2012 Aragon MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Bitter Rivalries, Exceptional Bravery, Bitter Rivalries And Nicky Hayden's Bizarre Crash

After two days of miserable weather at Aragon, race day dawned dry, sunny, though still a little cool. Paddock regulars who had spent the last two days scurrying from pits to hospitality to shelter from the rain poured out into the paddock to catch the warmth of the sun which they had just about given up on previously.

The blue skies brought out some great racing, at least in Moto3 and Moto2, as well as some fantastic displays of riding in MotoGP, though the excitement in the premier class was to be found in the battle for the final spot on the podium rather than in the fight for victory. But there were also a few signs of improvement in the near future.

The race of the day was undoubtedly Moto2, which turned into a display of what motorcycle racing is supposed to be. The class is currently blessed with three riders who despise each other enough to do almost anything to win, but with the intelligence to understand the very thin line between hard and dangerous riding. Pol Espargaro, Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone all swapped places and fairing paint in a good old-fashioned barn burner of a race. The action was fueled by the most intense rivalry in MotoGP at the moment, between three young men all hell-bent on winning.

All three men deserved to win, but it was Pol Espargaro who employed the best strategy, taking over at the front very late after a race-long battle. Espargaro was able to pull just enough of a gap to almost cruise home to victory as Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone focused all their energies on tripping each other up rather than working together to make a break. Scott Redding took advantage to grab a podium, getting past Iannone on the final lap while the Italian was worrying about Marquez.

Redding's podium was a lot braver than it looked: the young Englishman had had carpal tunnel surgery shortly after Misano, and was not even certain he would be able to ride at Aragon. As he battled for the podium, he felt the scar open at the surgery site, and he ended the race with the wound bleeding into his glove. "I hope it's OK, but I keep going to the end, because that's what I've been brought up to do from being with the team," Redding told the media afterwards. Sensible? Probably not. Brave? Unquestionably.

In Moto3, consistency and calmness brought Sandro Cortese a big step closer to the championship, assisted by some ill fortune for Maverick Vinales. Vinales never made it to the end of the warm up lap, his Honda being struck with an ECU problem which saw the engine die completely on him. Despite suffering with a cold, Cortese fought all the way to the line to take 2nd behind Luis Salom, the young Spaniard once again impressing and taking his second win of the season.

The Moto3 race had been a real thriller too, the action due in no small part to the massively long straight which meant that any attempt to get away was doomed to failure. The chasing pack would simply draft each other until they caught the breakaway, swallowed them up, and then the process would start all over again.

Though Salom's victory meant that the home crowd - much sparser than last year, no doubt made worse by the awful weather during the weekend, as camping is the main accommodation option for those wishing to attend - got to hear the Spanish anthem three times over the weekend, the fact that there were also two Germans on the podium (or a German and an Italian, if you ask the Italians in the paddock) is a hopeful sign. There is plenty of young Spanish talent in the junior classes, but the Red Bull Rookies series is starting to produce a much more international field of young riders who are entering Moto3. This weekend, another German, Florian Alt took the 2012 Red Bull Rookies championship, while a Belgian, Livio Loi, and a Czech, Karel Hanika, made the biggest impressions on the spectators.

With Casey Stoner absent, MotoGP is an entirely Spanish affair, at least in terms of victory. The race between Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa was over very quickly, Lorenzo's resistance lasting until lap six when it crumbled under the onslaught from Pedrosa. Pedrosa is maturing and improving as a rider, proving to be both more aggressive and more calm. The sight of Pedrosa sliding the Repsol Honda around the track while reeling off a string of laps in the low 1'49s was deeply impressive, and the gap which Pedrosa had over Lorenzo does not reflect the dominance of his victory.

The spectacle at the front, however, is almost non-existent, beside the awe-inspiring if rather clinical display of riding by MotoGP's aliens. Dani Pedrosa hinted at the problems facing the class when he said afterwards that he had been so focused on riding fast and smooth that he had actually forgotten he was in a race until the final four laps. When the race winner forgets he is involved in a race, there is something seriously wrong.

There was plenty of entertainment for 3rd, with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow slugging it out for the final podium spot. Crutchlow, too, put his finger on the problem when he talked about the risks he took when trying to pass his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha teammate. "We were too closely matched," Crutchlow told reporters, "so you have to take a lunge. But not there's not many people taking lunge risks like that, so I thought I might as well." That kind of risk invariably means that if it doesn't work, you lose out.

Fortunately for MotoGP, there is some fresh new blood coming, in the shape of Marc Marquez and Andrea Iannone. Both men have been brought up in Moto2 to believe that taking risks is the only way which will provide results, meaning that the two youngsters should liven up the show considerably next year. There are many in the paddock who consider Marquez to be a danger, a liability once he gets onto a MotoGP bike. He will certainly be brave, and he will certainly be fast, but his growing maturity has seen him race more and more cleanly as the season has progressed, though he just as aggressive as he ever was. Andrea Iannone is not wanting for aggression, though some coolness might improve his results. 'Crazy Joe' does not do calm, however, so expect fireworks from the young Italian.

The MotoGP race also saw a bizarre accident involving Nicky Hayden, who clung on to his bike after nearly crashing in the fast final corner. The American ran wide, but because his trajectory took him across a long gravel trap and then a stretch of grass, Hayden could not shed enough speed to get stopped before the tire wall at the edge of the track. He hit the wall at a relatively low 60 km/h, but that was fast enough to see him flipped over the wall.

Was the wall too close? At over 100 meters from where Hayden lost control to where he hit the barrier, you would not ordinarily think so. It should be possible to get the bike stopped, and in most cases the rider would have fallen earlier anyway, shedding all of his speed and not hitting anything worse than some slightly larger than normal gravel.

But Hayden tried to stay on, and that is where the lack of hard standing prevented him from braking properly. The event was truly a one in a million, and it proves that racing crashes can turn out differently than you think. A simple solution is at hand: if that stretch of the wall had been fitted with air fence, then anyone crashing there, even in such a bizarre pattern as Nicky Hayden's, would have hit the air fence, which would have absorbed so much of the energy that the rider would not have been catapulted over the fence.

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Comments

After cracking Moto3 and Moto2 races, we settled in for another, yes another (maybe continual is better) dire MotoGP race.

A quick look at the MotoGP lap chart shows how bad it is. Moto3 and Moto2 have overtaking right down the grid, and over the whole race length. MotoGP is neat lines of race numbers, lap after lap.

The sealer for me is the "highlight" of the MotoGP race is the "race winning overtake" - the sole, only pass for the lead of 26 on 99 on lap 6.

I love the technology of MotoGP, however I'd give it all up for some decent racing.

Has his death still not taught the needed lesson? I know tha some are going to say the track layout is what caused his death, but he hit an unprotected concrete wall. Nickey was lucky again.

Shame on Dorna for not compelling track facilities to have appropriate amounts of air fencing around the venue. If you have to stop and question if it is possible for someone to hit a given area at unsafe speeds then it shouldn't be a question at all. Dig a little deeper and get some more air fence.

Exactly. I know it may not be feasible to line an entire track with air fence but any place which has a gravel trap is a expected run off area. Any gravel trap should have a air fence behind it.

re: "Has his death still not taught the needed lesson?"

nope, for us it's "safety 2nd". safety 1st...? pfft, what's that...? just read some of the comments posted by so-called "motorcyclists" across the net. we're clueless. pretty sure when burt was making HIS "sacrifices", human lives wasn't what he had in mind.

For all the lack of close racing at the front, watching Pedrosa was delightful. I say this with absolutely no disrespect at all, but had he been wearing Stoner's helmet, you'd have sworn that it was Stoner sliding the bike around so comfortably, yet with the added smoothness of Pedrosa's own signature style. As much as I am a Stoner-phile, I really doubt he could have bettered Pedrosa on the day, even with two out of two previous wins at the circuit.

However, the hero of the entire weekend has to be Herve Poncheral, for not fainting at least twice. It's going to be a blessed relief for him to have the end-of-season break to de-tox from chewing Valium tablets and re-grow some fingernails. Dorna owes him an 'above and beyond' award at the end of the year celebration of the season.

Yes, it looked to me like he has been watching Stoner ride the Honda, and taking a few pointers from what he has seen. Brilliant stuff.

Agree on Pedrosa's style looking to be a lot closer to that of Stoner. I wonder if that's a one off, or if Pedrosa closely studied Stoner's data and style and has adapted his riding style a little? It sure seems to be paying off.

I do not see correlation with Stoner style. Dani have been sliding bike for a long time. Only difference is that, until now everybody was looking at Stoner, who slide even more.

It is funny, people think that only rider who slide the bike in motogp is Stoner. And everybody else is copying him. Give me a brake.

Anybody remember 2011 Sachsenring? Dani was sliding more then anybody else. And won. Despite injury.

LP

but I never said everybody is copying Stoner and, honestly, I hardly ever hear peolple say that. But yes, in Aragon it struck me that Dani was sliding more than usual, hence the wondering. Not such a big crime I would say.

No disrespect meant.

I am just sick of listening why is Dani so fast.... coz Stoner is not here... came out of Stoner shadow..... copies his style.... and so on.

It is possible that I am overreacting.

But try to understand somebody who is fan of Dani Pedrosa. Never ending story in the press.

LP

I think Dani is a great racer of his own and I would love to see him win this championship. He definately deserves it and I don't think he is a Stoner adept at all.

"The class is currently blessed with three riders who despise each other enough to do almost anything to win, but with the intelligence to understand the very thin line between hard and dangerous riding."

Thinking about the Spanish bitter rivalry, it reminds me that changing category can change everything. Remember that before he came to MotoGP Lorenzo never was a world champion while Dani was in the mix.
Jorge and Dani raced each other for 3 seasons before jumping to MotoGP, and Jorge beat him only twice, while he out-qualified and beat Dani by 5 seconds in their first "common" MotoGP race!

Marquez dominating the field means nothing when his current Moto2 rivals will join him in MotoGP, starting next season joining Bradl with Crazy Joe (albeit on a Ducati).

I was surprised to witness how arrogant Dovi's comments on post-race conference. He's like in an endless effort to prove himself as an another alien. The only difference as he defines between himself and the aliens was the equipment. If his bike was to run as fast as theirs, he could have played with them. He was constantly bashing Cal. After David's question he was doing the same again.

If I were to team owner, I would have preferred Cal over him in a heart beat. I see no respect in Dovi's eyes.

Let's be fair to Dovi here. He's on a satellite bike and stood on the podium so many times this season while beating his teammate in exciting close battles most of the time, he's doing fairly well and has a right to be proud of his achievements. Does he think he can run with Dani and Lorenzo? Of course he does and every rider has to believe that they can do it with the right equipment and fight for the title or they wouldn't make it very far in this class.

And I fail to detect any bashing of Cal in his answers. He clearly respects him as a rider and teammate and he was merely saying that his setup for braking (I believe that's the part you're referring to) is always very good and that this was his strong point, so Cal wouldn't have been able to trump him there and he worked with that to his advantage. He also said repeatedly that he knew Cal was faster than him at many points around the track, maybe you missed that bit.

Dovi is a very precise observer and tactical rider who tries to give very exact answers as to why/how he did something or why he was faster/slower. That shouldn't be misread as disrespecting anyone.

It's always difficult to convey the correct tone when you are not speaking in your native tongue.
I didn't hear arrogance, and I certainly didn't hear him bashing Cal. I heard somebody who is proud of his achievements and knows his strengths.

MotoGP vs SBK-Prototype vs CRT-Dorna vs Mfg's What's to be made of all this. I think MotoGp should be about prototypes, period. If the electronics are the biggest financial burden for the teams, then eliminate them. The riders will make the necessary adjustment. They always do. If the racers could adjust their styles to 500cc two strokes, they can deal with the current bikes without all the electronics. The way things are going, the prototypes, as we know them, will be extinct. Dorna will dumb them down till the CRTs can keep up. This of course is counterproductive to the whole protype scheme of things. I think that within a couple of years Honda, and possibly Yamaha, may shift their effort to SBK. After all, these bikes are based on the ones they actually sell to the public. If they do, it may follow that since the racing is so much less expensive, that they can afford higher rider saleries. This could pull the rider pool towards SBK. Believe me, riders will make the move if the money is right. Some people, like me, enjoy watching the very best rider on the very best machine even if he is all alone way out front. I am a huge Stoner fan. I totally enjoy watching him carve up a track. Watching Dani this weekend was enjoyable for me. He put on a clinic. But I also understand that that isn't racing at its best. Moto 2 and Moto 3 is racing. SBK is racing. Can you imagine what SBK would be like with the top 8 MotoGP riders added to the lineup? If things keep deteriorating like they are in MotoGP, it could happen. As much as I want MotoGP to be protype only, like it used to be, I believe I could get behind seeing the world's best race SBK.

"Believe me, riders will make the move if the money is right."
If you really believe that, I think you have fundamentally misunderstood why they race.

I really don't understand why there is this huge groundswell of sentiment to protecting the mythological 'purity' of the MotoGP class.

It hasn't been a completely open, turn up with whatever you like of engine capacity 'XXX cc' since the Japanese began to dominate in the early 1960s!

The restrictions on numbers of cylinders/gears per class saw the end of real innovation in GPs. It was the fact that, fundamentally, 2-strokes were mechanically fairly straightforward engines, and electronics were almost non-existent, that kept the pace (and cost) of development within acceptable limits for so long. And even towards the end of the 2-stroke era, the big manufacturers could pretty much decide who would be a title contender, simply by choosing who to supply the best kit to.

The 'prototype' concept was only created in the 4-stroke era, so really doesn't have the bearing and history that is being attributed to it.

SBK may be a 'production-based' series, but that doesn't rule out the possibe re-introduction of 'production racers' (i.e. race bikes which are never intended for road use) in MotoGP. CRT is just the first step towards this, and one that Dorna could get the MSMA to agree to. Given Aprilia's obvious interest, and Honda's announcement of its planned 'customer' RCV, I'd say that Dorna may have actually started to move in the right direction (at last)!

Don't forget no turbos.

Let's dispel the myth that 2-strokes had no electronic aids or traction control while we're at it. Going back to around 1990 power control aids where part of the package, including powergates that where modulated as a function of degree of throttle position, and ignition maps that were a function of throttle position and RPM.

Oh and big-bang firing order was first introduced in 2-strokes in the same era to help improve grip coming out of corners.

People think electronic aids magically appeared out of nowhere in the past 5-10 years... things don't happen like that in engineering, everything that's on the race track has to have evolved from something before it.

Electronic aids are just a lot more sophisticated now then 20 years back, but that's not really a surprise is it?

re: "If the electronics are the biggest financial burden for the teams, then eliminate them."

curious, when did kenny ever complain about the cost of electronics...? his comment (re: honda) was... "now you know why they're called the ENGINE company". the problem with CRT teams isn't that they can't afford electronics...? the problem with CRT teams is that they can't afford to be RACING...! given them prototype engines, paired with bargain basement electronics and watch them still not be able to afford it. they're all "effenberts" to one degree or another.

re: "This could pull the rider pool towards SBK."

whaddaya mean could...? EXODUS has been in play going on 7 years now. barros, biaggi, melandri, checa, aoyama, hopper, toseland, vermulen, bayliss, etc.

re: "I believe I could get behind seeing the world's best race SBK."

you're late. hustle up...!

Some race to win, some race for money. Roberts and Lawson were there to win. When it became clear that their best days were behind them, they left. The risk didn't equal the reward. Others, like Hayden and Edwards are there for the money. No doubt they enjoy competing and are world class racers but neither are winners. They will race until rides are no longer offered. That includes SBK rides. Most are there because of the desire to ride in the top tier class. The thrill and honor to be among the best, even if you are over a minute behind at the end and for all intents and purposes are paying for the privilege. Thanks for that because if it weren't for the pluggers, we wouldn't have enough riders to fill the grid. So there are many reasons why they race. I have to think that Biaggi, Melandri, and Checa could easily secure a CRT ride. My guess is that all three make more money in SBK than they could on a CRT bike. Couple that with the desire to win a world championship and it makes perfect sence why they're there. Mladin was totally in it for the money. He cherry picked the AMA for that very reason. A very smart business move that secured his future. A real racer however would have moved up in class as far as he could. His was a wasted talent. He belonged in SBK at the very least. Ben moved up, as he should have. I would like to see how Josh Hayes measures up against the riders in SBK. Perhaps he will get an offer to ride at Laguna Seca next year. I hope so.

I'm sorry, would you rather Nicky (or Colin, for that matter) broke their bodies into oblivion getting their non-winning bikes to the front? If you hold Nicky to that yardstick, what does that make Rossi look like? Colin's on a CRT so he's automatically nowhere close to the front, but in case you haven't noticed, Nicky's riding with all kinds of injuries riding the hell out of the lame-duckati trying to get it on the podium.

Roberts was definitely in it to win. Nothing else really mattered. Lawson, I'd say that was probably true of him also. Schwantz? He was in it because it was fun for him. I'd say the same of both Nicky and Colin. They're in it because they're having fun. If you can have fun and make a living at it, wouldn't you? Don't let Nicky's MotoGP title and Colin's 2 WSBK titles stand in the way though.

As for Mladin, he did the higher class first. He rode MotoGP for Cagiva on the same team as Kocinski and Chandler. He rode in the AMA because he could make good money, AND win races. Not because he couldn't do that anywhere else.....because he couldn't get the best equipment anywhere else. In the AMA he had Yoshimura and I think the fact that no one else but them won the AMA Championship 10 year running pretty well proves that out. The only anomaly in that whole run is Nick Hayden and Honda's title.

Once again, if you believe they're only in it for the money, you're out of your mind. There are much safer ways to earn money. Doing what you love, for money and having fun doing it? Most people would call that living the dream.

I don`t think that Nicky on a factory bike have fun riding on the back of the pack. Every racer dream (and fun) is winning. Or at least have a chance to win. Last time I saw Nicky win a race... was on Honda in 2006.

You really think this is fun for him?

Too many people are confusing the words "fun" and "enjoyable." Not a single rider out there is having "fun." Not Hayden, not Lorenzo not Rossi, not Dovi, not Dani, not Edwards, not Spies, not Crutchlow. Anyone think it was "fun" for Hayden to flip over the wall? I doubt it was even enjoyable. Does anyone think its "fun" for Dani to have the pressure of having to win every single race to secure the title? Or its "fun" for Lorenzo to realize that 1 wrong move blows the title chase right back open again? To know that 1 wrong move could have a very long lasting effect on your future is fun?

As someone who has compete in professional sport, I can tell you its no longer "fun." It can be and usually is enjoyable when things are working and you are winning or at the very least being respected for the job you do. Doing something that you like to do is always more enjoyable than something you dont like to do, but again, its not "fun" anymore. Too much business is on the line for things to be "fun."

Some guys are def enjoying their job more than others though. Winning isnt everything to everybody. Some guys like Hayden and Edwards clearly enjoy their roles as dev riders. Both could easily have race capable and race winning machines in WSBK and most likely the salaries to match, especially Hayden if he rode the Panigale for Ducati. Is Forward Racing paying Edwards a king's ransom to ride for them? Stupid idea and a waste of money if they are. That cash could be going towards actual engineering development and you dont need a rider capable of winning races to dev a bike properly. Edwards clearly enjoys his position of building and developing a bike otherwise he wouldnt be there. Hell, he was linked to factory Ducati for a 2013 return to WSBK on the Panigale at one point. Maybe he will be back on Honda if they build that rumored V4 liter bike. Who knows? He would definitely enjoy the dev on that ride though!

Would Hayden and Edwards LIKE to win? Sure, what rider wouldnt? If you dont think you would enjoy winning a race, then you are in the wrong business. But not every guy out there can win a race. So you learn to accept where you are, find the bright spot or a role that is crucial that you can fill. That doesnt make it about money and it doesnt make it about fun. It makes about doing a job and doing it well. And feeling useful can be more fun that winning.

The argument for better racing with 1000s has gone out the window. The racing is hardly any different this year. In times of trying to save money it would have been better to leave factories on 800s and CRTs go to 1000.

I know there was not much dry weather testing but the fastest lap of the race this year at Aragon was still slower than Casey last year on the 800. Qualifying a lot slower. Dani was 6 seconds in front of Jorge last year - exactly the same as this year.

Rossi's fastest race lap was 2/100ths different on the 1000. Even last race where Rossi came 2nd, his fastest race lap was 2/10ths slower than last year - and he had 2 days of testing before meeting, new frame and 200cc more...

It was dumb to go to 800s and even sillier to go back too 1000s.

Its the fuel limit bro. Spies'(I think) engineers have said that if he comes back with more than 1 cut of fuel left in the tank, they havent dont their job properly. We have seen a couple of rare times, race winners run out of gas on their victory cool down lap.

That's the problem. Any engine size would be fine if they increased the fuel limit back to 23 liters. This 21 liters is crap and what is responsible for the poor racing. Nothing in reserve if you blow a corner. Its a known fact that the ECUs are boarder line sentient beings and can/do adjust fuel settings on the fly based on the amount of fuel left so that a bike can finish the race. There are times when the bike ECUs wont let the bike open to full throttle because it wont cross the finish line if it does.

Raise the fuel limit back to 23 liters and watch the competition and racing improve. Id put money on it. But I cant since it will never happen while the manus make the rules.

re: "Was the wall too close?"

no, the gravel trap was too short. it's being erroneously refered to as "long", but the truth is it wasn't long enough nor deep enough. watch it again, nicky was IN it, then OUT of it in an eye blink. his net reduction in speed was ZERO (0). the wall still needs protection, but the idea behind the trap is it's supposed to act as the FIRST line of defense, not the ONLY line of defense. the first line failed. it needs to be reworked and extended. think of an F18 on carrier approach, is a pilot given a single arresting wire...? or is he given multiple arresting wires...?

A sneak peak of completely useless information into a pilot's life on a US aircraft carrier:

A pilot is given 4 arresting wires on all Nimitz class carriers, except the newest 2, the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS George HW Bush. They only have 3 arresting wires. A pilot's goal is catch the 3rd wire on the carrier. If they dont catch number 3, it is considered a poor landing, and if they miss all the wires, called bolting, they get a yellow seat back cover on their chair in the ready room. The yellow cover is yours until someone else bolts. In some cases, it can take months to get rid of the cover. At least, that's how it was when my uncle was flying the big F-14 Tomcat.

People tend to forget that Mladin wasn't American. So for him, what was the big deal if he wasn' t in another series. He'd been to GP and at the time Suzuki was putting equal effort in SBK & AMA. Right now he's too busy flying his planes and playing with sheep to care.

Anyway, too much wasted money going down the drain. I hope Honda stay in MGP. It's not 1999. No one can afford those days anymore. HRC full bore in SBK would sink it in short order.

re: "HRC full bore in SBK would sink it in short order."

that's damn right, merger announcement notwithstanding, honda didn't just wake up last week and decide they were going to build a street 213. oh hell no. this is honda were talking about here, they've could've buit a modern day RVF 8-10 years ago when everybody was clamoring for it...?!?

no, the only reason this bike is NOW being given the greenlight is to show DORNA, that they (honda) are in control. that they (honda) will not be dictated to. that they (honda) can homologate a bike fit to race in SOMEONE ELSE'S series with nothing more than the stroke of pen...!!!

Any one of the manufacturers can do this though. Its up to DORNA to create a set of rules that attracts manufacturers to their series. If Honda wants to take their ball and go to a different sandbox, let them. I dont think that Honda can dominate WSBK the way people think they can. Look at Aprilia and BMW. They have considerable resources that they have spent and it still took time to win races and championships. Like you said, its not the year 2000. Lots of factories have There are too many compromises that have to be made in order to build a Superbike. It still has to be sold to the public. Even if you make Monday morning specials, if they arent selling the bike and making money, they cant and wont continue to race in a series that is basically designed to do just that, sell bikes. You can justify to your board of directors racing in GP as research, company image, even a bit of selling bikes. Its prototype, its cutting edge, its where we need to be seen! But Superbike racing is really designed to sell what you race. Boards know this and they simply will not met Honda dump millions into a venture that they can not justify.

And I simply dont think Honda is going to walk into WSBK with a brand new bike and dominate out of the gate. Competitive yes, but dominate? No way. Everyone else has uped their game in WSBK and new players have come into the game. Its no longer the Ducati cup on any given race weekend. Aprilia, BMW, Ducati and Kawasaki have raised their bar.

Its a pity that Pol Espargaro will not be stepping up to GP on a prototype next year. Dearth of competitive kit and money. The underhyped Spaniard.
Brilliant performances by him all year long.
Moto2 could turn into a one horse race next year and dull,boring,once Iannone,Redding,Marquez and co.depart

I'd like to know what others think about Marquez's obvious speed advantage. There's been mutterings of certain teams somehow using cheater engines. Up to this point I wouldn't have put much stock into those rumors, but the advantage Marquez had on the rest of leaders couldn't go unnoticed. Now I'm not sure what to think....

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IIRC there was an article on this site in regards to the post race inspections of the moto2 machines. My memory is hazey on it but I believe the top five are torn down, so I find it highly unlikely they are cheating.

I'm sure most will argue it's his weight that gives him the advantage. Others will call in cheating.

IMO top speed has more to do with corner exit and aero than anything else. Gearing will also play a factor.

I don't remember that exactly, but I do remember an article that said data from the ECU is downloaded from each race. Interestingly Marquez is listed at 59kg, Pol Espargaro 60kg, Iannone 67kg Scott Redding 74kg according to the Motogp website. I'm not sure if Moto2 teams can change internal ratios or just final ratio via sprockets. As you mentioned there could be multiple reasons for the difference, I just don't remember a rider having that big of a speed advantage compared to his closest rivals.

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