Recent comments

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   1 hour 10 min ago

    A background issue but I couldn't find anything on it. Does the grid limit mean the end of wildcard rides or is there a carveout in the agreement for them?

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   1 hour 29 min ago

    the recent backflip on Ducati and Suzuki is a prime example of when Honda is getting beaten-time to change the rules.

    I still can't help but feel as though the tyres and a lack of competition in supply is causing most of the problems in relation to evening up the playing field, and the fuel limit, engine rule and lack of testing.

    Its good that there appears to be stabilization to attempt to improve competition, however its no good stabilizing regulations which are, well, no good.

  • 2015 Assen Post-Race Round Up: Title Races, Maturity Joe, And Miller Madness   3 hours 51 min ago

    Well said, Danny has been a revelation this year! His consistent quality from race to race is really impressive, as is his ability to shine no matter what the conditions and type of race it turns out to be. Watching that grey Leopard bike from the helicopter shots is always fascinating, as you see the way he's dropping back and surging forward to time his attacks and run to the line.

    As you say, he's a tough, smart fighter in the bunch without being stupid and dangerous, plus has the rare ability to break free when conditions are right and make everyone else look second rate. He was always good but I didn't see this utter domination coming! If it was any other sport you'd suspect he was on some kind of illegal drug...

    It bodes well for his future. Manufacturers and team owners like Kent's mix of raw speed with great race smarts and ability to ride with the big picture of the whole season in mind. Sounding like he might move up to Moto 2 for the second time in a much better way than the first, staying in the same excellent team. Looking forward to his eventual arrival in Moto GP, go Danny!

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   4 hours 23 min ago

    "technical and sporting regulations have been fixed for the same period, from 2017 to 2021."
    PUH-LEEEEEZE . DORNA should add the caveat or asterisk 'unless we want to change them on you."

    And noting that contrary to popular belief in some countries around the world that there is no free money, DORNA may find ways to significantly increase their subsidies to teams, but who will foot this bill? What is DORNA expected to do to fees charged to venues for the privilege of hosting a race and what will those venues do to ticket prices, food/drink prices, website subscription costs, etc.? I have an idea and if it is like how 'free' stuff works in the US, then it is going to cost everyone a lot more.

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   5 hours 44 min ago

    You have already written on the appalling lack of marketing effort the teams put into gaining and maintaining sponsorship. The plan to insert stability and increase support to the teams is great a step forward, but will it reduce even further their incentive to retain marketing professionals to take the next step to prosperity?

  • 2015 Assen MotoGP Post-Race Round Up, Part 1: Rossi vs Marquez   6 hours 57 min ago

    Thank you, David, for an excellent piece, as always. Much as a previous correspondent commented, I have finally been humbled into supporting your site financially - long may it continue!

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   8 hours 47 min ago

    >>Rossi proved with his ill fated move to Ducati that the emphasis these days is more about the bike, than the rider.

    Stoner won 3 of the last 6 races on the Duc. Rossi then proceeded to win no races the beginning of the next season, so in that case it was all about the rider. A good bike and team structure has always been necessary to win races and a even more so to win a title. It may not be as obvious or celebrated as a great rider but it is always there.

    >>Many of us want to see the race decided on the track, not by dueling laptops.

    Well I want to see races decided on the track, not by guys dueling screwdrivers and wrenches. What's the difference in these two statements? Nothing, they are both equally dumb. Regardless of the era of racing if a rider's team did not give him a well prepared bike he would not win. The rider wins the race on a bike the team provides.

    >>Haven't we all said at some point "I wonder what he could do on a Factory bike..."? When not so long ago privateer on a well prepared bike COULD actually compete with the top guys.

    Yes, I said that too and the sad truth is that the factory bikes usually go to the guys that can use them fully. Dovi is a perfect example. He is the best of the rest. From a satellite Yam to a factory Honda and Ducati his results have plateaued. I think any of the 4 aliens would have won on the new Duc already.

    >> All they have done is increase the cost of competition exponentially and reduce the variation in laptimes because every bike has near perfect traction on corner exit.

    No, the 4 strokes have increased the cost. Electronics are cheap. Changing maps needs no new parts, only a smart engineer. A smart engineer in any discipline is worth his money. Simulations can be run on a laptop in a hotel room or on a beach somewhere. But after paying riders in the millions can you balk at paying an engineer a few hundred k if he brings a competitive advantage? Look at the transporters in the paddock. The money is not in the electronics. And I think the rider training and optimization is the majority of the laptime consistency. Remember the days of riders smoking on the podium?

    >> It's this lack of variation, the lack of human's being allowed to make mistakes, that results in the processional Lorenzo-type wins because the the only place you can make up time is on the brakes, not on the gas.

    No, Lorenzo leads to Lorenzo style wins. Last year with perhaps the most electronically controlled bike (the Honda) Marquez was sliding and making mistakes all race long. And winning. And passing is usually done on the brakes as that is where it is always easier to find a difference.

    >>And yes, when a rider can open the throttle exiting a corner asking for 260hp and a computer decides sorry I'm going to control wheelspin to the optimum +9% of front wheel speed, -36% throttle opening because of the lean angle, +3% for the excellent track surface at turn 3 and only give you 172hp then yes, neutering sounds fairly accurate.

    What an inaccurate view of what is really going on. And why is it that the riders who use the most TC go the slowest? I don't even think they should call it TC anymore as cutting power is so 2000s.

    >> many of us think slightly differently: they are no doubt extraordinary riders, but it's the "alien technology" at their disposal that puts them in a different realm

    You are the first person I've heard to put this opinion out there. You may be more alone than you think. Besides, it is a provably wrong statement. Dovi won only one wet race in his 3 years as a Repsol Honda rider with the 'alien technology.' Haven't we all said 'if I had his bike I'd be that fast too'? We were wrong. Next year there will be no 'alien technology' and I'll make you a bet that we have the same winners in the dry races.

    >>After all it wasn't that long ago that Elias and Melandri found these so called "Aliens" very beatable, and many other privateers mixed it up amongst the Factory bikes.

    Our current era having 4 top riders is highly unusual in racing. When it was Rossi and everyone else if Rossi had a bad day there was a whole group of 2nd tier riders ready to take the win. Not to mention he was nice enough to make it a race up to the end because he always felt he had a margin on everyone else. He does not feel that way any more. With 4 top riders all of them need some sort of problem to allow a 2nd tier rider a win. That is highly unlikely which is why the 4 have been winning everything and why they are aliens. Nothing to do with whatever electronic control strategies are developed.

    >>Control IS taken from the individual if a computer alters your actions 500 times/second.

    Do you think the ECU is changing the rider's input? That would really build rider confidence! I think the simplest way of explaining it is that the computer is constantly remapping full throttle to be slightly more than what it thinks the tire can transmit. 100% throttle is always max tractive force regardless of leaned over or upright. The rider still needs to roll on and off the throttle at the appropriate points and actually ride the bike and provide control input.

    >> I'd gladly suck up slower laptimes to see more talent from the riders and less from the IT techs.

    Jeez! With the racing we've been having the last couple of years you are not seeing talent from the riders?!?!?! Open your eyes.

    >> Man, it would be so refreshing just to see a front wheel more than 50mm off the ground somewhere other than a cooldown lap.

    Watch some 500cc races. They look so awkward when they pull power wheelies during the race. It looks dated and archaic.

    Chris

  • Ducati Press Release: Carlos Checa Completes Three-Day World Superbike Test On Panigale R   10 hours 30 min ago
    +1

    I am a huge fan of Carlos, not only a very nice guy but seeing him ride the 1098 in 2011 when the won the title was unforgettable, rarely seen anyone look so good on a racing bike.

    I too think he did the right thing after that nasty accident; he's proved he's a top rider right near the end of his career, what better?

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   12 hours 36 sec ago

    I'm starting to think that this site has a lot of older, let's say 500 2stroke fans, I'm getting curious how many of the people who gave their opinion on Mr.Oaxley his masterpiece are born before 1990 ;-) I know I am.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   12 hours 10 min ago

    For a brief moment I thought I've writen this piece, I have nothing to add and will silence now and read your masterpiece over and over again!!
    Sometimes you feel alone and think you are the only one who thinks this way, I've rewarded your statement with FIVE stars, beautiful :-)

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   13 hours 58 min ago

    >>Wow, never heard anyone refer to a modern GP bike as neutered. The original 990s were all about useable power possible and then the 800s which were peaky power were nearly immediately faster. And these 100s are even better.

    You didn't? Strange.
    For years we've been reading/listening to riders talking about it, that they want back more control, wishing there were far less electronics in the class. From KR.Jr., all the way through C.E.II, Toseland, Capirossi, Rossi and Stoner, among others...

    You may know this but others here may not, so -for what is worth- I'll drop this here:
    http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2010/Aug/100824200wchampion.htm

    The longer, full audio version of that same enterview is also available here:
    http://www.soupkast.com/kast/soupkast112.mp3

    About the "usable power".
    There's a curious less known episode with Rossi, after he tested the RCV211 prototype, before the 2002 pre-season, when it was evident that the bike would demolish lap-records.
    Regardless of the effectiveness of the bike, he enquired HRC about the possibility of keeping the NSR500 for the following season instead (that year the 2-strokes ran with the new 4-strokes) because he felt that one was still far more interesting for him to ride. Honda/HRC refused such "nonsense" (and the RCV211 story we all know began).

    Yes, the more "usable power" was initially the biggest advantage for the MotoGP 4-strokes, as Barros confirmed in 2002.
    But, from memory, somewhere in the 2003 mid-season, it was hinted that the "usable power" in the factory 990s could be fading away at some point when HRC confirmed initial developments of traction-control in their bikes, and then other manufacturers followed suit later.
    It all went to hell years later when the 800s stepped in, and up to this day with the 1000s, which are no more than over-developped 800s.
    There is no longer such a thing as "usable power" in MotoGP, for many years now. Not unless you maintain the huge ammount of electronics anyway.

    >>Why think about it like that? Why not that the electronics give the rider a level of control previously unobtainable?

    How couldn't one think otherwise?
    How can you call it "control and skills from the individual" when the electronics are there to limit and neuter reactions? (because that's exactly what they do - fact)

    These guys have launch control for the perfect starts. They have selectable power/torque curves for different weather, track conditions and also for tyre/fuel management. They have anti-wheelie control, and then the traction control to keep the bike going as in rails, with the freakin throtle pinned down.
    You even have clutchless down shifts now (LOL), so good that you can just kick the damn gear-shift "bam-bam-bam" before the corner and let the electronics do the rest.

    How is that not taking away skills and control from the rider?
    How is that not neutering?

    The fact that Pedrosa imediately lost control when Marquez clipped his rear wheel and broke the rear wheel sensor, for the electronics, put a spotlight over the dependancy of it for the "control" in these racebikes. Did it not?

    This hasn't anything to do with "rose-tinted glasses" and nostalgia. Dismissing the subject to "there's vintage racing for that" is the easy way out subterfuge when no arguments can counter the pointed issues.

    Please (re)read or (re)listen to Kenny Roberts Jr. enterview.
    See the replys from Seven4nineR and BrickTop.
    Some great points and even analogies highlighting the issue(s).

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   19 hours 35 min ago

    Rossi proved with his ill fated move to Ducati that the emphasis these days is more about the bike, than the rider. Many fans are unhappy with this state of affairs. Many of us want to see the race decided on the track, not by duelling laptops. We want to see another Schwantz or Rainey at least have the chance to overcome the deficiency's in their machines and be competitive via pure undiluted talent, instead computers tame the extra 30hp Espargaro's (for example) rivals have at their disposal and he is reduced to an also ran despite his obvious talent. Haven't we all said at some point "I wonder what he could do on a Factory bike..."? When not so long ago privateer on a well prepared bike COULD actually compete with the top guys.

    And those "damn computers" you say would give Crafar an edge do no such thing when every other manufacturer has similar computers. All they have done is increase the cost of competition exponentially and reduce the variation in laptimes because every bike has near perfect traction on corner exit. It's this lack of variation, the lack of human's being allowed to make mistakes, that results in the processional Lorenzo-type wins because the the only place you can make up time is on the brakes, not on the gas.

    And yes, when a rider can open the throttle exiting a corner asking for 260hp and a computer decides sorry I'm going to control wheelspin to the optimum +9% of front wheel speed, -36% throttle opening because of the lean angle, +3% for the excellent track surface at turn 3 and only give you 172hp then yes, neutering sounds fairly accurate. Just as Dani Pedrosa found at a few years ago at Phillip Island when he looped it during a practice start after an issue with the launch control unleashed The Hulk instead of the mild mannered Bruce Banner he was expecting.

    Now while the top riders are considered "aliens" many of us think slightly differently: they are no doubt extraordinary riders, but it's the "alien technology" at their disposal that puts them in a different realm. It's no coincidence that the rise of electronic intervention also gave rise to the term "alien". After all it wasn't that long ago that Elias and Melandri found these so called "Aliens" very beatable, and many other privateers mixed it up amongst the Factory bikes.

    Control IS taken from the individual if a computer alters your actions 500 times/second. Control is asking for a certain thing and getting exactly what you ask for, control is NOT asking for something and receiving something slightly different no matter how much the result may be improved. See how far that attitude gets you with Donald Trump on The Apprentice: "Sorry Don, I know you wanted your regular toupee but it's a little windier outside so I went for something shorter.....". So the rider may work in concert with the electronics to achieve a faster laptime, but they do not have as much control as they would on a fully analog albeit slower bike.

    Your statement regarding more people should be winning because computers are removing some element of rider skill or talent doesn't play out. As Mr Oxley pointed out in his usual succinct manner: only the Factory's have the necessary resources to maximise the potential of the electronics packages, be they the existing or soon to be standardised systems. No way in hell can a privateer team ever come close to perfecting settings the way a Factory can with their cubic dollars, computing/simulation power and bulk of expertise. So unfortunately we are depriving ourselves of ever seeing another Stoner come along and put a privateer bike on pole in their 2nd ever MotoGP race or nearly win their 3rd but for a last corner pass by another privateer in the form of Melandri.

    Bottom line: laptimes are NOT the be all and end all of MotoGP. I'd gladly suck up slower laptimes to see more talent from the riders and less from the IT techs. Man, it would be so refreshing just to see a front wheel more than 50mm off the ground somewhere other than a cooldown lap.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 1 hour ago

    Its called vintage racing, AHRMA here in the US.

    I always wonder if modern GP riders feel insulted by the underlying 'you are not going that fast, its the computer' that old GP guys trot out while they were lapping 10+sec a lap slower. As if Mr. Crafar would not have used whatever aids available at the time to gain an edge over his competitors. But, those damn kids.......

    >>than ~260HP/160Kg GP machines which are neutered, with all said and done.

    Wow, never heard anyone refer to a modern GP bike as neutered. The original 990s were all about useable power possible and then the 800s which were peaky power were nearly immediately faster. And these 100s are even better. Progress demands one thing, improvement, and in racing that is lap times.

    As it is now braking is the only area where computer control has not encroached and the main malady of riders seems to be arm pump. I wonder how quickly an ABS race system would make those issues disappear for the susceptible riders. And I wonder what maladies will reappear if the computer control of the throttle is simplified. Astronaut training for one.

    >>a celebration of superior human skills in regards to the control of racing-machines.

    So the 4 aliens are merely normal human skills augmented by good programming? Rossi is self-admittedly riding the best he ever has and its on a bike that is the most computer-assisted ever. Think it is a coincidence? Marquez likes to slide the bike but does not like it when the bike slides itself. It's not computer control, its computer assist and if it is not assisting a talented rider the results are no different from when there were no aids. Look at the latest DARPA self guided vehicle contests to see how advanced full computer 'control' is. Not very.

    >>If the control is taken from the individual

    Why think about it like that? Why not that the electronics give the rider a level of control previously unobtainable? Why CDI when a good old fashioned advance lever does the same thing? Spark cutting traction control (around in GPs for a long time) is OK but FBW is a step too far? If the computer was really removing some element of rider skill or talent from the sport then more different people would be winning races, not less. Fewer people are winning because it harder to eke that last .01% out. By removing the parts of the torque/lean angle map that would only cause misery, it allows the rider to focus on the rest that much more.

    Chris

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 2 hours ago

    Can't wait to see Footballers get electronic kicking aids. Runners to get running gizmos, tennis players to get electronic raquets. Wonder what the fans would say?

    I say toss all the electronics in the trash. Motorcycle mfr's have their own test tracks. Some of these tracks have sprinklers to simulate rain, with parts of the track mangled up with horrible pavement to simulate the road. They can sort out their road going electronic wizardry there. Then maybe we can let the riders talent show through. Make a sweet handling chassis, the best engine you can, then throw on the best brakes and suspension. How much better the sport would be.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 4 hours ago

    ...but this is still pretty much how I feel:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXU2PwNqe-4
    (pardon the brand/model publicity in it, that was not my intention with it)

    Through the years I've learned to accept that the gizmos, toys and techy stuff in racing are all here to stay and won't go away from the sport (unfortunately), and to enjoy things as much as I can, to a point where I can almost forget/ignore them.
    But I still look back (to memories, or old videos) and can't help to still consider those guys back then as much, much bigger heroes and masters at their craft. Even if it is accepted that the ones around today could probably be just as good back in those days.

    For street and public roads use? Definitely.
    But for racing use? Still a well round "Please, just NO" to electronics.

    I always believed that it shouldn't have been about "MORE" power, because at some point it obviously becomes uncontrolable (without driver aids), but about the "QUALITY" of power and, most of all, in less weight.
    I'd rather watch ~190HP/130Kg GP machines with no rider aids (whatsoever), than ~260HP/160Kg GP machines which are neutered, with all said and done.

    I love technology myself, being attached to it for professional and hobbyist reasons but, like with everything, there is a limit.
    Some years ago I had an interesting conversation with someone in sportscar racing. We both concluded that Motorsports have always been the domain of tactics, smarts, advancements in equipment but, most of all, a celebration of superior human skills in regards to the control of racing-machines.
    If the control is taken from the individual, even if partially, it means the magic is broken, and something very important in the whole thing is therefore lost in the process.

  • Ducati Press Release: Carlos Checa Completes Three-Day World Superbike Test On Panigale R   1 day 6 hours ago

    Hips - when broken severely they can heal up in a manner such that they are vulnerable if injured again. Can't just keep patching them up like collarbones etc.

    Also really happy to hear he is doing so well, fit as a 25 yr old, and fast as ever. Carlos has a LOT of laps under his belt after all these yrs! You can take the guy away from the track, but can't ...

  • Scott Jones Goes Dutch - Race Day At Assen   1 day 6 hours ago

    LOVE riding style comparison photos.
    And slides.

    Thanks for the superb Motoporn!
    :)

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 8 hours ago

    I'm still disappointed by the electronics in MotoGP, especially with the myriad of adjustment that can be made. Traction/spin control for left and right corners, fine tuning 5 parameters and running simulations in the background to work out the best strategy, etc, etc.

    This could have been the moment Dorna/MSMA could have introduced a complex (in terms of inputs/sensors) but simple in terms of settings (think ZX-10R, RSV4, R1M and the ability to switch between traction control levels).

    No ability to have different settings for left vs right handers, no team running programmes overnight to choose which of the 104 combination of settings is the one to go with (multiplied by another however-many for weather/temp scenarios).

    This would have driven improvements in sensors and traction control software towards something that can perform at the highest level, but do so simply without turn-by-turn TC, without running your computer overnight to come up with today's settings.

    Same teams & riders will be upfront, gaps won't change, because this isn't really a change.

  • Ducati Press Release: Carlos Checa Completes Three-Day World Superbike Test On Panigale R   1 day 10 hours ago

    Glad to see Carlos has apparently fully recovered from the 2013 crash which led to his retirement. If I remember correctly, he broke his pelvis, which can't be very amusing.
    These rider retirements seem somewhat flexible. Who knows - maybe we'll be seeing him banging fairings with Max and Troy next year?

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 10 hours ago

    You're probably right, which incidentally is why I was a little surprised by a comment elsewhere on the site that this was probably Rossi's last chance to take a 10th title. I think the day to write him off will be the day he retires.

    But back on topic, I think that proves the point. It'll be the same faces in much the same places, just some juggling midpack.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 11 hours ago

    "when someone tells me it’s a great idea I nod vigorously, and when someone tells me it’s an appalling idea I stroke my chin and nod sagely."
    Pretty much nails it!

  • Scott Jones Goes Dutch - Race Day At Assen   1 day 13 hours ago

    I laughed out loud at the origami caption...well done.

  • 2015 Assen Post-Race Round Up: Title Races, Maturity Joe, And Miller Madness   1 day 13 hours ago

    yes, completely the same as me, i am a rossi fan, but as rossi crossed the finish line i thought, wait a second, you can't benefit from going off track and marquez had the inside, so how does that count? but of course rossi and all of the world celebrated and i decided to wait and see what the situation was going to be and of course, it turns out the win was legit, continuing the incredible entertainment of this season.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   1 day 16 hours ago

    Is there any news on whether the spec ECU will contain turn-by-turn tunables? That is still the main thing I'd like to see disappear from the electronics.

  • 2015 Assen Post-Race Round Up: Title Races, Maturity Joe, And Miller Madness   1 day 16 hours ago

    Thank you David

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