2011 Indianapolis MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: Of Championships, Champions, Asphalt And Rubber

Two-thirds of the way through the 2011 season and this is the point where decisive blows are struck in title fights. Indianapolis was no different: though the championships in all three classes are a long way from settled, the three leaders each have a race in hand after Indy. Nico Terol leads the 125cc championship by 26 points, Stefan Bradl has a lead of 28 points in Moto2, and Casey Stoner holds a comfortable 44-point advantage over Jorge Lorenzo in the MotoGP class.

The way the three championship leaders secured their advantage at Indianapolis could well prove to be pivotal. In the 125cc race, Nico Terol dusted the field from the lights, putting a second a lap on everyone else and just disappearing. It was reminiscent of his displays earlier this year, when he won four of the first five races with ease. After a mid-season slump, and especially after the mechanical that saw him DNF at Brno, Terol is back, and has seized the 125 championship by the scruff of the neck again. It is hard not to feel sorry for the sympathetic Frenchman Johann Zarco, the Air Asia Ajo rider having made a huge leap forward this season, but when a rider is in the form that Terol is in, they are incredibly hard to beat. Terol's championship is taking on an air of inevitability, and once that seed is planted in the minds of his rivals, the fight is nearly over.

Moto2 was similarly instructive, only this time, the order of the finishers was reversed. Few words need be wasted on the merit of the winner, Marc Marquez rode another stunning race, his fourth from the last five. He quickly disposed of the opposition, then built a lead he could comfortably defend. The only reason not to classify this as a perfect race is because Marquez started from pole but had to suffer riders in front of him for the first seven laps, but only the severest of critics would judge the young Spaniard for that.

Yet it was not perhaps Marquez who consolidated his position in the Moto2 championship at Indianapolis. More than Marquez, all credit should go to championship leader Stefan Bradl. A big crash in practice saw him struggle in qualifying ending up 22nd on the grid. At a track where getting off line was punished severely - more on Indy's track surface later - the German worked his way forward picking off riders at will. He ended the race in 6th, picking up 10 valuable points, and retaining a 28-point lead over the charging Marquez. They say that championships are won on your worst days, not your best days, and salvaging 10 points from what looked like a disastrous position is a sign of incredible mental fortitude. Marquez can still win the Moto2 title, but he has to win every race from here until Valencia. In his current form, that is not impossible, but Bradl looks capable of finding away to stop him. It's an intriguing battle.

The most decisive blow was struck in the MotoGP class. Casey Stoner was already leading the MotoGP championship coming into Indy, but Jorge Lorenzo's deficit of 32 points with 7 races to go meant that the Spaniard had his fate in his own hands. That is now very much over: losing 12 points to Stoner means that Lorenzo's deficit is now 44 points, and with just 6 races to go, Lorenzo will need some help to beat the Repsol Honda rider. Help from other riders, help from what former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan termed "events", but most of all, from Yamaha. The M1 is still an outstanding motorcycle, arguably the best-handling bike on the grid, but it is just lacking a little in power and acceleration. The new engine that Lorenzo and Spies got helped a little - "one or two kilometers" according to Lorenzo - but they are still being outclassed by the Honda. At more flowing tracks, that will not be a problem but it was at Indianapolis.

Lorenzo's problem at Indy was the state of the tarmac, the new surface highly abrasive and only really scrubbed in on racing line. Get off that line and it was still treacherous, Lorenzo said, "If you make a mistake it is very dangerous." Unable to either push too hard for fear of using up the tires, or run different lines to try to find a little extra speed, Lorenzo could not take the fight to Stoner and handed his rival a bunch of points.

Even worse for Lorenzo, it wasn't just Stoner the Spaniard couldn't follow, but Dani Pedrosa and even his teammate Ben Spies proved too much for him. The taller, heavier Spies could get the tires to work - and to last, without suffering from graining - and caught and passed Lorenzo taking yet more valuable points from his Yamaha teammate. Indeed, if Spies had got a halfway decent start, instead of getting boxed in at Turn 1, and then nearly coming together with Andrea Dovizioso and getting bumped back to 9th, he could have been much more help to his teammate. Once Spies finally got his race underway, he forced his way forward from 9th to 3rd, running a pace that was very close to Stoner's. If Spies had been with the front runners after the first couple of corners, he might have given Stoner a run for his money, and maybe even taken valuable points from the Australian. However, as Spies said after the race, "There's always wouldas couldas shouldas, but that's racing. If you worry about that kind of thing afterwards, you'd never sleep." The goal had been to get on the podium, and that goal had been achieved. And yet so much more had been possible.

Even if Spies had been at the front, staying in front of Stoner would have been difficult in the extreme. Stoner's biggest problem once he hit the front was maintaining his concentration, running a pace fast enough to keep his lead comfortable, but not push too hard and use up his tires. "We made sure to pull just little gaps," Stoner said after the race, "because we knew as soon as we put the hammer down, the tire destroys itself really quickly. We just had to be really soft with it." If Spies had been with him, he was ready to fight, Stoner said. "I was going to push to win this race today. If it was going to be a fight, I was willing to fight." It hadn't been necessary, Stoner could control the race calmly from the front.

This, Nicky Hayden said, was the big difference from previous years. The Australian was riding with his head as well as his heart. "Stoner's not just riding well, he's riding smart," Hayden told reporters, "He's riding smarter than I've ever seen him." Stoner had said as much after the press conference: "I won't go out and settle unless things aren't going well," Stoner said. "Then I'll settle."

Stoner's win marks a milestone, not just in the 2011 season but also in his career. Victory at Indianapolis took Stoner to 30 victories in the premier class, just one shy of the legendary Eddie Lawson. Taken over all classes, Stoner's win takes him to 37, matching the number scored by Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. Though Stoner refused to be swayed by statistics, that number pleased him, because he had been so far behind his two rivals when he joined the premier class. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo had been prolific winners in the lower classes, while the bulk of Stoner's victories had come in MotoGP.

On Thursday, Stoner had dismissed comparisons with riders from other eras such as Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson and Mick Doohan. Quoted the statistic that he was two wins ahead of Mick Doohan after the same number of races, Stoner pointed out that comparisons are impossible to make. "I don't believe in statistics," Stoner asserted, "because in different eras, in different forms of racing, different competition, different bikes, there's too many different variables. I think you can only compare riders against each other on the same machine or in the same era." Statistics were fun to look at, Stoner said, "but I don't think you can compare one rider who was racing 40 years ago and someone now. I think it's impossible."

While much of the attention after the race was focused on Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa - the Spaniard had been fairly anonymous all weekend, yet on race day, there he was unrivaled in 2nd place - a quiet revolution was continuing behind them. Andrea Dovizioso - the Silent Partner of the Repsol Honda Team - took another 5th place finish, and came close to snatching 4th from Jorge Lorenzo. Dovizioso is just 25 points behind the Spaniard, and is starting to believe that he could take 2nd place in the championship from the Yamaha rider.

While all eyes in the paddock are on the media sensation that is Marco Simoncelli, Dovizioso (as he points out every weekend) finished well ahead of Simoncelli, beating him in the race just as he has done all year. Meanwhile, HRC are looking for ways to retain Simoncelli, while Dovizioso has been locked in talks with Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal over a possible switch to Yamaha, looking for the best package that he can procure in terms of factory backing. Simoncelli's threats to defect to Ducati if he doesn't get a factory Honda continue, but the Italian did his case no good at all with a dismal 12th place finish. After a brief flurry of excitement in the early laps, Simoncelli's tires gave up on him, and he plummeted rapidly backwards through the field. At Misano, just a few miles from his home, Simoncelli will want to do a good deal better.

If Simoncelli faces Misano with determination, the feelings in the Ducati garage were more like trepidation, after what can only be described as a disastrous weekend. Valentino Rossi and his crew tried a setup change in qualifying which saw the Italian crash, then muddle his way to a 14th spot on the grid. Though Rossi's pace was reasonable during the race, problems with the GP11.1's seamless gearbox meant that Rossi kept finding false neutrals when he changed down through the box. The problem - something which had emerged in testing, and which Ducati thought they had already fixed - forced Rossi to run wide a couple of times, and even left the Italian considering pulling in at several points during the race. He carried on just to take points, but that was all he could achieve.

The real problem for Rossi - for all of the Ducatis, in reality - was dealing with the high temperatures. All of the Ducatis simply ate up their tires, Karel Abraham forced to pull in with a chunk out of his front tire, Nicky Hayden pulling in at the end to have his tire checked, but going back out to secure a couple of points. At the end, Hayden said the tire was down to the carcass, with no racing rubber left on it at all. The tire had been vibrating so badly down the front straight that he was afraid it would not last the race, hence his trip through the pits.

Hayden did not believe the problem was related to him electing to race the softer front tire, the only rider to do so. On Saturday during qualifying, the hard front had been even worse, Hayden opined. "With my first qualifier I used a hard front and I literally only got 4 laps out of it," the American told reporters. "I used the soft front and it pushed a lot less and it lasted longer." In reality, though, the choice of tire was not really that much of a difference maker, Hayden was resigned to believing. "I'm not sure it was going to make a big difference, our bike, we have no front grip anyway, pushing the front everywhere. Obviously we made a mistake but we had to try something."

Despite this, Hayden left his home race - which he described as "a disaster in front of my home fans" - surprisingly optimistic. After mixing it up with the leaders in the early running, Hayden felt he was competitive for the first time in a very long time indeed. "We changed the bike quite a lot this morning, and it was the first time in the dry I was able to put up any kind of fight," Hayden told reporters. "This new gearbox was helping me out of the last corner, I was able to stay in guys' drafts. I seen Casey and Dani were a lot quicker, but Lorenzo wasn't much quicker than me," Hayden said. "I lost a bit of time when Simoncelli came by, and Dovizioso, I had to get by him because he was holding me up in a few places. I can definitely say that was the first time in the dry that I was behind a factory Honda and was thinking 'I gotta get by this guy,'" Hayden said. "I will say that as bad as it turned out, it was the first time I was mixing it up with factory Hondas and in front of Yamahas, stuff like that."

The heat at Indianapolis had become a Ducati killer, not down to engines but down to the way the bike uses the front tire. "It's been that way since I got on it," Hayden explained. "We have a stiff bike, and the hotter and greasier a track is, the worse a stiff bike is." With temperatures of 30ºC expected at Misano this weekend, the prospects for the Ducatis are not looking good.

But it wasn't just the heat that was the problem in Indy, the track resurfacing was also partially to blame. The infield road course barely gets used - 500cc World Champion runs a track day at Indy once a year, but that doesn't make much of a difference - and so the asphalt had no rubber on it at all and was still covered in dust. A lack of rubber wasn't the only issue, for having bikes and cars racing on a surface doesn't just lay down rubber, it also wears down the small stones and gravel that go to make up the tarmac. When new, these have thousands of tiny sharp edges, and this contributed heavily to the tearing and graining of the tires. Hot tarmac, sharp stones and a lack of rubber contributed to turn the Indy surface into a tire killer, and those who were best at tire management came away on top.

The tragedy for Indy is that the surface was relaid to appease criticism from the riders, and as an expression of their intent to keep the MotoGP race at the Speedway for the foreseeable future. Having a bunch of jumped-up European kids coming in and bitching about the new surface was not the reception IMS had intended, and probably added to already difficult negotiations about extending the contract. The biggest problem is not the surface, though, but rather costs and the calendar. Dorna wants to run the two US MotoGP races back-to-back next year, to save shipping the whole circus across the Atlantic twice inside a month. That would mean moving either Laguna Seca or Indianapolis, but the calendars of both circuits are not flexible enough to accommodate them. The Brickyard 400 NASCAR race runs on the same weekend as Laguna Seca, so a MotoGP race the following weekend - the ideal situation - would simply not be possible.

A solution will probably come in 2013, when MotoGP comes to Austin, Texas. That race will either take place in early spring or late autumn, as the searing Texan summer would be a terrible time for a motorcycle race. Indy and Austin back-to-back would make a lot more sense, and allow MotoGP to feature in two key US markets, one of Dorna's biggest targets. How - and when, and if - the problem gets solved for 2012 remains to be seen. MotoGP needs to be at a venue as revered and impressive as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But it would be really nice if IMS could build a track to match the level of the facilities.

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It can of course be seen the other way around: Marquez no longer needs help to win it. This could be a nail-biter.

So for those complaining that MotoGP is boring, watch moto2...

Great to get your take on the weekend. I really find it hard to believe that an organisation as huge/professional as IMS could not predict there would be problems running a GP on a totally green surface.
As for the rest, top effort by Casey and his team, overcame all hurdles with apparent ease (ie lots of hard work, knowledge and skill) yet again. Also good to see Bautista go pretty well, it did not appear too slow down the staight, a shame the formula will change when they're starting to get to grips with it again.

CCS/ASRA, an organization that is about 1/10000 th the size of Dorna had the presence of mind not to race the national championships at Daytona right after they repaved last year. They moved the race to Homestead specifically because the tires would have been raped.

Hopefully after this weekend, IMS will tell Dorna to pack sand, and all the critics can enjoy a single U.S. round at Laguna next year before going back to two...if and when Texas comes on line.

I can't see the contract for Indy not being renogiated. Attendance figures over the three days was close to 135,000 spectators. The numbers aren't huge but considering the state of the economy they're really not bad. The East / West exposure between Laguna Seca and Indy is an Impotant consideration. When Texas rolls around in 2013 they get southern exposure as well. If MotoGP wants to grow in North America they have to stay in the US.

That is the lowest overall total in 4 years, and the second smallest race day total. It would have been the lowest, had the promotors not deeply discounted race day tickets and gotten lucky on the weather, ie they got a large number of local walk-ins on race day.

It can be argued that 135k is a small turnout of course, but aside from the inaugural, Texas will never draw crowds that large whether Indy continues or not. Even if they can build a good infrastructure, they are simply too far from the population center to draw a crowd.

Of the 20 largest cities in the U.S., Texas has 6 of them. The new circuit may not draw more fans than Indy, but it won't be for lack of population.

Interesting stat, when planners estimate an event, they look at the targeted population within a respective travel radius.

A look at the population map shows a significantly larger portion of the population within a 1-2 day travel radius.


It would be interesting to cross-ref that with the demographic of potential visitors.

Pure speculation, but where Texas may well be able to outperform, is by having a lower overhead than Indy, thus not requiring such a large crowd to be profitable.

The difference is that Texas, Like Northern California, has a significant motorcycle racing community - a bike culture that "gets" sportbikes and racing. Will it be enough? I have no idea but they should be able to attract a crowd. It should also be noted than Texans are far more likely to drive a great distance for an event than people from just about any other state. They also have two riders in the series.

I do question whether they will be able to put on as good of a weekend as IMS. While the track is terrible for moto racing, the event itself seems to really impress. Personally, I'd like to keep Indy on the calendar just because it packs the Indy Mile. Too bad it doesn't produce great racing in MotoGP.

I know a lot of people were complaining about the road surface. Unfortunately as David mentioned, the infield part of the course isn't used at all except for Moto GP. That will change next year, as The Rolex Grand Am series is planning to run an endurance race utilizing the road course infield next year. Assuming that Grand Am plans their event mid to late summer, I think it will be better next year if Moto GP can schedule their race shortly after the Rolex endurance event as their will definitely be rubber laid down by the cars.

The question then would be whether the high downforce of the cars tears the newly laid infield up again.

The problems with cars on the track is not limited to just that they are likely to tear up the surface but the cars go the other way on the track so the bumps will be facing the wrong direction. That is a nasty feeling for your front end when braking.

Stoner commented about that also. The bikes go the wrong way on the track to other races on the infield. This means the corners actually tighten up rather than open out, that makes it even more difficult to get on the gas out of a corner.

I hope they do run it there before the race. I would love to see Indy remain on the Motogp Calender. More races on the infield would definitely I like Laguna, and am from California, but that track and it's facilities are NOT on a World Class level. They are good, but compared to Indy and the way Indianapolis takes to people coming to town for the races, there is not comparison. Waiting to see the Track in Texas, and see how it is.

damned if you don't is the situation Indy was in after the 2010 race. If they did nothing to the infield portion of the course the complaining from the likes of Stoner would have been even louder this year so they did what they thought was the best thing with the repave but ended up with as much if not more complaining than last year. Hopefully they and Dorna can come to terms for 2012 and we'll get to see kind of race that is fitting for such an iconic race track...

Let's face it, motodog, it's a crap track. The non-bowl section is full of on/off/on/off throttle corners, and doesn't make for interesting racing, and the single line that developed was hardly an adornment to the weekend.
The Indy people may have had good intentions, but you can't convince me that the management responsible for a professional racing circuit don't understand that you need to get some races in on the surface before you host a major event.

Stoner didn't call a press conference to "complain", he went to a normal press conference and at the end the media asked their usual supplementary questions, one of which was a question asking if he liked the track. He gave his honest and forthright opinions.
Would you rather the disingenuous arse-kissing of some of the other riders, who spout corporate-media-speak rather than any honest opinions?

Indy may be an icon to Americans, but to fans raised on a diet of european circuits, it's pretty ordinary. Look at the F1 last weekend at Spa - a truly iconic track with so much to admire about it. Hopefully the new track at Austin, with all the elevation changes and a decent flowing infield will give the USA a track to be truly proud of.

"Would you rather the disingenuous arse-kissing of some of the other riders, who spout corporate-media-speak rather than any honest opinions?"

Of course he would. Apparently that's what everyone wants to hear, and if you step outside of the norm you are a whinger or a moaner.

The beautiful thing is that you can make all of your press releases as colourful as you like (even fluro yellow if that's what floats your boat), but the results speak for themselves.. including the performance of Indy over the last two years which has been abysmal.

Maybe it goes more to the "if you don't have anything good to say, keep your trap shut". Other riders aren't being arse-kissers as you would say. It's called being diplomatic. A press microphone is not the ideal channel to air grievances. The press often prods reactions out of riders and runs them in ways that don't necessarily benefit the riders or solves issues. There are more appropriate avenues for such things. I would only see a rider airing such things to the press if they've exhausted their options or their concerns are disregarded.

fluro yellow? What's Rossi have to do with any of this? The only whiners and moaners I hear lately are the anti #46 glee club.

He simply opened it to give his straight opinion in answer to a journalist who asked him a question.

"If you don't have anything good to say, keep your trap shut" implies you don't want to hear an honest answer, you are not interested in the riders'opinion.
That's fine, just stick to the press communiques, they are all flowery and everything is perfect in the brave new world.

Luckily for you there are less and less MotoGP riders (and sportsmen in general) speaking their minds, they care too much about branding their image and contracts with sponsors.

The anti-#46 glee club have nothing to whine about in 2011. It's great watching.

I have far more respect for someone who calls a spade and spade than someone sitting at the mic and being 'diplomatic' and not really sharing anything of interest with the fans. I reckon we could run a contest each week about what each rider is likely to say before and after the race and most would be on the money. How riveting!

Totally agree Damo. Why should anyone reward mediocrity? Riders, crews and fans alike don't deserve 2nd best and being diplomatic doesn't cut it when it is quite apparent that the track wasn't up to scratch early on. Safety was clearly an issue early in the weekend. Why is it so bad to actually get up there and give some heartfelt feedback about what is bleeding obvious!! If no one says anything nothing will change. Tough gig for the organisers but don't deny anyone their opportunity to tell it how they see it.

I suspect it is a vast minority that believe that any rider that knows how to communicate is lying through their teeth and that those who 'shoot their mouth off' are the only honest guys out there or in their case the 'only rider' out there, is exactly the kind of lunacy the anti-46glee club is all about.. Indeed it is a rare thing that Casey and his team ever come out with the same explanaitions/comments which would suggest otherwise.....No rider is immune to their own version of events..diplomatic or not.

QUOTE by Rabid_Canine
"The Indy people may have had good intentions, but you can't convince me that the management responsible for a professional racing circuit don't understand that you need to get some races in on the surface before you host a major event."

The repave finished up in the 2nd week of July, then the course was reconfigured to run a small event called the Brickyard 400.

Would you have cancelled the Brickyard 400 in order to have held these "seasoning" races, or cancelled the Indy GP to wait until next year?

But instead of spending a day filming Nicky riding a road bike around, why not contract a local ride-day organiser to run a track day or two or three?

BOTH of those types of things are necessary to prep for and promote event, however, doing the logistics and financing them are a completely different leap.

Also you might want to consider that having a motorcycle track day would do almost NOTHING to prep or season a track for a GP event.

Consider that the Schwantz school WAS held the weekend before, and for a variety of reasons had minimal effect on the track surface. Meanwhile even the review of the surface and predictions made by someone as esteemed as Kevin Schwantz himself missed the mark by a considerable amount.

What seems easy on the internet, doesn't always play out in real life.

to tear the place up, wear down the sharp edges and lay some rubber. I've heard of tracks doing it with hire cars and transporters before for a national meeting in Oz I think. Easy fix. Poor form by the Indy organisers in my books.


Thanks, GrahamB29, for distilling it down.
Whichever part of the world you come from, simple logic is inescapabale........

The Brickyard 400 doesn't run on any of the resurfaced section.

Stoner is no doubt a fantastic talent on a motorcycle but he has a lot to learn about life. He may be right about much of what he says but he is not doing his sponsors or himself any favors by alienating fans and track owners with his galling comments about their facility. He is just coming off as a pampered prima donna. Maybe he should look to Dani and Ben for examples of how to get your point across without biting the hands that feed you. I’m sure his pregnant wife will straighten him out in a few months when she asks him “does this outfit make me look fat?”.

It amazes me how some people complain about almost everything that is the least bit imperfect. Diversity is what makes life (and tracks) interesting. Each track has its unique character. The riders that can adapt and overcome do well. The others usually complain. In Casey’s case he complains even though he did well and thinks that makes it ok.

Some people would complain about the weight if someone gave them a bag of gold.

He said he wasn't going to say it was his favourite track, and that it caused problems with the tires.

The first of those is hardly complaining, it's just honest. You'd prefer it to be like the Olympics, where every games is declared the "best ever"?

For the second, would you have preferred to pretend it was normal that so many guys pulled in to the pits staring at their front tyres? Or for a bunch of guys to suddenly run wide then drop back through the field in both the bigger classes?

Listen to Lorenzo's debrief. He used the word "dangerous" repeatedly... Dovisioso was talking about tyre shredding from the first session. Pedrosa made the "deal of the century" comment. Is that what you consider tactful?

Also, in general I'd say it's better that if complaining be done, it's done by the winner: if the others do it, it looks suspiciously like sour grapes.

The track surface was sub-standard. That's not is not "diversity", that's lack of preparation.

QUOTE = GrahamB29
"The track surface was sub-standard. That's not is not "diversity", that's lack of preparation."

Agreed that the surface was substandard due to the logistical constraints that are listed above.

We've already ruled out the "trackday" suggestion as ineffective, so what else would you have done? Would you have cancelled the Brickyard 400 in order to condition the track, or cancelled the MotoGP to allow time to bring the surface in?

Or do you have another workable suggestion altogether?

The point is, if you have "logistical constraints" that prevent you from preparing the facility to an acceptable standard, should you be running a race?

No, the point is that ALL tracks have some characteristic that is substandard when compared to the others. You can draw a Venn diagram and see that no track has it all...and that none of the US tracks even come close.

Indy's weakness happens to be the track itself, where for others the weakness may be their infrastructure or location.

In the case of Indy, it's about the fans...

*So back to my question, do you have an answer?

The answer was that it was the wrong question.
Could I build a GP track in my local park and host a second French GP?


So I wouldn't be given a GP to host.

Could IMS resurface the track and schedule sufficient use for the surface to be in appropriate condition to race on?


So they were insufficiently organised to host a GP.

Could it have been done? Silverstone managed it. Mugello and Phillip Island have repaved and not had the same sort of issues. I would think every track on the circuit has re-paved at some stage.

As for facilities, yes of course some tracks have crappy grandstands or press offices. If you are going to put all those on the same level, few places are ideal. Naively, I tend to think that good spectator seating doesn't compensate for an ordinary track with an ill-prepared surface.

Let's clarify: you ruled out a trackday as ineffective and I'd respectfully ask for your qualifications to make that assertion. A trackday would have laid a significant amount of rubber on the track and certainly would have improved the surface.

That's what I'm trying to communicate.

The track was the same for all riders. It wasn't dangerous, that's ridiculous - unless you "over rode your talent". It was slippery and used up some tires if you couldn't set-up and ride considering the conditions. No excuses.

I personally prefer to be around and listen to "can do" people. Like I said, Stoner can ride. I appreciate his candor to a point, but sometimes he reminds me of someone that is dragging his fingernails down a chalkboard. He will never be the star that Vale is unless he alters his abrasive personality. Maybe he doesn't care, but his lack of self restraint doesn't do MotoGP promotion much good. Especially to new fans that are proud of their facility - and rightly so.

There are acceptable standards for a GP track. One of them is minimum width. IMS wasn't just slippery, it had traction on-line and none if you ran off. So effectively, the track was only 8ft wide.

Lorenzo's "dangerous" comments related both to that, and that the asphalt was so aggressive that it was hard to use his knee sliders to hold up the bike, because they were gripped by the tar. That's probably excessive, but you made it sound as though Stoner was the only one with a complaint... in fact he was one of the more diplomatic ones.

Being proud of something that is substandard is delusional. The fact is, no European track would get away with what IMS has provided the last 2 years... the GP is there ONLY because Dorna desperately wants access to the US market, despite the facility.

Thankfully it didn't stop Spies from charging back through the field and providing the fans that were there some quality entertainment.

How Indy was passed as meeting safety standards with those kerbs is beyond comprehension............ well, maybe not considering the incompeternt arschlochs in the FIM/IRTA Safety Commission.

And Suzuka does not meet their standard now, even with the modifications, go figure.

When Barbera lost the bike in the last lap, his bike slided and hit a bump sending it flying. When a rider goes through the same, the risk of fracture or worse is higher.

Part of the problem you are running into Graham is the outrage that anyone could possibly criticise an american icon. That really gets them frothing with patriotic fervor. Clearly the surface was not ready for a world championship race - did you see the amount of debris off the racing line, not to mention the severe tyre degradation suffered by a number of riders?

And it is funny to see people whining about whining (svnut for example). They should take their own advice. I really have no time for people who can't handle an honest answer to a direct question. It is a sad indictment on the quality of your character if you would prefer pr scripted responses to an expert's honest assessment of conditions.

all the competitors lost at least a session running around risking injury and gathering no meaningful data. Lost track time becomes particularly problematic when trying to coordinate all the variables a complex MotoGP machine has. A properly bedded in track and we perhaps would not have had all the nonsense with the shredded fronts. A farce.

Which part was a farce...several riders blistering the previous track record, or going race distance at record pace on the same front tire as everyone else?

Or possibly you are referring to Barbera's last gasp pass in T16?

If that's the case, then I agree... ;/

At any rate, the difficult conditions were a proper test of man, machine and team...some could hang, and some couldn't.

It's clear that you will accept no criticism of the circuit, even when it's given by the people that know best; the riders. I'd call that being in denial.

And I really don't get this American obsession with the 'historic' nature of the Brickyard. In other parts of the world there are any number of tracks with the same or greater degree of history. The difference is that they are able to provide a predictable and quantifiable surface on which to race.

Indy, it seems, is unable to do so.

The sooner Austin is ready, the better, in my view.

Actually, I have been critical of the circuit where it's due, but I like to observe what actually happened and comment rather than parrot a few whinges read on the internet.

The rest of your post has no bearing on this topic, so I will refrain from comment.

I'm not American so I'm not biased but I have to say that to be fair I don't think the organisers are entirely to blame for the problems with tyres graining/tearing and therefore the poor "show" we saw.

The Bridgestone tyre carcass stiffness and the tightness of the resurfaced area are the two issues adding to the problem, not just the fact that the track was resurfaced.

If you refer to another article here on Motomatters you will read how the Bridgestones require a high amount of load to generate heat in the current Bridgestones and you'll read of stoners technique of loading the front to generate heat. If you understand that the you'll know that the tyres are adding to the issue.

Another is the track design. The thing is that tracks like Phillip Island are high load, high speed tracks which help generate heat in the tyres whereas low speed tracks, like the indy infield, make generating heat much more difficult.

So you have a tyre heat issue plus a track design that doesn't lend itself to generating heat ,add the fact that one bike in particular, the Ducati, is having major front feel issues which can't simply be "tuned out" and I reckin that it would have been difficult for anyone to predict that graining/tearing was going to be an issue.

Who exactly called the track dangerous? Oh yeah, that was Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Why are your comments directed at Stoner? It is hard to believe that the bias against Stoner that the media seems to enjoy isn't held by an awful lot of fans. Abrasive? Exactly what did Stoner say that was abrasive?

Can someone explain to me why Edwards gets almost universally praised for talking straight and no PR official lies while Stoner gets the "whiner" label for speaking his mind in the exact same way?

On this specific topic Edwards, like his fellow American riders, could not really speak his mind, but in general they both reject the PR aspect to tell things the way they see it.

I really appreciate when riders give their honest opinions, whether their name is Colin or Casey, and they are a rare species in MotoGP!

For the record I'm a fan of both riders. They both don't sugar coat or avoid what they really think or feel. They just express it differently as I see it. Colin gets slack for speaking straight as he does it in a humorous way and generally shrugs his shoulders when things are effed up as if "that's the way it goes". Casey comes off more critical. It doesn't bug me as he just has a more business like no nonsense personality. This being motorcycle racing (a sport) and not world financial policymaking (serious stuff) his terse critical observations come off making him sound like a bitch. Again. I'm fine with it. I like him and can appreciate where he's coming from. I don't agree with the whiner or moaner tag he gets often. He usually doesn't seek out a forum or outlet to complain. It's usually when he's asked a pointed question that he offers those kind of criticisms. It's kind of like if you don't like the answer maybe you shouldn't have asked the question.

Doesnt seem to matter what Stoner says, he has a reputation of being a whiner and that all his detractors will ever hear. Too bad someone being honest and forthright ( a rarity in this day and age ) is seen as a complainer. I wonder, when asked a straightforward question, should he lie just to keep all naysayers happy. When a straightforward answer to a straightforward question is perceived as a complaint it sounds like the problem is with the ears not the mouth.

It's a cultural thing.

The American's and Euro's eat up PR bullshit like it's going out of fashion. They are used to being lied to, and apparently it's acceptable for their sporting stars to dribble on with the same crap as well, and the people will just keep eating it up like their word is going down in the new bible.

Call a spade a spade. Indy was shit, dangerous, and a wasted trip across the Atlantic.

And I'm sorry, if any of you think Casey Stoner really cares about ever being the 'star that Vale is' then you really need to scrub up on our vast cultural differences and understand the differences between us.

Casey doesn't just say that he doesn't care about those things - he genuinely doesn't. Some of us have no interest in manipulating the media, selling a brand and talking in riddles to avoid answering straight forward questions.

Casey's merchandise is the product of a proud Mum. Nothing more, nothing less.

Not all of us were kissed on the dick by angels, blessed with quality machinery, financial backing and geographic perfection to flourish in a sport like road racing from the moment they threw a leg over a motorcycle.

Any chip Casey has on his shoulder is well deserved. He has earned success through determination and self belief whilst always being considered the underdog. His family believed in him, sold up everything they owned and he has not let them down. He is financially secure for the rest of his life, looked after his family in return, and has a family of his own on the way.

Be a Valentino Rossi 'superstar'? lol.. why would you? He already has it made, and for him personally he is already living the dream.

Some people just like to race motorcycles and win. That's the kind of rider I admire.

What good is Valentino's celebrity status doing him right now? Probably holding his seat at Ducati actually, because his results certainly are not.

i think lumping everyone who isnt an aussie into the same basket is a bit of a harsh call. cultural differences aside im sure that most are smart enough to see things for the facts.
as has already been said CE doesnt tow the PR line corporate image thing that well either.

also because of our location it has been historically harder for aussie riders to make it in the european series, but i think that every rider no matter where they're from has to overcome huge hurdles to make it as a professional. History shows that australia has had its fair share of world class riders that have done extremely well for themselves.
i think there's a subtle shift in the motorcyling power base. its slowing down in europe and growing in asia and india. a few million motorcycle sales a year cant be wrong. maybe in 10 years the italians will be complaining that we have it too easy because we're on the right side of the world

sums up the situation succinctly.

It's a pretty damning indictment when Rossi, in the middle of the season, team struggling, goes and get a fucking mohawk haircut...........a cry for attention maybe ?

He'd have been better off spending the time reading that excellent Italian authored book on motorcycle chassis dynamics............

I wanted to avoid getting into the cultural differences argument. First, because the difference between two Americans (or 2 Australians or two Frenchmen or etc etc) is likely to be greater than the difference between an average American and an average Australian.

Second, because of the pot-kettle-black issue. Australians have sucked up some pretty major political snow-jobs in the recent past.

Third, because it's a huge multi-dimensional issue that can't be summed up as more or less nationalistic. Different nations invest their pride in different things. I can't imagine Bradl riding at Sachsenring with an insignia of the German army (as CE did at IMS) or American fans putting up with the spectator facilities at Le Mans or Phillip Island. Or a French spectator tolerating the food at Phillip Island or Silverstone... :)

If Stoner did just give bland pr-speak answers, he would be attacked for that as well. His biggest problem in the eyes of his critics is that he has committed the sin of making Rossi seem like a mere mortal. Nothing he does will ever be viewed in a positive way by fans of a certain persuasion.

@ grahluk - how does giving precise, analytical answers make one a bitch? To me it sounds like he really knows what is going on out there and is in complete control of the bike. Also, to claim that the sport is not like a business is an incredible display of naivety.

Please read my post for comprehension, not picked for perceived slights to Mr. Stoner. Racing may be a business but it is "entertainment". Understand that. Doesn't matter how much money is involved. In the big picture of peoples lives, it's a sideshow. An enjoyable escape for many of us but the cure to cancer or world peace will not be found on the bike grid. To be very, very, very, plain I APPRECIATE CASEY STONER. I AM A FAN. ok? Just posting an opinion why he gets labeled as a bitch where CE just gets a laugh for saying exactly what they feel. Casey's all business. He has a sense of humor. He sees the circus of it all and entertains none of it. I appreciate that. His terseness can be interpreted as criticism and contempt hence how he is often perceived. Colin Edwards says some very undigested opinions as well but delivers them with humor. Humor is a very underrated quality. We should all try it more often.

As David has pointed out, from numerous interviews /press conferences, but it's a quiet and rather wry one, and his voice is just one of those that doesn't roll out and embrace people in the way that Rossi, or Edwards, or Hayden manages. Stoner isn't comfortable with the whole PR thing - even now at the post-race press debriefs you can see him biting his lip in anxiety before he starts talking. Stoner, Pedrosa and Lorenzo are all people who give the impression that they'd rather just be out there racing than talking (now that Lorenzo has knocked off the rather cringeworthy faux-Rossi stuff, personally I find him far more 'real' and I'm starting to rather warm to his serious and more introspective side).

Some people are naturally in the centre of the party sparkling and entertaining, some people are naturally more 'kitchen dwellers'. Stoner believes people ask questions because they want answers so he answers as best he can. He obviously doesn't appreciate people (journalists) who are out to big-up themselves at his expense - such as Dean Adams from Superbike Planet - and they then spread their opinion far and wide.

Before Rossi, there was Barry Sheene who could reduce a press conference to fits of laughter - but if you look at the top 10 guys on the wins table, only really Rossi and perhaps Ago are/were 'entertainers' off the track. Perhaps it comes down to this: what would you rather see - 50 minutes of wonderful riding or two minutes of Comedy Central? Both would be the best option, but I'll take the riding if it comes to a choice.

To further elaborate on Oscars post,
I'd put money on CS being a classic introvert (as in Meyers-Briggs Psych testing) vs VR being at the extreme of extroversion.

One draws energy from the crowded room and performs, the other finds it almost overwhelming and withdraws. An introvert finds it takes an almighty effort to deal with large groups of people.
In my experience roughly six to eight people in a group is the limit for an introvert.

"Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement. They are more analytical before speaking" [ Laney, Marti Olsen (2002). The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. Workman Publishing. ISBN 0-7611-2369-5.]

Introversion and shyness are two different things, shyness is a form of social anxiety, even one on one, whereas an introvert is overwhelmed by the energy of a larger group but is fine and can be completely confident in normal (small) social situations and gatherings.

Neither is a character flaw, it's just the way ones personality has formed.

Agreed to all. I actually quite enjoy CS's humor. Yes Rossi or Edwards will make a big joke of a stupid question to get the whole room laughing. I always get a good chuckle when a boner of a question is put to Stoner. Even while the question is being asked you can see in his expression before answering a subtle bemusement. The answer is usually a succinct reality dose to the questioner certainly delivered with understated humor.

I'm a fan of many of the riders and can appreciate their different styles and personalities for the couple minutes they have to spend in front of a microphone week in and week out. On the track they all have my admiration. Of course this year it's especially a treat to see Stoner on that Honda. The results might bore some but to see how that thing is ridden is breathtaking.

You are dead on. An exact example of this fan blowback fenomenon can be seen in the ascendance of Ricky Carmichael to greatness over the previous god of Supercross McGrath. McGrath was a diety and literally the king so when RC started beating him the fans turned on him in a massive way. Then JM retired and that just made people hate RC even more. Hell, they use to boo him at races. It took a perfect Outdoor season for fans to recognize he was not only the best racer ever but also worthy of their admiration. People dont like their heroes toppled.

There is a difference between diversity among tracks and acceptance of sub-par racing. Indy and Motegi are both really poor tracks and both have exactly two places where a pass is possible. Compare that to Brno.

You can defend Indy all you want but there isn't any real defense for the track - no one likes it.

So Simo is threatening to go to Ducati? Not sure about that bargaining strategy! Give me a full factory deal over a guy who's six spots ahead of me or I'm going to sign with up for a bike best known as a grave digger. Who knows though, he might duplicate CS's bin it or win it style given his history. I guess HRC is through with Dovi but Simo ain't exactly set the world on fire. How about Marq Marquez, already flying Repsol colors and clearly a talented guy? This will be an interesting silly season! David, keep up the good work!

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I got the idea from Nakamoto's interview that HRC already has eyes on him. It doesn't mean they don't have eyes at Marquez as well, and in any case both Simo and Dovi are hard pressed to turn up a notch and become constant winners and challengers.

Super Sic's hair must have sapped his brain of his ability to think clearly. For some reason, unclear to me, Honda is showing more interest in him than the other Honda rider bidding for a ride next year. That guy, Dovi, is currently kicking his ass all over the track. What in the wide, wide, world of sports is he doing threatening to defect to Ducati? Talk about biting the hand that's trying to feed you. Be carefull what you ask for Marco, you just might get it. Dovi meanwhile, is being shown no respect at all by Honda and I don't understand why, unless it's all about money, which it probably is. Rossi made the mistake of his racing life going to Ducati. The lovefest and the money will prove to be short term substitutes for winning, which is what guys like him are all about. Well, those days are over. All we can hope for now is that he doesn't get himself hurt.

I don't see Dovi as being disrespected, but the reality is that HRC have been given a budget by HQ and the bottom line is 2 factory riders next year - both of which are already signed.

Nakamoto said that HRC will be able to supply bikes for 6 satellite riders next year, and that those bikes will be full factory-spec, available with and without the factory-spec (i.e. expensive) gearbox – depending on what the team can afford.

Like it as not, Dovi is in the market for a ride with a satellite team, and so it's not unreasonable for him to be shopping about and seeing what's on offer - Honda or otherwise - but I would imagine HRC are more than keen to supply any team wanting to take on Dovi with a factory/satellite bike arrangement.

I'm looking forward to Marc Marquez's entry to Motogp. He looks as though he has the stuff required to become one of the aliens and could well be the one to keep Stoner pressured, especially assuming he'll be on Repsol Honda machinery. I don't think Stoner will mind the intense competition at all given he's said several times he has trouble concentrating when he's out in front on his own.

AFAIK, MotoGP rookies can't get factory rides in their first year, so no Repsol-Honda for Marquez.

Furthermore, from my recall of what I've read, there will be only two Repsol-Hondas next year, piloted by Stoner and Pedrosa.

Perhaps Gresini will get two Hondas, most likely satellite-spec, for Simoncelli and Aoyama.

As for challenging Stoner, that'd be a big shock for a MotoGP rookie to pull off that kind of reliable speed, even if on a factory bike.
Lorenzo did well in 2008 as a MotoGP rookie on a factory Yamaha, but he clocked lots of flying time ending with hard landings.

In an interview I read in Moto Journal, Marquez said he wanted to spend at least 2, if not 3 years in Moto2 before moving on. He said he still had a lot to learn!

I suspect much will depend on whether his sponsors believe thay are getting enough value from their exposure in M2, or whether it's just a bridging investmant to get to MGP.

At the moment, you'd have to assume he's getting huge coverage in the Spanish press. In the wider world... it's interesting how few comments there are in this forum on M2 compared to MGP. How much business do Repsol do outside Spain? and Caixxa?

Maybe the ideal would be for him to chase Bradl until the end of the season, finish 2nd by 1 point, then come back and win it all next year before going up in 2013 :-)

pull up a double world title in the intermediate category right after his world title in 125, à la Pedrosa!

Also very impressed with Marquez. I would say he's less like Pedrosa and more like a young Rossi on fast forward. (Rossi haters hold your tongues for a sec). Rossi's trajectory up through the classes was characterized as crash & learn first year, dominate the second. Marquez seems to be doing both within the same season. Crash and learn for the first few races dominate the rest of the season. Moto2 could be fun near the end of the season. Bradl may still win the championship but he's going to have some heat down the back of his neck.

As far as his trajectory into MotoGP. I wouldn't be worried about the machinery under him. If and when he moves up I wouldn't be surprised if HRC places him in a satellite team with a full factory bike in his first year. That or they could do as they did with Nastro Azzurro for Rossi when there wasn't a seat in Repsol and create a single rider team around him. I could see a Catalunya Caixa clad factory bike while he waits for (or pushes out) a factory Repsol seat. All I got to say is that the current crop of championship contenders better try and claim one ASAP as this kid along with Vinales behind him move up.

He said he mainly admired... Pedrosa and Rossi.

The interviewer commented that was perfect, since his size was just in between those two :-D

My understanding is that there won't "satellite spec" Hondas next year. The satellite bikes being last years factory spec and moving to 1000 from 800 means all the bikes will be the same (at least at the start of the year). Maybe someone can confirm. David?

I think Nakamoto said anyone can have a seamless gearbox next year, if they can pay for it. Apparently it will be an optional extra. There will always be differences appearing between the factory and non-factory bikes through the year as upgrades appear, even if they start out the same. But yes, they are likely to be closer next year.

It isn't inconceivable that the RC213 motor might bolt straight into an RC212 chassis, in which case there could still be hand-me-downs.

Great ride by Marquez again, would like to see him win moto2 before he moves to motogp just adds that bit of maturity and he's doing everything right to be in the top class next season..
Simos honda looked severely down on power at the weekend, Spies yam left him for dead on the main drag whether that's size or not it was surprising to see.. Having said that threatening to go to ducati I suspect would be met with laughter at Honda. The Honda is the bike to be on, but it needs to be factory if you want to compete for the title..
Can't believe there aren't better tracks in the US, LS aside of course..

I think there is a typo in the text, shouldn't it read like this:

"We have a stiff bike, and the hotter and greasier a track is, the worse a stiff bike is."

And about tire conservation:

"We made sure to pull just little gaps," Stoner said after the race, "because we knew as soon as we put the hammer down, the tire destroys itself really quickly. We just had to be really soft with it."

This is quite interesting. In an interview Ramon Forcada stated the JLo has brought tire conservation to perfection. Added to that, Stoner had problems with tire wear in Mugello and Sachsenring, so it's interesting how much Stoner and his team have improved in terms of riding style and setup competence.

"We have a stiff bike, and the hotter and greasier a track is, the worse a stiff bike is."

You would think it would also be bad in the rain, by the same logic... but it seems to be ok. Or maybe the rider just matters more.

In any case, is this the first time either Hayden or Rossi has been so specific about the bike's problem?

I'm gathering the wet 'stones are a softer carcass tyre which the GP16 can 'work' in the requisite manner. The lower revs used in the wet must have something to do with the way the chassis transmits feel to the rider also.

Please David can you try to get an interview with Hayden someday to assist us all with the type of sensations he feels from the front in wet and dry and where specifically the GP16 still struggles. Does it remain the same issues as Stoner suffered 2010 - off the brakes, but not yet at full lean? A seemingly (relative) innocuous part of the cornering process.

Actually, I'd like to hear from Kallio.


He has in recent years ridden:
-KTM 250
-Suter Moto2
-Ducati MotoGP
-Suter/BMW CRT bike.

If anyone has had an opportunity to compare and contrast different bikes, tyres, classes, it would be him.

im assuming you mean rich map.
the pace is slower so they could run a richer map because they're not using as much throttle during the race. cant see it making all that much difference in ridability tho.
any evidence to back that up?

I'm not sure you could say the GP11 is a "great" rain bike. Certainly it appears to be better in the wet than the dry. Rossi can ride as well in the rain as pretty much anyone, but on the Duc in the rain he has looked like possible podium material, rather than a threat for the win.

And yes, I know, but anything Stoner rides is a great rain bike...

Sic is way over rated IMO, he's fast at times in short bursts but is a long way from having the consistancy and maturity to be a championship contender. Not saying he can't be at some point but my feeling is that he's not going to amount to much in the long haul. Threatening to go to Ducati is almost laughable, I think Pedrosa was right, there's nothing in his head but hair!

Too hot and greasy on the one hand this year. The Ducati has generally looked good in the wet. Slippery,clean and cool seems to suit the Bridgestone front on the Ducati. Then of course there is the rider/crew set up decisions. Barbera got it right and the factory riders didn't. Its a shame lady luck frowned on him in the last turn.
Another point of interest for me at Indy regards the weight advantage/disadvantage that raised a furore some months back. The Indy podium laid that to rest. A middleweight won,a flyweight came second and a heavyweight, who had to fight through from behind easily made third with little tyre degradation. Case closed. Set up and rider management during the race. Yes,one can argue it was a Spies home race. However, the new surface was as foreign to him as it was to anyone else. Moto 2 and Marc Marquez. Another sublime example of set up and racecraft,but Stefan Bradl...my rider of the day across all classes.
Marc to GP next year ? I doubt it. Stefan looks more and more likely to be heading that way along with another Andrea,(Iannone in this case).
Speculation and silly season raising its head later than usual. The works HRC/Yamaha and Ducati rider lineups are settled for 2012, barring a much sought after 'event',(riders refusing a trip to Motegi?).
Time will tell. Misano this weekend and I wonder how long it will be before the Italian Racing public storm a certain Borgo Panigale factory. Most would lay it to siege based on the bike's performance. I would join the siege for different reasons. Their shortsightedness in terms of rider selection and direction.
Simmo may prove to be a good bet to dig them out of a hole next year.
It seems a long time back that things were all rosy in the dolomites and Bologna's square. The harsh reality of wins and points scoring does not pay much mind to grandiose persona's. As the points decline,so does the popularity and hence,the income and sponsorship.

Full agreement about the weight issue. That should be settled. There are advantages to being bigger and smaller within a certain range.

I don't know if I agree with you about your criticism on Ducati riders. Are you seriously suggesting Simoncelli as a better candidate to help fix Ducati's issues than Rossi? I know there are a lot of peope on this site that for some reason have it in for #46 but don't be ridiculous.

This hurry to bury Rossi reminds me how some people buried Stoner in 2009, Pedrosa this year or ... Rossi in 2007.

I dont usually love statistics but Rossi did 92 % of Ducati points this year ... Stoner was 79 % last year (81 % 2009, 87 % 2008, 93 % 2007).

What does it mean ? It doesn't mean that Rossi's year is good ... it only means that when Rossi is really not, nobody is neither. Only Stoner was able to win with it, and we will never know if he would manage to do that against the 2011 Honda.

Good luck with that Simo !

Oh and honnestly, Indy track is sad ... empty (or almost) stands, awful layout except first corner, flat as the sea => bye bye with no regret

PS: again a very very boring race (except Spies) ...

PPS: fantastic performance by Bradl !

Don't get your numbers - currently Rossi on 124 points, Hayden 105 for the top two Ducatis only. Where does the 92% come from?
Agree that both are doing a good job of accumulating points without threatening the front in dry races.

In fact, i was probably a little bit tired... :)

We are both wrong.

I'm obviously talking about constructor championship where only best result of each GP compts.

Ducati has 135 points

This year Rossi brings 90 points
Hayden 37
De Puniet 8

So it's 67 % not 92 ... I did a stupid 124/135 ... sorry for that

Last year, Stoner brought 203 pts / 286 for Ducati (71 %)
Hayden 83

Anyway, not very important, but serisouly think that Rossi is the problem and that Simo could fix it makes me lough

Instead of "which rider scored the highest at each round" you get to see how much riders score in total.

2009 Marlboro Ducati 341 points (3rd) Stoner 220, Hayden 104 (Kallio 17)
2010 Marlboro Ducati 388 points (3rd) Stoner 225, Hayden 163
2011 (12th round) Marlboro Ducati 229 points (3rd) Rossi 124, Hayden 105

If you wanna go by percentage, from 2009 to 2011 that's Stoner 65%, Stoner 58% and Rossi 54%.

We can examinate all statistics we want, this year, Ducati is approximatly at the same point than it was at the same period last year, Rossi (2011) 124, Stoner (2010) 130, Hayden (2010) 109, Hayden (2011) 104.

The real problem is that we knew that Stoner could win, which he actually did at the end of the season (3 wins in 6 races) whereas we know that Rossi wont.

The fact still is that Rossi is far away the best Ducati rider (that what i wanted to show with "my" statistics) this year only beaten 3 times by Hayden and 1 by De Puniet ... and bury him is too soon.

If the races were spectacular, or the title chase full of suspense, i would not talking about that, I (we) would forget this Rossi/Ducati thing ... the real thing is that without him, for the moment, it's boring.

I was not a Senna fan (was for Prost, dont know why ... maybe because im french) but the fact is that without him, and his fights, races were boring ... god thank, Montoya, Alonso and Hamilton came ... i'm waiting for the same in GP, maybe Simo has it but not sure

For now Rossi is 19 points ahead of Hayden, with 6 races left (and finally both on almost identical bikes) the fight for best Ducati rider is far from being over!

True, last year at the same point Stoner was only 21 points ahead of Hayden but then he won 3 of the last 6 races and finished with 62 more points compared to Nicky.

At that point Stoner also already had 7 starts from the front row and 5 podiums compared to 1 front row start and 0 podium for Hayden. This year it's 0 first row start and 1 podium for each of the Ducati riders.

For the first time in his Ducati career, Hayden actually has a good shot at finishing best Ducati rider.

For some inexplicable reason, to HRC Dovi is a steaming turd they cannot ditch quickly enough. They've been trying for years, and at the end of this yer they may finally get their wish.

God only knows why, its confounding. Equally confounding is their continued faith in Spazzojelly. One rider has proven over and over this year to be the better. One rider has proven incapable of racking up points.

To a constructor Dovi should be a dream come true. He racks up points and week in week out is there puffing up HRC constructor standings. Can you see the same happening with Simo at the helm. Reckon HRC can kss any hopes of a Constructors title away if they run 2 bikes next year and Simo is aboard one of them. Absurd.

The only way I can understand HRC's disgust for Dovi and love for Simocelli is to look at 2006. Hayden wins them the title and they basically boot him out, develop the 800 for Pedrosa's tiny size and put all the eggs in the "Pedrosa will win us a title basket" Hayden struggled because all the development went into Puig/Pedrosa.

Looking at that, it does not surprise me that they would ditch a fairly cosnistent performer like Dovi for Simocelli.

Maybe they REALLY like his hair.....

Hayden struggled because he couldn't adapt himself to corner speed. Remember that Nicky only won three races even with the torque of the 990 V5. And his championship was mostly down to consistency. Not saying he's bad or anything, far from it.

But let's not blame Honda/Pedrosa/Puig for Nicky's struggles.

Maybe they prefer Simo because he is more popular than Dovi ... too simple ?

The angle that I'm comming from is not whether Simmo can fix their issues,but he is perfectly capable of fixing their results with his do or die racecraft. Ducati's current factory riders are riding, well, the gravy train. Simmo can muscle the front, like Casey did. Make it do his bidding. Make no mistake, I'm not a Simmo afficianado after many a year,but he does impress as a formidable potential.
Dare I say it ? I would love to see him and Ben in the Ducati camp as factory riders. The bike and the team would go forward by leaps and bounds.
Take Honda this year. Stoner arrives and the whole outfit 'ups its game'.
Within current Ducati there is no rivalry between rider's, merely, a corporate heirachy.It's hurting them Big Time. I emphasise, Stoner's arrival at HRC did not change anything HRC, but it sure as hell shook some cobwebs out of some rider's ears. Marlboro/Ducati should do likewise.

I don't understimate Spies' talent, but I recall an interview with him last year where he said something like 'riding behind Lorenzo or Rossi, I can understand what they are doing. Riding behind Stoner, I really have no idea how he does it'.

Sorry but I just don't see it. I like Marco, he adds a little color to the weekends, and I can't help but laugh when I see fans with with huge curly wigs emulating him. People love "characters" in every sport but putting him on a Duc next year is just another recipe for disaster. Ya he's aggressive, he has speed to burn along with testi's the size of grapefruits, but as of right now he has no where near the race craft or knowledge that Stoner had when he was riding for Ducati. If he does end up riding for Ducati next year, and his riding style remains the same, I'd honestly be surprised if he completes even half the races he was in. In time he might put more thought into racing strategy but as of right now he's like a wild bull in a china shop.

Sic is yet to find the limit on a Honda, he is still either a second-group-kinda-guy or he crashes. Finding that hidden area of heavenly front grip on a Ducati would be a disaster.

Pay no attention winger its a wind up. These guys know Casey couldn't buy his way out of last alien(4th) the last two years on it and competitively they were relatively weak compared to this year(2009 2 yams in it/ last year just one with Rossi and Dani missing races and riding plenty injured..)
What is worrying is that ducati appear to be suffering from the same delusions..!

Very good interview! Now we can finally put to bed the idea that Ducati simply need to revert back to the steel trellis frame. On the other side Casey is one of the few to be able to comment on the nature of the Desmosedici. If I remember correctly of the many slights tossed his way one of the few that actually got his goat was where his team was insulted for not being able to figure the bike out. It may seem that his team was able to learn how to set up the bike over it's development as well as possible. Given what they had they did remarkably well. The Burgess crew has to cram those lessons in. Stoner confirms how finicky and difficult getting a good setup on that bike is. That seems to be the elephant of the problem. They have to do much more searching and experimenting to get it set up for a given track weekend. The other bikes might be less of a science experiment and simply get on to honing a setup and blazing lap times. As much as Stoner understands the Duc I bet there isn't enough money in Italy to have him sling a leg over it again. He seems pretty happy where he's at.

I'm a race fan rather than a rider fan. However, one thing that is clear to me after Indy is how much my opinion of Stoner as a racer has improved. He has undoubtably improved his racecraft. He will now hold back until tyres and brakes are warm before making a move (unlike Sic) and has immeasurable improved his tyre management. I also wonder in hindsight how much of his "bin it or win it" reputation was actually him or the Ducati.
The 4 aliens are no doubt the best riders, the Honda has improved this year but I'm not certain it is as much as it looks. Lorenzo would still be leading the Championship if Stoner wasn't at Honda.

The skills and techniques of Stoner and his team in setup are making a big difference under the current restriction of engines and tyres. They have always ridden just a few laps in testing before making changes. This was no real benefit in the days of unlimited engines and tyres but is now a big advantage and the others are only now working it out.

I also believe that some of Lorenzos skill at race and tyre management are looking a bit more ragged this year as he has had to push harder to stay at the front now that the Yamaha doesn't enjoy the speed advantage of last year. After struggling for pace all weekend at Indy I read he started the race with the same setup as Spies. Make of that what you will.

Despite the drama of Ducati this season, I've enjoyed the racing this year. There have been some great individual rides by Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Spies this year. We just need the Ducatis to show some improvement and that shouldn't be too hard after last weekend!
I think there were glimpses from Hayden to show that with a better tire choice and a more forgiving track he could be pushing further.
We can only hope.

Good points made by Toby, I think he has a rare ability to strike a fair balance, and still be entertaining. We definitely enjoyed his contributions over the weekend... :thumbsup:

To his column, I would only add the speculation that Dorna will negotiate hard to book Indy for 2012 in order to keep some enthusiasm and momentum alive going into the scheduled 2013 Texas event.

The players have all invested a fair amount of money and time to expand the GP audience, so I doubt they are keen to let the energy level die.

Time will tell...

I can't se why any rider would want to go to Ducati. Development or not it is hard, almost impossible to ride well. Stoner could ride and that seems to be about it (well Troy Bayliss gave it a wild card win so maybe you have to be Aussie to ride it correctly)

I alsways joked Rossi could win on a scooter, he was that good but now it's just embarassing watching him, Hayden and the Ducati satellite backmarkers. I don't think is any less of the GOAT that many (including me) think of him as but geez, he can't even near the front with that thing. Maybe he should give LCR call and let Simocelli make good on his threat....

Really, why does Ducati continue to pour money down the MotoGP drain? Plus, whatever sum they pay Rossi. 6 of 17 bikes are Ducatis, what's Dorna going to do if Ducati pulls the plug on their losing effort? Honda already has 6 bikes fielded, Kawasaki is never coming back and Suizuki will be pulling the plug shortly.

Ducati sell their bikes off WSBK/AMA success, not MotoGP. Seems like a huge financial drain with no forseeable finanacial benefits. Or am I totally out in left field?