tyre, changing the profile. So rather than his tyres having too little pressure, they had too much

Total votes: 307

Stoner himself said that the higher tire pressures allowed him to get away early at the front, but created the problem with overheating later in the race. He's the expert, so maybe we should listen to him. In any case, in my experience with race tires, higher pressures create a smaller contact patch so the tire heats up faster. It's a balance. Lower pressures give a bigger contact patch so are ultimately faster in normal conditions, but higher pressures can be an advantage in cool conditions when it is difficult to get tires to their optimum operating temperature.

Total votes: 298

I believe you have the tire pressure/heat buildup relationship backwards... with higher initial tire pressure Stoner's tires would have taken longer to build heat. He had no early lap advantage there.

Total votes: 276

As I read it, grahamb’s post ^ is exactly correct – and rather astute.

Casey stated they kept the tire pressure recommended by Bridgestone from the warmup (even though they [Casey’s team] thought the tire temps were getting to high, or rather, projected to be too high for a warmer track later in the day.) By implication Stoner's team did not adjust the tire PSI (i.e. increase PSI to reduce flex and effectively decrease working temp – they ran the race with too little PSI.)

Since Casey ran with too little PSI, the increased temp made the tire too hot – and thus too slippery. I’ve had this exact problem many times at trackdays.

So Casey’s word-for-word explanation in the post-race interview is misleading. The “decreased tire patch” resulting from increased PSI is relative only to the start tire temp (vs. tire temp that would have resulted if they had chosen to use more PSI to begin with.) Too much temp does increase PSI, but not more than it would have been with more PSI to begin with.

I believe Casey’s problem was too little PSI – not to much.

Total votes: 285

I think you and Graham have it arse about. Stoner himself said they ran too much pressure, so when the tyre got hot and the pressure increased further, it reduced the efficiency of the tyre.

Stoner did not say the tyre overheated, it just had too much pressure in it when it got hot.

There's a big difference between a tyre losing grip because it has overheated and gone off and a tyre that loses grip because it has lost it's shape due to overinflation, which is what he is complaining about. You are confusing an overheated tyre with one that was simply overinflated. Don't assume that the tyre would have stayed cool enough for the pressure not to increase if they'd had a higher pressure in it at the start. You've seen Stoner ride... you really think a tyre is gonna stay cool underneath him, no matter what pressure is in it?

So they had too much pressure, not too little.

Total votes: 282

Not sure if he said the exact words in the podium interview but he did say that in the after race interview, in his opinion they started with too much tyre pressure and grip just got worse as the tyre pressure increased due to the heat, probably only available if you have a MotoGP subscription.

Total votes: 258

"they started with too much tyre pressure"

No - he did not say that.

The link above is a faithful rendition of the post-race interview.

Total votes: 278

I see you are having a laugh, I obviously did not pick up on your subtle humour.

Total votes: 281

That article says the pressure was wrong, but not which way. That's not at all a basis to then assert here that Stoner never said "too high". In actual fact, Stoner *did* say that, to Matt Roberts of the BBC, in the winner's enclosure pit-lane interview immediately after race. If you're in the UK (or can arrange connectivity via an IP the BBC thinks is in the UK) you can check for yourself.

Total votes: 279

”I think this is why we were able to be so fast in the beginning of the race, as the tyres were able to warm up very quickly, but then the tyre overheated and I lost all grip.” - Casey

I think Casey Stoner is either confused or simply misspoke when he said just before that “should have probably reduced them a little”. If confused, he needs to talk to a tire tech – preferably a different one than the one he used for Mugello – so he can sort out his contradictions, and that is that reducing tire pressure would have compounded what he describes here.

This is exactly why riders need to tell engineers what they are feeling, and not try to provide technical solutions (to engineers or journalists), because otherwise miscommunication can very easily happen if they haven’t grokked the full details, and more often than not issues are nested three or more deep, and solutions can be counterintuitive as all hell. (e.g. “…but we reduced rear spring for the race – so compensated rear tire pressure is slightly higher – so to shoot for slightly less tire temp we increase pressure, but only half of that which is called for after having compensated for changing the spring.” I completely made that up, and it’s nonsense, but I think it’s illustrative of potential complexity and ease of misunderstanding/miscommunication.)

I believe Casey just misspoke when he said “reduced”, given his otherwise completely consistent description within that interview and elsewhere.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Total votes: 256

Stoner is a professional rider, has a WC and lots of wins. He speaks bluntly and honestly at interviews and has used BS tires for years. Why would you think he is confused or misspoken? As you point out how issues can be complex why do you think you have a greater understanding of the issues than a top rider that actually deals with them does?

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

Total votes: 275

There is nothing the slightest bit confusing about what Stoner has said, and anyone who knows anything about race tires would easily understand his comments. Quite small variations in tire pressure can make quite a big difference to tire performance, especially over a race distance. Slightly higher pressure can give a short term advantage because the tire comes up to operating temperature quicker, but the risk is that the tires will overheat as the race goes on. All standard set up stuff that any race rider knows.

Total votes: 264

I've been reading all the above comments kind of amused but also a little shocked with peoples logic.

More tire pressure will lead to hotter tires quicker because there are more air molecules in the tire with higher pressure. This means more collisions between the molecules when they get energised (heated) and that means even more friction and heat, probably exponentially so. With too much tire pressure, they will overheat quickly. It has nothing to do with side wall flex or whatever.

I read a RdP interview before and he said the bridgestone sidewalls are so stiff and strong that they could run the bikes with no air in the tires. They only put in air (or nitrogen or helium or whatever) so the tires heat up to a proper temp.

If you pump up a balloon or a football or a condom or anything with air, it will behave the same as these tires.
My slick kart tires take around 9.5 psi on a cold day and 8 on a hot day (not that it ever gets that hot in Ireland), while I usually put in 22-25 psi into the rain tires. RdP said they typically use 6.5 psi in Moto Gp tires if memory serves. Your car tires would have somewhere in the region of 35-40 psi, for comparison.

Total votes: 259

The arguments about whether there was too much or too little tire pressure are interesting, and both sides are correct. On street tires (with a relatively soft carcass) putting less air pressure in will bring the tire pressure up more quickly, because the tire is deforming more and heating up faster. But the racing Bridgestones have such an incredibly stiff carcass that they don't deform that much more with lower pressure, so the opposite is true. The greater mass of air in the tire then stores more heat.

Total votes: 299

Thanks for clearing up how street and race tyres differ. I couldn't make sense of Stoner's comments before.

Total votes: 285

You would expect the bridgestones advice to be consistant across all the hondas, would be interesting to see if there were differences from rider to rider and to know why they run different temps if they do..and whether Casey just used his tyre up too quickly on what was a very hot and abrasive track.
These days the rider have got used to race tyres being at their best for 40 laps nevermind race distance. Would be a welcome change that the tyres do actually go off and make the riders work more.. though not without prior notice of course..

Total votes: 288

There is no issue about him using the tyre up. That's pretty much impossible with these hard compound Bridgestones.

Why are you guys speculating about this stuff? He simply had too much pressure in it. Casey said it himself. He didn't have too little pressure and he didn't destroy the tyre... it was overinflated.

Can we put that to bed now?

As for why he had issues and others appeared not to, maybe the riding style that he has used for so many years to put so much work in those tyres on the Ducati to get them working properly worked against him a bit? He obviously knows how to make a tyre work and bring it up to temp better than anyone who has ever ridden the Duc, including the current riders. maybe his inherent sideways style generates a bit more heat on the Honda too. It makes sense.

Sounds like this is one problem they will be able to fix very easily though. I doubt it will continue to be an issue.

As for your suggestion about tyres that do wear out or "go off" providing better racing, while I can see your point, I don't agree with that. There's nothing worse than watching a rider lose a race through tyre problems. I like having control tyres.. It's one less variable that can skew results towards those that don't deserve them.

And I don't consider Stoner's issue at Mugello a tyre problem... it was a setup problem

Total votes: 293

I agree. Just watched the interview, Casey says too much pressure at the start of the race. Not verbatim, but I understand spoken English so it is pretty clear to me. Quite simple. All else is speculation.

Total votes: 275

Not a classic but today was at least engaging throughout. Worth noting that alongside Stoner fading was Lorenzo setting fastest lap. That should give him enough credibility for winning rather than it having been gifted to him. While I'm not Stoner's biggest fan, the way he can pull podiums out his butt even when he's having trouble should not be ignored.
I so want Rossi running at the top again, even if he loses he usually makes a race more exciting.

Total votes: 263

with stoner having no tire issues, what was to stop him setting an even faster lap time than lorenzo and getting into the 1.47s or 48 flat if needed? judging by dovizioso's pace in running with lorenzo and passing him in the middle stages, stoner had a faster pace than dovi throughout practice! much as i am a fan of JL99 and celebrated his championship win last season, simple facts suggests that its highly unlikely he would have caught up to stoner!!

Total votes: 283

Well..

What could have been, should have been, or any other possibility doesn't really matter does it? Tyres, tyre pressure, excursion through a gravel trap, technical difficulties.. the possibilities are endless.

Yes Stoner is fast. Real fast. But credit to Lorenzo for riding the race he did, same with Dovi, and it rounded out a well deserved podium for all three.

This really isn't the place for heated 'he said, she said' type arguments. There's always the more mainstream choices for that sort of banter, and you'll always get alot more bites over there.

It starts with C, ends in T, and everything in between is generally utter tripe.

Total votes: 304

Well said Damo. You can't win um all.
Really enjoyed that one, Lorenzo's two passes were epic. Such bravery & SO much corner speed. These kids really are far from being "pussies".

Total votes: 260

stoner saw the crash of lorenzo first hand and made a decision immediately to settle for the points!!! he didnt have to push to win but did enough to keep dovi at bay!!!

Total votes: 275

Not to say you're wrong, because nobody really knows for sure, but I saw Spies checking out and Casey trying to catch up, then I saw Spies respond every time and Casey realize he didn't have his number that day.
Point being, these things aren't always objective reality.

Total votes: 281

That's exactly what Stoner said after the race, he wasn't sure that he had the pace even if he didn't blow the start of that race.

You can't expect a bike - rider combo to dominate every single race.

I basically want to know what the tech was thinking when he recommended the higher pressure. That would be rather interesting.

Total votes: 271

Exactly, even in the most dominant years of Doohan and Rossi on the Honda they never came anywhere near winning every race in the season. And the difference between the Honda and Yamaha this year is not much in reality. Expect a very tight championship battle.

Total votes: 280

In 1997 Doohan won twelve races, got 2nd in two, and one DNF at Phillip Island (while leading by a country mile). Utter domination. :-)

Total votes: 269

Yep that year and in 1998 the top 5 where all on Hondas.. The fact that Dovi who couldn't hold a candle to Lorenzo last year yet has been fighting with him nearly all season would suggest that the Honda is still quite a bit better. I suspect Danis return to fitness will exaggerate it further, considering you wouldn't expect Stoner to make the same mistake twice..

Total votes: 286

It might suggest the Honda is a still quite a bit better this year, or it could suggest the Honda was quite a bit worse last year.

There are too many variables to make sweeping assessments in MotoGP. All we know for sure is how the bike+rider+team packages stack up. The expression is not easily separable.

Total votes: 270

Did anyone else follow Bridgestone’s "Stoner recommendation"? Why didn’t anyone else have similar problems? Are the Bridgestone recommendations standardized or unique to each team? Do teams calculate their own PSI, only informed by Bridgestone recommendations, and thus not blindly reliant – integrating it into their own program? WHY is Stoner effectively blaming Bridgestone for the loss when he is using spec tires that everyone is using, and that his team is ultimately responsible for??!!

Total votes: 275

Bridgestone recommends a pressure, but the pressure is only one factor in an entire setup package. If you are using a rear spring and rebound setting to put more pressure on the rear than another rider, then your tire pressure may be different. The team tells the Bridgestone tech what they need, the Bridgestone tech makes a recommendation. Sometimes they get it wrong.

There are two differences between Stoner and the other riders. Firstly, a tire pressure difference will only be noticed if it affects one of the top 6 riders. If, say, Randy de Puniet has a problem with his tire pressure, you won't hear it. Secondly, Stoner is very good at telling the media exactly what the problem was. Were another rider might say "the bike didn't give me the feeling I need," Stoner will say "we got the tire pressure/weight distribution/ride height wrong." Always very interesting, but it does sometimes make him look like he's the only rider with these problems.

Total votes: 289

Stoner's brutal honesty rubs alot of people the wrong way.

Personally I find the detail refreshing. There is no doubt that he takes his racing very seriously, and it doesn't surprise me that his team is so supportive and dedicated to him. Having that level of feedback must make their job easier (or alot harder when they get it wrong!)

Total votes: 249

Like Rossi's, his team is willing to follow him from one manufacturer to the other, gotta mean something.

Total votes: 273

I agree entirely, the major difference with Stoner is he will give us an insight into what has actually gone on, not just the usual thanks to the team, fans etc (although he makes a point of saying "WE" when good things happen)
The thing is with Casey is that he is both honest (it was my fault, it was my call/mistake) and technical in responding to perceived failures (tyre pressures, ride height etc)
I think an extended interview in the off season should be near the top of the "to do" list
thanks for your work

Total votes: 291

After a little race reflection, I finally remembered that this is Stoner's first year on a 800cc Honda, little hiccups like this are bound to occur and be quickly committed to the team knowledge banks. The tyre tech's credibility within the team has probably gone down a notch or two. After the morning warm-up Stoner's garage door was pulled down, at the time I wondered why, maybe that was the tyre pressure discussion underway?

That was also the best ride I have seen by Rossi on the Ducati, totally earned with no hint of being gifted anything. Pity about Hayden's run off he was looking quite good all weekend.

Overall, a good race by all in the top 6.

A question also for David: Are the factory Hondas testing or satellite only?

Total votes: 252

He qualified 12th because he was slow, and in the race he barely beat Hector Barbera who was riding on a non-factory GP10! How could you call that the best? I thought it was embarrassing.

Total votes: 251

Rossi's best ride was in Catalunya, where he finished just over 7 seconds behind Stoner. Since then Rossi's performance has gone downhill, and dramatically so. He should have done a hell of lot better than finishing over 26 seconds behind Lorenzo at Mugello, considering the number laps he had done on the GP12 only a couple of weeks earlier. The GP11.1 is essentially the same bike as the GP12 apart from the de-stroked engine, as Ducati has acknowledged. Very surprising really, expected a lot better. Finishing sixth is meaningless if the rider is so far off the front running pace. A rider with Rossi's credentials should be running with the leaders, not fighting the backmarkers. A poor result.

Total votes: 272

beating a fellow ducati rider using 2nd rate machinery/outdated chassis; or pedrosa who would always have finished ahead of rossi if he were fit doesnt seem like "the best" result to me. matter of fact, his results have progressively deteriorated and i am beginning to wonder about all his shoulder excuses at the beginning of the season where the gap to the front has gone from 16s to 26s in mugello!
+16 secs in qatar, +16 estoril, +14 le mans, +7 catalunya, +30s in assen, +26s in mugello.
now we know better!!!!

Total votes: 268

Are tire pressure bleeders illegal in motogp? They have been used for years in American sprint car racing to relieve pressure build up as a tires heat up. Simple and cheap.

Total votes: 261

I'm guessing they've been banned for years by the FIM.

The FIA banned them worldwide for four wheels back in 1995 or so.

Ticked me off no end as I had twos sets fresh from the US to fit to rims .
Ended up selling them to a Sprint Car team.

Total votes: 263

I can't ever remember there ever being such a big deal about a guy who finished on the podium and retains his championship lead. A championship leader who finishes on the podium and protects his title lead has never been a big deal in any form of motorsports or has never been any cause for alarm and yesterday was no exception. No one will win all the races so all of this whoopty doo about Stoner placing 3rd is much ado about nothing.

Total votes: 264

delete

Total votes: 268

Back to the Stoner tire pressure thing, wouldn't that be considered a rookie mistake? He always comes across as blaming somebody / something else for his issues so it's hard to tell but the guy has been racing for years and I would think that seeing as how he's the one riding it, he should have the final say - taking all other opinions into account of course but ... maybe Tony Elias just needs less tire pressure to get his bike sorted :)

Total votes: 259

Are you kidding? Your talking about the guy leading the world championship, therefore THE fastest motorcycle racer in the world right now.
Stoner is just straight up honest. I can recall plenty of times when he has put his hand up, the thing is, he will then go into detail about why it happened. Example "I crashed because I was pushing too hard on a cold tire." You would probably say he was blaming the tire, i'd say he was admitting his mistake & telling us how it came about.

Total votes: 271

In his interview with Azi (BBC) after the Assen race he clearly says "I couldn't match the pace of Ben". He says he couldn't match Marco's pace either. He doesn't blame the bike, he doesn't blame the tires, he doesn't blame the team. He said "I". And then he goes on to say he is very happy with the podium position.

Total votes: 255

Is it possible that the tyre remarks are just a smoke screen and Casey was actually slowed down by the electronics saving fuel. Hot temps giving less fuel ? Did he go off too quickly and miss judge the race distance ? I often though he did that with the Ducati !

Total votes: 273

lorenzo and dovizioso have pointed out in separate interviews that stoner's rear tires were spinning up dramatically!

Total votes: 256

Can I just point out to all the guys praising Stoner's precision press feedback on problems with the bike, this is likely because he's using his first language and the others are not. Most of them are just focussing on saying something coherent in the post-race press conferences and tend to rely on stock phrases that they've heard fellow riders use in press conferences (this is why you often hear non-English-speaking riders saying "I push and push" even though you'd never hear Hayden, Spies, Edwards or Stoner saying such a thing.

Dani Pedrosa has lived in London and he'll sometimes try to go beyond stock iterations to say something a bit more specific and substantial. Jorge's English is crap and he doesn't have enough confidence with it to say anything substantial.

Rossi will usually give a very objective and precise explanation for what has gone wrong in a race even if it's expressed in Italianglish.

Total votes: 268

Are you saying that there is nothing supernaturally special about Stoner's assessabilitous nature?!!!

Total votes: 248

Please stop wasting your time on the tyre pressure affair. Just simply reckon that Jorge was giving today a master class in riding a motogp bike. He increases his lap times as the race goes on, and the two passes on Dovi & Stoner where aggressive but inmaculate. Apart from a luxury to see. Let's hope he ( and Spies ) keep the mood and we can have really fun for some races. That's the good news. Add Dovi and Pedrosa ( and Simoncelli if he is to race in a clean way ) and the show will be epic. For our joy.
By the way, inmense overtake from Spies on Sic on the last corner. !

Total votes: 254

"the factories decided against running the 1000s for fear of espionage. One unnamed team is rumored to have got a hold of software that can analyze the sound of a MotoGP bike and calculate the bore, stroke, and firing order of the engine being used. That this is possible is well known"

It has been common practice in F1 (pre-season) testing for a number of years. Most teams place a team member with a microphone at the end of the pit lane to record all the cars as they leave and go up to full speed. I asked some F1 techs what they were doing there and it was exactly for the reasons laid out above.

Total votes: 246

Find it surprising Rossi did not attend the Monday test at Mugello. Thought they needed all the dry track time they could get to understand how to set up the GP11.1 for the short term, until the next big update comes along. But maybe they think giving the current GP11.1 any more testing is like flogging a dead horse?

Total votes: 243

Could be that Ducati dont want to put another test day into the short supply of engines they have left? I don't know how far they think they can get before they hit the pitlane starting issue, but until they've had chance to look in detail at all the data comparing the 800cc GP12 (11.1) with the long stroke GP12 I'd guess they want to limit the miles they put on the engine?

Much further up there is some discussion about Nicky Hayden perhaps choosing to stick with the GP11 rather than riding an unfamiliar machine at Laguna. I guess if he's not certain that he'll have a substantial performance advantage, he's better to stick with the 'old' bike until he needs to unseal more engines, as avoiding some of the penalties might make more difference to his championship position than riding the 'better' bike.

Total votes: 252

Lorenzo and Dovi can be happy with the fact that they dealt with Stoner's/Bridgestone's tire situation perfectly but somewhere in the back of the Honda and Yamaha pit there is a technical guy sitting there with a knot in his stomach knowing that they got lucky. The same guy that goes home later than everyone every day and you never see on camera.

Yamaha made strides against Honda? If they think that they are fooling themselves. Dovi straight up beating Stoner? Never happen. Lorenzo, maybe, but he better not get delusional at this point or he will just make it harder on himself. At this level it seems a strange kind of mind game whereby you celebrate your good fortune claiming it as superiority, whilst fooling only yourself. It's dangerously hollow and the last guy you want to do that against is Stoner.

Total votes: 280

was interesting. Dovi was, quite rightly, elated to have put one on his illustrious team mate on the last lap, and was clearly buzzing with enthusiasm and confidence. Then Stoner spoke next, saying how disappointed he was and how slow he had to go at the end etc etc. From my late night recollection, Dovi's reaction was priceless. He's either thinking what a jerk Stoner is, or he's coming down to earth with a thud (or both). Regardless, he's doing a good job this year, and it only requires another twist in the plot for him to be a real contender. Has happened before...

Total votes: 272

Considering that Stoner's worst race lap was still better than Pedrosa's best race lap (incidentally, Pedrosa ran the 6th fastest lap of the race), I'm inclined to think that this is much ado about nothing. Whatever difference to the race the tire pressure drama made, IMO it couldn't have been a very big difference if every lap Stoner ran was still better than the best laps of 11 riders in the field.

Besides, who knows? If he had started with different tire pressure, it doesn't mean he would have done better.

Total votes: 246

Qualifying
Stoner: 1:48.034
Dovizioso: 1:48.694

Race
Stoner: 1:48.577
Dovizioso: 1:48.678

Post-race test
Stoner: 1:47.326 (holy crap!!)
Dovizioso: 1:48.061 (+.735!!)

Total votes: 262

some more proof where stoner would have ended that disappointing race if not for the tire issues!!!

Total votes: 237

Right... those are all times that he got for one lap bud--not times that he got for 23 laps in a row. Running 23 laps in a row is a little different than running one lap, and running one lap faster than everyone else is not necessarily indicative that you will run 23 that way.

Total votes: 237

While watching the post race interviews on MotoGP.com, I was surprised to hear Rossi let the cat out of the bag. Did anyone else catch that?

There's been a lot of discussion about the long stroke motor fixing the front end problems, and next year is going to be a lot better. Rossi subtly put the kibosh on that notion and called out his factory in the process. Here's a rough transcription:

"With the 1000 I was quite fast, but not enough for, uh, for win. Eh... so it mean that we have to fix the problem that this bike have. So for this reason is good to use the bike from now and try to understand for work also on the next year."

That's pretty unambiguous. Although we don't know Rossi's times from the Mugello test, he certainly does. And he's saying even on the 1000 he wasn't winning this race. In fact, from how down about it he seemed, I'm guessing it might not have been that close, either.

Seems the boys in red have some serious work to do...

Total votes: 242

I read somewhere else on here that Ducati claimed the 1000cc engine should be worth about 0.5s each lap. So it is likely that other manufacturers should gain at least 0.2-.3sec lap or more when they go to the 1000. Yet Rossi says here (and I read it somewhere else too) that his times on the 1000cc wouldn't have been good enough to win yesterday's race. So him on the 1000cc GP12 can't even beat the top 800cc guys. So unless they have some break through, I see them at least 0.5sec off the pace next year.

Total votes: 238

Yep also read that, serious work to do at Ducati.
Though it is worth noting that the race time this year was some 40 seconds quicker than last years race, what this does highlight is that even factoring in the new tarmac Rossi was around 20 seconds quicker this year than the no.1 duke was last year but still miles behind.
You have to wonder how much longer Ducati can afford to waste on the cf frame, 2.5 years and they still haven't sussed it out.
Can Ducati afford to go into next year in the same boat?? Not if they want Rossi to stay and have any chance of having a competitive rider, once that happens they will spiral into obscurity the way suzuki has,no top rider to showcase the bikes abilities no results even when it may be relatively good to attract a top rider..Ducati really need to have a serious think about what they are doing sooner rather than later.
Casey's comments do make you think about the races where the other top riders struggle but just say we just weren't strong enough today..
And again brilliant ride from Lorenzo.

Total votes: 263

Stoners tyre woes have been well overblown here, and should not detract in any way from a brilliant ride by Lorenzo. The thing with racers and losing is there is always a reason why, and whilst I empathsise with Stoner due to the fact he knew exactly what his issue was and had enunciated his thoughts to his team post warm up, who's to say Lorenzo also didn't have a small issue of some description to deal with? Winners normally just say "my bike was brilliant today" and leave it there. Over and above which perhaps a slight pressure drop for Stoner wouldn't have changed his spinning up at all? Some talk as if a Stoner win was a fait au complit if he had the PSI he wanted - please.... As for the genius' who state that Stoner should've been able to deal with the spinning rear since he's supposedly got the best throttle hand in the business. Errr steering the rear deliberately to turn the motorcycle is one thing, scrabbling for grip you'll never find because of the tyre condition is another all together.

All speculation, like saying the sixth place rider this year would've won last year at that pace. Pointless comparison ignoring so many variables I cannot be bothered listing them.

Total votes: 259

Agree with you Nostrodamus, overblown (Kiwis are always spot on: have I got that right?), but some interesting observations along the way.
If I can make one tiny comment. The "reason why" - reason IS why - my old school teacher use to say why is a wheelbarrow word, carted around unneccessarily.
BTW your insightful posts are one of the reasons I subed to MM.

Total votes: 220

Very kind of you to say, although there are many extremely insightful posters on this site - least not the site creator Mr Emmett, which is why I'll be signing up once he answers my e-mail from pre Assen (Extremely busy man these last two weeks I know, so just a small dig!).

Grammatical point clearly stated & taken on board. I doubt that we Kiwi's are always spot-on but perhaps we're a little closer to our trans Tasman cousins with our bluntness than we care to admit!

Total votes: 232