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  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    My point wasn't primarily about Marc, although it is apparent that Marc is not discernably faster - on reasonably similar equipment - in a race than Rossi or Lorenzo (qualifying is another matter...), but he's not any slower, either, and that's as good as it gets. He IS spectacular. And the Honda IS hard to ride. But hard to ride and slow are two very different things - and the Honda, whatever its faults - is not at all slow.

    The main point is that hand-wringing about HRC being in some kind of crisis after having a big set-up problem in one race kind of overstates the case. HRC has an amazing bike, and the track changed dramatically from practice to the race - it turns out that "amazing" in this case goes along with "sensitive to temperature".

    All the bikes are very sensitive to set-up, HRC more so in some ways and less in others (David had a piece earlier on the electronics vs. Ducati - apparently the Ducati electronics are difficult). It's clear that the Yamaha - if taken the wrong way - is dog-slow. Rossi went from 10th to 1st in race pace! That's mostly, if not completely, due to set-up changes. Lorenzo had similar issues in Argentina, it seems.

    Marquez is wild, though - he's either taken out riders directly or nearly taken out riders on numerous occasions with let's say extremely aggressive moves. That's pretty much the definition of wild.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    Marc is not wild and inconsistent.

    MotoGP alone...

    41 Starts
    20 Wins
    32 Podiums
    25 Pole Positions
    23 Fastest Laps

    If that's not consistent, then what is?!

    Marc is incredible and what we see from the first 5 races is that the Honda is a damn hard bike to ride.
    I don't believe that it was the worst bike on the grid last year, but he still made it look better than it was.

    Qatar he had the pace of the leaders aside from the first corner error (althoguh HRC say it was a bike fault), Austin was in his pocket all weekend, Argentina was unlucky, Jerez he had a fantastic ride with a broken finger and in Le Mans it was clear that the Honda as a package struggled with the changed conditions.

    Anyone who says that this has exposed Marc as not being that good is in denial, for whatever reason they may have to dismiss his talent, they are in denial.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    the Winners Condition. Since those are the complaints the engineers should listen too, but always seem to take with less weight.
    How special is MM to watch? Overriding the Honda to keep 4th and squeeze every last point out of the situation. Fantastic talent. Bradley Smith never had a prayer

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    He qualifies great, holds his ground in the first few corners, pulls away from Marquez and then starts going after the leaders. The guy's almost on the podium! He comes up on an injured Ianonne and ... goes all limp. Stuff him Bradley! Your podium is slipping away. Now now now!! More cogitations and careful deliberations. Quickly now, Marquez is back. Nope. Marquez stuffs him and takes 4th. Sigh. I want to see him ride like the future of his team and his seat depend on it. Instead he races like he's getting ready to retire.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    David, great write-up with key details - although I think that they point more towards Marquez state of mind than the quality of the bike. Changing frames like this seems a little wild...like Marquez's riding!

    In 2014 Honda had a MASSIVE technical advantage, and one of the three top riders. I watched every race, and it was clear that the Honda's power, braking, acceleration et. al. were far superior to the competition. I was surprised by Jorge, and amazed like everyone else by Rossi. It was also clear that Marquez was a reckless rider that, had he not been on the best bike, would have struggled.

    This idea that Honda has a crisis, though, is wrong. Yamaha with the seamless downshift is much closer to the Honda. However, let's look at the facts - Marquez was dominating the Qatar weekend until he made a massive error on the first corner and ruined his race (it might not have mattered); Marquez dominated COTA box-to-wire; Marquez was running 2nd until he red-misted out of Argentina; Marquez finished 2nd at Jerez to a dominant Lorenzo; and this weekend he made error after error in the race when temperatures spiked after dominating practice all weekend.

    Ducati has the best bike, that's clear, although on tracks that require the hard tire they are out-of-luck. The Honda is faster than the Yamaha, but harder to ride and possibly more sensitive to set-up - that doesn't make it a worse bike overall - and it plays to Marquez's strengths. But keep in mind that ALL of these bikes are sensitive to set-up! Without a last-minute change, Rossi was 1 whole second off the pace - this article could have been about Rossi's collapse instead of HRC's!

    The real issue facing HRC is that Marquez is not in fact any better than Rossi or Lorenzo, and Yamaha is much closer in equipment this year (better at some tracks, worse at others). Lorenzo on his day - soft tires on a track that suits him - is very, very hard to beat. Rossi on his day - hard tires on a track that suits him - has shown through fifteen years that he's the reference, and that is still the case. Marquez won two championships on the best bike and he's on their level - ahead of Pedrosa and the rest.

    Marquez has been exposed as a blindingly fast but inconsistent rider.

    But HRC in crisis? No. A few changes here or there - for example a Marquez willing to take 2nd, Rossi missing set-up - and the championship has a very different flavor.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 1 day ago

    I think the race result is just weird with respect to the competativity of the factory Honda's. They had a problem. But I don't believe there is a big issue with the factory bike in general, it's just a different bike as the M1 and GP15, so it has different advantages.

    What I don't see back in any comments (as I quickly read) is dat Marquez put a out a magnificent lap at qualifiying and led the WUP with a nice run of 1.33.5's. They just had an issue with the heat in the afternoon which was different as in whole weekend. Surely, everyone had this, but the factory honda seemed to have suffered the most. Ok, move on.

    Marquez went of the podium in Brno last year and there was a similar debate, he won the next race. I wouldnt be surprised Marquez wins Mugello, although the track really suits Lorenzo and Rossi very much. Bring it on!

    Oh, one thing I've read here is that the Honda looked it had issues getting out of the corners. Well I think the ducati just goes like a rocket, but that doesnt mean the honda is bad. I saw a couple of times Marquez outbraked himself, barely made the first chicane and got out the chicane with a very tight corner and was still almost able to keep up with Iannone.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    Looks like HRC are going to have to poach Gigi!

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    much like the ducati, the difficulty to ride it was outweighed by the extreme performance it provided if one could ride it at that level.

    when the other factories caught up, riding it at that limit didnt provide the extreme advantage anymore, and more risks needed to be taken resulting in more crashes for casey.

    i see that happening with the honda also. the honda is harder to ride, and had a complete ton of performance in 2013 and 2014 as a result. that extra performance could pull out an easy .3 or .4 to get you away if you needed.

    flash forward to 2015 and you aren't easily getting a .3 or a .4 out of that. you have to ride much higher at the limit, not because the bike is harder to ride, but because the opposition has caught up.

    it's normal, it's what happens.

    whether the opposition caught up by concessions, different tires, or seamless downshifts, they caught up. and now honda needs to increase the performance of the bike to where 'over riding it' produces that gain in pace over a lap or two that allows a rider to build a lead and then breathe, as opposed to fatigue trying to fight the bike just to stay at the same pace as the opponents.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I love David's writing - this blog is my go-to source for authoritative MotoGP analysis. But on these pages we've previously seen Ducati being diagnosed as having a fatally flawed 90-degree vee twin based on drawn-out analysis (turned out Honda was using a 90-degree too, blowing the whole thesis out of the water) and most recently "the wild and speculative theory I put forward last night about Marc Márquez' Austin engine".

    When proven wrong David always points it out thoroughly and openly about it, but you have to wonder at the reasons for going charging out there with this theory that the Honda is suddenly a dog, doing a sort of reverse-Casey in terms of drawing conclusions about the bike/rider mix.

    David I don't know whether to applaud your bravery on the basis that you might sometimes be right, or conclude that 'Honda now the third-best bike' just makes for a great headline that the article was written to fit. I mean we are a handful or races into the season with Ducati showing a certain resurgence but there are all sorts of factors at play. Thanks for your generally comprehensive and thorough analysis of all such factors ... but ...

    A bike being hard to ride doesn't make it a bike you can't win on. Casey Stoner proved that. The Ducati was still running up the front when he shifted to Honda. It seems a deeply flawed conclusion that a bike has to be easy to ride to win on. The bike might need that wild untamed quality to get that extra squirt out of the corners or outright speed down the straight or a bit unstable generally to deliver quicker turn-in, with the rider having to deal with the downside of it. There may be no other way to deliver the winning edge. If the bike had to be easy to ride to win on, they'd all be out there riding Honda Deauvilles.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    It's all rubber, such is Bridgestones narrow range. Rossi is by far the strongest on a variety of rubber, he proved this at Le Mans on the soft, and we know what will happen to Jorge once the harder compounds come into play again, Marc will have a resurgence once these come back too.

    It certainly seems that having two of the top three riders is once again benefitting Yamaha immensely, so much so that everyone is now questioning the almighty Honda team and its glorious test rider! I've always believed that Stoner is/was such a natural talent, as Marc is that the development road can potentially come to a dead end, stoner proved that at Ducati, with a lot of help from their attitude. He also proved it at Honda, when he was fresh in 2011 with a package developed by Dani and Dovi he cleaned up, less than a year later soundly beaten by Jorge and his teammate. Dani's been sorely missed I would say, but I don't feel sorry for them. And let's not forget Ducatis extra fuel and engines.
    I agree with others here in regards to Rossis General demeanor this season, he looks more confident than I've seen him for a long while, all at 36 years of age is truly remarkable.......he still hasn't earnt the 4-5 paragraphs that Marc and Jorge get though ;)

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I wonder how Jorge will fare when we hit the first wet race. Though as the year has been so unpredictable so far, it won't surprise me if he's fine.

    Right now I'm not writing anyone off. Whatever the points say at the moment, any of the top four could show a run of form and turn the championship on it's head. Who'd have believed, 3 weeks ago, that we'd be talking this week about what great shape Jorge is in, or that the Honda was this years dog.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    This is a very interesting perspective. I'd forgotten that Marquez wanted to bring all his crew from Moto 2 into Moto GP. Here is an article from David on the matter.

    https://motomatters.com/opinion/2013/10/23/puig_vs_alzamora_the_dangerou...

    This article is dated October 2013. It makes it seem as though Marquez had most of his Moto 2 crew in 2014. But he still won the championship in 2014. On the other hand, he was not as strong in the 2nd half of the championship, so maybe your crew perspective has merit.

    Someone else already pointed out that Moto GP requires a team effort. Very interesting.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    Once again, you reveal details which cannot be gleaned from typical media outlets. The problem according to commentators or so-called expert journalists was either with Marquez or the tires. Now I have a better idea of what is happening with Honda. Thanks!

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    "Seems that a [factory] bike is built and revised around the tyres, and each year the control tyre throws up massive challenges, which only the factories can really afford to deal with via bike revision after bike revision, and sometimes, not getting it right till late in the season."

    You are correct, bikes are built to work for the tyres.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I'm sure they are working as I write this to change the rules so this is no longer the case. I call Bravo Sierra they started from Pole ! In any case Dani will win before years end, Marc will win again and Cal will continue to crash and complain about something. If it comes down to a scrap Lorenzo will be left holding the short straw as Rossi is ready. Last year in Parc Ferme he was sweaty , tired and out of breath this year he appears to be relaxed and having fun. Yes Jorge is a machine and can reel off the laps IF he is clear. Pretty sure the trophy goes to Italy at the end of the year.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I think the balance has shifted in favour of Yamaha, with the L4'S from Ducati and HRC about equal. The rubber is either working better with the M1 or the M1's and the crews surrounding their rider's are getting to grips with set up at each venue better than the opposition this year. Ducati still have an issue with making the tire last the distance and Honda do have a very narrow temperature window with the current Bridgestone allocation available. A whole bunch of Honda riders crashed out in Le Mans, but it's not par for the course. A warm to hot Mugello surface will be a better indicator.
    Mugello should favour the M1 yet again by virtue of its fast and flowing nature.
    And yes, I agree with a previous comment. Joe Maniac is more likely to win the first dry race for Ducati since Stoner at PI in 2010. Make no mistake, Dovi is brilliant and consistency is his game. Like Hayden he is a 99% racer day in and day out and with his talent he is always right up there. Sure, he can win the title like Hayden did, but Joe has a bit of Capirex in him on the Desmo and that is what will be needed to dispatch the Yamaha/HRC domination in any particular season.
    Boom bust! Look forward to Mugello, always the highlight of the season, for me anyway.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    Well, last year aside where a mightily struggling JLo managed to finish a close second in an epic battle to a Marquez at his best. So in short, yes Mugello is definitely Lorenzo's favorite track and seeing his form lately the race could be over even before started.

    Still, my little finger tells me a certain rider, currently leading the championship could very well give the mallorjcan a run for his money this time around. Rossi is having the best year of his career, I honestly buy into that.

    As for Ducati, they always had private testings prior to the home race, but how many times did they win in Toscana ? I recall one, Stoner in 2007, in wet to dry conditions. In short, a lottery relative to the bike performance. Let's admit the GP15 is probably the most balanced prototype Gigi Ducati ever built though, so who knows, different bike, different outcome perhaps ?

    As a conclusion I will finish with a bold statement, from now on, Iannone will start to be the better of the two Andreas, it's been a tough luck for the Maniac the past 2 races but his true pace has improved and now looks faster than Dovi's IMO. If someone has an "Alien" potential of the two, I think it's him.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I'm pretty sure MM93 crashed at least a couple of times during that race... he just refused to fall off!

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I could see Crazy Joe was struggling after awhile, but I didn't suspect he took a couple laps off to rest. I figured he just ran off somewhere and let Smith catch him so quickly from 3 seconds back. I have become a big fan of Ianonne lately with his remarkable pace. Even moreso now with his gritty display against MM. Also, I had no idea the Honda was that hard to ride, other than watching both MM and CC display so much movement under them. But I figured it was the two riders rather than their motorcycle. It is amazing how the MotoGP bikes get good and then go bad with such regularity. Still, it seems like the M1 is a bit slower than the Honda or Ducati.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    The highlight of the race is the fight between Iannone and Marquez. The Ducati is looking seriously good. I am actually thinking a possible Ducati 1-2 in Mugello unless it rains. Likely Ducati already had the Mugello winning settings cooked during the recent test.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    Honda clearly have issues at Le Mans though. That's why all of the RC213V riders crashed yesterday (well except MM). But I believe that RC213V is still a competitive bike, maybe it looked like the worst factory bike at Le Mans, but the bike was strong at CoTA, Argentina & Jerez. Different tracks, different characters. It's too early to write the bike (& it's riders) off

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    There have always been riders who the mainstream believe win because of a bike advantage and other riders who win because of talent. Stoner only ever won due to a bike advantage in many people's eyes and Rossi always won due to talent.

    In reality it is a team sport and the prodigious talent of a Stoner Lorenzo Rossi Marquez can only be successful consistently when the wider team are all delivering their piece of the puzzle to the extreme perfection. One off wins can come down to just rider talent but consistent success is due to the whole organisation.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I believe many of the swings between Yamaha and Honda over the past few years are due to the changes Bridgestone makes to their tyres. Last year after the 2013 debacle at Phillip Island and problems at some other tracks Bridgestone went conservative with their tyres, giving them a heat treatment which reduced edge grip but increased longevity. The M1 being a corner speed bike was effected more adversely than the Honda, and their riders struggled. Though in truth it was only Marquez's ridiculous trail braking talent that meant Honda could take advantage of the situation so well. This year Bridgestone are more confident about their tyres durability and have given them more edge grip again, playing to Yamaha's strengths. I read on this site that Bridgestone said this year would be the fastest ever, and so it's proving to be. Something similiar happened in 2010 I think after there was a spate of cold tyre crashes. Then there was the squishy front which Bridgestone introduced after the season was already underway in 2012, which effected the Honda's braking stability but didn't effect the Yamahas as much, though I think in the end everybody agreed it was a step backwards. By the time Honda got their heads around the issue Yamaha was already in a strong championship position. The 2015 Honda has less mechanical grip than the Yamaha and so can't exploit the grip of the 2015 tyres as well as the Yam. It's an ongoing cycle.

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    i think you could draw a straight line between honda's success in moto3 and the lack of development of they're motogp bike in the last 2 years.Taking your eye off the ball at this level even for a short time can have long lasting affects

  • 2015 Le Mans MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Why The Honda Is The Third-Best Bike In MotoGP, And Wins vs Titles In Moto3   1 week 2 days ago

    I was dealt a Royal Flush once and ended up in a hotel that had some riders in it.
    I was eating my I'm-so-hungover breakfast and in walks Bradley in his Monster gear with a couple of crew.
    This is 6am raceday and people are hassling him for selfies and autographs.
    The patience of a saint really, I'd be furious.

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