2016 Austria MotoGP Sunday Round Up - Six of the Best, and More

The rain finally come at 7:30pm, just as we were leaving the track. From Saturday night, the threat of rain at 2pm on Sunday – race time, local time – had hung over the Red Bull Ring in Austria, scaring riders at the prospect at racing on the circuit in the wet. Though everyone feared the effect of the rain on excessive asphalt run off, some were more worried than others. After two dismal results in the wet, Jorge Lorenzo had to get his championship back on track. In the cold and the wet, Lorenzo struggled. In the sun, Lorenzo could shine. Even against the Ducatis.

He got his wish, as did the reported 95,000 crowd which had flocked to the Austrian circuit for their first taste of Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the country for the best part of twenty years. And what a taste it was. A brutal, thrilling opener of a Moto3 race, competitive to the line, with a new and popular winner. A fierce fight in Moto2 which took two-thirds of the race to settle. And a scintillating and intense MotoGP race which had the crowd holding their breath. The Spielberg track may not be a classic motorcycle track, but it produced some fantastic racing from the Grand Prix bikes.

Deep impact

All three races had a big impact on the championship, serving to cement the position of the men leading the three title chases. In the Moto3 race, a rock solid Brad Binder consolidated his lead after Jorge Navarro crashed out, despite putting in a superb ride until that moment. Romano Fenati had already taken himself out of contention, thanks to some appalling behavior towards his crew, which saw the Sky VR46 team suspend him.

In Moto2, Johann Zarco further extended his stranglehold on the class, after an indomitable display of riding. Mind you, it took him two thirds of the race until he seized it by the scruff of the neck, turning a tight defensive battle into a romp. And in MotoGP, Marc Márquez finished behind both Movistar Yamahas, yet gave up only five points to Jorge Lorenzo. Márquez came away from the worst track of the season for the Repsol Hondas, and still has a firm grip on the 2016 title. With eight races to go, second place will do from now to the end of the season.

Six of the best

What made the Austrian round of MotoGP so remarkable was not the championship, but the racing and the results. As Valentino Rossi predicted on Saturday, the six best riders in the world did battle, and none gave any quarter. They finished in line with their relative strengths, and the strengths of their machines. Yet for nearly three quarters of the race, the result still lay open. A four-way battle pitting the factory Ducatis against the Movistar Yamahas was only decided late. Fears that the Ducatis would disappear into the distance from the start proved unfounded.

That, it turned out, was all part of the plan. Ducati had recognized that fuel and tire life would be critical at the fastest track of the season, where the throttle is against the stop for almost half of each lap. And so they came up with a strategy to cope with this. Knowing their superior acceleration would keep them in contention for the first half of the race, they could save fuel until the end. When they let rip, they soon dropped the Movistar Yamahas. This was a day of Ducati domination after all. But they dominated through strategy, not raw horsepower.

All in the strategy

When we asked a very contented looking Gigi Dall'Igna if it had been part of Ducati's strategy to go easy from the start to conserve fuel, his answer was brief, but complete. "Yes." Race winner Andrea Iannone was a little more forthcoming. "I manage the fuel and I use less fuel for half race, and after I switch the map and the bike push a little bit more," a delighted Italian told the press conference. "I try to manage the race the best, and I don't want to push a lot. I start with the soft tire, and for me it’s very important to manage the tires, not use at 100%. Not spin a lot, not slide. I think this strategy is fantastic."

Not just fantastic, but historic. Iannone's victory is Ducati's first win in MotoGP since Casey Stoner won Phillip Island in 2010, nearly six years ago. With Andrea Dovizioso finish second, it is the first Ducati 1-2 since Stoner finished ahead of Loris Capirossi at Phillip Island 2007, nearly nine years ago. And it helps to destroy a long streak of consistent winners. Five riders had won the 89 races between Mugello in 2011 and Barcelona in 2016: Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, and Casey Stoner. The last three races have been won by Jack Miller, Marc Márquez and Andrea Iannone.

When he does it, he does it

The manner of Iannone's victory was even more impressive. He and teammate Dovizioso had swapped places with Lorenzo in the early laps, before Dovizioso seized control of the race. The Italian led from his teammate, while Lorenzo held Rossi at bay. It looked like Dovizioso had victory in the bag, especially as Iannone's injured ribs must at some point come into play. But the scent of victory is balm to any pain, and Iannone saw opportunity lurking. He pounced on lap 21, a peerless move on the edge of control up the inside of Dovizioso out of Turn 9 and into Turn 10. He then turned up the wick, and held Dovizioso off to the end of the race. His margin of victory was narrow. The manner of victory was exceptional.

It is ironic that Ducati's first victory in since Casey Stoner should come from the rider who Ducati have decided to drop, rather than the one they will be keeping alongside Jorge Lorenzo for 2017. Yet Iannone's brilliance is another example of why Borgo Panigale went with his teammate. When Iannone rides like he did on Sunday, he is second to none. But all too often, Iannone doesn't ride as he did on Sunday. Instead, he rides wildly, carelessly, thoughtlessly, taking out teammates (Argentina) and rivals (Barcelona). Andrea Iannone has the potential to consistently challenge for the MotoGP title, if only he could stay focused and calm. But he can't, so he doesn't.

As for Andrea Dovizioso, his second place exemplifies his entire career. Dovizioso is the opposite of Iannone: careful, thoughtful, considered. He too has more than enough talent to win races and challenge for championships, but instead, it is his intelligence and thoughtfulness which stands in the way. A slightly wilder aspect, a willingness to take risks when victory heaves into view, this would put Dovizioso into the championship lane. But Dovi is stuck thinking, rather than doing.

All about the bike. At least in part ...

If ever there were a chance for Dovizioso to get his second win, it was at Spielberg. The Ducati was flawless at the track, which suited its nature down to the ground. (A factor that was acknowledged graciously by Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali in a press statement issued on Sunday evening). But Dovizioso was cautious, choosing the safer hard rear, where Iannone gambled on the medium rear and won.

"In the braking I was better than Iannone," Dovizioso told the press conference. "So it was important, the key for the end of the race. I think both we did a really good strategy. We didn’t want to take a risk about the fuel consumption and the tire consumption, so we didn’t push at the beginning. We used a different map. We didn’t use the maximum speed we have, but just for the safety, we wait, because you never know in the race. But the point was the risk Iannone take [with tires] in the grid it was right. We push 100% just the last six laps I think. On the right I didn’t have the same grip and I struggled because I couldn’t stay close to him to try to overtake him. Very disappointed but disappointed about me, because the decision was our decision."

He who dares, wins ...

That element of risk management is what left Valentino Rossi off the podium. The Italian had strong pace all weekend, and strong pace in the race. But his pace was not better than Lorenzo's, and so to try to pass him was courting disaster. "I want to try to make some overtake and try to fight for the podium, but unfortunately the condition in the race was difficult for everybody," Rossi told us after the race. "Difficult to stop in braking and also on the exit of the corners. So the situation was not for me personally 100% under control. I had to risk too much if I want to try to overtake. Every time I tried to go closer I did some mistakes and at the end I arrive just fourth." A podium may have been possible, but it would have meant risking too much to obtain it.

Jorge Lorenzo managed the race much more smartly. He was still smarting from two awful races in the wet, and had something to prove. "I was in crisis five or six times in my career," Lorenzo said. "I always came back the same or stronger. It was a question of time. It was a question of keep working. If it were circumstances or a good opportunity to show up again I did it today."

This was no crisis. This was Jorge Lorenzo back at what he does best, managing speed and pounding out fast lap after fast lap, putting up a pace which is hard to match. From whence came the transformation? It was all about the temperature. The temperature window of the Michelins is much narrower than it was with the Bridgestones. Inside that window, the Michelins supply the grip which Lorenzo needs. Outside of it, the French rubber may still work, but not the way Lorenzo needs it to. When it's too cold, he is lost. A tough challenge for the reigning world champion.

"With Bridgestone there was no problem," Lorenzo told us after the press conference. "If it was really cold the range of temperature was huge. I was competitive in the cold, hot and all conditions. With the Michelins it is more difficult for me. I need to understand in these occasions how to get a little bit better. But I knew inside of me that when the normal circumstances came back I would be competitive. I demonstrated that I could fight for the win. Maybe today it was almost impossible. Something very strange had to happen to the Ducatis. It didn’t happen and the realistic position was third." With Brno, Silverstone, and Misano coming up, and the prospect of good weather at two of those at least, Lorenzo's season should be well back on track before the flyaways.

Medium? Really?

A remarkable moment came at the end of Valentino Rossi's press debrief. When asked about tires, Rossi insisted that everyone started on the same rear tire. When corrected by the media – Andrea Iannone won using the medium rear tire, the only rider to do so – Rossi once again affirmed that Iannone had not, but had raced on the hard. Confused, we double-checked with Michelin, who insisted that no, Iannone really had raced on the medium, the softer of the two rear tires.

Iannone had made his choice late, only switching rears as he sat on the grid. Asked if Iannone's choice had been the right one, Gigi Dall'Igna confirmed that it was. Up until morning warm up, Dall'Igna told us, they had been convinced that the medium would be the race tire, rather than the hard. "Yesterday I was convinced that this is the best choice for us," the Ducati supremo told us. "Yesterday I would like to push both riders to use the soft tire. But we took the decision to make the warm up with the hard solution and I saw that also with this tire we were quite competitive. So I leave the rider free to make their own choice. But yesterday I would like to push both riders to use the soft tire."

The sensible youngster

If the Ducatis and Yamahas took first, what about championship leader Marc Márquez? The Repsol Honda rider extracted all he could from the RC213V, but at the halfway mark, understood there was no point trying to keep up. "We struggled a lot during the race," Márquez told us, pointing to a lack of acceleration as the main culprit. "I was there at the front in the beginning, fighting and being really aggressive, but I saw that it was 50-50 to finish the race or crash. So then I slow down a little bit."

Márquez' result is yet another confirmation of a different kind of Márquez we have seen this year, biting his tongue and accepting a relatively poor position, instead of risking it all to grab a podium or a potential win. Fifth was his worst dry finish since Qatar 2015, and that was the race where the massive problems with the RC213V became apparent. Yet Márquez seized it gladly, knowing he would concede just two points to Rossi and five points to Lorenzo. No rear grip meant he knew he couldn't be competitive, but the Ducatis helped save the day.

A lack of rear grip was exactly what ailed Maverick Viñales. It is a familiar problem with the Suzuki GSX-RR, the bike always losing rear drive grip when temperatures start to rise. Viñales was phlegmatic. It is not the first time the issue has raised its head, nor will it be the last time. But in eight races time, the Spaniard will leave the Suzuki behind, and not have to worry about it being fixed. Until then, he can continue to display his ability, and that he deserves to be considered amongst the four MotoGP Aliens. Next year, on a competitive Yamaha, he will have to prove it.

False starts

The MotoGP race got off on the wrong foot, with a slew of riders all getting false starts. Cal Crutchlow, Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl, and Yonny Hernandez all jumped the start, though Crutchlow felt he had been harshly treated, having lost out from his false start, rather than gained. Of the five riders punished with a false start, two made severe mistakes when it came to their ride through penalties. Barbera did not come in at all, but stayed out until he was black flagged. Bradl came in and stopped in front of his pit box, which, by a quirk of the rules, negated his ride through and meant he had to come in for a second time, riding through without stopping.

The common theme behind the mistakes by Bradl and Barbera were the electronic messages on the dashboard. Due to a misconfiguration of the dashboard in the two teams, the messages were incomprehensible to the riders. Barbera ignored the message entirely, Bradl came in thinking there was a problem with his engine, with lights blinking and the bottom half of his dashboard going blank. They both ignored the messages displayed by Race Direction at the start of the pit straight, and were focused on their dashboards.

Be careful what you wish for

"From the official point of view, the official signal for a jump start or for a black flag or for anything else for that matter, is the side board," Race Director Mike Webb told us. "The dashboard signals are a handy extra to help, but it’s only that. It’s not the official signal. If you get sent that signal, that’s an official signal. If a rider reacts to that signal, that’s fine. But the definitive we have given you a penalty is a pit board at the end of pit lane."

Issues with the dashboards were down to the way the dashboards had been configured, rather than the messages sent. "This is the first time it’s happened, and it’s actually good experience," Mike Webb said. "Our sending the signal, and what we do, the signal is sent and then as he passes the timing loop we get our feedback from the transponder saying that the signal has been received. So we’re like, all right, he’s received it. The breakdown is between the bike to the dashboard, which is their department, not ours. So it’s actually kind of good to know that it can happen, that you can’t rely on it 100%, and it is only a backup signal. There is possibly a malfunction in the dashboard, and that’s what happened today." Race Direction and the Technical Director Danny Aldridge had already talked to Avintia and Aprilia, and offered them help to configure the dashboard correctly.

The problem was a salutary lesson in light of the proposal to allow the teams to send signals to the dashboard using the same transponder system as the black flag and ride through penalty messages. If it goes wrong, it creates confusion and can even cause concerns about safety. The more complex the messages and the systems, the more chances of errors and misconfigurations, with results similar or worse to what happened to Barbera and Bradl in Austria. The hoped for gains from added communication from team to rider can easily turn into a huge negative. It is a warning for all concerned.

More than support

Though the MotoGP race was the main event, there was much to appreciate in the Moto2 and Moto3 races. In Moto2, Johann Zarco showed why he will likely become the first rider to successfully defend the Moto2 championship. The Frenchman rode an incredibly calm and considered race, taking over the lead towards the end after battling in a group of five riders. Once he was past, it was clear his victory had never been in doubt. Another 25 points puts him in a comfortable lead in the title chase. Alex Rins did well to come through from ninth on the grid to take third, but that is not enough to stop Zarco. Sam Lowes crashed out for the second race in a row, losing the front and putting himself 55 points down on the Frenchman.

The Moto3 race provided the usual sheer adrenaline. Brad Binder looked as if he had the race under control, despite being forced to do battle with Joan Mir, Fabio Quartararo, Enea Bastianini and Philipp Oettl. A throttle problem made it hard to get off the corner cleanly, and in the end, Joan Mir got the better of the championship leader. Mir won a brilliant victory in his rookie year, adding a win to the pole in Austria. Mir's comments after the race were telling, saying he had spent the summer break working on his motivation, finding the switch from the CEV, where he regularly won, to the GP paddock, where he was eighteenth more often than not, extremely taxing. New motivation helped him prepare for the battle at the front, and it paid off immediately with a win.

The paddock was close to packed up by the time we left it, just as a hailstorm rolled into the circuit. The MotoGP teams head up to Brno on Monday, while some of the Moto3 and Moto2 team stay on in Austria for another test. But with Brno less than a week away, the riders have an early chance to atone for any errors they may have made this year.


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Total votes: 119
Total votes: 119

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Comments

Interesting that this track is the only place where talk of fuel consumption has come into play. The race was somewhat 'last season' esk-particulalry from Lorenzo and Rossi-the latter just didn't seem to be able to get his front wheel near Lorenzo, which is unusual this season. I can't help but think back to the 'edge' treated medium compound Bridgestones of last season which made Lorenzo so unbeatable, and again this year-without the right set of nearly 'perfect' conditions, he is not just nowhere but appalling ie Argentina, Catalunya, Assen and Sachsenring. 

So Ducati were managing the race? I wonder how much the electronics were 'wound up' this weekend to ensure the bikes all made it to the finish? Yamahas included. The irony of the first win in 6 years for Ducati being taken by their 'dropped' rider is a real talking point.

Amazing Circuit, but let down in my view by 2 micky mouse corners, interesting to see Mick Doohan sat in the Ducati box all race! Thats one for the books, Casey had the spotlight and cameras off him being the second best retired Aussie Champ in the paddock and in the Ducati garage!

Total votes: 149

"being the second best retired Aussie Champ in the paddock and in the Ducati garage!"

Statistics can mislead.  Not saying Doohan wouldn't be competitive today but lets remember who he beat...Beattie, Cadalora, Kocinski, Criville, Okada, Biaggi & a broken Schwantz.  CS had much stronger competition.

Further proof of the folly of comparing different eras.

Total votes: 143

You left out, Rainey, Lawson, Gardner, Spencer, and a very fit and healthy Schwantz for a long while. 5 times world champion on 500cc two stokes, rode to these titles with a special thumb brake because his leg was so mashed up, only rider who truly mastered the infamous 'Screamer'. Never gave up until really seriously injuring himself again, certainly never retired in his prime after losing a world title defence. 

Eras aside, I stand by my original statement completely.  

Total votes: 133

Doohan won his 1st championship in 1994....Rainey, Lawson, Gardner and Spencer were no longer racing.

Rainey, Lawson, (injured before '93) Schwantz & Gardner BEAT Doohan for their titles & Spencer stopped seriously racing after 1986..3 years before Doohan even entered the class.

Errors (sic) aside, your original statement is factually indefensible wink

Total votes: 134

Doohan beat all of those riders, and competed against them-Fact. In an era considered to be the toughest in history-fact. He won 5 World titles as opposed to 2-Fact. He retired because of serious injury-Fact. Stoner retired prematurely because he couldn't handle certain aspects of the sport-Fact.

Michael Doohan is Australia's best motorcycle racing champion on track and off, hands down-fact. To argue with this is just pure fanboy rubbish.

Total votes: 132

Doohan smashed all of the above in 92 and only just lost the title because of the apalling medical treatment he got in Holland.  He missed 5 races out of 13 and lost the title by 4 points.

In 93 he was riding with one leg, almost literally.

And, Gardner did not beat Mick for his title.

But it's true that by the time he won his 5 there was not the same level of competiton as exists right now (or earlier).  But on the flip side once again, he was not only just scraping those championships in, he was SO dominant it was not funny.

Total votes: 126

Tumid, statistically you're correct of course, but let's not pretend for a second that Doohan wasn't capable of winning titles against Rainey, Lawson, Gardner and Shwantz.  In 92 Doohan utterly dominated those guys, winning 5 of the first 7 races and finishing second in the other two before that fabled leg injury, which also hindered him throughout the 93 season. As great as Doohan's record is, if he hadn't nearly lost his leg it would certainly be greater. Without the horror Injuries he could have taken titles against Rainey AND Rossi and would probably be called the greatest ever.

As for comparisons with Stoner, although I think Casey had more natural talent I have to give the nod to Doohan for winning so many titles after battling against such horrific injuries, in an era where the bikes were vicious and track safety was a hay bail or two. Stoner had(has) the potential to be greater but he can't be arsed anymore.

 

Total votes: 126

It's all relative.

Mighty Mick won five on the trot.

Stoner won two, in a period where Rossi also won two, Lorenzo won two, and Hayden won his one. Demonstrably, more even competition.

 

 

Total votes: 125

you are saying Stoner was better than Doohan?

Total votes: 130

But how would any of them fared against Ago or Hailwood... Okay, I'm being facetious. But debates of this sort, fun though they are, always end in stalemate. Personally I think we tend to see 'the greatest' as whoever we most admired in our own heyday.

Total votes: 140

Think about the fuel consumption as it pertains to Lorenzo/Rossi.  They are on the same bike, with same 0's and 1's being coded by factory laptop jockeys.  This is the one track where fuel consumption is a concern, even with 22 liters.  Rossi is the larger of the two, and couldn't put a wheel on Lorenzo for a passing attempt.  Lorenzo is smaller and lighter.  Physics.

Total votes: 141

And in the same comments section he says Dani is having so much problems because he is so light!

Or, and this is just a theory, Rossi didn't have the pace this weekend to attack. He flattered to deceive in free practice by setting fast times at the end of the session on new tyres and suddenly there was talk he would be perhaps able to beat the Ducati! Especially now that Lorenzo is in crisis, as everybody knows! Right?

Come race day and Rossi could not make an impression at all. So in normal circumstances he is not faster than Lorenzo, like we've heard a lot this year. He also is not a great strategist (Sachsenring) or a master of tricky conditions (Assen) anymore. What's left?

Total votes: 154

I would say Rossi being 2 tenths behind at a circuit which clearly required the fuel computer to 'make it to the end' hardly qualifies as a major impression. 

Did you miss the Jerez, Mugello, Argentina, Assen, Sachsenring and Catalunya rounds this year? In these circumstances Rossi was faster than Lorenzo-what do you quantify as 'Normal'? 

Total votes: 143

yup lorenzo is still in crisis, if JL on the zone, he can beat anybodyyyy.... the duc is insignificant matter to him and not even the MMM (Mighty Marc Marquez) can touch his tail, IF ONLY he is on the zone, and when i see he is running on flow yesterday, i feel he can run alot alot faster, maybe he is not maximizing his setup to full potential, but well, maybe i'm wrong here

and no, VR is still front runner on assen and sachsenring, and you confused his game tactics with pit-box strategy, VR is brawler, and being capable brawler is nothing to do with pit strategy ...

in term of pace, VR is very funny, it's makes me remember about so called "Rubber Band AI racer" from racing game.... he is going on JL tail, going backward , and got JL tail again, and back down again , i myself actually smiling when watched the last race, what exactly this guy want to do? you want to challenge him or not? :) , in other hand this guy seems messed his setup for race-day

the run which iannone put on last 5 laps , it's really put me on attention, it's looks like full of confidence, yet calm ....it make me thinking if iannone actually knowing he already win this one since saturday (maybe..) ... or maybe just my feeling , i wonder if he can put same performance on the next race ....

and actually i'm waiting and keep checking for fenati news ... gossip-man, yeah i know, i know, but i couldn't resist to hear about his latest news

Total votes: 124

Hey styg,

On the picture we can see that Iannone has only the wings at the top of the fairing, helping only for the wheelie. Dovi has also the lower wings, that helps mainly for grip.

Definitely adding wings add aero drag, so Iannone must have had top speed advantage. I think he did not suffer from a lack a grip because of his rear tire choice. 

Maybe that is also why Dovi was better in braking, with more downforce the bike was more stable on the brakes and permits to enter in the corner with higher speed...

Only my opinion/knowledge, please discuss/correct if needed :)

Thanks David for the great analysis !

Total votes: 126

One rider lines up to win, the other lines up hoping to. Wings , blah blah blah.... reverse the postions on the final laps and AI would have had a go. 

All this team player BS is just that, BS. 

That's the reason that AI isn't with Ducati next year. He doesn't play second fiddle. It's not about what happened or any incident that oocured in the first part of the year. Ducati wanted a clear #1 and #2(and maybe Lorenzo had some input). Dovi is happy to play #2 and AI isn't. 

Great race for AI. Hope he gets a few more before the end of the season.  

Total votes: 150

Great write up David. But I disagree on your comments about Iannone. I know I'm repeating myself and this is my last post on the matter : given what Iannone showed us last year - particularly in the second half of the season - I don't think that he snapped back to craziness over winter break. Rather he became erratic because of the shady behaviour from Ducati management. They've all been working together for 4 years to build -finally!- a better red beast. As the bike got better so did Iannone. And when they finally get to almost good results they dump him ! The mere fact of pitting the two Andreas against one another is proof that Ducati did not believe nor wanted to give a real chance to any of them. I'm sure that if Ducati had not tried to sign up Marquez (and finally getting Lorenzo) we might have had a very different championship and Iannone higher up in the rankings (and Dovi too propbably)
Since the beginning of the season Iannone is in a bad place because of circumstances. But when Ducati had finally a real big shot at winning he was the one who delivered the victory. Out of brilliance and hurt pride.
Some poetic justice at last.

Total votes: 170

I think from a team perspective it makes perfectly sense to build a team around two different type of racers. Since they might see Lorenzo as the top winner... they probably were looking for a more stable and supportive nr.2 rider.

Only a Yamaha they have 2 topriders at the same level in one team, which is quite odd in F1 and Motogp racing

Total votes: 130

I doubt Lorenzo would tolerate the non-zero risk of being torpedoed. Nor would the money people. Dovi makes sense as a "Pedrosa" to Lorenzo's "Marquez" (although, only Marquez is Marquez).

It's easy to disparage Lorenzo's character from afar, but watching the way he treats his batman and hearing rumors of how he is around the paddock, and given his recent history with YamaRossiCo, I imagine Ducati wants to keep their investment as calm, settled, and supported as possible. Having an aggressive wild card in the next bay would be the worse choice.

Total votes: 117

So, at the end of this amazing race, everybody in the top six is reassured about his future. Except Ianonne maybe, despite the Suzuki progress, the bike still struggles with high temperature.
Lorenzo can dream of wins to come, Viñales may definitely think he made the right choice.
But hey, if Márquez get a bike which stops spinning on corner exit, the other riders will be in big trouble.
As a frenchman myself, I congratulate Zarco for his overall(s) performance :-)

Total votes: 138

Everybody is talking about the MotoGP, but you are absolutely right about Zarco. He is a brilliant rider! A true champion.

Total votes: 137

A well deserved win by Andrea Iannone! He was really emotional about it, and I think we can all understand why.

'Dovi is stuck thinking, rather than doing.' I wonder if the fact that Dovi has a wonderful little girl, who congratulated her dad right after the race with her mother, has anything to do with this. It might have, just as it might have had with Casey Stoner's decision to quit, even though he may still be winning races if he would be competing. Most of the other guys don't have kids (only Cal Crutchlow, I think?).

What's wrong with Dani Pedrosa? Although HRC Honda seems to love him, it looks like he is really underperforming this season. Or am I missing something?

On a final note, I really enjoy your style of writing. It's so very dry and English. 'His answer was brief, but complete: Yes.'

Love it! :)

 

 

 

Total votes: 142

It seems that Dani struggles with two things :

- the hard to use Honda power

- the Michelins tire, for example he struggled in Autria to get the tire to the good temperature, and loose too much time then to be able to fight with the leaders. 

Total votes: 135

DISCLAIMER: I'm a Pedrsoa fan

Yes I would agree that his weight is playing a factor in his performance. I think more so is that he isn't able to get the right setup from the word go. If you look at Pedrosa's lap times this weekend, they are as fast as the leaders. Rossi had the same issue last year. So yes the weight issue is playing a a role but it seems to me that he can't use a setup he is use to and then work forward. It's like he is starting from scratch every weekend and only by race day does it come together. He's done this for most of the GPs this year. 

His weight may be the main factor but every time they find something for one circuit it doesn't seem to transfer to the next. 

Hope that maybe they have gotten a handle on it before Brno. A circuit he likes and goes very very well at. 

Total votes: 110

I'm so happy the win finally came and it was the right Andrea, anyone that's been watching racing long enough could see that Ianone "has it" 

 

"You can teach a fast rider not to crash but you can't teach a slow rider to be fast"

Wonder whatever happened to the folks a Ducati they missed that little detail.

Really hope Suzuki finds a couple more ponies next year.

Total votes: 141

Luiggi I have been thinking about just that for a while. We are in the minority it seems re Iannone's potential. You can SEE it when you look for it, and unfortunately everyone can see the bone head maneuvers whether they look or not.

So Iannone has great talent, this is generally agreed. He has actualized greatness at times, this can be seen. How about this too though, is there a cure for "dumb?" Really, can he be a "thinking" racer? How important is that for Aliens? We have had great racers that weren't intellectually sharp nor showing much thinking/strategizing on track... Sheene? There are multiple intelligences of course. Ever talked with Kenny Roberts? Smart for sure, but I don't think anyone would call that intellect. Situational awareness - important! Flexible focusing - important! It is great that we have a Bradley Smith sort of smarts to hear from, but that doesn't seem like something Iannone needs.

Mgm I see your point re Duc management approach and perhaps under development of talent. I don't represent it as causal to the degree you do perhaps. There us much to it though...Iannone was pushing his hand for a contract and it was clear that Duc intended to keep one of their two riders. Plenty of talk about neither performing to the potential of the bike. Dovi has consistency, and is a very late braker. Thinking? Maybe, but even more so just perhaps cautious. Grounded. Great lines. Mgm I agree generally re what I think you are saying, and am pleased to have a few folks also backing him. Still thinking the change to Michelins primarily and electronics secondarily as more essential to Iannone's backslide. And that first bonehead crash he did w Dovi? It had a big secondary effect on EVERYONE. I felt horrible. We could have had a battle! I didn't feel good about what Dovi did there either, even taking into account Iannone's response. What the heck was Dovi doing scrumming w the faster Iannone, cutting across his front when the two of them could have taken their bikes ahead of that pack as a formation? That looked unusual for Dovi. It was a front end crash under braking, so we have Michelin here as well.

Has Iannone atoned? Notice how much room he left Dovi when he passed? Lots.

No cure for stupidity, but perhaps we have seen a cure for insufficient situational awareness, over - confidence and excessive pride. Humility comes hard.

Total votes: 127

The husbo and I both commented (with amazement) on how clean the passes were during the race this time, especially between the Andreas. 

Personally, I was cheering for Dovi, (loved him since he was the 3rd bike on HRC) once it was clear that Jorge would have to settle for 3rd, but we were still delighted to see a Ducati 1/2 today!

What a relief to see JL back on form. Cannot wait to see what he can do wearing 2 red legs next year!

I feel like Marc should get a medal just for staying on that bike this season.

Total votes: 130

Motoshrink i always enjoy your posts. Always food for thoughts. Let me just expand my previous thoughts and reply to your comment.
"Plenty of talk about neither performing to the potential of the bike" you say...: precisely! In my view that's the original sin of Ducati even though now they have a much better bike. It's in their mental imprint they keep on thinking that the bike is good and it's the rider who is not. They did it to Stoner and then Rossi and now Iannone. (I admit circumstances were different then, neither CS nor VR ever had a bike as good as now) The moment they decided that neither Andrea was good enough you know that the two will lose confidence and become erratic and in Iannone case ..... "dumb". Though Dovi too was not at his best thinking as you pointed out.
Now the question is : could Ducati be a winner in 2015? I would not bet my money on it. And iannone was improving and getting more mature. But they never gave him a chance because IMO they thought that with JL or MM on that bike in 2015 they would have won. Hence the riddance of Iannone.

Total votes: 136

After the race in Assen I commented that I was dissapointed to see a race 'spoiled' by conditions leading to results that do no reflect the actual potential.

This race was quite the opposite: seeing the top 6 arrive ' exactly' conform their theroretical potentional was not fantastic but quite a boring experience to me. Even with an exciting ducati 1-2 as a result and the beautiful covering of the ridingstyles.  In my opinion, the track itself can also be scraped off the calender, since it certainly offers a challenge but has just corners where errors can be made, rather then a difference.

Also in the backfield the excitement was partially gone since a lot of riders had to undergo a ride trough penalty

 

Total votes: 131

Great race. Not so much for sheer passing but it was intense throughout. Especially the first half, whether the Yamahas would be able to keep with the Ducatis. Like I said on the race results page, brilliant strategy by Ducati and Iannone. I've already seen people dismiss this victory saying 'this track just favours the Ducati' but that's a whole lot of nonesense. Insulting to both Ducati and Iannone.

I also must say I feel rather a lack of enthusiasm for this win here and at other places. A new winner on a bike that hasn't won in 10 years and a great, tense race with amazing performances throughout the field. Yet the reaction is almost placid. I could speculate on why that is but I think most people know so I won't bother.

Total votes: 123

Anyone else notice the drain-off paving on the inside of the corners? I shuddered at the thought of what would happen to bike and rider going across that on their side. Were safety concerns behind the lack of lunges?

Otherwise, not a very exciting race, you wouldn't want too many like that in a season, but good to see the Ducati finally get there.

Total votes: 130

...but this comment is about as critical as it gets. It felt almost painful to read these comments about Dovi, but to me, they are absolutely spot on...and brutally honest.  I don't know how many 2nd place finishes Dovi has had, but between the 3-bike Repsol year and a handful of races at Ducati, he has had a race winning bike under him on many, many opportunities. To date, his only win is a wet one in which both Rossi and Lorenzo crashed out miles in front of him.

I love him because is is a solid, top level performer who gives some of the better technical interviews in the paddock, but I don't think anyone would say he deserved that win over Iannone. Perhaps we will see Dovi throw a little more caution to the wind now that the season is truly over with no title hopes, no "first win" prize to bag, and certainly no teammate he would mind edging off the track once or twice in the next 8 races.

"Dovizioso is the opposite of Iannone: careful, thoughtful, considered. He too has more than enough talent to win races and challenge for championships, but instead, it is his intelligence and thoughtfulness which stands in the way. A slightly wilder aspect, a willingness to take risks when victory heaves into view, this would put Dovizioso into the championship lane. But Dovi is stuck thinking, rather than doing."

Total votes: 120

KTM

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iVSWNxhTsVo

Beautiful livery. Surprised by all the blue? I like it. Unique shape too. Reminds me of some old 250's. Only thing I am not sure about is the orange blocky bit on the bullocks end of the tank - seems to accentuate squareness along w the tail, which my eye wants more orange on. But pretty bike.

The frame has such narrow beams! Hoping for "feel." Whole thing looks small doesn't it? Flickable proportions. Anyone know about set up variability option range on it? I don't think we are going to see the set up difficulties Ducati had as something inherent to the trellis steel frame construction style and expected for KTM. Perhaps WP can make something that works w this bike. They will be putting their all into it, and solutions might be unique, which Ohlins might not. And we aren't on Bstone fronts anymore are we? Time for a bit more flex again?

Hey Suzuki, what do you think KTM's peak HP is? Hey Dani, YOU SURE you don't want one last challenge before you hang up the leathers?
;)

Total votes: 128

Coming out party was this weekend.
Where the heck might you recommend sticking it instead? Me and you typing about that seems less related than my post. Howzabout the irony there? Not to minimize the Duc win in any way...great to see Gigi in a trance, then dance a jig.

Like the bike Spies?

Total votes: 137

This might be the best looking bike on the grid. I'm more excited about KTM coming into the series than I was when I heard Suzuki were back with out Paul Denning. 

Total votes: 128

Was it just the long break before this round, the great weather, the gorgeous scenery, the huge crowd, the atmosphere which even came across on telly? I absolutely enjoyed it and I liked the track a lot more than I expected. Salzburgring used to be breathtaking, and some how I still felt a little bit of that excitement. Big balls circuit and quite unlike any other on the calendar, so I liked the variety. Having spent a bit of time in Austria though, it does rain a lot there, so it will only be a matter of time before we get a wet race, which might not be so pretty. But hats off to Austria, to the sugar water peddlers, to KTM, and of course to Ducati and Ianonne. I felt quite sure he was going to do something silly but he rode a perfect race to a well deserved victory.

Total votes: 127

...For this Ducati fan.

It was weird because all predictions came true. When the Yamahas stayed close, I thought Uncannysixteen had thrown up another surprise! But, no, the Ducs extended away and won. The track unfolded just like a series of straights hooked together by tight corners. Marquez preserved himself, Lorenzo returned, and Rossi didn't advance much. Clearly the Austrians didn't notice what year it is. They should have asked Donald Trump to field a Russian wild card team to keep the zeitgeist intact.

As a red-riding Ducati geek, I am happy Ducati finally broke through, and I'm glad to see Iannone break his first bird, but I'm sad about him too. When he's judging things well he's spectacular and daring, but when he f-cks up, he really f-cks up. I think he could be amazing and I've been a fan of him since he was on a green and silver bike back in Moto2. He was the first racer who's style I ever noticed, back when I first started watching racing on TV. "Who is that guy?!" I thought. "He's doing things with the bike that make the others look boring." If only... If only... If only.

I couldn't help but notice Gigi looked ten years younger once the celebrating started. :)

Total votes: 135

I think they got it right this time by re-signing Dovi. I think Stoner had some quiet input on this issue aside of being the fastest test rider on the planet.

Hearken back to 2006/2007 --990/800 seasons. Injudicious Sete arguably cost Capirex the 2006 title. Sepang testing saw Stoner do unbelievable things on a greased lightning 800 Ducati in a straight line, although it was a pig on steroids through the twisties. Capirossi was trying to manage the mean machine as best he could, he had just become a father and tempered or balanced his commitment, did a steady job and got axed in favour of the highly touted Marco Melandri for 2008.We all know how that ended...shrinks and all.

Ducati got it right for 2017 signings and Andrea Iannone's axing is part of a team think tank. At the end of the day it is a team sport. Irrespective of manufacturer's, the riders Iannone/Rossi and Vinales are currently on the same page, the riders Dovizioso/Lorenzo and test rider Stoner share common ground.

Extrovert/Introvert competitors as my neighbour of yesteryear would bash on about.

I don't know and nor does anyone else know how Lorenzo will adapt to the Ducati next year, but Dovizioso will be the rock that Capirex was circa 2003/2007 at Ducati. Smart choices by Ducati. Marquez would have been the ultimate signing. In him they would have had another 2007 Stoner. Sponsorships and blah!

Total votes: 123

I remember a bloke by the name Casey Stoner in 2006 throwing motorcycles all over the scenery and people laughing at the mere idea that this wild stud would be champion, exactly a year after.

Even Lorenzo, as polished as a diamong can be, started out wildly in the 250s and in his first year he was totally win or bin (remember his upside down pic in Malasya or Shangai?

Point is, you can't achieve greatness by being conservative and calculated. Nicky's only title was heavily criticised because exactly that, "Mr Consistency" was not a flashy racer with do or die attitude, and many people said he was not a "true champ" and stuff like that, to the man that ended up the season with the big golden cup in his hands.

Total votes: 127