MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Ducati defection the latest move in MotoGP’s brains war
Will Yamaha fix its software woes by signing Ducati electronics engineer Marco Frigerio for 2020?
Knowledge is power, they say. In MotoGP it is also handling, braking, traction, tyre life and everything else.
When you sit down to watch a MotoGP race what you are really witnessing is hundreds and hundreds of the best brains in motorcycling working at full speed. Usually, the best brains win because they build the best bikes, set up the bikes in the best way and ride the bikes in the best way. So in fact it’s more of a brains race than a motorcycle race.
Riders make headlines when they quit one factory for another, but there’s a lesser-known conflict between teams and factories, fighting to own the best pit-lane brains in the business.
Yamaha has won the latest victory in this war. The Iwata factory that has suffered so badly in recent seasons has hired Ducati electronics engineer Marco Frigerio to crunch the zeroes and ones at Monster Yamaha from next season.
Electronics have been Yamaha’s biggest issue during its miserable last few seasons, so could Frigerio’s arrival finally return Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales to the front of the pack? Quite possibly.
Frigerio has been at Ducati for a long time and currently works as Jack Miller’s electronics engineer. Over the past decade or so Frigerio has been with the factory’s World Superbike and MotoGP teams, so there’s nothing he doesn’t know about Magneti Marelli hardware and software. When Magneti Marelli kit became compulsory in MotoGP in 2016 some factories were quick to lure Magneti Marelli staff to their operations.
After all, who knows the way through the labyrinth of Magneti programmes better than the people who designed and developed them?
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.