MotoGP 2013 Silly Season: What We Know For Certain, And A Few Wild Guesses

Now that three races have passed, giving the paddock time to digest the news of Casey Stoner's shock decision to retire and consider what effect it will have on the future line up of the MotoGP grid. The riders' representatives have been very busy at the past few races, putting out feelers to factories and teams, weighing up opportunities and gauging the market value of their riders. With summer approaching, Silly Season for 2013 is very much open.

Two more decisions have accelerated developments, and drawn the lines of the 2013 season a little more clearly. Firstly, Jorge Lorenzo's decision to stay with Yamaha for next season - "if Jorge wants to win championships," Lorenzo's team boss Wilco Zeelenberg had said at Barcelona, "his best option is to stay at Yamaha." The strength of the team and the state of the bike do seem to have been the key criteria for Lorenzo's decision, the Spaniard opting for performance over financial gain.

The second development is the dropping of the Rookie Rule, preventing newcomers into the MotoGP class from going straight to the factory teams. The rule was popular with some team owners, but it also created major headaches for them: a big-name rookie like Marc Marquez does not come alone, but brings a small army of sponsors, advisers, mechanics and assorted hangers on. Room has to be made for these people and these sponsors, and long-term relationships have to be put aside to make way for them, which team managers then have to try to reestablish a year later once the rookie has gone. The abolition of the Rookie Rule clears the way for Marc Marquez to enter the Repsol Honda team, but it also opens up opportunities for other rookies at Yamaha or Ducati.

With these developments in mind, we can start to take a look at the current state of the market, the range of options open to riders in MotoGP, and what bikes may be on the grid for next season.

The Bikes

Though little is as yet know about who will be riding the bikes, we do know a few things about what will be available. IRTA secretary Mike Trimby confirmed to me that there will probably be 24 bikes on the grid in 2013. "We have 24 entries from very strong teams," he said. It looks likely that over half of those bikes will be CRT machines: though the original proposal allowing just four bikes per manufacturer looks likely to be dropped, having 12 factory prototypes on the grid is an improbable prospect.

Yamaha is the only known quantity here, the Japanese manufacturer fielding two bikes in the factory team and two bikes in the satellite Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad. Whether Honda have four bikes or more depends in part on what Valentino Rossi decides to do; a fifth bike could be made available for Rossi should he decide to leave Ducati and set up a team of his own; if not, Honda will have the two factory bikes plus a single bike each at Gresini and LCR.

Ducati is the big conundrum. Ducati team boss Alessandro Cicognani told me at Silverstone that the plan was to continue as they are, with two factory machines and two satellite bikes, but with Pramac facing financial difficulties and Karel Abraham deeply unhappy on the Ducati, they may not have customer to lease their bikes. "Pramac is not an issue," Cicognani assured me, though he recognized that the price structure may have to change to retain the satellite teams. "If we find a solution to keep them, we may have to do something about the price," he said.

Others outside Ducati do not share his optimism. Inside both IRTA and Dorna, the Bologna factory is widely expected to field just the two-man factory team, and no satellite machines at all. With no satellite Ducatis available, limiting factories like Honda who are willing to supply more bikes does not make much sense. Expect there to be 10 or 11 prototypes on the grid, with the rest composed of CRTs.

The Certainties

Though we are just one third of the way through the season, there are already a few contracts signed. Jorge Lorenzo has signed a two-year deal with Yamaha, seeing him through the 2014 season. Lucio Cecchinello has a two-year contract with Stefan Bradl, meaning the German will be at LCR for 2013 as well. And Herve Poncharal signed a deal with Bradley Smith two seasons ago, putting Smith on the Tech 3 Moto2 bike this season with the promise of a MotoGP ride for 2013. What this means is that Smith will take one of Tech 3's two satellite Yamahas, leaving a long line of candidates for the second machine.

The Ninety Percenters

Though the list of certainties is very short at this stage, there are a number of names we can start to pencil in in a few places. First and foremost, of course, is the name of Marc Marquez, who will slot in to the Repsol Honda squad. No contract is yet signed, and talks are still ongoing, but with both Repsol and Honda firmly backing Marquez, it is inconceivable he would end up anywhere else. It is just a matter of time before that contract is signed.

The second seat alongside Marquez is a source of much speculation, most of which centers around the question of whether Valentino Rossi will elect to race for Honda or not. But those placing Rossi alongside Marquez at Repsol Honda are being a little premature: HRC insiders are very positive about Dani Pedrosa, and much less complimentary about Valentino Rossi. Rossi's autobiography, in which he criticized Honda's culture, left a bad taste in the mouths of HRC executives, and though the management has changed significantly since then, there are plenty of Honda employees who would like to keep Rossi out of the factory team.

Dani Pedrosa, on the other hand, is both highly rated and greatly appreciated inside Honda, HRC bosses having been impressed by the development work he did on the 2010 bike, turning it round from a fast but ill-handling pig into something very refined indeed. The bike was in pretty good shape once Casey Stoner arrived, easing the path for the Australian to dominate the 2011 season. Talks are currently underway between Pedrosa and Honda, and the Spaniard is reportedly confident that a deal will be done in the next few weeks.

At Ducati, Nicky Hayden looks certain to extend his contract with the factory team. The Kentucky Kid is very popular with the Bologna factory: he has regularly matched and beaten his teammate Valentino Rossi, and he and crew chief Juan Martinez are helping define the direction of development for the team. Hayden is a tireless PR worker, and most importantly of all, he helps shift product in Ducati's key market, the USA. A new contract for Hayden is just a matter of time.

The Million Dollar Question: Whither Valentino?

The real mystery for 2013, though, is what Valentino Rossi will do. Does Rossi stay at Ducati and continue to attempt to make the Desmosedici competitive? Does he team up with Gresini and take a factory-spec Honda to make an alternative Italian Dream Team? Or does he approach Yamaha for the second seat alongside Jorge Lorenzo?

All three options have risks associated with them. If Rossi stays at Ducati, he is dependent on the Ducati Corse department, under the leadership of Filippo Preziosi, being able to build a machine that is competitive, at least in the hands of a rider like Rossi who needs a solid front end. If he goes to Gresini, or a private Honda team, he has to rely on the goodwill of HRC to provide him with a full factory-spec RC213V, and hope not to be too far behind developments in the Repsol squad. And a return to Yamaha would invariably mean playing second string to Jorge Lorenzo, the man who Yamaha have made it clear is their future.

At the moment, all we can do is guess at Rossi's intentions, as the Italian himself is playing his cards very close to his chest. At Barcelona, Rossi told the press that for now, his priority was making the Ducati competitive, though he was careful not to mention whether he meant this year or next. After a dismal 9th place at Silverstone, a dejected Rossi was a little more open. The only thing that mattered, he told the media, was having a competitive bike. Everything else was subsidiary to that. The question is whether Rossi believes the Ducati can be competitive. Much will depend on the modified engine due to be tested this week by Franco Battaini at Mugello, and then by Rossi and Hayden after the Italian Grand Prix in four weeks' time. If that fixes the aggressive power delivery and its associated understeer, then Rossi may stay. If it doesn't, the marriage is over.

Last year, Rossi seemed determined to stay at Ducati and fix the bike, to ensure his place in history as a man who can take a troubled bike and turn it around. Now, Rossi seems more like a man who just wants to win again, whatever it takes. The constant failure of Ducati to give Rossi what he needs - and Rossi to give Ducati feedback they can work with - is starting to take its toll and wear the Italian down. Nowhere is that more obvious than in the rain: on Friday morning's wet session, Rossi looked like the nine-time World Champion of old, able to put the bike where he wanted and find speed wherever it was available, topping the session with ease. Once the track dried, the imposter who apparently lives in Rossi's leathers was back, Rossi rolling around in the lower orders of the factory prototypes, in a different postcode to Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, the men who should be his equals.

If Rossi leaves, he faces a stark choice. A Honda may not necessarily be his preferred option, the RCV suffering front-end chatter and an aggressive power delivery, though nothing compared to the Ducati. A Yamaha would suit Rossi better, allowing him to exploit his greatest strengths - corner entry and braking, where he can dive underneath an opponent and then hold them off on the exit - and making him immediately competitive. But a satellite ride on a Yamaha is out of the question - Herve Poncharal has more than enough problems trying to select a second rider into his team, without the added complication of housing Valentino Rossi and his entourage - and so his only hope will be the factory Yamaha seat alongside Jorge Lorenzo. I have not spoken to Lin Jarvis about Yamaha's feelings towards Rossi yet; I hope to do so at Assen. We may get a clearer sense of the factory's attitude towards Rossi then.

Open Question Marks

The second seat at Yamaha is the hotly contested ticket. Ben Spies needs to radically improve his results if he is to retain his seat at the factory, and he does not have much time to do so. The American bears only some of the blame for his miserable form, much of which is down to just plain bad luck. At Qatar, he had a cracked subframe, at Jerez, he did not have a set up he was comfortable with, a situation which was remedied at Estoril. At Le Mans, a slide at the start damaged his visor , and with it his chance of a decent result. At Silverstone, a blistering rear tire left him struggling for grip and running a damage limitation exercise, rather than being competitive. But at both Estoril and Barcelona, Spies has made some very costly mistakes when running at the front, and those mistakes are the kind which are not easily tolerated. Spies has proven he is fast during practice and qualifying, but he needs to translate that speed into a string of good results during the races.

What Spies has going in his favor is his passport; the US market is key to Yamaha's strategy, and Yamaha USA want a figure they can sell. Spies' marketability is good, though at the moment, the man on the cover of the magazines is double AMA Superbike champion Josh Hayes, racing a Yamaha R1 in the DMG-run series. Where Spies goes if his contract is not extended is open to speculation.

And speculation is all that there is concerning the other factory prototype seats. The second Tech 3 seat is immensely popular, but with both Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso performing outstandingly well, Herve Poncharal has an embarrassment of riches at the moment. Tech 3 should be able to pick and choose who they want on the seat, and with an inexperienced rookie on one bike, they will want the most competitive rider available on the second. Whether that is Crutchlow, Dovizioso or even Ben Spies if he's available remains to be seen.

If Rossi leaves Ducati, then that leaves perhaps the biggest conundrum of all: who to put on the second Ducati? Cal Crutchlow has already said that he is not afraid of the bike, and that he believes his riding style would suit the Ducati, as his resembles that of Casey Stoner. Stoner disagrees, and if the experience of Valentino Rossi teaches us anything, it is that the switch from the tight front-end, high corner speed Yamaha to the uber-powerful, rear-focused Ducati is probably the hardest to make in MotoGP. If anyone's style resembles that of Stoner it is his teammate Dani Pedrosa, or perhaps Moto2 golden boy Marc Marquez; they both get their bodies a long way off the bike and lever the bike upright onto the fat part of the tire very early in corner exit, the way that Stoner does and did on the Ducati.

According to Spanish publication Motocuatro.com, however, it is another Spaniard that Ducati are chasing. Motocuatro believes that it is Pol Espargaro that Ducati are pursuing, in the hope that a young, inexperienced rider can master the peculiar skillset that it takes to ride the Ducati competitively. That looks likely to prove an idle hope, however: what made the Ducati fast was not Stoner's lack of experience with Japanese-style bikes, it was his supernatural ability on a motorcycle, and his hypersensitive throttle control and balance. Stoner won despite the weaknesses of the bike, not because he could exploit its strengths. Improving the bike to make it easier to ride is a faster route to success than signing a string of young riders in the hope of striking it lucky with an extraordinary talent, as they did with Stoner.

The next three races will be crucial for Silly Season, and announcements are likely to start coming thick and fast, especially after Mugello and Laguna Seca. Before that, there is much hard bargaining to be done, and many options to be explored. There will be surprises, but mostly there will be rumors, speculation, and downright lies. Expect a lot of MotoGP writers to get it very very wrong, and a few to get it right. I am expecting to find myself firmly in the first camp, rather than the latter.

Total votes: 6
Total votes: 190

Comments

It was hard for me to belive at the time and it's even harder for me to belive now - Bradly Smith moving up next year!?!

The bike he's on is a wildcard as no one other teams in Moto2 ride it, however, his results have been very tepid to say the least.

Is there any chance he'd stay in Moto2 in light of his current results? Herve could obviously see something in Cruchtlow that the rest of us did not.. so perhaps he'll prove me wrong providing he makes the move. But it seems un-real that both dovi and cal are question marks and Smith is not?

I also thought your comments on Pol Espargo, and Abrams were interesting. Any additional thoughts or hearsay on the later?

Great article as always.

Total votes: 198

I've been hearing commentary (possibly uninformed) that he might need to hit some performance targets to move up this year, or Tech3 may run a CRT bike for him. Any truth to either of those?

Total votes: 188

It should be noted that Barbera hasn't exactly been a slouch (intermittantly) on the Pramac bike and that Espargaro has ducati & Bridgestone experience.

Total votes: 180

Barbera is well known for getting his fast laps with a tow, so I'm not sure his race results tell us very much. (He's slow, but it's satellite Ducati...so who knows.)

Aleix Espargaro has ridden the satellite Ducati, but now rides in MotoGP for the Aspar CRT team. It's his younger brother Pol that is riding in Moto2 and is the subject of the Ducati rumors.

Total votes: 171

I agree with your excellent analysis. Given the urgency with which they need to improve, i am surprised that the mugello test is with Franco and not Nicky or Vale. Any reason why not?

I can't see how the new motor is going to help on corner entry. Tough times for Ducati.

Total votes: 185

I have a very Cynical thought, but here goes...

If Ducati can keep Rossi off the new bike for two weeks, they can delay his decision to stay or go for two weeks.

Suppose Rossi tries the new engine after Mugello and doesn't like it.
He'll be looking for a new ride that much sooner.
That doesn't seem to serve Ducati in any way.
They probably prefer to keep their options open, and Rossi's limited, for as long as possible.

Total votes: 191

Hey Beaufort, with that sort of thinking I'm guessing you work in management for my current employer? : )

It's a good point and - call me a cynic too - I think it's something that Ducati might consciously do.

Total votes: 176

Agree Very much so... as if you can read in my comment just a bit above. Perhaps I did not expressed myself correctly in that post, but basically had the same idea about the whole new parts (engine) postponed untill Laguna Sega to keep Rossi delayed...

Total votes: 163

Is there anything from stopping Yamaha from fielding more bikes than the 4 they currently produce? It would seem there's a market for the bike based on its consistent competitiveness since the cross plane crank was introduced.

It seems bizarre to me that Yamaha/Honda can write the code for the CNC milling machines to produce 4/6 bikes, yet can't find enough alloy or shop time to produce a few more to help amortize the costs...

Or will Aprilia go into production with their RG/TZ style ART bike next year and it actually be competitive?

Total votes: 189

" Is there anything from stopping Yamaha from fielding more bikes than the 4 they currently produce? "

Yes, there's no teams that can afford them.

Total votes: 173

.....but

What about a well sponsored Italian, with Dorna backing to keep the casual viewers interested.

David's first blog this year about Silly Season mentioned two, at the time, improbable rumours. The first was the highly unlikely retirement of the current champion, and the second mentioned a Coca Cola sponsored Yamaha for a deeply unhappy Italian.

One out of two so far....

Total votes: 176

I'm not convinced about Stoners "supernatural ability on a motorcycle, and his hypersensitive throttle control and balance." being the reason why he was competitive on the Ducati. This is speculation, after all.

Rossi has said several times now that Stoner had a peculiar style on the Ducati and he (Rossi) cannot ride like that. I also remember Capirossi saying that he knew what was required to go fast on the Ducati but at his age he couldn't bring himself to do it. I wish one of these guys would just come out and say what the requirement is to go fast on that Ducati, just to satisfy our curiosity and get rid of the "throttle control" or "dirt-track" explanations.

On another note, as a Rossi fan I recently had to concede that while I can't say if Stoner is a better (whatever that means) rider than Rossi, he has proven himself to be more versatile. But almost as soon as I said that, I realized that Rossi was more successful on the smaller class bikes, so can we even say that previous comment is true? beats me.

Finally, it's a little off topic but did anyone see the on-bike footage from Bradl's bike during the last race? There was a shot looking backwards towards his throttle hand...he went into a corner and when he hit the apex you could very clearly see his hand wind the throttle wide open while still leaned over, and the engine note didn't even change. It only started changing when he started to pick the bike up (while still at what looked like full throttle). Big change from the 80s, no?

Total votes: 186

@Dave_M The commentary is informed. Bradley came into the Eurosport booth with Toby Moody and Julian Ryder a few races ago and stated himself that the contract has performance targets. He was so 'matter of fact' about it that it didn't get picked up by Toby and Julian (at least not on air). But I have been supprised nobody else in the paddock hasn't picked up on it either....??!
Maybe it put Herve in a pretty strong bargaining position with the riders if they think they are all fighting over one seat..???

Total votes: 174

At the moment I cannot see how Smith would be in any way an upgrade to the guys Tech 3 has now. OK, granted, at least one, and perhaps both, will be leaving after this year (e.g. Dovizioso to partner Lorenzo, Crutchlow to Ducati). Even so, there are apparently better prospects in Moto2.

Always thought the Tech 3 - Smith tie-up was a bit weird. Just did not see what Tech 3 apparently saw -- and still sees? -- in Smith.

I'd pick e.g. Luthi ahead of Smith.

Total votes: 182

+1

I heard the same one. I'm pretty sure he mentioned something about coming in 5th or better.

Total votes: 170

Hayden has repeatedly said that what stands out about Stoner's riding style is his throttle control. Nakamoto said of Stoner in a GPOne interview recently that what stands out about him is that he uses so much less TC than anyone else. Stoner himself is clear: what you need to go fast on the Ducati is to steer with the rear, use the power to slide the rear and use it to get the bike pointing in the right direction. Same as if you were riding a dirt track.

Total votes: 194

"The constant failure of Ducati to give Rossi what he needs - and Rossi to give Ducati feedback they can work with....." DE

Two comments - many months ago FP was reported to say 'we won't build a Rossi, it will be a Ducati.' IF THAT STATEMENT CAN BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE, then giving Rossi what he needs: forget it. (Yes I realise thats the extreme version, and easy to write).

"and Rossi to give Ducati feedback they can work with"

Has there been suggestion that Rossi isn't giving feedback the Duc engineers can use?

(I'm aware Rossi in interviews has said 'since the beginning my requests have been crystal clear and the same').

Total votes: 180

wouldn't the steering with the rear be more problematic now that the tyre wear has become far more important than last year? And didn't Nicky had dirt track background last year? And for the love of God would people not take this comment as a statement about Casey's talent?

Total votes: 170

Great point. The bs tyres that casey loved and is used to, are the super hard that never go off, Casey had a lot of trouble with the michelin fronts. You could put 50 or 60 laps on the BS and your last would still be your fastest. I reckon part of what we are seeing is not ultra throttle control but being able to really hammer a tyre most people struggled to get heat into(Casey always used the hard tyre, on the duke he was usually faster on the hard than the soft!) has been a huge advantage to casey,, back to a more standard tyre and it'll be more difficult for him to manage the tyre wear with the same approach though his talent will compensate most of it.. This isn't the first race this year where Casey has mashed his tyres.. Either he'll have to make some adjustments or it really is a faulty tyre. Interestingly spies tried to get away at the start same as casey and had the same issues.. He'll fix it soon enough I expect.

Total votes: 205

Although now the tyres are quite different so an aggresive riding style sliding and stearing with the rear may not work anymore.... Nicky's race results haven't been great, when he's been fast he's always faded with tyre issues. He used to have better results than this on previous Ducatis.

Ducati have the most aggressive engine and they suffer the most with tyres, Honda second after them and we have seen the Honda's struggle with tyre issues on a few occasions. Which is why JLo's smooth style is paying dividends this year. So it is possible that if you put Stoner back on the Duc in 2012 he would have he worst season ever on a Ducati. Hiis wins were decreaseing every year at Ducati already which we ssume is due to the Ducati becoming worse and worse in relation to the competition.

With softer less durable tyres bikes that favor the front over the rear surely have the advantage.

Total votes: 175

David, we both know that the Ducati 2012 is a fairly different bike from those ridden by Stoner.

While I am pretty sure Stoner would score better than Rossi on the new Ducati, and I agree with you on Stoner's distinguishing skills - supernatural exaggerations apart - it is a fallacy to pretend that Stoner's strengths would play the very same role on the new bike as they apparently did on the old ones. Too many relevant variables might have changed in the new design, especially when considering the evolution and the different role played by the tyres. After all, just look at what the new front tyre can do to his Honda this year.

Finally, please, let's not ignore Stoner's crashes in 2010. They were part of 'what it took to ride a Ducati' too. No matter how much throttle control or sliding rear ability you factored in, the title in 2010 was not an option as much as ending all races sitting on the bike while adopting that riding style.

Total votes: 195

I have to agree. If Stoner were on the Duc, he might be able to get the occasional win but it still wouldn't be a championship contender. Even if they could find someone who could ride like Stoner they'd still be a longshot.

Total votes: 194

He seems almost as competitive on the GP11 (8th, 132 points, 1 podium) and GP12 as he was on the GP10 (7th, 163 points, 1 podium).
So it's not unreasonable to assume that Stoner would adapt at least as well as Nicky, and would still be as competitive, and miles ahead of him, as it's always been the case while they were teammates (+60 to 100 points at the end of the season).
This is merely speculation and we'll never find out, but that's the most likely I think.

Total votes: 168

Of course Stoner would be a regular visitor to the podium on the GP12 - probably the top step from time to time. It's not a slow bike!

As Stoner said when Nicky was struggling in the early races last year - Nicky just needs to ride the bike like he did when Stoner was on the other one. Seems Quick Nick took some time out in early 2011 to let Rossi lead progress, he's since given up on that...

Total votes: 187

You've not factored in the weaker field.. eg, 3 factory hondas and two gresini satellite hondas, that's at least two bikes that would finish in front of Nicky week in week out.. Not to mention 20 other bikes all factory or satellite, not a crt in site.. Presiozi should be put out to pasture it is almost inconcievable that a team can do so badly for so long without a change of design personnel.

Total votes: 194

Kidding aside, it does not really depend on the opposition, all I'm saying is that if Hayden can score 130+ points on a bike, Stoner could score 200+ points on the same, that's a fact.

Total votes: 212

Nicky had 8 Top 5 finishes on 2010 but only 3 in 2011 (and 0 so far this year) I don't think that's being "almost as competitive".

Total votes: 186

that Rossi turned the GP10 into a slightly less competitive GP11 as evidenced by Nicky's results with a weaker opposition ;-)

Total votes: 177

It's true that many changes were done to the GP11 to satisfy Rossi, but the GP11 of the beginning of the season was very much like the GP10 of the end of 2010 and it didn't drastically changed until after Silverstone (GP11.1). And the GP10 of the end of 2010 was a lot better than the gp10 of the beginning of 2010 (3 victories in 6 races as I remember). Yet in the first 6 races of 2010 Nicky had 4 top 5 finishes and in the first 6 races of 2011 he had only 2 (both in the rain). So while I do agree that Stoner would have made more points than Hayden (and therefor more than Rossi) he still would had had his worst season ever either because, since the very beginning of 2011 the bike was worse or because every one else got a lot better. And in the end Ducati would still desperately need some big changes.

Total votes: 199

I believe Rossi would love this to be that easy...throttle control and steering the bike with the rear end...If somebody has throttle control and sliding abillities its Rossi. Just put in "Rossi sliding" at Youtube and you will see some celebration slides together with one leg over the saddle wheelies which CS could not do even if he wanted to.

Besides this: There is a physical limit to accelleration and decelleration and that is mechanical grip.
This is given by the machinery(not to forget the standard tires) and is not the only thing what makes you fast on the track.
What gives you the biggest boost is the abillity to steer fast, to through the bike to the maximum lean angle in the shortest time possible.
Because this will alter your breaking point, enhances your accellaration point and defines your line altogether.
There is almost no physical limit to fast steering and it divides the amateur from the pro like no other value does.
The defining physical factor is the weight distribution of a bike.
You can not steer a Harley as fast as a GSXR.

It is also very much a matter of trust in your machinery because fast steering provokes self protecting reflexes like nothing else -its a big mental factor-and if additionally the balance of the bike is not right it wont work at the level at what a MotoGP-rider is riding and sure makes a difference.

If the weight distribution was not right at that Duc in 07 the only way CS could overrule that in the past, was his self trust rooted in his age and the hunger for a title I believe.
It shows a huge talent to go against your reflexes and to overrule the bike on sheer will power.
I believe strongly that that is what CS did with the Duc and that every sober look at the telemetry data was giving another rider a riddle on how he was able to steer that fast.

He did not have the experience printed into his head of 500cc two strokes with weak frames and not the V5 with its perfect Michelins saving similar maneuvers.
With Rossis age and all the titles in the bag as well as his experience with all sort of bucking machinery, I doubt it that he could pull a maneuver like that against his muscle memory and it shows in its times.

He needs a bike with perfect weight distribution allowing him to steer fast and trust the bike.
Only then he can show that he has the ultimate feel for the braking and the throttle , like in 07 in Mugello where he out braked everybody including CS on the faster Duc.

The front end trouble shown by the Duc is probably the slightly longer steering time which alters the line towards a lean angle too high at the end and a low sider is the result.

It supports the theory that the L4 is the main factor that is responsible for the lack of trust of its rider, because the weight distribution is distorted by the distance of the rear cylinder bank from the pivot point of the steering and probably produces a slightly higher resistance during the steering process.

In my eyes its a theory that works and an opinion that I believe strongly in.
Im just looking for an explanation and this one is based on my racing experience and what I know about riding.

PS: In the wet you can not force a bike to do anything, but the precise feeling for the tire grip and the throttle control is the defining issue. I believe thats why Rossi can shine there.

PSS It took me long to write this, its not meant as an offense against any rider.

Psss:
I just found these vids on tube where Rossi himself explains some of his technique together with Andy Ibott, sadly the steering part is neglected (and I think on purpose, because thats one of the key secrets I guess):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWyrZhArYI&list=FLOb97doHgo7TdK-6HrsxjXg...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJsjiXHVwgM&feature=relmfu

Total votes: 207

Is there any chance that you to talk this theory trough with anybody in the paddock who has an authority in this matter?
What about asking Vale himself?
I´m sure nobody has ever asked something like this in detail before and it would be highly interesting how he answers.
Or maybe Jeremy Burgess?
That would be so cool...

Total votes: 176

I'm a little confused. If Ducati's biggest problem is it's super aggressive power delivery. Why is it so good in the wet. Wouldn't an aggressive power delivery be amplified in the wet where traction is compromised?

Total votes: 186

Different engine map with a less-agressive throttle profile in the wet.

Total votes: 199

Yes, a different map in the wet would seem to be obvious, but many other settings would be changed too for a wet race. It also begs the question why they need a new engine to be competitive, rather than just different mapping for their current engine.

Total votes: 161

The mapping used in the wet not only smoothes out the throttle, but it also dials back the output of the engine. If you do that on a dry track, you'll find yourself significantly under-powered compared to the rest of the factory bikes. They have tried new maps, but the nature of the engine itself makes it difficult.

Also, take a look at the bike itself. It still has a front-end that isn't completely sorted, and the bike needs to be turned with the rear, as opposed to braking late and carrying all of that corner speed on the front tire. Dial it back too much, and the Duc will really be hard to get around a corner. The hope with the new engine is to find that happy-medium, where the bike still has enough grunt to overcome the deficiencies of the front end, while smoothing out the power delivery itself, so the riders can roll on earlier to get better drive out of the corners, as opposed to brake, turn, stand-up and roll.

But this is, of course, all arm-chair speculation/observation...

Total votes: 162

I've have also read people saying that the lean angle on the rain is a factor, since the aggressive engine response pushing the front happens at full lean.

Total votes: 178

Another proposed reason as to why Stoner was successful on the Duc as well. His riding style puts him further off the bike with it more upright, allowing the bike to stay on the fat part of the tire, with more weight off the front.

Total votes: 175

Rossi himself said they couldn't figure out why the bike was so good in wet conditions...

Total votes: 161

David
you could print on the foreheads, of a certain segment of MotoGP fans that Casey was faster on the Ducatic because of Throttle Control, and his dirt bike back ground. but it will never get through to this fanbase.

thanks again for a great article, looking forward to what will happen to CEII next season.

Total votes: 175

At Ducati, Nicky Hayden looks certain to extend his contract with the factory team.

I guess I would not be too surprised if that happens. Certainly Hayden will very likely be interested, since his chance of getting another factory ride (Suzuki?) with the attendant high(er) salary is otherwise pretty close to nil. Hayden is definitely professional and likeable. Still, looking at the competitive reality from the Ducati side, there must be some people in the organization who are thinking that four years of mediocrity is enough. Don't see how Ducati could settle for Hayden as their lead rider if Rossi leaves. And, again looking at things competitively from the Ducati side, there is the question of whether Ducati is, or ought to be, interested in retaining the very expensive Valentino Rossi.

Like I suggested in another thread: I find Crutchlow and Iannone (no more rookie rule) to be an interesting possibility for Ducati next year. It is far from clear there would be a competitive drop-off, and with the money they'd save on rider salaries Ducati could perhaps improve the bike.

Total votes: 169

I have to agree Andrea Iannone seems not to mind a bike
moving around under him...
Maybe a good fit for the Ducati.

Total votes: 139

rossi on the factory yamaha beside lorenzo would be really killer to watch haha...
it's still early to say but at the moment i think crutchlow should get the factory yamaha ride...but this opinion of mine might change with changing things, in particular how cal and dovi continue performing...

on a fantasy side of thinking, i wonder if lorenzo would be able to ride the troubled ducati if he was ever to try it out ? surely we can only speculate on that as it is something that has never happened and we (or even he himself probably) have no idea about, but it's still quite interesting a thought to me...if he is indeed able to ride it, either with his natural style or a style he may have to develop to ride it, it'd be interesting how differently or similarly he rides it in comparison to how stoner used to ride it, given the fact that their styles are really very different for the most part..i believe with his natural style he probably will be as much troubled as rossi is with that ducati...

Total votes: 161

Your comment made me imagine pedrosa on a ducati.330kph on the back straight front wheel in the air,hanging on.. haha

I believe that crutchlow is world champoin material and he would do well on a factory machine and if yamaha gives the factory seat to crutchlow then rossi has an option at Tech 3 since he knows yamaha and the yamaha suits him.He can ride it better than any newbie but i dunno if rider of Rossi's quality would enjoy a less than top class machine.Thats why Rossi is going to stay at Ducati and try to fix it, although it sucks to see rossi out of the fight for podium.

Total votes: 149

For me, Honda is the only option for Rossi. I just can't see him being humble enough to return to Yamaha as a number 2 rider to Lorenzo who he knows can beat him.

At Honda, even though he may be on a satellite or private factory bike he still doesn't see Pedrosa as a rider that can beat him (IMHO and based on comments a few years back about how either he or Stoner could take the Honda to a championship without to much trouble but Pedrosa couldn't).

For all his talk, I think that the one thing that Rossi doesn't want to do is to go head-to-head on equal machinery with Lorenzo or Stoner. So Stoner retiring has opened up the option of Honda, and put Honda in the best bargaining position (Whether or not Honda politics allow this or not... yet to be seen).

(As usual: All comments completely devoid of any real world knowledge of what goes on inside the heads of all these great riders)

Total votes: 176

 

Rossi left yamaha because he didn't want all his development work being passed over the garage wall.

And Lorenzo says a different tune:

http://www.gpone.com/index.php/en/201109234940/Lorenzo-I-want-to-beat-Vale-on-equal-terms.html

At least you know what is in Lorenzo's head.

You could bet the farm on Rossi wanting to go head to head against any of these guys. He just wants a competitive bike.

When was the last time the Ducati was a competitive bike for the title? 2008 maybe?

MODERATOR'S EDIT:

Please don't link to motogp-update. They cut and paste other people's material without modifying or crediting.

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Total votes: 175

The official story behind the move was simple, the linking of the two great icons of Italian motorcycling, Valentino Rossi and Ducati. It was a move that had been predicted for years by bike fans, though for most of that period it was merely a product of wishful thinking. To link Rossi and Ducati was a no-brainer, an instant marking powerhouse and the embodiment of the word synergy.

The unofficial story was a little different, and rather less edifying. Rossi had been upset with Yamaha for a while, ever since they had signed Jorge Lorenzo against his express wishes. His ire was further raised by Yamaha offering Lorenzo a one-year contract, a luxury that had never been offered to Rossi. An alleged dispute over money - Yamaha cutting Rossi's pay in the name of cost-cutting, while at the same time offering Lorenzo a big pay rise - was the final straw, and Rossi reportedly issued Yamaha an ultimatum: It's him or me. Yamaha refused to choose, sticking to the line they had repeated throughout the process, that they felt there was room in the team for both men. Seeing his requests rebuffed, Rossi walked, and with Casey Stoner already signed to Honda, Ducati was his only serious option.

Total votes: 185

We have seen not so spy'ish photos of a possible return ..

Total votes: 150

Whatever happen's to him, Rossi's pay rate is about to decline dramatically - there is no no current justification for a premium over Hayden at Ducati, and he would be going somewhere else with his hands out. No doubt he brings sponsorship dollars with him, perhaps they will be shouldering much of the burden next season?

Total votes: 168

I wouldn't be so quick to expect a pay cut for Rossi if he stays at Ducati. Anywhere else yes, but how would Ducati have any chance at keeping him without giving him a truckload of cash to make up for the risk of another two seasons on an uncompetitive bike?

Total votes: 182

IMO, that truckload of cash would be much better spent on the bike. If Ben doesn't pull his finger out, he'll soon be looking for work. Duc could pick up Spies, RdP, maybe even Peddles or Crutchlow, for cheap, and plow the savings into the bike.

Total votes: 165

Depending on how far behind you think the bike actually is, until they get it closer to front Rossi's feedback isn't that much more useful than anyone else's feedback. If Ducati are closer to CRT territory than factory Honda/Yamaha territory, then employing a better rider doesn't matter.

And I'm of the opinion at least some of the CRT bikes have a bigger upside than the Ducati right now.

Total votes: 167

I'm not sure how anyone on these boards making comments about salary could make them before, during, or after watching a race.

Why do you I say this ?
Have you even stopped to consider the pure marketing behemoth that Rossi is, no matter what's going on ? He's worth his salary in pure advertising dollars.

I'm not saying this is the way it should be, but it is.

His salary will be just fine and as he's said in the past, he's made his money, he wants a competitive bike.

Total votes: 159

Me too, it's pretty well document that Rossi brings his own wages and a fair few quid more to help the team. Financially Casey and Jorge bring nothing to the team, Yam haven't had a major sponsor since Rossi left. Which is the best deal financially, Rossi at 10m who brings the 10m with him, or Jorge or Casey at 8m who bring nothing with them?? Ducati ended up turning sponsors away when Rossi joined.. Now, the money ducati waste on a long and low bike that is something to talk about..alongside whether Presiozi will ever get that short and high works better in this class, proven beyond all doubt.

Total votes: 204

Coudl you please provide a source that says that the FIAT sponsorship (or whatever he may have brought to Ducati) amounts this his 10-15 million € annual wage?
From what I've gathered from this site and other, the price to become main sponsor is much much lower.

Total votes: 168

"big sigh" In a word no, sorry, it's 5 years ago, perhaps with some digging if you are so inclined.. Have seen 15m euros, but that could be 2 years?) being banded about but the point is Rossi covers his wages, even if it's 8m $ we are talking about.... ..The exact figures being irrelevant to this particular subject as I suspect all the wages are less, though forbes does quote Rossi at around 10m US ..
If it helps Petronas were not a main sponsor of yamaha, they cancelled their agreement recently , which was well documented as being in the region of 8m dollars a year I think.. Sure Suzuki were given away their main sponsorship deal, allegedly, which was still reputedly 7m $ with rizla but Rossi is a different kettle of fish. He makes 30m $ a year on average according to forbes of which 20m $ is endorsements/sponsorship, that's a lot of caps, and of course is a close personal friend of a couple of fiat board members if I remember correctly, certainly one of them..

on 2nd thoughts try this http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns18036.html

It's several years ago but quotes 50m$ for what was 4 years, others mention 15m euros for one or two seasons, some mention a knockdown price of 6 -8 mil euros( around 10-14m $ us at the time) for Fiat, but not by today recession busting rates the £ back in 2007 was around 1.20 euros I think the dollar closer to 1.8 to 2.00 dollars per pound.... They were good years to buy from the states.... Zero doubt that he brought to the team a large % if not all the money he took out..

on why he left 'really' http://www.motomatters.com/news/2010/06/24/rossi_s_dilemma_15_million_eu...

Total votes: 153

is a key seat in 2013 for several reasons;-

HRC will probably have 2 Spaniards in the Repsol team which will weaken Bautista's position with HRC regardless of how well he performs from Silverstone onwards (and he did perform well)

HRC have rewarded Gresini with factory spec bikes before so they have experience of Honda 'A' kit and could run a factory bike without a lot of drama

They have an Italian Main Sponsor who would like a top level Italian on the bike

............ and being honest, the Spanish economy isn't at it's peak just now so a lot of existing sponsorship money from Spain for Spanish riders may disappear. Bankia, Mapfre and CX might not be such prevalent brands in MotoGp 2013.

Total votes: 165

I dont think it would take a Seer to work out AD's preffered choice - or San Carlo either

Total votes: 146

Just because something is preferred, it doesn't necessarily mean it will work out.

But ultimately, there are still too many variables out there, and all of this is wild speculation. Once again, Silly Season is living up to its name!

Total votes: 169

Haven't anyone noticed how does the top flight moto-2 pilots have evolved to entering the corners suicidal-mode totally sideways< Luthi, Ianone I've seen these guys doing spectacular stuff lately, would'nt that style "suit the Ducati" better rather than trying to japanize it's front end?

Total votes: 172

Isn't that because the basic slipper cltch on the Moto2 bikes can't control
engine braking with the sophistication that it is applied in Moto GP.
Looks great in Moto 2 and reminds me of old style production and super bike heros but probably not too good for tyre life.
I don't think japanize is the right word for wanting good feedback and feeling from the front end- that objective is surely universal.

Total votes: 192

You're correct the rear wheel sliding in Moto2 isn't really related to steering the Ducati with the rear. The Moto2 bikes have an engine that makes useable power, and likely have a chassis that is set up correctly, so that's two steps up on the Ducati already in the performance department. That might be a worse switch for a rider than Yamaha to Ducati.

Total votes: 185

Not to sound entirely sceptical ans paranoid despite my Russian origins, but somehow I can't shake the feeling that whether there is possibility that Ducati is purposely holding off introducing new parts to Rossi not untill later in the season (like Laguna Seca) so by then whether he makes improvements or not, he (Rossi) would have no choice but to re-sign with Ducati, because many seats would be taken by then by other, strong and competative riders? Seeing the depth of the MotoGP and Manufacturers political skills, bueracracy and manupulation of events to whatever benefits them the most as they've demonstrated so far, maybe my idea is not so far fetched after all ???

Total votes: 166

Wish I'd read your comment earlier.
Would've saved me some typing.

It's a cynical perspective. Might be a bit far-fetched.
But then David has reported how the MSMA lied about its unanimity on weight limits, so anything is possible.

Total votes: 151

makes it seem like the choice is his of where he wants to go. Only thing is that certainly isn't the case. Everyone knows the Ducati isn't the bike of choice and we all know Rossi has a boatload of championships but what has he done lately? Lately it looks like the riders getting seats ahead of him are Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Dovi, Crutchlow, Marquez, Smith, likely Hayden and by the end of the season possibly Bradl and/or Bautista. Too many riders that are young and hungry for Rossi to be gifted a seat despite his results for the last 2 years. Idk what Biaggi's contract with Aprilia is like but I'd love to see him getting some revenge on Rossi next year in MotoGP.

Total votes: 332

I welcome dissent. What I don't welcome is vitriolic comments, in which the author allows his prejudice to blind him to the situation. You are welcome to post dissenting comments, but keep your insults to yourself.

EDIT: Perhaps vitriolic is the wrong word. Trolling is a much better word. Anything I consider to be trolling will be deleted. And I have a very itchy trigger finger. And yes, that makes me very like the Chinese government / Nazis / Stalinists / <insert name of villain here>. There is a great big internet out there, and I'm just trying to keep this little corner of it relatively clean.

Total votes: 190

I have posted non-vitriol, but a different opinion and it has been deleted, several times I might add. There is some truth to what he posted.

Total votes: 164

I'm not sure what was posted in reply to my comment and/or what was deleted but I was referring to the Moto press as a whole speaking as though the choice is up to Rossi. Also I've tweeted Mr. Emmitt and gotten plenty of responses. Some agreeing with me, some not. We don't have to agree though cause I think it's understood that at the end of the day we're all race fans.

Total votes: 146

Totally agree. Give the youngsters a chance, they're the future of motogp. The likes of Marquez, P. Espargaro, Iannone, Redding and Luthi racing each other in premier class excites me. Give them 2years and we might find a true championship contender for Lorenzo.
Rossi should stay at Duc, but if he wants out nobody could blame him. If he got factory seat, good for him. If not, riding for satellite or his own team is the only choice.
Look ahead, the prospects not all bleak. This kids have all it takes to make a fantastic race, rather than hold on to a persona. No one should be bigger than the sport itself.

Cheers.

Total votes: 146

Funny, how the "Ben Spies" rookie rule was introduced for Ben, and is now being repealed for "Marc Marquez", is it any wonder Stoner retired?

Stoner mentioned he wanted riders such as Depuniet on truly competitve equipment, but the chances of that happening is further reduced, which was the original case for keeping Ben out of a factory team for 12 months. I remember thinking this will last TILL a euro boy arrives and sure enough, Dorna didnt disappoint.

Honestly, I can't wait for a competing championship with a different governing body to arrive, one that offers a LEVEL playing field for all competitors.

The individual that can hold their head high is Lorenzo, delaying his decision hoping Casey would change his mind, why? Because he wants to race the best! So simple, so honest, I know which rider I'll be following next year.

Sick to death of the Rossi diatribe, one expects him to deliver a stinging attack on Ducati after he leaves, he won world championships with Honda and panned them, one can only imagine what's in store for the duck factory, either way, I wont be reading it.

Hayden has talent! That's why he will be retained by Ducati, if people cant see that now, gee? As compared to any other rider (other than Casey) he has been quicker or their equal. I havent seen Vale at the front without rain at any stage. Hayden was close to pole till a mishap this last weekend.

One thing I think people are missing, aggressive engines, rear ending steering etc. In qualifying both Duck riders crashed in the same place doing exactly the same thing, ON CORNER ENTRY, to me this means either steering geometry, weight distribution or the most obvious culprit a lack feel from the carbon fibre units especially in the bumps. I'd start with obvious. You could tell both riders were shocked at the lack of feedback as the front tucked under, personally Vale or Hayden should be asking for the brakes to be re-jigged. Casey also keeps the bike VERY vertical on corner entry, now think 'tuck under versus contact patch size", hmm I'd give them LESS front brake, make them use their right hand a little more.

For long time, I've been watching 20 year olds jump on modern sports bikes with 300+ mm twin disc brakes, only to kill themselves by tucking under the front, when shocked by unexpected events, they should be banned from street bikes as they are OVER braked, serve only to look good on the show room floor.

Great article loved it.

Total votes: 166

Not only: also OVER powered.

I see such a high percentage of that age riding under urban conditions that don't suit their skills and machinery (what not so far back was close to race bikes).

OH and IDIOTICALLY riding in all black - best way to be UNSEEN, wear black.

Total votes: 146

Doesn't matter what colour you wear - those that can't see the bike itself certainly won't notice the colour of the clothing of the human onboard.

Headlight on ALL the time.

Total votes: 167

Perhaps some misunderstanding here.

Black has the lowest REFLECTIVITY of all light and colour - the armed defenders squad wear black to be unseen.
(we see by the light reflected off objects, ignoring objects such as the sun, stars headlights, candles, etc that emit light)

So if you minimise your reflectivity ie your visibility, you much decrease your chance of being seen. Its a physical principle thats majorly ignored (by motorcyclists).
You good sir might have see perfectly, doesn't mean the reverse is true.

I have a favourite question to motorcylists attired in black (matte black easily the worst): what gets seen, the yellow Fiat, the bright orange Falcon, or you in black? Somehow they implicitly know the answer, but try to wriggle out of an embarrasment by saying 'Oh but I have my light on', so then ask 'if the light, being so small, ie being such a small area, isn't enough?'

Motorcyclists wearing matte black at night is a prime example - turn their headlights off and what likelyhood of being unseen do they have? Addditionally some sports bikes have the smallest damn tail lights.

Sure some motorists don't seem to see much (like me the morning after). Thats not good reason to charge around being half pie 'invisible' to the rest of the motoring public.
My cousin in accident and emergency has a term, the BNDs.
It refers to motorcyclists in acccident and emergency: it stands for Bloody Near Dead - oh, and yes, I'm told they're normally wearing black.

Total votes: 160

One thing I think people are missing, aggressive engines, rear ending steering etc. In qualifying both Duck riders crashed in the same place doing exactly the same thing, ON CORNER ENTRY, to me this means either steering geometry, weight distribution or the most obvious culprit a lack feel from the carbon fibre units especially in the bumps.

Uh, you know the Ducatis have aluminium frames now, right?

Total votes: 138

The brakes, there are two carbon fibre brakes at the front, with hugh callipers. I know I'd drop a bike with brakes like that by the bottom of my drive way.

Hayden and Rossi both crashed the instant they applied the front stopper.

Maybe they replaced the wrong piece of carbon?

Total votes: 153

"Funny, how the "Ben Spies" rookie rule was introduced for Ben, and is now being repealed for "Marc Marquez", is it any wonder Stoner retired?"

I've heard this one before but never quite understood this argument?

Spies rode the factory Suzuki 3? times in 08 and Suzuki could have had him in the factory team in 09 - if they wanted him......... they had the option.

Yamaha poached him for WSBK and when they did move him to GP's in 2010 both Lorenzo & Rossi were under contract for the factory team. I cant see how it was 'the Spies rule'?

Total votes: 146

But would have it been any different without the rookie rule for Ben?
Point is, if Suzuki wanted him, he would have been straight to the factory team, Bautista style.
Did he ever have any chance go to the official Yamaha team instead of Lorenzo or Rossi??? Things would have been exactly the same for him, Tech3 Yamaha with or without the rookie rule.
The only rider possibly affected by this rule was Simoncelli at Honda, he could have had a chance at Dovi's seat.

Total votes: 156

The sad thing is that the above story is more exciting than any of the racing so far this season. For that fact alone I welcome the future!

Total votes: 147

While it is a well written comment, I believe it wrong in almost every aspect!

But let me explain myself. To start with the comment about the overbraked (and later comment by Chad about being overpowered) modern sport biks. Sure they have brakes and power hardly anyone who buys these bikes can use. But worldwide statistics have shown that there is no relationship between the the type (and power) of a motorcylce and accidents involving them. The ONLY relation is the age of the rider. The change of getting killed on a bike has absolutely nothing to do with the bike but only with the risk's taken. A young kid will get himself killed just as fast on a 125 cc scooter than a 200 hp Hyabusa.

Getting back to the MotoGP bikes: the brakes on those have absolutely nothing in common with those found on road bikes and the riders know exactly what these brakes are telling them. Besides to get a brake giving better feedback you'll actually need to make it bigger (diameter) and not smaller! (Rules in MotoGP don't allow this I believe).

While I agree that Hayden has got loads of talent, that is not the main reason he is at Ducati. I believe they are happy with him and his feedback but just like the article above says, he's American and America loves Ducati's!

Lorenzo never "waited" on Stoner to change his decision. He actually didn't wait for anything since he was very quick to renew his contract, sooner than usually!

If there is one party to point out who have benefitted from the rookie rule it would be Honda not Dorna. Spies could not enter the factory Yamaha team his firts year and now Marquez can enter the Honda factory team without problem. But is really doubt that this was a plan set up from te beginning!

Total votes: 200

http://www.foxsports.com.au/motor-sports/moto-gp/former-motogp-champ-jor...

That link will take you to the interview where Lorenzo explains his actions. So there's one point I'm not wrong on, don't worry I'll accept you didnt do any research prior to calling me "Wrong!".

The rest of my stuff is simply based on forty plus years experience and from a couple of old gezzers that dont know much of anything either. :)

I know a 125 GP Aus ex-champ who is now nearly 70 and rides a GPX 250 from the 80s, a single sided disc, on a series of local mountain passes and is still blindingly fast and has also owned a few bike shops. He often states the new bike's brakes are killers, which demographic buys these sports bikes? Would it be 20 somethings?

Diameter size increases leverage, physics 101, though there are myriad of ways to reduce power and increase feel with brakes.

The rookie rule is now being repealed when the current rising star is European, why? Funny that?

Total votes: 141

"The rookie rule is now being repealed when the current rising star is European, why? Funny that?"

I'm reasonably certain that Simoncelli was European.

Total votes: 135

Excellent analysis as always & you're quite right, many will be getting it wrong.

What I want to know is how many opportunities Does F.P get to turn this DUCATI around ? Does he have a one of them "jobs for life" contracts at DUCATI ? In any other arena, he'd be history. I dont doubt his resume for a second but he's design etho's (albeit a top down philsophy) has to be questioned and replaced with what works. I dont know the answer to what works but I bet #46, JB and crew have a bit of an idea.

I also dont get how long they (DUCATI) are planning on hanging around in a class where they clearly are being exposed as second rate after leaving the "other" championship they dominated for forever and a day. The problem is and will always be Stoners performance in 07 and the success it represented.They beat the biggest OME's in the world in the premier class so now we'll losen our grip in SBK to concentrate on GP's. Big mistake. The GP effort has caused more harm than good to the brand,(IMHO)

Total votes: 148

The Rookie Rule is going to be abolished. They say that it is still under discussion, but I reckon that the conclusion to this argument can only be its destruction. Both Repsol and Honda have been pushing for it ever since Casey announced his retirement and the MSMA actually suggested the idea back at the Jerez round.

It is safe to say, I think, that Honda is the most influential manufacturer in the MotoGP universe. They have two factory bikes as well as two satellite machines in the premier class; oh, and let us not forget the "minor" fact that they supply all the engines for the entire Moto2 category! And then there's Repsol: they sponsor Rins, Oliviera, Vinales, Stoner and (most importantly) Marquez.

And would I be right in saying that Stoner named Marc Marquez as his "ideal" replacement? It would be interesting to know whether he said that to compliment Honda's desire for Marquez or whether Honda decided to request the doing away with the Rookie Rule because they were inspired by Casey's comment.

So, in short, if both of these motorcycle racing giants are backing Marquez and the scrapping of the Rookie Rule, it is inevitable that they will be victorious. Marquez will ride for the Repsol Honda factory team in 2013. Watch this space.... If he doesn't, I will be very surprised.

Total votes: 142

At some point, Tech 3 were supposed to be building a CRT bike - has this gone quiet with the Moto2 bike flagging slightly and the Yamaha going so well?

If it's still out there somewhere, surely there might be at least a slim possibility of Bradley being on the CRT and two Yamahas remaining?

Total votes: 153

Are Suzuki coming back as rumoured? That'll be a nice bike for Vale and it'll bring in the money suzuki need. The last bike was a front runner, I bet the new one won't be half bad.

Total votes: 133

Hi, first post here, but a long-time reader and admirer of this site.
Many commentators here are forgetting the main purpose of MotoGP: to sell stuff. For the teams and sponsors it's all about money. Success sells. For the riders it may be more about personal pride (a.k.a. ego), especially if they are already multi-millionaires.
If Repsol Honda go for DP and MM then they may as well wave goodbye to next year's championship, IMHO, unless they can provide their riders with a bike that is considerably better than the Yamaha (small hope). In six years, DP has shown few signs of being able to mount a season-long challenge for the title. MM will be a rookie and, though he is very talented, is unlikely to win the title in his debut year. If Honda want to win the 2013 championship in the absence of Stoner, they will have to stomach Rossi. N.B. I'm not saying that Rossi would beat Lorenzo, but he is Honda's best chance. Money will overcome pride and hurt feelings every time. Rossi brings a ton of money to any team he rides for. Some of us may not like the marketing clout that he enjoys, but it's a raw fact. If Repsol will not have him, I bet that Honda will be more than happy to supply him with a factory-spec satellite machine, and may even enjoy some humble-pie-eating from Rossi. How do you say in Japanese "He slagged us off right proper and now he's come crawling back"? Rossi will take a pay cut, even if it hurts his ego (because you can be sure wobbling round in seventh place hurts it more) - he doesn't need the money any more than Stoner does.
Yamaha don't need Rossi - they have Lorenzo, and their main threat for the title will be resting in his hammock looking fondly at the fruit of his loins.
Ducati have to get it right this year, or their main chance for another title in the forseeable future will be gone. Anyone who says they should get rid of Rossi and spend the money they save on improving the bike is forgetting that without Rossi, they will have a lot, lot less money. (Incidentally, I don't subscribe to the theory that the engine's power delivery is responsible for the understeer and I really doubt that any changes in that parameter will yield a sweet-handling bike, but that's a topic for another day.)

DB

Total votes: 136

If you were Rossi, and had said all the things you had said about Honda, and knew that every Honda employee was aware of what you'd said about their work and their company and HRC ...

Would you really get on a bike built by that company and those people again? Would you trust it? Can you say "mystery highside?" And then, every time the thing flung Rossi to the ground and into the stands, Honda could say, "Well, clearly it's the rider. Read his autobiography."

Actually, I started this post as a joke. But Rossi runs the risk of the thing most people fear most - public humiliation - if he ever rides a Honda GP bike again. Because every time he failed to finish first, people would remind him that it's the rider, not the bike, that makes a winner - and that those were his own words. He could never, ever complain about the motorcycle, the tires, or anything. From a PR perspective, it would be like walking into a hornet nest.

If I were Rossi, I might not even ride a Honda street bike again!

Total votes: 161

Back when Rossi wrote that, and Burgess said the 80/20 thing, it WAS more of the rider. But, nowadays, the bikes are sooo refined, tighter, and electronically driven.

Think how much OUR everyday technology has changed, (cell phones, computing power, etc.) in the past 10 years, now imagine what a company like Honda has accomplished in that period of time.

Total votes: 131

Who knows what the rider/bike ratio really is. No one involved probably really tries to nail it down like us observers. They know they're both crucial. I think it was last year or so in a press conference where a reporter asked Stoner about the 80/20 rule. He answered the he thinks it's probably more like 50/50 now. For sure the depth of electronic involvement is many magnitude deeper now than a few years ago. I honestly think at this point we've crossed the threshold where there's no competing without the best and best run electronic packages. Same as military aviation. No stick & hydraulics bird could touch the capabilities of modern avionics no matter how good of an airframe & engine.

Total votes: 142

True, but this isn't about physical reality. It's about public perception. Rossi said loudly and publicly to the humiliation of Honda that the wins were because of him, not their bike.

Regardless of engineering reality, if he goes back to Honda and loses, Honda says in public it's because Rossi is no good anymore. If he goes back to Honda and wins, Honda says it proves that it was the bike, not the rider. And that will be the storyline, period. Every week, the story of every success or failure of Rossi on a Honda will play out against that backdrop. Rossi's public claims ensured that it will be this way.

Come to think of it, it might not be a question of whether Honda would hire Rossi, but whether Rossi would want to wind up on a Honda.

p.s. I like the person who wrote that the followup to his autobiography will be "I Should Have Never Tried It ..."

Total votes: 141

Stick around please. We need more rational speculation to go with the bleacher creature type stuff. I've also been thinking that putting Rossi on a factory supported RCV could only be a win for Honda.
1)The undeniable PR boost (if they care) of 46 ending where he started. If he were fighting nearer the front on a Honda of any livery it would be a feather in their cap.
2)The justification that 46's actions would be walking back his juvenile mouth from when he left them. If he dominated on Honda, then Yamaha, then totally floundered on the Ducati to finally find some redemption of form back on the Honda it refutes Rossi's assertion. He will have to append and re-title his autobiography "I shoulda neva hava left".
3)He can probably win races. Yes, debatable but as of now I'd put my money on 46 winning races on a Honda/Yamaha over anyone winning on a Ducati for the foreseeable future. The Ducati debacle has clouded much as far as who is underperforming and to what extent but the fact is the Italian bike is a dog. Any spin saying otherwise beggars credibility. Yes this year the Yamaha seems to have an advantage or more precisely less disadvantage with the new tires. I doubt Honda will take so long or be so lost to sort out their problems as Ducati. Honda got caught out but will modify the bike to work as needed. I'd also put good money on that. The edge in machinery can shift from year to year. I wouldn't count on the Yamaha holding an advantage. That said, Honda's rider prospects for next year don't look as strong. Next year may be Pedrosa's last gasp and Marc's teething year. Honda could use another rider that could likely ruffle Jorge's feathers and no one can ruffle his feathers like Rossi provided he can get near him. Honda could do worse.

Total votes: 172

Excellent post DB.

Now, its another day ...... get out the sculple (please) and dissect the Duc, cus I also doubt power delivery will substantially affect the understeer.

How do you say in Japanese "He slagged us off right proper and now he's come crawling back"? Something like ... Kamikaze!

Total votes: 131

Yamaha won't take Rossi in the official team, it would be more than anything disturbing to Lorenzo, who is The Candidate for next year's title ( and, by the way, this too...).
If the target is to win it all, than it's easy to imagine a point scorer such as Dovi or someone that good and likeable as Crutch - and i think Lorenzo does like him.

So maybe yamaha, shure, but in another structure. I was thinking Tech 3 because of Monster Energy, but it seems they have pilots for their spare bikes too!!!

gresini? hum... it was such a mess with last year's events that i think they should want some stability. And they also have the CRT project. Can't see a change.

I find hard for ducati to have a "Rossi winning bike" for next year, just because the level at yamaha is that good, and Rossi doesn't have the time! So, yes, go for new blood guys!

And, yeah, new blood is what we want, but Rossi will fight until he retires, and that, i won't miss. It's called RACING.

Total votes: 136

i dont think it would hurt or offend or disappoint lorenzo if yamaha factory were to pursue and get rossi in their team. for one thing, lorenzo would be glad to have another opportunity to beat rossi on equal machinery because according to his interviews he really enjoys battling it out with rossi even if he doesnt always win and beating rossi on equal machinery is something he has always wanted/wants to do (and has done a few times). well, something that a lot of riders out there would love to do...

secondly, yamaha has already shown and proved their lead rider and their prime title candidate is lorenzo and lorenzo knows this. this was the very important reason because of whoch rossi left yamaha in 2010 in the first place. and pursuing and signing him so early in the season this year is another signature of yamaha's main concentration being lorenzo. and this guy just wants to kick ass and win several championships, doesnt seem like he is or would be so concerned about being the lead rider and yet having less cash than his team-mate rossi (if rossi indeed joins the team). as long as he knows that yamaha considers him their main and more important rider, he is all fine.

thirdly, rossi will probably bring tons of cash and sponsors with him to yamaha if he were to join. and why would yamaha not be interested in having sponsors again? not to forget that, with lorenzo already having high chances of dominance, rossi coming to the team again will increase their chance at utter dominance of the championship even more. extra money, two title contenders and a high chance of dominating the championship and over their arch-rivals honda.

of course yamaha may not give a damn about any of these in which case it's a different story...and moreover, all this was assuming rossi would want or like to come back to yamaha and would swallow his huge ego and be not-the-lead-rider in the team and just concentrate on being on the podium again.

Total votes: 129

I agree with you except that I think that if Rossi was to come back to Yamaha after dumping them in the end of 2010, he would definitely not make more cash than Lorenzo.
With Stoner retiring Lorenzo IS the power player in this game, he got an interesting offer from HRC which resulted in a significant raise from his employer to keep him.

Rossi left because Yamaha wanted to give him a pay cut for him and Lorenzo to earn the same amount. 2 years of failure at Ducati did not do anything to raise his value, if anything Rossi would be more desperate for Yamaha to sign him, not the other way.

I'm sure Lorenzo would enjoy the challenge, but I don't know what would be harder for Rossi, staying on the Duke hoping to make it competitive and risking a 3rd winless year in a row or swallowing his pride and for the first time abandoning his n°1 rider status to go knock at Honda's or Yamaha's door?

Total votes: 147

Some very good points yamahar15. The very reason that the factory Yamaha team hasn't had a sponsor in 2011/2012 is because Rossi isn't there. He does indeed bring a lot of money to the table, more than any other motorcycle rider. I've read people complain about this on this board but is it not justifiable? Like or dislike him he's got 100 wins. I think he has earned it as well as his current salary. I also think his team has earned it so he has earned a comptetive bike. I think some forget that Casey also left Ducati. Like Rossi, they did not listen to him and the bike wasn't a championship contender for a few years, since 2008 IMO.

As DE pointed out last year, he doesn't have to do anything else in this sport. You can hate him all you want, the ink is already down and it cannot be erased. He has already amassed the greatest of all time victory count in the entire history of the premier class. He needs one more title in the premier class to equal Ago's championships. Bear in mind that these "records" are over the last 63 years. With the same premier class championship count and a greater number of victories the numbers explain themselves.

Yamaha is a better choice for him. The folks at HRC, that actually make the 213v, like Dani. Someone on here posted up the RCV website that Honda recently put up and there is a lot of information there if you read all of it. The grunts at HRC making frames, engine bits, etc, want Dani to win. Dani's development work, well the Honda employees value it a whole lot. Would be a bad move to go back there, especially with Marquez on his way. HRC will tie up all their development dollars with him. Honda brass will not do that for Valentino, not a chance in hell. He isn't on the Max Biaggi shit list, but he's on the factory version.

Between Yamaha and Honda, Yamaha is the best choice. If you involve Ducati, it would be better for him, and Ducati, if Ducati would just make him the front end he's asked for, 18 months ago.
Lin Jarvis is Lin Jarvis.

Total votes: 150

Brilliant article on a provocative subject. I've read every comment and enjoyed them all! keep up what your doing Dave, this is the best site on MotoGP with insightful articles and a knowledgable, keen readership!

Total votes: 110

As previously noted,once Lorenzo signed for Yamaha,the rest would fall into place.Stoner is gone,so the arguments surrounding him are irrelevant in terms of silly season.
Whether Rossi moves on or stays or has a works ride at another manufacturer is the big issue.Stay intrigued. Results produced within Assen, Mugello and Laguna before the break will establish a pecking order within the realms of most desired and least desired signings.
Meanwhile,riders on the cusp will surely be preening their feathers.

Total votes: 146

Seems to me Aleix would warn his brother Pol about riding Ducati MOTOGP bikes. Just saying....ain't the best way to make a name for yourself in MOTOGP.

Total votes: 126

Sorry, couldn't let this pass.................rossi brings money to Ducati therefore all requirements are met doing that. No true development ideas/data, no top of the podium for this bought ride. No siree. He brings money to Ducat and has therefore bought his ride. No need to bust his butt trying to ride the bike to a podium finish.

If a factory pays you millions of bucks to ride their bike they deserve a 110% effort from you. Anything less and they need to sue you butt in the dockets.

And I usually made faces when I heard Bradley Smith was going to MOTOGP and ride for Yammahammer. No more. From what I saw at Silverstone in the first few laps, I've decided that it's a bike problem not a rider problem and Tech Three knows it.

And although a big Stoner fan, I'm beginning to agree that the tire wear problem MIGHT be his riding style, especially after reading the article above that says Pedrosa has a similar riding style.

If Stoner can't win the race and Crutchlow can't win the race.......well it might as well be Lorenzo. Nothing to really dislike about him other than his past post race antics (oops, he seems to have done one of those a couple of races ago, oh well).

Total votes: 147

With recent Stoner's retirement/lost motivation, with recent Crutchlow supporting Stoner, with recent Spies/Edwards comments on rookie rule abandon, also with Rossi almost looks like not participating in racing second year in a row there would be an idea to finally boycott Dorna/Ezpeleta with other riders. Indeed there is some downturn if we talk about motivation in MotoGP.

Total votes: 136

There's nowhere else to go. If the top riders boycott MotoGP, there will be a group who seize the opportunity to get on the top bikes and be champion. They will be on TV, the rest, who stay home, won't.

Total votes: 134

Probably yes, but when united they will put some 'show' during a random 'race to forget' (like do the slow parade, swap the leader with everybody, do some joke, etc) or talk with riders from lower classes it may bring some pressure on organizers couse what they can do then? Suspend everybody at the same time? There will nobody professional left. Newcomers won't be wellcomed by spectators in that situation couse everybody will see there's a problem. So adding supporters/fans to it could be a wake up call for Ezpeleta&Co.
Maybe create another motorcycle racing structure (a Dorna competitor) and register it in FIM?
The funniest thing to me is to read Spies and Edwards debate about what can happen (or can't) when You're not THAT nationality. Even USA guys are powerless in some way.

Total votes: 173

Economic power counts, it runs the world, at some point some Chinese, Indian, or Indonesian Billionaire or Company will simply 'start a new championship', offering more money, better coverage and greater crowd entertainment. As they have already with the introduction of the IPL. The Indian Cricket Board now run world cricket, no ifs or buts, who would've thought that ICC could've lost control so completely so quickly?

Its not a matter of "boycott motoGP", but rather a matter of a new competing championship which is yet to be established and will be better funded, and given the riders passion for cash and where the factories are actually selling motorcycles, how long do you think it will be?

Ducati Press Release May 2012 "In the US market, sales increased 48% and on Asian markets a staggering 238%. Positive signs have also been seen in Europe, where in France, for example, sales increased by 13%."

Total votes: 123

Nice idea, but the parallels with cricket are not quite as close as they seem. For a start, Dorna has a monopoly contract with the FIM to organize Grand Prix motorcycle racing which runs (I believe) until 2026. A competing series could be set up, but it could not be called Grand Prix racing.

Interestingly, after the DMG took over the US AMA Superbike series, there was a short-lived manufacturer rebellion, and the MIC (Motorcycle Industry Council) threatened to launch an independent series. It never got any further than threats.

Could someone rich enough organize a rival series? Definitely. But they would have to sink a lot of money into it just to get it running. It costs factories somewhere between 40 and 80 million euros a year to compete in MotoGP, including R&D costs, so to build a bike capable of competing, the rich backer would need to pour several hundred million euros into the series just to get it started. Then there's the circuits, which have long term contracts with Dorna and InFront, and would face nasty negotiations should they sign up with a rival series. New tracks could be added, but would need to be brought up to FIM-level safety standards, which would not be cheap. That, too, would be expensive. It would take a massive level of investment to kick the series off, something north of 200 million euros. That's a lot of money for a minority sport.

The real problem, though, is that the organizer of a counter-series would have to rely on the manufacturers. Aprilia, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Ilmor - all these and more have entered the series and then walked again. Motorcycle manufacturers are in the business of selling motorcycles. Sometimes being in racing aids them in that pursuit, but if a board decides that they can sell bikes without being in racing, they're history. You can't trust them, as Carmelo Ezpeleta has finally twigged after 10 years of selling his soul to the MSMA. So a theoretical rich person could pour the best part of a quarter billion euros into setting up a new series, just to have the factories walk after a year or two. It's not a sound business model.

One more thing about sales in Asia. I have strongly supported a return to Asia - I believe that the future of the sport lies there, and not in Europe or the USA - but you have to be careful of figures. Ducati's growth in Asia was 238%. That's impressive, but you have no idea how much that is in real terms. It could well be that they sold 50 bikes in Asia in 2010, and 169 in 2011 - an increase of 238%. This is a well-known statistical trap that a lot of people (especially journalists) fall into, reporting percentage increases and worrying about that. There is a parallel with shark attacks; there have been record numbers of shark attacks recently. But still, despite literally billions of humans spending trillions of hours in and around the water, the numbers are in the low hundreds, and fatalities barely register on the grand scale of things. Your socks are a much, much greater danger to you than a shark is.

Total votes: 131

It's easy to set up a competing series. All you need are new tracks and new manufacturers.

I saw the MIC proposal up close, and I've seen more than one "breakaway" series attempt. I can't think of a professional one that has ever actually staged a race other than the famous CART-IRL duel over here in four-wheelers - and that completely wrecked open-wheel racing in the U.S. It was so damaging that I've read that in other series, when trouble was brewing, the reminder of the damage that schism caused was enough to bring the parties back to the table to talk in earnest.

There was, a couple of years back, someone who actually talked a major magazine into writing about their proposed series. Unlimited bikes, they said, so fast that a major manufacturer told them that their MotoGP bike "wouldn't be fast enough." Some other guy over here actually announced a schedule for a Superbike series with no spec rubber - and hadn't actually talked to a track owner.

Tracks are the problem. They aren't as easy to come by as you might think - especially ones safe enough to race GP bikes on. They're a hell of a lot harder to come by than, say, a cricket pitch.

Now if some of those Chinese/Asian manufacturers start building their own tracks and running their own bikes in a National/Continental series exclusively in Asia, you might see something that would work.

But there's little or no chance of anyone else running a top-level GP-type series in Europe.

Then again, World Superbike came from somewhere, didn't it?

Total votes: 177

I repeat my above posting because I feel it is misplaced atop.:

I believe Rossi would love this to be that easy...throttle control and steering the bike with the rear end...If somebody has throttle control and sliding abillities its Rossi. Just put in "Rossi sliding" at Youtube and you will see some celebration slides together with one leg over the saddle wheelies which CS could not do even if he wanted to.

Besides this: There is a physical limit to accelleration and decelleration and that is mechanical grip.
This is given by the machinery(not to forget the standard tires) and is not the only thing what makes you fast on the track.
What gives you the biggest boost is the abillity to steer fast, to through the bike to the maximum lean angle in the shortest time possible.
Because this will alter your breaking point, enhances your accellaration point and defines your line altogether.
There is almost no physical limit to fast steering and it divides the amateur from the pro like no other value does.
The defining physical factor is the weight distribution of a bike.
You can not steer a Harley as fast as a GSXR.

It is also very much a matter of trust in your machinery because fast steering provokes self protecting reflexes like nothing else -its a big mental factor-and if additionally the balance of the bike is not right it wont work at the level at what a MotoGP-rider is riding and sure makes a difference.

If the weight distribution was not right at that Duc in 07 the only way CS could overrule that in the past, was his self trust rooted in his age and the hunger for a title I believe.
It shows a huge talent to go against your reflexes and to overrule the bike on sheer will power.
I believe strongly that that is what CS did with the Duc and that every sober look at the telemetry data was giving another rider a riddle on how he was able to steer that fast.

He did not have the experience printed into his head of 500cc two strokes with weak frames and not the V5 with its perfect Michelins saving similar maneuvers.
With Rossis age and all the titles in the bag as well as his experience with all sort of bucking machinery, I doubt it that he could pull a maneuver like that against his muscle memory and it shows in its times.

He needs a bike with perfect weight distribution allowing him to steer fast and trust the bike.
Only then he can show that he has the ultimate feel for the braking and the throttle , like in 07 in Mugello where he out braked everybody including CS on the faster Duc.

The front end trouble shown by the Duc is probably the slightly longer steering time which alters the line towards a lean angle too high at the end and a low sider is the result.

It supports the theory that the L4 is the main factor that is responsible for the lack of trust of its rider, because the weight distribution is distorted by the distance of the rear cylinder bank from the pivot point of the steering and probably produces a slightly higher resistance during the steering process.

In my eyes its a theory that works and an opinion that I believe strongly in.
Im just looking for an explanation and this one is based on my racing experience and what I know about riding.

PS: In the wet you can not force a bike to do anything, but the precise feeling for the tire grip and the throttle control is the defining issue. I believe thats why Rossi can shine there.

PSS It took me long to write this, its not meant as an offense against any rider.

Psss:
I just found these vids on tube where Rossi himself explains some of his technique together with Andy Ibott, sadly the steering part is neglected (and I think on purpose, because thats one of the key secrets I guess):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piWyrZhArYI&list=FLOb97doHgo7TdK-6HrsxjXg...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJsjiXHVwgM&feature=relmfu

David...
Submitted by steve hislop on Thu, 2012-06-21 09:27.

Is there any chance that you to talk this theory trough with anybody in the paddock who has an authority in this matter?
What about asking Vale himself?
I´m sure nobody has ever asked something like this in detail before and it would be highly interesting how he answers.
Or maybe Jeremy Burgess?
That would be so cool...

Total votes: 151

Sir,
As much as I was an admirer of your namesake, I cannot let your comments pass, without adding my own...
There is a major difference between a showy slide on the last lap or 2, as per your comment re Vale...see Marco Melandri @ PI 2006(?), n the concept of "rear wheel steering" as a matter of course...
Here in Oz, and in the USA, many youngsters learn the 'art' of sliding n rear wheel steering by the right wrist on dirt tracks, eg, Casey Stoner, Troy Bayliss, Wayne Gardner,Troy Corser, Ant West, Peter Goddard, Garry McCoy, Antony Gobert, Matt Mladin, Nicky Hayden, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Geoffrey Sayle, Warren Willing, et al, and any number of other well known racers...
What that does, is best exemplified by the great description of the 'art' described by Casey Stoner here on this very site...
It's a method that transcends what is considered to be "normal" road racing practice, n allows the exponents to ride in a way that many simply cannot perceive...
Maybe the issue re Vale not getting to grips with the Duc, has its root in this difference of styles, yes??

Total votes: 144

In '06, I think, when it seemed VR would move to F1, I was compiling a highlights tape of Rossi in action (as I thought he was special).

There was a particular section featuring a long lens shot following a 250kph corner (my guess) entry to exit.

Rossi's rear wheel steering through this corner had me mesmerised - I've watched that piece of action god knows how many times, normal speed, slow mo, frame by frame.

And you know what, not only was it spectacular, it was PERFECT - no matter how many times I viewed it, I couldn't find a point where it could have been slightly better.

The theme that somehow developed (because of poor Duc results I guess) that VR cann't rear wheel steer, isn't so (but like Schumacher, he needs a predictable front end with proper feedback).

Total votes: 139

Speculation is a big part of any sport & I'm rather enjoying this silly season; more than ever.

I've read just about everyone's comment & as always, I'm impressed (well, with most of them). Some of them are intriguing & gets my thoughts moving on so many possibilities. Must give some kudos to David for another interesting article.

Anyway, politics play a big role in any sport including ours. Just a point to remind people that Rossi still has serious power in MotoGP. Many, many people want him on a competitive bike including Dorna; we clearly know what these folks are capable of.

Just wondering what kind/level of influence the 'politicians' will have for 2013 lineup.

Total votes: 146

Outside of Rossi who I imagine pockets most of the VR|46 brand what are 'normal' riders bring to the team in terms of revenue generation (not straight sponsorship) ?

I was at the British Superbikes round at Knockhill in Scotland today and one thing that really surprised me was the sheer quantity of Tech 3 jackets, anoraks, tshirts and hats being worn; all new current season Monster branded stuff.

My slightly biased view is people haven't been buying all this stuff to support Dovi.

How significant is the revenue generated from these remote sales to Herve? Is this sort of stuff a factor in who goes where in 2013?

Total votes: 147

I think one of the most intriguing questions regarding new contracts / who lands where, is what will become of Cristian Gabarrini and the rest of Mr. Stoner's crew. Clearly they have some very talented people in that bunch, and the assumed arrival of Marc Marquez at Repsol will put their future in question. David, any chance that you have a pulse on whether or not CG is being courted by any of the other teams at this point?

Total votes: 146