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Thu, 2016-11-17 21:44
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There was a lot of interest in the Ducati garage at Valencia. With good reason


Dani Pedrosa was one of the few riders who wasn't wearing neutral leathers. It was very nearly different


The Marc VDS riders got the same chassis Cal Crutchlow has been using all year. It made a huge difference. Jack Miller was a lot quicker


It might be Spain, but it's still cold at Valencia in the morning


Andrea Iannone, Chemical Brother


Dear Yamaha: Please can Maverick keep his test livery all year? Yours, every MotoGP fan on the planet


After both Rins and Iannone went down at Turn 12, impromptu meetings of the Safety Commission broke out in pit lane


S is for Suzuki


The Old Dog has a Young Pup to contend with


Jorge Lorenzo was relaxed and happy at the Valencia test. This should worry everybody not called Jorge Lorenzo


Takuya Tsuda, doing the donkey work for Suzuki


He wasn't fast, but he was happy. Bradley Smith showing that KTM need to work on their anti wheelie


Desmo Dovi


Tough start for Alex Rins. He fell, and injured his T8 and T12 vertebrae


Jonas Folger made a very solid debut on the Tech 3 Yamaha M1


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Sun, 2016-11-13 09:43
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Last time out for Andrea Iannone at Ducati. He wants to go out with a bang


Jorge Lorenzo will be taking over Iannone's bike. The pressure is on to win on it


Special, stunning livery for the Aprilias, in support of an Aids charity


Dani Pedrosa is back, but his collarbone still needs icing


The wings don't always prevent wheelies, thankfully


No reason for concern. Rossi starts from the front row


End of a great working partnership. Aleix Espargaro and Tom O'Kane worked very well together during their time at Suzuki


KTM RC16. A sting in the tail?


Gone by Tuesday


Bradley Smith's helmet - a tribute to all things British. Well, all things London


Marc Marquez' normal operating procedure - front wheel in the air and crossed up


New motorized assistance for Yamaha. Unsure whether it will catch on


Currently yellow and black. On Tuesday, switching to the colors he is riding over


An old master


You want corner speed? Jorge Lorenzo has corner speed


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Thu, 2016-11-03 10:01
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Electronics in MotoGP remain a complex and fascinating subject. To help explain them to us, we had Bradley Smith talk us through the various options at his disposal on board his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1.

In the first part of this interview, published yesterday, Smith talked to us about the different electronics settings he has during practice and the race. In the second part, the Tech 3 rider talks us through how he and his team, under the guidance of crew chief Guy Coulon, arrive at those settings. Smith walks us through the different options available, and how he arrives at the right settings to use at a particular race track

Q: The buttons on the right hand side: pit and stop buttons?

Bradley Smith: So pit and stop is quite straightforward. Stop is stop, pit limiter is pit limiter. When pit limiter is on, we get some lights coming up on the dashboard. Again, it's set at an RPM that we work out is going to be 60 km/h for that track, based on your gearing. So they may have to adjust that a little bit, because the circumference of the wheels changes with rain tires and intermediate tires. So we want to make sure that in case of flag-to-flag, we have the maximum.

Also we're asked to try it all through the weekend, to make sure that we're right on that limit, because 1 km/h all of the start straight is quite a long way, so it's something we analyze quite closely. Then you bring in a bit of tolerance with the radar guns and this, that, and the other. You try and bend the rules as much as you can, but no one wants a stop and go, so you have to stay within the limits. You only go as far as what you think you can get away with.

Q: Do you have different electronics map set ups for flag-to-flag races?

BS: Basically, we will put an emergency switch on there, for example in switch 3. The emergency switch will be, in case we're out on slicks and it starts to rain and you go, I really need help right now, then you can go to it. I had that in Misano [in 2015], didn't use it. I used the slick setting and did everything with my right hand. But I think it all depends on the track at that moment, how much confidence you have, because in Misano, I didn't even think about it. I was so concentrated on what I was doing, I didn't even think about it, too busy trying not to fall off. It all depends on that moment. Usually in flag-to-flag, we already know if we are starting on slicks. If we start on slicks, the spare bike will have wet tires with a rain map. The rain map will be a similar scenario to what you have in the dry. So for me personally, I usually start off with the strongest TCS, and then get softer and softer.

Q: What do you mean by "strongest TCS"?

BS: The strongest working. So you have to remember that TCS can work in two ways: it can work strong, or it can work a lot. So you have two ways of doing it: the spike in which it cuts, or the frequency of cuts. So you either get one really big cut, or lots of smaller ones. So it depends on the rider, or the grip, or the character of the engine. It depends on what you decide to do. So for me, strongest TCS would mean the most amount of cutting of the power to prevent slides.

So basically, we start off on the strongest, and then go weaker and weaker. Because basically, you want to start off in the safe setting and test the grip, and if the grip looks OK, you can go softer and softer. With engine braking, we probably start off with the strongest, and then go softer and softer as well. Because if the speeds come up and you start to roll through the corner, the last thing you want is a whole load of engine braking at that point and you ending up going sideways.

And then you can all do it by lean angle and bank angle: I want this number here, or this engine braking at this point, and a little bit softer there, and when I'm at that angle, I want it a little bit less, and when I go to that angle I want it more. It's a real science.

Q: So all of these variables have to be baked into a single map, and then varied between settings?

BS: Yes. So that's why you see us super busy after sessions. We've seen Valentino even more so than usual through Matteo's [Flamigni, Rossi's data engineer] Instagram, doing lots of those type of meetings. Because that's finally what you're doing, you're not talking about setting any more, you're talking about dialing in the electronics. Because that's what's making the difference at the end of the day at this level.

The chassis and stuff like that, still chief mechanics and engineers are making a difference, but there's a lot of things you can overcome with the electronics, even though they've gone to a more basic system. I think the more basic system has placed even more importance on the rider and the people there. Because when it was the really sophisticated system, it was easy to do. Now it's a basic one, we have to spend more time on it and be more precise, and pinpoint it.

Which is why I believe the factory teams have even more of an advantage this season, because they have guys who are able to do it. Me as a rider, I've got to go, I've got to explain to my guy, and my guy is trying to do three people's jobs in one. So he's trying to tap everything into the system, and sometimes that's just too much to ask, it just doesn't work.

Q: Back to switching maps, do you get messages on your pit board telling you when to switch maps?

BS: Only during free practice if your rider is a little bit forgetful and needs a little prompt, or it's something you really want to try and you make sure the rider tries it. That's the only time, because the team doesn't know what the bike feels like, and it's down to the rider. Sometimes you actually want it to spin. You want it to spin because it continues to drive forward, or sometimes you want it to spin because you can turn inside the guy in front of you.

The other thing you've got to remember is that if you go too strong, you're kind of limited to what the bike does. You get to the maximum angle, you touch the throttle even a little bit, and the TCS starts to cut in. You can't turn the bike, you can't do anything. And the power only comes when you pick the bike up. So you ride around with your hands tied.

Q: So you're restricted to the speed of the bike, you can't do anything extra?

BS: Yes, which is no problem at all when you are setting a rhythm by yourself, because if you're setting a fast rhythm, that's OK. But if you're in a battle, and you need to square up the inside of someone, you can't do it like that. And then you're even more tied, because you can only do what your bike allows you to do, and if the other bike accelerates away from you, you can't be creative. And one thing as a rider, when you're all doing the same lap times, sometimes you need to be creative.

Q: Any other buttons?

BS: There used to be a button for lights, but because of how important it is that when the rain map get sent to the ECU, the light automatically comes in.

Q: What about the lights?

BS: These are all shift lights, and this is the warning light from IRTA themselves. So anything we get from IRTA telling us red flag, black flag, those type of things, that's all we see at the moment, it's coming on that one. They're just different colored LEDs. So like blue will come up if you're a slow rider. Black doesn't come up, but some orange ones do. It's basically to do with the black flag and orange circle. It's quite sophisticated, I've looked at the actual thing, and I'm like, please narrow it down to only some! Because otherwise you get confused...

But red flags are super important. Like with Dani's crash in Austria (during FP1), that means that, it's not only the sector time, because the track is split into more than four sectors for IRTA, so that means that pretty much next corner, you're going to have the mark. And especially with those red flags incidents, it's really super important that we have that.


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Tue, 2016-11-01 18:13
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Is Maverick the next big thing? In the dry, yes. In the wet, not so much


Spare bikes wait in pit lane, just in case


Aleix Espargaro, painting it black


Pecco Bagnaia - his outstanding form on the Mahindra speaks of big things to come in Moto2


Constant companions


Steel or carbon? Sepang is probably the only track in the world you can use both


The Dynamic Ducati Duo


This is what power looks like: Livio Suppo (left) talks with HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto


Damp Sepang skies


Do not adjust your set. Johann Zarco celebrates his Moto2 title


The MotoGP race started wet, and that kept it close


A home race for Malaysian riders Ramdan Rosli and Hafizh Syahrin means they get to celebrate with the marshals


Moto3, in a nutshell


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Sat, 2016-10-29 13:05
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Sepang weather in a nutshell


Two-time winner Cal Crutchlow is quick again at Sepang


The Suzuki is fast, Maverick Viñales is faster. Candidate for a win on Sunday


Grip - the new Sepang surface has it, so Lorenzo has confidence


Mixed conditions makes for weird combinations: carbon disks with full wet tires


Marc Marquez skipped Friday afternoon, forced to spend it cloistered with his, erm, thoughts


Iannone is back, and Iannone is fast


Dovizioso - like a duck to water


Fast and slow


The Lorenzo-Michelin relationship is a lot happier at Sepang


Alvaro Bautista is getting better and better along with the Aprilia RS-GP


Fast, even when sick


Some perspective from Turn 3. It's a big place, is Sepang


Nails dream they could be as hard as Bradley Smith


Go


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Sun, 2016-10-23 17:28
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Up and down, depending on the weather. That was Valentino Rossi's weekend at Phillip Island


Preparing for the future: with the title in the bag, #93's mechanics practice bike swaps with pit lane helmets


There was a lot of pressure on Jack Miller at home


Nicolo Bulega explains to Sky VR46 press officer Laura that Phillip Island mud is the latest look in leather accessories


Had the real Marc Marquez been kept under wraps up until Phillip Island?


Eugene Laverty using the racer's crouch to shelter from the rain


Pole and the win. Another perfect weekend for Moto3 champion Brad Binder


... but no burgers to be seen


Phillip Oettl looks where he is going, before looking where he is going


It's that man again. Cal Crutchlow chalked up win number 2, this time in the dry


Things never worked out for Jorge Lorenzo all weekend


Rites and rituals


Pol Espargaro got the holeshot, but he couldn't hold on to his advantage


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Fri, 2016-10-21 14:25
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Nicky Hayden on a Repsol Honda. A wonderful trip down memory lane


Peekaboo


Racing at your home round is a dream for most riders. Mike Jones would have liked a bit of sunshine, though


Conditions: soaking


Has Jorge Lorenzo shaken his rain demons? Friday morning suggests not


Andrea Migno, wondering if he would see the sky again


Aussie wildcard Matt Barton finds out just how deep the field is in Moto3


Running the extra soft rain tire for more than 10 laps cost Valentino Rossi his time on Friday morning


Even the fairing screens were misting up


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Wed, 2016-10-19 13:01
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From darkness...


... into the light


Aleix Espargaro, ready to rumble


Pole #64 made #46 happy


A heady mix of tradition and modernity. That's Japan


Speed freak - Desmo Dovi


Nakasuga's splash of Japanese color


Kouichi Tsuji (right), pondering how to stop the Hondas


The wildest ride on the planet. Behind Mamola, wings and all


Suzuki speed


Pol Espargaro, showing what trying means


Magic cam. The 360 gyro cam. Truly a miracle of modern technology


For comparison: the standard fixed camera on the rear of Cal Crutchlow's Honda


"After you..."


Stepping in for Pedrosa is Hiroshi Aoyama


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Sat, 2016-10-15 13:19
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Motegi is all about braking. Valentino Rossi has been taking tips from Leon Haslam


Akropovic titanium beauty


Motegi has been cruel to Dani Pedrosa. Another year, another snapped collarbone


Man on a mission, with four races to go


Winglets may be banned from next year, but Ducati's winglet designs grow ever more sophisticated each race


The tunnel is one of Motegi's defining features, especially for photographers


It allows for a subtle interplay between light and dark


And creates stunning images such as this. Not so good for sponsors, though


A glimpse of the future


Freight train. Slipstreaming helps figure out fuel consumption


Kats Nakasuga, Yamaha's official test rider. One of the big reasons behind their success


Nakasuga puts in the hard miles to get the M1 ready, and is fast enough to find the limit


Hector Barbera gets to stand in for Andrea Iannone. So far, he's been impressive


Backing it in. One place Honda's improved mastery of the electronics have helped Marquez go faster


Big Japanese Sky


You could forget that this track is mostly inside an oval


Japanese fans are hardcore


Will you walk into my parlour?


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Wed, 2016-09-14 15:33
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This was Ducati's home race, and they tested here in preparation. That did not pay off


The eyes of a winner. Lorenzo Baldassarri went on to win the Moto2 race at Misano


Lean angle. Mean angle


When is a teammate a teammate?


Dani Pedrosa is not currently avaiable to answer that question


Cal Crutchlow is crashing less. But he's still crashing on occasion


Special home helmets. De rigeur


Number twos


That was a championship-winning ride from Brad Binder


Old friendships do not fade


Alex Lowes continues to impress as a replacement. He's pretty much up to speed after two weekends


Moto2 is getting closer again. Which is good, because it needed to


Gigi Dall'Igna, Ducati's big brain


September in Italy: bikes, beaches, sun, heat, a sea of yellow


Maria Herrera blows hot and cold. It's tough running in your own team


No stopping the Samurai


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