2012 Indianapolis MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: Smart Teams, Smart Riders, Bad Luck And Brave Choices

Indianapolis is not given to great racing - a lack of use on the infield road course means that the track is usually fairly dirty once you get off line - and Sunday was no real exception. The MotoGP and Moto2 races were tactically brilliant and masterful displays of crushing the opposition, but neither was particularly entertaining to watch. Fortunately, nobody had told the Moto3 riders about the lack of great racing, and the youngsters got the day off to a fantastic start, with the race decided in the last sector of the track.

Luis Salom's victory was well deserved, from any number of perspectives. The Spaniard had stalked Sandro Cortese and Maverick Vinales all race long, and knew he would have to capitalize on any mistakes the front runners made. That mistake turned out to be a preoccupation with one another, both Cortese and Vinales spending all their time worrying about each other and their battle for the championship. On the run into Turn 10, Salom dived inside the leaders and took over at the front. That threw Vinales and Cortese enough of a curve ball for Salom to lead the race to the line, taking his first ever victory in Grand Prix, a win that has been coming for some time now.

But the win is also just reward for the team: the RW Racing GP team has been an asset to the series, since Roelof Waninge took over the team from Arie Molenaar. RW Racing is a team of modest means, but they try to live within them, getting everything they can out of what they have, rather than throwing money they don't have at a problem in the hope of fixing it. Sticking with Luis Salom has been sensible: this is now the third season that the Spaniard has worked with crew chief Hans Spaan, and the stability of his situation is paying off. Salom is still a long way from the title fight, but looks like playing more of a role from this point forward.

Moto3 championship leader Sandro Cortese took a big step towards the title on Sunday, after Maverick Vinales crashed out in the penultimate corner. The battle between Cortese and Vinales has been intriguing, the contrast between the maturity and consistency of Cortese, and the impetuosity and brilliance of Vinales. The German now leads the championship comfortably, his advantage over Vinales 29 points. Yet Cortese has won just two races so far this season, while Vinales' tally stands at five victories from ten races, a strike rate of 50%. But where Cortese has been on the podium every race except Le Mans, Vinales has three DNFs to his name, losing costly points when he is not winning races. If Vinales can learn to stay on the bike for the rest of the season, he could still win this one.

The parallels between the Moto2 and MotoGP races were rather intriguing. The 2013 Repsol Honda teammates got to the front of the race at the right moment and then lay down such a withering pace that no one was capable of matching it. It was almost embarrassing how both Marc Marquez in Moto2 and Dani Pedrosa in MotoGP were capable of lapping a half a second or more quicker than their respective rivals. These were unquestionably the two strongest men of the weekend, and the way they won their respective races should strike fear into the hearts of anyone in MotoGP for 2013 and beyond.

Though the mode of victory for both Marquez and Pedrosa was identical, the effect on those chasing them was markedly different. Marquez victory in Moto2 came as a result of shrewdly choosing the correct moment to get to the front, just as his main title rival Pol Espargaro was struggling with traffic. But even once Espargaro had fought his way through to head up the chase, there was no way he could cope with the pace being set by Marquez, a worrying development after Espargaro had dominated throughout practice at Indianapolis.

For Pedrosa, he hit the front early and simply set a pace that was well beyond anything those following could match. Jorge Lorenzo's gamble on the soft tire did not quite pay off as he had hoped, the performance dropping off too much in the second half of the race. But even with a harder tire, there was no way he would have been beating Pedrosa; the 2010 World Champion struggled with setup early, he and his team only getting it right as they headed into qualifying practice. Pedrosa's secret was simple: "I didn't touch [the bike] from yesterday. So I knew the bike, it was the same tires and the temperature was also similar. It was pretty familiar."

For a while, it looked like Ben Spies might be able to take the fight to Dani Pedrosa, the Texan taking the lead in the second turn, and holding off Pedrosa's pass down the straight with some brave braking maneuvers into Turn 1. But it was not to be: as Spies chased Pedrosa down the main straight, shortly after having been passed by the Spaniard, the engine of his Yamaha M1 let go in spectacular style, leaving a massive trail of white oily smoke in his wake. Spies' run of bad luck continues, passing into the field of the statistically improbable, but the Texan himself was sanguine about it. "In the first 10 minutes, I wasn't even frustrated, I was just kind of in disbelief that that much bad luck could happen in that way. It's just got to the stage where it's kinda humorous."

Another stroke of bad luck for Spies - his third mechanical of the year, after problems with a cracked subframe at Qatar and collapsed suspension at the previous race at Laguna Seca - immediately bought out the conspiracy theorists. It is true that the amount of bad luck Spies has faced is beyond what people are normally prepared to accept as random, but just because it is unusual does not mean that the conspiracy theorists are necessarily right. In a world where the control freaks which riders and teams are trying to exclude any unforeseen possibilities, random acts of entropy are not welcome. Yet at this moment, that is still what Spies' problems appear to be.

The situation was not helped by the fact that the engine which let go in Spies bike was the one that was in the bike when he crashed during qualifying on Saturday. Spies himself came off relatively lightly, with just a strained muscle in his shoulder and some heavy bruising on his back and shoulders. But his engine appears to have suffered more severe damage, though it was damage that was not immediately visible when checked over by the Yamaha engineers. Spies used the same engine during the morning warm up, and it passed that test with flying colors.

The way Spies' engine destroyed itself was reminiscent of Jorge Lorenzo's bike at Assen, which spewed out a similarly spectacular cloud of smoke as it lay on its side when the Spaniard was skittled into the gravel by Alvaro Bautista. It is conceivable that one particular component - a head gasket? Valve seal? - is susceptible to crash damage and subject to failure without warning. The way that the bikes of both Spies and Lorenzo blew through their oil while still running shows that despite the engine restrictions, these bikes are still running very close to their tolerances.

Afterwards, Spies was careful not to pin the blame for the incident on anyone inside Yamaha or his team, though he did make a point of letting reporters know that he had been told at Mugello, where he had suffered from food poisoning, "if I'm not going to ride 100% at Laguna, don't show up." Spies would not tell reporters who said this to him, saying only that it was "somebody high up." Clearly, Spies' decision to announce via his Twitter page that he was leaving Yamaha before Laguna Seca, the factory's biggest weekend of the year in one of their key markets, was motivated by those remarks. But the relationship has been difficult for some time now, with Spies consistently pointing out that he has been giving 100% effort, and that Yamaha can see that on his data. Both sides will be relieved once this relationship is over.

Bravest ride of the weekend has to go to Casey Stoner, the reigning World Champion riding despite having torn all of the ligaments in his right ankle, as well as fracturing a couple of bones. Stoner looked pretty strong until the halfway mark, at which point it was obvious the painkillers were starting to wear off. Andrea Dovizioso, who fought with Stoner for the final podium spot, remarked that he could see Stoner trying to change his style to cope with the limitations of his damaged ankle. "His position on the bike was really bad," Dovizioso commented. "I knew he couldn't keep that energy until the end, and I could beat him." In typical fashion, Stoner pronounced himself frustrated and dissatisfied with the weekend's results, having hoped he would be able to hold on to a podium. Love him or hate him - they really do appear to be the only two options, given the reaction he elicits from MotoGP fans - you have to admire his courage, his determination, and his ability to perform at the very highest level even with a severe ankle injury.

It is tempting - if perhaps not entirely valid - to compare and contrast Stoner's race with that of Valentino Rossi. The Italian would not be drawn on whether this was the worst race of his career, but he admitted that he had given away a lot of time - nearly a full minute - to the winner Dani Pedrosa. The bike was sliding at the rear, but even worse was having the front nearly fold several times very early in the race. "After those moments, I just cruise the bike because I don't want to crash like in Laguna," Rossi said.

The problem was not all down to Rossi, however. Indianapolis is a bad track for Ducati, the bike always suffering at left-handed tracks. "When the track goes left, I have a lot more problems," Rossi said, "I don't feel confident on the left." His only consolation was that he did not crash while pushing, the mistake he had made at Laguna. The Honda and the Ducati appear to be mirror images of one another, the RC213V loving left-handed tracks, losing the chatter which plagues the bike when the corners go right, while the Desmosedici has no feel when the track goes left.

Rossi is looking forward to getting to Brno, a track which goes right again, and then going on to Misano, where they are to have a private test with new material. Now that he has signed for Yamaha that does not mean that he has given up on the Ducati: "I can't give up. Seven races is a lot," Rossi commented.

The move to Yamaha for next season would not be easy either, though. "For me, next year will be very crucial," Rossi explained. "I did a very brave choice. I want to still understand if I'm still a top rider." Life might have been a little easier if he had simply decided to stay at Ducati, Rossi explained. "I have a quite safe position if I stay in Ducati. I will take a lot a lot of money, and I can stay and if the result doesn't arrive, you know.... But if I will ride the M1 together with Lorenzo, I have to make the maximum, train the maximum, concentrate the maximum, put all the things together at the top level to try to understand if I'm still at the top. I think anyway I can make some good results."

Total votes: 38
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 4

Back to top

Comments

but he still came home with second. That's textbook champion stuff, but if Pedrosa inches just a bit closer. things might get much more serious.

Stoner's injury is a huge let down...

Total votes: 20

yeah kudos to casey. i think his injury and the subsequent pain might have given him a lot of extra hunger to race and fight that he said (in the pre-event press conference) he's been finding hard to maintain within himself these days. well, at least it seemed so seeing as how determined (additionally?) he seemed during his ride.

maybe due to quite similar highside, similar injury, similarly gutsy determination despite of it (infact, additionally due to it ?) i was constantly getting reminded of similar stuff from lorenzo in china, 2008 (but additionally, he was a rookie). incidently, he'd achieved 4th in that race as well.

superhuman all these guys are really.

couldnt be more sad for spies.. but i find it impossibly hard to accept the possibility of any sabotage and intentional harm meant to spies by yamaha on an international platform watched by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide...thats just stupid about everyone trying to concoct filmy plots here..it's just the result of extraordinary bad luck and incompetence on part of his crew.

Total votes: 19

Has Honda or Ducati mentioned a reason for the lopsided bikes? Swingarms deflecting under power or something?

Total votes: 25

I was wondering the same exact thing. What are the main engineering reasons that a bike would perform differently in a left hand corner and in a right? Are the bikes not perfectly symmetrical along the center axis? I know exhuast systems are often routed asymmetrically, but other than that and other internals, I can't think of much else? At their levels of racing maybe that's all you need though, is a few grams off balance and the characteristics change exponentially to the point it is noticeable under extreme loads.

But then there are always the tires...

Total votes: 26

Engines rotate in one direction, this makes a huge difference in the handling of the bike from one side to another due to the inertial forces of the engine internals.

Total votes: 28

Every bike on the grid has the engine mounted perpendicular to the direction that the bike travels. The effects of the rotating parts in this case would only make chassis roll more difficult to achieve rather than causing it.

Chassis and swingarm stiffness should be symmetrical apart from a couple of things.

1. Engine/gearbox cases contribute to the stiffness of the bike, perhaps in the past they haven't needed to design the cases to add to it in a symmetrical manner?

2. The chain pulls on one side of the axle which I suppose would put some torsional forces into the swingarm. Perhaps this can't be compensated for without compromising the swingarm design in another way?

Total votes: 31

...#2.

The swingarms are already compromised to allow for them to lean over as far as they do and not immediately pole vault over the slightest bump.  With that much torque, power, and electronic manipulation, some design limits are going to be exposed.

Total votes: 26

Drive line through: clutch, front sprocket, chain and rear sprocket is located on one side (even gearbox no matter the mounting location have more rotational forces to one side). This is a lot of parts that make rotational forces. So you have different location of rotational forces when you tilt left compared to right tilt. And rotational forces are the biggest problem coz they are constantly changing (faster corner, more rpm, more rotational forces). Then there is the pull through the chain on one side of the bike under acceleration... Not important for us standard riders, but on motoGP level, so close to the limit... Of course there are probably a bunch of other stuff.

Total votes: 30

Good points, though the clutch is on the opposite side of the bike relative to the chain and sprockets.

Total votes: 17

You are right. I was so busy with the explanation that I completely forgot where the clutch is located. My mistake.

Total votes: 23

The loss of power preceding the plume of smoke suggest that it is not a valve seal, and the fact that they don't use standard coolant suggests that it wasn't a head gasket either (would have been water blowing out, and little smoke from the exhaust). Piston ring? The recent photo of the Yamaha without fairing shows 2 oil level windows, a separate one for the engine and transmission. The transmission section was full but it looked like the crankshaft portion of the crankcase runs very low oil level so as to prevent windage?

Is the crankcase actually separated this way? or is this just to view the oil level on and off the stands? Interesting if so

Total votes: 29

You are correct about the valve seal / head gasket.

I have not seen the two levels but chances are they would be separate - same as some of the dirt 4 stroke engines. The gearbox and engine have separate oil. A number of reasons such as contaminants from one do not affect the other especially with a wet clutch not that they have one (road race engines and some Ducs use a dry clutch). Less oil overall is required and other reasons.

For that much smoke and little oil on the ground it sounds like a piston. Can be caused by the piston failing or a head of a valve(s) going through the top of the piston. The oil from the crankcase has a quick path out the exhaust....

Total votes: 20

What is it about Indy that allows it to remain on the Moto GP calendar? If it's all about its history as an oval track, that's not enough. As a track for motorcycles, especially world class motorcycles, it's an embarrassment. The layout is boring, flat, and filthy. I like the idea of multiple rounds in America, but if we have to have a race in the infield of an oval, how about Daytona? At least that venue has a motorcycle history. I say we dump Indy in favor of Miller. I know it's remote, but we don't exactly pack Indy. We should be able to match the attendance. It's a beautiful place and the track layout is unique. If it's good enough for SBK, it should be fine for Moto GP.

Total votes: 39

I entirely agree about Indy - the history is tangential at best, and as David said in a column a few days ago the riders hate it. I hope that if/when Austin becomes a fixture, Indy gets dropped. Alas, the Indy contract's just been renewed for a year (or is it two?) so that hope is slim.

But Miller? When WSBK goes there I cringe every time I see the corner names. Wind-up? Release? Bad Attitude? It's like a ten year old got to scribble over the map with Crayola. For that reason alone it should be avoided, if not wiped off the surface of the Earth.

Total votes: 31

I can't say that I agree with Miller being the alternative to Indy, however there are some good quality circuits in the US which could easily handle the MotoGP circus and show off something else to the world besides a tired, old infield track of an oval most people are already aware of.
Elkhart Lake's Road America and Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama are two examples that offer good circuit length, undulation throughout the circuit, (from what I've seen decent run off) and i'm pretty sure would pull a decent crowd with the right marketing.
The long term benefit of good quality racing (i.e. viewing) might even offset the gold in DORNAs purse in the short term...

Total votes: 28

>Elkhart Lake's Road America and Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama

If I remember correctly, Barber's would face a tough task to bring it to MGP safety requirements (consider turn 1) and it also is slow/short for MGP. Road America suffers from poor safety for MGP as well and I don't know if the pit facilities would be up to snuff. Seems to me that Miller's challenges probably relate to the market (it is a lonnnng way from the next largish city). Mid-Ohio would require safety and paving upgrades. Road Atlanta I believe lacks the pit facilities (and probably safety). Willow Springs has a big market close but poor local facilities, poor pits and spectating capabilities. Sears Point I think lacks runoff in at least one corner too many.

All in all, some serious $ could probably make Road America a contender, but compared to the money that Austin or Indy has, I wouldn't expect enough invenstment to happen.

Total votes: 24

Is beautiful and fun to ride (did california superbike there last year) but when i asked why the track isn't on the mgp calendar they said the track is too short and in particular the straight. It's very short. I couldn't see those bikes even hitting fourth gear.

Plus as said above, T1 may not pass the sniff test

Total votes: 31

I don't think Miller's a great Indy alternative simply because it's too close to Laguna. You need a place that could draw a crowd from other parts of the country.

Total votes: 23

Indy offers two things that race organizers love - name recognition and an infrastructure.

Mainstream media pay attention to MotoGP when it comes to Indy because - it's Indy. It's a pretty easy story pitch to your editor. And if you just use wire copy/footage, the local newspaper and the AP do all the heavy lifting for you. Mainstream outlets really don't give much of a s**t about a race in Austin.

The infrastructure around putting on a race at Indy has been honed for - no exaggeration - a freakin' century. It's turn-key. Accommodations are close by and plentiful, all of the millions of details required to put on a major international event have been done a million times. If I were a race series organizer (and I have been involved in starting a race organization from scratch) I would LOVE to do a race at Indy because you probably just call and book a date like booking a hotel room, confident that just like a good hotel, when you get there everything is handled.

(OK, that last part is a bit of an exaggeration. But not much of one).

Combine the two and racing at Indy is a no-brainer.

Total votes: 25

Those of you that complain about Indy being on the schedule have probably never been there to see MotoGP. It offers some of the very best viewing there is. It's up close and intimate if you want to get up against the fence. Plus, it is easy on fans because of not only infrastructure, but ease of getting in and getting out. While Casey Stoner doesn't like the track, there are plenty that do. It isn't flowing, but there are some very technical sections to it that make for various lines for passing, particularly the dive bomb block pass.

Barber is a nice track, but it's not big enough for even AMA Superbikes, as dummed down as they are. It's a good 600 track.

Can't speak to Salt Lake, but they don't get the fans it takes to make a MotoGP event viable.

Indy drew 65k fans on Sunday and 50k on Saturday. They have a good airport and it's handy to the track. My plane to Boston on Monday was almost entirely MotoGP fans. My son's flight to Boston was overbooked. That suggests it draws well from the eastern seaboard.

The first time I saw Laguna was as an 11 year old in 1961 (Stirling Moss won). It was a 5 hour ride to get out and back home in the Bay Area. The last time I visited Laguna was MotoGP 2005 when Nicky won. They still had the 5 hour ride going so I left on Monday. They draw about the same crowd as Indy, but it's a lot harder on the fans.

I've been to most of the major road courses on the continent and Indy MotoGP weekend is the very best event in the country. Where else can you see MotoGP, Moto 2, Moto 3, and the Indy Mile together? It is a sensory overload.

Looking forward to Austin. I'd ride my thumper to see that.

Total votes: 32

I absolutely agree. I also have been to most of the well known tracks in America and Indy is surpassed by none as far as spectating is concerned. From a riders standpoint, Indy isn't the worst on the GP schedule and all tracks have their good and bad points. Indy brings its unique challenges and character. Some people would complain about the weight if you gave them a bag of gold.

Total votes: 20

I hope now the powers that be understand why the engine rules are completely ridiculous. 6 engines is simply not enough. Racers crash, whether that be Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Rossi, Spies, it does not matter, all of them crash, whether due to someone colliding into them and taking them out (Alvaro into Lorenzo, Rossi into Stoner last year) or due to their own fault. Then they made to run these engines which have been involved in a crash.

Spies's engine failure could have caused him, as well as Lorenzo or Stoner behind him, very serious injury. What is it going to take, another death? Imagine Spies's bike spraying oil everywhere on the track causing the MotoGp points leader, Lorenzo, to go down causing an injury ending his season and title hopes this year. Or what about Casey Stoner, already riding with injury. What would have happened to him, if he would have went down again due to oil from a faulty engine being used too long (too many km's) or being used after a crash. What would have happened if Casey went down with further injury to his leg/ankle? Oil on the track is a very nasty thing. I shudder to think what could have happened with oil down that straight with a rider approaching 200 MPH, and colliding into a wall at that speed. Edited note: Dovi said in the press conference that oil was all over his visor due to the engine failure of Spies causing him to lower his pace, 43'3 or something like that. He also said he didn't know if he had oil on the tires.

This engine rule is ridiculous. 6 engines is not enough. 10 or 12 engines at a minimum. 6 for the races and 6 for crash purposes. If that isn't the answer then some sort of increase needs to be made. That or just get rid of the rule altogether. Honda has talked about reducing the number to 5 engines per season for 2013 in meetings with Dorna. These rules are insanity. Imagine some Spies fans ponying up the $ to take off work, book flights for Indy, pay for lodging, meals, and transportation, all to see their favorite rider. Their huge amount of money spent to see him pays off as during the race he's at the front, only to have him have to retire, because of a ridiculous rule that needs to go away. Now put your favorite rider in place of him and imagine. Imagine all the Aussies trekking to PI to see Casey only to have his engine blow up (I know with Honda this is the most far fetched but it is a point to consider) causing him to retire.

If there is going to be an engine rule it has to be modified for additional engines due to crashes, period.

And after watching Stoner's crash, it's clear that the TC had kicked in, attempting to re-grip the tarmac, causing an even more violent high-side. I still believe Marco's death was due to TC trying to re-grip the tarmac. Even if you think me incorrect on both accounts, TC didn't save either rider. In crashes such as these I believe that TC is doing more harm than good.

I wish Stoner, Hayden, and Spies to heal up fast.

Total votes: 47

I was becoming a big sic fan. I still blame bridgestone for tires that wouldn't heat up. I know it's an assumed risk to be there so blaming is moot.

Total votes: 24

"I did a very brave choice. I want to still understand if I'm still a top rider." Rossi, Indianapolis 2012.

First we had his manager, then Yamaha Head of Racing and now Vale himself has a go at what will probably stand up and stay as officiel (dis)information: Rossi's escape from the Ducati is the bravest move of all.

While I'm happy for him he leaves the sinking boat, i don't want to be told that it was the courageous thing to do: by running away from Bologna, Rossi has definitively dented what's left of his all-mighty and all-impressive heritage but going to Yamaha isn't the bravest thing to do, it's a pitiful rapid fix at his ego.

I for one am sorry the "Marriage In Heaven" didn't work out and I'm rather content we'll have a Rossi-Lorenzo fight next year but reading over and over in the press that facing Jorge from the other side of the Yamaha garage is the boldest attitude possible is just masquerading the truth: the Ducati ain't fix and Rossi/Burgess lost the plot totally.

So, I raise my glass for 2013 but let's not fail in yet another of Rossi's mindgame, this one is aimed at us, the avid spectators.

Total votes: 51

What is brave in his move? It's beyond me. Even moving to Repsol after around 10 years would be more brave but not the bravest for God sake! After he will get the 1000cc M1 he will be like he rode it yesterday so stop this bullshit about checking the top rider abilities when coming to a best known environment and bike.
The bravest move would be getting last year or now strongest CRT and be constantly 8th~6th. That would be huge and after that "That was my CRT outcome, now You know how to deal with it and now I can go back to my M1". Or taking Tech 3 would be great as Dovi shows it's capable to be constant podium winner. Or join Suzuki when they'll be back.
To choose Ducati was a brave joice unfortunatelly a failed one and there's nothing brave after that getting M1 again. He'll be fine and comfortable on it like child.

Total votes: 38

But I have to completely disagree with what you're saying. For the first time in my life I have found myself rooting for Rossi. Going to Yamaha is the most difficult move Rossi could make. Here is a guy that was widely regarded as the end all and be all of MotoGP. For 2 years he does absolutely nothing but destroy every great reputation he had built. If he stayed with Ducati and never won another race people would say it was because the Rossi/Ducati combo was a match made in hell. But he's taking the huge risk of going to Yamaha to be teammates with not only one of the greatest riders of all time, but also the guy who sent him to Ducati in the first place. If he comes in and does anything less than win and challenge for the Championship he will be considered a failure, a fallen star. His legacy will be destroyed and his next book would be titled "I Wish I Had Never Tried It." To go 2 years fighting for mid pack results will do damage to any racers confidence, no matter what bike they are on. These guys perform at the absolute highest level. There is no room to take two years off or to doubt your ability. He's considered an old guy now and he's like an old dog that used to be top dog until the young upstart bit him in the ass and scared him into the corner. Rossi is essentially putting everything on the line for his return to Yamaha. No one next year will have more pressure than Rossi and you have to respect someone who's willing to take on that challenge.

Total votes: 43

That's why I would call it 'unsure' rather than 'bravest' if we talk about reengaging with the current Yamaha stuff. But Rossi has too many important persons behind him, that's why he's the only one who can travel from one factory seat to another and back freely. Thats why he'll never sink no matter how low he will fall.
"What If I Had Never Tried It"
In my opinion Valentino has found his limits already at Ducati. Maybe it wasn't about his style and other things related to technical racing but maybe it was about his pride?
Forcing to be a dominator and no.1 everywhere doesn't mean to be best rider.
Maybe Ducati was a best lesson about it, maybe Yamaha comeback will be the best lesson about it? For me it's not about the bike. It's about mindset.

Total votes: 16

I was lucky enough to watch the last half of the Moto3 race from the RW racing pit along with some of our customers as team guests. The drama inside a pit when your man is fighting for a podium is incredible. The last five laps you could hear a pin drop as we all think "hold on to your podium 3rd... That would be cool...." not daring to believe he could actually win it. When he made his superb last sector pass on the two riders we all broke into a cheer; and the next 30 seconds or so seemed to take forever as no one took a breath - every ounce of concentration on willing Luis to hold onto his slender lead. Even the few seconds while the camera dwelled on the crash of Vinales had us all shouting at the TV "put the camera back to the front!!". The following short video captures the "guest eye view " of the moment Luis crossed the line - his and the team's first GP victory. His mother Maria was paralysed with tears of happiness.

This is what it is all about...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNiOaLIDQ9s&sns=em

Total votes: 31

I am envious! I can't imagine the tension, followed by the thrill! Something you will never forget, surely.

Total votes: 21

Spies as US man especially in this navy blue Yamaha sbk/motogp colors has always reminded me the american warplanes ideal incarnation like Grumman Hellcat and when his engine cracked it could be seen from Lorenzo/Stoner (?) camera perspective and it reminded me the old World War II movies when some warplanes were shot down over the Pacific. Funny I've also perceived this 'incarnation' when he and Edwards were in Tech 3. Hellcat (Spies as Edwards successor) and Wildcat (Edwards at the end of development ability).
Dovi has something similar and would be grat pair with Spies somewhere.
ps. and yeah, Spies in WSBK was alone performing like F4U Corsair - the fastest to the surprise of all.
ACE - it suits him:) In SBK it will probably be again white and..navy blue on sharky BMW.

Total votes: 28

Yamaha should start looking very closely at what's going on here. What is happening with Spies' equipment is unacceptable at this level. Not to mention the personal problems that are internally going on within the team. Someone higher up in Yamaha Japan should have a look into this ASAP.

Before Yamaha ask Spies to bring 100% or stay home, shouldn't they be able to do the same thing first?

Now Spies is rumored to a Suzuki contract readying their 2013 GP contender while doing a few wildcard appearences. Talk of an imminent switch to BMW SBK is still strong though.

Total votes: 30

there is an economic aspect to the spies mechanical failures that I have not seen discussed. The decision to replace or reuse a particular part after a crash is not only made by the mechanic, but by bean counters. whether or not a suspect part is x-rayed (or magnafluxed, etc) is also an economic decision as well. So there could be two discussions made that could affect the outcome. We don't want to use a spare part, and we don't want to non-destructive testing of the crashed part.

Total votes: 28

"After those moments, I just cruise the bike because I don't want to crash like in Laguna," Rossi said.

Ducati (and Marlboro) must be disappointed ..... but then, maybe they aren't. MotoGP has transcended the idea of success is judged by racing .....as there is so little racing.

Total votes: 36

Moto3 Moto2 MotoGP.

Win. Win. Failure.

After much worrying about the rules for the 125 & 250 cc replacements, Moto3 and Moto2, both classes have both been entertaining, exceeding the expectations of all. Even the Moto2 riders who have stepped up to MotoGP have done well.

So, why is MotoGP (with CRT) such an abject failure? The Lap Charts at most if not all races are monotonous. At most GPs, the Moto2 pole sitter would qualify on the MotoGP grid. That is with a basically standard (gently warmed over) +120hp
CBR600rr engine. It is not even close to a WSS spec 600.

It begs the question, what could a Moto2 with a WSS spec engine do?
I can buy an FTR Moto2 bike online, plus WSS engine, at a minuscule fraction of the cost of a MotoGP bike.

Recently Casey Stoner made a very subtle and very big dig at MotoGP. At the test he said that they got good grip after Moto3 Moto2 had laid down some Dunlop rubber. He didn't need to say Dunlop, but he did, as that is one of the big problems facing MotoGP; the control Bridgestone tyres.

Also the rev limit of the pneumatic valve springs MotoGP bikes is several 1000 rpm above the limit of a steel valve spring. This equates to the top speed difference. Top speed adds NOTHING to the spectacle of Grand Prix motorbike racing.

1. Rev limit the bikes to make steel valve springs viable.
2. Let CRT use different tyres.
3. Let Moto2+ bikes compete in MotoGP with their own tyres.
4. Plan toward the opening up of Moto2 engine rules, then let it become the new Premier Class, possibly reduced to 500cc.

Recently at Mugello, the Moto2 Pole time was faster than the last 500cc 2 stroke Pole time. Food for thought.

Total votes: 35

The longish stroke required to meet the 81mm bore limit is already restricting revs fairly well. Both the Honda and Yamaha engines can rev to approximately 16,300 RPM. This is on the edge of what can be achieved with steel springs. The Ducati, with it's reduced capacity and shorter stroke, hits ~17,600 and probably needs the desmodromics to survive.

Apart from raw revs, pneumatic springs apparently offer other benefits such as reduced weight and reliability. Even if Uncle Ezzy manages to neuter the bikes with a 15K (or whatever) rev limit, the teams may well continue to use air, if only to make best use of preexisting R/D. And Ducati is certainly not going to stop using desmo any time soon.

Even Ezzy has more sense than to mandate steel valve springs. This would do little more than briefly irritate the Japanese engineers, and would rob Ducati of one of it's more important marketable features.

Total votes: 18

18,000 rpm at the end of the CART era with unlimited budget engine development ( 2002 ) That was with 97-98 mm bore size. In 1999, one engine had a 1,000 mile spring life for circuits, excluding 500 mile oval races ( 16,500 was the engineers " have a cow " number )

The cost of springs and the development " incidents " , plus trying to obtain/maintain a consistent product for high mileage, make the pneumatic springs look a real good deal.

Of course, if we took the setting of engine life regulations away from that ******* Expeltive moron, CRT teams could use springs at the edge of their limits and just change them as required. The performance ( or rather lack of ) of the CRT bikes demonstrates that real performance is a still a result of time, effort and $$$$$$$, or should that be €€€€€€€ ?

AFAIK, there are no engine life regulation in WSBK ?

Total votes: 30

Engine life regulations were a proposal from the manufacturers and mandated by them. Dorna, the FIM and IRTA had no choice but to accept them. The manufacturers have now asked for a reduction in engines from 6 to 5, which will probably be implemented for 2013. But it was something the factories proposed.

Total votes: 21

Wow, I had no idea steel springs could do 18K w/o instantly self destructing.

Here's a neat video that shows the problems inherent in using big, bouncy chunks of steel to close your valves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_REQ1PUM0rY

At resonant frequencies, and high revs in general, the springs get the heebie-weebies and start to bounce up and down. This causes the closing force to vary, which can contribute to valve bounce and float. The springs can also start oscillating laterally, pushing the valve back and forth in a direction it was never meant to go. 'Bad Things' shortly ensue...

Air, having much less mass, is relatively immune to these issues.

Total votes: 21

Seven races to go and it's apparent that Yamaha is putting everything behind Lorenzo in an effectively one rider team. Repsol Honda has two strong contenders and looking forward it is likely that they will take points of one another allowing Lorenzo to use consistency to take the title for Yamaha. The math says Honda should now choose a contender and ask their other rider to support him. I would hope to see Stoner fight back to take the title from Lorenzo in the last race of the season but if Honda wants this championship decisions need to be made now and Pedrosa has been the more consistant rider. It reminds me of the 2007 F1 season where Alonso and Hamilton obliterated one anothers chances and allowed Raikkonen to steal the title, although Lorenzo doesn't have to come from behind like Kimi did. that fact makes it even more likely that Lorenzo will lift the title.

Total votes: 28

I look forward to the press conference with Stoner when it's announced that he will henceforth be riding to maximise Pedrosa's championship chances. Unless he has a diplomacy transplant the rantometer will be off the scale!

Seriously, although MotoGP is big business the big corporations realise that good racing and entertainment are vital in promoting their brands. If I had a choince between Stoner riding conservatively for a championship win versus riding on the ragged edge for race wins in any given season I'd choose the latter every time and I'm sure most here would be of the same mind.

This has reminded me of my all time favourite F1 driver: Gilles Villeneuve. A guy who always raced for the win, always gave 100%, always spoke his mind, always raced fairly giving the other guy room, was acknowledged by his peers to the the fastest and was almost universally adored by the fans. That pretty much sounds like Stoner to me ...... well except the last part. The Ferrari (circa 1980) / Ducati (circa 2009) parallel is interesting too.

Let's enjoy the rest of his last season and hope that Honda don't implement team orders.

Total votes: 26

I don't know how likely it is that Honda would issue team orders but I don't see how they'd persuade Casey to follow them. Threaten not to re-sign him? :D

Total votes: 23

The lower classes are a success because the are not racing factory prototypes. If that were the case we would likely see similar gaps.

Total votes: 22

Those of us in the stands began to wonder what was going on with Luis Salom after about half way. We expected Cortese and Vinales to gap him but Luis hung right in there like he was up to something. The other two appeared quite animated as Vin tried to break away and Sandro responded. All the while, Luis patiently matched their pace seemingly without much effort. Going into the white flag lap, everybody knew something was going to happen. Eyes glued to the video screens as they disappeared through T5, the entire T1 grandstand erupted when Luis shocked Sandro and Maverick in T10. It was like; "Thank you very much guys..." The last ditch Hail Mary by Vinales around the outside of T15 drew a roar too. It was a brilliant race by Luis Salom. Brilliant.

Total votes: 18

Pure prototype racing is (on its way) down/out.
Moto2 and 3 produce closer, more exciting racing. At a much lower cost.

The introduction of Moto1 can't be too far off.

Sad as it may seem, this clears the way for a new race series for true no-holds-bared prototypes. Ideally as part of the World Superbike series.

Total votes: 19