Recent comments

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Is perhaps a better description for CRT than ploy. ;)

  • The Slow Decline Of The Honda RC213V - The Lessons Of Stefan Bradl And Alvaro Bautista   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Apart from the comments from those who clearly have never forgiven Stoner for beating Rossi in 2007, and then continue to blame Stoner for Rossi's abysmal failure at Ducati, this thread has been very interesting, not least because David set the ball rolling in the first place.

    Then there were the the well-informed comments of Dennis Noyes and his quotes from Kevin Cameron.

    And a host of other comments from people who clearly have been watching racing for more than a few minutes.

    From several thousand kilometres away and viewing only what is on the television screen, I had attributed the majority of Honda's problems to chassis-suspension set-up. I watched in disbelief Marquez' Honda's front wheel bouncing off the track under brakes at one of the earlier GPs, and also the bike 'hobby-horsing' into other corners. For sure an aggressive power delivery is no help, but I cannot help but wonder how much Honda has missed Pedrosa's input into chassis set-up.

    I understand Stoner has huge respect for Pedrosa's 'feel' for a good set-up, gained from when he first tested the Honda at Valencia at the end of the 2010 season. It turned out he much preferred Dani's chassis to that of Dovizioso. I was later told Dani had tried "many" different frames that year but after trying just one new one, Dovizioso went back to the chassis he'd started the season on, and never changed.

    The second time Pedrosa's input was mentioned (publicly this time) by Stoner was during the mid-part of the 2011 season when they were both scheduled to test the new 1000cc Honda at Brno. Pedrosa was unable to test so Stoner went there as the sole Honda rider, and I understand, set fastest time in the tests (Yamaha tested there too). But when asked if that made him happy about the direction Honda was taking with the new bike for 2012, Stoner said he was encouraged, but really wanted to get Pedrosa's opinion when the Spaniard was fit enough to test it too. That was so unlike any top-level rider I could think of. I have never heard a team-mate laud the ability of the other man in his team.

    So, with Pedrosa's arm pump problem surfacing so early in the season, how much input did HE have with Honda in the pre-season tests?

    Marquez poor points position can be attributed to his not pulling back from the brink. His race crashes this year - in my view - were due to the chassis problem and his decision to press on regardless. But his collision with Rossi (and subsequent crash) seemed to be due more to the red-mist descending than a machine problem. Rossi gave him the opportunity to make an arse of himself, and he grabbed it with both hands.

    That said, it was a much more mature ride from Marquez at Assen - well, at least until he again collided with Rossi. This time he did not crash, but his post-race grizzling indicates he still has a lot of growing up to do.

    I had thought Pedrosa was going to be the surprise packet in the race after looking at his consistently fast practice times, then he pelted himself down the track in warm-up on race day morning. I sure hope that did not set his confidence back again. Because only when we see a fully-fit Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda can we really judge just where the factory bikes are at.

    Crutchlow? Well, he's brave, but he doesn't come across as being very intelligent. So I don't hold him in much regard as a yard-stick.

    And despite the on-paper advantages Ducati has to work with, Yamaha has still built a superior all-round motorcycle - again. Don't get me wrong, Yamaha has proved in the past it can get things outstandingly wrong - as it did in 1993 with that year's YZR500. But this year's bike is a nice evolution of last year's.

    Now, can we talk about the disadvantages Harley-Davidson XR750 riders have to work with and yet they are still winning?

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 3 days ago

    I was not suggesting free entertainment, just a stable price for the consumer. DORNA is owned by a Private Equity firm, correct? They care about one thing and one thing only - returns on their investment. They are not going to watch their earnings march out the door through increased subsidies, so it will be funded by those whom consume the entertainment.
    By DORNA discontinuing their Factory subsidies and funding teams, I have to think their costs will go up given the few factories involved for the past few years vs. $2M euro per rider on a team. Obviously without knowing what the previous arrangements were between DORNA and the factories we'll never know, but chances are this new format costs them more.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Funnily enough when the weather changes to foul so does the rider behaviour. Confidence is shattered or raised and that cant be explained away by the electronics packages. The ability to win in poor conditions comes down to grit and determination and god (which ever one you subscribe to

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Funnily enough when the weather changes to foul so does the rider behaviour. Confidence is shattered or raised and that cant be explained away by the electronics packages. The ability to win in good or poor conditions comes down to grit and determination and god (which ever one you subscribe to

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    The idea that you tell the factories they can charge €2.2 million but you think they will charge 1.5 made me laugh for at least 5 minutes.

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    The stability on technical regulations is part of the contract signed between the manufacturers and Dorna. They will not be changed. There is no real need, there are plenty of bikes on the grid, from a range of manufacturers, and racing is (relatively) affordable. The Global Financial Crisis has settled down, for the most part, and so sponsorship is easier to find than in 2009/2010. The CRT ploy (for it was exactly that) worked.

    Who will foot the bill? To a large extent the factories, who will receive less money from Dorna than in the past. Dorna will continue to charge venues to stage races, and will continue to charge TV companies to show the races. But what do you expect? MotoGP is an entertainment product, and the consumers of that product - the fans - have to pay somehow. They either pay through their TV contracts, or by buying tickets to races, or by serving as a willing audience for sponsors/advertisers. Either way, they pay. There is no such thing as free entertainment.

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    No other manufacturer has shown any interest in racing in MotoGP. The requirement to go through a private team will be only a relatively small part of their decision making process. 

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Will the need to go through existing teams really motivate manufacturers to join?

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   3 weeks 4 days ago

    I really like your comments Chris on this matter, but I will try to explain what the different perceptions are. You can look at our beloved sport from a technical way in two directions, that is the sport as it is today, mechanical/electronics or as a sport with enough parameters you can change but only on the mechanical way, so as less electronics as possible.
    No we don't have to go back to breaker points (don't know if this is the correct word, appologies for my poor English) to get a spark from the ignition, but no rider aids in forms as traction control and drive by wire. You look at a power wheely as dated, to me is it wonderful to see how these men control the enormous amount of power the bikes had in the past and have today. I Always really liked at the end of the race when they could make a burn out, today this is not possible without risking your live, but more importand the electronics make it impossible to do and won't allow you to make one. I like to see the bikes wobble coming out of corners and see the rider fight with his machine to keep it in line, this to me is what bike racing is all about a rider controling the bike without all the aids and no I do not like to see riders crash heavily. Even with no electronics there is enough room and challenge to make a bike ride easier or as easy as possible, also for the engineers is it harder to make an engine easier to ride when there are no more electronics to support some bad behaviour of the engine you just made. Most important thing is as mentiond above, you want to see riders make mistakes and fight with their bikes as the race comes to an end and the tyres start to wear, when they hit a fraction of a second the throttle to early and there are no electronics to keep you out of trouble and let your opponent slip through. I hope that I have explained what we are missing.

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Do World Superbike teams get support now? It seems like a good way to keep the sport viable. Rider's paying for their ride doesn't seem right for the longer term.

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Thanks to strange regulations these past years and thanks also to the arrival of Marquez and the revival of Rossi, we have once again great show in MotoGP.

    These new agreements seem to be smart and logical on the paper.

    Anyway, I still don't understand the Dorna's policy about the TV/Internet coverage. With a race as last week end, writing "motogp" on youtube should have raise hundreds of videos and millions and millions of views. Fans around the world should have the right to put in their own editing without censure... bringing millions of fresh viewers, which means new sponsors interested in.

    Since the last ten years, when I show MotoGP best races to "non motorcyclist" friends, the reaction is always the same: "this should be more famous around the world, it's great, fast, short and ruthless".

    But you have to pay, or watch it on awful streaming ...

    Come on (old ;) ) guys, this is the new way ... the world wants to see this.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Many of your reponses seem to support my arguments. But I'm not into this whole "competitive arguing" thing so I'll leave things well alone. Besides I'm quite certain I'm a different genus of homosapien motocyclus to one who doesn't like power wheelies so we'll never speak the same language. (insert epic pic of Bayliss on the charge on the 996)

  • The Long Term Future Of MotoGP - Financial And Technical Stability At Last?   3 weeks 4 days 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?   3 weeks 4 days 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 weeks 5 days 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?   3 weeks 5 days 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?   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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   3 weeks 5 days 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.

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