2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP Sunday Round Up - That's Racing

The race at Laguna Seca underlines the lessons from the last race at the Sachsenring. There are currently three riders in this championship who are head and shoulders above the rest (there should be four, but the fourth one is currently handicapped by his machinery, more of which later), with virtually nothing to choose between them. Minor setup tweaks and injuries make the difference between first and third place, and the racing has been pretty good because of it.

The Sachsenring was a genuine thriller, which Laguna Seca would have had a hard time living up to, but it still threw up a pretty interesting race. Spectacular? Perhaps not, but tense, close, and balanced on a knife edge until five laps from the end. The final gaps between Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa were huge, but less than a second had covered the threesome for the first half of the race, and the gap between Stoner and Lorenzo only grew once Stoner got past the Spaniard.

Even the passes were good. There may have been only two of them - Stoner getting past first Pedrosa and then Lorenzo - but the way he did so reaped praise even from Valentino Rossi. The first pass on Pedrosa was made just before the Corkscrew, and was a little tougher than Stoner had planned. The Australian had worked out he could pass his Repsol Honda teammate there on the previous lap, but when he came to try the pass, he found Pedrosa braking later than he expected. Forced to release the brakes to show Pedrosa he was ahead, he forced his way through before they plunged down the hill.

The pass on Lorenzo was even better, but Stoner had some help from the reigning World Champion. Lorenzo was forced to short shift coming out of Turn 11 and onto the front straight, to counter a little too much wheelie, and Stoner found some extra drive to take him past. The Australian could only do so at the fastest, scariest part of the track, though: outside on the rumblestrip as they howled around the 260 km/h Turn 1. That was the pass that most impressed him, Valentino Rossi said. "Very close, high speed. Something you have to be brave to do. This is motorcycle racing," the Italian added.

Stoner's victory came as something as a surprise, given the problems that the Australian had struggled with all weekend. But overnight, his crew had come up with a solution - Stoner was typically coy about the exact change made to the bike, saying only that it had solved the front chatter, and the problems with turning and corner exit that had plagued them all weekend. The bike was still difficult with a full tank of fuel, but as the race went on, the bike got better and easier to turn.

Stoner was helped in part by the injuries of Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Pedrosa lost strength in his arms halfway through the race, a consequence of still not being back to full fitness after all the recent surgery to his collarbones. Lorenzo held on longer, but once he saw Stoner get by, he concentrated on getting home in one piece and restricting the damage. But even a fully-fit Lorenzo - one who had not been severely banged-up in a huge highside at the end of free practice on Saturday - would have struggled with the Stoner he faced on Sunday at Laguna Seca.

Ben Spies was a little frustrated at the end of the race, after a wrong choice in the launch control setting meant he got swamped as the riders headed up the hill through Turn One. Once he got underway, though, his pace was strong, despite going with the soft tire while the rest of the two front rows had chosen to race the harder rear. The soft was clearly consistent enough to race: Spies' times stayed metronomic, and once he worked his way past Valentino Rossi, he was off chasing the Honda riders ahead of him. He caught Dovizioso on lap 27, and a couple of laps later he was past. A fourth place finish was good for Spies, but not where he had planned on being.

Which brings me to Marco Simoncelli. Spies' charge forwards was aided in no small part by the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider sliding out of contention. Another race crash for Simoncelli - his 5th of the year - will have done the Italian's prospects for next season no good. A simple front-end loss - pushing too hard on lap 7 - saw Simoncelli end with another DNF. The Italian now sits in 10th in the championship, three points behind his teammate Hiroshi Aoyama on a satellite spec Honda. Simoncelli is on a factory RC212V, but is 50 points behind 4th-place man Pedrosa, who missed three races and has a DNF at Le Mans, and 93 points behind Andrea Dovizioso, the man he will be fighting for a seat with next season. With each race crash, Simoncelli loses that contest.

And then there's the Ducatis. Nicky Hayden was mildly miffed not to have got past Valentino Rossi after the pair of the factory Ducatis spent all race close together fighting over 6th. At the end of the race, Hayden joked with Rossi that Rossi should have let him past at his home race, and that the Italian owed him one at Indianapolis. Rossi was not going to let Hayden by that easily, though, after working hard to keep him behind.

But the real problem is that both the new bike and the old bike finished within a second of one another. Rossi on the GP11.1 may have finished ahead of Hayden on the GP11, but the margin was as fairly negligible. Rossi was keen to point out that they were still working out how to get the best out of the new bike, while Hayden had stuck with the old bike because it gave him the best chance of a good result. So the comparison was not entirely fair, but the problems remain the same.

The new bike is more stable and doesn't move so much at the rear, Rossi explained, but he had lost some rear grip. Ducati would be bringing a revised electronics package to Brno to help deal with this, the Italian said, but the problem with a lack of grip at the front remained. The problem was especially bad at extreme lean angles, and given the way that an 800cc MotoGP bike needs to be ridden - at high lean angles carrying as much corner speed as possible - this is a giant problem for the Bologna factory.

With rumors of Ducati working on a conventional chassis doing the rounds of the paddock, Rossi denied once again he knew anything about it. "I don't know," Rossi said, "because I am a rider." He hoped that Filippo Preziosi had an answer, though: "One answer. One is enough!" But to be forced to persevere with the current situation meant that he had revised his objectives much earlier on in the season. Even though he had won a race in every season since 1996, he conceded that this could be the first season he might fail to do so. "If it doesn't snow, it will be difficult!" he joked.

Nicky Hayden found it a little harder to laugh, the lack of competitiveness starting to wear thin for the American. Finishing 30 seconds off the pace after racing so hard was frustrating, more than just the position which he had finished in. "Sometimes, you just take it on the chin," Hayden said philosophically. Both Hayden and Rossi are likely to be taking it on the chin for some time to come.

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by CS27 could be very important come the end of the year. If the chase for the title is as close as it appears, then those two passes might just be significant contributors to Casey winning the championship. That race will be a real confidence booster for him and a real demoraliser for others. Jorge must be getting frustrated with the Hondas apparent ability to beat him in a straight out drag race.

It will be very interesting indeed to see if Ducati will spend up big on developing a Japanese style chassis. Maybe they could use the claiming rules to their advantage here next year :-) How much to claim a chassis?

Again I have to really wonder about the real desire for cost cutting to keep things competitive (for MotoGP)when you see teams transporting themselves, entourage and equipment to the US one week after a European race only to have to go back to Europe for the next race, then back to the US again. Geez, the cost of that little exercise could probably put another bike on the grid for a year!!

Anyway an enjoyable race and unforgettable images from the first lap or two of the bikes in procession popping up at the crest of the corkscrew and floating away through what must be a stomach churning drop.

That was some good reading on Soup!!

One part of Nicky's debrief that caught my eye was when he stated:

"People think maybe, ah, Rossi's not pushing, but I can testify. I seen his right foot about four times or something. He was on the absolute limit. It's not real easy for us by any means, for the team, me, him. But I don't - not a lot of excuses."

As I've mentioned before, I think both of these guys deserve better!

It was also nice to read Rossi throwing compliments to both Stoner and Lorenzo for both speed and mental strength.

It appears especially vivid mutually amongst the three young guns.

The Ducati front end woes. I remain as mystified by this as anyone. Whilst I appreciate the Ducati has always had a nervous & vague front end (even pre CF, before we get the tired old call for Steel trellis back again) I understood that most of Stoners crashes last year were after coming off the brakes and before reaching full lean, which on the surface of things (until you take into account the opposite to a normal tyre behaviour of the ultra stiff 'stones) is a most odd part of the cornering process to crash in. Even one or two of Rossi's off's earlier this year appeared like this.

Given the way Crutchlow describes the braking technique used in MotoGP (directly opposite to WSBK) - A big sharp handful and then letting off to carry corner speed - as opposed to heavy trail braking up to the apex on a WSBK machine, it would appear perhaps that Ducati's problem is one of not getting the correct weight transfer to the front tyre as the brake comes off and the cornering forces take over. With Rossi being the King of the late brakers I think there is still work for his team to do to find this narrow balance window which Stoner & crew did manage to find - albeit only half the time!

Sure the Ducati is a difficult machine, and nor do I doubt that Rossi is not giving his utmost (he wouldn't have been on the deck half a dozen times already this season if he was simply cashing the cheques) but again there's equal culpability on both sides here - Ducati AND Rossi / Burgess et al. I mean what's he doing riding around with Hayden - no disrespect to Hayden but he's never been of Alien status - (Rossi only 10 points ahead with a lucky wet remount) who's not improved this year at all over last.

You kind of touch of something here which I was just thinking about yesterday, but you go at it from the opposite direction I took. You say, "...what's he doing riding around with Hayden - no disrespect to Hayden but he's never been Alien status ..."

I think it's quite remarkable and all kudos to Hayden that he's running with Rossi. I think that reveals something about his abilities that has been easily forgotten in these rough years at Ducati.

World champ in 2006. Youngest EVER rider to win AMA Superbike in so doing beating Mat Mladin who absolutely dominated that series for years before and after. Yea, the Kentucky Kid is no slouch.

Stoner did make him look a bit ordinary most of the time for two seasons, in contrast to Rossi and Hayden.

...Walt put up a post about the L-4 being the problem. I'm starting to see the absolute sense in that. It is the absolute LEAST compact of all the engines, making their options on engine positioning and weight distribution MUCH less flexible. Some other "insiders" are starting to believe that this could well be the problem. Makes sense to me. Now the question is whether or not Ducati will try a more compact (angle) engine to fix their woes...

I haven't seen the total attendance numbers for Laguna Seca. Does anyone have a lead? On TV, it looked like the hills were more crowded than the last few years.

It was mentioned during the broadcast I watched (world feed with Gavin Emmett and Nick Harris) that it was officially a record crowd of just over 52 thousand. 52,036 or something.

Which I think bodes really well for MotoGP post Rossi. More than a few pro-Rossi doomsayers have already opined that MotoGP will fall apart when he retires, but GP racing (2 and 4 wheels) has always been bigger than one man. And let's face it, 52,000 people didn't turn up at Laguna to watch Rossi trundling around 30 seconds off the pace in 6th. The majority came to see racing and have a fun weekend. I fully accept that Rossi is a huge draw card and many will switch of when he retires, but that doesn't bother me one bit. In fact I'll be somewhat relieved. They're not motorsport fans. And I wont be shedding any tears when they walk out the door.

I think it's only a matter of time before Ducati gets out of Moto GP. I also think they may never win a dry race again. Why? Because they are in a position of perpetual catch-up. Honda and Yamaha aren't likely to take a couple of years off developement wise. You couple that with the fact Ducati will be hard pressed to secure the services of an Alien, and you have the recipe for competative disaster. Valentino Rossi is still plenty capable of wining but not on a bike that requires excessive risk. Casey Stoner was willing to take that risk repeatedly and that's why he was able to win on the Ducati. The chances of securing his services again, I would think, are slim and none. Make that none. If Ducati wants to win, they need to go back where they really shine. They need to return full force to World Superbike. I enjoy seeing them in Moto GP and would hate to see them go as they add a special flavor to the whole Moto GP atmosphere. But how long can we expect them to bankroll mediocrity? Maybe Marco Simoncelli can rise to the task. Maybe he is their closest chance to a near alien. No way Honda will chose him over Dovi next year so maybe his services can be secured. He's not shy about taking things to the limit. I bet Nicky is chomping at the bit to ride anything other that the Ducati as soon as he can. Like Stoner, he has paid his dues and deserves a breath of fresh air. And I agree with Pomallon, Moto GP needs to figure out some way to schedule Laguna Seca and Indy back to back.

While i don't see such a dark future for Ducati at the moment, i like the thought of having Sic ride the Duc.
But let's wait what they are able to do in 2012.

If Sic crashes about every other race on the Honda he would be in the gravel trap in every practice session if he were on a Ducati.

Ducati should build a bike and engines for the Moto3 class. They can do this without going broke and then produce some great single cylinder road bikes. The old 250 desmo was a rocket and the new one can be too. Look at the Supermono.
Think of a 250 Supermono and all the accessories, kit parts, and spin offs that they could generate. They could generate good sales all over the world and not just in the niche markets. Honda is already doing this with the release of their new 250 single sportsbike. Just my 2 cents.

I ain't no expert but I can't help but notice that since Ducati went big bang they cease to be a threat in the series, if the Ducati can't fix corner entry, then fak it, give it back the screamer and beat everyone in the straights a la 2007, electronics should have upgraded to the point a screamer can be tamed, just look at Honda..
On the other hand, Marcon on a Ducati may be the ticket, anyone remembers Stoner 2006? Wasn't he Simoncelying all the time?

by comparison to ALL the 'aliens' is deplorable: by the 28th race in their motoGp career all had amassed over 300 points in total, all had multiple podiums -including multiple wins. Simoncelli has a mere 185 points and no podiums, both Dovizioso and Spies, for a start, have better results than Simoncelli at the same point in their career, not just points-wise but each had at least a win and one (Dovi) or more other podium finishes.

Simoncelli attracts a lot of attention but it's rapidly heading towards being as somewhat of entertainment value only, rather than for achievement.

I don't think the Big Bang has something to do with the lack of success of Ducati.

When Mamola and Schwantz test rode the GP06 against the Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki after the Valencia race in 2006 both said the Duke was terrible in cornering compared to the rest. That's also the reason why I think the Trellis frame will help Ducati exactly nothing.

I think the reason why Ducati never won a championship after 2007 was because Honda and Yamaha caught up at the only area where Ducati had an advantage in 2007: max engine power. Especially Yamaha was able to retain the advantages of the M1, perfect handling, incredible corner speed, but increase engine power by using pneumatic driven valves to rev higher and by reducing internal engine friction.

While in 2007 Ducati had the raw power and Yamaha the brilliant chassis as their respective trump cards, Ducati had nothing left from 2008 onwards. Add Stoners sickness in 2009 and the strange characteristics of the Bridgestone tires (breaking through the "sound barrier") that affected (and still affects) Ducati more than the rest and you end up with no world titles since 2007.

In his Rookie year, yes, but not nearly as habitually. He did however take pole in his second ever race and only just lost out on a win on the final lap to Melandri in just his 3rd race. Sic's still looking for that first podium 28 races later.

Simoncelli is in his second year. Hmmmm, what did Stoner do in his second year? :)

"Valentino Rossi is still plenty capable of wining but not on a bike that requires excessive risk. Casey Stoner was willing to take that risk repeatedly and that's why he was able to win on the Ducati."

I see this argument put forward a lot, but I'm afraid it doesn't add up. Rossi has stacked quite a few times this year (mainly in practice) but its quite clear he's putting 100% into riding the bike as quickly as possible. Even Hayden said Rossi is on the absolute limit. All GP riders have to push to the limit to win, if you're not prepared to risk a stack or two you'll never get near the front and its retirement time. And considering the pressure thats on both Rossi and Ducati to get some decent results there is absolutely no doubt Rossi would be happy to risk a trip to the gravel trap if he thought he could ride the bike at race winning pace. But he simply can't. Rossi's problem is the same as every other Ducati rider apart from Stoner for the past 5 years - he has no feel and the bike is too hard to ride at the limit. To put things into perspective, Stoner still didn't beat the lap record he set on the Ducati last year, a 121.3.

I think if Rossi could do one fast lap to top a timechart in the dry he would. It is a matter of can't, not won't.

Another argument put forward a lot is that the Honda took a big step from last year but lap times don't seem to agree.

Stoner's winning time at Laguna was only 5 sec faster than he was last year on the Duc. Nicky and Rossi were 21 sec slower than Casey last year and Nicky was about the 13 sec slower than he was last year. Dani crashed but his pole was only .2 faster this year, both years having shoulder issues. A lot of Casey's qualifying times would put him at least on the 2nd row. Do they have a GP10 around for testing? Hello, Karel, can we borrow your bike?

Seems to me that if Casey was on last year's Duc doing last year's times he would be regularly fighting for the podium. I'm surprised that Rossi is taking this long to acclimate but Nicky is actually going backwards.


I agree.

If Casey was still riding the Ducati GP10 or GP11, there would be 3 manufacturers challenging for race wins & the championship.

I think Rossi has given up trying to acclimatise to the Ducati & he's asking the factory for fundamental changes. Hopefully they (Ducati) find the solution sooner rather than later, as its always more interesting when Vale is running up front.

I think if Rossi could do one fast lap to top a timechart in the dry he would. It is a matter of can't, not won't.

Rossi himself said he has to change his riding style in order to improve on the Duke. I don't see this happening. Watching him ride it looks like he's "intimidated" by the red beast. He's not throwing it around the track by force in "Stoner style". While Stoner's way to ride the Duke might not be the only solution to tame the Duke, it is at least the only known one.

If it's true what is speculated, that once you arrive at "the limit" with the GP11 it gets misty, then the only known solution is to dive into this mist in "instruments flight" only and hope that it suddenly clears afterwards. My impression is Rossi stops when he arrives at this "mist". Stoner headed into it and crashed, but apparently in the 2nd half of 2010 he found a solution how to do avoid crashing. A different position on the bike, the old fork, and apparently that was enough to give him that blink of a moment warning time before the front waved goodbye.

I'm surprised that Rossi is taking this long to acclimate but Nicky is actually going backwards.

Nicky going backwards is the most astounding detail of the Duke Saga 2011 for me. At the start of the season it seemed he was making progress, he was riding quicker and more consistent compared to the same track in 2010. Last Sunday he was around 4/10 per lap slower than 2010, I wonder if this is a mental thing, the enormous pressure on the Ducati team wearing on him.

after setting the fastest lap of the race..ring a bell? He still remounted to finish fifth.
Last year Rossi said "Don't expect me to ride that bike like Stoner"..He is not prepared to take the same win or bin it approach that saw Casey bouncing down the road and his results on the bike get steadily worse.
That's not what he's there for..and if you think it is, you're missing the point.

I think Rossi is trying, but he just has a different style and isn't willing (or able) to push to the limit like Stoner did.

People that say the CF chasis is the problem seem to forget that the bike was really good in 2009. He sat out 3 races due to illness, had a 14th due to tire choice (also related to the illness) and struggled to 3rd and 4th place finishes for 3-4 races before that. Still when he came back he had a chance at 2nd place in the points in the final race when he crashed on the warm up lap of a race he was likely to win. Also he didn't crash out of a race that year (except for the cold tire crash on the warmup lap, not a chasis issue). Personally I don't think the CF chasis is the issue. I think the engine is more of the problem. I just don't think the engine gives them enough adjustability.

The 2009 CF chassis still had steel tubing in the front subframe, 2010 was the first fully CF chassis. I personally think it is a combination of the fully CF chassis and the engine type/layout. But I doubt any of the previous bikes are a solution, as we all know, historically only one person has had good results on the 800cc Ducati. I think they should just ride out this season with the bikes they have and the engineers should concentrate their efforts on some radical innovations for their 2012 bike, I guess the only problem with that is the amount of testing days already used in development of the current 2012 bike. I hope they find solutions, it would be great to see Ducati and Rossi in the aliens mix again.

It's a sad commentary on Rossi's year when the best thing his fans can say about him is that he set the fastest lap in the wet at Jerez, and that was after knocking off the best wet weather rider in the field!

The reason Rossi is at Ducati is to win, by whatever means possible, including riding like Stoner if he could (which he can't, as he admitted himself): anything less than wins is a failure for someone like Rossi.

The pressure is building for them to ditch their engine-frame concept at exactly the time they are about to launch their new flagship street and superbike machine with exactly such a concept. In terms of marketing their new street bike, changing the GP bike to a ally beam frame will be an absolute disaster.
Added to that, the GP11.1/12 project has eaten up valuable resources, all for nought it they ditch the frameless bike. They're in quite a pickle.
Remember when the Rossi/Ducati combo were being called the Italian Dream Team? And people saying Stoner had a "machine advantage"? How times change.

Given all that has been said in this thread, and all that has transpired during the current MotoGP season... is it clear now that CS27 is a rare, if unmatched talent? VR46 cannot replicate the performance of Stoner (when CS27 was on the Duc).

I do not intend to inflame the comments, but I would appreciate it if someone could explain how Stoner is not currently a better rider (without dipping into the past, as VR's record is impressive), than VR46.

Stoner could win on a bike no one else can podium on. Wow.

I personally like to think that there is an element of that, being Australian. But I also think Rossi isn't quite what he was when he was on the 500s. Stoner will also reach this point.
Also, perhaps Rossi didn't have 3 other guys that can stick it to him until later. Biaggi wasn't a good rival. McCoy looked like he might do it a bit but he came unstuck too often. Cue Stoner, then Lorenzo, and now Pedrosa might take a bite too.

Please pardon me if I am misunderstanding what you intended, but it seems as though you're saying VR46 has his best days behind him, and that his current difficulties can be attributed to that fact. I think that idea sells both CS27 AND VR46 short.

Nobody has had regular success with a Duc aside from Stoner. VR46 has been able to run roughshod over the field, seemingly at will, especially in the 990 era. Until the Duc.

My suspicion is that CS27's talent has been masked by the Duc, and that had he been on a Honda or Yamaha from 2008 on, he would have multiple MotoGP championships to his name. CS27 is a fast rider, who learned how to stop crashing, on the easiest bike to crash in the paddock (the Duc).

I think Stoner's years on the Duc have dampened his legacy.

You understand correctly. Part of my point was in mentioning the 500s, being a class of bike widely known as being difficult to ride. They might be difficult to ride for a different reason than the Desmosedici is difficult, but Rossi coped with the NSR. He had no choice, he was the new guy and the NSR500 was the pinnacle. There is no guarantee that in this environment, that Stoner would have prospered, or withered.
In short, I think that Rossi is in his twilight and isn't the rider he was. It's purely my subjective opinion so we could argue all day. But I actually do agree that Stoner has been held back by the Ducati.

Rossi mastered 500s quickly, but he was still on a very competitive bike relative to the field. So he probably didn't have to ride as close to 100% as he does now on a bike that is probably just as difficult to ride if not more so. Rossi actually compared the GP10/11 to a 500 in riding difficulty.

"My suspicion is that CS27's talent has been masked by the Duc, and that had he been on a Honda or Yamaha from 2008 on, he would have multiple MotoGP championships to his name. CS27 is a fast rider, who learned how to stop crashing, on the easiest bike to crash in the paddock (the Duc)."

Maybe, but Casey also had some health problem with his wrist and getting sick. If not for those issues he may have had another world title anyway, and on a different bike he still may not have won another title with those issues he had.. I will say that having undiagnosed lactose intolerance was probably more of an issue when he was riding the Ducati, which needs near superhuman focus to maintain a 100% rhythm on. Looking at Rossi after the Laguna race he looked absolutely shagged and he was still some 20 seconds off Stoners time of last year. Stoners ride to the podium in 36 degree heat at Catalunya whilst dealing with lactose issues was pretty amazing in hindsight.

I don't like the VR/CS fanboy comments like you see at other websites either, so I hope this is not starting such a discussion. But I never read the (to me) obvious conclusion about the performance of the combo CS/Ducati versus VR/Ducati (and all other riders/Ducati).

I don't think it has to do with a difference in talent, I think it has more to do with a different riding style. CS riding style apparently differs from most of the other riders and that just happens to suit the ducati. I am not saying CS is not talented, I think he is hugely talented. But so are Rossi and Lorenzo. With the ducati you either have a click or you don't, and most don't. When you look at the Honda's, there's not so much difference in speed/laptime, especially compared to Dani and (sometimes) Simoncelli, it's all a lot closer.

- "CS riding style apparently differs from most of the other riders and that just happens to suit the ducati."

This thread has seen the re-appearance of the old "Stoner relies on traction control" meme, and here is another classic.

The 2011 version of this meme is ... Casey's style just happens to suit the Ducati ... and Honda.

I guess he's just lucky that those two bikes are so obviously similar (*rolleyes*).

If you don't like the VR/CS fanboy comments that you see at other websites, please stop repeating them.

is it clear now that CS27 is a rare, if unmatched talent?

I don't think so. The interesting thing about Stoner is that he's brilliant on bad equipment (possible above everyone else) but he's not above his peers when he's on good material. After Silverstone many (including myself) expected that Stoner would go on to win more or less every race in 2011. It didn't happen, actually Stoner struggled at the same tracks he struggled already in the past. And it was a last moment change that won him the Laguna Seca race.

You can't even say he's a crasher or not, he stopped crashing on the GP07, crashed a lot in the 3 years afterwards and now he's rock solid again.

I would like to provide rebuttal to some of your statements:

** His current win rate is very high, it has exceed my expectations for an exceptional performance, especially with a new manufacturer and the high level of competition in the current MotoGP field. He has also been on the podium every race (apart from Jerez).

** He has not struggled at many tracks he previously had problems at, such as Jerez (which would almost certainly have been a podium, if not the win) and Le Mans.

** Since the Assen highside, Stoner has been suffering with a neck injury (muscle was trapped between disc & vertebrae), he has been having constant physical therapy for it since and is unable to do most of his training regime, apparently his physician has said it will not be fully healed until October; this has undoubtedly had some affect on his performance.

** He has had some technical glitches that can most likely be attributed to this being his first year riding the Honda and his mechanics first year with a different manufacturer.

** When properly calculated you will find his crash percentage is about the same as Pedrosa & Lorenzo.

Take this however you will, but for me, expectations have been met and exceeded.

First, before there is a wrong impression, I don't want to take anything away from Stoners achievements. Far from it.
I understood the question from the original post as: "Is Casey Stoner the lord of the Aliens?". And my answer is no. I see it as David described it in the article - "... there is little to choose between Pedrosa, Stoner and Lorenzo".

Your arguments all have a point, underlining what an exceptional racer Stoner is. But IMO they fail to proof that he's better than the rest, including better than the other 3 Aliens. I think it's important to see the whole picture and not a particular detail.

Stoner's neck problems certainly didn't help him, but how about Pedrosa's broken collar bone at Sachsenring? Or Lorenzo's sore back in QP in Laguna?

Stoner has to find solutions together with his team at tracks where it's not running well, but Lorenzo had to do the same together with his guys to get the mojo back of from his successful 2010 M1.

If you're pointing out Stoners high win rate I'd like to remind you that Lorenzo won most of the races last year.

Once again, I'm not trying to lessen Stoners performance, rather I don't want to lessen the achievements of JLo and Pedrosa. If one says Pedrosa just won at Sachsenring because Stoner didn't have the right setup then this is disrespectful to Pedrosa. The same is true with JLo at Mugello, and of course the same is true when I hear or read journalists argument that it's easys for Stoner to win because the Honda is the best bike. It's disrespectful to Stoner.

Every one who wins a MotoGP race does this because his team gave him a good bike and the rider got the most out of it. If we start questioning race results we loose the more or less only impartial parameter to measure performance.

If one racer can repeatedly beat Stoner in races, and Stoner can do the same the other way round, IMO these riders are on the same level. IMO there is no Over-Lord Alien and I think it's good this way.

(Oh, and I never implied Stoner is a crasher, recheck my post.)

And how do you think Dani and Jorge's records would look if they'd been riding the Duc for the last few years?

Comparing him to Dani just doesn't stack up. Dani has had the might of HRC behind him and has usually struggled to be competitive with Stoner in terms of race wins. Jorge had a great year last year, but is also struggling to compete with Stoner this year now that Stoner is on a bike that turns without trying to kill him. Remember too that at Stoner's first test session on the Honda he topped the time sheets, with no experience on the bike and very little setup time.

I think we are lucky to be witnessing one of the most sublime talents racing has ever seen. He is the only man in the world that was able to make that Ducati look good. Now he has taken Honda from championship also-rans to championship favourites. Other riders such as Hayden, Dovi and Spies have said that they simply cannot understand how he rides the way he does and cannot copy him.

That doesn't mean he will win every race, but half way through his first year on a new bike he has already won more races than Dani has ever managed in an entire season.

Why do some of you find it so difficult to give credit where it's due? His record will never match Rossi's in terms of championships, but then Stoner has never had access to the type of equipment Rossi had either. Rossi has been on factory bikes since he was in 125's. Stoner has only ever once had a bike remotely capable of winning a title, and that was in 2007, and he won. This is only the second time he's been in that position and he's looking the goods this year too.

I think people are doing too much head-scratching about why Ducati have gone backwards this year. Looking at the results you'd reckon they'd be better off going back to the GP10, as it was faster than where they are now. But they won't, because without Stoner, the most vital ingredient is missing.

I say all of the above as someone who has marvelled at, and loved Rossi since his days in 125's. But facts are facts. Stoner is extraordinary. Rossi's performance this year is proof of that.

Well going back to the original posts question "rare & unmatched", I think he is a rare talent, that has been proven. Unmatched - sometimes yes, sometimes no. This season he has been unmatched more often than the other rare & excellent riders in the current field.

I do not see where in my post you got the idea I was disrespecting or lessening the achievements of other riders? Please feel free to enlighten me.

Your use of a previous seasons win rate to discredit or lessen the current figures is poor form and cannot realistically be used as a basis of comparison.

I did not say you said he is a crasher, you just left it open to rebuttal with your is he/isn't he comment, so I provided a simple answer, no more than a good portion of the other "aliens".

Personally, I think the current crop of riders are amazing and the competition between the top 3 is providing some fantastic racing. They are all of the highest level, but if they were always on the same level there would be a lot of three-way ties.

Well going back to the original posts question "rare & unmatched", I think he is a rare talent, that has been proven. Unmatched - sometimes yes, sometimes no. This season he has been unmatched more often than the other rare & excellent riders in the current field.

I can fully agree with this.

I do not see where in my post you got the idea I was disrespecting or lessening the achievements of other riders? Please feel free to enlighten me.

Because it is a consequence, it is automatically implied. Your arguments were in favour of Stoner being better than the rest. If he's better than everyone else he has to win all races. But there were races where he's got beaten by Spies, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Now you have a contradiction, and you can only explain it by arguing Stoner was hampered by some external factors, without these factors, he would have won. And that's what I consider disrespectful to the others as it implies they were lucky to have gotten away with their wins as normally they wouldn't have had a chance. And I also think that this is not true, one of the traits I really like at Stoner's character is that he has no problem giving proper credit to other ones achievements, he pulled his hat several times to Pedrosa and Lorenzo stating they were out of reach for him at this race at this day. And this also convinces me that he's just as good as Ped and JLo, with every new race weekend it's open who will win it.

Your use of a previous seasons win rate to discredit or lessen the current figures is poor form and cannot realistically be used as a basis of comparison.

Then you read my argument not the way I intended it. I tried to demonstrate that e.g. Lorenzo was able to put together an impressive season in 2010, he had the highest win rate in 2010 and won the title convincingly.
So if we roll back time to 2010 and use your argument, Lorenzo has to be the Over-Lord-Alien. 2011 he has to fight hard and he's not dominating as in 2010. So my argument is - the win rate didn't help us to identify an Over-Lord-Alien in 2010 and hence it wont help us in 2011 too.

This "Over-Lord Alien" is your thing, I have been rebutting your points in regard to Stoner being a rare and maybe unmatched talent; on this point we seem to agree and in reality we seem to agree that there are a few of these types in the current field.

I asked you how I disrespected other riders achievements and you replied:
Because it is a consequence, it is automatically implied. Your arguments were in favour of Stoner being better than the rest. If he's better than everyone else he has to win all races. But there were races where he's got beaten by Spies, Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

I never said he was better than the rest, I said current win rate and podiums indicated that he was unmatched, this season, more often than the others; I never said he was unmatched/The Overlord.
* Ben Spies win was decisive and could not be matched.
* Pedrosa's wins, both dominating and unmatched.
* Lorenzo's wins, both helped a little by some unusual circumstances, these being: Rossi taking Stoner out in Jerez and Stoner's conceding of an almost 4 second lead in Mugello (I think most would agree that is highly unusual and a setup mistake I would be surprised to see again) - Lorenzo won these races and they were deserved, but when it comes to Lorenzo actually dominating Stoner I have to go, not for his wins, but for his second places in Estoril & Sachsenring.

And this also convinces me that he's just as good as Ped and JLo, with every new race weekend it's open who will win it.
I clearly stated that there were several rare and excellent riders in the current field, and for me the race is always open to (almost) anything until the chequered flag. As far a being just as good as Pedrosa and Lorenzo, I think it is just a fact and it surprises me that people still need convincing?!?

As far as the 2010 and 2011 comparisons go, I state again you are the one using the Over Lord monicker, I have simply been arguing that in the current season Stoner has been providing more unmatched performances than the other fantastic (and very much respected, by me) riders. In 2011 Lorenzo provided more unmatched performances than the other riders, so people call him the 2010 WC or 2010 Over-Lord Alien (if they prefer) :D

There was one statement, from your original post, I found a bit disrespectful to Stoner:
And it was a last moment change that won him the Laguna Seca race.
The last minute change put him in a position to be competitive with Lorenzo & Pedrosa, but it definitely did not win him the race.

- "but he's not above his peers when he's on good material."

I like where you're going with this bullshit theory, but you're going to have a problem with the 2007 Ducati. For your theory to hold up, you're going to have to suggest that the bike wasn't so great (as per all the other Ducati riders' results). Giving credit to Casey for that year? Oh dear.

In any case, results this year disagree with you. Keep in mind that at almost every track (test tracks excluded), Casey is going in with much less data than his closest rivals. The recent tyre degradation problems are symptomatic of this.

- "And it was a last moment change that won him the Laguna Seca race."

Exactly. And if they were coming back on 800s next year, he'd be starting from a much stronger position.

- "You can't even say he's a crasher or not, he stopped crashing on the GP07, crashed a lot in the 3 years afterwards and now he's rock solid again."

Don't know if you know, but that bike has always had handling issues. Check out the crash and race stats for the other Ducati riders for proof. I thought that Rossi's crashes, problems, and explanations this year had finally convinced people that it's the bike?

... with this bullshit theory, ...

easy cowboy?

but you're going to have a problem with the 2007 Ducati. For your theory to hold up, you're going to have to suggest that the bike wasn't so great (as per all the other Ducati riders' results). Giving credit to Casey for that year? Oh dear.

Uhm, I always said that the GP07 was *NOT* a superior machine in 2007, it had 1 strength (raw power) and a weakness that all other MotoGP Dukes had so far - the chasis. From my POV Rossi and Stoner were on level playing field in terms of material in 2007. So what's your argument?

In any case, results this year disagree with you.

Disagree in what way?

Exactly. And if they were coming back on 800s next year, he'd be starting from a much stronger position.

So we're talking subjunctive now. Alright - "and if Pedrosa hadn't that accident in Le Mans he would lead the championship at this point."
Does that convince you? Yeah, me neither.

Don't know if you know, but that bike has always had handling issues. Check out the crash and race stats for the other Ducati riders for proof. I thought that Rossi's crashes, problems, and explanations this year had finally convinced people that it's the bike?

Yeah, but didn't I write he didn't crash with the GP07? So what's your argument?

- "From my POV Rossi and Stoner were on level playing field in terms of material in 2007. So what's your argument?"

No argument, then. I was just pointing out a logical consequence of your theory.

- "Disagree in what way?"

You said "... he's not above his peers when he's on good material".

He's won 5 races this year, while the next best is 2. His results disagree with you.

-"So we're talking subjunctive now"

If you don't think starting a race weekend with data from last year puts you in a stronger position than coming in to a race with none of your own, then we disagree. No problem.

He's won 5 races this year, while the next best is 2. His results disagree with you.

Ahh, now I understand your argument. Yes, you're right, when the number of wins in 2011 and his 20 points advantage in championship is the basis of your measurement, then I agree with you, he's the Ueber-Alien. But for me to be the Ueber-Alien he has to win all of the races in 2011, just like the way the Fab-Four won all but 3 races in the 800's era.

If you don't think starting a race weekend with data from last year puts you in a stronger position than coming in to a race with none of your own, then we disagree. No problem.

If this year Pedrosa and Lorenzo arrive at a track with the identical bike and the identical tires and the same team as in the previous year, and in the previous year the weather conditions were identical too, then yes, yes they do have a significant advantage.
According to Rossi the Honda made a "big step forward compared to 2010" (Dovizioso and Stoner however said the bike is more or less the same as 2010). Lorenzo and his team had to build the bike back in some ways to make it fast again, so apparently Yamaha changed several things too on their M1. Further the weather was significantly colder this year at most races and even caught Bridgestone cold. All of this essentially means JLo and Pedrosa couldn't simply use their 2010 setups without review.
But I agree, Pedrosa and Lorenzo do have an advantage as their bikes and the B-Stones didn't change too much compared to 2010. Still I don't know how much it influences the results.
And I also agree that this underlines once more Stoners exceptional ability to be fast with something he doesn't really know.

Is't Motogp supposed to be the venue for exploring technology and design? WSB is more about racing what you sell. Why does Ducati, or anyone else for that matter, have such a hard time with that concept? Honda races V engines in MGP but sells (successfully) inline 4 Sport bikes.

As for Rossi, I think there is something about his best dayz being behind him. IMO, the reason Yamaha chose Lorenzo over him this season. He is far from being washed up, but I don't think he is the same rider that could conjure up 15 seconds a race, seemingly at will in years passed.

Casey is of course very fast, but I think he is fast at some tracks and capitalizes on points at others.

Finally, the US cannot have back to back rounds. The US econo my and our vacation structure can't support it.

I was thinking about Ducati's chassis flex issues. Per Capirossi's said the front and rear are alright, but the core which engine itself represents could not be flexed. Hence introduces stability problems in extreme lean angles. Corruption in mass movement.

I don't know, it could be so dumb, but would you think putting a linkage to the front forks similarly function like the rear, could be of any help on Duke's problems?

I don't know, it could be so dumb, but would you think putting a linkage to the front forks similarly function like the rear, could be of any help on Duke's problems?

Have a look at the current beam frames, or the ducati 1098/1198. That's exactly what they are: the front section of the frame between the engine mounts and the steering head is quite long. On the D16, there appears to be a mount on each cylinder head, so the part of the frame available to flex is shorter.

If they would just build a frame that would allow them to fit either of the various engines they have around the garage, that would already be a step forward...

I kindda respect what Fellipo is trying; instead of using beam chassis that Japanese have helluva experience, to improve the current design. Obviously he would have gone with trellis that he knows well. But then again, it should not be the end of the world trying to achieve in their CF chassis-less vision?

Presuming the part of the frame available to flex in D16 that you mention (also can be seen here or there) should not be lengthened which effects wheelbase and all sort of stuff, let it stay stiff as is now, and put a linkage just like the rear suspension has (also be seen in the first pic) to the front. They may manufacture it in CF. It wouldn't change the wheelbase but it could enable the motion of the front separated from the motion of the core (engine) if you know what I mean.

I may really be totally bullshitting here, but it just seemed like an idea to me, for a moment.

put a linkage just like the rear suspension has (also be seen in the first pic) to the front.

Sorry, I'm not following... which linkage? The swingarm pivots in the back of the motor,
to which is also fixed a subframe that carries the upper shock mount and the seat. So far as I can see the only thing that flexes between motor and rear wheel is the swingarm itself. I guess I'm not understanding you?

My bad. Sorry could not explain it properly. I was talking about this shock linkage. Except some KTM dirtbikes, shock doesn't mount directly to swingarm, as far I as know. Instead it uses linkage to connect it. There is certain difference in riding experience with or without rear shock linkage. That's what I tried to leverage for forks. I guess it will mimic this one in function.

The linkage to my understanding could help translating the fork actions instead of directly getting them by chassis part. Which may enable some flexibility to the package.

Oh, ok. But the linkage is just about transferring the movement of the swingarm to the shock, I've never heard a suggestion that the linkage contributes or not to the flex in the chassis (except on a mtb). Suspension compliance is another issue, but in any case the old Duc linkage was similar to the Honda, the new one is similar to the Yamaha.

As for fitting a linkage to the front... that would mean some sort of alternative front suspension system... yes, the A-force is like the Britten (and most pre-WW2 bikes). Many have tried, a few have come up with something that works, no one has shown any convincing advantage over bolting on a pair of Ohlins forks in the convetional way.

BMW championed the Hossack system for decades. They finally built a competitive bike when they dumped it.... there has to be a lesson there.

@vespadaddy:Basically I agree with you-Casey could have been way more succesful in the past on a Honda or a Yamaha.

I believe Stoner is the prototype of the next generation kind of racers ridingwise.
My attemp to understand his riding and I exaggerate things technically for easier understanding:

He has never! ridden a MotoGP-bike without traction control and has obviously adapted perfectly to trust the electronical aids "totally"(its not possible -I know).
So he has developed the skills to open the throttle all the way and let the electronics rule the bike.
Thats against your utter survival reflexes and demands guts .
But this way he "just" had to tell the engineers what he would like the bike to do at its limit and they can check the outcome very good with the collected data.

This is a totally different way of setting up a bike and I believe that the front end problem
was obviously something he couldnt fix with this futuristic way of setting up a bike "digitally" ,therefore the issue stayed on board and he rode around it.
Or he had the electronics dampen/sedating the bike at the rear so far that he could focus on the front totally.

This was a cool stunt-no doubt- but is not a championship guaranteeing strategy which is something VR does not like and is too smart to risk I believe.
Also it does not provide a stable basis for all tracks/weather conditions and needs a whole new set of data all to be collected by the rider and by means of trial and error.

With a Honda/Yamaha this would have not been in his way and he is showing actually right now what he is capable of without that limiting factor!

In my eyes a rear end problem can be handled way easier at every speed than a front end problem due to the fact it is a problem related to the mass of the bike,its stabillity and big gyroscopical forces.
Wheras a front end issue is related to flexibillity of fork components,pivotal set up under various loads and kinematical changes, high frequency chattering, tire contour and dampening characteristics and most important:no way of electronically help the rider like with the rear tire traction control!

The front end of a bike is fragile compared with the rear end -not only visually but also set up wise.

Also this needs to be said to judge the influence on the lap times:
It is not the acceleration or the braking that cuts down the lap times the most(because there are physical limits-also relatively defined due to the spec tires),
its the speed of which the bike can be leaned over.
The faster you can steer the bike-the less meters you need for that process, it defines all your lines and everything else arround it.

Lets say you need 1 mtr instead of 10 mtrs to lean it over, you could set your braking point 9mtrs later which would transfer your whole line through the corner including shifting points ect as well as the fact that you can leave the throttle open longer before you brake....it changes everything.

If you can´t feel the front end you can`t muster the powerful input you need to flip the bike over fast.
This is why that front end problem is so severe.

Rossi is now struggleing with loads of CS27-developed/adjusted electronics ,which probably cloud the feedback from the bike that he needs to due to his different backround, at a speed that is not possible without the electronics due to the 800cc characterisics.
So JB and VR -and I can also only guess here-have to set up the electronics in a way VR can feel the bike enough to identify its problems at speed and at the same time settle the front end trouble of which the Duc-engineers have collected probably a ton of misleading, useless data from CS and Hayden.

They not only have to fight their way through a jungle of input, but also have to fight the opinions of engineers who are convinced by facts that they used to have a GP-winning bike.
It was alot easier with Yamaha...they had a crappy bike and they knew it!

This is a humongus task!

No doubt that VR has underestimated the task at hand.
No doubt that Vale will win a GP this year.
No doubt VR will be a well deserved champion next year.
No doubt that he will fight in a ruthless way for it like only he can do.

Casey Stoner does not just open the throttle and trust the electronics, that is an utter myth. I remember standing in the Strubben hairpin at Assen in 2008 and listening to the bikes as they came past. You could identify all of them easily, as they were coughing and spluttering out of that corner, the TC kicking in. All except one, the one with the big #1 on it. Stoner was barely using any traction control. The other Ducatis were all dog slow out of that corner, Stoner wasn't. The TC was slowing the others down.

In fact, since his move to Honda, Stoner's biggest challenge has been convincing his electronics guy (the only member of his pit crew who did not move from Ducati with him) to turn down the electronics. Stoner doesn't like traction control, he says, for the same reason he doesn't like anti-wheelie: it cuts power and takes that decision out of the hands of the rider. Stoner likes the TC turned as far down as possible. If you watch the Red Bull video of Stoner at 1000fps, you can see how he is turning the bike with the throttle, sliding the rear to get the bike pointed in the right direction.

But don't just take Stoner's word for this. When Stoner was at Ducati, Nicky Hayden said that Stoner had extraordinary throttle control, much but subtle in the last 8-9% of throttle opening than any of the other Ducati riders. That subtlety allows Stoner to use less TC and load the front with the power. Loading the front heats the tire more, and gives it more grip. That's how he managed to make the front end stick on the Ducati. It's a risky strategy, though, as his crashes last year proved.

Saying Stoner only won because he trusts blindly in TC is like saying Rossi only one because he had special tires from Michelin. It's a myth and a nonsense. You were lucky not to have your post deleted.

For the sake of clarity, there are many reasons to criticize Stoner and his riding. A dependence on TC is not one of them.

@ David Emmett

Totally agree ...in 2007 I went to Phillip Island to do my patriotic duty and watch a guy called (by the press) the "traction control kid" try and win the world championship.

So there we were at turn 11 watching the beginning of F.P. 2, the Honda's and Yamaha's coming through the corner like they're on rails ..then comes Stoner, back wheel 40cm out of line all the way through the corner then using the outside curb as a "berm" to straighten the bike up resulting in a huge tank slapper down the short straight to turn 12.....and he did this every lap at 3 different corners.

The talk in the campground that night was 1: Stoner was a complete nutter, and 2: where was the traction control?

Anyone who has ridden a bike for any length of time knows to hold a motorcycle in a continuous slide, you have to have the rear wheel spinning.

Amazingly enough, in the edition of AMCN that came out after that race there were quotes from both Gardiner and Shwantz saying that the "new" MotoGP riders (Stoner and Pedrosa) "could hold the throttle fully open from mid corner and let the electronics do the work"

I wrote to AMCN suggesting that Gardiner and Shwantz get their ass*s out of the hospitality tent and down to the track before sprouting a load of rubbish

If you watch the Red Bull video of Stoner at 1000fps, you can see how he is turning the bike with the throttle, sliding the rear to get the bike pointed in the right direction.

Compare above mentioned video with the cornering of Andrea Dovizioso in the same corner, also 1000 fps:


One can clearly see Dovizioso doesn't slide at all. Note also the different movement of the upper body of both riders, while Dovizioso remains in one position at some point while cornering, Stoner changes his position in one continuous move.

Capirossi, Elias, Guintoli, Canepa, Hayden, Kallio, and Dovizioso. That is the list of riders who have seen Stoners data and told the media he has extraordinary throttle control and uses very little traction control. And if you've got eyes its very clear by the way Stoner slides around most tracks that he's pretty adept at spinning the rear at will.

To be honest I'm surprised anybody that follows the sport could still be trotting out the old CS/TC stuff. It sort of beyond ignorance now.

I agree David. I didn't read that whole post you replied to after the goo started getting a bit thick but just watch the onboard of these guys. Especially watch CS's right hand in an onboard shot. It is that simple.

I'm no big Stoner fan but I have always, even in my very pedestrian way, seen him as someone with amazing throttle control. Watching footage of him riding Philip Island and sliding a bike around tons while blowing everyone else away is pretty great.
If anything I think his time on a Ducati just gave him better skills at riding near the limit. Now that he has a tamer bike, he seems to have a lot more leeway to muscle it around when needed. In that sense, Ducati may have been less a case of wasted years than extra training.

..."That subtlety allows Stoner to use less TC and load the front with the power"...

I guess I'm a real idiot. Can someone explain how you load the front tire with power.

Honestly, I'm not sure that I understand this either. However, when Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden tell you this is what they are doing, you accept they understand what is going on. I'll ask someone, maybe Cristian Gabbarini, at Brno.

I suspect (but don't know) that it's a result of forcing the front tyre to take a disproportionate amount of the cornering force required to turn the bike against the centrifugal force by unloading the rear somewhat. There's some very subtle physics going on in relation to slip angles; Tony Foale has some articles relating to cornering that explain the effect of significant sliding plus forward (i.e. into the turn) drive from the rear wheel on total achievable corner speed.

From a layman's viewpoint, it look as if what happens is that by unloading the rear it forces the front to do more work, somewhat defeating the actual c/g of the bike. Stoner in particular has a quite strange way of using the front entering some corners - as Ben Spies said: 'he is making the bike do things it doesn't want to do, and I don't understand what he's doing' (paraphrased).

It's all down to weight transference, weight bias and wheelbase.

Imagine if you will a bike sits inside an imaginary rectangle, with a center line running from rear wheel to front wheel. Each end of the rectangle is fixed to the straight line length of the wheelbase. When the front and rear wheels are in line without power or breaking the natural weight is distributed as per the rake/trail angle, and the wheelbase is fixed.

When in line under braking, the weight transfer pushes in a direct line to the front center of the rectangle.

When the rear wheel is in line under power, it takes weight off the front tyre pushing the weight in a direct line to the rear center of the rectangle.

So, when spinning the rear and bringing the rear out of line, it transfers more weight to the diagonally opposite corner. The effective wheelbase of the bike is shortened and increases the natural weight bias, or loading on the front. If you then draw your imaginary line from rear to front, you will see that the center line now points through the corner, thus helping the bike to turn.

You're pretty well spot on there Oscar. If the rear was fully gripping and under power, then the front end gets less load. Once the rear starts to spin it loads the front a little more and removes some of the sideslip force from the front tyre, so essentially the front isn't having to work as hard to turn the bike, because the rear is doing it, so the front end becomes more of an adjustment tool than a pure turning tool. It's no different to what Doohan used to do on the 500's really.

Consider then that the Ducati doesn't want to turn, and you can see why Stoner's technique worked so well. It also explains why riders who prefer to use a lot of traction control will struggle with it.

Also, it's very unusual to have a front end crash when the rear is sliding. This shows that this method of turning the bike by using the rear should reduce front end crashes. If you look at Stoner's front end crashes last year, they were pretty much all happening right at that point where the front was unloaded, or in other words the exact point where he was getting off the brakes and back on the throttle. The front is loaded while under brakes, and we have just seen that under power the front usually won't wash out, so it was just that split second in the transition between brakes and throttle where the crashes were occurring. Once he found a setup that controlled that problem a bit, he started winning races.

The easiest way to think about it is to look at dirtbikes and speedway. If you tried to get a speedway bike through a corner at the speeds they do, but while using a traditional road racing "both tyres in line" style you would wash the front out every time, as it just can't handle the sideslip forces. But if the rear is hanging out and the bike is actually pointing to the inside of the apex, then the problem is negated as the front can handle the loads because it is merely adjusting the line, rather than turning the bike.

Throw in the fact that Casey was a multiple Australian Junior Dirt Track champion and you can see where he gets his ability to ride a bike sideways and also his knack for throttle control. For those who are unaware, "Dirt Track" in Australia is similar to Speedway racing but with both left and right hand turns.

I think what we are seeing is almost a return to the old 500 days where Australians and Americans dominated because of their dirt and speedway backgrounds and their ability to steer a bike on the throttle. Europeans generally come up through the ranks of low capacity road racing as juniors, where corner speed is king, and they often struggled on the 500's where you needed to hang the rear out. It's also why guys like McCoy, Vermuelen, West and Stoner have been effective in the wet on bikes that were uncompetitive in the dry. Aussies are happy with bikes moving around underneath them, while the Europeans are have not grown up that way.

The advent of traction control looked like the thing that was going to finally make it easier for the Europeans in the top grade as it made corner speed the most important thing to look for, and to a large extent it did that.

But now Casey is showing, with his reluctance to use TC, that a human can still be faster than a computer, if he's good enough.

was lucky not to have his post deleted? Why?

No bad language or calling of another poster? Explanation please..so I know not to make the same mistake, of course.


I'd say there's a few reasons Steve Hislop nearly had his post deleted, here's two:

1 - It was very "long-winded", and
2 - It was so far off the mark it was bordering on being offensive.

Just my "two cents" worth...

It simply isn't true that Stoner just relies on traction control. It has been stated time and again by his team mates, his team and the guy himself that he likes to reduce traction control to a minimum so that he can control the throttle with his hand. The first thing he did at Valencia first time on the Honda was to reduce the traction control as much as possible.

Stoner was once asked why he didn't remove the traction control altogether and he said that the engineers wouldn't allow it. In any case, the characteristics of modern engines require electronic controls otherwise they would be unrideable. But Stoner by all accounts uses less traction control than anyone else.

What may be more significant is that Stoner grew up racing dirt bikes, so he is used to a bike that is shaking and moving around a lot, with minimal grip. I can remember back at the height of the 500 era when there were no real top level European riders in 500's that it was thought that the background of Australian and US riders on dirt bikes and poor quality bitumen tracks helped them to master the characteristics of the 500's. And Rossi himself has stated that the Ducati is a lot like a 500.

Great. Another one reading from the Rossy fanboy book of blaming Stoner for Rossi's problems.

Your statement about Stoner using more traction control than the others is just ridiculous. It is patent nonsense and there are electronics engineers and teammates of Stoner's that have stated publicly that he uses less than the others.

At the first wet race this year Stoner had to fight with Honda to stop them increasing the TC. They were convinced he wouldn't be able to ride without it. They were wrong.

The rest of your post was just as meaningless to be honest.

you guys really need to stop trying to blame Stoner for Rossi's bad form. It's nobody's fault but Ducati's and Rossi's.

"The rest of your post was just as meaningless to be honest."
So you deny the influence fast steering has?
Take a look in "The twist with the wrist"Part II from Keith Code and lear about this topic.Helped me a lot when I was racing.

You're an ex-racer? And you claimed earlier that Rossi will win a race this year?

That just doesn't wash.

I'm also an ex-racer. And I know that in racing terms, being 30 seconds from the winner is an absolute eternity. Even more so at elite level. Rossi is one of the greats, but even he and JB can't pull that off unless Ducati can work a miracle in the meantime.

Your point about steering is fair, but it is one part of a very big puzzle.

And when you finish your post with stuff like Rossi will win a race this year and win the championship next year, you're not going to be taken seriously. Nobody knows what will happen next year. We haven't even seen Yamaha's bike being tested yet.

Ouh come on-where did I say I would like to be taken serious with my VR-Fanboy-comments?
I was just teasing....of course nobody knows whether he will ever win anything until it happens....but I´m almost certain that he wont give up until he stands tall again ontop of the podest.

If you made it clear in your original post, that you were having a fanboy joke and hopeful moment, most people on this site are extremely tolerant of that, as we all have our favourites. Without clear indication of the intention of those sort of comments, it can easily be mistaken as trying to incite fanboy arguments more akin to other sites.

I hope this does not cause any offence, it is just an observation of how others handle their fan comments on this site.

"Hislop won the Isle of Man TT eleven times and also the British 250cc Championship (1990) and British Superbike championship (1995 and 2002)."

Steve, not only are you an expert racer, but you've managed to survive dying in a helicopter crash back in '03.

Thanks for using Wikipedia:)
Steve and myself have in common that we both had near deadly injuries and kept on racing.
He still is one of my role models and its a shame that he is so unknown. His Biography is a real page turner.
He once broke the lap record Valentino held in Donington on a V5 Honda MotoGp bike with a WSBK-Ducati 916....

@Tetsuo:Could you be a little bit more specific, please?
What has been debunked?
Edit: Sorry-I just saw that you´ve already answered!THX

David-it was just my ATTEMPT to explain it and I said so to begin with.

OK-then lets put that CS27-TC-crap to its final resting place and I´m really glad you explained it so nicely.
My post was not useless then I believe.

So its weird that somebody like VR should lack on throttle feel.It was said numerous times in the past that this was one of the characterising attributes to his style and teached to him by the beast that the 500cc were.

It must be down to the steering problem though that the bike is so damn slow (see my post above).
I can´t find another explanaition...you David?

I think I can explain what the Ducati's problem is, and I'm working on a much longer article discussing it. I hope to have that finished in a couple of days.

I'm looking forward to that article David.

One thing I find interesting is that the media in general has stayed well away from making Stoner/Rossi comparisons. There's been plenty of talk about Ducati and their problems, but very little discussion (other than by fans) assessing Rossi's part in all this and what it means for the legacy that he will leave. If Ducati doesn't deliver next year as well, how will Rossi be remembered?

I'm not so much suggesting you write about that, as the answers are probably obvious, but I'm interested in the media being uncritical about what has happened so far this year. So far over the last 9 months or so they have printed every positive story to come out of Ducati in terms of planned updates, etc. Even the Italian media has been pretty restrained, and I would have expected the to have the knives out by now.

Realistically, the failure of Rossi and Ducati is the biggest story of the year. The championship battle is becoming entertaining and Jorge, Dani and Casey have been great to watch, but the elephant in the room is the failure of the red bikes, yet they really haven't been examined that hard.

Great to see that so many people on here watch the races with their eyes and minds wide open.

I think the reason we haven't seen a thorough journalistic critique of Rossi on the red bike from one of the regular circus writers has something to do with not biting the hand that feeds........

1/ CS was more than 30 sec faster last year than VR this year

2/ Damn, CS was faster on the Duc than on the Honda on this tiny track that does'nt suit the Duc

3/ VR still is an alien ... maybe not as fast as he used to be ... but certainly not 30 sec behind Pedrosa or Lorenzo

4/ Melandri is a great talent, maybe "like Dovi", and was sometimes 5 sec/lap behind Stoner

1+2+3 + 4 = complete paradox = we don't and probably will never know why Stoner's style suited so well the Duc = CS is an alien, maybe not a "super alien" = maybe we should stop saying "stop complain, Rossi, adapt your style !" and just hope that Ducati will manage to find a bike which suits Rossi (and probably other riders too)

By the way, FANTASTIC overtake from Stoner on Lorenzo

PS: I think we did the same mistake back to 2004 saying "Rossi won an onion (french expression)" ... the Yamaha suited Rossi's style that's all even if it was true that the Yamaha was worst than the Honda (as the Duc is worst than Yamaha/Honda since 2009 at least)

In actual fact the 2004 Yam was a decent bike, just needed a rider and crew capable of setting it up right. But the basic ingredients of decent frame/decent engine/ decent suspension were already in place. Not so much with the Ducati.

guys going back and forth with the lead to have a good race. I thought it was very enjoyable.

Not only did Stoner's crew and him get a breakthrough with the set up, but there was another breakthrough with him bidding his time and charging to the win instead of running away with it. From the top of my head, it was probably the race in which he lead the least laps (after Jerez) but it was also his biggest win of the season. So now Pedrosa and Lorenzo have to be aware that Stoner has more tricks up his sleeves than to simply run away with it as often as possible.

- "1+2+3 + 4 = complete paradox = we don't and probably will never know why Stoner's style suited so well the Duc = CS is an alien, maybe not a "super alien""

That's funny, because the theory 1+2+3+4 == 'CS is a super alien' works. Why not go with that?


- "(as the Duc is worst than Yamaha/Honda since 2009 at least)"

So what about 2007/2008? As an experiment, let's take Stoner's Ducati rides out of the 2007/2008 data and see how the Ducati looks. Huh? Where'd Ducati go.

Okay ... now putting Stoner back in the data. Ohhhh, there they are.

Take Stoner out, again. Huh?

I don't mind you implying that the Ducati was the best bike (or even a good bike), but you've gotta give me some proof that doesn't involve Casey Stoner (because that's supporting my theory).

It certainly had one hell of an engine, though. Clearly the fastest and I'm sure that's supported by data. But this is not drag racing, and if you're going to claim that getting round the corners on that bike was easy, then back it up with some evidence that someone else could consistently do it. He's always had former world champions as team mates at Ducati, so I'm sure it'll be a cinch.

That link again.


First, let me say that if anything I like Rossi more than Stoner as a person, despite my nationality and having broken bread with CS's inlaws.

Second, to say one rider is "better" than another is a gross over-simplification. It's quite possible that one rider has skills that are magnified on one bike and nullified on another. It seems that Rossi's greatness cannot manifest on the Ducati, and conversely Stoner is not streets ahead of other Honda riders as he was when compared to other Ducati pilots. They are both surreally talented. Lorenzo and Pedrosa seem to have slightly different advantages and relative disadvatages as well.

However, the detailed video analysis of the 1000fps footage above makes me think:
1. Sliding the rear does NOT load the front. It takes load off the front because the rear is now helping drive the bike inwards... that's why speedway bikes rely on it totally, their front tyres and frames are really minimal and serve only to initiate the slide that really steers the bike.
2. Despite the armchair experts (including me) saying that the Duc had insufficient weight on the front, the latest progress they made was to take weight off the front. Tried at Sachsenring, confirmed at Laguna Seca.
3. So maybe the reason that Stoner was able to go fast on the Ducati was that he only used the front to initiate a slide and then relied on the rear to get the bike around the corner. From memory, he would be seen turning in the Duc with scary looking slip angles on the front wheel... which was very high risk, but if he could get through that phase of the corner he was safe from the dodgy front end.
4. Rossi has also been complimented for exquisite throttle control, but his special strength seemed to be finding the absolute limit of the front end. Even the type of crashes he had on the Yamaha showed this: usually they were gradual lowsides which he could occasionally save despite having already slipped halfway off the bike. The Ducati doesn't seem to reward that style, and Rossi is apparently not able to use the same style as Stoner (different skills, remember).

That aside, if Ducati act quickly they could make the carbon beam chassis their own :-) It's interesting to reflect that in the bicycle world, carbon really took over as a chassis material once the designers stopped trying to re-design the bicycle to suit the material. Instead, the frames are now of the same basic design as the old metal tube frames, but modified slightly to take advantage of the less dense material: bigger cross sections, variable sections and so on. A "delta-box" frame in CF could be the way forward. Did Cagiva ever win a race with their carbon frame? In any case, Aprilia certainly proved it was a viable swing-arm material.

However there are few relevant parallels between the world of speedway and road racing. Speedway bikes have no brakes, they need to initiate the turn and scrub speed by sliding into the turn and spin / slide on power coming out.

A MotoGP machine carries big speed up to the turn which needs to be scrubbed off very quickly (anchor like carbon brakes) loading and stressing the front hugely, maximum lean is reached thereafter at which time the gyroscopic forces fed into the front remain great and enable the phenomenal corner speeds these guys carry. Stoner et al are only sliding the rear after the apex, all the while picking the machine up off the front and driving on the rear. The front has already done its job, and yeah it can waggle away speedway style all it likes.

I would say Ducati have taken weight off the front in order to load the front more with weight transference under heavy braking. Makes sense to me, the way these guys grab such an abrupt fist full.

I don't think they brake that hard. Even I brake until the rear lifts, after which there is no more you can do. There will be slight variations due to weight distribution, but of the order of a couple of percent. In the end, the total vertical load you can put on the front tyre is limited to the total weight of bike + rider, the maximum shear load is that which will cause the bike to flip over the front. Interesting that on the Yamaha, Burgess et al lifted the whole bike, hence sacrificing maximum straight-line braking, to get more weight transfer for better traction while trail braking (the only place where traction limits braking... even in the rain!).

Of course they brake from higher speeds (hence the need for carbon brakes), and they trail-brake more and carry more corner speed (hence the approximate week of difference in lap times between me and them).

Edit: another thought. Where was it that Edwards, Crutchlow and Dovizioso all destroyed their front tyres? Might have been a a set-up issue for the two Yamahas from the same garage, but CS commented that Dovisioso really worked to develop his entry speed and trail braking. Might have also been the sliding style of CS that saved his...?

Sorry, it's pretty easy to get the rear in the air with progressive input lever pressure. As an ex racer I know I grabbed the thing pretty damn hard, but I cannot begin to comprehend what these boys do and the forces they impart.

Nor do I understand what you are driving at with Stoners sliding style. He's braking wheels in line as these 800's do. He's not initiating the turn speedway style, or even backing it in (Redding and Simon in Moto2). The only time he's sliding the rear is on the throttle after the apex to finish the turn.

Crutchlow intimated that trail braking to the apex was not the quick lap MotoGP style - late braking, jam it up the inside pass excepted. They prefer to brake hard and abruptly then run the corner speed the 'stones allow. I should imagine they all push the front to a greater or lesser degree through most turns.

What do you mean by hard braking? I take it to mean rate of deceleration, which is limited by the rear wheel coming up. No one can brake harder than that.

If you mean sudden braking... from memory my data used to show I was at full braking in about 1/4s. G-forces were actually highest in the first half-second, before the rear started to lift and I had to ease off the lever a little. You need good fork set-up and a warm tyre, but it's not hard. Probably those guys are faster, but I doubt you'd notice the difference between 0.25 and 0.05s standing trackside.

There is the issue of going from full throttle to full brakes with very little lag time. Burgess pin-pointed this as a strength way back when VR first went to Honda... there is no club-racer style "close the throttle then start to think about where to brake" nonsense.

I think mostly it looks like harder braking because of the rapid transition, and the speed at which they are travelling before they brake... There will also be slightly higher g's at very high speed because of the aerodynamic effect of sitting up in the wind... as well as slowing the bike, it helps hold the back down. But once they are down below 150km/h, I doubt they are pulling more than 1.1g.

1.1g? A road car on road tires will pull 1.1g below 150 km/h. I would be amazed if a MotoGP bike on race tires and with CF brakes wasn't pulling a lot more than that.

Having read the excellent posts above from Oscar and Fanatic there does appear to be some merit to your Speedway analogy. If the likes of Spies doesn't understand what Stoner is doing, what chance does a mere mortal like me stand?

On the braking front though no way. If they're not braking hard, fast, abruptly, suddenly, or whatever adjective you want to apply, then what are the black brakes for? They may as well use twin leading shoe drum brakes.

I accept lol

Re black brakes: they are needed because of the speed. Power = force x velocity, so if you brake equally hard (rate of deceleration, which is what is limited by rear wheel lift) from twice the speed, you generate twice the heat. Which is when carbon-carbon brakes are good.

Oh, I did some rough numbers last night and came up with nearly 2/3 g deceleration just from closing the throttle at 330km/h (not even sitting up). So adding that to the brakes, initial deceleration at the end of the straight at Mugello probably approaches 2g.

First time I rode a 1000 at PI I made the mistake of sitting up at 280 and the wind nearly ripped my head off... and CS is riding with a neck injury!

... then what are the black brakes for?

They reduce gyroscopic forces due to their reduced weight, and with that they reduce the impact on handling. Other than that I don't see an advantage over steel discs.

Regarding Stoner not being streets ahead of the other Honda riders, if a bike is easier to ride the difference between riders will not be so much. This is a point that Spies made about superbikes: there is closer racing and more guys up the front because the bikes are easier to ride. The same is true of Moto2. Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa all have a smoother style than Stoner and I suspect none of those three would be able to match Stoner on a Ducati. But on a sweet handling bike the ability to wrestle the bike around the track is not required and other skills become relatively more important, like for example a smooth style that looks after the tires. But in any case Pedrosa is an exceptional talent and I always expected he and Stoner to be very close and take wins off each other.

dont understand your link meaning ... too much hypothesis ?

ok let's keep 1:
Stoner often managed to win on an easier way on the Duc than on the Honda when he didn' fall

How do you explain that ? How can be the same rider faster on a bike which is worst ?

Stoner is probably the best rider today, but the truth is that at least 2 other riders are not so far (god thanks !) ... and saying "the Honda/Yamaha are smooth, its easier to put it on the limit, that's why Lorenzo and Pedrosa are close from Stoner" is too easy, it doesn't convince me. Doohan, Rossi were on "esay bikes", they won 5 very easy world titles (the last 2 of Rossi were more difficult) so....

For me, a true legendary champion is not a rider who manages to win on a bike nobody else can ride ... it's a rider who can win numerous world championship.... Stoner will probably be but for the moment, he's a great rider who fights to win his 2nd world championship, faster or not.

I'm not a blind Rossi fan and the arguments like "Stoner did crap with the Ducati, he doesn't know how to develop a bike" is clearly ridiculous.

But saying, Stoner is a 30 sec faster rider than Rossi only with his talent also is ... because when people say that, they forget who is Rossi, what he did, and more important, they forget that racing is always a human/machine sport, its not a 100 m where comparison is easy... lots of people here are or were racers, im a very very humble one too, and we all know that if you take your opponent bike, you will NEVER manage to be as fast as he is... riding styles ARE important and we can clearly see that Stoner has not at all the same style than the "3 others"


A couple of things: a bike can be difficult to ride but still be fast, and at times Stoner on the Ducati was way faster than anyone else regardless of what bike they were riding.

An easier handling bike tends to bring the riders closer together, and I was quoting Spies on that.

Whoever said the Doohan/Rossi 500 was easy? Certainly not me, quite the contrary.

Finally, a lot of people talk about about what Rossi has achieved in the past, which of course is undeniable, but that is irrelevant to the current situation at Ducati. Rossi is struggling massively, that is an undeniable fact. He has even struggled to beat Hayden in the last couple of races, while earlier in the year he was well ahead of Hayden. Why that is no-one seems to know. But consider this: Tiger Woods has achieved much in golf, but today he is well down the rankings. Roger Federer was once undisputed #1 in tennis and widely regarded as the best player ever, but today he is struggling to beat the top guys. Competitive sport is a tough arena and no-one stays at the top forever, and that includes Rossi. And maybe, just maybe, that is part of the problem. After all, even on the Yamaha Lorenzo was regularly beating Rossi. But maybe Rossi will bounce back, and it will be very interesting to see how the Rossi/Ducati situation pans out.

'Plunge down the hill" ha ha ha.

Maybe lots of things are happening at one time, the whole Ducati effort looks to be pulling in different directions. As much pressure as there is at the track the pressure from Bologna HQ will be the greatest. Don't make enemies of the accountants.

@ David Emmett

Really looking forward to the article on the Duke's.

If you have access AMCN's archives, there was an interesting interview with Jeremy Burgess about 3 years ago in the off season. He was asked what he thought(as a Yamaha engineer at the time) about Ducati's announcement of going to a carbon fibre frame, he said

"Carbon fibre frames have been used on and off for the last 30 years and in my opinion they just don't work, they don't 'talk' to the rider like a steel or alloy frame does"

The thing that made this comment stand out was J.B.'s bluntness compared to his usual guarded and diplomatic answers

One last observation about the C.F. sub frames from the GP9 and GP10 was that every time Stoner complained about lack of 'feel' from the front, Ducati would trot out a more flexible front sub frame only to end up with a better front feeling but chronic 'chatter'.

I noticed in 09 and 10 that Stoner would quite often be the only rider running a hard front tyre, even in cool conditions.

Bridgestone's use very stiff sidewalls compared to other race tyres, so it seemed to me he was tring to get 'feel' without chatter by going to the stiffer sub frame and using a hard front tyre ........just a theory!

There are some interesting setup decisions going on in the Ducati camp that have me scratching my head. As someone else mentioned above, once again we learn that Rossi's crew found some extra tenths by moving the weight distribution rearward? I don't get that. As an armchair engineer, I'm looking at the long engine, the resulting setup compromise that since day one in MotoGP for Ducati has resulted in them fighting against leaving front tire rubber on the front cylinder head under braking, and the current complaints of poor front end feel and a difficulty turning the bike, and my brain is screaming, "TILT THE ENGINE AND MOVE IT FORWARD!"

Then they go and make improvements in lap times by doing exactly the opposite...

Then there's the height of the bike. Burgess' theory was exactly the same one I would come to: You need to load the front tire more to keep heat in it and maintain feel. So raise ride height to improve weight transfer under breaking.

They tried it. It didn't help. I noticed last year that Stoner was constantly spraying sparks from his footpegs (or toe sliders) in turns. I noticed no other riders having this happen regularly. Clearly they had that bike setup low to the ground, and Stoner was awfully fast that way. I've noticed some sparks from Rossi's feet in recent weekends as well...

How in the world does this make sense!? Weight transfer aside, wouldn't a shorter fork be stiffer and therefore transmit less feel?

I'm starting to wonder if maybe it's not as simple as just ride height and weight distribution. Maybe there is a lot to the relative position of gyroscopic forces to C.O.M. Lifting the bike up, for instance, or moving the engine back in the chassis might positively reposition mass while at the same time negatively reposition the rotating crankshaft and flywheel, etc.

At this point I'm in the camp that isn't ready to abandon the engine-as-stressed-member design just yet. (Were I to design a bike from scratch, this is certainly the way I would go from a simplicity, packaging, and weight standpoint.) To me the overall concept of the chassis--even the material choice--are sound, but it's the engine design/configuration that's holding Ducati back. With the engine acting as part of the chassis, they need to be able to experiment with different orientations, V angles, engine material thickness/stiffness, etc., but the six engine rule makes this impossible, and every different test engine would require an entirely different set of subframes to complete the package. This is a monumental task, and just may require Ducati "getting lucky" and stumbling into the right combination that goes like a rocket. I'm sure CFD can get them somewhat close.

Here's where I would start just for shits and giggles and because it would be the cheapest/easiest/fastest experiment: At the risk of copying Yamaha too much, reverse the crank direction and make up the power deficit with the screamer firing order. With gyroscopic forces thus radically changed, NOW experiment with ride height and weight distribution and see if things start making more sense.

I know I'm beating a dead horse hear but for those of you who didn't see the post race press conference heres a brief recap...

American "motor cycle racing" journalist: "Mr. Stoner, you're currently ahead in the championship by a huge gap and mathematically could win as early as Phillip Island. With such a huge lead are you still going to try hard?"


Journalist: "Yeah? Are you still going to race fast?"

CS: "Yeah... I'm still going to race fast"

Same Journalist: "A question for Mr. Pedrosa. You're hurt and completely out of the championship, what do you hope to accomplish? I mean theres no chance you'll win the championship, are you still going to race fast and try hard?"

Pedrosa:"Serio? ... yes... I'm still going to try to win races..."

Still the same journalist:"Question for Mr. Lorenzo. You are trailing by a massive amount but it is still mathematically possible for you to challenge for the championship. What is your strategy going to be in the coming races? Will you try to fight hard for the win or will you just take it easy and not try too hard?"

CS: *face palm*

Lorenzo: *laughs* "Yes the gap is not too big I still plan on fighting for the victories"

Honestly its worth seeing just for seeing Casey completely baffled by the questions. Priceless stuff. I want to know who that guy works for. The interview for the position must've went something like this...

"Do you watch or know anything about motorcycle racing? No? That's OK we don't either and niether do Americans I'm sure you'll do great!"

Sorry for my diatribe, I know its not related to actual racing but I got a good laugh out of it...

Brilliant interview. The riders must have had a really good laugh after that. It reminds me of an also American journalist who during the Olympic Games in Vancouver asked to 5000meter ice skating winner Sven Kramer: 'Who are you and what have you just won?'

That was a riot.

Credit is due to all the riders for their gracious responses. But the looks on their faces were priceless.

... I want to see/hear it too, this is hilarious!!! *LOL*

(one can't question the off track action this year! *hahaha*)

Not sure if you are American or not but the state of journalism in this country is abominable. I guess it has permeated everything now. Fox news did a real story asking if one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse had been caught on camera during the unrest in Egypt. It was just an obvious bit of lens flare. The worst part is that I am in no way surprised at those questions. I recognize they are totally inane but I am not surprised at all.

Just to preempt any criticism, I know there are still some good journalists here. It just seems to be a piss in the ocean sometimes.

My GF got the chance to be one of the Repsol pit girls during warm-up and the race.

After the race, she got to go inside the press conference where she encountered some moronic journalist asking the most absurd questions followed by all 3 riders pretty much laughing at him.

She told me that the journalist kept hogging the microphone and wouldn't give it up. The poor Dorna girl couldn't get the mic away from him.

Too bad I couldn't witness it all for myself.

The press conference is available to subscribers on MotoGP.com.

Yes, there was one journalist who seemed nervous and made a bit of a tit of himself. I reckon he'll probably be embarrassed and will prepare his questions next time.

Jorge's pained expression was particularly funny.

In fairness, though, his question to Dani (which can be paraphrased as "what gives you the motivation to keep going") was much better than the previous two.

I too saw the post-race press conference on motogp.com and I have to say, I felt quite awkward sitting watching this journalist make a "goose" of himself.

I don't think the riders, especially CS27, could believe the questions this guy was asking ... it was embarrassing!

I'd be interested to know if David was at this press conference and if he knows who this journo is?

I understand everyone has different levels of knowledge when it comes to MotoGP (by no means am I an expert) and I try to be patient when when answering my wife's sometimes painful questions (at least she's taking an interest, even if it's just the pretty colours on the loud bikes) but when a professional journalist poses the questions this guy did ... someone should have a friendly word in his ear and tell him just to sit and listen for a while until he learns a bit more.

Riders and machines coupled to success.
Personally,I'm not buying for one second that Ducati's CF beast is a pile of junk.
The thing has been developed backwards since mid 2009.
My firing squad would include Gabrielle del Torchio and Nicky and Valentino.
Proven prospects within Ducati would include Tardozzi, Suppo, Stoner.
Mind you,as a Ducati man, I'm talking Ducati.
Sure,Stoner won't go back there. They never listened to him nor provided anyway.
One failure by Capirex 2007 got him the Ducati boot of Italy.
Seriously, I for one reckon Rossi will 'jump ship' sooner rather than later.
The bloke don't take prisoner's on or off track.
Aprilia,Honda,Yamaha,Ducati...CRT and SBK.

One thing we always hear MotoGP riders complaining about, and other top racers, for that matter, is the lack of feel from the front and most crashes we see are lowsides, which usually happen when the forks are nearly fully compressed and the bike hits a bump, causing the forks to run out of travel and sending the front wheel hopping (severe chatter). Forks don’t work properly at severe lean angles, which creates the need for a flexible frame, that can deal with the forces the stuck forks can’t. Wouldn’t it be time for the engineers to have a second look into a front suspension system that allows the suspension to work better than the 100+ year-old forks?
Alan Cathcart once said, after riding the latest Vyrus bike, which runs a hub-center steering system, that “You can stay off the brakes until what seems suicidally late, and with the mechanical separation of steering from suspension, there seems no limit on how hard you can push it in corners." He also said it takes time to get used to the warnings sent by the suspension, as said warnings are felt mainly through the footpegs, not the handlebars. Given enough time, I’m sure any of the top ten MotoGP riders could adapt to that and take cornering performance to a whole new level. They didn’t get to the top of the sport by coincidence and luck.

Conventional forks are like democracy: the worst possible system except for all the others(*).
Alternative steering/front systems have been pushed by various people from back yarders through Britten and Motoscyz (spelling? sorry...) up to Bimota and BMW. None have demonstrated any competitive advantage and most have revealed all sorts of weird problems due to the feeling getting lost in the linkages or the parts dragging on the ground (Elf Honda). If any was going to succeed, you'd have thought it would be with BMW who had every commercial reason to use the system on their WSBK entry.
They didn't. I suspect they had a reason...

As for Alan Cathcart... I stopped listening when he said that a bike had problems due to the distance between the CoM and the CoG.

(*) according to well known frame designer Winston Churchill

I hope to have a running alternative to telescopics. Check out my blog at http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Was extremely disappointed with BMW for caving in and building a german GSXR. They have admitted that they felt they had to use conventional technology to get the desired market share in the sportbike market. If they were just breaking into the top 10 with a FFE everyone would be happy but they are having a hard time just to get a podium after 3 years. It shows how developed the breed is and how even a technologically advanced factory like BMW are playing catch-up to the Japanese.


First ride: Vyrus Moto2 bike here:


Capirossi is quoted as saying:

"The problem with the Ducati is the rigidity," Capirossi said. "The most important part is the middle of the frame and this is the engine and you can’t change rigidity.

"You can work a little bit with the front and rear but you can do nothing with the engine. There is no flex in the middle part of the bike."


Just my opinion but if everyone in MotoGP was on a factory Honda we would see 6 or 7 different riders fighting it out for the win each race. Based on some of these posts the number of so called "aliens" differs after each race.

Also, Vale hasn't forgot how to ride. He is just on a sled now. That sled has darkened all but one riders reputation. I wish all the riders would reduce traction control. They would most likely go faster, and the racing would be much more interesting.

Your post got deleted because it was a reply to a post by Nostrodamus. I deleted Nostrodamus' post, because it was an unnecessary personal attack on you. You're welcome.

So far, I have had complaints from both Stoner and Rossi fans about bias. I've only got Pedrosa and Lorenzo fans to go and I'll have the set.

..at least you got to read it!

Hah..good point, Dani and Jorge fans indeed seem thin on the ground around here..
Have a good day.
cheers 'n gone..

I'm not convinced that Valentino is capable of mixing it up with the young guns future hence. This year or next. I certainly do concur with his appraisal of George and Casey as racers.
Generally he suggests that Casey is faster by a nose and George is mentally tougher. Rossi should know best... Lorenzo was too much 'Bulldog' for him in the same team. Comments from King Kenny and Schwantz bear it out.
I'm a huge backer of both riders for exactly the reasons Rossi pointed out.
A couple of years down the road I may be saying Rossi and Hayden's comments viz a viz Marquez and Bradl hold water re-Premier class riders.
George has a huge fan base, but they are less vocal. They can afford to be.
We all know he just churns out the results week in and week out, lap after lap.
Every race, George is my banker and every race Casey is my adrenalin rush.
Superb masters of their craft.
Huge respect for Dani I have,but....I guess the word 'but' says it all. 5 years in HRC's factory team and no cigar.

Lorenzo was too much bulldog? LOL. He was injured every race last year sans Qatar.

And he's not capable now? Did you happen to see the race @ Sepang last year? I think Rossi started off in 10th, and picked off rider, after rider, then won the race. You think he lost that talent in less than a year?

I think Ducati took a step backward while everyone else took a step forward. Even the Suzuki can pass the Ducati down the straight now. Nicky's times from 2010 compared to 2011 are all worse in 2011. At many circuits, so far, his time to the leader has doubled compared to last year. It's obvious that Ducati took a wrong turn for this year while Honda and Yamaha have stepped forward. Even Nicky said that Rossi is riding on the ragged edge.

I think the people that don't care for Valentino, especially Stoner fans, are taking this opportunity to bash, lay blame, and point the finger.

Pretty sad actually. After all the wins, the records, the races, he still doesn't get the respect of the all time premier class win leader. Shame.

He'll be back winning once he has competitive machinery underneath him. For the umpteenth time, this is 2011, not 2010.

This is competitive sport at the highest level and what Rossi has achieved in the past is history. Every champion, no matter how good, will eventually be beaten by the young guns. There is an old saying "you are only as good as your last race". Rossi's multiple championships mean nothing when on race day he finishes 30 seconds behind the winner. Plus, Stoner has copped so much flack over the years from 2007 on, you can hardly blame Stoner fans taking some satisfaction in Rossi's humiliation. You know the stuff "Stoner only won because the Ducati was the best bike", "Stoner is a crasher", "Stoner can only win on the Ducati" etc etc. So now those myths have been shown to false, and like it or not, some fans will gloat, it's human nature.

And yes, Rossi has been a great champion, one of the best, but whether he will win again consistently on the Ducati remains to be seen. Being Rossi I would never count him out, but I am sceptical. We'll see.

From the manner in which Rossi backed himself into the red corner, the cocky and disparaging calls that came from both him and Burgess. Over and above the years of baseless b/s being thrown around by the uninformed on the various global websites against Stoner and Lorenzo primarily.

Rossi appears to have gone through the full gamut of grief acceptance;

DENIAL - this isn't happening to me. ("I've never been a 3 out of 10 in my lfe" to the Italian journo that marked him as such)
ANGER - Why is this happening to me? Lashing out at the young 'Pussies'.
BARGAINING - I promise better results if you give me the 2012 bike now.
DEPRESSION - I just don't care anymore. I might as well go back to the GP11 as the GP11.9 sucks.
ACEEPTANCE. I'm ready for whatever comes. "If it snows I might have a chance".

I agree Rossi would still be a force to be reckoned with on a RCV or a M1. But he's not and he isn't.

LoL ... here we go again. People defend these guys like they're defending their own family :)

BrickTops comments reminds me of Melbourne F1 grand prix last yr. On th 'showoff/cooldown' lap the front drivers were appluded/acknowledged as they drove past.

Surprising to me was Schumacher was ignored (in the area I was) - ok he wasn't running anywhere near the front, but isn't he considered a living legend? Yes I know a proportion of F1 students consider him somewhat vicious and happy to run an opponent off the track at super high speed (I loved comments from Mika Hakkinen - "I was no angel, I did it back to him.")
An email landed on my 'puter: from youtube with Schumacher and Hakkinen pushing each other off the track in the rain!!! A real scream until you started thinking about consequences. (Even this yr Schumacher has damaged his front wing too often by imperiously turning into an opponent).

Anyway, surely we aren't going to so easily forget what VR has been to motogp, (and maybe still could be) - I recall Michael Sott's editorial comment in about '06 (in his annual) that "we are extremely lucky to have experienced the Rossi era directly."

Incidently, the VR/CS crash this yr - if the Duc was a sorted machine/with good handling, its possible VR would have been through, continuing his run to the front and been a hero.

There was a time when you could come on this site and read the best report from Mr Emmett and the best posts and discussions from informed forum MotoGP fans anywhere in the world. But since another site has reached epic chilhood levels, many have come here and it is becoming something slightly different.

Still love reading people's opinions but it seems (and I pity Mr Emmett having to wade through all the good posts to filter out the crap), discussions are again falling into the Rossi Vs Stoner obsessive nonesense and insults, however subtly they try to make it. Even long time regulars are resorting to it! Delete this if you like Mr Emmett, just seems a shame. Still very much enjoy your reports though and will continue to read them, just it seems the forums are more "skip to the end" material than they used to be.

Thank you Mr. Emmett for all your time and effort in:

1. First class reporting
2. Outstanding analysis
3. Sorting through the rising tide of dreg - my 2 pence - when in doubt, throw it out! I'm with 1050cc ... the delete button is your friend.

perhaps there should be a straight to circular compost bin (you'll call it a "tip" on the right side of the pond?) for low to negative value posts.

Very much looking forward to your article / analysis on the Duc chassis.
Quick questions -

*which* way does the crank on the GP12/GP11.1 rotate?
Did Ducati build a contra-rotating motor like the Yamaha?

Any thoughts on using carbon fibre wheels (BST) to reduce rotating mass?
Or are they considered "hoops non gratae" ?
Minimal mass delta between full-up GP alloy wheels vs CF?
I won't buy the "it's too expensive argo" ;-)

thanks again!

Any thoughts on using carbon fibre wheels (BST) to reduce rotating mass?
Or are they considered "hoops non gratae" ?

Now there's an interesting question. In their advertising material they show a photo of Stoner testing them on the Duc.... but for whatever reason, Ducati did not use them.
I seem to remember reading that the Moto3 regulations specify that wheels must be metal.

In the case of Ducati, one possible issue is that because CF doesn't conduct heat as well as Mg, they caused the tyres to overheat. Or maybe CS just didn't like the feel.

The banning is more annoying: while there will doubtless be a mindless response that "it's to reduce costs", if you compared the price of a BST to a forged Mg Marchesini, you'll find that the CF wheel is very close or maybe cheaper at retail... although what a Moto3 team might pay is a different issue. Also, mag wheels deteriorate with age through all sorts of fun stress-corrosion issues. After a few years use, you need to retire them. CF does not have this problem, at least in principle.

So I don't buy the safety argument.
Yes, I've seen the photo of the Duc with the destroyed rear BST. I've seen lots of bikes with broken wheels after big highsides. The argument that "the rider was experienced, he would never have highsided if the wheel hadn't failed first" is laughable. I went ahead and bought one anyway. I'll probably buy another.

In any case, the difference in weight between a forged Mg and a CF wheel is fairly small, especially compared to the weight of the tyres (and brake discs in classes other than MotoGP). But so is the difference between 1st and 10th in Moto2...

(Disclosure of non-interest: I have a front BST on my mutant SV. I paid for it, and I don't have shares in the company).

Interesting comments about the comparative weights of CF verses MAG wheels.

I think there would be a substantial weight difference between a street CF wheel and MotoGP CF wheel. I base this assumption on 2 things, 1st, I've handled the brand new CF fairings off Doohan and Creville's NSR500's and compared to even todays sport bike CF bodywork, the factory stuff was about the thickness of the cover of a paperback novel. 2nd when Biaggi was racing in GP's he insisted on using a CF front wheel to speed up the steering (at a reported cost of A$30,000 each at the time after destroying 2 at Phillip Island), so you'd assume there would have to be a noticeable difference in weight(gyroscopic force)for him to use them