2012 Qatar MotoGP Sunday Post-Race Round Up: Of Exhaustion, Arm Pump and Failed Marriages

The night schedule at Qatar means that writers and journalists end the weekend in a state of utter exhaustion. To bed at dawn for a few hours fitful sleep, up around noon, off the to the track for a full day's - or night's - work, then do the same thing over again. Race day is worse, the schedule is tougher, the adrenaline rush greater, the comedown even bigger. And there's usually about twice as much work to do as well. It is still the greatest job in the world, of course, but it makes you long for sleep a couple of times a year. Qatar race-night round ups tend to be terse, and given my usual verbosity, this is no bad thing.

The races. The Moto3 race looked a lot like a 125cc race with a different soundtrack. The great thing about Moto3 is that with a level playing field, we get a slighly different cast of characters, but the best riders remain at the top. The winner's name had been pencilled in since the preseason, Maverick Vinales clearly the cream of the crop in the most junior Grand Prix class. Third man Sandro Cortese was another podium regular, but sandwiched in between was Romano Fenati, a rookie to the class and a name few people who had not been following the preseason testing or the European 125cc championship will have heard of. Fenati is the real deal, giving a sterling account of himself and only wilting under the relentless pressure from Vinales at the very end.

Moto3 also taught an interesting lesson also seen in MotoGP: The fastest bikes were the KTMs, with 5 KTMs topping the maximum speed charts, followed by 4 Kalex KTMs. Yet the race-winning FTR Honda of Vinales was some 10 km/h down on the KTMs, and still managed to win. Sandro Cortese - Red Bull KTM rider on a factory KTM - explained that though KTM had done a great job of building the Moto3 bike, it did not have the handling of the FTR Honda. The FTR had better corner entry, and more traction on corner exit, making the KTM's top speed irrelevant. 

In Moto2, we saw a thriller, the kind of race that has motorcycle racing fans all over the planet salivating at the thought. The battle went down to the wire, and only a controversial pass saw the race settled, Marc Marquez passing Thom Luthi and then pulling across and onto Luthi's line. The move went unpunished, not, as the conspiracists would have you believe, because of the flag on his passport, but because the pass was within the limits of the rules. Marquez was past, or had reason to believe he was, and so pulled across to take the correct line for Turn 1. Luthi had pushed to hold on once Marquez came past, and was not quite completely behind the Spaniard after Marquez had come by. He found Marquez encroaching on his line, and instead of sitting up just enough to slow himself down and then dive up the inside of Marquez, he stayed where he was and got pushed wide. Afterwards, Marquez apologized, though he mitigated his behavior by saying that he himself had just been victim of a whole pile of just those kind of aggressive passes before he made his move on Luthi.

But Marquez' victory should worry Thom Luthi deeply. Luthi has show much more maturity and aggression so far this season, and is clearly a title favorite. But if Marquez is already beating him after just 5 days on the bike following a very long layoff after surgery to fix the eye he injured in Sepang, then we can start to pencil Marquez' name in for the championship already. Marquez is Moto2's alien, and he should move up to MotoGP as quickly as he possibly can.

The racing in MotoGP was greatly improved, but not by the tires going off, as I had at first believed. An attack of arm pump had slowed Casey Stoner up, causing him to change his riding style, rolling through the corners rather than driving through them aggressively, in an attempt to last as long as possible. It worked for a while, but in the end, Stoner had to surrender to the pain, allowing Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa past. Lorenzo worked hard for the victory, and it was well-earned, but perhaps the most heartening sight was that of Dani Pedrosa badgering away at Lorenzo like a terrier, looking as aggressive as he has been since his 250 days.

With Stoner out with arm pump, was this a Pyrrhic victory for Lorenzo? Not really, as although Stoner might have had the pace to win if he hadn't had arm pump, his margin of victory would not have been that significant, at a track where Stoner has dominated in the past few years. The Yamaha M1 is competitive on race day as well as testing, and Lorenzo is in the form of his life. With a revitalized Pedrosa joining in the fray, this could be a good year.

Stoner explained afterwards that a combination of lack of attention to preparation, new gloves and Qatar's layout - lots of right hand turns followed by lefts, meaning that you have to brake, push, flick the bike upwards to get it turned and then brake again, several times a lap - had caused the onset of arm pump. He had been forced to abandon his previous gloves, as they were worn out after 7 months of intensive use. New gloves are always that little bit stiff, and really need breaking in beforehand - Ben Spies has his crew chief Tom Houseworth walk around in his new gloves, to stretch them out a little. Any extra effort on top of racing a MotoGP bike can be enough to start arm pump, so precautions need to be taken to avoid such effort.

Stoner was not too concerned about the arm pump, as he said it was an issue he had successfully addressed back in 2010, at Silverstone. He was typically coy on exactly how he did it, hinting only that it was something to do with nutrition. More training was definitely not the way, however, as adding muscle will actually increase the chances of it occurring, Stoner said.

Behind the front runners - a long way behind the front runners - came what looks like turning into the battle of the season. Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso are teammates at the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, but both intend to progress beyond their current station. As the first person you have to beat is your teammate, and as Dovizioso and Crutchlow are surprisingly evenly matched, on the evidence of Qatar, this could turn into a humdinger. Herve Poncharal told a small group of journalists afterwards that he had watched the battle in terror, exhilarated to see his riders do so well, but terrified that one would take the other out and both would score nothing.

Down in 10th, there was a colorless, uninspired Valentino Rossi, and the tension of running around a very, very long way off the podium is starting to tell. According to reports in the Italian media - the best being over on the ever-reliable GPOne.com - after the race, Rossi had a go at Ducati, saying that this bike had the same problems and that they were not listening to his requests. He had had the pace for 5th, Rossi claimed, but frankly, that was not what he was in MotoGP for. He wanted podiums and more, and Ducati were not providing him with the tools he needs to do the job.

Meanwhile, five seconds ahead of him, Nicky Hayden is getting on and doing his job. The Ducati has improved enough for Hayden to start to ride it, and the Kentucky Kid has never been called out for a lack of effort. Hayden has what he has, and is trying to get the best out of it, regardless of whether it is ideal or not. Rossi's crew has been reduced to copying Hayden's settings, to see if that will help the Italian. The last time that happened was at Yamaha, when Jorge Lorenzo and Ramon Forcada were beating the combination of Rossi and Jerry Burgess. And Rossi and Burgess have so far been unable to replicate what Casey Stoner and Cristian Gabbarini have done, even on the carbon fiber chassis which Ducati - under the advice of Rossi - have since written off as a failed experiment.

The Rossi / Ducati marriage is starting to turn sour. Rossi massively underestimated just how good Casey Stoner was on the bike, as indeed did Ducati, it appears. Ducati have worked and are working overtime to bring new updates to the bike, but whether those changes will help remains to be seen. With Rossi looking and sounding totally unmotivated, even if they brought a great bike for him, you would have to wonder whether he would have the hunger still in him to ride it.

Valentino Rossi is a man of great character, great charm and great wit. He has faced his vale of tears at Ducati with massive dignity, undertaking his PR duties without complaint - for the most part. But increasingly, when speaking to the press, he looks like a man playing a part, playing the part of a witty, charming rake. He appears to have lost heart in this project, and perhaps even in motorcycle racing. And that is very, very sad indeed.

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Good write-up as always.

I had to get up early here in Aus to watch the races. Adrenalin and caffeine kept me awake.

Great racing - in all three classes! Shame about Stoner's arm pump, but he'll come good next round. It was awesome to see Dovi & Crutchlow battling it out. I'm sure Crutchlow will podium this season.

Spies was struggling - I saw on Twitter he commented on the effects of two major crashes taking their toll on his bike. He'll also be closer to the front next time, I reckon.

Hats off to Lorenzo. A true professional.

Oh, and I thought Marquez's pass was perfect. Nice win!

I hate to agree with you David, but Rossi has not looked himself at all for the first time in a long time - whilst the last year has been hard, this weekend in particular seemed to break the camel's back. When Barbera came past I thought we were going to see Vale park it and walk away, he looked that despondent, and that's not the way we expect (or many want) to see The Doctor looking.

not a lot to add to what is already said , it was a race day everyone has been moaning for for a few years , and even though stoner never won ( yes a stoner fan , insert head punch here ) it was entirely enjoyable to the point of waking up the neighbors with screams of "the rapture is upon us".
all three races did it for me , the three motogp aliens though miles away up front stalked and hunted for 22 laps while behind battles for golden beans were everywhere , and this was the case for all three races , the most beautiful thing is there was no bad crashes through all that hard edge riding out there , in fact i fail to remember if any crashes even happened!!...beautiful.
i here luthi used stoners famous shoulder thumpa on MM on the slow down lap , i never seen it , though i did have one eye watching for such a thing to happen.
i think luthi could of managed that overtake a lot better and came out on top , but thats the beauty of racing.
great write up dave ....thanks mate.

And a great writeup.

One thing, you make Luthi's escape route seem simple and a silly error on his part: 'instead of sitting up just enough to slow himself down and then dive up the inside of Marquez, he stayed where he was and got pushed wide'. Its not as if he were already in a late braking contest at the end of a huge straight. Ah, just brake a bit harder and swerve to the right, no worries. Most draft passes on the inside I see occur from the inside, you late break up the inside and occupy the place where the rider on the outside wants to turn into. Or they have the courtesy to fully pass before moving over. Marquez nearly passed on the inside then moved outside and forced Luthi wide.

His intent really doesn't matter. Race direction saying 'Marquez was past, or had reason to believe he was' opens the door to nearly any sort of behavior as all you have to do is say 'I didn't think he's be there'. Why couldn't Race Direction rationalize Zarco's move as 'I thought he'd roll off and pull to the inside?' Again, its not so much the call as the consistency of calls that is the problem. But for someone of Marquez's racecraft to want us to believe he thought a last lap 1st turn pass would not be defended against and assumed he's be completely in front is silly. He needs to make decisions and moves based on where other riders are, not where he expects them to be. Its an important distinction. He's shown a lack of regard for other riders, this is just one more example. He is fast and could be great but if he is not safe then he is just a danger to others.


I agree Chris. Simply stated, Marquez is too good to be pulling some of the moves he has been pulling. This goes back to last year and to a lesser extent the year before. The way I saw it, he rode Luthi out to the end of the straight "race line" knowing that by the time he turned in, there would be poor grip and he would run wide. Throughout the race there were several moments where he pulled across the line of others unnecessarily. A huge talent but it is starting to irritate me to watch him and listen to Gavin and Nick cogitate about the aggressiveness of the riders around him.

I can already tell that most people are going to ignore this side of Marquez but next year he is likely to be in MotoGP and when he pulls these kinds of maneuvers there, people will take notice and he will ruffle the feathers of bigger and more important birds. Maybe some light wall-to-wall counseling will get the point across.

Marco Simoncelli? Everybody loved him for his agressiveness (sans a few riders).

Marquez's move was harsh, but fair. I was more suprised that Luthi didn't get any sort of penalty for physically slapping Marquez's arm after the race. *Shrug*

Marquez got up the inside of Luthi on the straight, well before the braking point. Luthi tried to stay on the outside and brake later than Marquez, but Marquez was able to steal his line. I don't see how that is Marquez's fault. Luthi should've realized that this was going to happen, and braked earlier to be able to go on the inside of Marquez. Beeing on the outside of a corner is seldom good..

Just watched the pass again and again and Marquez was well ahead of Luthi when they started braking. And Marquez never went onto the curbing, Luthi did and committed to the outside line and that was his mistake. He didn't want to let Marquez make the pass and he paid the price. This is the highest level of racing.

Luthi is perfectly entitled to stay on the outside (if indeed he had any choice). He is also perfectly entitled to room. The rider diving down the inside should be entirely responsible for leaving enough room and for not cutting in front unless he is completely clear of the rider he is overtaking. Saying you thought you were clear and running the other guy in to a position where the only choice is to run off the track, should not be acceptable. Bad form from MM

Appreciate your sterling effort for burning the midnight oil to churn out this great writeup!

David, do you really think Rossi lost interest in racing?
I think he just lost the will for riding Ducati.

Ducati has to make a difference between racing and stock bike. MotoGP and SBK.
You can buy, as a civilian, a Repsol colored Honda CBR1000RR and it won't be
any close to GP bike. Inline engine, spring valves...
Ducati have to forget that bulky V90 engine layout as they did with carbon
frame if they want to be uber competitive.

As spotcom said, great write up.

I think the Marquez pass was borderline. You couldn't reasonably penalise him and not many other people in that race, there were a number of pretty hard passes, but that's the nature of Moto2. That's what makes it so spectacular. If that pass was done on me, I'd be pretty annoyed. If I did it to somebody else, I'd be seeking them out later and making an apology.

Great effort from Lorenzo. Smooth, beautiful to watch, mature and calculated. Good work from Danny - riding well, looking really threatening.

Stoner may have had arm pump, (and I'm a big Casey fan) but I also think he took off into the distance and overworked his tyres. The smarter thing would have been to trail Lorenzo, or pass him and just try and hold him off. Casey tried to run away and hide, and punished his rubber in the process. Chatter, less than ideal TC settings, arm pump and first race on a new bike inexperience are all mitigating circumstances, but I think the primary issue was trying to run away and hide in the first 5 laps. I think he underestimated the rate and degree of degradation on the bigger bike with the softer tyres.

Last week I was thinking Casey was a shoe-in to defend his title. I'm not so sure any more. Lorenzo is riding superbly, and Yamaha have given him a brilliant package. Casey has the raw pace to beat him, but you need to make very few errors of judgement to find yourself behind a competitor as complete as Lorenzo.

Stoner himself said his tyres were fine. The bike performed well enough for him to be happy with the work the team had done and the only thing that slowed him was the arm problem.

But don't let Casey's opinion stop you from making up your own version of what went wrong for him.

Casey is an honest man. He calls 'em as he sees 'em. I respect that, and try to do the same.

I'm not saying he didn't have arm pump - I'm sure he did, and I'm sure it made life more difficult.

Besides, Casey learns. If he tells the world it was tyre problem, that would have been an excuse. If he admits 'we' made a mistake, he'd be trying to shift responsibility. He got new gloves and didn't think to stretch them. That's a mistake too. Should someone else have thought of that for him? ...er, maybe. If he tried to explain all the various small things that added up to him going slower at the end, that would just be construed as a flood of excuses. Simplest answer - tell them it was arm pump and say no more. The more you say the more you're a 'moaner', so KISS principle. Come back next time and do it better.

Lorenzo said he pushed 100% and couldn't match Casey's pace. He wasn't conserving tyres just going 100% all race. His lap times beginning to end were almost identical. Same with all other riders apart from Rossi and Spies who got faster at the end.

Lots of riders set their fastest times on laps 16-20. Tyre ware was not a factor.

camera shown tires of all the 3 riders in park ferme ... they all looked good ... i believe stoner did not make it up, since his riding style did indeed look completely different than all weekend.

Valentino Rossi does seem to loose hope and faith. I wish its only my feeling. Нe was a great star back then. Perhaps he's carrying too much burdon from what the fans and ducati demanded from him, not to mention that he's no longer young. I don't know whether moving to ducati is a good decision before. Staying @Yamaha won't be comfortable also. Maybe he should have retired before, or does he really need more time to improve all.

I don't really like to bring up the so often mentioned 'Stoner needs to ride the Duc harder' and '80 sec. fix' quotes from VR and JB, but they created their own burden. Rossi is known to be pretty superstitious, these claims must feel like a major jinx to him now. Still it sux to see the guy so unhappy.

Do you have a link with one of those quotes? I've heard other people mention it in the past, but never actually seen an actual quote from JB or VR to that effect... not that I don't think random people posting to websites aren't 100% accurate. :)

sorry for not providing the link, if you can ask where it is, you can find it for yourself, but, being a "random" person and all, yes, I saw both comments while they happened.

I also think I read about them in a story David did as well as in Roadracing World.

Ah, finally enough details to find it... thanks.

For those curious here's the original article with the quote from JB:


Few thoughts:

1. JB pretty much says that it'll be up to VR to decide if there is a front end issue and they'll have to take it from there- including getting Ducati to engineer a solution.

2. The 80 seconds to fix thing wasn't about the front end, but rather what sounds like a balance issue of the suspension on the Ducati's of the "lesser riders" who don't want a firm suspension.

Clearly, JB & VR underestimated things (a lot), but I'd say the 80 second thing is taken out of context. At least I know Dave Moss (my suspension guy who has also has worked with AMA and Moto2 riders) would take about 90 seconds to fix a suspension balance issue.

You are right, context matters. But even if he was talking about the 'lesser riders', it is a bold statement to make:
'I see these things wobbling around. When I think, clearly, if we had that issue with Valentino it’d be fixed in 80 seconds.'

No disrespect to Dave Moss, but you can't really compare him to Jeremy Burgess. Dave did a good job on my bike during a trackday but that is just a base setup re-check. Plus Dave's experience with Moto2 is only the occasional wildcard ride during Indy. Dave is definitely my first choice of setup guy on a trackday, and he's pretty good.

Colin must have felt like the third wheel giving interviews. I can't imagine him feeling good parked next to the real winners. David did he say anything about it? Loved the races and the write up, but this silly two tier competition thing they have going is rubbish. Next thing they'll be handicapping the prototypes to ensure the CRt's get trophies ;).

Is it really worse than the two tier competition between factory bikes and satellite bikes? At least the CRTs have the potential for innovation unlike the leftovers the satellites get.

You misunderstand. I was referring to the addition of the unofficial competition to get into parc ferme (I think that is the spelling). It is so 'socialist' to just let them in. I don't despise them for racing but for diluting the prestige just to encourage them is ordinary. If they deserve to be there let them earn it.

BTW, socialism may be the best description of the new motogp there is. Dorna seems hell bent on making the poor rich and the rich poor for the good of the people. It doesn't work in economies and so why should it ultimately work here?

I was carrying my hope for VR up until the last few laps of the Qatar. Eagerly waiting that he pulls the triggers. It just hasn't sink in that he is over. Broke a leg, lost a bro.. I'm really sad. After reading your 2012 silly season analysis, I agreed that he would be unable to change his employer again. Shame.

And hearing the change of his tone in comments, he is in very deep hole. I would have loved to have him back, fighting with youngsters.

Fenati; what a surprise! I wish he would prosper in GP.

On Aus tv JB was interviewed and he pretty much said that Rossi was past it! He quickly added that they needed to provide him with the bike so he could prove he wasn't but it seemed a Freudian slip to me. As much as I like JB, it seemed like a distancing of himself from the $hit fight that is about to ensue.

Wasn't JB saying he didn't think Rossi could race with casey and Jorge whilst on the current ducati?? given casey massive turn around in fortune the minute he got off the duke, sounds like he is trying to be realistic about the bike.

If Rossi decides in the near future that Ducati cannot provide what he needs to perform to his potential, what is the most radical option open to him?

Switching manufacturer isn't really an option, is it?

Thanks to the top five (no dis-respect to the others) for a decent race, but we need more riders in the mix up there, and thanks to David for fore-going his sleep.

He can always go to Aprilia either in the CRT class, or World Superbike. He even
hinted about going to the latter some years ago. I'm sure he would love
sticking it to Max again, but I doubt they could live in the same garage.

...between Rossi and Ducati. To the point of a complete and ugly divorce. Ducati and Honda/Repsol should get together and put Stoner back on the new Ducati for a few laps and see what pace he does. It will either end well for Ducati and absolve the GP12 of being a dud if Stoner was to put in some respectable laps, or end very badly for them and simply confirm what Rossi is saying. Either way, think of the publicity!

I don't think you need to and I doubt he'd ever go back, he knows what a real motogp should feel like now. He didn't leave because they had a great product.. Just compare what casey did on the honda last year to what he was doing on the ducati the year before.. His style and attitude hasn't changed so the same approach that got him 3 wins and a distant 4th on the duke( in what was a very weak season for Honda(how that's changed!) got him 10 wins and a cruise to the title on the honda.. Rossi riding the same when fit on the yam got him back to back titles, on the duke he's hasn't looked like top 3 material... Is the fault the two riders ?or the countless others ducati have employed that have failed to be as good as they were elsewhere on it or is the common denominator the ducati?? Seems pretty obvious.. Put Rossi on the yam and honda and see if he's still 10th and complaining about the bike not handling(yamaha??!!) won't be...
Great ride by marquez he is special...

David any word out of ducati yet, would love to hear what presiozi has to say in the face of overwhelming evidence...

Overwhelming evidence of what? They already knew the GP11 was crap so they built a new bike. Hayden seems fine on the GP12, in fact, a lot better than he was before. The problem is that Rossi needs a GP bike, the GP12 seems to be a SBK on steroids. He's still the goat but he has a particular style that seems to be completely incompatible with the Ducati. The GP12's style suits Hayden (better).

There's no big difference between Rossi and Hayden in term of performance. Rossi lost 5 seconds in the clash with Barbera, and finished 5 seconds behind Hayden. 28 or 33 seconds behind the leader, neither of them looks fine to me.

Preziosi was tagged as Ducati's 'genius' engineer when the red bike was smashing all comers, but when Stoner departed, the 'genius' tag seemed to leave at the same time... the comment alludes to the fact that the evidence of the last 12-odd months all suggests that Preziosi may actually be a somewhat underwhelming engineer. Innovative perhaps, but so are non-telescopic forks, and I don't see too many of them in GP racing.

Nicky isn't going to tell his employer they've built another bucket but he was nearly 3 secs further back from the front than he was last year in the same race.. The stats, as they say, speak for themselves..

How do you mean? OK, they're both red, both use desmo valves and (possibly) both have a 90 degree engine, but that's about it. I would have said the M1 and the R1 are more similar (other than the contra-rotating engine)?

I wonder whether the loss of Simo would have anything to do with his apparent lack of passion...

Seeing his best mate disappearing and dying under the front of his bike must haunt him terribly :O(
Perhaps we've seen the best of Vale, unfortunately...

Just how much slower were they going in the last few laps? And how much difference in race times was there to last years event.??

Seems like there is nowhere to hide now for either VR or Ducati. With the satellite bikes finishing and qualifying better, and with Nicky saying its the best Ducati so far it seems like neither side has anything to hide behind. VR cant say the bike is unrideable when all the other Dukes are going well and improving, and Ducati cant say the bike needed changing to help VR get to where he deserves. I feel its more a case of the bike and rider just being incompatible... Which puts Ducati back where they were back when they had CS, do they change a bike that works and wins for one rider to try and make it better for everyone and risk losing the package that makes the one rider win, or do they stick with an improving formula even if one rider (or their star rider) cant win on it...
Ducatisti and Rossi fans are starting to demand answers, as the hope fades, the questions raise..... I fear it may be a case of some things are just not meant to be and this package just looks like it may not ever work :( I think perhaps he will remain at Ducati for what will hopefully be a revised engine angle, and consequently revised weight distribution and be praying it delivers him the leap in performance he needs to get back amongst the leaders. If that happens and there is no change, then I think it will be game over and there will be a spare factory seat at Bologna next year. I fear there will be no where else for mr VR to go then, retirement, or cars, I would love to see him go to WSBK or really first get another bike in GP that he can ride and get some more wins to restore his rep then go, I know money talks but would Yamaha or Honda really give him machinery capable of beating their own factory boys are falling out with them before. Sad, sad days.

You mean fuel? ya, sure that sometimes is a big problem... i think it can also be the food they serve in hotels.. oh it can also be the wrenches they use. i think they are worn out and need replacement. :P

JB is amazing but it seems pretty clear that either Ducati Corse are ignoring him or he has no idea what the problem is. I'm not saying it is the engine, I don't know, but they've changed everything else about the bike, what else is there?

One had to feel for Luthi in the Moto2 race. Marquez move was borderline,fair.
I understand Tom's frustration but his remonstration with Marc was rather dangerous. That was no tightly controlled shoulder cuff a la Stoner/RdP. Tom was striking down on Marc's right forearm repeatedly. That could have ended in tears. Anyway it did not thank goodness. Moto 2 was the pick of three great races. I loved the drone of those 250's. Sounded like a Battle of the Twins race.
MGP and Lorenzo. That was special and you can tell he was deservedly delighted because he forgot to do some or other silly victory ritual. I hope he keeps it that way. Not likely should he win in Jerez and I would'nt bet against it. Stoner has to lay Jerez to bed as did Lorenzo lay Qatar to rest last night. I hope IODA get some decent power and reliability out of their bike for the next race. Italy have in Danilo and Romano two rising stars.
No doubt it will be a relief for the teams that they finally all have full race data to work with after the long winter break and testing.
The Ducati/Rossi marriage ? The less said,the better and the failure cuts both ways,but only Ducati and the team sponsors pay in Euro's for it.
On the other hand the press can revel in it. Bad publicity is also great exposure.

In this case, the never lasting love/hate relationship between Rossi and the Ducati bike is no longer good for either of the two and it's no longer publicity, it's just carnage.

Estoril will bring no changes to that, minor tweaks only Hayden and the satellite bikes will enjoy: Rossi is, as Pernat says, incompatible with that type of bike. That's all.

The 2013 silly season started yesterday cos I don't believe Rossi will try to fix the Beast. He's more interested by his reputation as the greatest rider ever than as a very, very good "metteur au point".

My money is on a private team with a Honda machine.

My money is on a private team with a Yamaha machine. Afterall, Yamaha owe him the gratitude for the championships he won on their machine.......

My money is on a VR retirement if he continues to be so demotivated. No other factory team will hire him given the wealth of talent coming up (at a much lower cost) and no-one else can afford him. He could always start his own team I suppose and build the ultimate GP bike for himself.

I'd guess that with every race he is back in the pack his value slips to some extent. He'll probably get some stupid offers but he doesn't strike me as someone who's in it just for the money. He'll want to be competitive or not race at all. Lets hope for everyone's sake that Ducati can pluck out a miracle. Mind you Nicky Hayden seems to be toughing it out & doing ok and earns big kudos for sticking at it so well.

BTW, Tom Luthis slap of the shoulder of Marquez could never incur a penalty it was so weak. I think it was great that he intentionally held back so much with his punch or someone could have been hurt / offended :-) Great self control LOL.

I was really pleased that the CRt's did reasonably well. There were some good stoushes between them and I was really hoping CE could catch Ben Spies. Nothing against Ben mind you, it just would have been fantastic to have a CRT finish ahead of a FRT (is that a legitimate 3 letter acronym for Factory Racing Team?) in their first outing. Just goes to show that circumstances can happen that might allow them a small chance.

Doesn't matter how much force was used. It's still not something I would expect to see from a professional racer.

David, thanks for the write up. I also read the quote from Rossi on the site quoted above. He didn't get what he wanted and rides as such. He is officially on strike. Hayden might feel the same way but he will do so in private and "run what they brung" to the track.

or haven't built the best bike that they possibly could is ludicrous in the extreme. Corse have moved heaven and earth to accomodate the wishes of Rossi.

Rossi is merely lashing out in frustration. Understandable. Most riders find if difficult to accept personal culpability, least not a past champion of his magnitude.

I don't usually agree with you Nostro, but you're right... Ducati did everything they could to give Rossi what he wanted. Yeah, it may not be exactly what he was looking for, but he is not without culpability. At this point, he just needs to ride it.

Without a miracle, I think we are seeing the end of an era... as a big Rossi fan, that truly sucks! I was so hoping and praying we were going to see the come back of a lifetime. Just doesn't look like it's going to happen. So so sad to see him go out like this.

Still doesn't change what he has brought to our sport though. A true honor watching him through the years.

Ducati have spent huge amounts of money building what they believe to be the best bike they can. The problem is that the bike clearly isn't that good, and also that it appears it's not the bike that Rossi wanted them to build.

It's worth remembering that engineers, just as much as riders, can fall prey to hubris and pride. And it's also the case that none of us really know what Rossi asked for in terms of upgrades/new parts and whether or not Ducati genuinely built what was requested.

Rossi will be clearly frustrated by his (lack of) results, but I suggest he is more frustrated at not having the tools to do the job.

With Nicky as team mate before with HRC, VR would mostly be at least several places ahead. The Duke was a pile of old tosh last year, but not this year it seems, judging by Nickys results. VR is in a terrible head-space that we can only guess at, and one that he might not get out of...sadly.
The race at the front was very good and Cals performance was awesome. A new era seems to be dawning, as Colin has shown the potential of the 'new' format.
Interesting times.

"The Duke was a pile of old tosh last year, but not this year it seems, judging by Nickys results."

I'm not so sure about that - when it became clear last year that things were not going to plan at Ducati, Stoner went on the record as saying all Hayden needed to do was ride the GP11 like he had previously ridden the GP10 as Stoners team-mate... it really appeared that Hayden had just sat back as No.2 rider to allow Rossi to lead the charge; he's certainly the diplomat. But after a year of that, he is well within his rights to now ignore the hierarchy and just ride like he wants to.

VR - may actually be dealing with serious clinical depression. A surprising number of people cop it to some degree, and with +/-20 riders in the field, statistically there HAS to be a bit of it going around, all it takes are the right set of conditions... there was a lot of disrespectful commentary around the time when Melandri was allegedly sent to a psychiatrist during his tenure at Ducati, but if Marco was simply dealing with depression then it's not really a big deal so long as he got well again... public perception of this illness really needs to change.

You mean fuel? ya, sure that sometimes is a big problem... i think it can also be the food they serve in hotels.. oh it can also be the wrenches they use. i think they are worn out and need replacement. :P

It sure will be interesting to see how this VR/Duc- relationship develops.
I just saw the Dutch TT 2007 where VR started from 11th position on "his" M1 only to charge to the front and beat Stoner in one of the last laps....thats what I would like to see him doing again and I`m sure he still has the potential to do just that, but somehow the Duc and his own current mindset hinders him to do it.
My dream would be that VR quits at Ducati and hops onto a Gresini-Honda only to screw with everybody's head again, but this time with glory at the end.
It will stay a dream I guess...the reality will be that VR quits at Ducati and will join either SBK only to beat Biaggi sensless again or he switches to WRC-where he obviously has a major potential(as seen during his last try).
Either way, it really hurts to see VR at the end of the field and all the fun and the gimmicks at the end of the races are over and gone history, because the new TC-stars are loughing only when the sponsors nod their heads to it....

I’m a Rossi fan. Of all the great battles that come to mind he was one of the fighters: Rossi/Biaggi, Rossi/Gibernau, Rossi/Stoner, and Rossi /Lorenzo. Skillful and entertaining, he was always fun to watch. And there is no doubt that the Rossi/Burgess team got the best out of the equipment they had at their disposal. But, I have to wonder if they didn’t underestimate just how good the Honda and Yamaha engineers are. They have been providing bikes capable of winning championships for decades. Just because Rossi and Burgess were able to switch from Honda to Yamaha and win the championship doesn’t necessarily mean that they know how to design a winning bike. There is no doubt that they underestimated how fast Stoner is. I did, too. It makes me wonder what Rossi could have done on the Ducati back when he wanted to rule the world but hadn’t done it yet.

No rider, and no crew chief, has ever designed a winning bike. And no rider or crew chief has ever designed a losing bike either. Well, in the 'modern' era, anyway, to keep it on topic.

The bikes are designed and built by the dedicated racing division of each factory. Once the bike has been built, it's handed to the team who then set it up for each track they go to. Over time, deficiencies in the design of the bike are identified - usually when the team has moved a component to the extreme of its range of adjustment and more is required - and a request is put in to the factory to supply a new part that *might* resolve the problem.

The factory also continues to develop the same bike on its own terms with its own test riders, and sometimes this leads to breakthroughs as well which are then supplied to the racing team.

The only underestimation that has gone on has been underestimation of Casey Stoner - by all concerned.

Love your last sentence : )

I'm not much of a Lorenzo Fan but I give credit to where credit is due. He did a fantastic job (again) riding the M1 against the RCVs. Stoner and Dani just had their hats handed to them for whatever excuse they want to name, simple and plain. But it's only the first race of 2012! The Hondas aren't done yet. Nicky Hayden seems to be where he left off when he was Casey's team-mate in 2010! Hayden rode a great race on a new GP12. When Rossi and Burgess want to use your set-up as their own... you know things are bad on their side of the Ducati garage! The Ducatis need to be ridden on the complete edge to obtain its peak performance during the entire race. Rossi's fear of getting hurt doesn't allow him to ride the Ducati to the maximum. He even said so himself with Burgess tossing in his 2-cents on the subject as well. When there are 3 other Ducatis beating Rossi, you have to think it's the rider that is falling short. Rossi improved the bike for everyone but not himself! It's sad for Rossi, time is not on his side it seems. Finger-pointing will really start the divorce proceedings, Rossi VS Ducati.

I'd just like to say that I was really impressed with Nicky Hayden's showing this weekend. As a former GP winner and world champion, fighting your guts out for 5th might not seem an exciting prospect, but that is exactly what Nicky did. He was superb all weekend - and I doubt anyone on the grid could have gotten that Ducati to be faster than the Yamahas and Repsols. He may not be one of the aliens - but he works tirelessly, is good natured, and is a superb rider and I think his experience is showing this year, as is his preference for 1000cc bikes. I thoroughly expect him to be fighting with the Monster Yamahas within a few races.
At this level there is absolutely no excuse for feeling sorry for yourself and blaming your team in place of doing your job to your utmost ability, as there are many talented riders out there who would give their proverbial right arm for the chance to race for Ducati in the premier class.
Michael Schumacher seems to be giving everything he has at Mercedes, which is also only about good enough for 5th, but Rossi finishing in 10th is a disgrace. He is acting like a petulant child, not a 9-time world champion.
Nicky deserves all the credit for leading Ducati's challenge. I hope the fans appreciate his effort and ability.

Some guy over on mcn put it very well I think, (adlib), Nicky and Hector are content riding their brains out to be 30 secs back of the leaders for them that's a decent result in hectors case he has ridden another motogp bike so it probably is a bit better than his old one... However what Rossi wants and needs(to fight for the title) is in another galaxy altogether and their respective comments reflect that... Ducatis current bike is good for what hector and Nicky expect especially given the alternatives. But for a top 3 rider to go up against the best on what are a fantastic yam and honda you need a hell of a lot more....

At least as far as Hayden goes. He was definitely not content with a 6th place but knows that when the flag goes down all you can do is try your hardest. That's why the whole paddock likes Nicky and why he still has a factory ride. That is a lesson Rossi still needs to learn. To say he couldn't be bothered to fight because it was not fighting for the win is sad. To say he thought of pulling in is even worse. Alex Hoffman was fired for pulling in for no reason other than despondency. Be a champion in defeat and still give your all. Everyone will respect you more for it.


Can't you understand that when you have 105 victories/175 podiums in GP you get depressed at the idea that after one miserable year of suffering the best you can aim at is a sixth place ????

It's a pretty simple point.

But that's what being a professional athlete at the peak of the sport is about. Good sportsmanship used to be more than a couple of words heard from time to time. Being positive when getting those 105 GP victories is easy, being happy when winning is a cinch. However, keeping a good face up while not winning is difficult. This is the bed Rossi has made for himself. At least he's getting 20M a year. Yes, it does not make up for victories but even in his worst year Valentino is in a situation most of us could only dream of, both being in the top flight series and getting the biggest paycheck. Buck up and as Nike says, Just Do It.

He should look across the garage (the one with no wall because he needs others help instead of refusing to help others) and see how to handle long term bad results. I'm quite sure Nicky is not happy with struggling to remain in the top 10 but he carries it well day in and out.


Funny, I don't remember people complementing Rossi's attitude after any of the 18 races of 2011, nor do I remember him complaining about Ducati back then.

All I really needed to read was when Rossi himself said in his interview "Yeah, after Hector passed me I was all set to bring it into the pits, but then I thought about my team and they wouldn't deserve that".

So basically, if not for his team, he'd quit because he's not winning.

Toseland basically pulled that stunt, and he was shown the door. If anyone else but Rossi was pulling this attitude, they'd be done.

Tell you what, I respect 5th place and a hard effort a lot more than 10th place and 8 world championships ANY day of the week.

Alex's last season on the Pramac, he was also shown the door when he retired to the pits a couple of times citing issues and not being competitive.

It seems to me that even after nearly 1.5 years of 'instruction' at the hands of the Duc, Rossi has yet to learn the meaning of humility. Until he does, the nasty part of me hopes that he continues to struggle. Schadenfreude is an ugly indulgence, but I must admit that I still enjoy watching the (inevitable) Karmic backlash at work.

As time passes, it's become uncertain if the ego of #46 can adjust to the Ducati. The contrast between Haystack's 07 futile title defense and Rossi's Ducati campaign couldn't be more stark. One rider comes across as 'Champion' in the truest sense of the word, trying his damnedest to the bitter end. The other, despite having accumulated far more points and titles, has failed to demonstrate anywhere near the same strength of character.

This is the first time in a year and a half Rossi has pointed a blatant negative finger at Ducati... That's pretty exemplary if you ask me given what he has been put through and how high (deservedly) his expectations of a factory running in MotoGp are.

The finger definitely needs to put at him also, but so far Rossi has handled this very well in my opinion. It was going to end sometime, good or bad.

Valentino is only a human being, he must feel the tension at work, never a good thing for anyone to be able to give of their best. He has demanded changes which have only worked to a certain extent, his crew are probably feeling as guilty as he does?
Now we have a team who are almost praying for something to turn up, where do they go from here?

It's not a good thing to sit on the grid and realise that you have no chance of fighting for the win, why should you take any risks with your well being?
Added to this, Rossi must be mindful of the expectation of the team, his fans and even his friends and family. This coupled with his unfortunate involvement in the accident which claimed Marco Simoncelli and the gruesome year which he endured with last years bike must surely have robbed him of his focus and ambition.

He is really doing quite well when you take everything into consideration but he must also be wondering where his career is going, and the chance to be the greatest of all time?

Always a joy to read. Thanks, David.

Very much enjoyed the season opener as well, especially Fenati's stellar performance in Moto3 and the slightly surprising MotoGP race where things in the end didn't quite turn out as everyone expected. Hopefully more of that this season!

In Moto2, however, I'm still not convinced by Marquez. The kid is undoubtedly fast and surely bringing the desired spectacle, but his riding to me is still lacking something. Call me stupid, but I don't see him winning this year's title either. Despite his young age he already has a massive amount of experience - especially at the highest level of racing and always with top-notch guidance - which even riders older than him don't have. He's already been champion and runner-up and he had an incredibly professional team and well-funded support behind him for almost his entire career. Yet he still makes stupid mistakes too often, aside from some borderline passes which everyone sees differently. It could be excused with his age, but certainly not with a lack of experience and massive misjudgements like Australia last season might ruin his chances year in and year out, not to mention the health of himself and others.

And although his pass on Lüthi was not punishable and I don't think anyone honestly believed something would happen about it, saying that others did it as well is never an excuse. The others jumped off the bridge first... As thecosman mentioned above, he's shown a lack of regard for other riders and to become truly great he still needs to learn a lot.

... and hire someone like Furusawa.
They will obviously never get anywhere with the current technical direction.

Unfortunately for Rossi he's getting old. I just wish he could get the material he deserves before its too late.

MotoGP is not the same without the brightest shining alien.

If it wasn't for the incident with Barbera that made Rossi lose around 5 seconds from his previous lap, his average speed (minus that single lap) was actually faster than Hayden's, which means he would be able to fight for the 6th spot.
If Rossi would get 6th its possible all this "Rossi gate" wouldnt get to where it did.
We can guess that Rossi was frustrated with Barbera, his Ducati and his own luck of performance and that he may have lost faith in it and possibly in himself too to some degree.
Interesting point is that despite "softer compound" or "faster to warm up" tires this year and more powerful engines, lap times are about 1 second a lap slower than last year's race.

You're only as good as your last race.
Its a cruel and tough reality to realize for those who have been at the top especially for as long as Rossi has.

...but my worry now is that Rossi isn't ready to put everything he's got to fight for 6th. He thought about pulling off after the clash with Barbera ("In quel momento ho pensato anche di tornare ai box e finire lì la gara, non l’ho fatto solo per rispetto ai miei meccanici").

Seems like he lost a huge amount of motivation this week-end. I can't blame him.

A person's mental strength is measured in those hard moments and not when he's on the top of the podium, Rossi definitely has to look hard for motivation these days, I personally hope he finds it for the sake of good racing!

The issue here wasnt to take deserved credit away from Hayden.
The issue discussed was the mini breakdown between Ducati and Rossi that happened to trigger this weekend partly because of this particular indecent.
That's definitely a step up in the tone Rossi is using when he talks about his Ducati.

I agree. Let's not forget that Hayden was caught up with three other riders fighting for position. That tends to slow everyone down a bit. Should we go back over the race to speculate as to how much time Hayden may have lost while waiting to overtake certain riders, or defending his position? The results should speak for themselves.

And if Barbera had made the hard pass on Hayden instead of Rossi, how many people would be saying "Gee if Barbera hadn't made that pass on Hayden, he'd have been fighting to beat Rossi for 6th"

there's always an excuse for when Rossi gets beaten by his teammate, never giving that teammate the credit for a better race.

Furusawa's retired and amusing himself with other engineering pursuits and pastimes and no doubt thoroughly enjoying the results his brainchild M1 in its latest guise is still churning out.
As for Preziosi, he was the Ducati engine room long before Rossi and he'll be there long after Rossi has gone. His bikes are still doing the business in SBK/STK. Not his fault that powers much higher than he shyed away from development and nurturing the Stoner/Ducati dream team of 2007. How he must long for the good old days when Suppo,Tardozzi,Gabarini and Stoner were all in red and Ducati was red.

Big qualifier on your SBK/STK comment--with 200cc more engine than the competition. Aside from Stoner/2007, has Ducati ever won a world title in any class with a machine of equal engine displacement to their competition? I guess you could count Bayliss 01, since it was against a Honda of equal displacement, but the rest of the grid was 750s...

Ducati's reputation for greatness in racing has always had that as an asterisk for me.

...eh, those were the years of the air restrictors, where the twins had a ~20% advantage in restrictor hole area. I wouldn't use that in support of your argument. Nice try though...

you asked the question regarding a world championship in any class of machine with equal engine displacement other than 2001, and I gave you three such examples... perhaps we should color you "un-informed"...

Okay, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on the restrictor issue. 2003, 2004, 2006 WSB and 2007 MotoGP. That just barely outstrips Suzuki over the last 20 years--1993, 2000 500GP and 2005 WSB. Good job! :-)

... about the "special" Michelin's that were only available to Ducati Corse team. It's the main reason they're riding in spec. Pirelli's today.

Not to mention Furusawa is most likely extremely loyal to Yamaha. But I think you know what I'm getting at.

Preziosi should keep his fingers away from prototype racing IMO. He should leave that to someone who knows what they're doing.
The road going bikes which SBK/STK are based on are fine, not to say great, but they have nothing to do with MotoGP.

Just an observation about people rambling on about rider adaptation to the bike. To be honest, i think more than rider adapting to the bike, the bike needs to be built around the rider. logically, if the rider adapts to the bike, he can only churn out the full potential of the bike with in his talent limits ( works good for Barbera and Abraham). but if the bike is built around a rider, his talent limits can be exploited completeley (with the 4 aliens). A fair example is the case of stoner, instead of giving a motorcycle to him and asking him to ride, if Ducati had built one around him, he would have been much better. his real potential came in the Repsol honda garage.

The motorcycle also includes tires, on which Randy mamola gave an interesting observation. It would cost less to build a tire which works for each rider, than to change the chassis, and engine based on the tire. i think this is a fair view.

In my opinion, the spec. tire has been the bane of this series and you can see the "engineering" converging toward a single approach. The prototypes we have come to love are devolving into mere variations on a theme.

Building the bike around a single rider is dangerous and risky. Injuries, set-up issues, etc etc will play havoc on a team and a season. And think if Honda built the bike around Stoner... it would be a rock-hard missile that only he is capable of riding. Say goodbye to Pedrosa, Bradl, and Bautista. That's no good.

Instead Honda and Yamaha have built the best OVERALL package any of their riders can push to the limit on.

That's what Ducati has been trying to do. And what Rossi really loves to ride. They (and him) are just not getting it done.

Although I do somewhat agree about your points on the tires.

From my perspective it seems that everyone is much more concerned about tires with spec equipment than there was during the tire war years, apart from a couple of bad Michelin races.

The error is in thinking that in using spec equipment it will make everyone focus elsewhere. In reality what happens is that the spec equipment becomes the focus of all effort as if you don't use the spec equipment to its fullest potential someone else will.

Nothing seems more backward to me than having several manufacturers develop racing machinery around spec tires that are built to a price and shipped early via sea freight to save money.


To think that VR/Burgess were the first to switch to Bridgestones on the Yamaha after "overnight specials" from Michelins were ruled out. Bridgestone then became the spec tyres when Michelins was defeated in the prospect of having to be a weather forecast station double while producing race tyres, which Bridgestone was later suggested to start making tyres more suited for "traditional frames" because they can only do so much. Now the spec tyre became the Duc's issue, rather than an ally. But to be fair, Rossi won a couple of championships on the Bridgestone shod Yamaha too. Perhaps Ducati might had been a great deal better if there was no spec tyres. Remember Stoner was saying he wanted Michelins when everyone else opted for Bridgestone just before the spec tyres?


That link will get SYN the quote he is seeking. Try GOOGLE the next time you want to find a quote.

That link is what we call a HOOT in Tx. Read it and laugh the rest of the day. Basically it shows how CLUELESS Rossi is/was about other bike riders talent and other bikes in general.

I thought Rossi would be a full 35 seconds in arrears after the race was won. I apologize to Rossi and his fans. It was a close 33 seconds in arrears.

Call me a Rossi "hater" if you will. But the reason for this dislike can be found in his own words in the article above and other quotes of his about other riders. The PUSSY one comes to mind readily. Need a link to that one? I thought not.

It's going to be a close race for the championship b/t Lorenzo and Stoner. I'm a Stoner fan (was a rossi fan til the last race of 2006), but have come to respect Lorenzo since he quit doing the silly "man on the moon" sillyness of the past.

Why was Pedrosa so glum after the race/interview? No simile etc?

That nonsense said, Rossi will do better the next race. Shorter track, less time to lose per lap. Maybe a fifth or better? Yes.

Three cheers for Edwards for beating the thinnly veiled Aprilla factory effort.

Was the last race of 2006 when you changed your underwear??? anyways

David any chance of getting the postscript of Ducatis press release after qatar?? Have heard it was knowing but haven't seen it anywhere..
Are they really gonna give Presiozi another chance to build another chassis?? I wouldn't. He doesn't have the knowledge base for it or he'd have done it already.., Giving two totally different bikes the same characteristics is a marvelous achievement but unfortunately it wasn't what was required(cf frame anyone).. the longer Presiozi designs the motogp bike the dafter it gets...

I dont know, it just seems to me, that after moths of "PR releases" and lots of smiles etc. he got enough of that and told us truth. We were asking for truth, spent hours with analysis and try to find it among of lines of Ducati releases and interviews, now he told us that bitter truth, and we dont like it?
He is 9 times world champion, but at the end, also human been, tired from loosing again and again. Maybe we should forgive him once.
Now I feel he needs some support instead of asking for cut him off from Ducati or lynch him, as some Italians fans already asking for today.
He still get a lot of his fans behind him, me including.
Sorry if someone doesnt like it.

It never stopped the man himself doing it, so why should anyone hesitate when it's him laying in his own filth?

I believe tires are Valentino Rossi's biggest problem. Bridgetstone have developed a new softer rear tire construction, but the front is still the same Brickstone from last season (allegedly). Hard front/medium rear is the opposite of Rossi's historically preferred tire selection.

In the post race interviews, Rossi said that Ducati should not rely on the new tires (arriving at Silverstone) to fix the problems. Rossi's remarks indicate to me that Ducati are unwilling to do extensive development work until the new tire is finally added to the allocation. Rossi, on the other hand, believes the bike has more problems than the tires, and he expects Ducati to continue developing the bike to make it work with the present tire allocation.

When Rossi was at Yamaha, he and JB supposedly developed an M1 with a flexible headstock. Spies was riding that bike last year, and Spies declared that it made the bike feel as though it was shod with a soft front tire. Spies liked the feel. Suppose the FTR doesn't have this attribute, Rossi would probably be complaining about it. Furthermore, from JB's standpoint, his star rider is complaining b/c his placebo has been taken away. The flexible headstock changes the feel of the bike, not the actual performance of the tires or the chassis. Thus, JB insists that Rossi needs to get on with the business of riding the Ducati as is.

Interestingly enough, Rossi and Spies were both the laggards of the prototype field. Both have been struggling with grip issues. Imo, Spies is still riding Rossi's flexible headstock derivation. Imo, Yamaha no longer want to continue development on Rossi's old chassis, and the team does not support Ben's decision to stick with it (some reports indicate friction within Spies' team). As a result, Jarvis has told Spies to put up or shut up. It will be interesting to see what happens to Spies when the softer compound front tire arrives. If he is using Rossi's old chassis, it may go easier on a softer front tire.

You sure about that? Adjustable headstock perhaps (common across all GP bikes and these days a few roadbikes too).

The gap between the fastest Ducati and the front has nearly doubled from last year. That is a failure by Ducati to provide a competitive bike for all their riders in my opinion. Ducati has taken feed back from all of their current GP riders, their test riders, Carlos Checa, and Troy Bayliss(I think). This is a lot of talent providing quality data to the engineers. I really think that the engineers are failing at Ducati. I think Rossi has every right to be frustrated. I think all the other Ducati riders should be just as angry.
That being said, I think Rossi is only human and that the media pounced on him at the wrong time and place.
This was only one race. Even Ben Spies got the set up wrong.
Boy would I love to see Rossi on an M1 again.

Frustrated yes, but be angry? Nicky is bound by a contract, he has a job to do and he is doing just that...race what he was given, that's why I always like him, like his attitude.

Hector is the same, has a job to do and he just put in all he has, maybe that's the reason why he has no choice but to be looking for tows!

Karel is probably the only racer that could get angry and request his dad for a change of bikes but the only option available to them is either the GP12* or a CRT. Nevertheless, he was not giving up and aiming for a top 6 result.

bound by contract is like slaves... if the rider cannot voice his opinion, and ask for changes, then its slavery.. and i would pity anyone doing that... contention with what you have, sir, is the first step of losing. Ducati needs to step it up, explore more designs, recruit more people and experiment more. they cannot throw one design at the rider and collect data for one full year and make changes every other year...

I'm sure they are voicing, and that's usually what is known as rider's feedback, then the rest is up to the factory. But being angry at the situation and losing motivation is not the professional way to go about their job. There is a bike in the garage, not like there is no bike. Not the best bike, but a bike nevertheless. Yes, VR is out there racing for victory, and Stoner said that's what they are here to do, to win everytime, but VR can't just give up. It's not like him to give up without a fight, else people would just turn around and say he's not riding the Duc hard enough!

Just like in real life, find a solution in a situation to make the best out of it or move on to a better job. Nothing is perfect, why demand for perfection? Racing sponsorship is not at it's prime and it's musical chairs. Supposedly if it's the corporate Ducati Corse that's feeling downbeat and walk at the end of this year, Nicky and Rossi will be job hunting while Karel and Pramac will be looking for CRT. I still want to see Nicky and Rossi grit their teeth and even if the project is a fail, it's not for lack of trying.

Thanks for the laugh... comparing a MotoGP rider that does their job and doesn't publicly bash their employer to a slave... wow... talk about melodramatic.

I'd gladly throw on the shackles to ride a MotoGP bike and be act professionally during interviews.

I'd gladly take the millions of dollars, fame, and women that comes with it... and your pity :)

Where do I sign?

The gap has doubled from last year, and Burgess and Rossi should take at least some of the blame for that. I think its quite interesting that the most competitive Rossi has ever been at Ducati was on the original CF framed GP11, which was close to the same bike that won races at the end of 2010. Ducati have done a 180 degree turn in direction for them, gone against their history and pride and built a jap style frame for them and they're worse off than they ever were with the Carbon fibre frame. The whole thing is a debacle now. Ducati were the experts in CF frame technology which wasn't perfect yet but gave them a technical difference/potential edge compared to Yamaha and Honda. The sooner they get rid of Rossi and get back to their way of doing things the better.

You just compared a bike that had many years of development with Stoner, to a bike that had it's first race at the weekend and is about 6 months old.

Do you not think that it might take a little time to develop it into something half-way decent? Shouldn't we wait until at least the end of the season before we say that it's not as good as the old bike?

Sorry, but all this talk of the Ducati being so radically different now, and that's why Rossi cannot be competitive on it, seems like excuse-mongering by Rossi fans to me. And what is this stuff about "years of development with Stoner"?? He won the title his first year on the Ducati. So that's just nonsense.

Fact is, in recent years only two riders have had some degree of real success on the Ducati: Stoner and Capirossi (who also won races on it, let's not forget). With everyone else it's been everything from so-so (e.g. Hayden) to an outright disaster (Melandri, also a race winner, i.e. not a crap rider). And with Rossi it's looking increasingly like the latter.

So Rossi would not be the first good rider who failed to have the same success on the Ducati.

True... the comparison of 2007 to 2012 is fair... new displacement and new bikes for all teams.

Ducati just didn't strike gold with this pairing of bike & rider.

Lightning never strikes twice? Poor Ducs.

but, but, bayliss was riding an unfamiliar bike and tires. Oh, wait, he won that race, didn't he? :D

Honestly the biggest fault in the series, from an engineering perspective, is the tyres. If everyone's supposed to run the same tyres then everyone's engineering solutions will converge. Honda and Yamaha are both running similar chassis only with slightly different engines. V5s were banned & twins can't work, the only other option from a V4 is an I4, but the chassis are essentially the same (compared to what Ducati was going for). The Japanese bikes basically have the same weight distributions to deal with the tyres, and you can't achieve that with the 90V (it'd be interesting to see another carbon fiber or monocoque chassis with a 60V though). Unless there's a change in tyres for the series Ducati will have to build a Japanese bike to win again, essentially they'll have to make a prototype RSV4.

With how important Rossi is, I'm surprised that Dorna hasn't told Bridgestone to have another specification of tyre for the Ducati like what they had in 2007. Softer front, stiffer rear, I doubt it'd give Ducati an insurmountable advantage. They're the smallest factory anyway, and it'd save the series a bunch of headaches to see Rossi doing well for his twilight years/allow for engineering creativity.

Does anyone have a link to anything on the tyre allocation wowes? It seems foolish that five races in the teams won't be able to make engineering changes that'll have a positive effect on what the bikes will be riding on later. Why solve chatter now, if it could change completely with the next front tyre they put out? Sounds like Pedrosa & Stoner will have to spend the next few races with a good mouthguard in so that their teeth don't shatter.

"Honestly the biggest fault in the series, from an engineering perspective, is the tyres. If everyone's supposed to run the same tyres then everyone's engineering solutions will converge."

At which point the absolute performance limits of the motorcycles would come down to rider ability - what a quaint concept : )

Yeah, I know - I'm just playing Devil's Advocate :) We are back to Krop's 'Law Of Diminishing Returns' with that one.

There is one last chance not to panic though, the new front tyre allocation has been pushed forward so that Rossi et all will have two new spec softer (carcass?) hard front tyres for Jerez before they become standard by Silverstone.

If that pass on Luthi by Marquez was 'perfect', then I guess motorcycle racing has entered a dark era. If that happened in a club race, would a rider doing that - a deliberate and violent swerve across the front of another rider - escape unpunished? Also, how come Marquez is not only able to pull out of the slip-stream of others, but motor right on past ? These are allegedly 'spec' engines, are they not? He may be small, but there are other small riders in Moto2 who cannot pass others down the straight, at will. I think there is a major con job going on here. As for Rossi, well, the writing was on the wall last year - he was slower at almost every track than Stoner had been on the Ducati in 2010. He has taken Ducati down a dead-end street.

It was Marquez that was changing his line on the track so it would actually be 'if Marquez touched Luthi's wheel'. And when someone's front wheel gets hit by someone's back wheel it is usually the the guy whose front wheel was hit that falls. That's why Luthi had no recourse but to run off the track. And that is also why you don't take someone's line unless you are fully past them.

You can propose all the alternate scenarios you want but in the end what actually happened is all we can comment on.


I do not find Rossi's predicament sad, nor any apparent disenchantment, or lack of motivation he may be experiencing. For one, he's being paid a LOT of money. For another, and this is just my personal opinion, while I've always admired his on-track professionalism and racecraft -- overall by far the best since I've been paying attention to MotoGP -- his ... self-confidence has a bit too often drifted over to a kind of snide arrogance that I found unbecoming. While e.g. there was probably a personality conflict with Lorenzo in any case, he really only seems to get along well with -- and speak sincerely well of -- inferior riders. And I don't think this is just due to his competitiveness.

And again ... I find it hard to believe that Ducati screwed up what was a proven race-winning machine just in time for Rossi's arrival. It doesn't bear repeating that he is not the first good rider to have trouble being competitive on the Ducati. And so yes, Stoner's accomplishments on that bike were underappreciated by nearly everyone. Which raises an interesting question: assuming Stoner had wanted to stay (whereas all evidence indicates Stoner chose to join Honda), and Rossi was still available (which in any case he would have been, since it seems the tension with Lorenzo in the Yamaha garage was too much, and no way Yamaha was going to part ways with Lorenzo just to appease Rossi), then would Ducati have decided to keep Stoner rather than sign Rossi? Since the idea of both on the same team seems far-fetched.

Anyway, if things do not improve for Rossi and Ducati -- and at this point there is little reason to expect they will -- then retirement seems a real possibility. Who else would take him on? While Spies may indeed get the boot at Yamaha, Lorenzo will still be there, and either Dovizioso or Crutchlow are looking like solid replacements. Honda? Stoner won't be going anywhere assuming he wants to stay. Pedrosa? It's conceivable he might leave, but unlikely. Neither Suzuki nor Kawasaki will reappear in MotoGP next year.

So that leaves Rossi on a satellite bike. No way (one would think). And he does not seem at all the type for WSBK. Even if it did mean a chance to have another go at Biaggi...

Look at it this way: Rossi's had many great years. And the time to step away comes for everyone (ask Capirossi). By making room for a promising, more motivated younger rider, he'd be doing the sport a final good service (assuming you're right about his lack of motivation).

To put things into perspective, Rossi finished 5 seconds behind Hayden despite running off the track after Barbera came through! I would think that their performances were therefore pretty similar?
They are both dealing with a bike that is under performing and we are over analyising the whole affair. It is not easy for either of them and probably more so for Rossi in view of his past glories. Hayden has been with the team since 2009 and has been the best performing number two rider since finishing in 13th in year one!

All credit to Casey Stoner for his performances on the 800, but Ducati has been the graveyard of quite a few MotoGP careers. Capirossi, Gibernau, Melandri, Elias, Guintoli, Bayliss, Hodgson, Xaus, Kallio, Checa, Canepa, and names I can't remember at the moment!

Valentino automatically gets first dibs on the Ducati that gets the best finish or quali spot? At least that way he can see if the "factory second" bikes have something special the top spec bikes have missed out on?
Silly? Maybe its just a "rider not pushing hard" problem?

I wish Vale well, but in the meantime... "Go Casey"!!!

I'm a fan of most of the riders on the MotoGP grid especially Rossi! It's very sad watching him continuing to struggle with the Ducati. But let's be honest, Ducati and Rossi are both equally to blame for their lack of results! The Ducati engineers for falling short once again and Rossi for not being able to change his riding style to ride the wheels off of whatever he's given! Both parties have missed their targets... end of story for now. But what happened to Ben Spies? Spies and his team better get their act together FAST! With Lorenzo winning and Cal/Dovi fighting in the Top-5, Spies made himself look real bad behind Rossi! Dovi and Cal have chips on their shoulders and points to prove before any updates are given out for the M1. Spies seat on the Factory-Team is on the chopping block. And Stoner? He seemed 'content' with his result whatever the excuse. Or am I imagining it? Does he know that he has more in his locker than Lorenzo?

Regarding specifically Rossi's problems, maybe you could explain how the Ducati engineers were 'falling short' when Stoner was on the Ducati, riding it to the most wins and poles in the 800cc era? (Yes, I know it is a different bike now.) And, again specifically regarding Rossi, how are they 'falling short' now when Hayden and Barbera -- the latter on a satellite machine -- both finished ahead of Rossi? (As perhaps Abraham -- also on a satellite machine -- would have done had he finished the race -- he qualified ahead of Rossi.)


He was lapping in 59' all race long, even with his second bike not working properly, on the second day, he was in 57', so no doubt it was huge.

As huge as it looks !

You are pretty much correct re. the context of your Ducati/Rossi comments - these are people who know how to win at this level, so what exactly is going wrong?

The Spies thing has been done elsewhere, although it has to be said that surely someone realised the twice-crashed bike wasn't up to speed, so to speak - ?

As for Stoner, my take is that yes, he knows that he doesn't have to worry too much.

If it helps I saw casey pushing hard on the duke back in 2010 riding it the way it should be. He was 4th and never got mention by the title contenders all season after qatar. He finished behind Nicky quite a few times himself that year. He was apparently favourite for the title that year, that was considered a magnificent effort by some corners on a bike that just wasn't good enough, casey was throwing a wobbly right left and centre and eventually left a team he said he'd never leave. He won the title the next year at a canter on a proper bike.....
When Rossi arrived at ducati those same corners said he had apparently a bike that could win the title at a canter( no explanation for caseys inability to even put up a challenge the year before) and it was all his fault( it was the same bike)he just needed to ride like casey(but clearly from the evidence even that was nowhere near good enough).

A couple of weeks ago Presiozi announced to the world(before his riders had tried them!!!!!) he has some 'marvellous' ideas for the bike, they turned out to shyte (Rossi's words)....nuff said..

>on a bike that just wasn't good enough

Hard to make such a definitive statement. Stoner had 5 DNFs in 2010, including 2 of the first 3 races. Ouch. With such strong opposition, that must've dented his confidence, not to mention his title hopes -- it would've been a huge task (just looking at the points) to overtake Lorenzo the way he (Lorenzo) was riding that year.

Really the diff between caseys 2010 on the duke and his 2011 on the honda had nothing to do with the bikes, it was down to bad luck and not feeling up to it..... pure fantasy..

Rossi almost giving up. Never heard of that before.

He seems happy on TV, but is he really ?? He has taken a few beatings in the recent past with a broken leg, shoulder issues, and most of all being involved in the Simo crash.... Big pressure to perform on top of that.... A very heavy load.

Since most of the posts have been on Rossi, gotta throw my two cents in. Clearly, he has not been able to adapt to the Ducati. Which is a major reason why in the US many job applications ask you if you are over 40. Because people over 40 a little craggy and are not as adaptable as younger people. Rossi, in the race world, would be equal to someone in their 60s in the work world. He has raced and ridden a certain way all his career. Honda and Yamaha not being that different to ride. The Ducati being a whole new animal may be too much for him to adapt to this late in the game.

If something does not happen with him, Ducati, or both by the middle of the season, he may retire. OR........ He may do his own team with a Factory bike like when he first came into GPs. The Team may not be owned by him, but the man can attract enough sponsors to get the Factories interested. (Unless there is some rule I am forgetting about teams not being able to have a Factory bike).

if that can be done, (and I am just speculating here), he will probably want a Honda. Just looking at his past, the man seems to have a thing for trying to prove he can take what Casey Stoner has and use it better, (not the Ducati, but when he switched to Bridgestone, with everyone calling it a mistake, he demanded the same spec tire as Casey.)

Honda is a bike he knows he can ride, and making one last jab at Stoner, (as ill advised as that would be), would truly be a Rossi way of going out.

All that said, I still think retirement. It looks like the challenge of Ducati has drained him. He is no longer Rossi the Keibler Elf looking trickster. He is now Rossi the worn Veteran Champion. A new generation seems to be getting further and further out of his reach. Dani, Jorge, and Casey are all too fast for anything to go wrong and anyone having a hope of catching them. They have top machinery, and use what they have to the edge of the limit.

So how old are Checa and Biaggi, in the "race world", 90 ? How come they beat the hell out of the youngsters then ? And how can Rossi jump in a rally car and learn that fast, if he's too old to learn anything ? I don't think age has anything to do with it.

I am saying that Rossi may just be burned out. That does happen with age. You do not have to be a racer to get burned out. You can get burnt out on a job you work for 10 years.

As far as Checa and Biaggi go in World Superbike, they are just faster than many of the Superbike racers. Ben Spies was asked why more people cannot adapt and race Motogp bikes at the same level they did in superbikes after his record setting, championship winning, rookie year. He said that the Motogp racers are just flat out faster. Biaggi and Checa on motogp bikes would not do any better than they did when they stepped out, two different levels of racing. That is why an aging, slower motogp racer can go to world superbike before they retire and get at the minimum some wins, at the maximum a championship(s).