Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 157: Reviewing MotoGP At Brno And WorldSBK At Portimao

This week's episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast is something of a bumper episode, with racing happening both in the Czech Republic and in Portugal, but fortunately, the Paddock Pass Podcast crew have both MotoGP and WorldSBK covered.

Neil Morrison and David Emmett kick off the show, with a discussion of a thrilling and fascinating MotoGP race at Brno. We kick off with a review of the state of the track, which caused so many problems for a lot of the riders, and helped create a surprising and exciting race. Neil and David spend plenty of time discussing the achievement of Brad Binder, the South African rookie winning just his third ever MotoGP race. That naturally leads on to a discussion of KTM, and their road to success, and what comes next.

Neil and David have plenty more to talk about, including the incident between Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro, which saw Espargaro crash out of the race after contact with Zarco. Racing incident or worthy of a penalty? We talk about Franco Morbidelli's well-deserved first podium, Fabio Quartararo's face-saving 7th place, Maverick Viñales' dismal 14th position, and what is going on at Ducati.

The discussion of how factories deal with a spec tire naturally segues in to the same situation in the WorldSBK series. The Paddock Pass Podcast WorldSBK division, consisting of Steve English and Gordon Ritchie, take a look at the contrasts between the races at Jerez and at Portimao, with Ducati being exceptional in Spain and Jonathan Rea dominating in Portugal.

Steve and Gordo then have a fascinating conversation about where the next WorldSBK champions will come from, and which series will act as feeder series. They examine how MotoGP's talent pool can sometimes trickle across, and how the differences between BSB and other national series, and WorldSBK, make it more difficult and provide fewer incentives to transfer. They also talk about the role of wildcards, and how the different technical regulations between series have made it harder for teams and riders to enter as wildcards.

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WP poaches Öhlins top engineer for a name-your-price salary. KTM pitbox full of very experienced ex-Repsol Honda personnel in RedBull KTM uniforms. Hahahaha...I love it! Great podcast, thanks. 

It's easy to sit back and go "oh it's only EUR 9k for the same suspension" but it isn't only 9k. It's 9k for one set of forks, and you'll need at least two. And then the triple clamps. And the axles/spacers/fender mounts. And the expensive brake calipers, you'll need a couple of sets of them too. And the wheels. And modify the headstock to take the adjustable spacers to fit the fancy triple clamps. Then at the back you'll need the expensive shock as well to match the forks. And the linkages for them. Then do you have the money for the Suter swingarm? And the brackets, spacers, trick brake caliper, wheels etc as well? And you'll need to modify the swingarm pivot to take the adjustable mounts. What about the fuel tank, they aren't cheap either. That'll probably need a special subframe too. You've got a good engine builder already though who can build you a hot-rod motor. But geez those WSBK radiators are expensive, and they don't fit in our existing bodywork. Also turns out the stock gearbox can't take the power reliably and the ratios are all wrong, guess we're giving Nova a call and getting out the chequebook. And none of that includes frame modifications that are done at WSBK-level.

"You can buy the same forks as the factory for 9k" gets really expensive really quick when your domestic championship is pretty much Stock1000. Even if you can scratch together the coin to build it all of that stuff is complex and needs experience to set up, experience that domestic crews don't have. That's before you even consider talking about electronics.

While the various domestic series' allow some bits and pieces of the above to added in their superbike classes no one does everything, with BSB (and maybe Moto America?) getting closest. WSBK really need to start looking at pulling back the exotica and getting closer to a Stock1000 technical rule set.

As well as being a great channel to drool over some exotica Superbike Unlimited do a really good job of showing what's actually involved in fitting "WSBK-spec" parts to a showroom superbike:

In isolation you're right but the difference is that now manufacturers are complied by regs to ensure an equal level of machinery for a customer team to a factory reference team. Typically, and these figures are relevant for Ducati a coupleof years ago, it was 150-160k per bike for a season. A couple of years ago one team told me that they spent 80k on engine development but now they can just buy the same engines as the factory squad. It can cost them the same but they don't have to tailor the electronics and other parts so it can save them money in the longer view

It was a pleasure to listen to this podcast. Thank you, David, for your gracious spirit. Also for your great writing and the best site on the internets

Thanks, very kind of you to say. Still a very, very long way from perfect, but I am doing my best to improve.