After the kerfuffle surrounding Marc Marquez and the accusations of cheating leveled against him and his team, the Repsol Media Service issued a press release in which Marquez' crew chief Santi Hernandez explains how they go about setting up the bike each weekend. The release makes for interesting enough reading, though it shies away from too much detail of the changes they make. It still offers a basic grounding on what the work of a crew chief encompasses. The press release is reproduced below"
Fine-tuning a title winning bike
Marc Márquez’ mechanics unite with the two-time World Champion at each race to find a perfect symphony between man and machine.
During the five practice sessions of each Grand Prix, Marc Márquez and his mechanics work side-by-side in the development of the bike. But what exactly is the setup? This is a joint job carried out by Marc and the technicians in order to prepare the bike for maximum performance, based on the characteristics of the various circuits and the possible weather conditions.
Every Friday of a race weekend, Marc Márquez and his team begin a long journey full of trials and experiments, making the necessary changes to get the best setting for the bike. The Repsol rider’s mechanics do not start from scratch because, as crew chief Santi Hernández explains, "knowing the information that we have from last year or from testing, we always have a base.” This is valuable data from which to begin to adapt the bike to the characteristics of each circuit. "If we are at a heavy braking circuit, then we start working with a bike that is as stable as possible when it comes to stopping," says Hernández. "We also keep in mind if the track is wet that weekend, or if you have a lot or a little grip etc."
However, these adjustments are not easy, because any change to a setting can affect the behavior of other parts of the bike and become counterproductive. "By varying the geometry of the bike you can facilitate turning, but at the same time can lose braking stability," explains Hernández. So, like the conductor of an orchestra creating harmony between all instruments, the mechanical team’s goal is to find a balance between all the elements —allowing Márquez to ride as comfortably as possible, and to squeeze the maximum from his bike.
Throughout this process, the rider serves to verify whether each change to the setup is a step forward or not. After each outing for Márquez, Santi Hernández plays the role of connector between Marc and his machine. He is responsible for listening to the rider’s thoughts —always expressed in English— and then process that information and adjust the settings of the chassis, suspension and swingarm to advance the development of the bike and to obtain the best possible performance from it on track.
Through this long journey, the crew has a great ally: The telemetry. This technology allows them to measure values such as braking, front and rear suspension performance, rear skid and acceleration, thanks to the many sensors that are placed on the bike to display on a computer the 117 variables of Márquez’ Moto2 machine. The Repsol rider’s team even have computer programs that simulate how the changes are expected to change performance and show what consequences they would have for riding the bike.
Finally, on Sunday the culmination of this process is reached. After the finishing touches are made on Sunday during the warm up and finally on the grid, the mechanics head to the box and leave Marc Márquez on his bike, concentrating and waiting to put to the test work undertaken during an intense weekend.