2011 Sepang MotoGP Thursday Round Up: On Marquez' Big Mistake, And MotoGP's Silly Season Winding Down

After an eight-hour flight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur, the MotoGP circus has rolled up at the Sepang circuit ready to do it all again a week later. Fortunately for most of the teams, they have had a day or two in Kuala Lumpur to acclimatize to the sweltering Malaysian heat, quite a contrast to the blustery cool of Phillip Island.

The climate inside the air-conditioned rooms where negotiations are taking place over 2012 is just as fevered as the hot and sweaty conditions outside, however. The spare time forced on the paddock has given riders, their managers and teams time to try to reach agreement over next season. With just two races of 2011 next to go, and with all of the major pieces having slotted into place, the final seats on the grid are starting to shake out.

The biggest announcement came on Thursday afternoon at the circuit, and had held much of the Spanish press in its thrall throughout the week. Marc Marquez finally announced that he will be staying in Moto2 for another year, and not moving up to MotoGP as many had hoped he would. For the full details, see this story here, but part of the decision was down to Marquez' personal backing from Repsol. The Spanish petroleum giant is getting an unprecedented bang for their buck at the moment, with Casey Stoner dominating in MotoGP on the Repsol Honda - and Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso picking up the baton on the rare occasions that Stoner falters - while Marc Marquez is storming up the field in Moto2. Repsol is getting massive exposure in their home market from having the two championship favorites on their books, and will be hoping to capitalize with a brace of #1 plates in both MotoGP and Moto2 next season.

For Marquez personally, the main reason for staying in Moto2 was that he still felt he had so much to learn - or at least, that is what he was telling the press. "Every race I learn something new," he said in Sepang, denying he was disappointed not to be making the switch to MotoGP and pointing out he is still just 18 years old. More experience would surely be a benefit, ran the argument by both Marquez and his manager, Emilio Alzamora.

Yet this is surely the wrong decision by the Spaniard. Yes, Marquez is still very young, and as he has demonstrated a number of times this year, including during practice at Phillip Island, can still make some very stupid and dangerous mistakes. Yes, Marquez still has a massive amount to learn, and MotoGP adds yet more in the shape of the electronics, gearbox selection, setup options and most significantly, the characteristics of the Bridgestone tires.

But the amount that Marquez has to learn remains the same whether he stays in Moto2 or goes to MotoGP. Moto2 has not proven to be the training ground for MotoGP that it was hoped to be; the vastly different tires are the biggest factor here, but the standard Honda engine not allowing adjustments to gearbox ratios , the rudimentary slipper clutch setup and the extremely limited options for the electronics are a major difference too. Staying in Moto2 for another year risks ingraining riding instincts and behaviors that could work against him once Marquez reaches the premier class. Learning to ride a MotoGP bike properly can only be done aboard a MotoGP bike, and its setup can only be mastered when you have all of the options at your disposal.

The sponsorship argument for remaining in Moto2 also makes little sense. If Repsol are enjoying the benefits of having wall-to-wall coverage in MotoGP and Moto2 this year, it is entirely possible that Stoner and Marquez could repeat again in 2012. Once again, Repsol would have plenty of exposure in MotoGP, and not need another rider. With the Spanish economy in dire straits and not looking like improving much in the next 12 months, there could be even less money for sponsorship available in 2013, jeopardizing Marquez' promotion to MotoGP.

A lack of sponsorship is not the only risk. Marquez looks fantastic this year, but an injury - especially a niggling one, such as a shoulder or wrist injury - could see Marquez struggle in 2012, his record losing much of his shine. The old racing adage that you're only good as your last race is a genuine threat to any rider looking to move up a class, and given the current state of MotoGP - especially the Bridgestone tires, which are so difficult to master - teams prefer a rider from inside the championship whose qualities they know to taking a risk on one from outside, even one with the potential of Marquez.

Which brings up the massive opportunity that Marquez is missing out on: with MotoGP switching to 1000cc next season, everyone will be on a machine they are unaccustomed to, and though the 1000s will be very similar to the 800s, they will be sufficiently different for everyone to need some time to get used to the bikes. Switching in 2012 means getting in on the ground floor along with everyone else (or at least, everyone except the factory riders who helped develop the bikes), while waiting until 2013 means giving the rest of the paddock a year's head start.

Then there's the question of contracts: All of the factory riders are out of contract at the end of 2012, meaning there will be a lot of opportunities for anyone on the MotoGP grid next year. With the Rookie Rule preventing new entrants into the class from going straight to a factory team, that door may shut again for 2013 and 2014, if the factory riders follow the current fashion for signing two-year contracts. That would leave Marquez either in a satellite team for two years, or forcing manufacturers to expand their factory teams to three riders, to make room for the Spaniard, which again would be very unpopular given the economic climate.

There is no doubt that Marquez is a prodigious talent, and that he is still very young and has a lot to learn - not running other riders off the track and trying to kill them, according to some of his fellow Moto2 riders. But it is equally clear that the young Spaniard learns at an astonishing rate, and has the mental strength and fortitude to take the pressure that entering MotoGP at the tender age of 18 would have placed upon him. The Spaniard's incredible performance at Estoril last year and Phillip Island this year - both situations where he showed both fantastic speed and the calmness and maturity to stay on the bike - prove that Marquez is ready. Another year in Moto2 for Marquez is a year wasted. I know a lot of Moto2 team managers will agree with me, if only because removing Marquez from the grid gives their riders a chance of winning the Moto2 championship.

Marquez' decision has blown open one of the two final pieces of the rider merry-go-round, and the paddock is now just waiting on a decision from Suzuki. An announcement from the smallest of the Japanese manufacturers currently on the grid is expected tomorrow, both about their MotoGP and their World Superbike teams. The current expectation is that Suzuki will stay in MotoGP for 2012, but they will field their current 800cc machine, as the rules allow them to do, with the proviso that their current 800 has a bore size no greater than 81mm. Suzuki are also expected to support Crescent with their move from BSB to World Superbikes, with current rider, BSB runner-up and MotoGP wildcard this weekend John Hopkins likely to be at least one of the riders, and Tommy Hill rumored to be in the running for the second seat in WSBK. Alvaro Bautista looks likely to stay with Rizla Suzuki (Crescent's MotoGP arm) for 2012, preferring the comfort of a factory team to the uncertainty of a satellite ride with LCR Honda, where he is still the name at the top of Lucio Cecchinello's list of potential candidates.

LCR's choice of riders is almost entirely dependent upon Suzuki. If Bautista doesn't switch to the satellite squad, then John Hopkins would be Cecchinello's next preferred option, leaving the American torn between his loyalty to the Crescent Suzuki operation which he has worked with for many years, and the chance of a (relatively uncompetitive) ride on a satellite Honda. If Paul Denning persuades Hopper to go to WSBK instead - where he stands more chance of podiums and wins than in MotoGP - then Randy de Puniet will make his return to LCR, a year after his departure on not entirely amicable terms.

There will be four Ducatis on the grid next season, with Pramac close to confirming they will be fielding a Desmosedici GP12 for 2012. It will be just a single bike that Pramac runs, however, and not the two-rider team they have had for the past several years. Hector Barbera is a shoe-in for the Pramac ride, an obvious and welcome choice given the Spaniard's outstanding rides on the GP11. Barbera had the option of riding a CRT machine with Aspar but declined, preferring to take his chances on the satellite Ducati.

There is even a possibility of a fifth Ducati taking to the field, with the Marc VDS team having an option on the Desmosedici already produced for the Aspar team, and spurned by Jorge Martinez in favor of two CRT bikes. Scott Redding would be the rider, but the project is dependent upon the team finding extra money to fund the difference between a Suter CRT machine (1.3 million euros) and a satellite Ducati (2.5 million euros). Having already produced the equipment, Ducati may be willing to do a deal.

A political factor could come into play here too. Ducati are rumored to have been pressured into racing at Motegi by Honda, with dark murmurings over refusing support for proposals within the MSMA. With four Hondas and four Yamahas on the grid, a fifth Ducati would make the Bologna factory the largest manufacturer in MotoGP, and very much strengthen their hand in the MSMA. Dorna would be much more willing to listen to the relatively small Italian factory that kept five bikes on the grid, and less inclined to hear the pleas of Honda, which cut two of its bikes from 2011 to 2012, reducing their quota to just 4 RC213Vs.

Despite there being at worst twelve and at best fourteen factory prototypes on the grid, the CRT contingent should bring the grid up to a fairly healthy 21 or 22 bikes. Colin Edwards will be riding one of them, the team having switched to the Suter BMW project, after someone inside Yamaha having vetoed Yamaha USA's offer of an R1 engine for the NGM Forward team to build a chassis around. Having a proven development rider like Edwards on the Suter could be just the fillip the project needs, and after having already made a big step forward from Mugello to Brno, they could cause a few surprises in the second half of 2012.

First, Sepang, and the bikes roll out onto the track in the next few hours. The weather is looking worrying, with showers and thunderstorms threatening every day. Though MotoGP is used to riding in the rain, the tropical downpours which see inches of water fall in just a few minutes are not safe to race in. The schedule could be disrupted, unless the weather holds off until the end of the day.

The other thing that could be disrupted is the test on Monday. Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will be taking the RC213V to the track again, while Ben Spies - if he is fit, as question marks remain over the Texan after his big crash and concussion at Phillip Island - and Katsuyuki Nakasuga set to take the 2012 Yamaha M1 out on Monday as well. Nakasuga, replacing the injured Jorge Lorenzo, still recovering from surgery to fix his finger crushed at Phillip Island, has worn a groove around Sepang already, as he is currently a Yamaha test rider helping to develop the 2012 M1. His best time at the track is a 2'02.4, which would put him firmly on the pace with Elias and Abraham, and not leaving him to lap on his own at the back. He may not be in for a podium on Sunday, or even a top 10, but he is unlikely to embarrass himself.

Total votes: 180
Total votes: 45

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Comments

David, please email this article to Marc Marquez or read it aloud to him at one of the press conferences. Yes I understand he's only 18 and Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner, etc all spent at least 2 years in the intermediate class, but the timing was just so perfect for Marquez. Also, MotoGP needed some fresh new talent that can really inject a load of excitement into the class and Marquez was exactly what the doctor ordered. The kid made the 125 class the class to watch last year and this year he is doing the same for Moto2. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised Dorna didn't push harder to get him into the premier class. As for the Moto2 class being a feeder class I wouldn't necessarily say that it is not a good preparation for MotoGP. I'm a firm believer that if you are fast you will be fast on whatever you sit on. Hence the reason mid pack MotoGP guys are dominating WSBK. As for Toni Elias, he won Moto2 when the series and the bikes were brand new, un-tested, and not yet developed. I think if Elias were to go back to Moto2 he would be nowhere to be seen. I simply think Elias is a prime example of losing your mojo, hence the reason he was 2 seconds off the pace during his WSBK test.

Total votes: 163

No-one knows how fast Marquez really is. Sure he is fast relative to the current fields in 125 and Moto2, but how good is the talent in those classes? Personally I think that they are rather weak at the moment. Look at the results at Phillip Island. Most of the field was no-where, even guys like Iannone. That made Marquez look better than he really was. There is no proof at all that Marquez will be fast relative to the aliens in MotoGP. MotoGP is a whole different level to the junior classes. There is also a long history of top 250 guys who never really made it when they arrived in the premier class. So some of the claims being made for the potential of Marquez in MotoGP based on his 125 and Moto2 performances are really silly. He might be great, or he might be just a second tier rider like most of the MotoGP field. I hope that he is good in MotoGP when he gets there, because MotoGP needs more good riders, but the fact is that right now no-one knows, it is just pure guesswork.

Total votes: 183

Sometimes it sounds like virtually, Marquez has already won a MotoGP championship. Kind of like Spies after winning WSBK. Marquez sure is talented, but we really don't know how well he will fare on a MotoGP bike. Still, it would have made more sense to get to it as soon as possible.

Total votes: 166

If he really is THAT talented, and eventually makes his transition to the big show a year later.. I'm sure he will be just fine. Other riders and their contract status will have nothing to do with it. His talent will take him where he deserves to be.

I think he will do well with another year in Moto2.

Total votes: 182

Pedrosa is a very talented rider and very very underrated.
He came in the MotoGP class after winning 3 world championships (1 125 + 2 250) in 3 seasons.
Marquez might be able to equal Pedrosa performances in the lower classes, but that is no guaranty for a MotoGP crown as Dani can assess!
Don't get me wrong, being one of the 4 aliens, Pedrosa is one of the best riders in the world and I don't quite think he is to be threatened by riders like Sic "2 podiums in 2 seasons" anytime, but he may never win the ultimate title...

Total votes: 176

"The Spaniard's incredible performance at Estoril last year and Phillip Island this year - both situations where he showed both fantastic speed and the calmness and maturity to stay on the bike - prove that Marquez is ready."

Don't forget that both of these situations he had brought upon himself - exactly by not staying on the bike. Yes, it's easy to be amazed by the great comebacks he showed in the races, but when he manages to avoid the (in the latter case glaring & dangerous) mistakes he made to make those comebacks necessary in the first place, he is truly ready.

I understand why there's been a lot of hullaballoo around him this year, but despite all the very good points you make, I think staying another year in Moto2 won't do his career any harm but give him a little time to breathe and evolve further. If he is the incredible wonderkid then he'll still be able to shine when he moves up a year later, the current fastest riders of the class all had to race against experience as well and still came out on top in their first year. And as he's only 18 now, he'll have lots and lots of time to break all manner of records in his career. No rush.

Total votes: 166

I read between the lines here to see a butting of heads between the Marquez handlers and LCR, that led to the baby being thrown out with the bathwater (yes, that was 2 cliches in one sentence). A factory Honda was on offer, the timing was right in terms of Marquez being at less of a disadvantage in the first year of the 1000's, yet it quickly seemed to fall apart over 'sponsorship' issues and Marquez's squad wanting to run their own team. A quick review - LCR has been creative in putting sponsorship deals together, but no one is falling over themselves to sponsor them either, especially now after Toni's year. Marquez' squad has sponsorship, but maybe not quite enough to make it alone in Motogp with their own squad. LCR has a squad ready to run. Add the factory Honda element into the mix, and it looks like a classic ego battle between Cecchinello and Alzzamora thats keeping this from coming together.

Total votes: 159

i had a question for you david. i was wondering if the 250cc concept worked better as a transition phase for riders. i know it worked better in the 500cc era, but riders like marco melandri, lorenzo, stoner, pedrosa, Sic, Dovizioso were still transitioning well to MotoGP... i wonder if leveling the field by equipping all the riders with same engine and little parameters to play around with, decreased the skill set.

Toni elias was performing very well in 2009 with 10 top 10 finishes and a podium riding the satellite honda. but after claiming the Moto2 championship, he seems to have lost something. he has 4 top 10 finishes this year... i believe the single tire rule was still in place in 2009. On that note i was very much interested to see how Marquez would perform in motogp. i guess i have wait for another year.

Total votes: 153

Jump ship and abandon all of those who have supported him up to this point so he can get a ride with LCR? Isn't this a case of 'he who pays the piper calls the tune'? Would it not be more realistic for him to want to stay with the people who have nurtured his talent and provided him with an extremely well funded team to showcase his skills, rather than than go to the dubious charms of LCR, which has a history of being a mediocre performing team? What does it matter if he can't get into a factory spot in his second year? As long as he has a factory bike, he should be able to compete for wins and podiums (given fans of a certain persuasion are claiming he will totally dominate Motogp when he gets there), as Simoncelli has ably demonstrated this year. In fact, giving a factory bike to a rookie in a satellite team makes a nonsense of the no rookies in factory teams rule.

Rather than being his big mistake, isn't this simply the most viable choice open to him if his team/sponsor want another year in Moto2?

As for Elias losing his mojo, it is well known that he needs specific tyres to work with, and the Bridgestones ain't it. He easily won the Moto2 championship last year, and as DE has clearly enunciated in an earlier article, a rider doesn't lose that kind of talent over night, so it is probably all the bikes fault anyway ;).

Total votes: 160

"...as Simoncelli has ably demonstrated this year. In fact, giving a factory bike to a rookie in a satellite team makes a nonsense of the no rookies in factory teams rule."

Not a Rookie, Simoncelli was after all in the San Carlo Gresini camp last year as a rookie riding a satellite spec RC211V. 8th place if I remember correctly.

I Think the points made by David are in relation to a huge opportunity being lost to possibly surprising people in the first year of 1000cc and CRT teams. Aboard a satellite team with a factory bike, that is a huge opportunity that may not present itself again, particularly for a rookie, and particularly for developing a feel for the bikes.

To me this seems like a pure and simple political play by Repsol, and those around Marquez manipulating a young man, unfortunately.

Total votes: 164

You call it manipulation, I say it is the people paying for the party telling Marquez what they want. Repsol wants to get the best mileage from its sponsorship euros, not necessarily do what is best for Marquez. His only other option is to jump ship. Again I ask, what do you really expect him to do? In the end, he either does what his employer wants or buggers off elsewhere... just like the rest of us.

I am aware that Simoncelli did not have a factory bike in his first year, but the rumour is that Marquez will have a full factory bike if he goes to LCR, no? That point was to say that you don't have to be in a factory team to get factory Honda support. You did see the full stop in there, right?

Total votes: 171

No money means no money... especially in Spain at the moment.
Sure, he could screw up on the Moto2 next year, but he could equally well screw up riding in MotoGP with a less competent crew in an under-funded team.

Let's just hope Dunlop improves the tyres next year, Géo will find an extra few hp to put in the motors and someone will come up with a setting for the Suter clutch that doesn't require every corner to be entered sideways...

Total votes: 157

Strongly agree! I am kind of disappointed in this "On Marquez' Big Mistake" article.

Don't get me wrong ... I love David's reporting and have never gotten my MotoGP news from another source since finding out about his reporting a couple of years ago - but I find David's reporting on this article a bit biased. What about the other side of the story ... of Rossi's agreement that it would be the same decision that he would have made and the other top riders in agreement in Thursdays press conference?

A quick Google of 'biased reporter' I found this quote at http://www.fairpress.org/identify.htm#label : "...reporters are supposed to provide roughly equal time to presenting the best arguments of both sides of an issue. If liberals say "A" and conservatives say "B" then the story should summarize both perspectives."

Total votes: 158

This article is clearly editorial in nature, and quite reasonably presenting an opinion on the matter. If you wanted quite factual reportage, you could just look at David's earlier article on the Marquez decision, which this editorial provides a convenient link to (under "For the full details, see this story here..").

As for the equal-time argument, the article you link to seems to be rather specific to reportage of US politics, which has a somewhat equal-split between 2 factions, judging by the electoral record. However, in general, it is not sensible to require that reportage give strictly equal time to different sides of an argument. Not all sides in an argument are necessarily equal, some sides are just ultra-fringe and/or even obviously and objectively wrong. Some people may have more authority on some topic, e.g. because of their position or expertise. Reporters need to apply some sense and weight the time given to each side appropriately. Indeed, giving *equal* time is sometimes used unethically by reporters, to *engineer" controversy by giving undue attention to some unreasonable point-of-view. It's a complex topic though without perfect answers (AFAIK), but public education, journalistic responsibility and competition amongst news sources likely goes a long way. etc.. ;)

Total votes: 172

Thanks.

I feel, however, that Marquez made the right decision. He is very young and I'm sure he feels he has a lot to learn. If he does clinch at least one Moto2 title and goes on to be a top rider in MotoGP then he will have proven his worth more so than if he had jumped straight up into the top class.

Total votes: 150

That is a fair comment. But as PaulJ points out, these pieces (labeled as Analysis, as the URL suggests) are the place I give myself room to express an opinion on what happened at the track, rather than just reporting the facts. I try to report the facts as well, but will add my opinion on some matters as well as an explanation of the background to the affair. As you point out, Rossi thought that Marquez should have stayed a year, but Stoner felt that Marquez could have moved up.

The rule of thumb I try to follow in these matters is to present the facts, as well as the explanations given by the protagonists, and only then add my own understanding of the background to a decision, sometimes followed by my own opinion of the matter. I hope I make it clear enough where the lines are drawn.

My reason for working this way is because I believe that readers come to this site not purely for the facts, those are available everywhere and usually faster than I can post them. I hope that readers come here because they want to understand the background behind a particular events. My mission is to provide the why, not the what. Of course, once the site has grown into a publishing megacorp, then we might be able to add more straight news reporting.

Total votes: 159

So far as I'm aware, Marquez isn't running for political office.

Total votes: 148

back when the gp was 125, 250, 500 two strokes, an extra year would help. But now? The moto2 class may be exciting, but the engines are all downpowered honda 600's. there are dozens of streetbikes with more power and handling not too far off the moto2 pace. You would gain more experience jumping into world Superbike where the machines are comparable in power.
Or perhaps repsol and Honda are hoping marquez can learn to subsist on vitamins floating in the air and shrink even smaller than the miniscule dimensions he is now. Repsol has done quite well with tiny riders this year who can just power down the straights and block in the corners, or jump to the front on superior power to weight ratio, while heavier riders take crazy risks on cold tires so the race isn't a runaway.

remember when we had qualifying tires, and races had all kinds of passes? I dropped out of watching during the Doohan honda domination, and started up again during the biaggi/rossi beginnings.

Total votes: 164

An underpowered Moto2 can still outpace a STK1000 Ducati 1098R or Aprilia RSV4 or BMW S1000RR with 200 hp around any track they share like Assen, Misano, Brno or Silverstone.

STK1000 lapping similar or slower pace than Moto2 shows that the dozens of streetbikes out there with more power are nowhere near the same handling that these Moto2.
If that was the case they'd just be faster!

Total votes: 188

It would appear that understanding the electronics, tyres and how to set the bike up are vital ingredients for Motogp that are absent from Moto2. Power would seem to be more of a secondary consideration. Still, Marquez had no problems chucking the 'underpowered Honda 600' down the road a few times while he was learning to come to grips with it early in the season.

I have a question. Does anyone think a weight advantage for say a Marquez or Pedrosa would be more pronounced with less engine power? It seems to have helped them in the lower classes, but not so much for Pedrosa in the top tier.

Total votes: 162

I thought the point was being made regards Moto2s suitability as the main feeder to GP?

I just looked at Assen from this year..the race was wet in Moto2, but the STK1000 BMW was faster than Bradl in QP and would have qualified on pole for the Moto2 race. That's a barely tweaked showroom model with a relatively unknown rider, in front of the top feeder class bike with the championship leader riding it!

I think Reas time in WSB would've qualified him 5th on the MotoGP grid.

It doesn't take Einstein to work out which bikes are more relevant to 1000cc MotoGP and if Marquez truly wanted to learn more without actually entering the top class..he'd be better off in World Superbike.
Also..if he does win Moto2 after such an outstanding season and stays, what message does that send out career-path wise to other Moto2 teams and riders?

Total votes: 172

Comparing a 1000cc WSBK on qualifying tires with a 600cc Moto2 bike on race tires is hardly valid.

Also WSBK riders coming to MotoGP don't exactly have a stellar record in MotoGP. Ben Spies has already pointed out on several occasions that MotoGP is very different and much more difficult than WSBK.

Having said that, the suitability of Moto2 as a feeder series is highly questionable. Dovizioso had some valid comments on that very subject. In his opinion the 250's were a much better preparation. That's why people writing up Marquez because of his performance in Moto2 would be advised to exercise a bit more caution in their assessment of his potential in MotoGP. It's human nature to look for the next big thing. It also gives journalsits something to write about (sorry David). Recently it was Spies, and then Simoncelli, now Marquez. But curiously, the current star of MotoGP ( the 2011 world champion) was pretty much unheralded before 2007. Goes to show how wrong we can be.

Total votes: 172

"Comparing a 1000cc WSBK on qualifying tires with a 600cc Moto2 bike on race tires is hardly valid."

I wasn't. Pay attention.

Total votes: 180

My apologies Wosi, if I misunderstood the comparison you were making. I still don't think it's a valid comparison. It's not just about lap times, it's about the style of riding required. How does riding a near stock superbike or even a full works superbike prepare anyone for MotoGP?

History says that it doesn't. The track record of riders coming from that series to MotoGP in recent times is not anything to get excited about (Spies is an exception). Marquez is surely a lot better off where he is, even if the Moto2 bikes are possibly not as good a preparation for MotoGP as the old 250s. At least he is riding on the same tracks as MotoGP.

Total votes: 183

but respect all the same..

I understand and even agree with you to a certain degree..a softer stock chassis and road tyres seems largely irrelevant to the MotoGP 800 class, but the stopwatch doesn't lie and SSTK 1000 lapping as fast as Moto2 is a bit of a sad indictment. Maybe the emphasis will change with 1000cc and more pliable Bridgestones.

Moto2 needs more power. Give Honda a contract to supply the grid, but with a purpose built 750. An 81mm bore, 170bhp, V3 shouln't be too much trouble..and if they kept costs reasonable, they'd sell them by the lorry load.

Total votes: 163

Or the way the power is made? The 250's made little more than 100hp, but see the commentary of Dovizioso : they required a much more precise riding style and seemed to do a better job of preparing riders for MotoGP. I'd suspect that was due to:
-tyres that were quite rigid relative to the weight of the bikes (100kg);
-peaky engines;
-no engine braking.

In contrast, moto2 does have that production-bike look about the racing: lots of sloppiness, sideways entries, slip-streaming and, except for a very few riders, no real order appearing among riders. Possible reasons:
-crude slipper clutch;
-oversize, flexible tyres;
-soft power that doesn't require great finesse on corner exit.

The risk is that if you try to create a "budget" 750 class, you end up with something even closer to STK...

Total votes: 143

than STK1000 bikes with 80 hp deficit tells you that power doesn't really matter.

And effectively 5 seconds between STK600 "streetbikes" and Moto2 prototypes IS an awful lot, it's the same difference than between Moto2 and MotoGP bikes!

I think what matter most (besides learning the relevant tracks) is the riding style required and the amount of modifications that you can carry on your bike, learning some setup skills.

To some extent you could even carry this opinion when comparing STK1000 to WSS.
The 600s are typically a couple seconds off the pace of the 1000s (Assen being an exception) but I think that a rider will learn more on a WSS 600 than on a STK1000 just because you have more setup possibilities, you can change more stuff on the bike.

And then historically the fact that the 250s were by far the best feeder class to 500/MotoGP compared to much more powerful WSBK sums it all up.

That being said I agree it's tough to say that Moto2 is the best feeder class right now, it's too early to tell, but I stand by my point that whether it is or not, it has very little to do with their raw power.

Total votes: 170

not really... Superstock 600 at Brno 2011, fastest lap is 2.07.494, and moto2 fastest is 2.02.640.... 5 sec faster for prototype racing is very less... superstock 1000 is 2.03.294, and supersport is 2.04.352... all of them are close to stock racing.. i dont think Moto2 class stands out...

Total votes: 171

Powering down the straight and blocking in the corners - the Repsol bikes?? That isn't what is happening in the races I am watching. Oddly enough, the heaviest of the Repsol riders is also the one that is winning most of the time, and I wouldn't consider him 'light' compared to most of the field.

Total votes: 163

That was directed to pedrosa and that style directly led to his being taken out by simoncelli-whatever race direction said. I felt like I was watching how senna was treated in F1. In my view that wreck was caused by pedrosa coming in too hot to a turn, unable to make it, and simoncelli making an aggressive move.
All the old time american racers have mocked cornering speed as crucial. The quote I recall, and don't recall who said it was"I get past you on the straight and block you out in the corner, tell me how cornering speed matters o much?". Might have been Lawson or Kenny roberts.

I'd like to see handicapped weights just like horse racing now that fuel consumption and relative power have become such an issue. My original point is that Moto 2 is not proving to be a real training ground for the gp. The sooner we lose spec tires, the better off competitive racing will be. Can anyone point to a former moto2 who has gone anywhere in the gp?

Total votes: 156

mocked corner speed because they were on old-time bikes that weren't capable of much.

Total votes: 155

"Staying in Moto2 for another year risks ingraining riding instincts and behaviors that could work against him once Marquez reaches the premier class"
This may also be part of Rossi's problem when trying to adapt to the Ducati.

Total votes: 146

My worry with MM going to MotoGP this year would be the risk of crashes that either injure him or destroy his confidence. A MotoGP bike on Bridgestones can bite much harder than anything that he has been on to date.
Have a look at Cudlin's high side or Spies' off at PI if you need evidence.
While he is still impetuous and building his impressive skills and particularly his judgement the risk of a premature promotion blighting a hugely promising career is higher.

Total votes: 154

I guess Ducati must have felt more pressure from Marubolo than Honda to go to Motegi. Honda is just their rival company, and they do not own them nothing. It is up to Dorna to decide if they sue them or not as breach of the contract if they had not attended. Anyway, CRT is Dorna's blueprint for Motogp's future, but it would be nice to have one Italian factory.

Total votes: 148

I think the reason the majority of successful riders are coming from Moto2 (and in the past the 250cc class) is not because the bikes are more suited to training for MotoGP as many have opined.

I believe the real reason is that MotoGP is recognized as the world wide premier series and any rider that has the talent and opportunity aspires to go there if they can. Hence the riders with the most potential are usually there. Of course there are exceptions but as a rule I believe this is the reason.

Almost as important is the fact that once these talented riders get to the Moto2 circus, they get to ride on and get experienced on the very tracks that they will race on if/when they get promoted to MotoGP.

The riders that come from a national series (and to some extent WSBK) are handicapped by lack of experience not only with the tracks but the tires, food, travel challenges, team unfamiliarity, infinite setup options, etc that comes with the whole program.

It takes at least 2 or 3 seasons to become accustomed to these challenges. The riders that come from Moto2 are a step ahead of the ones that don’t.

Even so, until they throw a leg over a fire breathing, infinitely adjustable MotoGP machine no one knows (for 2 or 3 years anyway) whether they are suited to the task.

Total votes: 173

What can you adjust on a MotoGP bike that you can't adjust on a WSBK?

Total votes: 163

I don't know much about WSBK but just about every other national series and the MotoGP "feeder" series (Moto3/2) don't have a lot of things like...

1) Access to the programmers that write the GPS specific traction and launch control software.
2) Individual data engineers for each team.
3) Adjustable rake/trail on the front end. (Some national series won't allow it)
4) Adjustable swing arm lengths. (Again, not allowed in some series)
5) Frame modifications/upgrades when/if necessary (for mear mortals anyway).

Like I said, I don't know much about WSBK. Maybe they have all this stuff but most riders in most series can only dream of such support, and even if they had it they don't have the top technicians to take advantage of it - until they get into MotoGP.

Total votes: 143

GPS systems have been banned for 2 years but struck people so much that it's as if they had been used for decades and would still be allowed!
The only GPS allowed on a MotoGP is the one on the camera for us to follow rider progression on the screen:
"Only DORNA can supply GPS unit just for entertainments such as TV broadcasting, which can’t connect to CPU unit by any kind of system."

In WSBK I'll say that big teams have 2, 3 and 4.
5 is pretty limited in WSBK, that would be the main difference.

Total votes: 158

1. See comment already posted re GPS. Apparently the BMW Superstock bikes are surrounded by Bosch electronics guys... let alone the superbikes.
2. Honda Australia had a data guy for their national team already 8 years ago.
3. BSB and WSBK certainly do.
4. BSB, WSBK use non standard swingarms which are usually lighter, more flexible. Last WSBK team to run a modified stock sw/a was ten Kate back in 2004...
4a Suzuki and Aprilia at least have variable swingarm pivot height (Ducati MGP don't, not sure about Honda).
5. Yes, in principle WSBK have stock frames, although different levels of bracing has been allowed at different times in even national series. The 999 factory bike frames were built by Pierobon, don't know how that fits in the rules, but there you go.
5a. Aprilia RSV4 has variable engine position.
6. A range of different gearbox options is usually available, with different levels of restriction indifferent series (only 2 choices of each ??)
7. Slipper-clutches for a long time, but now with fly-by-wire throttles, even the Yamaha supersport guys are setting up auto idle kickers to avoid engine braking: Chaz Davies wrote about this in his blog. All the WSBK guys definitely have this... Moto2 is the only class that doesn't, I think (it's include in the Moto3 control ECU). Yosh was using the secondary throttle controller motor to do this as early as 2005.

Really, frame upgrades are probably the only real difference to WSBK. The big issue seems to be the sensitivity of the bike to the adjustments, not their presence or absence.

Total votes: 153

Thanks again David, it's no coincidence that the addition of much more advanced electronics coincided with a distinct increase in riders able to make the step up to the top class. Marquez has plenty of talent and with a bit of extra weight and maturity next year can only be a better rider for it..
Not sure I'm impressed with Honda they seem to wave the stick a lot yet are reducing their involvement, recession or not doubling the bikes price and another 20% on top for a gearbox has more to it than meets the eye..... Reckon pramac would have found the money for two Ducatis if they'd been any good.. Would have thought Dorna would have put pressure on Ducati themselves. 5 or 10 bikes it's a desperately poor contribution from ducati.. I'd rather they had 3 that worked..

Total votes: 143

but it makes no sense whatsoever. So the 800's are Playstation machines that anyone can ride? That'll be why we continue to see such a small select group that can put the things on the podium, as per history.

Here's some more news for you too, riders have always graduated from one of more of the feeder classes. Riders that can't cut it drop out and older riders retire. It's always happened and so it shall continue. The natural order of things.

Ducati have been an absolute revelation and a saviour of the MotoGP class since entering in 2003. A true David against Goliaths. Give them a bit of credit. I know you're bitter because your man cannot get the thing to work but where would the sport be without them?

Total votes: 166

My guess is that this is going to be costly for Marquez. As a betting man I'm 100% with David's take on the matter. Perhaps this is the split pin thats stuck in the Spanish conveyor belt churned out every season. They tend toward caution and compromise when they should be hell bent for leather.
Marquez entering GP as a novice on sattelite kit 2013 is one plain stupid decision even if he survives Moto 2 2012. Everyone and his dog will be hunting his ass in Moto 2 2012,whereas he could have made a smooth,learning curve into GP 2012 with a factory Honda and little pressure to deliver.
On the bright side,he is as tough and tallented as Lorenzo. All the best to him for 2012.

Total votes: 139

when they write. David is twice as better!
Marquez not going to Moto GP is a huge fecked up messed up opportunity! Heck, he should move even if it meant riding anything but a factory RC213V!!!

What in God's name are the guys at HRC and Repsol thinking? Have they not learned by losing Rossi and then taking a whole lot of 5 full seasons to get a grab on Stoner??!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!!

Total votes: 150

Many people are already dismissing CRT teams as outfits that will be lapped, well off the pace etc.

However, Colin Edwards will be riding a BMW powered bike next year with a prototype chasis as part of the Forward team. Initially, they will probably be well off the pace, but as the year goes on you would hope that feedback, development and implementation will gain improvements over the year.

A question. Can BMW take this data and apply it to their road bike chasis, which in turn will develop their WSB machines? Is the the data secret to the Forward team and the chasis manufacturer?

If BMW do have access to this data, then perhaps WSB teams will have an edge when creative CRT chasis designers out-think BMW's own in-house designers (just one example) who will assimilate the data and build it into their production bikes?

Will CRT team's data in any way contribute to WSB teams in the future?

Sorry if this is off-topic, but have been wondering about this since Colin Edwards announcement a few days ago and don't know where else to ask. Cheers M' Dears

Total votes: 160

First question is whether Suter can build something as good as stock: BMW have a bigger budget.
Eventually he will probably do better, but only by being lighter and better optimized for smooth tracks and Bridgestones.

Remember it took Moto2 a whole season to become faster than WSS... so the stock CBR600 frames can't be too bad. Given superstock results, I'd say stock BMW frames are probably ok too...

Total votes: 148

about the next generations of CBR600's. I'm sure the stock CBR chassis is not too bad but with several different makers producing cradles for their engines I wonder how close an eye Honda has had on what's working best.

No doubt BMW did their homework too; although their design is just now getting seasoned in competition. I'm sure SBK and STK data gets mulled over for subsequent revisions of the S1000R but I wonder if the MotoGP test bed would offer up anything valuable for the production bike. Maybe more in the engine dept than chassis?

Total votes: 156