2011 MotoGP Qatar - Race Day Notes And Queries

The night race at Qatar produces a strange rhythm for the riders and teams, but it hits the media heaviest. The press are often here till 4am or later, filing stories ready for the next day's papers or to hit the web. Sunday night is the worst, as early morning flights leave you rushing to get things done before heading out to the airport.

So with my 8am flight just a couple of hours away, no time for a full round up of the day's events. Instead, the big things I noticed after this evening.

First and foremost, we got ourselves more of a race than we bargained for. We all expected the Repsols to battle over victory, we all expected Casey Stoner to come out on top of that scrap. What we did not expect is for Jorge Lorenzo to keep Stoner and Pedrosa in sight throughout the race, eventually beating Pedrosa and having a hint of a chance of catching Stoner. Lorenzo celebrated his 2nd place like a victory, and given the right royal kicking the Hondas had been handing out earlier to all and sundry, running with the Repsols is a real achievement. Once we get to tracks with less emphasis on speed and getting drive out of corners, Lorenzo looks capable of mixing it up with Stoner and Pedrosa.

One constant criticism of Casey Stoner is that in the past, he has lacked racecraft. He showed some of that here tonight, saying afterwards that he had been judging Pedrosa's pace, and once he saw Lorenzo closing, he decided to bolt. Stoner had the race under control, but he watched and adapted his plan to suit the race. He has an older, wiser head on his shoulders now, and he's had a few lessons in the past to learn from.

While all the talk at Qatar has been of Rossi's shoulder, the recurring problem with Dani Pedrosa's collarbone and shoulder could be more serious. Pedrosa broke a collarbone at Motegi, and afterwards suffered nerve problems which caused him to lose sensation in his arm. Pedrosa thought the problem had been solved, after scans and examinations failed to turn up nerve damage, but it seems like the problem is still there. Pedrosa had put in a couple of longer runs during testing, where he had felt a twinge, but nothing like this. Pedrosa was practically vomiting with pain once he got off the bike. He needs this problem to be solved, or he is in real trouble.

Valentino Rossi had a strong first race on the Ducati, finishing 7th and showing a strong turn of pace. Most impressive was his ability to hold off a perfectly healthy Ben Spies on the brakes, despite the Yamaha being the better bike of the two. Rossi's problem remains his shoulder, which is still lacking strength and endurance. The break between Jerez and Estoril will be a very big help in his recovery. "You cannot win on these bikes when you are not 100%," Rossi said. The biggest disappointment for the Marlboro Ducati rider was the loss of speed in the second half of the race. That had always been his strength, he said. The team is pretty happy though, as their focus is to make the bike rideable for all of the Ducati riders, not just for one. They're getting there, but they can't work miracles overnight.

Speaking of health issues, Casey Stoner was asked about his lactose intolerance. The problem was still there, and had been there since he was a child, he told the press, but they'd only recently figured out that he'd always had the problem. In the meantime, he was getting fitter and stronger every day. That is bad news for the rest of the field.

There was a minute's silence before the start of the MotoGP race, and Hiroshi Aoyama told me he had been very moved by the ceremony. His family and friends were OK, he said, though they were low on fuel and food, and suffered power cuts from time to time, but the biggest worry was the radiation. He said to thank everyone for the thoughts and best wishes they had been sending, and he felt comforted by all the support shown to the Japanese people.

I've mentioned FTR's "gaping maw" air intake a couple of times here, and can confirm that it works. Speaking to Kenny Noyes on Sunday night (he rides an FTR for the Avintia-STX team), the American said that the top speed was amazing. "I could pass Simeon just on the gas," he said. The chassis needs a little work on the front end, it seems, but it's pretty close.

The Kalex of Stefan Bradl is pretty good too. For a class that's supposed to have equal engines, Bradl made the rest of the field look underpowered. Bradl is turning into a real surprise package so far.

As for the 125s, Dorna may as well get the 2011 championship plaque inscribed with Nico Terol's name. He outclassed everyone all weekend, putting a second a lap on the rest in the first half of the race.

Marc Marquez got a lesson in Moto2 this evening. No doubting his sheer speed, but the Moto2 class is full of fully certifiable psychos. Jamie Whitham likes to call the World Supersport riders the ax murderers, but this lot are a mix between Viking beserkers and Jack Nicholson's character out of the shining. Marquez got swamped off the line, beat up on the first couple of laps, then crashed out early on. The kid learns fast, though, so he'll be back soon enough.

The desert air is beautiful, the sunset stunning, and the lights spectacular. Shame the whole circuit smells of diesel fumes, with generators (Volvo Penta engines in a Pramac generator package) dotted round the track to power the lights.

Enough already. I have three and a half hours to catch my flight. Time to pack up and leave.

Back to top


appreciate your efforts. I've just paid up on a subscription as a way of saying thanks.

... but he watched and adapted his plan to suit the race. He has an older, wiser head on his shoulders now, and he's had a few lessons in the past to learn from.

1 lesson he learned from last year is that you probably don't have to win the race in the first 5 laps and that the fracking Bridgestones apparently takes several laps to be on full temperature.

Valentino Rossi had a strong first race on the Ducati, finishing 7th and showing a strong turn of pace. Most impressive was his ability to hold off a perfectly healthy Ben Spies on the brakes, despite the Yamaha being the better bike of the two.

If Rossi rode a strong race depends on how much time loss one grants him for his shoulder problem when the adrenalin rush of the race sweeps away the pain. Fact is that his fastest race lap was 5/10 second slower than Stoner's fastest race lap in 2010.

It's been mentioned that the Duc needed big pace on cold tyres to get enough warmth in to do the times Stoner used to do on it. When he wiped out last year it was on a slower lap - is it possible that the frendlier Honda is allowing him to show racecraft where on the Duc he was worried about slowing and losing front end grip?

wrecked in 2010? Not very wise race craft when you have a commanding lead...

I think it's pointless to try and read tea leaves (and I wonder why people even try).... just let them race and see what happens...

Having been the victime of a couple of very serious shoulder injuries and surgeries. I don't find it surprising at all the Rossi's having problems with his shoulder. They take time. Far more difficult to rehab a shoulder than it is a knee (I have done both several times). These bikes pull 2 - 2.5 G's at the pegs... slowing from 200 to 60MPH several times during a lap is going to fatigue even a fit person...

Further, If you watched the feed during testing last week, you could see Rossi visably grimace when he got off the bike and then slag it off once he saw the camera's on him..

Finally, love VR or not, Motogp would be an incrediable bore without him... both on the track and off. Like it or not he's still the goat.

VR's press release is perfect English, you wouldn't know he's Italian.

In that context I'm very interested in his comments >>

" Still, I learned a lot in this test and in this race, and we've already given very specific instructions about what must be done in the long term, in order to improve for the second half of the season for example. "

Surely, no one else would be able (in effect) to tell the boss (ie his employer) what 'he' has to do ?

Or is that why they employed him ?

Also interesting is Casey's use of 'we' in his post race Press Release eg "we decided to push forwards and take advantage." or " Dani came past and we decided to follow to see where he was strong and where I was weak."

Was CS's pit board v active ?

Congrats to Casey BTW

It is very typical for Casey to include his team when he talks about himself racing. There is no I in team, right?

And especially when HRC is a long established Japan company, team excellence is a strong influence! Well, I work for a Japan based company and we take credit and flake as a whole team.

Geez… isn’t Rossi starting to sound like Stoner when he had his scaphoid injury. Only difference is that when Stoner mentioned it, or his mystery illness he was usually asked by the interviewer. Why are fans trying to justify how sore Rossi’s shoulder must be and how long it will take to get better? Are they a little embarrassed as well about how much it is being mentioned. It almost … almost sounds like an excuse for the underperforming Duc and the struggles he and his team are having trying to sort it.

I noticed ages ago that Casey always says "We" when he talks about the racing. Not sure if he's including himself as part of the team or he has multiple personalities :)

As far as listening to Rossi, I guess they spent a lot more $$$ to get Rossi than what they'de been paying for Casey so they need their money's worth. Actually the price they paid for Rossi is possibly more than they paid Casey for his whole time at Ducati. Would be interesting to know.....

As this is the last yeAr of 800 cc is Vale not all that fussed on this bike, no doubt he has already given Ducati the specs he wants for next years 1000 cc bike, so he will just do the best he can without damaging his shoulder anymore and then blow the field away next year, he will become more competitive but next year, I reckon he will be in blitz mode, or am I being too cynical again. He always will be a champion rider, but now its on his own terms. Why bust a gut this year for no result when he can win another championship in another cc class!!! What do others think.
BTW Go casey

I doubt hes holding back. Given his track record (9 world titles etc) I doubt hes just killing time this year waiting for a fresh assault in 2012. Neither him nor Ducati are going to be doing that in all fairness.Hes busting his ass trying to get used to the Duke,it just isn't happening so far.
That bike was a race winner last year, after Stoner got things sorted around midway through the season, he won 3 races with it and got multiple podiums. So its not like the bike is the major problem either. It still is unpredictable at the front but it can win (or at least challenge for podiums) if ridden the right way as Stoner has shown on multiple occasions.
As for the shoulder, alot of pro-racers (and sports people in general) carry some form of injury most of the time so I don't think thats the difference either. Remember people it has been one year since he got that injury and 5 months (or is it 6?) since he got surgery to fix it.

He'll get better results when he sorts his settings out and changes his style to be a bit looser as it seems thats when the Duke is best. I can't see the GP11 suddenly turning into an M1 and then Rossi to start winning again. Rossi is going to have to turn from a Yam rider to a Duke rider

You know I wasn't gonna bother because some folks always get giddy when their fave rider goes well but BOB you take the biscuit. Last 2 seasons Casey has been solid 4th alien, last year both Rossi and Dani missed several races and rode injured for large parts of the season and both still beat him comfortably that is a truer measure of the bikes ability. When you look a little closer Casey has finished well in 09/10 only to be completely uncompetitive at the start of the next year(excluding qatar). Did you know that after a stellar end to 2009 he was out of the championship by the 3rd race and 8th after 5 races in 2010. I am not criticising Casey here, merely giving you his results on the duke to show that in reality Ducati were up the creek... When you also add to that, the fact that Casey has had 4 years development lead and that in the years he rode it there wasn't a competitive honda and now there are 4 it gives a more balanced idea of the job at hand.

ps I am one ducatista who is glad Rossi is there, whilst Casey was brilliant in 2007/2008 no question, since then he has not only steadily gone backwards but continuously looked for explainations outside of himself, I had serious doubts with the strength of the honda in the middle to end of last year that we would win any races this. It will take a little time but I expect to see the ducati over the next couple of years, up with the Yams and Hondas and everyone wanting to get a ride, not the career killer rep with a season end flourish it has been.. brings a tear to my eye so it does just thinking about it... 2 x factory noname yams, 2 x factory repsol Hondas and 2 x factory IIIII - - - III ducatis head to head..sweeeeeeet..
Go Rossi !! Go Nicky, and Go Ducati!! and finally roll on the next race I get the feeling rossi learnt more in that race than he did in the whole of preseason..
I shall now retire back to my hole...

Well if I didnt get giddy when he goes well, I wouldn't be much of a fan would I? :o) I'm a Biaggi fan as well btw (Oh no, not him too...!)

Fair enough, Stoner was out of the championship early on last year, I didn't dispute that. Just said the bike was (in Caseys hands anyway) either on the podium or winning races. Don't forget, hes the rider with the most 800cc wins. After they sorted out the front end somewhat around mid-season, he was up there every week and the crashing lessened. It was at the very least competitive. In the hands of the current No.1 Ducati rider, its not looking very competitive. Simple as that. It justs makes what Casey achieved on the Ducati more impressive IMO, despite the disappointing championship standings at the end of 08,09 and 10.

Are you really saying that for the last 4 years Dani Pedrosa has been a complete non-factor? That Honda didn't finish 2nd in the manufacturer points in 3 of those 4 years? Or that when Stoner was 8th after 5 races there were 3 Hondas ahead of him? Add in the factory ride created to make room for Stoner this year and there is your 4 competitive Hondas, they didn't appear out of thin air.

The problem is that while the Hondas have improved from last year Ducati, using Hayden as the constant measure, have done nothing. Those 4 bikes are now 15 seconds ahead of every Ducati instead of right there with the factory Ducatis. Hayden may as well be using his Qatar 2010 bike, he's running the same times. Given his improvement compared to the rest of the field at the end of 2010 you could even interpret his results as a step backwards for the bike. I fear that the first round of real improvements to the 2011 Ducati will just get the bike back to parity with the post-Aragon 2010 bike. Given how little progress there has been with the Ducati after a full off-season and that Honda/Yamaha are not standing still I think we're now looking at multiple years of development just to get back to a bike that can reliably podium again. Those last few races of 2010 might be the high-water mark for Ducati for quite some time.

There is no way in earth that Rossi is calling quits this year, he is just not giving a lot of hope to the media and fans but deep in side he is working as hard as possible to get in sinch with the Duc. As for blowing the field away next year I really doubt that is going to happen. Honda and Yamaha remember what happened when switching to 800 and that is not happening when moving to 1000cc if indeed that is what they are going to use. Unless there are injuries in the names of Jlo and Casey, Rossi will not clean the field anytime soon or coming years.

I don't know what to make of the VR shoulder issue....intersting that Cal Crutchlow has a similar injury....with surgeory only completed in Dec!....and there ain't as much a sniff of a mention...as a rookie he qualifies ahead of VR!!

BBC's Matt roberts had a chat with Casey on his grid walk and I found some of his comments very telling. Hardly mentioned the up-and-coming race and seemed more interested in getting to the middle of the season to see how they where doing. Me thinks Casey has a whole lot of racing to do before then. Congrats to him for the resounding victory and with that performance could this be the era of the Stoner? And unless someone battles him like VR at Laguna I can't see him being touched this year.

....as a massive VR fanboy it pains me to say it but I can only see Jorge being up to the task of un-settling Casey. Pedrosa ain't man enough I fear.

Not a bad race all in all for the first of the season. Bring on Jerez.

Rossi's surgeon said his shoulder was in terrible shape when it was operated on. I would guess that no two cases of this injury is ever the same. Second, Crutchlow was riding the bike that Rossi meticulously crafted into one that almost any rider could go fast on. No slight on Cal, his debut was impressive. I just don't think there is a solid comparison. We should all just give Rossi and Ducati some time to iron everything out as best as possible. Rossi has proven himself a more than capable development rider. JB has held up his end pretty well over the years too.

David, your reporting and insights really seem to have jumped to another level this year! There are more and more internet sites reporting on GP racing, but this year, yours has consistently had more in depth reporting and reviews than any other (you can read the press releases only so many times). Please keep up the good work and I hope you will be at most of races this year to keep the good info coming!

"Enough already. I have three and a half hours to catch my flight. Time to pack up and leave."

Hope your flight was pleasant and your surrounding passengers were nice! Have a good rest David cause you're gonna get busy again in 2 week's time!

Thanks for your dedication to this site!

but it was Jorges riding that has definitely left me in awe(in spite of traditionaly poor camera work in QAT)-the sort I thought impossible after lets say '92 or '93...great performance... up until now I thought it would be fair for Casey to have another title this year, but now I got a new favourite (being fond of a mad kid since the Derbi days)

...even if HRC all of a sudden pulled out entirely from GPs, I doubt VR would have a chance of winning this championship...

Enough with the whining already, Vale.

"You cannot win on these bikes when you are not 100%," Rossi said.

Man has a short memory.

2010 performance, *after* his broken leg and with an *unrepaired* shoulder:

1st - once
2nd - once
3rd - five times
4th - twice
5th - once
6th - once

Additionally, he got a 2nd and a 3rd after he injured his shoulder and before he broke his leg.

I'm pretty sure he meant the Ducati when he said "these bikes"

What he meant was regularly. With a bit of luck and a bit of extra motivation, you can get a long way. But actually battling for wins is nearly impossible if you're not fit.

I think there should just be a little poll at the end of posts and people can choose to either say

-Rossi will always be infalible
-Australians are the master race
-Ben Spies is the second coming

It would save a lot of effort.

Absolutely spot on! The Rossi fandom it´s something we are all used to. But this season we have to add people who think that Casey has all ready proven to be the greatest rider in history and that every mistake he ever made in the past was Ducati´s fault. And people that is convinced that Spies will translate his WSBK skills into MotoGP championships in 60 seconds flat.
I say let the season (better yet seasonS) play out and then start with the "IMO"s.

It's a shame, that lately, this very fine site and message board, is starting to fill with posts from the pro- and anti-Rossi racers, that are generally childish, and not well thought out. Until recently, Motomatters was a breath of fresh aire compared to, say, Crashnet. But thanks to David, and the large (but shrinking percentage) of posters who are still _real_ race fans of the sport, and not pro/anti this/that racer. Great site, that I hope doesn't sink further.

Great race coverage, and transmission coverage, so again, thanks.

I've noticed that too in the leadup to this most anticipated season. Through being the best racing site on the net, MM will inevitably attract more visitors, and "more mainstream" ones too. David has been a genius thus far at nipping such commenters in the bud, but it will become a harder and harder proposition as the site gains the popularity it so richly deserves.
Hopefully a balance can be struck.

They called it paradise,
I don't know why
You call some place paradise,
Kiss it good bye
- The Eagles

You people make the site what it is. 99.999% of the posters comment extremely objectively - despite their support of one rider or another - and the others I can usually keep control of. I'm sure MotoMatters.com's readers can rise above the petty squabbling. At the start of the season, there's a little more rivalry than later on, but that will settle down. And if it doesn't, I shall nip it in the bud.

Most of all, though, having such thoughtful, intelligent and even-handed readers is one of the things I am most proud of.

I've seen a great deal of new posters as this season has ramped up. Many of them, I recognize from Crash, etc. It may be that these users are not familiar with the .. attitude (for lack of a better word) .. of the readers here. Acclimation to such a strange, and wonderful community may take time.

I am a long time patron of motomatters as David's articles are always excellent, intelligent and deliver compliments to all rider's when they are deserved, and constructive criticism on their weaker areas. Comments from other patrons of the site are, almost, always intelligent and very interesting. I have noticed in the past that regular contributors to motomatters usually ignore silly or unintelligent comments and without any further effort the ignored commenter gives up, and goes to other sites were biased and insult are rewarded.

Really interesting comment regarding the 'black hole' on the front of the FTR and the bikes recent development.

Before Sunday (with the exception of Bradl) it looked like the Suter's were going to be incredibly strong; come race day we have 5 different bikes in the top 6 of Moto2, there’s just no way of really predicting the class from race to race.

Which is great!

Different tracks will suit different bikes, which will hopefully the class winner unpredictable right up to the final race.

Iannone may have been "desperate" to get off the FTR onto the Suter, but looking at his performance coming through the pack is the bike really any better than the kit he had last year? He did pretty much the same charge through the field a few times in the 2010 season which I would promote underlines his qualities as a rider rather than the perceived quality of the bike he's riding.

I suppose my point is why is the Suter commonly touted as the best bike on the grid? 2010 stats show Suter scored 322 points, Moriwaki 309 points, Speed Up 232, FTR 149.

Therefore FTR scored 381 points last year, which would suggest they made a pretty good bike. Even if you just look at the top ten, 2 Moriwaki's, 4 Suters, 3 FTR and a Motobi, says that Suter are not a dominant force.

So, what makes people think the Suter is the best chassis?

Looking at who has what, I'm guessing the Suter costs the most... so that would be enough to make it seem the best in a rider's eye :)

I'm cheering for the lone Motobi/TSR... after they showed up Honda by selling frames that made the RS250 handle better than the NSR back in... 98? it would be nice to see them continue into the 4-stroke era.

The gaping maw reminds me of a brief debate F1 had about this in the '97 preseason when Williams and Jordan went with oval air intakes (as opposed to the traditional triangle intakes) and there was some discussion over what difference it would make. It worked for at least one of them, anyway...

I think Suter had a wider variety of riders having good results last year.

I was surprised Iannone changed to Suter, last year when things worked out he was showing very dominant pace. A bit surprising how he could be so brilliant at times and not so good at other weekends.

Iannone reminds me of Cadalora - temperamental, dominant on the right day, invisible in others, and never for a consistent reason. This is what I like about him - he remains slippery, elusive, inexplicable. I wonder how much longer he can go on like that, though.

and wins titles. Cadalora was a three times champ and one of the silkiest riders ever to grace a GP machine. To my mind Lorenzo flows alot like Cadalora, but Lorenzo is obviously harder of mind.

I've posted this before, but after reading some of the comments after this race . . . guess I'll repeat myself. I'm a RACE FAN!!! Yes, certain riders I'm partial too, but come on . . . anyone on a motorcycle in Moto GP is STUNNING! Making negative comments about them is childish, at best, and . . . (no comment)!

Great Race, Casey! I do believe that he has learned that there's alot more to 'racing' then going FAST! If his racecraft starts to reach the level of his race pace . . . Hmmm, this year could be interesting. And let's give a big hand to Jorge . . . no, I'm not the biggest Jorge fan, but his talent and refusal to give up and PUSH . . .

Rossi . . . did any of you guys notice his 'physical reaction' to getting off the bike in the pits after the race? It was very obvious, that he is definitely hurting! Come on guys . . . you can't actually believe he's gonna be running in 6 place all year?

Spies: very interested to see the Jerez race. If he wouldn't have gottin' caught up/slowed down . . . who knows.

Bring on Jerez!!

Still all about Rossi..I love the man and he is probably the greatest rider ever but why is it that as soon as he says he has a sore shoulder everyone gets on board and says oh yeah poor Vale..He isn't fast enough because his shoulder hurts..
Has anyone thought that maybe just maybe the Duke just doesn't cut it and the front end problems are bigger than they thought ? He and Hayden both have gone down with front end loses in testing and practice...If Casey said he was ill or had a sore wrist he was making excuses...If the front end was letting go he was just a crasher..
Be afraid Stoner knockers..Be VERY AFRAID....

The shoulder, the wrist, the lactose intolerance, the Duke front end, the tactical racer, the instinctive racer, the crasher, the points gatherer etc etc have all been debated ad nauseam.

Rossi is not saying anything different about his shoulder now then he was back in January. That it would be May or so before it was fully fit.

It's been roughly 3.5 months post op - it takes six months or so pretty consevatively.

I would admit that stoner looks like a hero right now.. but there's still a bunch of racing to do (and thank god it finally started).

I would also admit I get sick of hearing about the shoulder but, having been there myself I don't doubt how difficult it is - and again, I don't think he's bluffing (it's all of us that say he's playing mind games - turns out he's not this time). I do hope to see him stronger - and not just one or two winners through out the season.

This also from Alex Briggs Rossi's long time mechanic:

On Tuesday 22nd March 2011, @Alex__Briggs said:

Everybody is asking me if we are happy with the weekends result...... No & yes. No because first place is always the target. Yes because The rider is still healing & put in some good laps. Longest run he has done since shoulder op. We have a good bike that can be great. The bits & pieces that will make it great are not in the parts draw yet. They will be as the season goes on. So basically you saw a rider who's body is letting him down but on the mend, his desire is unquestionable, on a bike that will get better in big steps. You do the math! I can't spell but I know what that all adds up 2.

been watching him for yonks, and am a big fan - but I'm not getting too excited over one race: from memory he's won 4/5 races at qatar, and fell when leading the other.ie he owns the circuit. Other places make other riders/bikes happier.

It's early days, too early to plot a graphic and detect a pattern, other than the Honda's are statistically faster and bunched up towards the front of the group. Jorge showed up his #1 plate was no fluke, Casey seems unstoppable , seems to me the level of riding has upped quite a lot and the best news is:This year might be one of the best ever.

I for one have to rate George as the big winner. As usual,I watch the race again about 24 hrs after the event.This allows me a little time to view the whole thing objectively without the adrenalin infusion. Lorenzo upset the applecart.
That second place he knows was no fluke. Two big winners in the psychological area are him and Casey. George,because he knows 2nd place with the huge Qatar straight disadvantage behind him bodes well for Yamaha at most European circuits.Casey will be delighted and enjoy a huge confidence boost by beating Dani in a well thought out race first time up for his new team. He was undoubtedly a tad nervy before the off.Dani had just pipped him in the warm up.
The old shoulder story.I believe Dani has more concerns than Valentino or Cal for that matter.
The racing itself was great.
Sadly,one has to ponder the merits of Elias and Capirex in MotoGP.
Ben Spies picked up a lot of flack on other sites as expected. Well,hardly unexpected, as he replaced Rossi. Fact is,he did eventually best Rossi by a country mile,so he can draw on that. Undoubtedly the battle for 4th was potentially a 3 way affair had he got it right quicker.
Valentino and Ducati.Good ride by him,but that start ! That start told me a lot.
Premeditated charge straight as a die for inside corner entry,(given inside grid slot),late brake,duff them all up. Fortunately,no consequences.
Years ago Valentino was quite happy to enter turn 1 way back and pick his opponents off as he pleased and entertain the crowd.
Clearly,for whatever reason,those days are a luxury he can no longer afford.

I think it's pretty sad to see what Elias is doing on the track but his disaster seems like there must be more to it than his skill. At the end of last season there were only so many seats and other than older riders in WSBK (and maybe Haslam and Rea) I don't think anyone else was any more deserving than Elias. Also, in a shrinking grid I think known quantities are worth more. So Capirossi's skills and experience make him just as qualified as well. If there were a half dozen more seats available I'd like to see a few more Moto2 and SBK riders have a shot for the sake of opportunities. But I don't think there are many qualified riders just yearning for a Pramac or LCR ride. I think it would be great to see more seats in exteneded wild card format, where a rider would get a multi race 'try-out'. Then it would be a lot easier to stomach a rider circulating in the back of the pack. There would always be some serious effort! If the grid slots in Moto2 and WSBK were more flexible and people were willing to lend a rider (possibly for compensation) it could be a great way to add some excitement to the mix and see some new faces.

...an email from one good friend to another. Fantastic stuff.

One of the interesting points here is the "gaping maw". Is there a size restriction? It would seem to be common sense...that the greater the ram-air effect, the more power you'll have, and I suppose the aerodynamicists would want it smaller (for less drag), but there's obviously a point where you have diminishing returns in both directions. So I wonder if there's a strict set of rules on intake shape and size. Anybody here know? Also, I'd be interested to know the internal shape of the intake, and if it tapers, how much, and what kind of intake pressure they're seeing as a result of their oh-so-subtle "maw".

I was amazed by Casey's racecraft, too. It only makes sense that he now has that option for the first time, since his D16 required a good flogging in order to make it work. "Win or Bin" doesn't leave much room for biding one's time...

I had forgotten about Dani's nerve damage. That's terrible. Along with the (23) operations on my back, I've had my knee, wrist, nose, jaw, and arm broken and surgically repaired. A pinched or exposed nerve like Dani or Crutchlow is a source of agony that NO painkillers can touch. I had shoulder surgery over a year ago, and it was "merely" an arthroscopic procedure...and I'm not back to full usage of it yet. This is especially important to me, as it was my right shoulder, I am right-handed, and there's one unacceptable problem with my shoulder not being back to full health: I am married to the most DROP-DEAD gorgeous woman in the world, and I'm forced to sleep facing away from her when my shoulder is bad. There's NO WAY that I'm any less motivated than Cal, Dani, or Rossi to use my shoulder to its fullest potential! If I'm unable to do even THAT a year later, then it's not difficult to understand someone saying that they can't ride an unruly beast (or win on it unless you are 100%), like the D16 after much more invasive surgery. Over and above that, to LEAD THE RACE with a pinched nerve, or to JUST RIDE, minus part of your pinky...I have great respect and admiration for Dani and Cal. Period.

I'm glad beyond all belief at seeing some posts from RACE fans on this topic. I, too, have bemoaned the crash/"soup"-ization of the comments section here. I've lost count of the posts I've written in response...and then deleted, as I won't lower myself to the (non-existent) "standard" of the fanboys who have been posting here of late (most of whom sound, frankly, like the condescending stylings of "Comic Book Guy" from The Simpsons, or trolls who live in their parents' basement at 43 years of age, who don't usually frequent "text-centric" websites that have more words than photos, who usually have to pay by the minute for "human interaction", who have never owned (or ridden) a bike, who just saw their first race, and who (SERIOUSLY?) think that comparing an essentially year-old bike to THE newest, latest, greatest one is a relevant measure of pilot skill). I would pay good money to see that "argument" (or an analogous claim...like Schumacher being NO MATCH for Button, because he inherited Button's car THAT WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP, and then Schuey didn't win even ONE race with that CHAMPIONSHIP-WINNING car/team...indeed, I would pay real money to see that idiotic claim) made somewhere like James Allen's website...and the subsequent public ridicule of being verbally tarred and feathered for daring to say something so asinine in public. What next? Maybe someone will accuse Rossi of being an unsportsmanlike racer, perhaps even trying to intentionally crash into other riders, risking further damage to his own body, as well as others. Nah...there's nobody THAT criminally foolish on MM.

In the meantime, bring on Jerez!

"It would seem to be common sense...that the greater the ram-air effect, the more power you'll have"

Common sense is often misleading.

The maximum possible pressure gain available is the so called stall pressure, which is rho v²/2 with v the bike speed in m/s and rho is density of air in kg/cubic metres. At 270km/h, that's about 7kPa (0.07bar). However, compressing the air like that also makes it hotter, so the density (which is what gives you more power) only goes up by about 3-4%. Still, 4-5hp is not to be sneezed at.

Where the size of the hole matters is that if air needed to come through the hole at 270km/h just to keep the engine fed, there would be no pressure gain. But if the area of the inlet is much bigger than the combined area of the 4 throttle bodies, and the air can be funnelled into the CBR airbox without much turbulence, then the gain will be close to the theoretical maximum.

So there will be diminishing returns: making the whole bigger gets you closer and closer to (say) a 4% gain, but can't take you past it.

Now, THIS is why I've grown to love our community so much! I just KNEW that someone would be able to "learn" me a thing or two. Thank you very much for the explanation.

I have a couple more questions: 1) How do you know all of this? (in other words: are you a scientist, mathematician, race engineer, or a geek like me?) 2) Does "GrahamB29" have to do with the watch and the plane?


"I won't lower myself to the (non-existent) "standard" of the fanboys who have been posting here of late (most of whom sound, frankly, like the condescending stylings of "Comic Book Guy" from The Simpsons"

is the type of guy who would actually BELIEVE that Rossi would try to win a race by crashing his bike into all the bikes in front of him at turn one.

Riiiiiiiight. That's like trying to fight off the common cold by drinking from a public urinal. I mean, seriously...crashing to win. I've heard it ALL now...

. . .Crimson Tide! I also have had shoulder surgery, in Nov '05, and trying to tell folks about the rehab/pain/and getting it anywhere back to 'normal' is impossible! If you haven't been through shoulder surgery, you don't have a clue! How these guys are racing these 'beasts' w/shoulders like they have is . . . well, they're PROFESSIONAL ATHELETES!!! Like I mentioned in my previous post: did any of you see Rossi's body language/facial expression when he got off his bike after the race? He was definitely in PAIN! And Dani hanging onto his 'beast' w/his shoulder problems/issues/PAIN . . .

Bring on Jerez and hopefully Dani/Rossi can heal up quickly!

...3B43, I sure did. It's hard to describe what joint pain feels like to someone who's never had it. Laying on my right side isn't exactly as stressful as having 220+ HP trying to yank my shoulder clean out of its socket. It takes a HUGE amount of pain to make me resort to sleeping on my left side...but I'm not putting my life on the line at 200mph. I applaud ANYONE who fights through that level of pain. Not just your comment, but when one David Emmett comments on Dani being near the point of vomiting from the pain, or Cal having someone else put his glove on the hand that is MINUS part of a pinky and PLUS one exposed nerve...well...my hat's off to them all.

This season is affording us an unprecedented opportunity to really look at HOW the game is played. We have the chance to examine the fine details of each rider's season, and we have plenty of time and attention to devote to this endeavor. Why? Because there's no need to waste any time or energy in wondering who is going to win the championship this year. ;)

among all the joints that could affect a bike rider, the shoulder is definitely one of the worse if not the worse. First because of all the weight load involved in acceleration and breaking, secondly because of its intrinsic complexity as a joint, possibly the most complex joint in the human body in terms of muscles and bones involved. Very difficult to fix effectively.
On the other hand, nerve damage or any issues affecting nerves is also very serious, due to the fact that nerves don't repair themselves once they're damaged and can hinder or impair 100% the functionality of a whole organ/limb.
I still think anyhow that they give way too much attention to Rossi's shoulder and he seems, especially in his italian interviews, way too busy in justifying himself.

Yes I did Hugelean.Watched every Sepang GP since its 2 wheeled inception.
All those Sepang races are history. Valentino was no doubt the Sepang master and probably still is.
The fact is,in terms of contesting a GP at any event,Valentino starts from the backfoot right now.His familiar RC212V and M1 are no longer at his disposal.Apparently he is less than 100% fit and able.
So,yes,I expect him to premeditate and exploit every option he is afforded on race day,especially at the off. His competitors need to take note of this.
I think of Hopper and Capirex in Japan many years ago. Hopper got punished.Later, Capirex walked away unscathed by the same book of rules.
I merely feel that the riders on the first two rows best take cogniscince of Rossi's current mindset.
He is not part and parcel of comming second. Loose cannon he is right now.
Huge pressure on him this year given all the focus.
We could debate this endlessly,but whats the point ?
You have your opinion and I have mine.I hope he at some stage declares himself fully fit.If he is not there come 2012 and 1000cc,he will be even worse off.
Sadly,so will Ducati and MotoGP in general.