2011 Aragon MotoGP Post-Race Round Up, Part 2: The Old, The New Chassis, And A New New Chassis

MotoGP history was made at Aragon, and as has been the case so often throughout his career, the man making the history was Valentino Rossi. He is unlikely to be quite so proud of this piece of history, though: On Sunday, Rossi became the first rider to fall foul of MotoGP's engine durability rules, using his seventh engine during warm up, one beyond his original allocation of six and consequently being forced to start from pit lane. Rather ironically, Rossi was not the first rider to use a seventh engine; that dubious honor falls to Alvaro Bautista, who ended up using eight engines during 2010, after Suzuki negotiated adding three extra to their original allowance, when it became clear that they were unlikely to make the end of the season on their allocation.

The reason that Rossi elected to take the penalty was simple: he wanted to have two bikes with identical setups, and that included having the new, revised aluminium frame which he had tested on the 1000 at Mugello and he debuted at Aragon. The new chassis needs new mounting points, the lugs on the rear of the cylinder head having to be machined differently to accept the new frame. The 6th engine Rossi used at Misano already had the new mounting points, which fitted both the old carbon fiber and the new aluminium subframe, but the two other GP11.1 engines did not, and could not be modified. That meant taking engine number seven, and taking number seven meant starting from pit lane 10 seconds after the rest of the pack.

Rossi's crew felt that starting from pit lane at Aragon was a smarter choice than starting at Motegi (the other alternative, as Rossi wanted to have two identical bikes for the rest of the season). The pit lane exit at Aragon cuts off all of Turn 1 and much of Turn 2, joining the track on the exit of the second corner, minimizing time lost to the rest of the field. That turned out to be a good call, Rossi crossing the line at the end of lap 1 just 7.4 seconds behind the leader, Casey Stoner, and 5 seconds behind Hector Barbera, who had moved up to take Rossi's qualifying spot on the grid.

Was the penalty worth it? Well it provided some spectacle, with Rossi fighting his way forward to 9th at one point, before losing out to Cal Crutchlow to cross the line in 10th. The front felt a little better, he said after the race, but the problem had not been fixed. "I'm a little bit disappointed and a little bit worried," Rossi told the media afterwards, adding that he had expected a lot more from the change. "It looks like we don't fix the problem."

"The feeling with the front is not so bad," Rossi said. "I am quite good in braking and entry but I remain slow in the change of direction. It looks like after a lot of races we don't fix nothing so maybe we don't understand the real problem."

The experiment, brief as it was, has apparently failed. Replacing the front carbon fiber section with a different material had made a small difference, but not enough to turn around the fortunes of either the Italian rider or the Italian factory. The material, as Filippo Preziosi had told reporters at Brno and Misano, was not the problem. The problem appears to be something else.

The solution - or what Ducati hopes will be the solution - is already lined up. Ducati team boss Vito Guareschi told Italian reporters that Ducati will test yet another chassis at Jerez on Thursday, and then again at the official MotoGP test at Valencia. This will be the Ducati's 5th chassis of the year, after the original CF chassis they started the year with; a revised, softer version tested after Estoril; the GP11.1 chassis (though this is largely unchanged at the front) with the altered swingarm bracing and rear shock mounting; and then the longer aluminium item used here at Aragon.

What is radical about the new item is that it will finally break with Ducati's tradition of using the engine as a stressed member. The new chassis will be a standard aluminium twin spar design, as used by all the other factories, Dennis Noyes reported on Spanish TV on Sunday night, and the most obvious candidate to produce the chassis is the Buckingham-based firm FTR, who built the frame used by Rossi at Aragon.

The fact that the revised aluminium chassis is already being dismissed seems to suggest that a twin spar is what Rossi and his crew have been angling for all along - despite Rossi's continuous protestations that he is a rider, not an engineer. With every new revision, there have been small steps made, but the main problem (a lack of feedback from the front tire, and difficulty in turning the bike) remains.

Every time I have watched Rossi from trackside, his body language has been stiff, unnatural, not comfortable with the bike the way that Lorenzo is with the Yamaha and Stoner is with the Honda. At Aragon, I watched again, and though there was a visible improvement, it still looked like somebody had stolen Rossi's leathers and nipped into the Ducati garage for a go on the bike. And after the race, Rossi confirmed that he was still a long way off where he wanted to be. "I don't feel very comfortable on the bike," Rossi said on Sunday. "We already think of something to move the weight, move me, on the bike and if you look at me on the television, I don't ride like in the past, I don't have the same position on the bike. It's quite clear from all sides. So we work in some different way and hope we find the right way for improve."

That "different way" is a capitulation on Ducati's design principles and a switch to what has become standard industry design over the past twenty years. No doubt this will put another nail into the coffin of engineering innovation in motorcycle racing, but in my view, it will be a tragedy if motorcycle designers stay away from the monocoque design used by Ducati on the Desmosedici, and from next year, on Ducati's 1199 superbike, due to be introduced as the 1198R's replacement at the EICMA show in Milan in November.

For the problem is not so much the shortcomings of the design, as learning to understand the feedback which a different design generates. Whether or not Ducati's implementation of the monocoque is a good one or not - and there are reasons to believe it is still not quite there, as despite winning races on the bike, Stoner and his crew had plenty of problems in finding exactly the right setup on the bike - the difference i feel is what is crucial. At the end of the 2009 season, I spoke to Tech 3's engineering guru Guy Coulon about the lack of innovation in Moto2, especially the lack of new front suspension solutions, with everyone plumping for a traditional telescopic front end. Coulon said the explanation was simple. "You want the information to go from the asphalt to the rider's brain without any interference," Coulon told me. Hub center steering, Hossack forks, anything else would change the signal coming from the tire to such an extent that the riders would not know how to interpret it. There may be a theoretical advantage to any or all of these technologies, but if a rider could not understand them, then the advantage would disappear.

This is one of the reasons that despite MotoGP being the pinnacle of motorcycle racing technology, in engineering terms, it is still an immensely conservative world. The current breed of racing motorcycles are really just evolutions of the bikes that have been raced for the past twenty, thirty, maybe even sixty years. As one engineer put it to me rather pithily "if it wasn't used on a Matchless in 1958, then the teams think it can't be any good." Instead of innovation, MotoGP prefers evolution, preferring something which they are sure is a little bit better than what they have than something which could be a radical improvement, but with some uncertainty over whether it will work. Even a small change like FTR's stemless steering head (where the bearings fix on the top and bottom of the steering head, without a steel stem connecting he bottom and top bearings running through the head and messing up the airflow into the airbox) has met with utter resistance from the Moto2 teams, despite the advantages which the engineering clearly shows.

Yet there is also a risk in Ducati's switch to an aluminium twin spar, one which we have covered here before. Ducati has no experience in building a twin spar frame, yet is reluctant to buy in expertise from outside. The design and engineering is done in-house, Ducati's chief engineer Filippo Preziosi said, as chassis design is very much Ducati's core business. The lessons they learn and the R&D they can do in MotoGP is their reason for being in the sport, and helps them design their production bikes. Farming out the design to a third party may improve their chances, but it is the knowledge which is crucial to Ducati Corse, and therefore to Ducati as a whole. It is highly probable that FTR will be moulding and welding the aluminium on the chassis (they are among the very best in the world at doing so, after all) but the design will come from the CAD computer of Filippo Prezioso and the engineering team at Ducati Corse. Valentino Rossi, Jerry Burgess and crew will have to hope that they have listened first.

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Maybe it would have been worth it if they had stuck with the GP11 all along and tried to fully understand it before moving on the a zillion new parts, upgrades, structural changes which seem to take them everywhere except directly forwards. They seem at complete loss.

What base at all will they have to work on for the GP12?

As usual, interesting reading and much food for thought! I wonder what most in the paddock think of designs like the Tesi and the Britton. Stoner's comments on each bike (including from the same manufacturer) being different and requiring a unique approach ring true - is he becoming the wise old man of MotoGP?

"I'm a little bit disappointed and a little bit disappointed" - another Rossi Italish pearler? :P

No, that was me forgetting to substitute one of the "disappointeds" for "worried".

So... if the 2012 Ducati will have an engine built by Ducati in a frame built by FTR, does that make it an FTR Ducati which is able to use an extra few litres of fuel as a CRT entry? Yeah, I know it's not a production engine, but you get my point.

Plenty of us expected Valentino to struggle at Ducati, but seriously, did anyone at all think it would have gone this badly?

Epic failure is the only term I can think of.

And what of the 1198 replacement? How does Ducati even start to think about marketing a bike with a carbon fibre front subframe that Valentino Rossi has just told the world doesn't work?

The whole Rossi experiment has been a disaster for Ducati. They have gone from a competitive, yet quirky GP contender and WSBK regular champions to not having much at all in WSBK and failing dismally in GP. They look inept and foolish... and they have paid a fortune for the privilege.

And what of the 1198 replacement? How does Ducati even start to think about marketing a bike with a carbon fibre front subframe that Valentino Rossi has just told the world doesn't work?

For the eleventy eleventh time, it doesn't have one. It's cast aluminium. However, since last weekend the issue is the same...

>Plenty of us expected Valentino to struggle at Ducati, but seriously, did anyone at all think
it would have gone this badly?

Nope. I think most within and without Ducati thought he'd be in the front group and racing for wins by mid season.

>Epic failure is the only term I can think of.

That would be the technical term I would think too but what should they do now? Cry and go home? Start having all the speculating fans and critics call the shots on how to design the bike and who to ride it? They sure seem to know everything by the sound of it.

>The whole Rossi experiment has been a disaster for Ducati. They have gone from a competitive, yet quirky GP contender and WSBK regular champions to not having much at all in WSBK and failing dismally in GP. They look inept and foolish... and they have paid a fortune for the privilege.

Ducati is being represented just fine in WSBK at the moment. For the eleventy-eleventh time, Ducati has not been competitive in GP for some time. Casey has, not Ducati as a whole nor their two wheeled science project. Casey's gone and not looking back. There was an empty seat to fill. Rossi was and still is probably their best bet when you consider that fact. The DesmoGP has been like a man treading water with cement shoes. Casey was simply a rubber ducky Ducati had been clutching to kid themselves there wasn't a drowning in progress. Whatever you think of Rossi if the Ducati isn't a bike he can ride and consistently place in the top 5 that is a very dire omen indeed. Everyone does worse on a Ducati than they have on anything else. Rossi just a little more spectacularly and newsworthy in that tragedy.

grahluk, there is not one part of this I don't agree with. Ducati is WSBK are near enough already there, on an "apparently private" 1198. So no dramas there IMO. I agree that no one, probably not even Rossi, and certainly not Preziosi thought it would take this long, or go this bad, but, development takes above all time.

There is no doubt Casey was the only one who got on with the Desmocidici. And surely the whole point about bringing in Rossi and Burgess and crew is to get together a bike EVERYONE can ride, not just one rider who is prepared to take it that bit further than anyone else in order to make it work.

Preziosi is right about one thing though, so far, doesn't seem like it's the material that makes the difference. But, I think something had to be done. And fast.

With regards to not knowing which way to take the bike, I recall Yamaha doing the same thing with the M1 to Carlos Checa et al a few years ago. JB and crew turned up, took it back to base settings and worked from there, lo and behold it started winning.

I think that the job is ALOT bigger with the Desmocidici, but, it will work. It's just development, and that takes time. It'll come good either with or without the carbon fibre.

>>I recall Yamaha doing the same thing with the M1 to Carlos Checa et al a few years ago. JB and crew turned up, took it back to base settings and worked from there, lo and behold it started winning.

That is not at all what happened. First off, in 2002 Biaggi had 2 wins and 9 podiums on the M1 and finished 2nd overall. Not too bad. In 2003 Rossi went to Yamaha knowing they were greatly upping their investment in the class. At the first test they showed up with several chassis and engine configurations and Rossi picked the one he liked best and started going fast. So they did a lot of R&D and testing without Rossi's input then when they were nearly done they got him to put the icing on the cake.

Why do so many people think Ducati hired Rossi to develop a bike others can ride? They hired Rossi because their star rider (Stoner) left and nobody else would come to them. Lorenzo and Pedrosa both said no so Rossi was the only other 800cc class race winner left. They want him to win races and the title and could care less what the other riders do as long as Rossi is winning. They were happy to have Stoner be the only winning Ducati rider so why would Rossi be any different?


I totally agree that the Yam wasn't an absolute dog before Rossi.

Biaggi finished runner up in 2002 with 2 wins and him and Checa scored 12 podiums and 5 poles that year.
2003 was a tough year for Yamaha, mainly because their star rider, Biaggi, went to Honda and was replaced by Barros, no match.
In 2003 Checa scored only 18 points less than in 2002, the bike was not suddenly much worse, it's just what happens when you lose a very talented rider.
Also, 2003 coincides with the arrival of Furosawa at the head of Yamaha MotoGP project which was a huge influence for the years to come.

Rossi arrived in 2004, and the poor season they had in 2003 gives this halo of savior to Rossi. But I don't think Yamaha level suddenly dropped in 2003 and then got picked up by Rossi in 2004. They had a very fast rider in 2002, a lesser rider in 2003 (no disrespect to Checa, in GP he was never a match for Biaggi, now he got his revenge in WSBK) and an awesome rider in 2004, hired along with the best mechanics that just won 9 titles in the last 10 seasons.

Success of the first 990 Honda and perennial success of the M1 show that the Rossi/Burgess combination is very good indeed, but maybe their 2004 success is a bit overstated.

But to me the biggest myth about Rossi has got to be that he wants/likes to develop a bike that anybody can ride fast. I don't know how it can be something else than a joke, I mean Rossi is a competitor like any of them, and for sure one thinks he loathes is being beaten by his teammate.
He excels at mind games, sneak peaks, acid comments (mostly directed at Lorenzo and especially Stoner this past years) but if he likes so much developing bikes for everybody then why did he complain that Lorenzo was benefiting from his work, isn't it supposed to be his purpose in development according to this myth? Why the wall at Yamaha, why no data sharing? Why the "it's him or it's me" ultimatum?
Something probably very new for him is that data is completely shared at Ducati, from the official team to the satellite bikes, all the riders always had access to Stoner's data, hopefully now they can access Rossi's data all the same (even if it is quite useless since even Hayden was only on the same bike than him for the first 6 races this year).

Obviously any team would want to hire Rossi because he is a legendary rider. But I sure not think he is more kin to develop a bike others can ride than Pedrosa, Stoner, Lorenzo or anybody else really.

They pretty much had their act together in this department as far back as the Wayne Rainey days.

JB and the crew took a package that was fairly sound in that area, and then fine-tuned it to Rossi's exact needs.

The Ducati appears to be a totally different situation, and as much as I respect their expertise, it might just be that they are out of their depth.

The design of the 2004 Yamaha had nothing to do with Rossi. It was the brainchild of Furusawa. This is a matter of public record. Furusawa designed a new bike with a crossplane crankshaft. It was not the 2003 Yamaha with a few tweaks, it was a new specification. When Rossi tested the various bikes Yamaha had available he chose the Furusawa designed bike. This validated the Furusawa design with Yamaha management. The results achieved in 2004 showed that both Furasawa and Rossi had chosen correctly. Clearly Rossi, Burgess and Furusawa between them developed the bike further over the season. But the fundamental design owed nothing at all to Rossi.

The problem at Ducati is that Ducati do not have a bike specification that suits Rossi, which is the complete opposite of Yamaha in 2004. After Stoner ended 2010 on a high, despite a lot of problems earlier in the year, Ducati thought that the bike was fundamentally a winner. Rossi and Burgess clearly thought the same. But Rossi struggled from the the very first Valencia test. No-one had understood that Stoner had a unique skill that provided at least a partial solution to the Ducati problem. But Stoner's riding technique is a skill that no-one else, not any Rossi, can duplicate. And clearly Ducati do not have a Furusawa with a design solution to their problems. It is not just development, it's a fundamental issue of design, and there is no easy solution to that. But it is of note that Furusawa has always maintained that carbon fiber is not suited to the requirements of MotoGP racing.

For a street bike none of it matters.

But if we were all sensible and rational, we'd all be riding CB500's on the street :)

Racing is not about commercial bike R&D and street bike development is not about wining races. Prototype racing in a R&D context is a proof of concept tool. The design applied at the track for a specific technology has little to do with the design that that technology will have at the street because the conditions and requirement are completely different. Even if the technology is already successful at the track it still requires a lot of engineering to adjust to commercial uses, that is, if it even makes sense form a commercial point of view. Ducati has already proven their monocoque chassis at the track now is time to start doing what racing is truly about which is winning races and placing the brand firmly into the collective imaginarium as an attractive prospect.
As matter of fact if the spirit of MotoGP is innovative technology application, stubbornly trying to enforce one determine technology for extended periods of time should be insane, they should be saying:
"alright we've given this technology 3 year, is not giving us championships and we are already bored with it. What else we have?"

One reason for rejecting radical change is very clear: there is limited testing time to make it work. If you move a little frame thickness from here to there, the set-up will probably not change too much...but how long did it take Lorenzo to move back to the 2010 frame?

If you invent a whole new way of doing things, it's unlikely you'll learn to tune it within 5% of it's ultimate potential in the few days of off-season testing. Which means the new design would need to be more than 5% better than the one that has been honed to perfection over many, many years of racing. You could easily waste all your testing time just finding out that it doesn't work, and then you are playing catch-up for the entire year.

Oh, and I don't think it's correct to call the Ducati design a "monocoque"... it's more of a monolith, in at least two senses :) Whatever you call it, it has been tried before and abandoned twice by Honda (original VTR1000, twin-crank NSR250), once by Ducati (abandoned after many years when they went to the 916). The Britten never succeeded at world championship level and where it did win, it was more in spite of it's handling than because of it. Similarly, BMW had every commercial reason to force their Telelever system to work for competition... and eventually gave up. The comments I've read from people who've ridden the Tesi, except those in the PR business, have typically complained of it having no feel.

On the other hand, we have carbon fibre swingarms, upside down forks, radial brake mounting, stacked gearboxes, under-seat fuel tanks, linkage-based single shock rear suspension, carbon-carbon brakes, self supporting monocoque seat units, tuned-flex triple clamps, cross-plane cranks, seamless gearboxes, slipper clutches, auto-blip downchanges, gas-charged forks, twin-tube through-shaft forks and shocks, fly-by-wire throttles and pneumatic valve springs, all introduced and rapidly or progressively accepted within the last 10-20 years. Maybe the teams are not that illogically conservative?

I still dont't understand what is the undeniablly technical upside of the carbon fiber monocoque (or mono-whatever) that makes it a sin for Ducati not to immolate it self in the pursuit of it's development.

David you wrote "What is radical about the new item is that it will finally break with Ducati's tradition of using the engine as a stressed member."

I am not certain, but I think that Ducati rarely if ever used this technique for their production bikes (which does not make it a tradition to the point of the treillis chassis...which they had no problem to get rid of in 2008!) and only started using it in GP in 2009.

That would make it a 2 year tradition from MotoGP, which is not much, right?

Every bike they built from the introduction of belt drive cams (Pantah) until the end of the 888(*) had no connection between swingarm and frame. So using the cases as part of the frame is a tradition. Going a step further and using the heads + cylinders as well dates to the D16, which is over 5 years now.

(*) Apparently there was one exception: the Belgian importer asked for an 888 with a 916-style frame extension to the pivot for race use, and they got one.

Ducati had no problem getting rid of the trellis frame in 2009, even as it is to many Ducati's trademark as much as the L twin.
I understand why Ducati would be reluctant to try to outsmart the Japanese giants with technical solutions that the latter have been developing for 20 or 30 years so I am not convinced their alleged "stubbornness" to get rid of the current chassis is mainly due to the weight of the tradition.

It is interesting to learn of all of these Ducati 'traditions.' And after having read the above comments by all I am finally convinced that consumers as a whole will not be disappointed by Ducati switching frame material or design. So Ducati can just use their experience with carbon fiber to build a killer production bike!

The one tradition that I think will always stay with Ducati is that of their Desmodromic valves... after all that is why the Desmosedici is named the way it is right? .... and this very tradition is what is going to help them win races in the future when they get their formula right - even if that means straying from the 'L' engine which I agree with David would be a good idea for mass centralization.

I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the airbox frame idea. It just doesn't have the development maturity that the twin spar frame has. It's not like the Ducati is slow in an absolute sense. It's fast as hell. It's just slow and ungainly compared to the Japanese designs (might even include Suzuki in here). As stated by the riders, designer, and team it's the limited time and testing they have to try and get it going in the right direction and get consistent results. The current twin spar designs have a lineage back before the testing limitations and no doubt Honda/Yamaha whipped out and crushed a lot of iterations of that idea to get where they are now. Ducati doesn't have the time, money, or opportunity to get that experience at present. Unfortunately they may have to start down that road and try and play catch up anyway. I will agree with Rossi on one point. It's ridiculous that they limit the contracted riders' testing. It's a waste actually. While the riders are sitting home and payed they have to go out and hire test riders who can only go so far in approaching race pace. Might as well have the paid racers on the bikes during those tests. Costs nothing extra and more valuable data may be obtained. It's in those tenths of a second above where the test riders can push it that is the difference between the Ducati and the Honda.

Graham, just re-reading some older posts. Your Honda and Ducati references don't gel with me.

Outside of the Honda cub, the only motorcycle (O.K I wouldn't have a clue what's underneath at that Goldwing plastic and with six speaker airbags I'm not sure it's a motorcycle anyway) that Honda have produced with a monocoque chassis is the ill fated NR500 that i can think of. VTR1000 - Firestorm and SP's all aluminium beam or variant - albeit along the lines that the GP12.2 sounds like it might be. NSR 250?

As for Ducati, what's this pre 916 reference? All Ducati frames from the first L twin of the early seventies on have been steel with the engine as a stressed or semi stressed member.

Robert Holden raced a Steve Roberts Carbon Kevlar framed otto valvole engined Ducati named 'Fast but Fragile' around 1991/2. Roberts of course produced the Carbon Kevlar frame for Dave Hiscock's F1 Suzuki - a world first. http://www.flickr.com/photos/53591907@N00/4335940747/

My google search also found a previously unknown to me funky 1967 Ossa 250 with a powerful looking monocoque.

I wasn't talking about monocoques, I was talking about what the French call the "moteur porteur" design, where the swingarm is not connected directly to the frame. Honda called it the "Pivotless Frame Concept", used it on the 954 Fireblade, the VFR800, the VTR1000.
Like this:

Compare that to what they did when they wanted to get serious, with the SP1:

Similarly with Ducati, 851:

compared to 916 onwards:

Obviously a huge part of receiving the right sensations is to be comfortable on the machine to start with.

This rather incredulous piece http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/94679 has Rossi suggesting he's never even been sat correctly on the GP16?!

I can barely believe that Rossi's fairy godmother (Burgess) wouldn't have seat to bar and peg relationship measurements from their Yamaha days. Surely being comfortable in a static position is the very starting point for every rider before even turning a wheel?

Evolution over revolution, fundamentals (and understanding) over fundamental changes.

There was an article only a few weeks ago where they wanted to experiment with the swing arm but because of the layout they needed to build not only a new swingarm but a new engine to attach it too. The duke was inflexible in more ways than one. I think that it's just another one in a long list of disadvantages to the current layout, with hindsight it's hard to imagine he had the regulations in mind when he designed it, of course the flip side is that he would have gone down in history if it had worked, whether that was a wise or calculated gamble is for another debate..

There were similar size issues at HRC between Pedrosa and Hayden. I don't think that the gap in ability between Stoner and Rossi is as wide as the time sheets are showing in terms of skill and ability, let's hope this is going to fix it

HRC made Pedrosa their n°1 rider so they favored him instead of Hayden while building the bike and fairings.
Now are you suggesting that as Ducati based their GP11 on the GP10 built for Casey, they never thought about the 4 inches difference between him and Vale? They've given him 3 or 4 completely new bikes during the season, they would have thought about this in the process.
Plus it doesn't seem that difficult for HRC to build a specific fairing to accomodate Simoncelli (who is taller than Rossi) and both him and Stoner are pretty fast on the same bike.
I really doubt it would be much of an issue.
Plus the fact that Rossi was 10 km/h faster than Stoner last year on Aragon straight...

I know they've been pulling out all the stops trying to justify Preziosis bastard creation that even Caseys results deteriorated on, but to bring forward the 2016 bike by 5 years really is something..you sure you don't mean D(desmo)-16(valves)? tut-tut..

Anyway..didn't Stoners fortunes change at Aragon last year after a positional change on the bike..and that was after two years on it.

The bike must be designed around the Bridgestone tyres that MotoGP uses, period, end of story. It's obvious that Ducati cannot make the most of the tyres with their current chassis or chassis's. It just doesn't work. In order to get the most of those tyres they are going to have to become Japanese in terms of chassis. There is just no way around it. Bridgestone has to build their spec tyres for the bulk of the bikes and the bulk of them are Japanese and the Japanese all use some form of a twin spar chassis.

Ducati, with any rider, could continue to use their engine stressed member design and it would not win a championship. In 2007, on the Trellis, Casey won I think 10 races. The next year 6, in 2008. 2009 was the big switch to carbon fiber and they won only 4, then only 3 in 2010. So there was a downward trend every year or backward trend, pick.

Now if Ducati could have tyres developed for them, by Bridgestone, I think this would solve at least part of the issues they are having but this cannot be done with the spec tyre rule. But solving this problem cannot be done with different tyres so they must change to a chassis design at least similar to the Japanese to get the most out of the tyres.

Burgess and Rossi are seasoned enough to evaluate a bike during a few test sessions and know what it is capable of. I don't know for sure but it seems like they abandoned this concept early on because they knew it wouldn't work, not against the 2011 Hondas and Yamahas.

Ducati has gone a different direction, starting in 2009, and it hasn't worked for any Ducati rider, including Stoner. A few wins and a bunch of crashes a championship does not make. If anything they should have listened to Stoner over the last few years instead they are 3 years down a development path that they should have never started with in the first place. It has taken Rossi and Burgess to change their minds as they probably wouldn't have listened to anyone else in the paddock, not even the guy and team that won a championship for them.

I don't see this as a Rossi failure by any means. He's led development for 10 years on his bikes with respective mfr's and it has always worked....even Lorenzo switching back to the 2010 M1 chassis that Rossi/Burgess developed with their engineers. Preziosi and Ducati need to listen and act on VR/JB's input and they will start to turn around. Ducati's stubbornness or reluctance to change is why they are in this mess.

For those who think they should have stuck with the original bike at the beginning of the season, well I disagree. That bike, against these 2011 212v's and M1's would have lost the championship convincingly. Stoner would have probably done better on it than Rossi this year, after all him and his crew had 4 years experience on it, but I doubt he would have managed much more on it. The bike did not improve over the winter at all while the other mfr's have moved forward and in Honda's case, a big move forward. Even Suzuki is on par or better than the GP11 this year.

BrickTop totally agree With you about the Bridgestones. When the tires were free and not spec you could build tires for the Ducati. Now they cannot. What I don't understand since Ducati has more bikes on the grid they should have a tire that would work for them. But look at what Bridgestone said on Sunday. The drivers got the tires that they wanted and that's why they didn't last the race. Now I don't think that is the right thing to say. You are suppose to make tires that last a race and that are safe! This year I think Bridgestone has failed. They should look at what Pirelli has done in F1 and in WSBK. It has been a great year for both series and you don't hear anyone complaining about tire issues. If Bridgestone cannot deliver a tire for all Bikes then they should step down.

I really think the main issue with Ducati is that they cannot get the bike to work with the tires and not as much the Carbon chassis. Also the testing should be open to a lot more days so you could try some new ideas.

Also wanted to say. What I'd the 1199 Sbk has the right tires and works. What does that say? I spoke with Troy Bayless at a Ducati DRE and he told me the bike is fast but at the second test it was just to hot to get any good feed back. If the bike works in Wsbk the it shows that Motogp is not a prototype series but a Deltabox only championship!

means that it is not really up to the tire manufacturer to adapt to all the bikes rather that up to the bike manufacturers to adapt to the unique tire.
Obviously Bridgestone has to take into account the characteristics of the current bikes to design a tire suitable for everybody, which I believe is the case, but then it is up to every manufacturer to tailor his bike to the tires provided.

The tires in 2011 are vastly identical to the ones brought in 2010, except for the introduction of asymmetric tires at some tracks, and not really different from the ones brought in 2009.
I don't see any data to back up the "unsuitability" of BS tires with the Ducati.
In 2009 and 2010:
Marlboro Ducati earned 7 wins, 19 podiums and 7 poles
Repsol Honda got 7 wins, 28 podiums and 7 poles.

Is anybody claiming that the Bridgestone tires are not suited to the Honda?
Was anybody claiming in 2009 or 2010 that the tires were not suitable for the Ducati?

in saying this has very little, or nothing to do with Bridgestone. Ducati, out of all manufacturers, should know Bridgestone from the inside out with their eyes closed.

Yet another red herring forlornly hung out there by the apologists. Tyres are all black and round, the manufacture of which in no small part remains something of a black art. They are mounted on motorcycles with similar power outputs and weight, circulating at similar lap times. Engine delivery characteristics might have something to do with wear characteristics, but all the machines on the grid have some form of long bang crank throws.

We have already seen a couple of times this year on the most neutral handling machine of the lot - the factory M1's - just how dramatically machine set-up affects tyre wear. How often do we hear riders state this or that wheel was feeling vague until we did this, then bang confidence.

The overnight factory specials of past years were primarily track rather than machine specific, before someone starts on that one.

As Frenchie said Bridgestone are getting feedback across the entire grid to improve the breed.

I really do not understand what Rossi and Burgess are doing. They comprehensively tested the GP11.9 at Brno trying all manner of options and professed a better understanding of the machine, only to promptly junk it a couple of races later?! For sure lack of testing time has hurt them, but primarily because they didn't do a thorough enough job of understanding the GP11.

Tyres are not the heart of Ducati's issue, nor the chassis, there's a bigger component that's contributing most to Ducati's lacklustre year.

And if they had stuck with the original bike this year you think it was a championship cable machine? I don't, because it wasn't last year in 2010, or in 2009. In both years Casey crashed an awful lot, so much, that his championship chances were ruined.

The way I see it, a couple of wins is failure because you did not win the championship. So everybody wants to point at Valentino, let's point at Stoner too then. Stoner did not win the championship last year, the year before, or the year before that. 10, 6, 4, 3. So what would this year had been, perhaps 1 win to speculate with Casey on board. Going by history, he would have lost the championship this year like he did the three years before.

Winning 1 or 2 races is still failure. When you lose, you lose. So the 3 or 4 win mentality was abandoned and a decision was made to change the bike, or try to change it.

There are no apologies for Valentino. He made this decision to switch so it's on him, JB, and Preziosi to deliver.

Why just ride the bike they were given at the beginning of the season when it hadn't been in the championship hunt since they went with the CF chassis in 2009? Doesn't make much sense to me. Sounds like a way to bend and twist things around to bash the Italian.

Now I'll have mine. Given the mature RCV and M1 are little changed from 2010 and given the GP16 was a winning machine at the end of 2010, and given that Stoner as a rider has matured 2011. I speculate - with a little more assistance from Ducati (not Rossi levels of course) that Stoner would've won eight races on the GP16 by this stage of the season and you'd all be bleating about how good the Ducati is once more. Why not?

My alternate reality is just as potentially feasible as yours.

"So the 3 or 4 win mentality was abandoned"? Rossi, Burgess and Ducati have lurched from one knee jerk reaction decision to another this season and can't even get the thing on the box without the assistance of race direction. Rossi so disparaging of the GP11.9 he was thinking of swapping back to the GP11. Thorough test of the GP11.9 at Brno to get a fuller understanding of the machine - abandoned two races later. Now apparently he's never been comfortable on the GP16 and will look to change his riding position - 10 months down the line he comes to this revelation?

Not so much bending and twisting Bricktop as flipping and flopping in the Ducati frying pan is Mr Rossi.

Unless you are truly Nostradamus and can see futures and alternate futures I'd have to disagree. I think eight Stoner wins on a GP10, 11, 11.x would be a difficult to see and possibly only by fanboy tinted spectacles. I have no doubt he would have done better than Rossi& team. The general and specific Ducati trend would not support that prediction while the trend of the Yamaha and Honda riders this year (even sans Stoner) would have made that even more dubious. In this alternate universe where Stoner rides a Ducati in 2011 would also have Rossi on a Yamaha or Honda to complicate things.

BTW I refute the claims that the Honda is unchanged from 2010. It takes a bit of selective sight to see it that way. Stoner, Dani, and Nakamoto-san have all stated that it wasn't a great change that happened but a culmination of many small changes that produced the great leap they are now enjoying. So, no big direction change but fitting the final pieces of the puzzle together to make a greater sum than the parts.

Wasn't that a big change, maybe not in the complete package sense but the advantages it gained everyone was crying foul play at Honda. Everyone else was trying to develop something similar. It is always the little things that make the big differences in MotoGP.

After all we are talking from race to race about 1/10ths of seconds in the lap times, which over 22-32 laps become 6-8 seconds at the checkered flag.

For 2012 Honda are offering satellite leasers of the RCV the gearbox as an extra. The price is rumoured to be in the region of Euro 700,000..

So in your reality, not only do Ducati reverse the trend of the last three years - but the Ducati returns to the form that it had to win the title; despite the advancement Honda has made? In this reality has Rossi returned to Honda instead and Stoner is beating him regardless? Really?

It's no more Rossi's fault that Stoner couldn't convince Ducati to change the bike that it is Stoner's. Stoner left Ducati because he couldn't win the title on the Ducati - had he thought he could of, he would have stayed. So what does that say for what Stoner thought of the chances of the Ducati this year?

I don't really believe that Rossi thought that he would win the title first time out on the Ducati. Obviously, the challenge that awaited him and JB was more than they thought. However rather than criticising them for trying to make changes that they think will improve the bike, he should be applauded for not circulating and taking home Ducati's money.

As much as you may delight in telling everyone that Ducati will ruin Rossi - it won't. He's financially set for life and will walk away as probably the most famous motorcycle racer of all time with a legion of life long fans. The blame will be led firmly at Ducati's door. I doubt this bothers Stoner; so the question is why it bothers you so much?

in case you didn't realise it, is to point out the futility of Bricktop's speculation that Stoner would win one maybe two races only if GP16 mounted 2011. It's immpossible to say.

Lets not forget Stoner's 2009 season was wrecked by chundering in his helmet and missing races until diagnosed. Less wins were a trend, but a slight one built on shaky ground.

The fact remains the RCV and M1 are little changed from 2010 though. Laps times where comparable back this up (outside of weather/temp differences and asymmetric tyres). The variable that makes the Honda look so much better is Stoner.

Dear Sir: you also stated :"Tyres are not the heart of Ducati's issue, nor the chassis, there's a bigger component that's contributing most to Ducati's lacklustre year."

But according to every exper/pundit and racer that has ridden that bike, the problem is indeed the chassis. You seem to have this seething hatred of Rossi that comes out in all your comments;you state: " I really do not understand what Rossi and Burgess are doing". Really?? They are trying to fix a bike that will not handle, it's as simple as that.

I think you are employing confirmation bias in most of your comments. It is no real criticism as it is a very human trait. We all do it. The key is realising that we are prone to it.


(Bikesport News Interview)
"When we had the carbon frame they already had an aluminium one they were testing. Everyone is saying bad things about the carbon fibre but you didn't ride the trellis frame. The carbon is a much better bike, we made improvements every year. Last year was the only year we struggled a lot through most of the season until the end and then I believed we had a bike that could win every race. To me the bike is not that bad. Many people criticise the carbon frame but the carbon frame is not the problem."

(Superbikeplanet.com Interview)
"I don't feel that it's that much different," Stoner said one night at Indianapolis. "You set the bike up for the way that the bike rides, every bike you ride is different. Each chassis is going to feel and react in a different way. Carbon fiber doesn't feel the way that people expect it to feel—it's not a stiff and rigid bike. The bike still moves and bucks and weaves. You saw it, we never really fixed it, just reduced it."

Should I keep going? You cant maintain the statement: "every expert/pundit and racer that has ridden that bike..." with Casey on the opposite side of the fence.

"We never really fixed it, just reduced it" is not really unalloyed praise. Nor is saying that the carbon frame is much better than the trellis the same as saying the carbon frame is good.

He's also on the record saying he was frustrated that Ducati didn't have the resources to fix the problems the bike had, and has made it pretty clear he thinks the Honda is a better bike.

when he and his team got it right the CF GP16 was very good indeed. I don't deny it's a difficult machine with a narrower range of optimum set-up parameters than the others but there's a key in there somewhere. Given the hype we hear about Rossi and Burgess you would've at least thought they'd get the thing in the lock even if they haven't managed to turn the barrels. I'm as astounded as the next man as to the magnitude of Rossi's Ducati failure.

Casey only crashed once on race day in 09, and even then you could argue that the crash in Valencia didn't count since it was a cold tyre crash on the warm-up lap. It was 2010 when Ducati truly slumped.

There are too many variables involved to draw any conclusions from the stats you present other than the tires can work for different machines. This year, last year, the year before, etc, etc; pretty much the entire of the BS control tire/800cc era the effect and effectiveness of the tire often would come down to selection and setup. Even on identical machines in a team under identical conditions the correct setup was the difference between fighting for a win, podium, or simply bringing it home upright. Setup has been critical. There wasn't much in the way of riding around problems to take a win. That's why it seemed such a toss up between which of the 4 aliens would dominate a race weekend. Whoever nailed an ideal setup best and soonest was in for the win. As Casey demonstrated in years' past if he got a workable setup the Ducati was a formidable weapon. If not he struggled and risked binning it. Then as now setting the Ducati up has been something of a mystery.

I agree with you about the tires being the driving factor for bike design although I think that is putting the cart before the horse.

>>For those who think they should have stuck with the original bike at the beginning of the season, well I disagree

According to motogp.com at Aragon Stoner's overall race time on the Honda was 1 sec SLOWER than his time last year on the Ducati. Hayden's race time was over 20 sec slower this year than last. BS said they were on the same tires. Hayden is performing worse than last year across the board. The conclusion I can draw from this is that the 2010 season ending Ducati performs better than the current version.

Honda did not make a big leap forward this year with bike performance but they did with the rider. The 2011 RCV is very close to the season ending 2010 RCV. The beginning of 2010 RCV was a shaking mess but by end of year Pedrosa was flying on it and if it weren't for a sticky throttle he would have given Lorenzo a run for his money. In terms of performance Pedrosa and Dovi are about where they were last year, it is Stoner that has raised the bar.


Expand the testing! Testing was limited to cut down on costs... Well now you have two opposite ends of the spectrum - Ducati spending who knows how much to get it right (without anything to show for it as of yet) and Suzuki obviously spending not much, if anything (no word on a 1000cc bike). Let the factories have more testing with their primary riders so they can get adequate feedback. I've never really understood what you can glean from test riders that are circulating the track at 3-5 seconds off the pace of the full time riders.

Michael Scott suggested it in the last edition of gpweek and it makes perfect sense.
By testing the monday after the race the expense is limited, since everyone is already on site, and the testing is very meaningful since you've already 3 days of data on the track and can directly compare testing times with times during the race weekend (with hopefully similar weather conditions).

A full day of testing the monday after a race would be very effective for all the data they could analyze, plus the costs would be greatly reduced. Think about the races where they make a change and it doesn't work out, then they could try it on monday and see the difference. Wasn't there a race recently that Lorenzo used a softer tire than the other top riders and it was what caused him to drop down the order?

How is it that everybody seems to accept that The Ducati is at fault and not Rossi? After all he is 32 which is getting on a bit as a racer, was getting regularly beaten last year by his team mate on the same bike and the fact that Abraham and Barbera are regularly outpacing him in practice on un-tweaked Ducatis. Time to move over to Superbikes Valentino and let a younger rider sort out the Ducati. 'It is hard to judge the potential of the Ducati as Stoner wasn't trying' Rossi stated a year ago, perhaps now it is hard to judge this year's Ducati as Rossi has had his day.

...32 when he had his best year ever, winning 12 of 15 races in 1997, and he still had one more title in him after that.

I don't think you can intelligently argue that 2010 was all that bad a year for Rossi in terms of results. He got two wins and 10 podiums, one and nine of which came after at least one of two pretty serious injuries. Sure, Lorenzo beat him most weekends... but the only race last year where Rossi wasn't affected by injury was Qatar, and he finished in front of Lorenzo there.

No argument that he put his foot in his mouth where Stoner and Ducati were concerned. I suppose you've never been wrong before...

At any rate, ask Nicky Hayden if he thinks Ducati's improving...

Lorenzo missed most of winter testing due to a hand injury, and he carried that into Qatar where he only finished a second behind Rossi. Even Doviziso passed Rossi at one point, so it showed how much Honda had caught up by that point.

Let admit that Rossi is finished, and not able to be fast ... ok

Consequently, Hayden is finished too

So here we are, which pilot do you propose ? Simo ? Iannone ? Barbera ? Except Stoner, which pilot is able to be fast with this bike ?

If Rossi/Burgess/Ducati are not able to fix the bike at least for mid season next year, we can say goodbye to Ducati in motogp

With the money Philip Morris brings due to Rossi's presence, it is their only chance to fix the bike, Stoner is gone, move on.

For the moment, it looks more like a panic move than an ingeneering pragmatic progress ... but who knows ...

Anti Rossi fans are quite funny ... the guy is 9 times champion, only 32 years old, and he lost 1 second per lap during the winter ?

Come on, it reminds me the jokes on Schumi's return ... guess who is in front of one of the best young F1 drivers (Rosberg) in the championship ?

"Don't sell the bear's skin before you kill it" (french expression)

most accept that theory because all of the Ducati's have slipped towards the back of the grid. If the two factory bikes weren't fighting with the other manufacturers' satellite bikes and the satellite Ducati's didn't look like a Ducati dealership at the back of the grid we might be taking a more circumspect look at Mr Rossi. He's sucking right now for sure but it's hard to tell how much. Kind of like testing the suction of a vacuum cleaner inside of a tornado.
I hate coming off like a Rossi defender but for some reason the bleacher vultures commentary here is really getting in the way of appreciating the struggle. I won't cry if Rossi never wins another championship nor am I particular fan of Ducati (Honda owner here) but I am rooting for Ducati as a whole to overcome this challenge and make a lot of very talented riders more competitive than they are at present.

Another quality post from you, grahluk.

I too am a Honda man but I want to see the Ducati competitive, and sooner rather than later, and not just for Rossi - I like Hayden, and RdP, and Abrahams (am I the first person here to admit to liking Karel? : )

My take is not that Rossi has lost his talent, which has on occasion been outweighed by his ambition ; ) nor even his mojo. I think he has just lost confidence in the bike altogether. Combine that with a 2010 that saw him carrying a serious injury for the first time in his career, and my guess is that we are simply seeing a rider who needs to take a step back and get himself together for another fullblown tilt at the title. He is not infallible...

Worst case scenario is that he does a Haga and never fully comes back to the racer he was, let's hope this is not the case.

Very interesting comments relating Ducati's chassis problems to the tires. This is one facet of the problem, lack of testing being another, afflicting MotoGP today. The idea of a single-supplier for tires in a competition is basically flawed. Without competition the focus of the tire manufacturer (TM) can be whatever it wishes as long as riders don't get killed with any regularity. Research and production are expensive and the TM needs to justify the cost of racing just like anything else. There are 3 ways to do this: 1. Advertising 2. Technical progress and 3. Training personnel. What about Profit? Charging teams (for a great profit) historically doesn't work in a one supplier series. Let's look at the advertising. Last year Bridgestone's press releases were all aglow with how their tires handled a wide range of operating environments in MotoGP. This year with the riders complaining (justifiably) about warm-up issues the tone has shifted to the breaking of lap and race records. I wonder if the tires being designed for next season will be influenced by this issue with Ducati, i. e. , an emphasis on a more durable tire with a lower grip level which will be more compatiable with a wide range of chassis.. The point being that someone is going to win on a Bridgestone tire so lets stifle the complaints and focus attention on the winning tire part. Just a thought.

Next year maximum displacement is 1000cc. There is always discussion that some manufacturers are not testing with maximum displacement. So is it allowed to test with for example an 810cc engine during these tests now?
Perhaps a loophole for Ducati to solve their current issues.

I don't know what Rossi and Burgess will achieve, but if they don't score another podium till the end of the season, this will be Ducati's worst result since they joined moto gp in 2003. Fact.

Since the wisdom of Filippo and Stoner was placed to the side in eagerness to please Rossi, Ducati could have tried another route in order to test the parts thrown at the different GP11s created throughout this year! Ducati could have thrown more MotoGP Riders at the Ducati Dilema and not just Rossi. Give each team a different variation of the GP11 (at the end of the season/after remaining 4 races) especially Karel and Randy to see how they perform on them. Valuable Test days were used by Rossi just to tell Ducati to make a Japanese-styled frame. One rider would be the control for comparisons. They could have 2 bikes in each garage. Since the Ducatis were at the back of the grid most of the time anyway... use free-practice sessions to gain a better direction. Riders with less fear of falling may have better results than Rossi in pushing the bike and finding the limit(s). Then let Rossi take it from there by using the data to see which variation he'd try himself! Ducati has thrown just about everything else at the problem... throw some racers at it too!

The satellite teams are paying a large amount of money to lease bikes from Ducati. These teams' sponsers (who provide said money) may not be very amused if their cash is being diverted to subsidise Ducati's R&D budget, instead of the team concentrating their efforts on placing as highly as possible (not everyone is realistically aiming for the podium).

however the very reason this won't happen is because Vale won't allow teammates to be faster than him. Everyone knows what happened at Yamaha...The whole Jorge Lorenzo receiving equal parts that was a huge deal in JL's contract vs. Rossi's backstage demands. I'm still a Rossi fan, but in this aspect I am not.

It was the Rossi "I must get the best parts" factor that was supposed to explain why Edwards was never able to beat him.
So why are the Tech 3 bikes so far behind the factory bikes this year? If they have the 2010 chassis, it's the same one Jorge is using. Top speeds are all about the same I think, allowing for rider sizes, so the power differences can't be so much.

I believe David has stated here many times that the Factory teams have the BEST electronics guys compared to the satellite teams, and is hence a major reason why Tech 3 has always finished below the works bikes. It would also explain why so often last year and even this year that at some particular tracks Ben Spies and Colin Edwards would either qualify or race ridiculously close to the front however could not challenge the factory teams for the win, even though it was clear from the beginning of the race that the chassis was set up just perfect, the bike just couldn't make the most potential of the fuel that the Works bikes could.

And very sad for the MotoGP circus.

Fix - Give them all the same ECU and all the fuel they want. Stoner may / probably still win, but my guess is that he will have his hands full doing it (if he does), and we will all benifit from that.

Just think of the cost savings and improvement in competition that would ensue.

There's a few arguments here that just don't make sense.

Some say the Ducati has been becoming uncompetitive for the last few years, as though it's some sort of justification of Rossi's situation. Sure, last year Stoner struggled for most of the year, but at Aragon they found a solution and started winning races. There can be no doubt that by the end of the year the Duc was well and truly on the pace and a race winning bike. So you can't really say that Rossi inherited a bad bike, because by the end of last year, it wasn't. I wonder if they tried switching back to Stoner's 2010 chassis during all these changes this year?

Then there's this theory that Rossi is some sort of genius at bike development. Throughout his early career in the lower classes he rode factory Aprilias, which ere the bike to be on if you wanted to win. Not much to be done there. Then he inherited Mick Doohan's championship winning 500 along with his mechanical team. Again... not much to do there. Honda's first 1000cc GP bike was the best in the field straight out of the box. He went to Yamaha, which seems to be where this reputation as a developer was built, but people forget that the Yamaha was already a race winning bike at the hands of much lesser racers that Rossi, and they had beaten the Rossi/Honda combination on it, so how bad can it have been? So does he really have these bike development skills he is credited with?

People keep talking about some massive "leap" that Honda has made this year. What is that exactly? HRC have said themselves the bike is essentially the same as last year. The main change is putting Casey's arse on it. Early in the year everyone was saying Casey's speed was due to the gearbox, but that has now pretty much been ruled out as the reason for his success. Dani's race times this year aren't that much different than last year, and some would say some improvement can simply be put down to having a teammate that is kicking your arse. At Aragon Casey dominated from the first lap, yet his race winning time was a second slower than the time he set last year on the Ducati. Dani's time was almost identical from year to year.

So that would suggest two things... one is that the Honda is not that much improved from last year at all, despite what everyone says, and also that Rossi's bike development reputation must be questioned, since he's basically "developed" 30 seconds a race out of the bike. In fact, you could make the argument that if Casey Stoner had ridden the GP10 last weekend at Aragon he would have still won the race and even beaten himself on the Honda.

I'm sure that some of the things people say that seem to be just accepted truths of GP are actually myths, led largely by the media. If you say it often enough, it must be true right?

Going by the numbers from last year, Casey would have been more likely to lowside out of the race than win it if he was still on the Ducati. See how useless this stuff can look? Very few people believe the Honda is at the same level as last year and there is a lot of evidence to suggest the Ducati is worse. I'm not slagging Stoner, he's ruling it right now. The polemic is getting a little tiresome though.

There's a lot of gymnastics going on to try and prove that Stoner is the second coming and Rossi is an elaborate fraud. I think most people here see it as more complicated than that.

You said it better in fewer words than I. Brevity is the soul of wit they say. Cheers.

The only thing that can be said for sure is that Rossi makes Ducati look worse that it actually is. Sure the bike has problems, sure there is strong competition, but one podium for the hole season - Ducati is not that bad and never was, even before Stoner came along.

Boy this is getting old. Apart from the circular logic of the Rossi hate club yes, it's a pretty well reasoned view that the Ducati has been uncompetitive for the last few years and that the Hondas this year are a notch above everything else on the grid. Casey's results with the Ducati are an anomaly and say much about his talent. His results this year on the Honda say even more about how much of a sandbag the Ducati has become. Don't believe me? That's ok. I'm just another opinion on the internet. Why don't you take Casey Stoner's opinion on the subject; or Pedrosa's; or Lorenzo's? In fact just watch the post Aragon press conference. In the Q&A Lorenzo is asked his opinion on the Honda compared to the other bikes since he's had such a good view of them. Without making excuses he concedes that they made a step at the end of last year and a bigger one this year. Gracious resignation seems to be his current demeanor and it's not because he's riding badly. He's riding very hard. He gives full props to both the Honda riders, teams, and the advances the bike has made. The bike is not unchanged. Casey was then asked in the same conference about the comment by Pedrosa that it's easier for him to win on the bike he developed. The questioner clearly was looking to get a controversial response; maybe even provoke some animosity between the team mates. Casey magnanimously agreed and credited Dani for the input he must have obviously made to make the Honda the bike Casey enjoys winning on. He is then asked why he then went a second faster the year before on the Ducati on essentially the same tires. Casey was very direct in saying it was the track that was destroying the tires this year in a way it had not the year before. He added that after 1/3 race distance he was only managing a gap so he wasn't pushing 100% and that Dani was pressuring him much more the year before and thus had to ride the Ducati much harder than the Honda. He ended by describing how it was riding the Honda around the track and quote "but for sure I'm saying that the Honda is better. For sure". So don't believe what everyone says but maybe listen to the man with direct successful results on both the Honda and Ducati. He supports the argument that troubles you.

In fact perversely, Stoner has been Ducati's biggest problem. If there was no Stoner in 2007 and since, Ducati would have known that they had a big problem. They would have been midfield runners at best most of the time, even in 2007. And it is very likely that Rossi would not have gone to Ducati.

Maybe Stoner has just played the ultimate mind game. Through Stoner's success Rossi was persuaded to go to Ducati, only to find that the Ducati was a one rider bike, which has effectively taken Rossi out of the competition this year.

Well it was because of Stoner's success that Rossi threw the toys out of the cot and demanded Bridgestone tyres... so if Stoner is playing mind games he certainly plays them at a much higher level than his rivals! A bit like his racing, really.

Not to mention that Rossi's demand for the same tyres pretty much created the single tyre rule, thus levelling the field and taking away the edge Rossi was seeking.

That toy throwing session proved to be more costly than any of Rossi's other whines/excuses/media manipulation.. and I'd bet he never dreamed that things could end up the way that they are now.

It's just karma is all. His deficit caught up with him.. and continues to do so.

That move was so costly it meant he only went on to win another 2 World Championships. He must be absolutely gutted.

I agree with your comments, but it really is easier than everyone is making it out to be. At the end of the preseason, or maybe it was just after Qatar, CS said, and I am paraphrasing here, "barring any misfortune (think Rossi 2010 shoulder/leg, Pedrosa end of last year, Simo event this year) if I don't win the title this year its on me". He knew he was the fastest rider on the Honda and that the Honda was clearly the bike to be on.

That is why after he caught and passed Lorenzo in the points (misfortune at Jerez) I thought the championship was decided (again barring shenanigans). Only to find out intermittently that many people apparently still think we have a race for the title just because Casey gets a 3rd place recently. He even goes on to say why it happened but the conspiracy theorists never paid those comments any attention. No, it had to be something bigger.

I find it ridiculous and a bit amusing that the most direct and honest rider on the grid (when dealing with the media) can tell us everything we need to know and yet some of us still call BS and make up stories.

It is funny how us fans can add drama where it's not necessary or even invent it if not present. This article was about the Ducati's development which at this point of the championship is where all the drama is. The Stoner/Repsol Honda package was formidable from day one. There's been an easy grin on Casey's face from the first day of testing almost continuously up through the Aragon race. Everyone's trying to chip at different angles of where the edge is. Is it the bike? Is it Casey? It's clearly that intangible collection of things all working perfectly to show the kind of form he has this year. It is the bike that's a notch better than the competition. It is the rider's form and attitude that is more assured than the rest of the riders. It is the team that gets a good setup early and adjusts quickly to conditions and rider feedback. It is the factory and engineers who supply the best tools to make all of the above easier. That's why they call it the package. Casey has it this year. Lorenzo had it last year. Rossi has had it several years over his career. Just admire it without having to sling crap at the other riders and manufacturers. I can cheer on Casey/Honda while at the same time cross my fingers that Ducati start making headway from all the effort they are making.

The Satellite teams should get a kick-back for the Ducati machines being at the rear of the grid most of the season! Rossi's ego needs to be placed to the side aswell and let the other Ducati riders help atleast in an effort to save time. The satellite teams are wasting money with all the negative publicity. Rossi isn't hurting for money and he has plenty of time for Ducati to make him another M1 or RCV. I do like the fact that Rossi has been honest about the journey/progress he's had with the different variations but how much more money is the 'problem' going to swallow before Marlboro flush the toilet? The year-end testing with the complete twin-spar will be very interesting. What will Ducati do next if/when that variation fail? Will they have time to start completely over from the ground up? Have they already started? Input anyone...

In F1, fans always want to get rid of the technical director as soon as their team doesn't get the fastest time in FP1.

In comparison, I haven't heard anyone say anything negative about Preziosi and his ability to design a quick bike.

Quoting fanatic:
>> Then there's this theory that Rossi is some sort of genius at bike development. (...) I'm sure that some of the things people say that seem to be just accepted truths of GP are actually myths, led largely by the media. If you say it often enough, it must be true right? <<

Well, the undeniable truth is that the guy delivered outstanding results for pretty much every one of his ~15 years at the worldwide scene of GP. He won no matter which bike, which team, which crew, or which class, with and without silly electronic rider assistances... until the recent "Ducati saga" happened.
...for those that haven't liked him before, it sure can make him seem suspicious and even hated, I guess...

Regarding Rossi's skills as a vital piece for development of some of the most influential GP bikes of the last decade, if the myriad of articles, stats and history don't speak for themselves, then I would still believe in the people that worked with Rossi, which have expressed an opinion during and after that time.

Rossano Brazzi, Jeremy Burgess, Masao Furusawa and Lin Jarvis (including some well known ex-racers) are all serious people, hugely credited professionals, well respected in the scene for decades. They have expressed their honest opinion regarding Rossi.
Not only recently but even before he had written the history books, the guy was already being mentioned for having a unique combination of skills, not just his control of the bike, speed or overtake tactics, but an unusual precision for detailed feedback, valuable for setting up the bike and also very precious for R&D.

Doubting the word of people who assisted more than one past and present "alien" (more than one generation of racers and racebikes on factory teams), who are clearly capable of making that kind of judgement - and have praised him for free - and, instead, to favor some biased opinions of the armchair brigade is beyond belief.

Are FTR the former Team Roberts engineers ?

My oh my. What a sensitive lot some of you Rossi lovers are. Yes, Rossi was a genius, one of the best all-time riders ever plus huge dollops of charm, humour and intelligence thrown in for good measure. But like all sportsmen there is always going to be a point in your career where you have reached the peak and there is only one way to go. Nobody wants to see him fail. He was always great entertainment value. He has made MotoGP a far bigger show than it would ever have been without him. The fall-out when Rossi leaves will be immense. But in judging whether or not Rossi has had his day just look at two facts. 1. He was regularly beaten by his team mate last year when he was injury-free and 2. He is regularly being beaten by in practice times by riders on stock Ducatis.

As posted by Insider: " 1. He was regularly beaten by his team mate last year when he was injury-free".
Can you please let me know when this happened?
Rossi got shoulder injury just after 1st race and he crashed heavily during Mugello's practice.

P.S.: This is the best website where you can read about Motogp all day long. I'm recommending this to anyone who I meet and talk about Motogp. Lots of information to be taken from here.

Rossi has his place in history already and this Ducati dilema will only be a stain on his record. However, if Rossi, JB, and Ducati can turn this year around to them being up-front, winning, and challenging for the Championship... They will all be HEROES once again. Rossi is at a point in his career that is very unfamiliar and they are at a loss. Ducati traditions has been cast aside for a common goal... Winning is Everything. Throughout Rossi's career, he's had the edge on equipment like Marquez is having now in Moto2. So when they 'push' themselves and their bikes... they look like Stoner on the RCV. But now, Rossi is on inferior equipment to the leaders and even the mid-pack racers at times! As always, Rossi wants the best parts first and solely. Having the edge starts with being ahead of the other Ducati riders! The idea is to build a bike everyone can ride... but the main goal is to build a bike that Rossi (alone) can win on. Then the other riders will need to adapt to the bike if they can. Rossi is Rossi... love him or not. On a side note, Stoner's comments throughout the season are indirect digs at Ducati and Rossi's efforts compared to how Ducati treated him and the immediate success he's having on the Honda. Gotta love CS too. Casey is having the season of his life with ease. Giving credit to all that's helped him, even to Dani for his input each year on the Honda's development. I can't wait to see/hear CS's comments/interviews after the next 2 races.

heh... "mojo".
The "mojo" has been missing at Ducati (heck, and that comes from a Ducatista!), not really at Rossi.
I don't think anyone can pretend that he's going in his highest form, he might even have started the slow downhill but so what? ...he is still Rossi (enough said).

For years there's been heaps of those Ducati bikes in the MotoGP grid, and the total grid numbers in there have been ridiculous small for a long time.
The last time I saw, other than the really odd podium here and then by Hayden last year, noone else besides Casey was consistently placing that bike near the top 5 places, and it has been so for ages!

Seriously, which other rider and crew is better for the "fixing" task that IS needed, and who's willing to do that? (Casey isn't, Dovizioso isn't).
...and who else will want to select a Ducati as first choice if such "fix" doesn't happen, then improve considerably? (HEH... Karel Abraham and Hector Barbera?)
Does anyone understand the "business" problem Ducati may face with the D16 in MotoGP?
(perhaps becoming the modern iteration of the old 'el-cheapo' NSR500V, no?)

perhaps becoming the modern iteration of the old 'el-cheapo' NSR500V, no?

Nice parallel... although at least the Duc doesn't have the habit of locking up its gearbox.

The wonderfully part is that eventually TSR built a frame for the 500V, with a conventional two-sided swingarm.
It was said to improve the handling relative to the dogmatically mandated single-sided swinger it came with...

The introduction of CRT bikes may turn the prospect of leasing a satellite Ducati into dead duc anyway (pun intended), as teams could end up with similarly mediocre performance for a lot less money.

Of course, if FTR/Suter/Moriwaki/Kalex could persuade Ducati to lease them GP12 engines to go in their own frames, you'd end up with CRT PLUS!

The problem is that I'd doubt any factory would go for this, as it'd give CRT teams the power/electronic package of a factory (or at least satellite) MotoGP bike, but with double the number of engines to play with.

It has to be a production engine. If they fit a GP12 motor, they are no longer a CRT team and so they are limited to 6 motors and 21L.

Besides, it is (currently) built with mounts that would only work with a shoe-box frame, and presumably the extra weight & strength required to allow it to bear frame loads without flexing enough to cause seizures or broken cases.

I would have thought that the CRT, errr, rules (yes, I know) were that you COULD use production based engines, not that you had to, as long as you were willing for it to be 'claimed' (a stupid rule, but that's another story).

Of course, the 'we get to decide if you're CRT or not' clause could easily be used to put a stop to that.



Recently broke his own Mugello personal best on a bike he helped develop, won last time out in GP, still itches to go racing. Get him in on the project and beg him to wildcard.

true indeed... TB may be the only champion able to get Ducati to listen to his input other than Rossi. Something about those Austrians and the way they ride motor-bikes. Is it in the water over there or what? Ducati may have already asked Troy to come back (several times) and he continues to stay retired after leaving on a high-note. Smart man that Troy.

Andreas Meklau is the only one of note I can recall racing and winning on a Duke. I doubt he has that much pull at Ducati Corse.

Remember that Bayliss did not succeed on the 990 when he was riding it regularly.
He agreed to come back and do the wild-card ride at Valencia only if he could bring his SBK crew with him.

That was his one success. Moreover it was on the 990, which most agree was far more competitive for non-Stoner riders than the later versions of the 800, whether because it handles better or its competitors handled worse.

Now you might argue that if he'd always had the SBK team around him, things may have gone better. Again, it's one of those things we'll never know.

Oh, and since people seem to have missed Nostro's point : Bayliss and Stoner are from AustrALia, not Austria...

"it was on the 990, which most agree was far more competitive for non-Stoner riders than the later versions of the 800"

how can anybody state that given that Stoner never ever raced the 990 Ducati???

I said it was more competitive for riders who were not Stoner... and there were non-Stoner riders who rode it.
In empirical terms "there were more non-Stoner podiums on the 990 Ducati than on the 800 Ducati"...

What I could not say is whether Stoner would have done better or worse on it.

I was just trying to avoid the rejoinder "but the 800 was competitive, Casey won on it".

Stoner would be riding a screamer, if that word can even be applied to a V4, if he were riding for Ducati this year. He has said it and Hayden also was keen on the screamer. From day one the 'Big Bang' failure has resulted in understeer and has always been reported as such. The jump to the Gp11.2 or whatever it is called was based on testing the more powerful 1000 engine. Are any bells ringing yet?
Rossi jumped off a completely different motorcycle and did not spend any time trying to figure it out. He tried to change it into a Yamaha and he is still trying to do that. The Ducati has problems, but it has to be taken back to its peak trim first, and that is with the screamer engine. When Rossi gets used to riding that bike he can try improving it. This is not an attack on Rossi's riding ability. It is an attack on his engineering ability. When I ran a race team the first person I listened to was the stopwatch, the second was the sound of the exhaust. I never listened to a rider except to give them their placebo fix. Roberts was able to put them in their place the correct way http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2010/Dec/101207alancarter.htm

hehehe ...that small KR/team article is precious!

About your point on the two engine choices for firing order configuration, that's actually a possible hint right there, and I absolutely agree.

I suspect that Rossi ended up chosing the "Twin-Pulse" (the big-bang) maybe because it was more resemblant of the M1 crossplane crankshaft he had used ever since he was at Yamaha (similar "traits" or was he hoping so?).

I was surprised with that decision and thought he would go straight ahead for the "Screamer" without hesitation, not just for the slight increase in power but mostly because Casey and Hayden complained more than once about the "Twin-Pulse" causing some serious understeer with that chassis (Casey perhaps is surprised seeing the "Screamer" still not used... yet!).

It was said then that the "Twin Pulse" would provide a little better grip on the rear tyre, smoother acceleration and even provide better durability with tyres for a similar given performance.
I suppose that's kind of a moot point, but if the real problem of the bike is actually in the corners................

Well, you're a super-bad-ass dude then. Did your team win lots? More than the various teams Burgess has run, for example?
It's interesting that Rainey took the same philosophy to run his team... which was basically a failure, relative to the resources it had. Look at what happened to Tetsuya Harada when he was there.

First of all my comment about never listening to the riders was somewhat provocative, just trying to shake the branch.
Motorcycle racers are not normal people. They are egomaniacs. They come into the pit dripping adrenaline and try to tell you what is wrong. If you let them sleep on it they will come back the next day and go faster. These are the realities. I am trying to give the reader who has not been in this world a view that is a bit more critical. We tend to take everything at face value "Rossi said the screamer was no good and he is the GOAT". Consider this without all the emotional hype. Allowing Rossi to dictate the engine choice after a few slow laps at one track borders on ridiculous. However, good judgment becomes influenced by the 'legend of the GOAT' and all the other emotional elements, money and pressure that are involved. Many people think that the riders are some sort of set-up gods, when the reality is usually the opposite. They operate on confidence, when something is not working they have to find a reason that does not involve them. They must do this because if they blame themselves then it will affect that confidence.

I have worked with A grade motorcycle racers and these are my observations. Yes all my bikes and engines were winners, but I competed in Formula classes and the competition was weak, so it has little meaning. I am not comparing myself to Burgess, but I deserved that criticism, touche'.
cheers again

Unfortunately I was my own crew chief, which is probably like being one's own lawyer: "you have a fool for a client" :)

There has certainly been an unjustified deification of Rossi & Burgess: they are good at setting up bikes, but neither of them designs or builds them.
Otoh, to quote Agostini "Valentino is good at the set-up", so his view probably carries a bit more weight than the (too typical) young hot-shot who comes back into the pits, shouts in people's faces and kicks parts around because he's a second off the pace (shared that garage a few times).

In other words, what you say is often true, but maybe not always.

Empirically, JB/VR have have had the power to steer development (in the sense of saying yes or no to things offered) for the NSR500, the RCV211 and the M1 in both 800 and 990 guises. The results have been pretty good, both in terms of VR's results and the ability of others to use bikes that work for him. It may also turn out to be the case for CS, relative to what he had to work with.

Equally, it seems to be on record that Forcada felt Stoner didn't have sufficient experience to be trusted on set-up direction, and CS spent a fair amount of time on the floor. Forcada still seems to believe he was right and the Michelins were the problem, others have suggested that if the rider says he is grounding out the bike and you don't give him more ground clearance, you should accept some responsibility for them cartwheeling through the gravel. Things certainly got better when he went to Ducati, and the fact that he took Gabbarini with him to Honda suggests he thinks the change wasn't only due to Bridgestones.

well, the issue with screamer is the same with ducati.. you need to keep riding the bike at its peak.. one false move and your down.. so you either finish in podium, or you fail miserably... thats one thing ducati and Rossi are trying to fix... its good when your rider is young and full of adrenaline.. but Rossi is old, and needs a refined machine, cuz he falls down, he's done with his career.. and not listening to the rider sounds more like the LCR team.. its very very stupid cuz:

1. a person is riding the bike, not a robot.. so if he does not feel it right, then u shud not use it..

2. throwing anything possible at the rider and asking him to ride it will not help since each rider has his own style, and you need to suit his style... thats one of the reasons some of the best technological innovations int he world dont make it to the circuit..

Problem with Ducati is not stoner or Rossi, its Ducati Corse's decision to take a long stride in the name of carbon fiber... its an excellent technology and light years ahead of metal, but, all the riders from a young age train on metal chassis, and so interpreting the information is difficult. The reason why any rookie is performing better on the ducati is simply cuz he has no experience on metal frame bikes... so he gets used to the bike from day 1... but to get around the metal frame mentally after 10 years riding in the premier class is absolutely impossible...

I can create a bike with hub centered front wheel, carbon fiber chassis, engine as a stressed member, shaft drive, Paralever suspension etc etc... and create a rider who can ride it the best... (like what ducati did to stoner).... and i can get a world championship.. but i cannot repeat it with another rider... as the saying goes,.. 80% rider and 20% bike... Respect the person riding the bike and you automatically get results...

Those "rookies" in MotoGP all grew up racing metal chassis bikes elsewhere.

It can't be true saying that they have "no experience" with metal chassis bikes.

sure.. all the bikes on the grid have metal chassis, like 125 and 250 and 600.. but there's a big difference in the way you ride each bike because the dynamics of each motorcycle is different... right from corner forces to weight shifting is totally different for different bikes... and a guy coming new into motogp will have to basically learn from scratch about the bike... the only advantage world champions have is their meticulousness preparation strategy, which is pretty much evident in all world champions.. and thats one of the reasons why no one else except stoner has been able to ride that machine.. and thats the reason why they want valentino to develop a machine which most of the guys can ride...

A motorcycle is a bloody motorcycle. They are fundemantally the same in design. They all operate in fundementally the same way. I've raced steel framed Ducati's and aluminium beam framed Japanese machines. Yes the feel different but they're doing the same damn things on track, weight pitching fore and aft under braking and acceleration. Technique differences for each are subtle not huge.

Jeez the way some people go on here you'd think the GP16 had the feel of the Elf 500 with the handling characteristics of the 1984 NSR. We are talking about a motorcycle which is only a poofteenth behind the class leading machines.

What their lead rider somehow desperately needs to do (here comes a Dorna dispensation / rule change) is spend a few more days like he did at Brno turning the thing inside out and back again at a few tracks to fully understand the GP16 - perhaps back to backing the GP 11, 11.9 and 12.1. At the moment we seem to have this wishy washy despairing discarding of chassis' without fully understanding their nature.

its easy to say motorcycle is a motorcycle and everything behaves the same when you have absolutely no idea about the properties of the different materials, and the complicated dynamics of motorcycles on the track... its one thing to be a rider and another to be engineer.. you cannot be both...

Jarno Saarinen and Warren Willing are two guys who come to mind who've had a pretty deep understanding of how bikes function, and also been able to ride the wheels off them.

I've ridden motorcycles for thirty years and first raced in 1991 winning at club and national level. Currently in situational semi-retirement - probably likely to be that way for some time, if not permanently - but I'll never admit it to myself! I reckon I've got a pretty good idea actually.

you can ride motorcycles for 45 years more and still not understand the design process of a frame. You may know how to ride a bike fast around a circuit hands down, but never understand the dynamics from a engineers point of view... thats why i said you its difficult to be both... i know you got a pretty good idea about motorcycle handling, but motorcycle dynamics is different... I know all the swing arms are the same.. but dont tell this to a designer who designs the swing arm.. he might not take it lightly... and i can guarantee you, the entire design process is different for CF and metal... i work with composites and am an engineer... so just giving you an engineer's perspective...

i didnt mean to defame you or question your insights on motorcycles... but your statements on how every single motorcycle is the same, makes you sound very .....

You said it isn't possible to be both engineer and rider, which is much stronger than saying it's possible to be one without the other. Most Catholics are not pope, but it is possible to be pope and Catholic (reputedly).

yes i agree.. maybe i didnt put it the right way... and i meant a race rider, not a normal commuter... its tough to be racing and analysing the data from an engineering perspective..

And you know what they say about the word assume....Your original assertion had nothing to do with engineering. It was that chassis' of differing material construction require 'a big difference' in riding styles. To which I once more reply - nonsense! Unless of course you can describe these differences to me and convince me of the manner in which they affect the performance parameters of their respective chassis'.

in a nut shell your are saying CF and metal work the same way, and i say they dont... the simplest example is that the damping coefficient for CF is higher than the damping coefficient for metal, and hence any kinda vibration or response from the front end will be damped out completely... secondly, when the bike is taking a hard right, the number of vibration modes of the the chassis, i.e. the frame + swing arm + front end will be very different in the case of an anisotropic material compared to an isotropic material such as steel. various modes coming into picture means that there might me a superposition of modes leading to either wrong information or no information at all.. thirdly, due to the anisotropy of CF, stiffness can be controlled in some portions of the frame, i.e. wherever required.. the downside is that for a static structure this would be perfectly good, or heaven, but for a dynamic system, we still have not completely understood it. the impact of ply drop offs in a particular region can be damping out any vibration, or it can be reduction of local stiffness. in such a situation, both cases are undesirable... i can give more 10 more factors like this... the dynamic behaviour of CF structure and a metal structure will be very different.. which means to ride the CF you need to get around it.. the understeer issue might be inherent of CF, but casey got around it, and no other rider can... thats not his talent, thats his riding style... but Vale cannot afford to do that and so he's fixing it.. thats all!

however that was not what I was saying whatsoever - you're putting word in my mouth again! I was stating a motorcycle with telescopic forks and a rising rate rear suspension fundamentally respond (not exactly for the pedantic) on track in the same way regardless of the chassis material used. Yes there are different sensations (I've never ridden a CF framed machine) but differing sensations don't necessarily imply using a significantly different riding technique as you originally asserted and have not even attempted to answer above. Stoner looks the same on the Honda and the Ducati to me.

I know what my hands, feet and arse tell me, as does Mr Rossi. Perhaps his conditioned CPU simply needs a patch to reinterpret these CF derived sensations in a more reassuring manner?

theoretical dissertation? LOL, this is what i do for living Mr.nostrodamus... i can give you more detailed descriptions if you want... nothing is theoretical... if you use a telescopic forks made from metal, and a progressive or regressive rear suspension, your spring forces will be kind of similar.. but since most of the flexural and bending stresses are sustained by the frame, it will definitely act different, since you are using a different material. the modulus of steel and aluminum is very different, but both are isotropic and will behave pretty close to each other.. whereas CF is a totally different material and a change in local thickness in one section of the frame geometry will change the vibration mode of the structure completely...

so if the stiffness near the headstock is less, then it flexes too much to bring the tires into temperature... if your tire is not upto temp, then its difficult to get traction on the curve.. just because you use ohlins front and rear suspension, on a honda, a yamaha, a ducati and MV agusta, does not mean they are all the same, and the chassis geometry will not matter... if you use magnesium alloy, for frame, you need to recalculate every single force, reactions and moments acting on the frame... the stresses produced in the structure is a function of Young's modulus which is a material property and is different for different materials... i seriously cannot explain in a much simpler fashion!

btw do you understand english? i just answer why different materials behave differently.. by answering that, i mean to say, when your bike behaves differently, you need to adjust and ride differently.. this was implicit and am sorry you could't even notice that..

and thats exactly what i have been telling all along! Rossi cannot do it after riding in the premier class for 11 years... Its almost impossible.. you need to start with a CF chassis for that and thats what stoner did.. only stoner's style suited the CF... since you have never tried the CF i dont think you shud talk about interpreting informations... please talk about something which you know... i know a little bit abt composites, i just explained the entire thing for you.. you have not tried the CF, so dont sit think you can conquer the world tomorrow.... am done with this thread..

What you describe above is nothing more than commonsense, materials flex and react in different ways, most on here realise that. I didn't ask to read a technical manual, if I wanted to I would've grabbed the Motorcycle Handling and Chassis book on my bookshelf.

It may seem odd to you but as a racer I'm well aware of the various variables that affect the manner in which a motorcycle responds, from a tangible seat of the pants perspective, not the inside of a physics manual. The motorcycle is a dynamic device with an ever changing altitude and as such requires dynamic physical input from the rider with subtle variances to riding style as each track / corner dictates, but not as you stated BIG DIFFERENCES in style from one machine to another.

By talking around the question I'll take it you are unable to answer it.

i apologize if i was being rude.. i didnt mean to disrespect you or your experience.. but i had already mentioned i am not a racer, and i cannot answer it from the "pants" perspective.. i can only tell you the physics of it.. I told you already, with the change in behaviour of the chassis, one has to change his style... all bikes do not behave the same.. you need to change your style when the difference is behaviour is big.. this is what i have been saying all along.. and i explained the whole thing for you since you claimed that with a similar front and rear suspension, all chassis will behave same... i explained how that is wrong too...again, i answered your question, but your not able to see it.. i am sorry, i cannot reason any more...

Stoner didn't start with carbon fiber, he started MotoGP on an aluminium framed Honda in 2006 and then a steel framed Ducati in 2007 and 2008. The carbon fiber Ducati dates from 2009. Also the claim by some people that Stoner did well on the Ducati because he didn't have any previous experience on anything else is obviously bunk because of his first year on the 990 Honda.

And whether the Ducati's problem is CF or something else, like the engine configuration, is still not proven one way or the other. After all, only Stoner ever won with the steel framed Ducati in dry conditions. Melandri's disastrous year was on the steel framed Ducati. That suggests that the problem is something other than carbon fiber.

You are correct, the way that motorcycles with telescopic forks and rising-rate monoshock rear suspension respond is fundamentally the same. However, that is not where MotoGP setup is find. The teams and riders are working in that final 0.5 or 0.2% of feedback and setup, the hardest part, the most subtle part and the most crucial part. So even though they all fundamentally work the same way, that's irrelevant. It is the way they behave at the very extremes that matter. And this is probably why test riders don't provide the same level of feedback as the riders racing them.

the simplest example is that the damping coefficient for CF is higher than the damping coefficient for metal

I have read this many times in discussions of the Ducati chassis, but despite searching I've never found a reliable academic or engineering article discussing hysteresis/damping in CF, except when pushed to failure.

Do you have a source?

I've never ridden a CF motorcycle... have you?

Some time a ago a bicycle magazine wrapped a bunch of bicycle frames in paper and added weight to bring them to the same weight. Riders were then asked to comment on their feel.

Everyone recognised the old, thin tube steel frames as the most flexible. No one reliably felt any difference between modern aluminium and carbon frames. My own experience is that there is more difference between different brands of carbon fork, than between steel and carbon and aluminium per se.

i have not ridden a CF motorcycle, and i accepted it earlier... I explained how different the CF is from the metal.. From the different dynamic response i am only, "speculating" that you need to drive it differently... i dont have proof for it either... but i am sure the behaviour would be different from an engineering perspective.. and a CF bicycle is different from a CF motorcycle... the forces encountered are very different in magnitude, and i dont think its a good idea to compare them...

again, i dont know how different you need to ride, but i "speculated" from the fact that only stoner was able to ride, and no other rider managed to ride it...


here's a reference.. there are multiple ways of measuring the damping coefficient. the simplest would be stress wave propagation. you can see how different it is for metals itself... although it might seems like the numbers are not far apart, i.e. 0.002 and 0.001 for metals, the absolute displacement field of the structure is in the order of 10^-5 to 10^-6... if resonance occurs you might be able to notice the displacement field rising upto to a few mm... that is the maximum.. therefore the decimal place matters at the end of the day...

So from table 2, the longitudinal loss factor for steel is quoted as .02 to 0.3E-3, steel as .003 to 0.11E-3,
ie the range within either metal is huge, reflecting the difference between eg 7075T6 and annealed commercially pure aluminium, and they overlap.

There is just a single measurement given for "composite", which could be fibreglass or any of a range of different modulus fibres in different epoxies. It's in viscous damping rather than loss, but converting
we have from table 4 :
steel 2 to 4 E-3, "composite" 4 to 6E-3.

So the two tables disagree on steel by an order of magnitude and specify a vague factor for "composite" which overlaps with steel... in a way that would align it quite well with aluminium...

This is not doing much to support your case.

you are not comparing it right.. Longitudinal wave loss factor comes from the attenuation of bulk stress waves by the material. the signal amplitude is measured and recorded for both. the loss in amplitude is equal to the damping effect by the material. this number is high for composites, in general all composites. Damping ratio is something different, and there are different ways of measuring it. I can send you some stress wave signals which i collected for my research for both metals and composites, to show the effects of damping and attenuation. And he has to give a much bigger table for composites since there are a hundreds of composites available, which makes it difficult. thats why he gave a range of values.

Would love to see your data if you're happy to share. I used the conversion \eta=2\xi that was listed above table 4 in the article. In any case, both should relate to the coefficient of the first derivative term in the wave equation and hence be proportional to the rate of loss of vibrational energy to heat, yes?

As for the hundreds of composites being different, that was rather my point: how can you be confident that a CF frame will work in a fundamentally different way to an aluminium or metal steel one, when the difference between two composites, or between two aluminium or steel alloys, can be bigger than the difference between "typical" steel and "typical" composite?

damping is just one of the factors.. what i meant was the vibration amplitude will be different in the case of composites and metals..btw measuring the attenuation loss is considered almost impossible, since composites are not homogeneous always, and we can have a much higher scattering effect from non-uniformities.. the second reason is the anisotropy of composites.. since frames have multi axial loads, anisotropy really matters... thats why i am confident that the behaviour of the two will be different.. moreover to increase the stiffness in a particular location, one can increase the number of plies and change the direction of fibers... with increase in thickness, you have a higher polar moment of inertia which affects the bending and the torsional stresses.. there are a tonn of difference in the bhaviour between composites and metals..

but ironically, we strive to build a system where both behave the same.. that way we dont need to worry about different response.. and since ducati took a big leap, it failed... saying that, i think ducati's problem may not be only CF... it maybe a combination of things... you never know whats inside the fairings... only Ducati Engineers can resolve it...

damping is just one of the factors.. what i meant was the vibration amplitude will be different in the case of composites and metals..btw measuring the attenuation loss is considered almost impossible, since composites are not homogeneous always, and we can have a much higher scattering effect from non-uniformities.. the second reason is the anisotropy of composites.. since frames have multi axial loads, anisotropy really matters... thats why i am confident that the behaviour of the two will be different.. moreover to increase the stiffness in a particular location, one can increase the number of plies and change the direction of fibers... with increase in thickness, you have a higher polar moment of inertia which affects the bending and the torsional stresses.. there are a tonn of difference in the bhaviour between composites and metals..

but ironically, we strive to build a system where both behave the same.. that way we dont need to worry about different response.. and since ducati took a big leap, it failed... saying that, i think ducati's problem may not be only CF... it maybe a combination of things... you never know whats inside the fairings... only Ducati Engineers can resolve it...

... damping is not the issue, it's anisotropy? How will anisotropy affect transmission of vibration and hence feel?

But answer me this: you have a frame weighing 3-6kg, made of whatever, but designed to function well short of any sort of yield point. It's bolted between a 60kg engine and a 25kg front fork + wheel + brake assembly.

Surely then, the dominant behaviour of the frame is just as a linear coupler between the serious masses. In which case the relevant factor is not internal dissipation of the order of 0.1%, but the spring constants and distances between the masses? Worrying about the material seems as inappropriate to me as making a pendulum by hanging a brick on a string, then agonising about the properties of the string rather how long it is...

ok, you are simply jumping from one to another.. If you read it carefully, i wrote, damping is not the only issue.. there are many differences between the structures.. how will anisotropy affect? it vibrates in different modes... you have different kinda of modes being generated... there's the fundamental mode, then you can have a lot of transient modes, whoes amplitudes depend solely on the structure.. a superposition of two transient or evanescent modes may cause a resonance, and hence your structure becomes dangerous.. i explained the whole thing already...

here's your answer.. the way the frame behaves from various vibrations induced by the engine, forces, and moments, is the result what you see on the track.. it may be a chatter, or any kinda noise in vibration.. remember the frame is what holds the entire bike together.. so it experiences more forces, and hence the material matters a lot!!

Vibration analysis is a separate topic on which i can talk to you for 3 days.. a hexagonal plate vibrates completely different compared to a triangluar plate.. and a hexagonal plate made of steel vibrates different compared to a composite or aluminum plate. internal dissipation of 1% may not seem much to common eyes, but when you consider a displacement field of E^-4, that is a big number. The material properties, combined with geometry is the dominant factor for any vibrational analysis. There's a whole range of studies on multi-layered, multi material vibration.. It goes into the non-linear range, and people generally dont want to get into non-linear range for practical applications.. thats one of the reason why they still stick to conventional metals..

A frame cannot be compared to a simple pendulum.. Every single equation in mechanics, involves the material properties... you can borrow a mechanics book from the library and go through it completely... the first thing you ought to know as an engineer is Young's modulus, simply because you cannot replace steel with aluminum in every single case that you come across.. i think i pretty much answered your question.. you need to take a mechanics book and go through it to appreciate the importance of material...

i appreciate your concern, but i think you might have to sit and read mechanics, and dynamics. You would be able to answer most of what i explained here yourself once you gain a little bit of knowledge based on that... i am not trying to be rude, but most of your replies seem to hasty...

i sent you a reference on damping, to simply show you that they are different. Now to appreciate how different the numbers are, you need to first know a little bit of mechanics behind each.. need to get a feel of what numbers we are talking about here. You could have done that yourself, if you were not hasty into simply replying for the comment.. am sorry, but that is just my opinion. Thanks.

I taught mechanics and dynamics (to engineers amongst others) for years. I have a pretty good idea what the numbers mean.

in a nut shell your are saying CF and metal work the same way, and i say they dont... the simplest example is that the damping coefficient for CF is higher than the damping coefficient for metal, and hence any kinda vibration or response from the front end will be damped out completely... secondly, when the bike is taking a hard right, the number of vibration modes of the the chassis, i.e. the frame + swing arm + front end will be very different in the case of an anisotropic material compared to an isotropic material such as steel. various modes coming into picture means that there might me a superposition of modes leading to either wrong information or no information at all.. thirdly, due to the anisotropy of CF, stiffness can be controlled in some portions of the frame, i.e. wherever required.. the downside is that for a static structure this would be perfectly good, or heaven, but for a dynamic system, we still have not completely understood it. the impact of ply drop offs in a particular region can be damping out any vibration, or it can be reduction of local stiffness. in such a situation, both cases are undesirable... i can give more 10 more factors like this... the dynamic behaviour of CF structure and a metal structure will be very different.. which means to ride the CF you need to get around it.. the understeer issue might be inherent of CF, but casey got around it, and no other rider can... thats not his talent, thats his riding style... but Vale cannot afford to do that and so he's fixing it.. thats all!

hence any kinda vibration or response from the front end will be damped out completely

Do you mean that? A loss factor of .0004 is going to take some time to even reduce the magnitude by half, surely?

Please: "reason why" in consecutive lines.
Reason IS why. My old teacher used to say why is a wheelbarrow word you carry around unnecessarily, and thats the reason I wrote this.

Yes, I saw that, including a list of clients on another page.

Looking at that both companies used to be located within 20 miles I was under the impression that a FTR and Team Roberts shared a common history. Were either FTR was former during the Roberts years or after.

I think FTR did some (all?) of the chassis fabrication for KTM, didn't they? At the time there were some comments in the press about it being done by Roberts fabrication team. I guess that could be taken to mean "the team Roberts used" or "the team employed by Roberts.

Does someone know the history? It'd be fun to throw a few more things on my stack of useless GP facts and trivia :)

Yes, the KTM 125/250 chassis fabricated by Roberts or FTR , is also another thing is remember. Not sure were I heared or read that (Neil Spalding on Eurosport ?)

Someone suggested Troy Bayless take a look at the Ducati. If memory serves..........they been there, done that a couple of years ago.