Styria MotoGP Sunday Subscriber Notes: Red Flags, Track Limits, Braking Issues, And A Wide Open Championship

It has been an exhilarating, fascinating, infuriating, enervating three weeks in Grand Prix racing. Three back-to-back rounds, one at Brno and two at the the Red Bull Ring in Austria, have thrown up more surprises than we could ever expect. Three different winner in three races, new manufacturers on the podium, a host of unusual and long-standing records broken. There really is a lot to talk about.

Red flag waved at the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring

One of the most surprising things is the fact that in the six races we have had in the space of the last eight days (disregarding the Red Bull Rookies for a moment) three, or fully half, have been red flagged, and a restart needed. The Red Bull Ring became the Red Flag Ring, as Twitter wits quickly dubbed it after a massive brake failure by Maverick Viñales saw his Yamaha M1 pierce the air fence at Turn 1 and cause the MotoGP race to be red flagged, for the second time in as many weekends.

Blame the track?

That raises the discussion once again of just how suited this circuit is to motorcycle racing. The first red flag, caused when Enea Bastianini highsided his Kalex on the exit of Turn 1 and it was struck by Hafizh Syahrin, cannot completely be put down to the track layout. The fact that a lot of Moto2 bikes seem to highside there, and when they do, the bikes sit in the middle of the track rather than sliding to one side is arguably down to the circuit. On the other hand, bikes highsiding is not uncommon at a lot of tracks, and the bikes do occasionally remain on track.

The second red flag, caused by the crash between Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco, is clearly an issue with the track. The Turn 2/Turn 3 combination is extraordinarily challenging, the riders hard on the brakes while heeled over hard left before entering the right hander, but when things go wrong, bikes can slide on through the gravel and cross the track again at Turn 3, still traveling at very high speed. The Red Bull Ring mitigated a lot of this problem by extending the wall on the inside of Turn 3.

The third red flag, caused by Maverick Viñales' Yamaha, is another tossup. Bikes can suffer brake failures at any track. And bikes can hit air fences at a number tracks – the Sachsenring springs immediately to mind. But the Red Bull Ring is the toughest track for braking on the calendar according to brake manufacturers Brembo, matched only by Barcelona. If there is a track you are likely to suffer a brake problem, it is the Red Bull Ring. And the speeds involved are so high that bikes inevitably end up destroying the air fence. So is this crash down to the track, or could it happen anywhere?

Whatever the explanation, the one thing which the Red Bull Ring does generate is exciting racing, and especially dramatic last-lap finishes. We saw that in all three classes, producing thrilling and sometimes controversial results. Add in the red flag in MotoGP, and there really is a lot of ground to cover in these subscriber notes.

Here is what you will find:

  • How the MotoGP race was won
  • Is the KTM the best bike on the grid?
  • KTM's concessions situation
  • Track limits – why some riders are punished, and others aren't
  • Whether the rules on track limits need changing
  • The red-flagged MotoGP race
  • How restarted races help some riders, punish others
  • Mir, Nakagami, Oliveira, Dovizioso – winners and losers from the restarted race
  • Yamaha's braking problems, and how they are dealing with it
  • Where we stand with the championship

All that to come, but we start with what turned out to be the highlight of the weekend: the last frenetic lap of the restarted 12-lap MotoGP race, which saw Miguel Oliveira make it two KTM victories in three weeks.

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Source: 
year: 
2020
round_number: 
6

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Comments

Kinetic enery to be dissipated goes up with the square of the speed - hence a slow bike has a lot less kinetic enery than a fast one.
Apparently (only?) the Yamahas chose to not use the heavy duty calipers - this is far more likely to be the cause.

 

Energy / Time = work done.

Brake lighter for longer 'cos you've gained 2 bike lengths under acceleration, and your brakes are below the critial loads/temps compared to the bike that it trying to scrub that speed in, say, 1/3rd shorter distance. 

If Simon's observations were accurate, then all the Yamaha bikes weren't running either the 'high mass' caliper nor the new GP4 finned monoblock calipers.  Seems like in Yamaha's attempt to reel back every potential disadvantage toward gathering speed, they cut this margin too close.

...thinking again of the likely culprit to their engine issues, this seems to be a bit of a running theme for them this year.

Last year Misano was a Yamaha track. Bet it isn't this go around. The lowered wick on the motor drops it back, and other bikes/riders have taken a step fwd. Can you believe that we are earnestly asking if the KTM is the best bike on the grid? Cool. I see Suzuki, KTM and Ducati making hay there. 

Pol got run off line by Miller, and lost a spot. No penalty need. Looks like they missed one minor infraction elsewhere in the fracas. Fairly understandable. Poor Mir. Put that in your fuel tank at Misano mate. 

Wide open championship. Good stuff!

David, can you please and thank you get an update on Bagnaia?

Pol hasn't learned anything in the last 3 weeks: watch what he does after he's pushed wide and accelerates to the flag: cuts back to the right, taking the entire width of the track without looking and nearly taking out Mir's front wheel...

The contrast with how he reacted to the red flag and raced last week versus how Mir reacted and raced today is also jarring. Pol is basically a MotoGP rider with the maturity of the average Moto2 pilot.

Pol's answer to the final post-race interview question about the loss of KTM concessions was revealing. Pol's answer appeared to be selfish and inwardly focused, unlike the perspective shared by actual KTM winners Brad and Miguel. Brad and Miguel are focused on their results and understand and acknowledge the contribution of the entire team, their families, and external stakeholders. Was anyone else struck by the radically different views held by the racers within the KTM team?

Pol has an slight over-aggression and lacks self control, both on and off the track and this is what you ar referring to I believe. This comes out more as we can now focus on him at the front of the grid and on TV more. His crashes were at least partly his fault. I can maybe forgive him for the jokey answer at the press conference - but I see your point, lack of maturity even if he should be. He probably deep down feels he deserved (is owed) Binder's win and is still angry - due to the long hours he put in developing the bike. Doesn't excuse the over-emotion, wild riding when tires go off- and part blame in the incidents. But he can ride a difficult bike better than anyone else it seems, the  2019 KTM.. Guess that is what Honda wants, for a while..

With the Suzuki clearly going well in the hands of both riders, could they come good at Misano and both be on the podium? I need to look at Mir's previous results there now, if he loves it as much as Austria... could be a heck of a fight!

Racing Gods don't give a f. Poor, dangerous and uninspired tracks can allow the greatest and most dramatic races possible. I just wish it were safer. And 2020 looks like 2006 but without a guy like Hayden. Maybe now people will realize the talent and effort it takes to simply be consistent and competitive and give him his due credit for doing it with a prime Rossi around.

Please, Lin, will you please move on to your next pursuit and let someone else take over the Yamaha factory team? This just doesn't seem to suit you. This must be 4 years in a row or something that Yamaha have had some serious engineering issue. Who'll be the one to apologize, this time to MV for nearly killing him? And why is your championship leader spending more time in the gravel than Caterpillar? Yamaha have a good bike and I'm a fan but my lord there seem to be some deficiencies in their QC and attention to detail.

he is the team manager not Head of Yamaha nor its engineering dept. The faults lay with Yamaha, the team can only play with what they are supplied with for the most part and until the nature of the MV brake failure is known, it's  just conjecture.

Does not appear to be bringing anything to any party anywhere. Which makes me wonder how he got the job initially...

He is a long, long time employee of Yamaha. There is a recent MotoGP Podcast with him.  Worth a listen.

This has nothing at all to do with Lin Jarvis. He manages the non-technical side of things - he gets zero input on the technical development of the bike (he's a marketing guy). Nor is he consulted on the hiring decision on the engineering side (he doesn't work in Iwata). That job belongs to Takairo Sumi, Yamaha's counterpart to Takeo Yokoyama and Gigi Dall'Igna.

Jarvis' job is to ensure that race teams run smoothly, maximize sponsorship, and sign the best available riders for the best available price. On all counts, he's done an excellent job - the team environment is healthy, the deep-pocketed Monster and Petronas have come on-board, Vinales & Quartararo have been signed, Rossi has been retained within the Yamaha family, and Lorenzo has been contracted to be their test-rider.

"you need to think that where the green is, you have gravel or grass. And nobody should use it from the beginning to the end, for me." now that's funny.

Seems like your green outweighs your gravel. A bit of a mixed metaphor but Casey gets it. 

Selective memory simply does not account for all the recorded info out there. Riding off track and brake checking all in one race!

If you can make the lap riding on grass and dirt you don't deserve a penalty.

Track limits are only needed where the runoff is safe to ride on. Where there is grass and dirt there is no need for artificial track limits; the elements are the limiting factor. For instance, there is no need for artificial limits at IoM. The stone walls and hedges do quite nicely at both keeping riders on course and punishing transgressors!

Coulda been me a thousand times. Now I just watch onboards from IoM on YT. Cheers!

I think I saw both Vale an Fabio go well into the green a few laps into the race, can only assume they couldn't get it stopped. I'm not sure either gained any advantage, they were so far out.

I don't think Vale was putting himself up as a paragon of virtue, simply making the point that everyone, at some point or another, has to now treat the green area as an optional part of the racing surface.

I'm not sure there's a good solution here. I imagine we can rule out reinstating the kitty litter on safety grounds, but if you're going to punish the trespass regardless of outcome, you're going to have to also look the actions of a rider who squeezes someone out onto the green, then take into account that the nerfed rider probably wouldn't have got themselves into that position if the green wasn't there as a safety margin, and so on ad nauseum.

What it needs is some magical but crappy surface that costs you time without that being dangerous in itself (oxymoronadam, you saw it here first). However, the safest solution is exactly what we have at present, where the rider can retain speed and re-enter with relatively little risk of being rear-ended by someone else. A great solution that's probably saved a few broken bones, but now we need some really boring rules. Health and safety mate, innit. 

F1 would have to agree to the oxymoronadam at tracks that F1 and Motogp share. It would be important that the oxymoronadam was not a safety hazard or it's back to square one. Is there a solution that would work for both cars and bikes?

When summarising the winners/losers I thought the article was leading towards the old (hated?) solution of aggregate times. 

As the reformed grid graphics were going up, I noticed that each riders time of the first race rather than their qualifying time and it brought this to mind.  

The way the last lap panned out put another nail in the coffin of that idea hopefully.

I'm thinking we saw four great shorter races at the Red Flag Ring. Two ended with red flags. Two ended with checkered flags.

Six including Moto2. Shame about the crashes & red flags.

I don't have a solution. Points for each part? Maybe. There is only one winners trophy. This is not superbike. Add the points together for overall winner? Aggregate times, hell no! that will never work. I hope we don't see more red flags so the issue becomes hypothetical again.

Mir won a race but because the flag was red, not checkered, it dosen't count. Tanj!

I like that idea. Points for each race and totals determine trophies. The percentage of the points awarded is determined by the percentage of the race run. Sixteen laps run from a 28 lap race equals 57%. Mir would have been awarded 14.25 points for race 1 and 5.59 for race 2. Total is 19.84 (20 rounded or round to tenths - 19.8). Oliveira would have received 5.13 for race 1 and 10.75 for race 2 for a total of 15.88 (16). If partial points were awarded for partial races then that would mean Oliveira was driving Mir's new BMW.

Mir - 20, Miller - 18, Oliveira - 16, Nakagami - 15, Pol - 14, Rins - 11, Dovi - 9 (9.29), Binder - 9 (9.14), Lecuona - 7, Rossi - 6, Fabio - 5, Petrucci - 4, A. Espargaro - 2 (1.72), Viñales - 2 (1.71), A. Marquez - 1 (1.14), Zarco - 1 (.86), Crutchlow - 1 (.57) and Morbidelli gets a zero for .43 point (or a .43).  

Keep all the other rules the same. Teams can do whatever they want to the bikes after a red flag - fit new tires or not (tough luck ya shoulda saved a set). When teams use all but one set of tires saved for the race, they may be gleaning more information that betters the setup and/or strategy for the race. If there is a red flag then the ones that have an extra set get to profit from their strategy. Lots of strategizing going on.

 

It does transfer the confusion of aggregate timing to aggregate points totals. But with computers, the final results would be shown after the last rider crosses the finish line.

Maybe make it simple as Apical said. Mir won race 1 and Oliveira won race two. Only snafu is who gets the car?

The downside is the unintended perverse incentive. Imagine, Dovi or Viñales or Quarty need just 1 more point to seal the title and on lap 5 they have that position but it looks like they won't hold it and, meanwhile, if Marquez, who is of course now in a different postcode, holds his position he's going to take the silverware yet again. As their team mate goes past pit lane might the pit board not suggest this would be a good time to end the race by accidentally on purpose coming off and playing possum at a strategic point on the track? Don't think no-one would be so crazy, money talks.

I agree. It can potentially be abused. That's the problem with unintended consequences.

After further contemplation I see the validity of the above comments and see no other solution for red flagged races other than what is already in place. Even the current system could be abused. It's Valencia 2017 where Marquez is running a comfortable third and Lorenzo lets Dovi past. Dovi can't catch up to the lead group so Lorenzo crashes in a way that causes a red flag. Thus forcing a restart and giving Dovi a better chance at getting in front of Marquez.

I know it's all hypothetical, most is of course. However, when the analysis gets to be too complicated, too detailed and all encompassing it may become difficult to draw conclusions based on that analysis...sometimes it seems to point north, south, east, west and somewhere else unexpected all at the same time. So it may be useful to take a wee step back and ask...ignoring all the potential possible might be what was it who dun it slips between cup and lip, how does the tea taste ? 

Milk and two sugars please. 

'...and Rossi wins his historic 10th title beating Binder by 2.34E-6 points'cool

Who suggested, after the previous race, that he was glad that that the Stewards had got involved in the Morbidelli/Zarco incident. I was fairly surprised by the adjudication on that incident, but any benefit of the doubt evaporated when Pol went into a different local government area on that final lap. The logic of the differential between that action and the Martin penalty completely escapes me - he was so far off track and yet he maintained a competitive position for the podium. Completely agree with Mr Mir on that one. I do understand the frustration of the Yamahaisti - but it seems to me that the engineering/manufacture is done in Iwata, and I am not sure how close Mr Jarvis is to that action. 

Amazing reporting, David, thanks. I can only imagine how tough it is to get these stories when the horse's mouth has an N3 Mask over it.

Darrel Royal used to tell the story of how tough it was to go play against Notre Dame in South Bend. ND was an independent back then so you never knew who would be refereeing the game. It could be a crew from one of the other top conferences, or it could be three Jesuits and a Monk. Anyway, on one particularly insufferable day, Darryl was complaining all game long that the ND offensive tackles were holding his lineman and allowing the Fighting Irish to run the ball at will. Coach Royal was none too pleased and was giving the refs an earful about it for the first three quarters. After ND gained a critical first down on another obvious hold, he really let them have it. The head Referee finally jogged over to the Texas sidelines and asked Coach Royal to explain himself and Darell responded with "Notre Dame has been holding all game on every running play. They are holding my damn lineman". To which the head referee calmly replied..."We are not", and trotted back to the game.

A Greener Shade of Limbo

One of the characteristics of low performance organizations I have had to endure through the years is their talent for proposing solutions and fixes without ever bothering to understand the underlying Issue. The result s a invariably a half-baked assembly of near worthless fixes following one after the other. So, what is the actual issue with all this green paint that people seem to be losing their minds over? It would appear that the rationale behind this is very straight forward: to promote close aggressive racing, but to reduce the penalty for the inevitable miscalculations and errors (that all pilots in our sport sometimes make) from a harsh physical one (crashing in sand or grass) to a performance penalty (either by negating a timed lap in practice or qualifying, or dropping a pilot's finishing position in a race one or more places). And I have absolutely no problem with either. You point out that for all cases the corrective action options should be more than just Eddie Izzard's: "Cake...or Death?". If a pilot exceeds the limits of the racing surface in an area marked by green paint, and does that solely as a consequence of their own indifference or miscalculation, then a penalty is applicable. If that means that Jorge Martin gets knocked off the top podium step for riding over a patch of green paint the size of a medium doormat, so be it. But isn't that a bit unfair? Yes, but not because Race Direction is no better than a pack of ill-tempered rodents looking to crush every young pilot's hopes and dreams. More reasonable is to question if the circuit is marked correctly. We saw that situation last year at the resurfaced Siverstone where someone went a little overboard with the paint roller and had a violation zone marked in what was essentially the natural racing line. Fortunately cooler and wiser heads prevailed, the issue was analyzed, and a solution was provided all in less than a day...they remarked the zone correctly and everybody lived.

If the talented Mr. Martin is being penalized for running over someone's green doormat, the remedy should not be "Oh, come on Race Direction...be nice to him", because it is not their job to be nice, their job is to be correct. The right question is "why is that little patch of green there, and what is the justification for it's location?". If it is there because of safety concerns, that while appearing to be a minor feature it has been deemed essential that pilots must move back off the curbs absolutely no later than that spot, then it stays and we all feel bad for Jorge. If it is there because there was still a little paint left in the can, and we all know what a pain n the ass it is to properly dispose of paint these days, then it is an error that needs to be corrected by the circuit. And we will still feel sorry for Jorge, but never again for this specific reason.

You did a great job explaining why Pol was not further penalized for riding on the green bits. Hell, let's be honest, he was beyond the green and so deep into the red painted bits...before he was able to finally point his front wheel in the right direction...that I was worried he was going to run out of color choices eventually. Pol was out there in south rainbow land because he was doing exactly what we wanted him to do, and the green painted asphalt let him attempt it without injury. Namely, to ride like hell and try to win this race, entertaining all of us in the process. He was making a hard, possibly desperate racing move, and because there were other riders doing exactly the same thing, there was not enough of the racing surface left for all of them. So, off you go, Pol, fair play to Jack for forcing the issue, and congratulations to Miguel for having the skill and dash to scoop it all up when it went a bit pear shaped for Pol and Jack.

But I still think Pol should have been docked a position, moving Mir to third.

If you are not on the Racing Surface...Please Stop Racing until you safely are again. See pic below.

Starting with 'A', Pol is emerging from the red, Miguel and Jack have gone by, but Mir is in with a shout and on the perfect racing line, carrying good speed. More to the point, Joan is on the racing surface and Pol is off it. Pol should not, in my opinion, be accelerating while off the track. 'B' shows the first location I feel Pol is justified in pinning the throttle. Pol does an excellent (and safe) job of rejoining the circuit on the racing line, but he has used his off course acceleration to slot back in ahead of Mir (who is in fact now blocked by Pol) as can be seen in 'C'. And 'D' shows that the rest was just physics. But is it just a fair result as well? I would say no. Off the racing surface should mean that the pilot rolls out of it a bit until safely returning to the track proper. Not stop, not get off and count ten Mississippi's...just back out of it and then safely roll back on the racing surface. Because if we are living in a brave new world painted green, I fear it will all end very badly one day if riders think all hard surfaces mean WFO by any means necessary. And if I were race direction I wouldn't listen to a peep out of any possible transgressors until I saw the relevant data. 

Is Yamaha the New Honda?

Having multiple thermal events and failures over the last two race weekend is simply unacceptable in 2020. For fuck's sake, we are not racing with 4LS drums. The latest MotoGP Brembo's are a technological Tour de Force. Lithium Aluminum is a wonder metal has has teased and tortured the aerospace industry for decades with it's remarkable combination of mechanical properties, namely that is significantly lighter than any other type of aerospace aluminum, and it is significantly stiffer as well. The spec sheet on this stuff reads like magic and gets all the design engineers drooling and pleading ("may we have lots of this, please?").  And so about every dozen or so years either Airbus or Boeing gets sucked into designing major aircraft structural components from Lithium Aluminum, and then compound that error by telling all their customers how light and efficient the new model will be, and they would be absolute fools to not immediately fork over billions to save their place in the queue. Well, st least until everyone re-learns, for the 12th time, that what is not on the spec sheet is that lithium aluminum has some significant fatigue issues when highly loaded in compression for a large number of cycles (which normally shows up as a nasty case of exfoliation). But not to worry, every three or so years the metals people have a new alloy composition to try that will fix everything. And one of these years they will be right. But that is aerospace, the lithium aluminum that is available today is already just about perfect for extreme high performance brake calipers. So that is what Brembo makes them out of, and they use the same material spec for their F1 calipers (and if you think we have it bad, the F1 folks have to make this all work inside a wheel diameter that would look ridiculously small on the baby's pram). They have two carbon rotor diameters available, in two different thicknesses, any number of pad compounds, and all the data in the world to make sure our hero pilot always stops.

But it is heavy (well, compared to the same components designed for smaller thermal loads). Some of this is just unavoidable. There are two loadings that come to mind that almost always respond positively to an increase in mass; vibration and thermal. The thermal loads on a MotoGP brake system are pretty terrifying, but are not constant. The trick is to have a reservoir of thermal capacity that will not be overwhelmed by the cyclic heat inputs, and is also efficient in dissipating that heat between cycles (think of that as draining the reservoir). As long as the thermal reservoir has the capability to not be overwhelmed by the repeated cycles, all is well. But if you do overfill that reservoir then your brake system temperature will spike above the operating parameters of your pads and/or fluid, and you will have brake failure. And greater mass, all else being equal, will increase the capacity of our thermal reservoir.

A few years back, when HRC's RC213V wouldn't turn if you put it on a furniture dolly, the only way for MM & Co (OK, just MM, I was being polite) to compensate for the paltry corner speed of his race bike was to work the brakes like a demon...which is just what he did. But it does set up a viscous cycle. The more you rely on the front bakes, the stiffer you need to make the forks. But past a certain point, making the front suspension even stiffer just makes it corner even worse. So I guess we need to use the brakes even more, which will require even stiffer springs, and around and around.

And Yamaha seems to be caught in this loop. None of this is original, David (and others on this board) have already pointed this out. The M1, compared to the rest of the field, couldn't pull the skin off of a rice pudding. But they have always been able to go around fast bends like nobody's business. Except now maybe not so much. As they rely more and more on braking, they are finding out all they may be doing is robbing Peter to Pay Paul. The old girl doesn't corner like she used to at circuits that seriously stress the brake system. And bolting on a bunch of Brembo's super heavy duty parts isn't helping the cornering bit at all. But after a few scares last week, they all got new Brembo packages including the 2020 MotoGP calipers. Well, almost all of them. Vale in particular spent a great deal of time over the past week with Brembo engineers discussing various combinations of calipers, rotors, and pad material to make sure he had a reliable system. Fabio also got the new kit, and I suspect Morbidelli did as well (but I have not seen a pic that absolutely confirms that). And if now, by process of elimination, you have figured out who didn't upgrade...step up to the podium and claim your prize. That's right, Maverick El Barbacoa Vinales. It seems that Top Gun just didn't like the handling of the heavier duty components, so vetoed their installation on his pair of M1's.

And in my opinion, from a Team Management standpoint, this is totally unacceptable. Yamaha let a rider compete with a major system that was simply not up to the task. It is not like letting Vale move a swingarm pivot 10mm. In that case he is either quicker or he isn't (he was, by quite a bit), but in any event the new location wasn't going to allow the swingarm to fall off the bloody motorcycle. Everyone at Yamaha should be properly pissed off that this total brake failure was allowed to happen. And the rest of the paddock should be twice as mad. Maverick's brakes failed in turn one. Which means if they had failed one turn later we were right back to a complete horror show at turn 3. I know it has been a whole seven days, but has everyone forgotten what the results would be if Top Gun jumped off going into T3 (instead of T1) and launched his land torpedo at half the field? Someone at Yamaha needed to make the call that this was a safety issue, and everyone is going to run the upgraded components. Period. And someone's head should roll for not doing so.

Why a Duct?

A quick look at MotoGP brake cooling ducts.

(Click for image)

Yamaha 01 - Valentino's setup from Sunday. They have enlarged the upper "over the axle" duct but it remains a poor design. Intake ducts have a few simple rules: The inlet should be in clean airflow, the Yamaha upper has a lot of its inlet opening in the boundary layer attached to the fender/forks. By placing the inlet above the axle, for the airflow to reach it it must first negotiate a spinning tire, and the tire's relative velocity to the airflow is greater, and more disrupted, above the axle than below it. Next, all inlet ducts should be diffusers, that is they get larger in cross section as the flow moves towards the brake caliper. By making the duct divergent, we are slowing the incoming airflow, and so converting that reduced air velocity into higher pressure. And it is the higher pressure that you want, not the greater velocity. Inlet ducts also do not like sharp changes in direction or cross sectional area. In fact, they hate it, and the Iwata upper duct has both negatives in spades. For fuck sakes, Yamaha makes musical instruments. If someone designed a tuba this bad they would be fired on the spot. The good news? Rossi was also running a small under the axle inlet duct that is an absolute peach of a design. Properly located in the airflow, smoothly expanding cross section, no ackward changes in direction, and feeds a mini-plenum to maximize pressure at the cooling interface. As small as it is, I would make a serious wager that it flows 80% of what the big one does.

Yamaha 02 - Fabio's setup from yesterday. Everything as stated in Yamaha 01 but lacking the smaller under-axle duct.

Suzuki 01 - An absolutely marvelous bit of design work. Everything positive said about Vales nice little lower duct but even more so. The highly efficient design allows for a smaller inlet than most of the others. My personal favorite.

Ducati 01 -The benchmark with no discernible flaws. Solid under-axle design ending in a substantial plenum. Nice.

KTM 01 - What impresses me (and others) about KTM is the elegant design and rock-solid engineering of almost every single component on this motorcycle. Someone spent the time required on this duct, and to tip my hat to KTM management, that meant they were allowed to spend that time. A design without flaws, but could be further optimized by using Suzukis expanding duct profile.

KTM 02 - But this shows where KTM has taken a step ahead. This is far and away the best integration of the duct inlet with the other components. The basic location ensures it is in a stable high-velocity airstream, and the careful shaping of the fender and the lower fork leg also means that this area produces a higher inlet pressure.

One small niggle: Motorcycle engineers, please stop looking at supersonic military aircraft inlet ducts. Those are designed for higher Mach values and have to deal with compressible flow and shock waves. To do so they have sharp inlets. You do not have a high-performance military aircraft, you have a vehicle traveling below Mach 0.3 at sea level. Your inlets need to be radiused. Look at the forward edge (lip skin) of any modern turbofan for commercial aircraft. Cheers.

PS - Who is going to make the call?

(Click for image)

"Uh, hi...Allstate? My bike fell off its sidestand in the church parking lot and I need to file a claim. Well, I had just finished dropping off canned goods for the orphans and was walking back across the church parking lot, minding my own business as usual, when all of a sudden..."

Just one super normal bit to add: Pol was so far out because he knew he could be. It's one thing to gamble and let god decide your faith (Rossi vs Marquez at Assen), the other is to know you're safe and you allow yourself to be pushed.

"'B' shows the first location I feel Pol is justified in pinning the throttle. ... Off the racing surface should mean that the pilot rolls out of it a bit until safely returning to the track proper. Not stop, not get off and count ten Mississippi's...just back out of it and then safely roll back on the racing surface."

I don't like that one. Yes it sounds reasonable I agree, but that is just too vague, a can of worms. Did he roll off enough, or not. No matter what you do as a rider rejoining it feels wrong, was I too fast, or too slow and took too much of a disadvantage. Riders shouldn't be forced to evaluate how "fast" they can go back. I think it is better to keep it simple. Rejoin safely, that is all. Depending on if you got an advantage or not, determined by RD, penalize him. That's it. The drawback of this rule that sometimes it feels like the rider going off into green, or even other colors, sometimes feels like it wasn't enough of a disadvantage needs to be accepted and not bitched about. As long as it is the same for all, it seems like the best compromise, at least to me:

Positives:
- Hard racing
- Less risk
- Clear, should be fairly simple to determine if someone got an advantage or disadvantage by going outside (especially if it was their own fault, and they weren't forced to go outside)
Negative:
- Sometimes riders get away with too much, by accepting a big risk, though only incurring a low disadvantage by making a mistake.

For me that is ok.

I think you are right about this, mate. I never want to see a race go past the flag if at all possible. My main concern is (almost) all the pilot's current tendency to go off line and then slam their bikes back across the track thinking that because providence has positioned their front tire 20mm ahead of the next guy's they should be given the same deference as Moses parting the Red Sea.

In this case Pol got it done without any carnage, but a look at the fencing on the inside of that section before the finish line, and its procimity to the racing surface, is reason enough to be concerned about next time...and there will be one. I like your idea of putting the emphasis on rejoining safely as the best solution, and any failure to do so brings out the big hammer. Thanks for the clarity.

PS, As long as the safety aspects are met, I am fine telling the riders finishing behind that next time they should perhaps consider being in front. Cheers.

and to see how riders can now try to manipulate those rules to gain, without injury. Great comments and analysis Jinx and others and it does take me back to the evolution of gravel-less run offs and some of the comments from the riders of the day that now seem very short sighted.  One chap who was of an other-worldly talent on a motorcycle, an alien if you will, but didn't always endow himself with the same skills when speaking (good job he didn't speak much then..) did once comment- or possibly moaned, hence the nickname-about the new tarmac run-off areas and that they didn't punish a rider enough for being off line or similar. This was widely interpreted at the time as such infringements should-as they often did in days previous- result in the culprit(s) tumbling arse over tit in the kitty litter before being pummelled into oblivion by the following machine, or bouncing back off the air fence Big Daddy style to meet another wayward fool-Giant Haystack let's say- to ensure a premium pre-WWF tag team splattering. Now while there are still gravelly things around, and there will always be to slow stuff down before the terra firma or barriers intervene, we can now talk about riders staying upright and becoming no more injured than the rule-making bods docking points, places or time. That has to be better than saying 'ah yes, I know he's got seven broken bones, is in a coma and has destroyed a million pound bike, but he ran wide you see..'

So long as when he rejoins the track he doesn't seek technique advice from one Mr Espargaro P. Esq. 

So long as when he rejoins the track he doesn't seek technique advice from one Mr Espargaro P. Esq. 

That one made me literally lol.

In the past where a rider had been off track for whatever reason, self inflicted or not, they got the penalty of grass or gravel.

Maybe there needs to be more than just the green zone and each subsequent zone adds another position lost regardless if the rider has been disadvantaged or not. The layout of the track and available runoff area dictating how many extra zones there are with  each zone being the same width.  With Pol as the example, he was perhaps 5 meters off track, then he would have to drop perhaps 5 positions, whilst it may appear to be harsh at first, imagine if he had ridden through gravel, he'd have lost far more than 5 positions.

Jinx, I love your comments (which are usually more insightful than my articles) but I have a request. Please include photos as links, not as embedded photos, or I end up in a lot of hot water with photographers for using their images without permission. The images in the main article are all bought and paid for. The others, not so much.

Also a request to everyone else: kindly link photos, don't embed them.

Thanks for the heads-up on that. Damn semi-isolation has me forgetting how the world works. I will embed photos only as links going forward. Cheers.

Great comment! Had read some of yours in older race summaries but this one with the technical analysis on brake pressure/fork stiffness and caliper duct design comparison definitely hits the podium.

.....stopped reading your post after the first paragraph thinking this will be another post filled with verbal diarrhea that some of the other E-WCP's (Excessive Word Count Poster) are so good at, however this must have been one of your bests posts so far. Well done sir!!!!

To me, clearly there is a problem with red-flagged and shortenned 2nd races. For the second time in 8 days, riders/teams getting it spot on for the race are not rewarded simply because others can change stuff their bike. I get it why people do not like "combined times for both short races", but like it is now certainly ain't better.

My proposal : when bikes come in after the red flag, no mechanic can touch the bike, no computers plugged-in to change settings, no extra fuel allowed. Only thing that may be checked are tyres, as as David pointed out : this can be a safety issue. If in doubt, they need to call someone from outside the team to check and give permission to change a tyre. but they can only swapp for a tire of the same component, and it must  at least already have run 2/3rd's of the number of laps of race 1 (just to stop teams running a set of tyres for only one lap, by taking a percentage of already raced lap's, it's impossible to "prepair" a set if needed). Bikes must remain in pitlane and are not allowed in the boxes so everyone can check everything is done within the rules.

 

Last issue would be fuel : they do an in-lap when the red flag comes out, and an outlap ro restart the race. that's 2 unaccounted lap's. you could leave out the extra warm-up lap, they can do that in their out-lap. so the second race will be shortenned by 2 for the remaining lap's.

This way the riders who did well in the first part do not loose all the advantage they had, only the time gained on others, while the ones who had made bad choices are not rewarded with a chance of changing things and doing better.

another possibility for the fuel is to allow a fixed # of liters to be added, controled by a member of a team from another manufacturer, but still no computers allowed.  If computers can not work with extra fuel without them being told extra fuel is added, a simple override-button should be installed : each push tell's the computer an extra liter is added.

In theory, a rider could attempt to take advantage of having two bikes, with two sets of tires and two lots of 22 liters of fuel. If a rider could go fast enough on newish tires and an engine map unconstrained by concerns about fuel consumption, then theoretically, they could try coming in to swap bikes, giving themselves two sets of fresh rubber and using 25, 30, or 40 liters of fuel.

Aren't they only allowed to swap bikes in a pitstop with different types of tires? wet > dry or dry > wet?

The bike swap rule was changed quite a long time ago, but you are partially correct. Bike swaps are only allowed if the race has been declared wet or the white flag has been shown. I should have double-checked. But you can change to an identical bike with the same tires if you want to.

Thanks for clarifying 👍

As a materials researcher in light alloys, I concur with Jinx. Also the ducting on the Yam is poor to piss poor! 

I have been fortunate enough in the last 24yrs to have worked on quite a few F1 projects and a lot of aerospace stuff along with Military research. Developing new welding techniques with FSW and SSFSW. Now it's all ALM 3D and WAAM applications, mostly in Ti. The 70's had me racing motorcycles and designing and building stuff that frequently broke on the fragile 2 strokes of the period. 

The Yam decision to allow him to use the previous setup must of been a long discussion with MV wanting the better handling on one side vs safety bandwidth and expectations on the other. Seems MV won and found out it wasn't the right decision. Practice session conditions are never the same as race conditions, no matter what your lap times are.

Jinx's illustrations and words are excellent work and explanations. Thankyou.

The track limits rule would appear to be a rabbit hole that the stewards are only going to disappear further and further down into; the Martin/Bezzechi ruling is baffling to say the least. I'd love to know more detail on how the stewards actually are able to police this rule. I assume that they have a single steward devoted to watching a camera at each corner/segment of the track during each race? If not then it's an unfair system from the get go. It would be great if David or any of my fellow site supporters could clarify this.

I know turn 2 and 3 are a nightmare from a safety perspective, but I could watch Jack Miller drift into 3 on that crazy line for days...the spirit of Garry McCoy is alive and well.

They are putting more and more systems to work here. They have several people continuously monitoring all of the TV feed, and they also have dedicated cameras at selected spots. They have now started using an automated system at selected blackspots, but it is only 1 or 2 corners per track. That is not really sufficient for a track like Spielberg or Misano, where track limit violations tend to be plentiful.

But is literally a room full of people watching lots of screens and making notes, referring questionable cases to the Stewards to examine.

If a suitable GPS system could be added to a specific location on the  bike and with track mapping it would be relatively easy to see who has gone onto the green paint and there would be no bias as it would be seen immediately on screen.

The most accurate GPS systems are currently accurate to around 20cm. So they are  not really usable for track limits. In addition, you would need to have the GPS receiver as close to the tire contact patch as possible, to be able to calculate whether the tire had actually gone outside of track limits. GPS is a nice idea, but too many practical problems.

That's amusingly inaccurate David, from the GPS site itself:
"High-end users boost GPS accuracy with dual-frequency receivers and/or augmentation systems. These can enable real-time positioning within a few centimeters, and long-term measurements at the millimeter level."

20 is not 'a few', it's 4 or 5 at most.

https://www.gps.gov/systems/gps/performance/accuracy/

The 'can' part might refer to ideal conditions such as, relative sat positions, geography, atmospheric conditions, obstacles and undoubtedly the speed the system is travelling.
The long term part refers to the system running many measurements on both frequencies, all containing errors where the desired end result would be a data set which satisfied desired statistical thresholds. This takes time and the amount of time is not always the same, meanwhile the bike is moving.

Even if it could, with an acceptable degree of certainty, achieve accuracy of 'several centimeters', real time, at racing speeds....a few centimeters is enough to be the difference between being within track limits and not. Therefore not accurate enough.

whatever it is it has to stand up to F1 and be easy to implement on any track. So here's my idea... pressure sensors on the edge of the green. bike crosses over, pressure detected, big light comes on. compatible with any track, unambigious and instant.  Might even be able to place under the tarmac (think vehicle weigh stations).  If not, you could probably texture/paint to keep it safe.  Race direction would know immediately they need to check footage to confirm.

Yes right, his line in there is so counterintuitive. Everytime I wonder how he can make the corner work like that. Awesome to watch. It is basically a scandinavian flick into T3 on tarmac!

The track limits rule states:

Exceeding track limits means a rider has both tyres outside the track at the same time.

Despite how the blurry screenshot looks, I believe Bezecchi always had one wheel on the white so was judged to be within the limits.

The more interesting question is, why was Vinales not penalised for the same thing at Jerez? He cut a corner just like Martin on the last lap. He didn't gain an advantage - Rossi was around 1s behind I think - but the rules clearly state:

From now on, an infraction on the last lap that has affected a race result must indicate that the rider in question was disadvantaged by exceeding track limits. If the Stewards deem there is no clear disadvantage, the rider will be penalised with a change of position or a time penalty.

Vinales was not disadvantaged, so should have received a penalty. Arbolino also cut the green in the last lap of the Moto3 in Austria. The lack of consistency from Race Direction is ridiculous.

The idea, as I see it, is that if you're not fighting for your position on that last lap, the penalty doesn't apply to you. One sec is a long time in MotoGP terms - it's unusual for a rider to gain more than three-tenths over a single lap.

Right, but the rules don't say you have to be fighting for your position. And who would be the arbiter of that? It would end up being even more inconsistent because one rider may be penalised being 0.5s ahead, but another not penalised despite being only 0.45s ahead.

Either they need to have a specific gap under which you get penalised, or penalise everybody the same who runs onto the green.

... but going off the track onto the gravel/sand/whatever at least bore some element of risk, rather than simply riding over painted asphalt. Same at Assen. If Assen had been painted he'd have won by miles!

Fantastic post Jinx, thanks for taking the time to share your insight with the rest of us. This was my first instance reading the article comments, now I'm a convert.

Motogp would be boring without the elements that create controversy. Expect the track limits debate to continue on at Misano. Last year riders were using the green paint at turn 12 or 13 to get a better run on turn 14. Some riders were taking advantage of this manuever while others complained. 

Ducati tested recently at Misano with Pirro. KTM must have tested there with the entire entourage. Last year's podium was one Honda and two Yamahas. Will this year's reversal of fortunes trend continue? Will there be any Hondas or Yamahas on the podium?

I haven't seen it brought up, but looking at a satellite map of red bull ring, it looks very feasible to switch the direction of rotation for Red Bull Ring. That would eliminate that awkward turn 2-3 switchback under high speed braking and the issue with high siding over that rise. It worked perfectly well at Misano. Is there some underlying reason this wouldn't be possible?

Adding a chicane or additional corners could also be a potential solution used at many tracks to slow down the entry to certain areas of the track.

It's not like Red Bull doesn't have the money, which often prevents other tracks from making such modifications. 

It was brought up during coverage this weekend. One of the turns, I think it was turn 1 wouldn't have enough runoff if run in oppo directionl

Great write up as usual!

I do have a question about what the penalty would be, if a team were to open a new 6th AND a new 7th engine during one weekend? Would each new engine put into allocation require a separate pitlane start, meaning a pitlane start for the rider's next two race starts?

Yes, each engine taken over the allocation incurs a penalty. So if you used engine 6 and engine 7 at the next race, Misano 1, then you would start that race from pit lane, and then following race, Misano 2, also from pit lane

Presumably to stop teams uncrating fifteen new engines in FP1 at Qatar each season, and starting from pit lane for just that one race. Of course, every other team would do the same at Round 2, wherever that may be.

This season has already taken years off my life. I might have to switch to F1 or something /s

I'm very glad Mav is okay. I'm nearly certain I would have frozen on the bike and gone straight into the fence (or bailed too late). I'm guessing what he did isn't something one practices (plans for, probably), and yet his execution was perfect. I'm in awe at what these guys do and am very happy he is okay. We see in every corner that these riders are in a completely different class, but things like Zarco's long lap and Mav making and then executing a decision to bail at 130+ mph just add to the mystique. Their reflexes and situational awareness are awesome.

I just don't know how much more awesomeness my nerves can take!

I second that! My heart rate is much higher than Maverick's just sitting and watching these races....

I would rather add a chicane at this particular spot to slow down and provide another overtaking spot. Maybe also to mess up the Ducati settings lol

If (as I mentioned in a previous subject thread) you don't watch the TV just close your eyes and listen. The guy on Sky is extremely excitable and you really feel something special is happening-until you open said eyes and witness the splendid isolation and a position board very cleverly different from MotoGP that shows each individual time gap, so even though there's the usual top ten separated by over a minute after ten laps, it appears the gaps are smaller than the actual yawning chasm to the Mercedeses (also known as 'The Front'). Should this well meaning chap be placed in the commentary booth of FP1 on any given MotoGP meeting this season I fear the poor blighter would spontaneously combust from trying to process what would be a total overload and need to be jet washed from the walls. The reality at present is as it's always been, the difference between driving a car and riding a comparable motorcycle, night and day. 

Wouldn't that be a good idea to carve rumble strips,or whatever is that called those scallops on US roads that wake you up if you drift towards the shoulder of the road, on the green area so to make it difficult to accelerate or make any kind of hard turning over them, but still safer than running into grass or gravel? It may discourage riders from "accidentally" using the green for dishonest moves but still save the day for people honestly looking to not crash or lose it completely because those will definitively slow you down. Thoughts?

In my opinion, the curbs should be changed at turns with paved runoffs.  The way I see it the curbs are designed to let someone easily re-enter the track.  There is almost no physical reason not to run off track, in fact there can be an advantage.  If the curbs made it difficult to get back on track making the rider significantly slow down, nobody would causally take the off-track excursion.  

My preliminary thought is that the curbs could be made a little wider, but much taller on the outside of curb. with a vertical drop-off.  Maybe 6 inches (15 cm).  Once on the other side of the wall the only way back would be very narrow gap at the end of the turn, parallel to the track.

Race Direction would not have to decide what the penalty should be.

The path back to track would prevent anyone from running off track and then dive-bombing back to the racing line in the middle of the turn.

One downside might be crashes between multiple Moto 3 riders racing to be first through the single file gap back to the track.

Trouble is, for the rumble strips to have any effect I guess they're going to have to be bad enough to be hazardous themselves. Imagine low-siding and sliding into a cobbled street at 50 or 60 mph. Ouch! I'd rather have the gravel. Similar with a narrow 'hardwired' re-entry point, sooner or later someone would either crash into it or because of it and the outcome would be worse than if it wasn't there. And in any case there would still be endless arguments as to whether the rider had crossed the line in the first place and should have used it. I wonder whether a severe, adverse camber might do the trick. Enough angle to mean you'll probably low side if you try to gun it, but not so much that you've defeated the object and just brought the accident closer to the wall. Probably not, and I'm sure much more knowledgeable minds than mine have scratched their heads looking for a viable solution.

 

On corners where riders take advantage of going wide would having some sort of 2m wide return path to the track (like the path along air fences) that must be used rather than come straight back onto the track to continue racing be a deterrent and make it a definite disadvangage to go wide?

Best option yet.

Doesn't change the accident risks when running wide.

Reduces the rejoining risks. 

Reduces the gambling on the brakes risks.

Also addresses the issues at the start. 

Easy to understand. Could be combined with a penalty loop for failing to comply.

I guess this is what we've got with the penalty loop, isn't it. A controlled, safe penalty.

I'm thinking of a similar off-route from other corners that would make going off track less attractive because the penalty loop isn't used as often as we see track limits being infringed and totalled up.  It would be an instant penalty for trying to take an advantage without making the rider do a penalty loop that might punish them more than the infringement deserved.  They could maintain racing speed but lose the advantage they sought.  Probably just complicates things more.

 

They had something like that at Assen (end of the back 'straight') after the neutering of the circuit didn't they?  It's not there anymore so must have had its own issues.

Given the vast expanse of many runoffs, they could do this just with a painted section, they have to re-enter the track only between the lines sort of thing, arranged so it costs them a second or two as a discouragement.

Yes Breganzane, that's the sort of solution I was trying to describe.  Thanks for making this clearer.  That's a good point about Assen, I had forgotten about that.

A 15 cm drop at nearly full lean sounds incredibly dangerous. Also for race cars that have very little ground clearance.

I think this would lead to some nasty crashes and potentially bad injuries if someone were to slide into the wrong side of such a curb somehow. Then better put a layer of astroturf on top of the asphalt.

At many tracks including Austria the runoff must work for F1 also. Not sure whether they could cope with the rumbles or would want to. Maybe

Was bumped across the gravel and took full advantage after being used as a berm by a rider with no regard

Great write-up David! Really dig the post-race summary which fills sunday's evenings. Regarding MV crash/jump; I'd noticed the couple of time he ran wide in previous laps and seemed that Pol also had a share of this after pushing on the brakes for overtaking (¿?) might as well hadn't been so critical since he didn't run off-track.

I am concerned that the current generation of riders are not getting properly trained in safety behaviours. I work in a high risk engineering environment and there are very high standards of training and expectation on safety. It absolutely should be instilled in these riders that if you fall off the bike you stay off the track because of the risk of oil on the track, is sad but that’s the rule to ensure safety of the other riders. It should be drilled into them that if your bike stops working exactly as it should, say brakes or gears or throttle, then you retire without placing others at risk. Finally, the rules need to be more stringently applied, off the track in the green is off the track, too bad if was not your fault, think twice next time before getting in that position, and as for Espargero, the inside line does not belong to you unless your front wheel is in front. He needs to be stopped with his reckless abandon into the corners like this. Risk assessment is about probability and consequence. The consequences in this sport are enormous and tragic, that means even a low probability has to be recognised and acted on. The Safety Commission needs to raise its game. Two weekends and two incidents that could have completely disrupted the sport except for Lady Luck looking down on them all. Five years ago there were steps taken to reduce the speed of the bikes, now we hear again that they are back up to 300 bhp! Fine, that’s good and the racing is awesome, but bring the rules on safety up to match the increased performance before it is too late.

Me thinks that Ducati is trying to nobble Dovis quest for the championship.....wrong tire pressure...pfft

Had the same thought. Then thought I was being paranoid. But, who knows how shameful it would be to have Dovizioso win twice in a row after saying "You can't fire me - I quit..." And if I found out that it was true, that management sabotaged my race, I'd have to pull a Kocinski and start blowing up motors. "Cause I'm a paranoid, petulant, pompous, attention-seeking, casual racist...

Why not simply take the bike out as you rode in? If a tyre is visibly damaged then change it for the same spec from FP or Q.

Allow 1litre top up or deduct 1 lap.

If you go more than 1metre off track on asphalt engage pit lane limiter until you rejoin. Unsafe or fast return =+10 sec.

I am not sure this is unfair or not, but Alberto P has the following legacy the way I see it:

1. Managed Marc M, but lets be honest, Marc has self managed. 2. Alberto P probably hastened Dani Pedrosa's departure, by not showing an ounce of machinery favour, and still Dani outperformed any other Honda rider vs Marc, even the expensive world champ Lorenzo. Even at his weakest, Dani was a reliable top 5, and a reliable haul of points for Honda. Nobody could know in advance, but exiting a smooth riding Pedrosa - who knows the RC213, versus bringing in an also smooth Lorenzo who does not know the the difficult RC213, was a bad idea in hindsight. 3. Alex M might still come good but he hired him prematurely and has already promptly demoted him before knowing his progress... In any other business, questions would be asked. Hmm. 4. Takanaka is doing very well, but again Alberto P cannot take credit, he is not Factory and riding a year old RC213. 5 Pol Espargaro, could probably wrestle the RC213 better, but without 'some' adjustments for him, he may suffer and crashes (with his temperament) is not out of the question. So - Without Marc M, how has Alberto P developed the team for the future when the risk of injury for Marc, given his riding style and increasing metal content - is further increasing. Isn't it time Honda asks some questions about Alberto, not just flipping riders - or am I missing something?  Reference: KTM has 4 bikes and 3 less famous riders capable (and much less expensive) of regular top 5's+. Note: Some ex Honda members played a role in this, including Dani..  Question, which team is better placed for the future?  Please help me understand Alberto's contribution to preparing Honda for the future?

 

He did lots of spotting and cultivating young talent. His heart is in it, and he seems to work hard. I am concerned about what Honda have done with their bike and HOW - an active willful negligence that shifts responsibility is abusive. I see him doing this. It isn't clear to me what responsibility re bike design is his, but I would be inclined to an assertive but compassionate sit down with him about it.  

I would think that Alberto P has responsibility or at minimum shared responsibility on the riders. The engineering of the bike, maybe not. 
still- I wonder how Honda can place themselves into such a risky future? If Alberto made the calls on Dani put, Lorenzo, Alex M, Alex M out and now Pol- doesn't look well planned, especially if Marc has any future injuries. 

Japanese culture and customs are very different from Spanish, Italian and European cultures in general.

Puig and Jarvis from what I can see from the tv, they are there to tow the company line on one side and protect the team from external, negative influences on the other. They work as buffers and cultural interfaces. I bet Marquez is very happy to have Puig on his side.

Jarvis speaks impeccable Italian if I am not mistaken. That has helped for sure removing the language barriers and cementing the relationships in between a Japanese factory and an Italian rider.

A lot can get lost in translation. Valentino Rossi for example, often starts his answers with "sincerely" thinking it means "honestly" because in Italian "sinceramente" and "onestamente" are synonymous while "sincerely" translates to the italian "cordialmente" which as the English counterpart is used to end a formal letter. It's funny to notice how many other riders have learnt that phrase opening from Rossi, specially the young ones coming from his academy :)

Jarvis has therefore helped Yamaha and Valentino Rossi to get along for many years by making sure the two parts could not misunderstand each other.

Puig seems like a loyal guy ready to fight for his team to me. I think it was the Japanese bosses that wanted Pedrosa out. Puig was perhaps merely following Honda's instructions. He might not be the best diplomat but he gets the job done and I guess at Honda headquarters that's appreciated.

I might be wrong but if Jarvis and Puig were to try to push their own agenda I feel they would lose their jobs pretty quickly. In my opinion they are there to take one for the team if needed.

One has to look somewhere else to find the people that can influence the development of bikes and the strategies of the racing teams in my opinion

Are usually the people who see and exploit every possible avenue to beating the others. Not just riding fast or setting up/developing a bike to go fast, they see and use everything.

I think that is at the heart of Rossi's words regarding track limits.

I remember very recently reading an article which involved Mick Doohan. He talked about a race, seem to remember it was at Assen, where at the apex of a paticular turn he could dip his knee into the dirt on the inside and throw up some dirt. The possible effect it might have on the riders behind can be imagined. What a complete b*****d trick(Sorry Mick, love ya), but it demonstrates the breadth (or depth depending on your point of view) of what people will do to aid winning.

If the track limit rules/guidance strictly say that a rider is allowed to exceed track limits 'X' number of times before a warning, then it becomes a tactical commodity and a rider may aim to finish the race with a warning.

If the rules strictly say that track limit infringements should be disregarded on the first lap, then a rider may run wide to gain an advantage on the first lap.

If the rules are not specific, they play and push the limits of those rules.

If you tip the bike into a turn, have a collision with another rider, exceed track limits and gain some advantage, but the rules say...because your front wheel was always ahead of the other bikes front wheel....no penalty....then that's what you do on the final lap at Assen.

There's nothing wrong with any of that. If they aren't doing it, then they aren't getting the maximum from the opportunities presented to them and somebody else will.

If there is gravel or grass instead of 'greencrete' the riders will aim to be brushing it anyway. The fact that there would be more risk involved in exceeding track limits would play a part in the rider's calculations. As a result I guess less riders would exceed track limits during the race, but some would still run wide, there would could be accidents, dirt or bike parts thrown onto the track and god forbid a serious injury to the rider. This would require a seperate judgement and the result of that might be red flag, race interupted and delays. Especially those wretched F1 cars, a million element front wing creating a billion element debris field and the deployment of the £ savers brush device. Unfortunately MotoGP has to share tracks (is it only me who is worried about F1 going to Mugello?crying). The greencrete, for all its issues, keeps the show going and probably does reduce accidents.

How about an experiment. If changing the greencrete for grass increases the risk, we could change the risk with rules instead. ANY exceeding of track limits will result in a die being rolled. The result of that will determine the penalty...ride through penalty or long lap, maybe a black flag. Bigger risk, less dangerous. I wonder what the results would be wink

p.s joking, people don't complain about crashes too much, but penalties...omg

If your worry is all the F1 cars ruining the tarmac in the braking zones then I'm not worried about that, not after one race weekend. If it's something else, why then you've piqued my interest... do tell?

Well there is the chance they get to like it...Assen too, remember they were thinking of going there. Next thing they start using it every year ! Then you can start worrying about the braking. The layout, the run offs etc. Which corner would be deemed too dangerous for the downforce layden machines and changed. I just like the idea that they stay away. I worry the diseases of that sport are contagious haha. Sorry if you are a fan. I used to follow it in depth from the early 80's, the history, everything. Then i started hearing 'causing a collision' penalties for an attempt at overtaking while the crowds complain there is none. Then i see overtakes in the pits prefered to overtakes on track, then i see DRS and changed channel immeadiately. I still look at it if its on...and go do something more interesting like counting blades of grass. F1...i just can't do that to my brain anymore. It's truely awful.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Considering as funsize mentions, the place is owned by Ferrari and is used for F1 testing and has seen countless other open wheel and sports car racing over the years that if F1 really wanted a regular race there, methinks it would've happened a long time ago.

...don't say it too loud indecision

You have to know i'm sort of being half serious yeah ?

I have my superstitions, we're all allowed some and mine involves fear of the F1 voltron megaturd wink

Good to see the discussions adding to the super post.

Absolutely stoked for Miguel Olivera. It is interesting to note how many riders who used to ride for the erstwhile Aspar/Mahindra team are doing well. Either they had a great eye for talent, or their bikes were so difficult to ride that these riders had no choice but develop skills which came of use later as well.

I really think Mir missed out. He deserved the win and if not atleast the third place. The inconsistency of race direction is mind numbing.

 

Unpredictability is not a vice. In fact, from the standpoint of species survival it is a virtue, and a trait passed down through the DNA of successful practitioners of seemingly random behaviour. A gazelle that constantly shows up at the same water hole at exactly the same time of day will not live long enough to pass on its genes. Instead it will, in all likelihood, wind up in the belly of a lioness long before any gazelle romance blossoms. We survived as a species because our intelligence allowed us to be unpredictable, yet still highly functional. Well, that and our horrific odor.

We like unpredictability in life and people. Travel is unpredictable. Seeing a new film or trying a new restaurant are both unpredictable experiences. Poker is unpredictable, as is chess. And sports are unpredictable...or should be. And to be clear, unpredictability is not to be confused with unreliability. We want mystery and adventure, not the Nigerian Electrical Grid.

But there are limits. We want tennis to be played with a net. We want the goals at both ends of the pitch to be the same size. In chess, "Bxe5" should never be followed by "lunged across board and stabbed opponent in the eye with a dinner fork".

And evidently a whole bunch of us really, really, really want the pilots to not exceed track limits. And so do I...but perhaps without so many "reallys". But at what point does the cure become worse than the disease?

Take a look at Cormac's wonderful shot from last weekend.

Link to Photo

Now, stop looking at the pilots. Instead, look at the tire marks and their distribution over the track proper, the red/white striped zone, and the dreaded green paint. Is there any rational expectation that we can devise a workable system that reliably leaves the first two zones as-marked by rubber but has the third remain pristine without knee-capping the whole show? Because the inner edge of the green zone is the racing line, and racing lines will always contain an element of unpredictability over the course of a race weekend that has to be...to a point...at least tolerated (though not joyfully accepted) as part of the show. This is further shown in the link below:

Link to Photo

"No man is a hero to his valet"

We are already deep into the Dark Age of Universal Surveillance, where any public setting comes with the assumption (and if we are honest, a certain amount of dread) that we are in somebody's viewfinder. And I am well and truly sick of it all (and we haven't even scratched the horrors of peak private camera drone yet). I am tired of being watched. "Well, Jinx, if you have nothing to hide...". Fuck off, I have plenty to hide, and we can start with this: Believe it or not, I am not all that goddamned charming every second of the day. I have my foibles, weak moments, and dark moods like everyone else does, and I will thank you not to stare at these with your little electronic eye 24/7. I endeavor to be the person my dog thinks I am, and that has proven to be a pretty good moral compass. But it goes no further than that. 

Mischief, and the joys of getting away with it.

A little unseen mischief is a sure method for blowing off a bit of steam pressure. So I guess that means the data logging systems being forced on us by the Insurance Bund are not finding their way onto any of my motorbikes. And no, you are not "offering" me this electronic spy to "reward me" for being a safe pilot. You are doing it to increase your profits by jacking up the rates of anyone you don't deem to be the perfect actuarial blend of Morgan Banker and Mollusk. Which is all of us. On the other hand, I have a deep rooted hatred of anyone who speeds through school zones or on residential streets, and have no problem with handing them a laminated bus pass as their sole transportation option for the next few trips around the sun.

Where Mischief ends and the School Zone for Deaf Children begins

We need a new shade of green. As in not green but florescent yellow. Because the current green zones are trying to do two things, one important and the other critically important. The important part is to define the track limits where exceeding them may be subject to penalty. That section of green is not part of the track proper, and we don't want you racing on it. But the second bit is the lot more serious. And what needs to conveyed is that violating this marked section will lead to mayhem, injury, or worse. Because that friendly little bit of painted asphalt you are currently on is ending, and if you do not get back on the proper racing surface right now there can be serious consequences. See photo linked below for a good example of asphalt transitioning to grass, and in just the right place to toss you on your ear and have you slide helplessly right onto the racing line. 

Link to Photo

The problem is, both circumstances carry exactly the same warning...green paint. But pilots, especially the good young ones, see 95% of this painted area as mostly harmless mischief. But in doing so they can also become oblivious to the remaining 5% and end up ignoring the critical warnings as-well. It is the same failed message we give young people in our farcical war on drugs; "one puff of that stuff laddie is like drinking a pint of Drain Cleaner". Except sooner or later laddie-boy, or laddie-boy's mates, does take a puff and reports that it is nothing like drain cleaner at all. So they conclude all drug warnings are rubbish. Then someone has the misfortune to try something, usually injected, that truly is like putting a pint of drain cleaner into your system. Call things what they are, and if they are different then say so. We do not have a drain cleaner epidemic, because we call it exactly what it is, and so nobody is tipping a pint of it down to liven up Saturday night. So, differentiate the zones. 95% stays painted green, and the 5% gets painted florescent yellow. And the pilots are then informed that since the consequences of violating each are different, so are the penalties.

For the Yellow Zones: First session violation, 10 minutes back in the box. Second session violation, black flag for the session and a grid penalty. First race violation, long lap penalty, or if occurring on the final lap, a two second addition to race time. Second race violation, black flag. These are harsh because they need to be. But that also means that the application of yellow zones should be limited to only those areas where a real hazard exists, and not just splashed about because the colors look great on TV. Yellow zone violation penalties are mandatory and generally not subject to appeal other than asking for video confirmation from RD.

The green zones are a little more complex since we are screaming "badger" at the pilots, not "wolf". First of all, who gets looked at? Well, start at the front and work back to the last points position. This should at least make the scope of conformance observation practical. So, wait...are we going to free the pilots at the back to scribe their own litany of mischief? Well, pretty much "yes", at least during the race. Because I don't want Race Direction (RD) occupied by the antics of Renzo Paracarro, 23rd and dropping in Moto3, to see if he is 10cm over the green zone in the middle of a corner when they will have quite enough to do minding the hooligans at the front. Sure, if young Renzo is a habitual violator, RD has the discretion to inform his team that he will be watched until he corrects his unfortunate habits. With limited resources, some form of triage system has to be applied to make any of this work. I mean, not to sound cynical about this, but Renzo is never going to be a factor in the race or even shown on our viewing screens at home, so why get into a tizzy and degrade our limited capabilities? Besides, what are we going to do to punish the 23rd place pilot? Go to his box after the race and taunt him until he cries?

Clear green zone violations in practice or Q-sessions still get your lap cancelled. For the race, we give RD clear guidance on what is expected of the pilots up front, but don't otherwise handcuff their decision making. Example: If a pilot violates the same section of the same corner multiple times, that is a willful act, and a long-lap penalty is applied (or again, +2 seconds on the last lap). If a pilot is violating the green limits in random parts of the circuit, but is doing so repeatedly, he is riding in a reckless manner. Same penalties. If a rider is only occasionally crossing over the line, but more than RD would ideally like to see, then he and his team are re-educated on RD's expectations, and probably told if it continues any future transgressions will be deemed willful or reckless. And for pilots whose transgressions are few and far between? Nada. This is part of the beautiful uncertainty of racing and has to be lived with.

Any landing you can walk away from...

Well, hopefully we can raise the bar a bit when it comes to safely rejoining the racing surface. And I appreciate the many comments that I have read about designated re-entry zones or multiple penalty loops that have been proposed, but I have to say: None of these are attainable. The circuits MotoGP runs on, especially the classic circuits we all love, are already bumping right up against even the minimum real estate requirements for safe racing. There is simply no room available to add additional features, so we can bin those otherwise good suggestions. But what can be done is to re-emphasize the absolute responsibility of the pilot re-entering the racing surface to do so in a safe manner. And by "safe" we do not mean "well, nobody was killed or maimed, so where is the harm?". Unsafe means elevated risk, not loading broken bodies into ambulances. The fact that some drunk managed to weave his way home from the pub without killing someone does not mean his actions were acceptable. There seems to be far too much of an attitude in the paddock that no blood means no foul. An unsafe return should be treated just like a yellow zone violation, with the same penalties except for the following. If RD deems a re-entry to be exceptionally hazardous, they can black flag the rider immediately and without additional warning, and also apply additional penalties including, but not limited to, having the rider taken outside the circuit and beaten for three days.

But that's it. No GPS signals, no fifty-three more hi-rez cameras (and a staff of minions to watch them all), no tracking lasers, and no in-ground sensors. Green and yellow paint with the emphasis on the yellow zones for everyone and the green zones mostly for the lads at the sharp end of the field. Harsh penalties for safety infractions and a lighter touch for a bit of mischief, unless conclusively shown to be willful or reckless. But none of this is emanating from the Burning Bush...I am still groping my way through this like everybody else. All of the details are larval so feel free to make suggestions or change things. Lastly, if you came for an internet argument I will save you the trouble...you win. But if I see any drones I may become less charming...possibly even unpleasant...and that would disappoint my valet and my dog. Cheers.

Maybe the question is whether or not Motogp wants to temper the aggression displayed in the way racers are riding as suggested by the comments from Paolo Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso. The inner edge of the green zone is the racing line because it's there and the riders can use it. If the greencrete was grass, it would not be the racing line. What you give them, the riders will take. And the physical constraints of the tracks suggets that in many cases there is no more real estate to give.

The penalties during qualifying are simple. Venture onto the green zone with both wheels at the same time and the lap is disqualified. It could be just as simple for the racing. For those that willfully venture onto the green zone, a long lap penalty must be taken. The long lap does not have to be so long. It could be the outer line of a turn marked by white paint.

When a rider is pushed onto the green by another rider's aggression, there should be no penalty for the green zone infraction. Should there be a penalty for the rider that forced the other onto the green zone? Does Motogp really want to go in this direction - the direction of reducing aggressive riding on track?

Is that really what the fans and viewers want also? Or maybe in some way we both really enjoy the extra aggression but at the same time a part of us says that it has gone too far. And what we see taking place in Motogp racing is a reflection of our own conflicting aggressive desires and mores. For which there is no clear answer.  

directly next to the track 1 meter grass or gravel (well leveled out ofcourse) and then the asphalt again. Still safe but not so attractive to overcook it and use the area as a racing line. In places where the bike is quite upright curbstones can be placed to prevend cutting

A digression of probably foolish proportions I admit but may I draw your attentions to earlier recent musings by myself regarding the growing power of the KTM company and their ability to return to their Mattighofen factory on the Monday following race day and make changes next door at their owned suspension company WP, or at Pankl for drivetrain solutions, or fine chassis fixes. This harkens back to the days of the Michelin special tyres, transported throughout Europe overnight in a very rapid Renault Espacé (that some wags around our community still believes has happened for a one Marc Marquez esq). This may be only an advantage at the European rounds, hold on, 2020? Well, maybe Ducati and Aprilia could also be practising similar factory-to-racetrack fixes but do they have ultimate control of the majority of their suppliers in the same way as KTM do? Unlikely. As I meander to my point I'm minded of the quiet desperation of the Yamaha Motor Company, Iwata, JPN and the traditional Nipponese inflexibility that has plagued HRC for many years and latterly themselves, starting with their inability to pinch Magneti Marelli staff at the advent of the spec ECU-KTM didn't muck around extracting a key Ohlins guy recently- to their current brake issues. But I am here to offer a solution that I'm sure will help in the white-hot cauldron of this extraordinary senza Márquez season-Acme trading.

 
As Covid-19 rumbles on I find myself performing tasks I otherwise would not contemplate whilst raiding my extensive animation collection to help me pass the time whilst, well, IRONING. So it was that I found myself in the midst of a pile of wrinkly clothes watching my Wile Coyote DVD collection, not to be confused with my other Road Runner collection, the WC set focuses on Wile's efforts to thwart RR, often, well always, with disastrous consequences. But what cannot be denied is how impressive his same or next day supply of weapons, ballistics and general building materials were. Whilst I accept we cannot know whether there is extensive editing in the cartoons (so his encounters with the rapid Road Runner may be days or weeks apart), what cannot be denied is how quickly solutions were delivered to the battle theatre, thought to be the Arizona desert, this being over four decades ago lest we forget. If Acme do indeed still exist, possibly in doubt after a long fought acrimonious legal case between the two parties, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1990/02/26/coyote-v-acme then maybe the Japanese triumvate and Yamaha in particular should indeed consider this a realistic option. I'm currently unsure whether Acme offer anything else other than rocket sleds, instant canyon traversing bridges or various guided missiles but if they were so rapid in those pre-Amazon Prime days, it must be worth looking at? Also for consideration and not withstanding the brilliant efforts of one Dr Xavier Mir in patching our gladiators up, Wile Coyote was blown to pieces on a very regular basis and was ALWAYS up and ready the following sunrise, some surgeon. I'll get mi sombrero...

(Oh and Road Runners are real as our Antipodean friends will attest, as are Coyotes, maybe not of the Wile extraction though. Also check the link above for said legal manoeuvrings 😉).

As you know funsize, Wile was immortal. He must still be trying to catch that bird as I type. 

Let's just get a sample of his DNA, inject it into every racer on the grid, and voila! No more safety concerns!

Which of course would mean 500hp bikes and a return to Laguna Seca.  ;-)

You sure they haven't already tried Acme? No brakes, rubbish steering, uncontrollable missiles.....

Maybe time for plan B, or whatever letter comes next.

..well at least in my world (that my world not being the title sponsor of any Austrian or other Grand Prix). I also noted no air fences or green areas in Wile's many multi hundred -metre falls to the valley floor below..