2011 Estoril Post-Race MotoGP Test Roundup - On Hindsight, Updates And Insults

Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20, and MotoGP tests following a race usually tend to bear this out. Teams suddenly find the time to try the setup changes they had figured out over the weekend but never quite got round to making to the bike to use in the race.

A case in point was Cal Crutchlow, who had had a moderately successful race on Sunday, coming home on Sunday. Crutchlow himself was far from pleased, however; the team were using a 15mm shorter wheelbase on Crutchlow's M1 than on any of the other Yamahas, intending to try a longer wheelbase during warmup on Sunday. The wet track on Sunday morning put a stop to this, so when Crutchlow got a chance to try the bike on Monday with the longer wheelbase, the fact that he rocketed to the sharp end of the timesheets confirmed two things: One, that the revised setup was working; and two, that Crutchlow could be troubling the front group sooner rather than later. Crutchlow's times on Monday were downright impressive, now all he has to do is ensure the team get the setup right on Sunday, and not on the day after at the test.

Much the same might be said for Jorge Lorenzo. The reigning world champion has been struggling with braking this season, something which Lorenzo has found doubly disappointing because that has traditionally been the strong point throughout his career. So bad had the problem become that when the team arrived at the track on Friday, Lorenzo found himself braking for turn 1 some 40 meters earlier than he had been doing when he won in 2010.

On Monday, Lorenzo's pit crew took what with hindsight would be the obvious step, going back to use some settings that they used last season. The reward was immediate, Lorenzo's confidence in corner entry and carrying corner speed vastly increased, and Lorenzo once again vying at the top of the timesheets.

The man who kept Lorenzo from setting the fastest time was the rider who had been most impressive all weekend, except for a minor mistake in the race on Sunday, which meant he crashed out after just four corners. Anyone doubting Simoncelli's talent and speed need only be shown the timesheets, but his racecraft - or rather, perhaps, his overeagerness - still get the Italian into trouble, Estoril being the second race in a row that Simoncelli has crashed out of.

Asked if he had had a good night's sleep, Simoncelli was frank: "No!" but the results of the test gave the Italian reason to be hopeful. A new clutch to help cure hopping on the rear under braking had helped, and the team had also found an improvement to the front forks which helped the bike over the bumps while leaned over.

But while Simoncelli was fuming at himself, he was still also stewing over Lorenzo's comments about him being dangerous. "I never fought with Lorenzo in all my career, only in Valencia, and now he is saying that I am dangerous," the Italian complained, pointing out that to his mind, it was Lorenzo who was at fault in that incident. Perhaps the comments were because Lorenzo perceived Simoncelli as a threat, the Italian conceded: "Maybe he is trying mind games, but for sure these tactics have no effect on me."

Valentino Rossi was far more forthright in his opinions about the riders complaining about aggressive moves. Rossi conceded that in 250s, Simoncelli had made a few moves "at the limit", but in MotoGP, his moves had not been beyond the pail. The problem, Rossi avowed, lay elsewhere: "For me, the problem is that big part of MotoGP riders now are pussies," Rossi declared. "In the past, this is normal, the riders were more like real men. Now it is more like they are children."

Rossi's remarks raised a few smirks around the assembled media, but most of the attention was focused on progress with the Ducati. Ducati's technical guru Filippo Preziosi had brought a new chassis, a new engine and a modified electronics package with him for the factory Ducati riders to test, and these had shown a clear improvement.

The modified chassis had garnered the most attention, and had worked just as Ducati had hoped it would. The new chassis - actually a small, trapezoidal carbon fiber subframe connecting the engine to the steering head - was providing more feedback, giving both Rossi and Hayden a better sense of what was going on with the front tire. But the big improvement for Rossi was that now when they tried setup changes on the front end, the bike reacted as expected. Both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden have complained in previous years that finding a setup could be like looking for a needle in a haystack, with the way the bike responded to setup changes being completely unpredictable. Sometimes a huge change would make no difference in the feel where a tiny modification would radically alter the bike, while at other tracks the opposite might be true. Some predictability in the way the chassis responds means finding a setup will be much easier in the future, and a big step in the right direction.

The new engine that Ducati brought was another step in the right direction, the engine being more controllable and softer off the bottom of the throttle. The bike is now more like Rossi asked for it to be, Preziosi explained, responding much more smoothly to the throttle. The trouble with new engine specs is that with the limit of 6 engines for the entire season, Ducati cannot introduce a new engine when it suits them. So the new engine spec will likely first see action at Barcelona, depending on the mileage on the current set of engines being used.

There are no such problems with the chassis, and the new subframe will be deployed at the next race at Le Mans. The upgraded electronics package was already being used at Estoril, and further developments will be coming soon.

Though everyone concerned at Ducati was positive about the changes, they were all equally keen to point out that the changes were just "a small step" in the right direction. The consensus, though, was that the direction for development had been found, and there would be plenty more to come in the future.

With the proven speed of the Hondas, the 2011 RC212V having taken victory in two of the three races so far this year, you would suspect that there is little development work to be done on the bike. And frankly, you would be right, though the riders still had a couple of clutches and some forks to test. The state of the Honda - and the fact that riders are never satisfied with what they have - was nicely summed up by Andrea Dovizioso: "We are really close to being OK," Dovizioso said, "We just need to improve the stability." To mere mortals, rather than MotoGP riders, "really close to OK" means the closest thing to a perfect motorcycle that current technology is capable of producing.

The clutch Honda tested received mixed reactions, with Simoncelli and Dovizioso liking the new clutch, while Casey Stoner was less convinced. What Stoner had liked was the 2011 Ohlins forks, which the team had finally got to work on the bike without them chattering. The new forks improved the feel over the bumps, and this in turn had made the bike better in the long corners, where the bumps had badly unsettled the bike during the race.

It was a good thing that Honda had so little to test, however, as two of HRC's factory riders were in no real shape to be putting in the miles. After his victory on Sunday, Dani Pedrosa's shoulder was still stiff and painful, and the Spaniard called it a day at the end of the morning, professing himself to be too injured to provide any useful feedback. Casey Stoner had fared a little better, the Australian's back problem which had arisen during the race still present during the morning, but riding and some exercises had loosened it up and the pain had largely disappeared by the end of the day. Both men will be glad to get some rest for the next few days to try to recover before heading for Le Mans. For Pedrosa, that meant spending a lot of time flat on his back, holding his head in a fixed position to relax the shoulder muscles as much as possible. Having a lie down may sound enticing - especially after a long weekend such as we have just had - but spending the best part of four or five days staring at the ceiling is really not as much fun as it's made out to be.

Upgrades to the bikes and their settings were not the only thing to be tested at Estoril. Bridgestone brought a new tire for the riders to try, meant to be used in 2012 when the 1000s return. The riders immediately fell rapturously in love with the tire, praising its improved feedback and especially the fact that it got up to working temperature much more quickly than the older specs of tires. The pleas for Bridgestone to introduce it this year were loud and many, but the chance of it actually happening is fairly remote.

The next test for the MotoGP class is at Mugello, when the first 1000cc bikes will be rolled out on the track. Any factories wanting to test new parts for their 800cc bikes will have to wait until after Brno in August, when the final 800cc test will take place. By then, though, all eyes will be on the future, when we leave the accursed 800s behind us.

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Can anyone explain what (if anything) stops a team from running a 2012 spec machine with a 2011 engine in testing from them using that machine as a race bike in the 2011 season? Has this already happened? Is everyone turning a blind eye because there are so few 800cc races left. Seems like an easy way to overcome the over restrictive testing limits......

There isn't anything preventing them from doing that but what would be the point? If they got the 2012 chassis working with the 2011 motor, why wait until 2012 to start using it?

Or, if you want to sacrifice your 2011 chassis testing time, you could just run the 2012 bike and motor but then you'd risk losing ground on your competition in this season.

The rules don't really prevent them from doing any of this. Testing time is testing time. You have a set amount of it, use it as you please.

I wonder what the next pre-race press conference will be like.
Lorenzo got off easy with Simoncelli.
I wonder if he'll try verbal sparring with Rossi.

I mean, wasn't he the one who put pressure on Dorna to put pressure on Phillip Island to move to an earlier date on the calendar on the grounds of safety? Wasn't Rossi's beef with Suzuka also with safety?

I'm finding all this mud-slinging quite juvenile.

Laguna Seca was also considered 'too dangerous' by Rossi.
That was ofcourse before he won the '08 round and it became one of his favourite circuits.

Not true. I can't stand how people just make up stuff and pass it off as truth.

Laguna Seca improved the track, spending money to increase runoff in critical areas and make the track safer in response to the rider's safety commission. I don't remember who paid for it, Scramp, Yamaha, or whomever, but the track was upgraded.

Safety was the reason MotoGP discontinued racing at Laguna Seca in the '90s. Track safety and riders riding unsafe are two different elements, lets not mix the two.

When MotoGP came back to Laguna Seca it was only after many safety issues were resolved, and Yamaha was the one who footed the bill for all those improvements.

Rossi is talking about how riders these days are complaining about the close contact racing, you can't look back and not see it! It's always been a part of racing. I remember the first race of WSBK in 2009, Ben Spies goes into turn one and was bumped/forced of track and even the announcers comment was, "Welcome to World SuperBike".

Let's just get it out there, when the bikes are more closely matched the racing is more exciting, the riders have more passing, and the rider contact is more common. While rider safety is always most important, it is always a riders responsibility to make the judgement of what he can and can't make in terms of passes, etc. How about last year at Motegi, when Lorenzo could have easily just settled for the position behind Rossi, but because of obvious reasons he wasn't going to let that happen. He could have easily been blamed of hard passing or dangerous riding, but I didn't think so, it made for a great battle.

Easy now. That is what I remember Rossi saying, around the same time when he stated Elias was riding too dangerously. Don't tell me I made that up, too.
Don't get me wrong: I am all for aggressive, ballsy riding and I respect Rossi just as much as anybody. Just saying every rider is pointing a finger now and then.

...but I think Rossi's complaints about Elias were made after Elias punted Rossi off the track at the first corner of Jerez 06, and after he did something else to Rossi after that. At least, that's what I recall...

"I'm also quite unhappy with Elias today because I think he was quite dangerous – more than once he passed me on the inside and then altered his line. This is not a correct way to race."

This was after the Turkey race.

You have only to watch last seasons Moto2 race at Valencia, when Elias in third, cuts off Simon who was in second, as he puts his front tyre into the backside of Iannone who was in first, then crashes out on the last lap all while in the middle of a turn... It was also the same ill advised pass that he pulled in 2006... Keep in mind, his bike is contacting the pilots, not the other bikes. Now that is dangerous...

Maybe safer circuits offer the possibility of more aggressive riding ;)

The Irony is that the proposed dates to moving PI (at the end of March/Early April) are even worse than October.

October is Spring turning summer, March/April is Autumn turning Winter.

October is easily the better date weather wise, but given it's coastal location the weather can be wildly unpredictable (which is typical Melbourne weather - four seasons per day).

This power posturing to get rule changes, date changes etc is really growing old. I don't mind the riders slinging some 'mud' at each other, but Rossi using his leverage in arguments that make very little sense (Date changes and weight limits spring to mind) grew very old, very early in the piece.

You can't have everything your own way. Not even if you wear fluro yellow pants.

Hilarious! LMAO! I hope he stays around for another couple of years. The fact that he is fast and can hang with everyone verbally makes this like a drama that has to be seen to find out what happens next. Pussies....hilarity. Between him and Colin Edwards I do not know who is more funny. When they were on the same team everyone must have been laughing all the time.

I haven't heard too much noise about standard weights for riders and bikes combined just recently. Has Simonecelli shot the whole argument he had in the foot by leading practice, testing and almost securing pole position? Me doth think he (used to) protest too loudly! Good on him though for getting quicker and spicing things up ....... this + Crutchlow & hopefully Spies improving some more will make it very very interesting up the front.

Simo was asked directly in the press conference about this exact irony and he went into his shell about it, but stuck by his claim that he is at a disadvantage.

Isn't the weight more of an issue over race distance as opposed to running a few qualifying laps?
I don't think a single lap (or 3 laps) makes much difference but over 20+ laps it could.

It could be argued that Sic's weight advantage helped him qualify in front of the other Hondas on such a tight track... Unfortunately we never got to see how his race would pan out.

Marco's real pace is best illustrated in practice and testing, where his mixture can be richened without fear of penalty from having to make 21 litres last because he's heavier..which was the essence of the minimum weight for rider and bike debate.

I have this distinct memory of Stoner moving to 250s and saying the 125 riders were too crazy and dangerous. I seem to remember him complaining about 250 riders being dangerous as well. So he has some history here.

As for Lorenzo's attempted pass on Simoncelli at Valencia, that always felt to me like it came from sheer arrogance. He was further back in the pack than usual and came barging through as if he thought "out of my way scum, you're not supposed to be in front of me.". It was Lorenzo who launched the over-enthusiastic pass and Simoncelli who ought to be the aggrieved party.

Sic has a habit of tightening his line through the apex when another rider is coming up the inside - effectively cutting them off and spoiling their rhythm... all other riders seem to allow some room for a bike when they push up the inside. Whether this is right or wrong is debatable but i think that's the issue the other riders have with him.

Everything about MotoGP is debatable because it may have a rule book, but those rules are rarely enforced. I am not a big fan of F1 as I do not really get into any kind of car racing, but I understand why they have rules and enforce them, it makes it a sport and not a wild free-for-all, where popularity off track can make sure you get away with almost anything on track.

Tightening the racing line is a racing tactic to keep your position, making the rider behind work harder. Wasn't Lorenzo known for going "round the outside", haven't seen that lately. Looking on the race footage of Valencia, Lorenzo was way too hot and came barreling in. As the rider in behind he has a greater perspective of what he can and can't achieve, he should have backed off (maybe it was too late). Either way Lorenzo was in the wrong on that one, he was lucky to stay on his bike. He had nothing to prove, already crowned champion, unless there was a payday bonus for a win?

Bottom line is everyone makes mistakes, think about Takahashi running into the back of Hayden, Pedrosa taking out Hayden, Rossi taking out Stoner. No one wants to crash and no wants to injure another rider. These guys are professionals (racing for years) and riding at the limit can yield mistakes, they're only human after all.

I find it more distasteful reading the poorly veiled barbed comments than the more forthright ones.. I hope this is a momentary lapse.

David , do you know if Neil Spaldings comments about Rossi using the new airbox/front subframe all weekend?? To the eye I thought the bike still laboured in the corners like Rossi was just waiting for it to get round as opposed to pushing.

When you first look at Simoncelli as he tries to overtake, the guy looks like he uses his elbows to move riders out the way. But to be fair, he has very long arms! He is so huge (compared with most others on the grid) he looks menacing just trundling around.

Pussies are pussies, not bad riders :D

The pass that Lorenzo seems so convinced that he is wrong done by is his own problem. Have a look here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-WQrZr-crE Lorenzo still had lots of room on the inside, he just decided that he wanted part of the track Simo happened to be on. Simo didn't give way, as was his right being in front and he didn't tighten up to squeeze Jlo so...too bad. Jlo has done worse by far, at least in the 250 class. Simo definately pushes the line, quite often in fact, but this was not one of those occasions.

I totally agree with SimoSic.

I also agree with Vale's comment about the current state of some of the riders attitudes. Motorcycle racing isn't a good place for complainers and girly boys.

I love the way the racing is going this year. I just hope Ben, Cal, Colin and Nicky can join in on the fun at the front on a regular basis in the future. I can't wait to see Vale on a big red bike of his liking.

I love this sport - Go Spies!

I am all for aggressive riding, but I don't think any of these guys are particularly girly. Lorenzo does some pretty tough riding and for Stoner to win on a bucking broncho like the Duc was... I think most visitors of this site would have run to their mothers crying.

Sorry but I will say again that I agree with Vale.

These guys are super talented and super men but for a few of them their attitude is a bit weak when it comes to bar banging racing.

"I'm quite unhappy with Elias today because I think he was quite dangerous - more than once he passed me on the inside and then altered his line. This is not a correct way to race," fumed Rossi.

I think the riders touch when the overtaking rider cannot stay on the same line internationally or unintentionally, becoming the obstacle to the overtaken rider. Simoncelli does it sometimes when he tries to overtake aggressively. I want to see Rossi vs Simoncelli. Is Simoncelli back off because he is battling against Rossi? If he does, he had better join Ducati and become his teammate.

IMHO, I believe Super Sic however aggressive he is, tends to be careful when riding around VR46. VR46 gets that amount of respect and GOAT effect on Super Sic. It's noticed that Super Sic actually towed VR46 during QP a little bit. Someone came in between them (Hector I believe) and Super Sic backed off, let Hector passed, made sure VR46 was behind him and get going again. They have a strong friendship it seems.

"all other riders seem to allow some room for a bike when they push up the inside."
Since when have riders ever made it easy for someone to get past them?
Inside or outside they all try to make it as difficult as possible to get past.
A Gardener or Lawson would have done far more to someone trying that on them.
I think Jorge sees a threat and is trying to a Rossi on him by playing mind games.
Roll on for a great season.
I'm an aussie but I hope this season goes to Pedrossa, he so far has not complained about anyone. I cant' recall him ever whinging or having a go at anyone, just gets his head down and goes hard.

I'm not saying anyone makes is easy, but unless it's the closing stage of a race if two riders touch they will compromise their laptime, and in the 800 era time is hard to make up once lost - ask Stoner, he was running similar laptimes to the leaders until Pedrosa raised the bar. The older bikes were far more sympathetic to running wide or altering lines than the current crop. If a rider spends their efforts trying to block the rider behind they'll soon end up with several riders jockeying for their position - all those laps with Pedrosa behind him and Lorenzo didn't once take a tight entry (blocking) into T1. When it's the first corner of a race a rider that comes into a corner wide generally won't close in tight to the apex as Simo did in Estoril. Races aren't won in the first corner.

I agree, Dani had a great race. Hope to see more of him riding that well.

. . .

1) First of all, Simo: Stoner whinning about Simo's 'pass' is total BS! and I'm a Stoner fan! I watched the move in slo-mo a few times & Simo did what any 'racer' would have done. Simo's 'move'(?) on Jorge from 2010 is all Jorge's fault...Jorge stuffs it in there and expects Simo to 'move over'! RIGHT! And thanks for posting the video.
2) Rossi's comments about 'pussies': I've been a M/C fan since I started racing my Bultaco Pursang and followed the Great King Kenny when he headed over to Europe! The Roberts/Spencer duel was epic....no quarter given OR expected! They, along with Swantz, Rainey, Doohan, etc must be shaking their heads and laughing at some of the comments from Jorge, Stoner and crew. I'm willing to bet next months retirement check that they ALL agree with Rossi's 'pussie' comment. Is this a church social or THE WORLD ROAD RACING CHAMPIONSHIP? There is a BIG difference between hard/close racing and dangerous racing and I haven't seen and dangerous racing....last year, or this year.
3) Weight Limits: Sorry guys, here is one point I disagre with you on. It takes more energy to move more weight--PERIOD! Its simple physics. F1 has strict weight limits and I really don't understand Moto GP NOT imposing a rider/bike weight limit. What's the DOWN SIDE? Can anyone explain what the down side of this rule would have?
4) 21L fuel limit: the most moronic/idiotic rule in racing! 'nough said!
5) W/Simo finding his speed & Dani's shoulder mending, this year should be somthing.

Finally, CONGRATS to Dani!!!! A hell'eva tactical race on his part. Did you guys notice him strectching that shoulder out, 1/2 way through the race, on a right hand turn? In the middle of the turn, he reached way back with his left arm and I was thinking, 'Oh No . . . . ' but I gues he was just strectching it out.

Weight limits, It is much easier for a bigger person to wrestle around a 220bhp machine then it is for a smaller person. Their is other advantages to more weight including better braking ect. Do you think it would be fair to Dani to add 50lbs to his bike?

"advantages to more weight including better braking ect."
Sorry, that's just wrong. The minimal advantage gained by extra traction due to more weight pushing down is FAR more than overcome by the disadvantage of having to slow that extra weight down.

"Do you think it would be fair to Dani to add 50lbs to his bike?"

minderaser is totally correct.

To further the argument. Just imagine a 300 pound rider vs a 75 pound rider to envision the effect. Would the 75 pounder have the better lap time? Of course he would. The acceleration, deceleration, reduced cornering G force inertia are all to the smaller riders advantage. With a good lap vs a bad lap measured in tenths of a second, it doesn't take much of a weight difference to gain an advantage.

The problem is that there are so many variables to consider it will probably never be a MotoGP rule. And although I know the lighter rider has THAT advantage, I'm not convinced that adding weight is a fair and viable solution given the above mentioned long list of contributing variables.

If Dani starts to win every race by 10 seconds it may be time to start training Kentucky Derby jockies how to ride a MotoGP machine in order to beat him. Or maybe lower the MotoGP eligiblity age to 10 years old.

They don't have much chance in the NBA, so why penalize small people in areas where they may have an advantage?

The last thing we need is an impost official deciding outcomes.

There is advantage to be gained because a heavier rider is able to shift more weight rearward during braking allowing harder braking before the rear tire lifts off. The same is also true under acceleration, heavier riders tend to wheelie less as they can shift more weight forward. Yet again, the same is true in corners, they can shift more weight off the bike requiring less bike lean and keeping the tire on the meatier part of the profile. And when putting steering inputs into the bike heavier riders have more leverage so can create harder steering inputs.

Putting 50 lbs on Dani's bike would then make him have to move a bike around that is heavier than the competition while having less muscle mass to do it. How could that be 'fair'?

There are many benefits and drawbacks to a high or low rider weight. Let's leave it at that and let them race.


Your last two statements are true, and are a couple of the reasons I don't think that weight limits should be used.

In all due respect, your first paragraph and every sentence in it is inaccurate. No one that has ever raced (fast) would agree with any one of them. For instance, the rear brake is rarely used for anything except to settle the chassis entering a turn or sometimes by some riders to feather front wheel lift, or slight trail braking if corner entry speed was miscalculated. Heavy and light riders usually shift their weight to the rear to gain traction - not forward to offset a wheelie. Finally, there is no difference in a small rider vs a large rider in steering inputs. The strength necessary is in speed reduction G force and cardiovascular condition, not any kind of "leverage" on the bars. Ask a few of the women racers (or small frame men) how they do it to get an understanding.

Chris is completely right in his assessment of things. That sounds like a man who HAS raced. I've raced many a year up to national level and any rider has to make all the dynamic movements Chris mentions. The faster you go the more necessary and difficult the whole weighting of a motorcycle becomes through arms, hands and legs. Unless you want to go slow of course.......

If more weight is rearwards then the bike can brake harder using the front brake before the bike flips forward. See a couple of posts down for details. No rear brake involved.

As far as moving rearward to gain traction, maybe when I'm ice racing or riding on the dirt, both traction limited situations, but roadrace guys are trying to keep weight on the front for 2 reasons: to help load the front tire so they complete the turn and to minimize the tendency to wheelie so they can accelerate as hard as possible. Both of these reasons are influenced by acceleration unweighting the front.

A small and large rider both exert the same force on the handlebars? In the case of pro riders weight is roughly tracking height, so you are saying a shorter lighter person can provide the same force as a taller and heaver person? That does not make sense. Most of the woman racers I have come up against were on 125s and lightweight bikes that do not require much to muscle it around. Not too many women race 1000s, they take a lot of sheer strength to go fast on. Talk to any pro racer, I have. There is a reason they are in great shape, strength and cardiovascular health both play a large part in the rider being able to perform at top level. Wasn't Rossi saying that with his injured shoulder he didn't have enough strength to give the strong steering inputs the Ducati needs? He was not out of breath, he just didn't have the strength to provide the steering input to turn the bike quickly enough.


Wrong on both accounts. Shorter (that is what we are talking about here) riders have better leverage. My old boss was 5'5", 155lbs and I personally watched him clear 335lbs on a standard bench press on multiple occasions. He had won several bench press competitions in various places in the US and came in second at the Arnold Classic one time. If he was 5'10" and 155lbs, that doesn't happen.

How can more weight be better for braking. Where does this myth come from? Are you familiar with the concept of inertia?

We are not talking about two people of the same weight but different heights, we're talking about taller and heavier versus shorter and lighter. For a given level of athletic fitness I think the person with more muscle mass would have more strength.

What is the limiting factor for braking? Is it locking up the front tire or doing an endo? It is doing an endo as we can see the riders' rear wheel slightly lifting off the tarmac. If the braking limit was determined by locking up the front brake (which would result in a lot of crashes while the bike was still under heavy braking) then yes, less weight (inertia) would produce better braking, but it is not. The limit to braking is the bike flipping over frontwards.

Now that we have determined the limiting factor in braking we can see what affects it. What determines how hard a bike is to endo is the location of the center of gravity to the wheelbase. If a rider is heavier (and/or taller) he has more weight to move rearwards (or can move the same weight further) during braking, thus moving the center of gravity of the bike rearwards. If the center of gravity is moved rearwards the bike is harder to endo. If the bike is harder to endo it can brake harder. This is all well known physics, I am not making any of it up. There's no opinion involved.

It is the exact same situation in acceleration: through the assist of computer controls bikes wheelie instead of spinning the tire. So again, the limit is not traction related but bike geometry related. instead of flipping forward, it will flip rearward. If the same controls apply then the same techniques to improve bike geometry, eg moving rider mass forward to reduce wheelie tendency, will apply.

With big bikes these differences are small, but this is MotoGP, all the differences were small. When I raced a Honda 125 at 180lbs I was able to outbrake everybody because I would put my fat ass all the way back over the tailsection and clamp down on the brake lever. 125s aren't powerful enough to wheelie so I was not able to make use of that extra weight on corner exit but I and other riders definitely noticed how hard I could brake. When I got tired and could no longer hold my body all the way back under the braking forces I was always endoing and blowing corner entries because I could not achieve the same braking performance due to a forward C of G position.


I love the fact that this discussion never dies, both sides never giving an inch.
I do agree that considering races and QP there is no strong case that lighter riders have it easy. But I still wonder (I think I've already said this at this site): If being small and light is such a problem, Why doesn´t Dani hit the gym? It wouldn't make him taller but it would give him more weight to shift around and more strength to muscle the bike.
I think that size does matter but both side of the scale have their pros and cons and the riders play the hand they were dealt.

For a little guy, Pedrosa is really buff. He has hit the weights and gained a lot of muscle mass since moving to MotoGP. But there's only so much you can do without adding fat.

This fact must go some of the way to explaining Pedrosa's significant improvement over the last 12 months when throwing the anchor out the back.

You've seen him up close so I can´t argue. But on TV he doesn´t look particularly big for his height (he is like 10kg lighter than his ideal weight), maybe in great shape with far more muscle than fat, more pilates than weight lifting.
But of course I always see him with the leathers. If he does hit the gym hard it makes his point stronger.

"he is like 10kg lighter than his ideal weight"

Interesting claim. At 1.6m and 51kg, he has a BMI (weight/height²) of 20. Same as Rossi's. That's at the bottom edge of the WHO's "normal" range, assuming it's correct.

Add 10kg to him and he'd be at 24. The upper end of normal is 25, but that's fairly heavy for an endurance athlete. The rate of cardiovascular disease starts to increase once you go above 23.

I've been down to a BMI of 20.5 while cycling 350km/week in the hills. It's pretty damn lean, but it terms of strength to weight it was the fittest I've ever been. If I'd been riding a motoGP bike I'd have wanted a bit more muscle in my arms and shoulders, but could have dropped some off my legs. I've never been to 24, even when I did sfa exercise and felt quite fat for a few months as a result of a series of broken bones...

Getting back to the argument: if weight is a major disadvantage on a 240hp, 150kg MotoGP bike, it must be a lot worse on a 98kg, 100hp 250. Rossi and Simoncelli are both 250 champions. And of course on a 55hp, 70kg 125...

So, if weight is a disadvantage on a MotoGP bike, it is ONLY because of the fuel limit. The best solution then seems to be to allow more fuel, rather than strapping on lead.

OK, I clearly know nothing about fitness and the hole "same weight as height above 1 meter (in cm)" stopped making sense many many years ago.
Good to know.

You missed my point. I am illustrating leverage and why being shorter like a DP isn't necessarily a disadvantage for controlling the bike. You even illustrate that your heavier weight wore you down over the course of a race.

I don't believe that being lighter is necessarily a great advantage over being a heavier and taller rider but I would say it clearly isn't a disadvantage. People remarked about DP that he couldn't ride a 990 GP bike before he got to the class. He was 2nd in his first race and won his 4th race in the class. The overall (not overwhelming) advantage is to smaller riders (I am assuming all riders are weight proportionate). The evidence is clearly out there for all to see. Of course this assumes that all riders are in similar situations with respect to skill, equipment etc.

Does it mean that there should be a combo limit? No, I don't really think so. It is up to the individual to find a sport that suits them and that they enjoy. There are lots of people who will never make it to the highest level because their desire couldn't match up with their talents/gifts/abilities/genetics/work ethic etc. And sadly there are a few who have had all the talent/ability in the world and didn't much care for the sport. That's life and there is no guarantee that it is fair.

GP should go old-school and force the riders to push-start their bikes. That'll sort out the boys from the men. And probably leave only about 5 bikes competing.

Hilarious. Given that we're talking 4-strokes now, I think the manufacturers would be installing electric starters if that were the case ;)

The testing was interesting inasmuch as Cal's huge improvement is concerned.
For the rest,things remain about stet. No doubt Dani would have been right up there.
Ducati arrived yet again with a heap of parts and promise but not much to show for it on the time sheets.
As expected,due to favourable weather,times improved.
3 races into the season and I'm looking most forward to seeing the current engine status per team/rider 1/6th into the season.
Trending 2011 is Lorenzo,Pedrosa and Stoner and nevermind the chirping.
I expect Spies is quite pleased that Simmo has 2 DNF's. Gives him space to regroup. The Tech 3 effort must be a little worrisome though.

"I would have made a good score in a diving competition".......gotta love that attitude! I'm officially a Simo fan!!!

I also had the pleasure of kicking a Bultaco Pursang into life years ago.
I watched Kenny race Freddie trackside. I think it was 1983 and Kenny chirped about Freddie's dangerous moves at the season's finale in Scandinavia was it ?
Really,there is nothing new under the Sun apart from age and technological acceleration.
I don't recall that big Dutchman,Will Hartog,requesting Kenny to carry ballast.
20 years down the track,(Heaven spare us),I suspect the current young crop of fans following the game will also be saying Rossi,Lorenzo,Stoner,Pedrosa...those were the days when men were men.

we could use a man like Herbert Hover again!

(can you believe that's the second opportunity I've had to use that in the last month?)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially when human beings are involved.

They asked Sic during the weekends press conference about the weight rule (rider/bike) and he answered it correctly. At Estoril, fuel consumption isn't as big of a problem as it is at other tracks. This is what he said.

You have to understand that this weight argument by Rossi is a setup for next year. Next year, it will be an issue, fuel consumption. The bigger riders will be at a disadvantage.

Rossi isn't know to state a bunch of bs. He is usually very much to the point and very correct in his statements. Look at what he said about the move to 800's, 100% correct and he is correct in this minimum rider/bike comment.

Of course they could just change the rule allowing them 3-4 more liters in 2012 and be done with it. I think 9 engines a year (one for every other race) and 24 liters of fuel on board would solve a lot of this. Give them more fuel and they'll use less electronic neutering (believe me Rossi and Colin will use the torque and slide the bikes again) which will equal better racing and a return of the "show." We are the fans of this sport. We pay for gp.com memberships and go to the races, and buy motorcycles. Give us what we want and quit being stubborn. The racing has suffered for 5 years now.

I agree completely with your comments. However, the reality is that the factories like this format. They want only a few riders at the front making use of highly tuned engines. This keeps the results as predictable as possible and based around only a few riders...risk management. Opening up the fuel limit will allow all riders to push to the maximum traction with greater ease and thus more bikes at the front...including non-factory bikes. It's just as bad for Factory Yamaha as it is for Factory Ducati to have a Yamaha satellite bike win a race. A level field is the last thing they want. Low fuel limits are all about factory advantages. JMO.

I always admire the extended comments of readers, although sometimes out of context.
What makes last Sunday's win a triumph for Dani, is that he played a Rossi on Lorenzo, he kept fighting and took what he wanted, when he wanted. I've never seen Dani so hot and decided and psychologically mature, and if somebody knows otherwise, please advice.
If he can keep this morale, he is really in the fight for the title.
Did you notice Jorge admitting afterwards that he was exhausted when Dani overtook him? Dani, the operated upon and definitely in discomfort....!
This was Dani's first mental win in the MotoGP. We need more.

I'd agree with you, Dani rode an excellent race. My concern with Pedro has never been his riding ability, it has been his ability to maintain that pace throughout the season while able to ride through adverse conditions (weather, injury, bad start) etc. I have yet to see him do that consistently.

what a machine will allow him to do - just ask one Mr. V Rossi. This has been Pedrosa's problem for the majority of the 800 era. The man is a three time W.C. He knows how to win in a whole variety of ways.

Did rossi not see simoncelli use aoyama as a berm last year? the old master of public opinion uses his selective memory again. i guess with the somewhat sterile racing (in the dry) we need something to spice things up.

There is no more or less bitching and moaning now by racers than in the 90's!!!! The only difference is the increased bitching and moaning from fans on internet sites, whipped up by the media. Riders are also prodded and cajoled into making juicy statements.

Having said that, when the racing is a little processional, the off bike hand-bags add a little spice :o)

Mass acceleration of available info is a culprit.
I can't talk about the 50's and 60's,but I can say that in the seventies as a rider come racer we enjoyed a frenetic sport without the compressed volume of a media info technology black hole,which currently sucks opinion based on a whisper globally within a thou' of a second into a terminal dimension.
Scandal and trivia was expensive in terms of mass back then,but was ever present,just not generally publicised for want of available volumetric compression.(newspaper).
Right now,we can fill an entire encyclopeadia based on 3 races encompassing a rhetoric that goes solely about...
'This one said that that one said that this ones going to say that that one said'.
I enjoy the speed of the info,but the value of the content is no different to what it was back then.
Was it not King Kenny and Barry Sheene that originally went hell bent for leather about safety ? Rightly so. Back then they maxed out in and around the 270 km/hr mark on circuits with kit one could hardly deem safe by todays standards.
Generally,the older,more experienced Champion knows a little more about safe racing than the exuberant youngster. Probably uses broken bones and sundry injury as a valid point of reference.
It ill behoves Valentino to call the younger generation 'pussies'.
Hailwood and Surtees would rate him as a 'pussy' for not contesting the Island,given his immense tallent and backing.
Nevertheless,I'm in favour of safety first right now.
Back then,not so.

You cant give them all more fuel because then the lighter riders will still have an advantage since they will be able to get more power since they have more fuel.

Now, Am I really the only one thinking. instead of a Rider+Bike combined weight rule, everybody with a tank of 21 liters. Just give the them fuel in relation to their (rider+bike) weight.

amount of fuel = (rider+bike)/x

Where "x" is a constant. So the bigger the combined weight the more fuel they can use for a race.

So this way the havier riders don't have fuel problems at the end of the race and lighter rides don't have to cope with extra weight.
Everybody wins :)


Still the argument goes on ad nauseam and still only selective facts are brought to the table by the likes of Ciprycus. Leverage, strength and ability to adjust body weight are the advantages lankier & heavier riders enjoy which you choose to ignore. Swings and roundabouts. Just give them all 24 litres and all will be fair in war. The love just doesn't seem to be there right now.

I'm confused by the 'discussion' of weight limits: some of you folks think that the laws of Newtonian physics are 'null & void' in Moto GP? MORE weight means LESS acceleration for the same amount of force applied (read hp). MORE weight also takes more energy to STOP! Its called momentum! So, if ALL rider/bike weights were identical, wouldn't that be 'fair'? Again, F1 has strict weight limits and if anyone has ever watched a F1 race, you'll see that the drivers are immediately weighted after getting out of their cars. F1 cars have a higher hp to weight ratio then a Moto GP bike (1250 lbs/800 hp vs approx 485 lbs/215 hp = 1.56 lbs/hp vs 2.26 lbs/hp)...........I am NOT for/against any rider due to weight/etc, but to say that a lighter rider has no advantage defys simple physics!

Denies simple physics, but that is exactly what it is simple. The weight and height issue would have to be analysed using massively complex equations to really ascertain the advantages and disadvantages of weight and height. Lighter weight advantages are quantifiable with simple physics, heavier weight and height advantages less so and would require some really complex calculation to come to the correct answer. I wish they would just give them some more fuel so that this issue could be put to bed.

If you add ballast to all the bikes then the light guys (who have the smallest muscle mass) have to ride and maneuver a bike that is heavier than the rest of the field's bikes. Is that 'fair'? Not really. To me fair is 'here's the rules to build your motorcycles by, now go find the best riders out there'. That's it.

We've had fuel limited racing since 2007. Since then one of the tallest and heaviest riders has won the most world championships. Race wins are split nearly evenly between riders above and below the average weight. There is no statistical reason to consider rider weight in the rules. The only reason we hear it now is because Rossi is going slow and by happenstance all the riders faster then him are also lighter than him so if they were to get added weight it would be easier for Rossi to catch up. He's never mentioned it before when he was winning during the restricted fuel era.

F1 has combined weight limits. So? F1 also penalizes drivers for mildly aggressive passing moves. Do we want that in bike racing? F1 has mandated tire changes. Should MotoGP implement that too? F1 teams are not allowed to adjust their cars after qualifying and before the race, they are put into impound. Definitely something we should have just because F1 does. 'Because F1 does' is not a good reason to me.

A lighter rider has advantages in some areas, disadvantages in others. Just like a heavier rider. Have you been reading the comments? They detail the issues nicely and show it is not as simple as you indicate. Let's not throw another ill-considered rule change in just because Rossi asks for it.


A riders height and weight are part of their makeup. Also part of a riders make up are talent, experience, mental attitude etc. It could be considered unfair that some riders have more talent or a better mental attitude than others. So do we have to equalize those other characteristics to ensure no one gets an advantage?

Where do we stop once it starts - by penalizing riders for winning too many races (like handicaps in horse racing)?



"some of you folks think that the laws of Newtonian physics are 'null & void' in Moto GP? MORE weight means LESS acceleration for the same amount of force applied (read hp). MORE weight also takes more energy to STOP! Its called momentum!"

this would be so true, if we were looking into some applied mechanics textbook with a rider/bike combo looking like a big potato floating in a vacuum and an arrow from behind named simply F...
its not just simple Newtonian "a=F/m" in action here, one also has to consider many facts, the most obvious being the Law of Friction, which is essential for pushing forward/stopping the bike/rider and is highly dependant on the "m x g" factor, the friction coefficient is same for everyone...

... talking simply about weight! NOT height, build, muscles, talent, 'stones', etc . . . . not tire changes, re-fuels, mildly aggressive driving, girlfriends looks, etc......simply weight! NHRA has very strict WEIGHT limits simply due to accelerating a lighter object is easier then a accelerating a heavier object. That is ALL I'm saying!

It seems that some of you guys want to throw a whole lot of 'variables' into it that I am NOT brining up. I'm simply pointing out that a lighter 'weight' object (rider/bike) is easier to accelerate/stop then a heavier one! PERIOD! If rider A has bigger arms/shoulders/muscles, giving him a slight 'advantage' to 'muscle' the bike . . . . then maybe the other less 'muscular' riders need to hit the weight room! I have no dog in this fight and am only rooting for GREAT RACING!

You cannot in realistic terms isolate weight, variables must be taken into account in any realistic scientific calculation as without the variables the outcomes will only be correct in a controlled environment, racing is not what I would call a controlled environment.

I think the racing is great every race and sometimes we are treated to an exceptional race and that's good enough for me.

Cars are definitely a variable that can be discounted in motorcycle racing :)

If you could come up with a formula to make it "fair" for each rider then they would start looking at the bikes. It's not fair he has a better ECU he has a better fairing. Eventually when we arrive at a "fair" system the same guy would win everytime as talent is now the ONLY difference. Is that a good thing that the best guy wins every week? I think not, it's fun to see how the less great can adapt and find ways to beat the greatest within the framework of rules and teams.

Grand Prix has never been about fairness - that is not it's spirit.

the only reason weight limits were brought up is because of the stringent fuel limit.
Bring back 24litres and the argument is null, and I believe (and hope) no rider will bring it up again (as has been the case in all years before this stupid rule). End of story, bring on Le Mans

I saw that, and frankly, it's hard to tell how credible that is. Mediaset are sometimes dead right, sometimes completely wrong, and are not averse to publishing things of which the basis in fact has not been verified. The story probably says more about the source of the story than the reality of the story. We'll find out the truth at Le Mans.