Andalucia Sunday Subscriber Notes: The New Star, Where Rossi's Speed Came From, Yamaha's Engine Woes, KTM, And Ducati's Title Chase

The first twelve days of the restarted 2020 MotoGP season have been absolutely brutal. The paddock assembled in the searing heat of the Andalusian summer, and with the pressure of a highly compressed season, 13 races to be jammed into an 18 week period. At the test on the Wednesday before the first race, Danilo Petrucci got caught out by the wind and blown into the gravel at Turn 11, banging up his neck in the process. On the Saturday, Alex Rins jumped off his bike to avoid Jack Miller, dislocating his right shoulder and cracking his humerus.

Last Sunday morning, Cal Crutchlow took a tumble and fractured his scaphoid, and then in the race, Marc Márquez managed to highside himself into the gravel between Turns 3 and 4, his bike following him in and hitting his right arm, breaking his humerus. On Tuesday, the Dexeus clinic in Barcelona saw a steady stream of patients as the wounded came in to be patched up. So successful was Marc Márquez' operation that the Repsol Honda rider was doing press ups that evening, and by Wednesday, had persuaded his team to let him have another crack at Jerez at the weekend.

Márquez' return was impressive for its display of willpower, of just how far an iron will and burning ambition will get you, but ultimately brief. On Saturday afternoon, something shifted in his arm, and the reigning champion withdrew. It was for the best, but, he said, at least he had given it his best shot. He would be able to sleep at night knowing he had tried.

Y'all experts?

That kicked off a fierce debate over the efficacy of the fitness test, and whether the circuit doctors and Dorna medical staff had been justified in passing Márquez fit to ride. Social Media companies granted everyone degrees in orthopedic surgery, everyone using their new-found expertise in sports-related trauma to opine on the rights and wrongs of the case.

Oddly, everyone seemed to be concerned with Marc Márquez. Nobody mentioned Cal Crutchlow, who had had his left scaphoid pinned, a classic and difficult motorcycle racing injury. Nor did they discuss the merits of Alex Rins' case, ignoring the ligament and tendon damage in the Suzuki rider's right shoulder which made it impossible for him to lift his right arm above shoulder height for more than five seconds at a time. That makes riding a racing motorcycle difficult and painful, but he too had been passed fit. That fact passed the mob by.

Sunday's Gran Premio de Andalucia saw no new MotoGP riders join the list of riders scheduling treatment at the Dexeus clinic. But the sweltering heat – hotter than the already scorching race the previous week – turned the second race on consecutive weekends at Jerez into another bloodbath.

Attrition

A week ago, 15 of the 20 riders who lined up on the grid crossed the finish. This Sunday, 21 riders started, only 13 finished. A week ago, there was one retirement with a mechanical, Valentino Rossi pulling out at the start of lap 19. This Sunday, Pecco Bagnaia's Ducati GP20 started losing power and leaving a trail of oily smoke behind it, and Franco Morbidelli's Yamaha M1 stopped making power and left him stranded, just like Valentino Rossi's had done a week earlier.

The heat and the pressure took their toll, as riders made mistakes from pushing too hard. Riders of whom so much had been expected made a horrible mess of the race: Brad Binder took out Miguel Oliveira, the two hot KTM riders immediately out of contention. Jack Miller pushed so hard to stay at the front of the race he lost the front, Aleix Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci following his lead a little further down the field. Iker Lecuona made it three crashes in three MotoGP races.

There was glory too. Fabio Quartararo winning for the second week in a row. Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi making it the first all-Yamaha podium since 2014. Rossi's revival of fortunes, after more than a year in the wilderness. Bagnaia and Morbidelli showing impressive pace, both robbed of a shot at the podium by mechanical gremlins. Takaaki Nakagami making outstanding progress to finish fourth. And Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow finishing the race and scoring points despite their injuries.

In these notes:

  • Quartararo's second win in a row
  • Yamaha podium – will it last?
  • Rossi's revival – where did it come from?
  • Yamaha's engine situation: slight worry, or full-on panic?
  • KTM's hopes of a great weekend wrecked
  • Ducati – fast Pramac, but Dovizioso ends as the first Desmosedici home
  • What it means for the championship, heading for Brno and Austria

Though not as dramatic as last week, we have still be left with plenty to ponder:

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year: 
2020
round_number: 
3

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Comments

I wonder if the Rider/his crew will be given more freedom to tune outside the factory specified limits when he moves into the satellite team.

I also wonder if that 99%-there contract just had a new clause added from the Rider's side to stipulate as such...

I dont get it . They would rather rossi had a bad year than try settings outside the parameters that a computer tells them?

Crutchlow and Rins finished the race. Marquez couldn't even start. So I'd say the peanut gallery were right. Certainly Marquez' injury seemed the worst of the three to me, but I'm no orthopedist. Over time, I expect Rins' injury to take the longest to heal completely (though scaphoids are also problematic).

Valentino just proved the haters and doubters wrong yet again.  I can and cannot believe that people would believe rumors of Vale "Packing it in" during a race.  It's crazy to read or hear of the disrespect.  He said during a post race interview "They don't know me" and that is 100% correct, they are rooting for you to fail.  https://youtu.be/1NUzdE2HonI    In 22 years of watching Valentino Rossi....get the front end working, where he can take multiple lines into a corner, so present day him defending the position against a faster Viñales, and he'll be at the front.  I have never seen Valentino, when the mfr is listening to what needs to be changed is not successful.  Like EF Hutton, listen, do it, win big prizes.  Don't, and no results.  It's that simple.  Any doubts?  See where Valentino Rossi's podiums and wins land him in a sport that started in 1949.  A 41 year old man competing against athletes half his age just did better than all but 2 where his weight and height did him in at the end of the race.  Then at the end of the race to see why he is loved the world over.  On the cool down lap, he parked the M1, climbed atop the tire barrier, again during an extremely brutal race, lifted himself above all doubters, and put his hands in the air. Same corner as the "toilet" or past post race antics.  Nobody is there, he did it anyways.  No it wasn't a win.  A small victory after a period of doubt.  There is the 16 year old, the 21 year old, or the 41 year old Valentino Rossi, with that same youthful spirit, charisma, and love of motorcycing, pumping fists into the air.  A big middle finger to a lot of haters.  41 years old, in a youthful sport, beautiful.  Himself having to "pack it in" last week with a failed engine with a bunch of bs rumor.s  7 days to the day and time, and a reverse of fortune, all by skill and will.  

This race proved to me, whomever finishes, injuries, no injuries, is a competitor and worthy of their contract and ride.  136 degrees + on that race track.  Dorna deserves credit for even having races, the mfr's for their bikes even working in these temps, and the team staff and riders for getting on with it.  Brutal race.  One of the most brutal I have ever watched.  

I find it interesting that Valentino supporters always quote his quotes, too tall, too heavy compared to others, all charecteristics he has to overcome to be successful. I admit it. But then these very people give his competitors not the same concessions. Bagnaia and Morbidelli would have almost certainly ended up in front of him come the end of teh race IF, and one got to give that IF to them if you give it to VR, their bikes would not have expired, and the list goes on.

Sure, for a 41 year old he's doing brilliantly, he's charismatic no doubt, BUT he's past his prime. it took him two race weekends and a test on the same track to figure out what he needed to tune his bike for and then came third. What about Nakagami, on last years bike and just a few hundreds behind him? Ist'nt that equally brilliant?

In regards to VR polarizing people/fans/watchers, be honest, that is is own doing! That's how he operated ever since he's entered racing and it is bound to backfire one day. I personally never liked him and I follow motogp or it's equivalent for the last 40 years. Sure, he was always fast, always up front, ande when he was'nt he'd ride dirty, pushing people of the track if not worse, and complain of bias and pronounce his conspiracy theories.

He still wants to race and good on him for having seemingly enough leverage to twist arms in that paddock. I am pretty certain that if Yamaha would withdraw their seemingly unconditional support for him, he would not be hired by any of the factory teams. And that, unfortunately, represents his real worth. Everything else is just nostalgic, emotional response to his neverceasing attempt to manipulate his persona in the public view. Let's wait and see what really was changed, whether really Yamaha denied him those changes previously and , most importantly if it is a lasting change for the better in regards to his results.

Otherwise the racing was good. I've been looking forward to it and in a way enjoy the condensed schedule. More racing in a shorter time period is great, at least from a spectators point of view. I am looking forward to Brno. What a battle to come!!!!

> And that, unfortunately, represents his real worth. Everything else is just nostalgic, emotional response to his neverceasing attempt to manipulate his persona in the public view.

I find that a very cynical response, not only to his excellent result this weekend, but also to his unparalleled success in the past 20+ years.

believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.

If this is your definition I have to admit it's not to far off. As I said, credit to his skill, his drive and motivation. His character, sincerity and integrity, arrgghhh, I struggle with. 

Anyhow. Am looking forward to a good season to come with some good, tight racing.wink

 

I find it interesting that Valentino supporters always quote his quotes, too tall, too heavy compared to others, all charecteristics he has to overcome to be successful. I admit it. But then these very people give his competitors not the same concessions. Bagnaia and Morbidelli would have almost certainly ended up in front of him come the end of teh race IF, and one got to give that IF to them if you give it to VR, their bikes would not have expired, and the list goes on.

Bagnaia was quicker but it's far from a given that Morbidelli would have gotten past. Not with Rossi defending like he was and not with Vinales rapidly catching up to pressurize him from behind.

Sure, for a 41 year old he's doing brilliantly, he's charismatic no doubt, BUT he's past his prime. it took him two race weekends and a test on the same track to figure out what he needed to tune his bike for and then came third. What about Nakagami, on last years bike and just a few hundreds behind him? Ist'nt that equally brilliant?

Read the article again. Rossi needed Yamaha to allow his team deviate from Yamaha engineer's restrictive parameters and run setups that could work for him, instead of trying to mimic riders shorter and lighter than him.

Meanwhile, there isn't a big difference between Nakagami's machine and the 2020 Hondas. And while restricted to last year's (excellent) engine, he's has had his pick of parts from both Marquez and Lorenzo's bikes and assembled it into a machine that works for him. (I'm paraphrasing his words on both points.) More importantly, can you point me towards anybody saying that Nakagami should lose his place on the grid?

Only once last year did Morbidelli finish a race ahead of Rossi (Rossi finished ahead in nine races). Nobody raised any eyebrows when he signed a new two-year contract. In contrast, Rossi had barely got into a rough patch before the detractors were out howling for his blood insisting he was finished as a rider and should retire. Even an engine failure brought on the snide allegations about him quitting the race.

Apparently, HRC were busy last year trying to help Lorenzo and there are an excess of parts. Nakagami said that he assembled his own puzzle of pieces by choosing what he liked the most. Hard to call it last year's machine. Sounds like a somewhat unique bike. Plus, hasn't Marquez reverted back to last year's frame on his bikes?

The 2020 was scrapped. Everyone is on the 2019. Engine and electronics are ALL that 2020 brought. Taka's bike has a big bin of parts to piece together. "Mr Potato Head" isn't exactly a championship winning formula, and Poog can eat arse.

Taka can be very proud of what he just did with the kit LCR patched together.

In addition to "M. Márquez parts" and "J. Lorenzo parts", there are almost certainly some "C. Crutchlow parts" on Nakagami's bike.

Similarly, Zarco is very likely riding a Dovizioso/Petrucci/Miller parts hybrid GP19.

A 9 time WC breaking a year long podium drought, helped in large part by a mechanical DNF ahead of him, is not a comeback. Vale rode a great race and deserves congrats, but you are way too desperate to vanquish his "haters". It's possible and even more enjoyable IMO to be a fan of a rider without taking everything you hear about them so personally. Everybody's time comes and goes and Vale is no different.

...if they all continue to make mistakes, like Maverick at the last turn, two weeks on the trot, we can have some good battles to watch. We'll see how Vale does, not expecting anything but lets see.

To be honest, last year was the first year when i thought there were guys on the grid for MotoGP and Moto2, who were available, who you could justify replacing Rossi with in terms of points. Between 2014/2018. Rossi ranked..2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 5th and 3rd. Go look at the names and bikes that ranked lower, they have all got their reasons and excuses too, just like Rossi. That 3rd was in the 'dark times' for Yamaha also.

Outside of the legend, and you have to say, excluding the last 12 months, he's an excellent pair of hands for points and podiums and again, excluding the last 12 months, in those terms, he's made Maverick look like a fool previously.

Rossi ran nearly a perfect defensive race for 23+ laps in searing heat with someone threatening to attempt a pass nearly the entire time. If that is pressure in a racing environment I don't know what is. I'd like to know how many pass attempts he shut down riding like that.

Yes, he made a small mistake that let Vinales through but at that point it was pretty much inevitable. Everyone knows MV12 is fast, especially in the latter stages of a race. And everyone knows VR46 is struggling with rear grip issues in the latter stages of a race. The fact that Rossi held off Vinales for a long as he did was a clinic in exceptional braking and racecraft. Anyone that can do what he did I wouldn't stay is "still making mistakes." I've only been watching MotoGP for 7 seasons but I can't remember seeing anyone do better under such sustained pressure. He almost pulled off the impossible.

... a comeback. He finished on the podium in perhaps the hottest GP ever raced, that is indisputable. Nearly every GP has crashes and maybe the odd DNF or two, "but if ____ hadn't crashed it would be different." doesn't hold water. The revelation that Rossi's dismal 2019 had to do with Yamaha forcing his garage to adhere to (apparently) restrictive setup parameters is the first piece of information I've heard that seems to rightly explain wtf was going on, and for so long. I mean, these riders & teams know how to setup a damn motorcycle to at least 95% performance given some laps to experiment. The #46 garage could've likely have had this chronic issue vanquished long ago. To me this is pretty encouraging, and a sign that a Munoz may be the key to this old dog learning a few new tricks yet.

It was one good race which was well timed due to the 'he parked it' crew.

if Rossi is making podiums and even bags a win then it's a return from the nightmare, but currently it's 1 decent race, that's all.

Just hope to see him less deppressed and having more fun....because love or hate him, he's funny, bonkers and entertaining.

Krop's tone on the changes was speculative at best:

"It is likely that"

"Perhaps Rossi, because of his size and weight, is able to use a bike setup outside of the pre-established parameters,"

Etc. It's reasonable, measured, careful speculation, but it's still speculation.

In any case the bigger point here is not to be so eager to find a smoking gun or scapegoat for Rossi's decline in performance. Is it possible Yamaha didn't allow him to make necessary changes? Sure. But there are so many other factors, like his weight, his age, and the fact that the current field is the most competitive in MotoGP history, that it just doesn't make any sense to whittle it down to one thing.... as emotionally cathartic as it may feel.

If Rossi is able to stay near the front and possibly even bag some wins then IMO it will be a comeback. There are plenty of riders who have bagged occasional podiums that we aren't celebrating in such manners.

Have to agree with BrickTop here. 

I suppose there are fans who only enjoy the discussions of swingarm pivot location and tire choice, but if you can't appreciate Valentino Rossi--including the 2020 version--I have to say you're missing a lot of the fun of motogp.

After what Pol called the hardest race of his life, Vale podiums, then hops on the hay bales to salute the "fans," and then is his most charismatic self in every post-race interview. That smile, ear to ear, just didn't go away. 

All the IF's don't matter. If he didn't crash at Valencia he would have had another championship. If Marc had not been born Dovi would be 3x defending world champion. The IF's don't count.

Go watch that post race press conference again and try not to smile!

"Root" in the sporting context always means to support an athlete or team, with even people who generally have their minds in the gutter more likely to think of how pigs find edible roots and fungi as a secondary meaning than the tertiary meaning presented above.

The secondary meaning could apply to a couple of teams (i.e., Nakagami's and Zarco's), as in their mechanics rooted through last year's parts bins when setting up the bikes.

I haven't heard that's before. Very funny 😅😁

On the world feed the commentators kept mentioning the high temperature, for track, tyres and machines. Now for a Spanish run race series I'm pretty sure this wasn't news and to the teams after suffering similar the week before. 

Would it have been possible to run the races in reverse order? With MotoGP racing at 11am. Because the super hot temperatures are not going away at other circuits either. 

Probably not. It seems that the ultimate factor in deciding race time is the television broadcast schedule.

Was very happy to see the way Peco rode in the race. After passing Vale, Peco looked like the only other rider on track who could have kept with Fabio.

Oh and about the talk of Rossi 'parking it' deliberately. It's only a strange form of compliment. 2019 was a terrible year for Rossi. For some it's the norm. 

 

As a former site supporter who has fallen on hard times you initially said the roundups would  still be free. 
a roundup by any other name is still a roundup (subscriber notes)

The truth of the matter is that I changed my mind, after getting a lot of advice from people.

The reason is simple: I can't spare the time to write two different roundups, one for subscribers, one for everyone else. The other round ups will remain free for the foreseeable future, but if the website is to survive, and hopefully grow, then having the Sunday notes for subscribers only is a very important part of that growth.

Sorry to hear you have fallen on hard times. I hope things turn around for you very soon.

oh lordy . the  iam not a fan of rossi dude come over here 🤣😂

ffs realy?   just enjoy the racing

 

 

I wonder, was that the hottest race on record? It must have been right up there if not.

I remember the same thing happening to Ben Spies when he went to the factory team. They would not allow his team to set up the bike the way he wanted and needed. He really struggled with it, and it caused his career ending injury. I wonder if the "B" teams are allowed more space for set up changes and if Fabio will have issues next year?

If Fabio racks up the wins this year - you do wonder why the need for the move to the factory Yamaha squad unless he gets a load more $$$$ and the prestige ?!

The same reason Rossi was forced away from the Nastro Azzuro team and onto Repsol back in the day. The manufacturers want the champion on their bike, in their team, riding for their sponsors. Having the B team take the title is in many ways worse than no title at all, now the A team has to justify it's existence to the board when the B team delivered superior performance for lower budget.

Seem to remember bayliss Duc was too hard. Apparently he saw a set of shocks that he hadn't tried put them on and went really quick. Then came the valencia round where he smashed everyone with the set up he wanted so maybe it is a thing. As a factory I want my 2 riders to be the quickest no matter what the set up. Could be a penny farthing for all I care. 

Pretty sure Bayliss smashed everyone with a wild card ride at Valencia before moving to a full time Motogp ride.

I've followed Rossi like everybody else... for over 20 years. I didn't know he had any haters, but we have a few right here on this forum! Rossi's race was a good one. It looked like he was holding a few people up during the middle, but it only turned out to be Maverick. I thought it was pretty entertining to watch Rossi outbrake MV lap after lap. Apparently Vinales needs to work on that if he is ever going to be the Champ. Looking forward to the next few races to see how th Ducati's stack up.  

Agree - it was really entertaining watching Rossi's determination in defending 2nd place.  Kind of a bummer he couldn't hold on to it until the end, but a great showing none-the-less.

I think the biggest thing Vinales needs to work on if he ever wants to be a world champion is his habit of going backwards at the beginning of races.  Whether he's uncomfortable with a full fuel load, or fresh tires, or whatever it is, it's been a clear trademark of Vinales, going all the way back to his Suzuki days.  He's gotten moderately better with his early laps, but it's clearly still a problem.

I'm not sure about this "Rossi was holding people up" narrative like he's supposed to pull over and wave people through. If Vinales can't get past that's really a Vinales issue not a Rossi issue - he's well within his rights to make it difficult to be passed. Otherwise, let's just hand the trophy over after qualifying if defending one's position is frowned upon now.

I enjoyed Vale's racecraft Sunday. Little is personal. He is great at becoming hard to pass. Let the guy enjoy his sunset.

Maverick managed to start 1st round's race brilliantly, but shite tire choice overheated. 2nd race, he did a mimic of the previous wknd's error overshooting a corner ot two.

Chalking it up to conditions and being at the limit. In a week and a half, we get to see the weakness of this Yamaha. It will be substantial. Bike places will be swapped w the Ducati.

Loving Miller and Bagnaia. Jack has been extending his expected trajectory to a tee. Pecco? He finally picked his back up after a latency. Call me a Bagnaia fan. Dovi is performing precisely as expected. Eyes on next two tracks for clear crystal balling.

Jerez highlights Yamaha strengths of course, but more interestingly highlights gains on the weak point of the Duc. Miller and Bagnaia displayed its gains getting into and holding a sweeper on the gas. Bike looks GREAT.

This was brilliant,

"Social Media companies granted everyone degrees in orthopedic surgery, everyone using their new-found expertise in sports-related trauma to opine on the rights and wrongs of the case."

Keep up the good work. :)

Is Dovi the fastest Ducati?  Those young'uns at Pramac are going to give him fits for the rest of the year.  A Dovi championship would be wonderful (especially because I despise Ducati's rider management), but he needs to find something and quick.  Austria is a Ducati track, but Dovi has lost to Lorenzo and Ianonne there.  Losing to Miller or Bagnaia doesn't seem too far fetched.

Vinales also has to be questioning himself.  He has great tests, practices, and qualifying.  Somehow, it doesn't translate into wins on Sunday. Besides the ignominy of Marquez closing a 25s gap (tire choice, I'm sure), Fabio has ran away with two wins.  Morbidelli came past in race 2 and Maverick had nothing for him.  Vinales took a big points haul by staying on the bike.  But between the mechanical problems and a newly fast Petronas Team, Vinales can't be comfortable.

If the don't improve, Dovi and Vinales aren't winning any championship this year, especially with Marquez's return looming on the Czech horizon.  They were supposed to battle the guy who ran them both down after spotting them 25s.  There's just no way they beat Marquez.  The real question will be whether Marquez can close a 50 pt gap to Quartararo.

Is Dovi the fastest Ducati?  Those young'uns at Pramac are going to give him fits for the rest of the year. 

Miller crashes too much. Bagnaia has had, let's face it, two good races on one track. They're both on the cusp of being fantastic, but don't count Dovi out yet.

 

That's a lot of conclusions based on one race performance. Jack Miller has averaged more than 4 DNFs per season in motogp. Compare his results last year to Dovizioso's and one will see that Miller would have to take a big step forward in performance to equal the numbers that Dovizioso put up last year. Meanwhile, Bagnaia was lost last year. One great race performance makes him ready for the factory seat next year? At a minimum, let's see how the next few races play out first.

In a way, Dovizioso is in the same boat that Rossi was. Rossi was given a bike and setup parameters that didn't fit with his riding style, that which comes naturally to him. Rossi complained about not being able to enter the corners the way he liked. Finally, after a year of struggle, his team was allowed to adjust the setup outside the parameters defined by the engineers in a case of data vs feeling. And all of a sudden Rossi was competitve to the end of the race and claimed the bike finally felt like his bike. He was downright sprightly in parc ferme whereas Nakagami looked utterly wasted getting off the Honda and staggering into the pitbox. That right there snuffed out the rumors that the wily, old dog was tired and not motivated.

Dovizioso has been given a new rear tire that doesn't jive with his riding style, the way he naturally rides a bike without having to think. He is trying to adapt his riding style to the new characteristics of the rear tire. But also, his team is following an analytical approach of ideas in a search for a setup that will allow Dovizioso to ride the bike naturally (without thinking), because this is the way that he can exploit the full potential of the Desmosedici to the best of his ability. Apparently, this new rear tire is not causing the same kind of problems for Miller and Bagnaia. Maybe it is even helping them due to their riding styles. But, to draw conclusions after one good race performance each is a little premature wouldn't you say? 

Of course, time waits for nobody. It is only a matter of time before youth gathers enough experience combined with natural ability and talent to surpass the old guard. It's inevitable.

Excellent post - so if Ducati think Miller is the key to winning the title he needs to score 25% more points roughly than his challenger to make up for his crashing (assuming a 16 race season). So to beat Marquez over a year he needs to win every race he finishes...not seeing it. 

...My original premise was that the first two race results are enough to make Dovi (and Vinales) uncomfortable.  Its way too early to say he's completely out of it and should be sacked.  For sure the new Michelin rear has caused him issues; however, he's got to get closer to the pointy end. I agree the Pramac riders are still too inconsistent (and relatively unproven); however, on a given day they are fast enough to create problems. Whether or not they'll be able to hold that level of performance all year remains to be seen.  But Dovi needs to figure a way forward and do it quickly.

Maybe it's qualifying more than anything else - he was 8th/14th, Miller was 5/7th, and Bagnaia was 4/3. The next few races will tell the tale - especially Austria, which should be a Ducati family brawl.  He's got to be taking notice.

Vinales is a race winner but does he have that something special which allows him to go onto win championships ? Lorenzo and Marquez do - Fabio certaintly hasnt wasted any time getting into a groove - but its too early to say after 2 races on same track. Vinales had opportunity to take 2 wins but lacked that killer instinct. I am tempted to suggest that MM93 should sit out 2020, get fit and lets see who is the heir apparent to MM93's crown. Fascinating.....

(Paraphrasing)

Simon: with Marc out do you worry about your prospects, as nobody else seems to be able to ride the Honda to his level?

A. Puig: stupid question.  We have a bike that has won 6 championships.

Simon: yeah, but second honda in those championships hasn't been anywhere near the top.

A.Puig: still a stupid question.  We have the best bike.

Simon: uh, ok...

Glad Alberto isn't my boss...

Right?
And sorry that even expressive heart forward Crafar can't "so, you are doubling down on THAT?! You'll die on that hill? Or, should we say, a rider will while you act surprised? Are you always a c*nt, or just strategically for justification of negligence? How long until you get sent back to manage the talent cup to avoid embarrassment?"

Given the engine failures Yamaha have suffered, they must be worried that the engines will pop or need to be turned down so much they are uncompetitive. 

They are telegraphing that they aim to get approval for replacement of those faulty sensors. Bet it goes fine. The engines are ok. Not a performance gain. Can be pitched re safety too. No one likes a bike that "got unstarted" on a race line in front of someone.

I'm sure that whatever Yamaha have asked permission for, Ducati and Honda are busy researching every direction they can protest it from, or getting their mechanics to practice their wrench throwing skills.

Did it seem like everyone had a real fire under their belly this time?  Sometimes it seems that the riders are lining up with a 'battle for second' mindset.  As if a MM win is almost a foregone conclusion unless he crashes out.  I felt like I was seeing a genuine hunger to win rather than talking a good game about trying their best. 

maybe it was just me.

2013 Pedrosa AND Jorge tied at 330 pts, The Marc won w 334. We had Rossi 2014-2015 putting up his last exertion of top dog. No one 2016. Dovi 2017, and a bit less so but also 2018. FabQ 2019. Jorge did too. Even grabbed a season in 2015, importantly.

They reached The Marc land, and sniffed around. Thassit though, but it matters eh?

Good observation, that hadn't occurred to me, but for sure it felt like the riders were going for gold this week, no playing safe (in a highly relative sense). Maybe it's a combination of things; pent-up energy post-lockdown; the need to get points while you can (Barcelona and Aragon starting to look iffy); the guy in front of you today was behind you last year; all those things and more, but whatever the cause, it was a very enjoyable race to watch.

the amount of  just  sheer  crap is posted by  some supporters   what glasses are you having on ?? 

just why  is only the racing not good enough . 

 

 

 

 

 

Was just having the same thoughts last night that this forum is starting to resemble the comments posted on crash...

It's changed a lot over the years.

I finally became a member last night because I finally had enough of reading Crash.  You get about 1 post in 10 about the actual race or article topic.

If we could keep it civil and thoughtful, I would appreciate that. I try to read the comments, but I don't want to have to spend my time policing them all. Any time I spend doing that is time not spent writing and researching new stories, or editing stories by contributors.

As a rule, the standard of comments here is genuinely outstanding (they are read also by people in the paddock, precisely because they are mostly intelligent). But from time to time, passions get the better of people. So please count to ten before posting. It makes for a much better standard of debate.

Boy, if we really wanted to light a bonfire, we could express our opinions on which motogp bike is the best!

Hahahaha...

His outright talent and pace WHEN everything clicks is second to no one. His style on the bike, strength under the brakes (in spite of not being able to pass Rossi this time), his chemistry with a sweet handling bike...are all incredible. 
 

His first win at Silverstone with Suzuki was ridiculous, his testing and qualifying pace, his first races at Yamaha, all remarkable. Watching him ride when he is on his game is beautiful!

For whatever reasons, in races, he has these inexplicable fades for a bunch of laps.  Andalucia...wth happened mid race. If it's not the beginning of the race, then now it's mid race. He said he overheated his tires, but why didn't the other guys? He faded so far back and then he showed his true pace vs Rossi to catch back up from a long long way.  
He's just an enigma to me... a wonderful-to-watch-ride enigma who will be a major player in this year's championship along with Fabio, Dovi and Marquez (yep, I said it). 

And those of you slogging off on anybody that can grab a podium in MotoGP in those conditions are just weak and lame. About as weak and lame as those of you using your anonymous internet muscles to slog off on each other to ruin a good forum. 
 

 

Agree with you. He is fast and smooth WHEN it all works. His reasoning for falling off the pace this weekend to recover later was that he needed time and space to cool his front tire.  I have no reason or real world experience at that level to agree or disagree.

I generally feel - as others have said - that the enormity of the pressure seems to get to him and he gets rattled. There was another really good post that beyond the pressure it is his general inability to find ways past those in front of him. Just as Pecco has made huge strides on the brakes this year, it seems it is an area of improvement for MV12 too. While Jerez suits the Yamaha, What can't be denied is that Yamaha looked to have solved a lot of their problems with the 2020 bike. Here is hoping the manage the next few tracks well. 
 

relating to the comment "it is his general inability to find ways past those in front of him" that this is also a Yamaha feature. Little short in horsepower, not the best in braking and the need for sweeping lines is good for best time attemps but not the best in 1 on 1 battles....Added some tyre troubles during the race and the strong points dissapear.... I remember the Twin bikes in 500 cc long time ago how they manage to carry a lot of cornerspeed but when in traffic they got blocked by other bikes and could not find the pace anymore

MotoGP bikes have a temperature sensor in the front wheel so the rider can have warning to back off before the tyre fails or they low-side.

First time I recall temprorarily backing off to cool the front tyre being a subject of discussion post-race race was about Márquez's bike at Phillip Island in 2015.

It might have to do with his thoughts while racing. He seems to have a bit of an up and down persona when off the bike. His first win in motogp at Silverstone for Suzuki in '16, he just dominated from lights out to the checkers. Then at times after a so-so result (less than expected) he seems a bit flustered in the post race interview, talking rapidly and not being very thoughtful. If his moods and thoughts interfere with his understanding that is an area he can improve upon. He was all smiles last weekend until after the race (which looked to be brutal conditions) where he looked a bit desperate.

Dovizioso has revealed that he has been gifted a very clear head while racing. He says he thinks a lot while on the bike. He also said that he adjust his brake lever 3, 4 or 5 times a lap. I thought it must be a mistake with the translation and they meant per race. Anyway, he is adjusting maps and doing all kinds of stuff while racing. It helps to have a clear head and understand.

It seems that the racers are spending there time racing while trying to understand at the same time. All of this in an extreme environment. Understanding the track conditions, the tires, the bike setup, other riders pace, the entire race and whatnot. And the understanding is fluid - not static - because all of the variables have the potential to change. Which they do. Fuel is burned off, tires wear, track conditions can change such as an increase in grip, some setups come better later in the race while others don't. Meanwhile everyone is jostling for position and going all out or maybe playing a game of cat and mouse. It must be really chaotic and the ones with a competitive package that can make the most sense of what's going on have the potential to get the best results.  

Then there are those that just go with the feeling. They feel the best way to race. The feelings don't fully develop into thoughts. If Viñales has some downer feelings while racing that would definitely affect results. 

Maybe Viñales would benefit from a more balanced mind (thoughts and feelings).

Or maybe I don't know squat.

Not only physically, but the amount of thinking that goes on. When I was club racing it was all I could do to find my grid position for that raceday. :)

Yes, Maverick Viñales remains a delightful enigma. You have to wonder at how much pressure there is in the factory Yamaha garage.

But you have to admit, 40 points from the first two races isn't a bad haul for MV12. And the starts and holding his position, both problems in the past, seem to have largely been rectified, at least so far, this season.

I am gratified that he seems to be much happier this year than the past seasons. His interviews this season show a much happier and positive-looking side of him as well. We'll see how it translates over the rest of the season.

Maverick is something to behold. He is not as smooth and consistent on the bike. If he had a higher horsepower machine he would do better, grabbing squirts of gains and compensating for a few mild errors. He is forceful and inspired. I like watching him. He is focused and improving, don't you think? Off the bike, he is quite likeable and sincere. Decreasingly mercurial as his bike finds competitiveness. Strong drive!

Pardon conjecture, but he looks like what a Ducati rider needs. FabQ is Yamaha tip to tail. Looking fwd to next round and several Ducatis. Especially if one is Pecco again. Expecting Yamaha grunt to look pretty dismal, and lots of talk about the motors needing sensor help I hope doesn't become tediously contentious.

Suzuki AND KTM are coming. This is good. How hot is likely to be there? Hopefully much more moderate.

That's the last thing Viñales needs is the Ducati Management Mindfuck Machine working their magic on his grey matter. He would have been better off staying at Suzuki, piloting for a smaller factory with realistic expectations. Davide Brivio is always smiling and chuckling about everything in the present moment of life. Suzuki is happy to pick off a win here and there whilst fighting with the big manufacturers. All the while crafting a motogp bike that passes a Ducati around the outside of a turn.

After the first five races of the 2017 season, everyone was penciling Viñales' name on the championship trophy as a foregone conclusion. And then...it all came apart. By mid-season he was asking for the bike that he had started the year on. We do not know the "behind the scenes" dynamics at play. But it has been an up and down (with mostly down due to Yamaha engineering dysfunction) story ever since. From mid-season last year Viñales has found a similar form that he showed when he first moved to Yamaha. But the mood swings continue.

Suzuki is not as big of a motorcycle manufacturer as Yamaha. Maybe Viñales might have progressed more if he had stayed at Suzuki rather than move to Yamaha. Even though the Suzuki team has a lot of Italian staff, the managment is Japanese. The conservatism extends to the point that they still won't commit to a satellite team. To say that Viñales would do well under the passionate and intense spotlight of the expectations of Ducati management is...well, maybe the last thing Viñales needs is that kind of pressure. 

Agree 100%, but especially with the Vinales + Suzuki pairing. I always thought he would've been better served to stay there.  But I never had the courage to say it out loud. Ducati's arrogance dealing with their riders would surely be an even worse situation.

When I was club racing it was all I could do to find my grid position for that raceday. :)

That made me laugh. I can relate. How these guys can detect such tiny changes in tires, brakes, traction, and so forth is totally beyond me. Bloody magicians.

Why do I find this statement very hard to believe It is likely that Yamaha finally allowed Rossi and his team to make a radical change to the geometry of the bike, and possibly the electronics as well”.  Surely Rossi and his team could make all the changes to the bike they would like during testing and not have to ask permission.  Doesn’t make sense.  Sounds like a bit of Rossi obfuscation to me.
If you are in a hole, like Rossi has been in for a couple of years now, wouldn't you throw caution to the wind and try every conceivable variation to set up to try and find something.  to me it seems like the typical blame shifting.   

Lin Jarvis seemed to acknowledge the truth of this when interviewed. I can't imagine this was just a matter of setting things up differently, cost-free; it must have needed some kind of investment from Yamaha and one that went against the development direction.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, the teams are not allowed to change whatever they want on the bikes. The factory engineers put an enormous amount of effort into crunching all of the data they have to find the optimal settings, and to prevent riders from going down rabbitholes which can look promising at first but end up in a much worse place. The reason they put so much effort into simulations and data analysis is because track time is limited: you can't spend a week at a track somewhere throwing seemingly illogical settings at a bike just to see how they work. So factory engineers work out what they think works best, and tell the race teams to stay within those paramaters.

The one thing the engineers can't calculate is the feeling a rider gets from the bike. It may be theoretically fast, but if it takes too much effort to do the lap time, or removes the feedback about where the limit is for the rider, then it is not much use. Ducati, in particular, is notorious for this: the data says a given lap time is possible, but the riders can only do it one lap out of five, crashing on three other laps.

That seems to be what has happened here. Rossi wanted a set up which would give him the feeling he was looking for. The Yamaha engineers, having simulated that data, saw lots of negatives to it, and could see that the setups used by Quartararo and Viñales were faster on paper, something which the riders proved. Rossi couldn't make the bike work in that configuration, however, and wanted to try something else.

If you doubt a factory would have banned configurations, ask yourself this: do you think the factory would let their riders waste time going out with the rebound and compression maxed out at both ends, and springs more suited to a 100kg rider than a 65kg rider? Would they let them try the bike around, say, Valencia with maximum rake and trail, the rear wheel at the position furthest back, and ride height so low the belly pan is almost scraping on the ground?

Reductio ad absurdum, certainly, but just to demonstrate that the factories have a given set of parameters within which they operate. They have a lot of data, and try to make the best possible use of it.

Why I come here after having paid my dues. Good discussions with good explanations by people that are in the know. Thanks, David

What is most interesting about the situation around Rossi is what happens at Brno and Austria. He and his team may have found a setup that worked at Jerez. But the bigger question is whether it will work in Brno as well, and at Austria. Two very different tracks.

A new setup that got Rossi to a bit over eight seconds behind the leader with five laps left to go in the race at Andalucía. The leader being some young gun barely more than one-half Rossi's age and riding essentially the same bike. A race that did not feature Marc Marquez in the proceedings. A race that did feature one crash related and two mechanical DNFs - two in front of Rossi on track and one hounding his rear tire. Nobody's doubting Rossi's fighting spirit or determination. What's in doubt is whether his riding style, racecraft and skill, feeling with the bike and whatever new setup will ever propel him to the front of a race again. The results don't lie - Rossi's numbers have been sliding downhill ever since Motogp entered the Michelin spec tire era. Should Rossi ever win another race, this guy shall celebrate with him from the couch (oddly, a guy who was so tired of the Rossi domination in the aughts). Sadly, for those that mourn the passing of eras, a Rossi win amongst the current Motogp grid does not seem likely. But maybe a guy will be forced to eat these words.

Without inviting trouble, it is safe to assume that a Rossi win invigorates those that love/admire and loathe him. I am betting that if David were to track his posts with the most comments, those most highly commented on are those where VR featured prominately in the race. If he is that kind of 'draw' to the comment section imagine the dollars that his presence -and even a remotley competitive VR brings to Dorna, etc. That said, like you, i would also be celebrating  

 

One swallow doesn't make a summer. The presumption, i think, is that the Jerez temperatures must surely have been the worst scenario for Rossi's tyre woes. However, have they solved (to some degree) the rear tyre issue? Or have they, by giving the rider better 'feel', allowed the rider to better handle what he has to play with, which is still by virtue of many other factors, including the 'new' setup, less than Fabio and Maverick ? Relative to Maverick, Rossi's tyres were still kaput at the end of the race.

Is there a limit to how quickly a two-wheeled instrument can circulate a given racetrack? This is the question that has been popping into my brain recently. If there is a physical limitation, how close are motogp bikes to this limitation? Will the bikes become more and more difficult to ride as the manufacturers try to eke out smaller and smaller gains? Will there be some kind of morphing in the future between Motogp and eSport where humans control the bikes from playstation controllers because the bikes have become impossible for humans to ride? Is the technological race Motogp is caught up in caused Motogp to become it's own worst enemy?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't there coverage on here of some sort of trial along these lines two or three years ago?

I'd assume the factories could easily programme the bike to run a riderless lap right now and probably get it at or near the optimum. They must have servers full of data and the tech itself is already out there (think Tesla). But, thankfully, that probably wouldn't sell too many bikes. Equally, overtaking might be challenging, mightn't it, as the robot would never make a mistake!

Good to be back to fun, interesting, informative discussion.

I seem to remember that, many years ago, they put a robot on a Yamaha and Rossi 'races it. He came out miles ahead! 

How do you simluate a rider hanging off the side, the subtle pressures into handlebars and foot pegs? I believe at this stage humans will still be the greatest differentiater for a long time to come. 

Yes, it was probably that which I'm thinking of. You may be right - the hardest variable would, I imagine, be the track surface, which I guess is what the riders mostly 'feel' and adjust for. But before the stock Ecu the factories were programming turn by turn hardware and it still wouldn't surprise me if, by now, they could easily write algorithms to handle every combination of circumstances that came their way (and fit it all on a chip the size of a match head).

When we got Dani Pedrosa on the big bike scene, and he was both diminuitive and robot esque off the bike, a number of us were joking about him being an HRC cyborg. Electronics were on the rise. We got the 800's, and more was going on in the laptop tech side than some of us preferred. Big flat track blasters like Hayden seemed to be stuck on a wee digital bike.

We were not a happy lot. In would come "we should go back to two strokes," and "it should be wide open w a no limits rulebook." A couple of Aliens and two Manus could win. The Aprilia threw Haga like a cricket ball. Kawasaki sent McCoy packing. The Suzuki electronics were demonic, sometimes taking KJr and Hopkins out in the same engine braking nightmare.

Who would have guessed that the 2008 global recession would usher in low $ bikes filling out the dwindled grid? Then, a spec electronics package for every bike? And that it would make things THIS good?!

Glad we didn't get our way. Mine was ZERO electronics btw, outside of consideration of something simple and minimal for safety, no workarounds, a couple of sensors. Anyone suggesting what we DID get, they would have been ridiculed. "It will be horrible for the racing. No one will want to participate or watch. That isn't what GPs are about. You know who will leave."

Glad we were wrong.

Fun offhand comment now. That Yamaha could get a robot to ride a bike? Amazing. That Carmello could pull off that structural shift and Spec Electronics, ushering in this era? Equally amazing. Yamaha and Honda can spend years in development doldrums. KTM blows our minds, with The Pedrosabot cranking out the laps in automaton repetitive testing privacy. Suzuki can win a dry race. We have little idea which of a handful of riders on a handful of bikes may win 2020.

Coooool

Increased monetary and technological inputs with minimal gains. Where is it all headed? There is a fuzzy, vague memory of an Indy 500 race years ago at PIR (maybe) where during a regularly scheduled meeting the day after a Friday practice one driver raised his hand and confessed that he was still dizzy from the preceding day's actions. He felt compelled to speak up out of concern for the safety of himself and others. Slowly, other drivers began to raise their hands, one by one, and admit they too were suffering from a similar malady. The G forces were causing problems with their spatial orientation, or brains, or whatever - they were screwed up in their heads. Because of these problems, the rules had to be changed (decrease of power resulting in slower speeds). This memory is vague and may not be entirely accurate.

More and more horsepower is thrown at NHRH dragstrip racecars with lesser and lesser gains in a decreased elapsed time to the finish line. Is there a physical limit to all of this? Is there only so much that classical physics will allow for a four-wheeled vehicle to rocket down a dragstrip in a given amount of time? And then what does that say about the limits for two-wheeled vehicles circulating a given track? Will there come a point in time that humans can no longer endure the forces generated in order to go more quickly around a track on a motorcycle? If so, then what?  

In the battle of the skies, fighter jet pilots wage war until usually one passes out due to the G forces created by the maneuvers. The machine technology surpasses that which the human body and consciousness can endure. This has been known for a long time.

Is that the fate of Motogp? In the quest for more, is there a finite, physical limit somewhere on the horizon? The lesser gains in decreased lap times in Motogp races makes for closer racing, and consequently motorcycles that are more and more difficult to ride. Tech is playing a bigger role each year funded by the manufacturers and sponsers. Money usually buys results and racing is a results based business.

It's just rambling...but is Motogp headed to the point where the motorcycles can no longer be ridden by humans?

 

It's an interesting question. I mainly think the sport is firmly anchored to riders and personalities, which is why racing can seem dull to some (I'm one) when there aren't really any heroes or villains (crossref to Gordon's WSBK article). But then I think of "Robot Wars", a tv programme in the UK where enthusiasts go into battle against each other using home made robots - the robots basically beat the cr*p out of each other's until there's only one still functioning. That's fun to watch, but the builders themselves are incidental. Just like destruction Derby's, where no-one really identifies with the driver, just the vehicle itself. So I suspect people might still watch 'robogp', though it might not be us, and if so the manufacturers might be persuaded to go down that path. It probably depends on what the spectacle is. For the life of me I can't understand why anyone still watches F1, but they do in their millions, and if you can dramatise 8 guys changing a set of tyres in 2.8 seconds, with 30 processional laps either side, then you could probably find something equally weird-to-watch with bikes. 

...i get worried for the future of MotoGP. Crazy to say when we often get fed with excitement by the bucket load. It's the aero that worries me. As in an earlier comment i think, ever more money spent for a dimishing return as rules attempt to restrict and you can't get anything more difficult to restrict than aero because it's a fundamental part of anything moving fast. My worry is exactly what happened in F1, i know it's comparing apples to blow flies but aero becomes so important that a less than optimum airflow reduces performance leading to less battles, leading to rules changes, leading to ad infinitum optimization of aero, which makes makes it more susceptible to disturbance and the ever increasing effort for the dimishing return until....I mean, DRS....god help me.

I think on the positive side, as long as MotoGP keeps the power/weight and nice small contact patches for tyres, it's going to remain on the right side of madness. On the negative side, when relative performances between bikes get as close as they are these days, the little things matter more.