Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 47: Qatar MotoGP Test, Getting Ready For 2017

With the 2017 MotoGP season rapidly approaching, it is fitting that the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast should take a deep dive into the final MotoGP test of the preseason at Qatar. Hotfooting it from the desert, Neil Morrison talks to David Emmett about what he learned at the test. There was certainly a lot to talk about.

One of the big topics of conversation was Honda's new engine, and whether the riders on an RC213V had made a final decision about which of the two different big bang engines they will race. We talk about Maverick Viñales' astonishing pace, and Neil reveals the extraordinary lengths to which the Movistar Yamaha rider is going to prepare for the last lap of the first race. We also discuss the difficulties Marc Marquez had at Qatar, and how he and the other Honda riders were pushing to find the limits of the bike.

Naturally, we discuss Valentino Rossi's up and down test, and wonder how he first found a working setup, then seemingly lost it again on the final day. We go through the work being done by all of the factories, and debate just how ready Jorge Lorenzo is to race at Qatar. We assess the outstanding class of MotoGP rookies in 2017, and give our predictions on how they will perform.

While Neil was in Qatar, David was in Jerez, and he gives an account of what he saw at the Moto2 and Moto3 test there. We talk about the speed of Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez, admire the immediate pace of the KTM bike, and take a peek at Moto3. Finally, we make our outrageously inaccurate predictions for who is going to win the three championships this year.

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The thing I haven’t heard anyone mention yet about the new Ducati fairing is with regards to the leading edge of its new aerodynamic design.  When the grumbles surrounding wings were occurring last year, the main complaint about safety was that the winglets jutted out and had an acute leading edge, potentially injuring a rider it might have the unfortunate pleasure of coming into contact with.  Ducati’s new design still essentially has this, worse still it is way more reinforced than the winglets were.  Ducati’s design still has acute leading edges that are quite high up, so pretty much at rider level, especially when tipping into a corner. 

I don’t think many riders would be too happy rubbing fairings with one.  Being a big hole also, I see the problem of it getting caught up other bike parts if the racing gets a bit “rubbing”………..