Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 186: MotoGP Launch Season - What We Have Seen So Far

We are right in the middle of launch season, so the Paddock Pass Podcast crew gather to discuss what they think of the show so far. And it has been quite the show: with Covid-19 preventing the normal sponsor-focused gatherings, the launches have been very online indeed. And so far, KTM, Yamaha, and Ducati have all had very different approaches to what an online launch should be.

Some of those approaches have been more successful than others. Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, Steve English, and David Emmett all try to suppress their cynicism about the launches. And for the most part, they fail miserably. We talk about Yamaha, and their use of a backdrop apparently crafted on a PS2 to showcase the bikes, Ducati's behind-the-scenes faux documentary, and KTM's mercifully short scripted launch.

Fortunately, there were also in-depth debriefs with the media as well. We feature a couple of clips from Gigi Dall'Igna and Lin Jarvis, and talk about what the launches mean for the future. We ask whether Yamaha have solved their engine issues from last year, and whether they can be more consistent in 2021. We discuss Ducati's pivot to youth, while also asking, if this is Jack Miller's seventh MotoGP season, can he still be classed as a young rider? We  talk about KTM's talent pipeline. And we debate how the satellite teams might look in 2022, if teams start swapping manufacturers, and who might get which bikes.

If you don't want to miss out on these episodes as they are released, make sure you follow The Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud we even have an RSS feed for you. If you do use Apple Podcasts, please rate the show and leave a review, as this helps other MotoGP fans find it. We now also have a Patreon, where you can support the show financially, and get access to exclusive content, such as rider interviews, debriefs, and more. Enjoy the show!

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First, this is my favorite of all the PPP's to date. So much in it! Appreciating the wisdom and comraderie. You are on song.

Getting it out if the way that I love you folks. Like community, and a bridge to the inner sanctum of the circus. 

So much to ponder. Re launches, a bit of cynicism befits. Always, really. Not minding the online medium much. But you did an Alien job with what there is to consider. Your joyful zeal is contagious!

Liveries. In a bifocal non-duality, the Repsol Honda livery isn't one that should get overhauled. Ducati needs to be nice and Red, yet should get lovelier. The Yamaha should be BLUE (not black). Suzuki is to be a lighter Blue. There is pedigree. Should we really have innovated Rossi helmets for annual liveries? Hope no. 

That said, some freshness is exciting and enjoyed. Agreed that the Tech 3 Orange bikes are 2021's pole position. Aqua could take note and shirk black. 2020 it was the Suzuki graced by silver atop the heap. 

#1 plate and Mir, he needs to feel right. His #36 is a fresh sight to establish. He is settling in, and this seems good. Red plate for the Championship leader Dave? Fantastic. Let's do. Carmelo, you in? No downside, creates interest. No need for red specifically, gold or silver will do. 

Well explored consideration of the Suzuki Management Committee. Can't agree more that Brivio created this team structure and it will do ok. I like disagreeing naturally with the Englishman in the room, don't take it personally Adam. It may be a step forward. Role functions assigned amongst the committee, this is a family round table model already. The WHOLE group arriving at symphony that a satellite team is wise, needed and doable is better than just Davide. Could push harder with more weight. Brivio is a harmonizer by nature. Maybe Suzuki Corp will benefit from concerted push. It has been "the little engine that couldn't" in a previous era. That is no more, time to face the music. With Monster money. (Can Suzuki afford NOT to? The vacuum is on the rise).

Next changes and Satellite Teams...power and control lay in Aqua's court. If they want Yamahas, they get them. Yamaha needs to bring a bike now that keeps them from jumping to Suzuki, not the reverse. The resource behemoth of Petronas can't be overrepresented. Yamaha has got this now, more on that in a bit.

Ducati. Shite livery. That said, this is a transition/growing year. They know it. Not getting the new Michelin front effects them a lot. Regarding Bagnaia and hot in heat, struggling in cold, the Duc can put heat in the hardest of rears. But the balance is delicate re the 2020-2021 front tire. It pushes! The opposite of a Duc is a Suzuki. In 2022, Red will rise. Not on the 2021 tires, while the bike is in transition from Dovi's brake bomber to revolutionized balance. Have to wait.

Is Miller a young rider? Yes. In a rocking chair smoking a pipe remembering petrol engines Jack will be an enjoyably adolescent presence. He is getting tempered and developed. 2021 isn't his year to surge, just keep on. 2022 is Jack's playground. Nice to hear from Duc brass here, thank you! Well included. Their bike is coming. It turns, demanding you to do it the Red way, but it is a great bike. Praise to Miller for coming good on a bike that doesn't come hold your hand.

Crutchlow get used to riding a Yamaha? After that Honda and the previous Ducati? Wrong phrase. More like enjoy and push. Just watch, he will get right up to speed and smile the whole way. Yamaha knows what bike they are constructing now 100%. The parts will be close and sorted for preference and synergy. Valves? Fine. Power? Back where they had reached, and likely a wee half step on and ready to tune. 

Vinales can go, don't write him off yet. He and the bike are partners mutually interdependent. Quartararo is more in my eye. What Quarantine reflected re working with a psychologist looks basic, just optimizing and debriefing the struggles with the crap 2020 bike. He is fine, and set to return to form without overhaul. Like Yamaha, just reset from the errant struggles of last year. All is well. Engines ok. Key word ok at best, nothing more. The Yamaha has had nice over rev in the past. Engine CHARACTER has been a strength. The current Michelin rear begs for more power, it can take it. Great tire life. More about getting heat in, managing it, and balance.

Rossi looks to be pressing his post leathers clothing. If he does another season I will be surprised. It is coming. How the next thing looks with VR46 can be looked forward to. Enough said (witholding critical views on recent statements re MM93, as he should have too).

KTM, still on the gas. Things are coming good and quickly. This is the patience and persistence time. Three great riders, wonderful bike, doing it like Frank Sinatra "MYY WAYYY!" It is Brad Binder #33 I see trancending mortal limits right now. Hoping, yes, but if he comes in this year and steals the podiums I will not be surprised. If so, we can praise Pedrosa the whole way too. (My favorite line of narrative in the circus lately is quite orange, isn't it as unlikely as it is fantastic?).

Not a lot said about Honda. Ok, no launch yet, but their bike has been recovered. Marc and his upper arm are coming. The three other riders are plenty strong. Count them in for the chase.

There is a second Italian factory, and Aprilia has a decent bike. The motor is back with Yamaha, but needn't be seen as a static performer. Is this season one to expect a big step? There has not been reason to think so. The new bike is still teething a bit. The rider lineup, including Test, is horribly anemic outside of the mighty overachieving Aleix Espargaro. Expect some basic sorting of last year's motorcycle, very modest improvement. But a rider signing and hot sauce in that motor are not out of 2022's reach. Cheering you on, underdog.

Thanks guys! 


Fausto is doing worse again, situation looking "critical." This is a big deal. He has been on a vent this whole time. His lungs are not doing well. 

Sadness here. And increased concern. Let's all take a moment of warmth and care. Get Well Fausto!