2013 Mugello MotoGP Round Up, Part 1: Lorenzo's Persistence, Cruchlow's Fierceness, And Honda's Hidden Weakness.

Qualifying doesn't tell you the whole story. Which is a good thing, as otherwise they could just hand out the trophies after qualifying and be done with it. A lot of things change in the 24 hours between qualifying and the race - weather, temperature, set up - but most of all, qualifying is just a couple of laps, while the race means spending a long time on the track.

Mugello turned out to be a perfect example. Dani Pedrosa had been getting faster every session, especially as the temperatures rose and the grip of the track improved. The Repsol Honda man blasted to pole, just pipping Jorge Lorenzo at the end of qualifying and setting a new lap record in the process. With race day looking warmer, and the track cleaning up every session, Pedrosa looked the hot favorite to dominate at the Italian track.

It turned out Pedrosa had been bluffing. He and his team had worked out early on that the new tires Bridgestone had brought did not quite work for them. "We have a modified shoulder on the rear, so at this track with this tire, we couldn't really get the grip. You are a long time on the edge on this track, so I couldn't really open well, and get drive out of corners," Pedrosa told the press conference after finishing second to Jorge Lorenzo.

Lorenzo's victory had been hard to predict from his qualifying performance, the Yamaha man going well, but seemingly easily outdone by Pedrosa once the Repsol rider was up to speed. On Sunday morning, Lorenzo showed some of his true colors, laying down a punishing pace which boded well for the race. Once the flag dropped, Lorenzo was away, and after a move on Pedrosa he himself branded as 'too aggressive', he led the trio at the head of the championship as they pulled a gap on the chasing riders.

It looked for 10 laps like we might get a repeat of Brno 2012, with Pedrosa sticking right on Lorenzo's tail throughout. But unseen to the spectators, two factors were at play: Jorge Lorenzo's fuel tank was emptying, and Dani Pedrosa's tires were wearing. The gap which Lorenzo opened up on lap 13 was a combination of both factors. Pedrosa started losing edge grip and was struggling to follow, while Lorenzo, who had been holding back while waiting for the fuel load to drop, upped the pace to put pressure on Pedrosa. Within a couple of laps, the race was done, and Lorenzo went on to take his second imperious victory of the season.

The key to Lorenzo's - and indeed Cal Crutchlow's - race is the design of the Yamaha fuel tank. They have moved their tank further back and a fraction lower to create more stability on the brakes. While the top section of the tank - in reality a large, oddly-shaped fuel cell which sits largely under the seat - still contains fuel, the bike needs to be handled with care, but once the fuel falls under a certain level, the Yamaha M1 is transformed. The fuel tank is the biggest difference between the factory and the satellite machines, and one of the reasons why Crutchlow struggles a little more in the first few laps than Lorenzo does.

Crutchlow was in the same boat as Lorenzo. He had to wait for the fuel load to drop before he could really start to push on. He had also been hampered at the start by Andrea Dovizioso, as the Italian had had a huge moment at the start with failing electronics on his Ducati GP13. For whatever reason, the anti-wheelie system had failed to kick in on Dovizioso's Desmosedici, and when he pulled off the line, the bike tried to rear up very fast. The Italian had had trouble controlling the ensuing wheelie, and had nearly hit Crutchlow in the process.

Once he had got past Dovizioso and the halfway mark had been passed, Crutchlow started chasing down Pedrosa, and looked like he might have gotten close. But Pedrosa upped his pace after Marc Marquez crashed out, and Crutchlow settled for the podium, rather than risk it all to get second.

The man who made Crutchlow's podium possible - though Crutchlow would argue that this is not the case - had a pretty remarkable race. Marc Marquez set a new lap record early in the race, and was chasing Lorenzo after he got by his teammate. But his race weekend ended in the gravel, when he lost both wheels simultaneously at the downhill right hander of Savelli. Just why he had crashed was a mystery to Marquez, as when he and his crew examined the data, they saw that both speed and lean angle at the time of the crash had been identical to the lap before. This is perhaps a lesson in tire management, with Marquez lacking the experience to recognize the symptoms of a rapidly fading Bridgestone tire.

That Marquez was even riding was frankly remarkable, given his very high speed off on Friday afternoon. That crash was the fastest ever in Grand Prix racing, Marquez losing the front at getting on for 340 km/h, and laying the bike down at the thick end of 300 km/h. A cracked bone in his arm, a huge bruise on his leg, and a badly swollen chin - arguments raged in the paddock over whether Marquez looked most like Michael Schumacher, Jay Leno or Bruce Forsyth - meant that Marquez should not have been capable of running at the front, yet he not only chased Lorenzo and Pedrosa, he stuffed it past Pedrosa and was chasing Jorge Lorenzo. This won't be the last crash of Marc Marquez, but with each passing day, he learns more and grows quicker.

A crash also blighted the race of Valentino Rossi. The Italian had qualified relatively poorly, and when his clutch overheated - a relatively common occurrence in MotoGP - he had also lost drive off the line. That left him way down the order after the start, and as anyone who has seen a start live, the middle of the pack is where danger lives. This time, danger was in the shape of Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard colliding with Rossi between turns 2 and 3, and taking them both out.

So whose fault was it? Race Direction called it as a racing incident, a verdict with which both Bautista and Rossi seemed to agree, though Rossi was still fuming that he was collected and dumped in the kitty litter. He did his best to not blame Bautista, while all the time blaming Bautista.

What appears to have happened is that Bautista hugged the inside line round turn 2, which Rossi used to his advantage, passing around the outside. When the track flicked back, they were two men on different bikes headed for the same piece of tarmac, and a collision was inevitable. Was Bautista to blame? Only insofar as he didn't look right when trying to close the gap. Was Rossi to blame? Well if you don't want to get caught up on traffic at the start, you want to ensure first and foremost that you are not mid-pack with the pychos when the red flag drops. Rossi's poor qualifying is making it very hard for him to get anywhere near the front runners, and if he's not near, he will find it hard to battle for a podium.

This was a racing incident. It wasn't a pretty one, and it definitely wrecked any chance Rossi may have had of scoring a podium - Rossi was adamant that he could have gotten a podium, if he hadn't been dumped in the gravel by Bautista. But Rossi knows what to do: elbows out, goggles on, and go fight for the front two - preferably, front one - row during qualifying. Until that starts happening, things won't start to come together.

More later.

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That's a fair assessment of the Rossi/Bautista incident. The overhead helicopter shot showed it best - Rossi ran slightly wide after passing Bautista, and turned back across his bow perhaps thinking Bautista would concede, but he was intent on his own line out of the apex and their trajectories simply met on the same piece of track. Disappointing and frustrating for both, but neither are really to blame nor excused from blame... it happens.

The Marquez crash was unfortunate, because according to Cal, Crutchlow would've chased down Dani. But because the podium was gifted to him, he chose not to risk it.

Obviously Rossi's get-off eliminated any chance of another Qatari performance. It still seems Rossi is the only one can knife through the field.....partly because his qualifying and starts suck and he always starts mid-pack, so there's always opportunity. I'm a Rossi fan but his poor qualifying and starts put him in uphill challenges.

Because of these two crashes, this race was a "yawner".

After about 1/3 race distance I was starting to feel an oncoming yawn, but there was enough going on to make me decide not to risk it. It turned out to be the right decision for that bit.

As we went into the final third I was starting to think a yawn might be necessary, and in fact I was readying my first yawn when Marquez went down - just goes to show you can never predict what might happen! I could have wasted a yawn there....

Anyone who was yawning should probably follow another sport.

Rossi didn't appear to be too stressed about not completing the first lap. He was probably relieved that he would not be shown up in front of his home crowd.

"He and his team had worked out early on that the new tires Bridgestone had brought did not quite work for them."

Did the teams get to test these "new" BS tyres before this weekend?

The tires at Mugello were in the heat-resistant construction, they brought these in Mugello last year but only for one of the compound choices. They also bring these tires to Sachsenring and Phillip Island.

They are not a 'new' tire.

Is what I was yelling when I saw the accidents. Rossi/Bautista and Marquez. Rossi/ Bautista was not what I wanted to see. I wanted....no, needed to see if Rossi was washed up or still had it. This was going to be the one race that would truly show if he did not have it anymore. He loves this track and has made some bad starts to it and still won.

Said I was waiting for the fifth race before I would say he had it or did not have it anymore. Now gotta wait for the next race. After looking at the video footage, Rossi was ahead, but it is possible that Bautista just change direction without looking. Even though he should have been as they were all still bunched up in one big group. The first few corners are iffy in the beginning of a race. But, that is racing. Accidents happen.

Seeing Marquez pass and pull away from Pedrosa made me feel like Marquez may be a title contender in his first year with a HIGH possibility of taking the title. Watching him crash out was painful. Had me making frustrated hand signals as he walked through the gravel pit. But he is a rookie, and learning a lot. A good deal of people predicted that he would be crashing like this quite often. But it seems he has matured as a racer in doing less dangerous moves, and being far more consistent on his bike.

The race was actually fun to watch with all the drama. It was the type of race where you want to write it off, but everytime you think that, something happens to keep your attention;

said he would challenge Lorenzo. But this was the race that would show if he has the top speed he used to have, or if it has gone away. He has won here at Mugello in such commanding fashion even when qualifying bad. It is the one race track that Rossi has consistently dominated. If he could not get a good result here and stay with the top three then I would finally concede that Rossi is no longer the "ROSSI" I used to cheer about. Time will have finally weighed down on him. Now I will wait for another race to see how he does. But Mugello is a place that he SHOULD be fast at for sure.

"Seeing Marquez pass and pull away from Pedrosa made me feel like Marquez may be a title contender in his first year with a HIGH possibility of taking the title."

I have no doubt about MM's potential to lift the title in his rookie year, but his pass on DP and subsequent crash were not evidence of his superior speed - DP could have gone faster too. The difference is that DP knew that going faster was to risk a DNF. MM will find that point too, but whether he finds it in time to stay in the title hunt is the question.

Actually I was immediately reminded of a similar incident where DP was pulling away from CS in a wet race - Casey probably could have gone quicker but had decided he'd rather finish the race, and sure enough, Dani crashed out. And Dani became a far better wet racer after that little wake-up call - will Marc learn the same lesson?

I completely agree with you as to MM's potential. Reminds me greatly of Rossi's 2000 season; he clearly had the edge in raw speed on everyone on the grid, but 3 DNF's & two other race crashes handed the title to KRJ by just 49 pts. If Marc can find the limits before he puts himself into orbit, he & the RCV are going to be odds on for 2014. No disrespect intended to JLo, DP, or even my beloved VR46's chances, but man that kid is Spencer/Stoner fast.

whats realy funny is that pedro was a little upset by jorge's move at the first corner were Jorge ALMOST touch Dani. Dani said after Jorge/marq/jerez its racing. now thats what i call funny!!! Dani again did what dani does always....sitting behind Jorge for more then half race disstance waiting for Jorge to lose some speed befor making a move, dani making sure he doesn't have to battle Jorge early on. thats why we dont see racing anymore its the waiting waiting and waiting. but this time for dani jorge got faster and faster. And even marq who has been abnormal aggressive on track and normaly with the moves he made(jerez) didn't make such move on Dani and were also waiting waiting and waiting. it seems to me that MM wants to hurt other riders(as he won feel the pain) but is scared to get hurt and mm drove an race even cleaner then Jorge/Dani and even casey ever did. big pitty

I remember seeing the move in real time on telly and thinking it was very aggressive, but then it wasn't replayed so only seen it that one time.

I think Jorge has since commented himself that in hindsight was too aggressive...but I might have misread a headline.

So the first corner on the first lap, is the same thing as the last corner on the last lap. Got it.

Rossi's crash reminded me of his overtake (and subsequent crash) on Lap 14 of the Australian MotoGP in 2011. He overtook Alvaro Bautista on the (clearly slower) Suzuki at MG corner ....rather than wait to pass cleanly and safely down the main straight.

Impatient? Ill considered?

Attempting to overtake "a loose cannon" like Bautista, on just turn 2 of lap 1 of the Italian MotoGP is.....Impatient? Ill considered?

Are you saying you thought VR's mistake was to be impatient?

My own view of the crash: Bautista was on the normal racing line through the section, VR was offline having tried to go round the outside. There's really only one line through those switchbacks so the only way VR was going to get through is if the rider coming on the normal line saw him and gave him room/gave way.

And as I think BS38 said, no way AB could have seen him so crash = inevitable.

In a way, VR "created" the situation by trying to run round and through the pack and putting himself in a position where he could only complete the next turn if another rider gave way/room. But that's what happens in racing, so making someone to blame is harsh and unnecessary.

I suspect my take will be seen by some as anti-rossi, sadly.

The amusing thing about the incident for me was the palpable sense of uh oh how do we report this in the media - especially in the live TV commentary. I took that as a pretty clear sign of AB being innocent and the crash being a 'that's racing' incident.

A shame, as would have liked t see how both of them would have done chasing down crutchlow

There's some interesting 'still' photos of the Rossi/Bautista incident on Youtube.
The photo showing the initial contact definitely shows Bautista's bike slightly ahead (about a front wheel length) of Rossi's bike.

Now I know Bautista is no angel, but it's a bit rich Rossi pointing the finger (in a non-blaming Bautista kind of way!) after the number of riders he's managed to take out.

It's just seems this time
Rossi's luck ran out.

rossi was ahead when bautista flipped the bike to turn into the apex but was on a slower line. bautista should have been more aware of other riders just as those in front and behind were. nobody else tried to go from apex to apex like bautista. He was racing as if he was 10 laps in and single file and not on the 2nd/3rd corner of the first lap.

wouldn't penalise him though, just a word to be more aware so early.

midders your take is exactly accurate in my book. AB was treating this like it was half race distance. Not the first time he has done something like this either. It's just a racing incident. Rossi was pissed off at missing his home round but said the same. Bad weekend for him as Jorge invited Mad Max to hang out all weekend.

Lorenzo wins, complete with Mad Max in tow, on Rossi's home turf, and Rossi gets collected to the litter. Of course he isn't going to be pleased.

IMO, Catalunya is Rossi's last chance to make a good season. A good result can turn things around. If they have the same luck in Barcelona then it's going to be a long season for JB and crew, extremely long. You have to have your ish together by Catalunya or it's last call.

Yes, it was a "racing incident" for which there should be no penalty, but given what had transpired to that point, I lay the blame on Bautista. It is the first lap, he made a slight mistake exiting the previous corner, he was slowed slightly by riders in front, and there is no normal racing line in the first couple corners. Most riders don't have to actually look to know when somebody is there...they feel when another rider is there because they know what is transpiring. He should have expected someone to be there.

It is irrelevant how or why Rossi was there. He was going to easily make the next corner and he was fully up alongside, actually slightly ahead...and Bautista turned in on him and made side to side contact. If that played out at any time other than the chaos of the first lap when it is more difficult to know where EVERYBODY is, it would have been clearly Bautista's fault.

Dani could have turned in on Marquez when he made the pass...rubbish...

Didn't Lorenzo make the same T1 move on Pedrosa there last year? I would expect Pedrosa to keep a tighter line in T1, he left the door slightly open. It is too long a corner for any of that por fuera nonsense...

In your following installment... Can you address this 'tire' situation that Bridgestone seems to downplay race to race? Are they intentionally trying to lower the performance like in Formula-1? Are they supplying 2 or more different compounds to the Factory Teams? The tires lack of grip can't be blamed on suspension set-up when it affects multiple riders. Bridgestone should get some assistance from Pirelli in WSB on manufacturing tires with consistent wear and grip.

If you have been following Mr. Emmett's updates regularly (or bother to dig up the archives) you'll learn that tyre issues don't surface in WSBK (due to contractual obligations I think?). Tyres in the past have been found to be horrendously inconsistent in WSBK. Bridgestone on the other hand have been magnificently consistent in comparison.

Yes, issues surface. Yes top riders have complained about grip levels. And yes they tend to deny issues. But these are creases you won't even bother to iron out. Like David has mentioned before, it's both a boon and a curse to be the sole manufacturer. Even the smallest of issues may end up giving the brand a bad name. Each tyre type brought to a race is a compromise for some bike manufacturer. Works on some days for some, doesn't for others. Doesn't mean that something is necessarily wrong with the tyre. Not on most days. There may be manufacturing defects in some pieces or the weather might be drastically different from the previous year. And they're just into their second year of 1000 cc bikes and data is still pouring in.

Pirelli is a lot more forgiving but it wouldn't take the abuse of a MotoGP bike. It's a different ballgame altogether. Also the performance degradation like in F1 is for a different set of reasons. It's a scenario involving pit-stops so the strategizing is totally different. And unlike F1 we don't see riders here complaining that the whole concept of racing is down to tyre management.

I too would like to know more regarding these new set of tyres though.

"And yes they tend to deny issues."

Yes, and that is to be expected. Japaneese have a difficult time admitting that anything is wrong. I don't mean that in a slanderous way, at all; It is fact.

If anything, the Bridgestones are too good. They allow for precision riding and have allowed the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, and Dani Pedrosa (to some extent Valentino Rossi, though he is more of a dogfighter) to beam off in the front. All with comparatively little degradation.

In Moto2, Dunlop seem to have found a happy medium.

"The key to Lorenzo's - and indeed Cal Crutchlow's - race is the design of the Yamaha fuel tank. They have moved their tank further back and a fraction lower to create more stability on the brakes. While the top section of the tank - in reality a large, oddly-shaped fuel cell which sits largely under the seat - still contains fuel, the bike needs to be handled with care, but once the fuel falls under a certain level, the Yamaha M1 is transformed. The fuel tank is the biggest difference between the factory and the satellite machines, and one of the reasons why Crutchlow struggles a little more in the first few laps than Lorenzo does ... Crutchlow was in the same boat as Lorenzo. He had to wait for the fuel load to drop before he could start to push on"

You attribute the drop in fuel levels to Loenzo's being able to up the pace. You seem to suggest that the "oddly shaped" tank is a feature of the factory bike but not the satellite bike - at least that is what I understand when you say the fuel tank "is the biggest difference between the factory and the satellite machines." So why does Crutchlow struggle more than Lorenzo in the opening laps if Lorenzo is the one who needs to handle it with care till the fuel load drops? And then if Crutchlow struggles a little more than Lorenzo in the opening laps, how then can they be "in the same boat", bearing in mind that you've already said the tank is "the biggest difference" between their bikes and you've opened the paragraph by saying the tank is the key to their both being able to go fast at the end? Sorry, but none of that paragraph nor the opening line of the following one makes any sense in my reading of it.

Both tanks are oddly shaped and not where you or I would call the tank on a bike. The Yamaha has always suffered in the opening laps with a full tank and works better when the fuel load drops. The bit about the difference between the factory & T3 bikes is that the factory bike has a differently shaped tank which centralises and lowers the mass better so it doesn't suffer as much with a full tank.

From my reading, David's point is clear. Both the factory and satellite Yamahas have a fuel tanks that are a bit top heavy. Yamaha riders must be patient in the early stages of the race. Lorenzo's bike has some fuel cell updates that make this characteristic less pronounced.

I think my error was to assume too much knowledge on the part of the readers. As Phoenix1 points out, both tanks are a similar, but not identical shape. If you saw the two tanks a few meters apart, you'd be hard pressed to say which was which. If you saw them side by side, you might notice the small changes. The difference is that the factory tank is located a very small amount - maybe a centimeter, maybe less further back and lower than satellite tank. This shifts the center of gravity a little further back, making the bike more stable under braking. Both factory and satellite bikes suffer in the early stages of the race, though the satellite bikes suffer more. This means that Lorenzo can push harder in the opening laps than Crutchlow can. As the fuel levels drop, the difference between the two bikes grows less, and the bike becomes easier to manage. The fuel in the top section of the tank has been burned off, and there's only the fuel in the bottom part still there.

I hope this is a little clearer.

I'm not sure that the fuel tank was the 'key' to Jorge's and Crutchlow's race either. The Yamaha's ability to smoothly put the power through the edge of the tyre to gain traction without chewing it up over race distance looked to be pretty important too. And Jorge's style has always been better suited to having a low fuel load, ever since his 250 days. He usually get s stronger as thevrace progresses.

Clearly, I stated that rather badly (at 3am after a long day). What I meant is that this was a key factory in the race pace of the Yamahas. They go better in the second half of the race, as the bike starts to handle better with a low fuel load.

Jorge's move was 'too aggressive'? Has this sport gotten to the place where the rider in front has to invite the following rider to pass? Geez.....Dani went wide, Jorge saw the opening and took it. Dani started turning back in, and, surprise, Jorge was there! Dani's mistake for going wide, NOT Jorge for taking it. Guys post constantly that MGP is boring and processional, but when someone sees an opening and takes it, all of a sudden the move is too aggressive/etc.

I've said it before that soon they'll have to hold hands to pass. It's ridiculous.

But this is also why Emmett has said MM was needed. A return to actual racing/passing, and not just who can beat the stop watch. It's also why Rossi called them "pussies" a few years ago.

Few want to watch guys riding motorcycles play let's beat the stop watch. Perhaps some on here but the majority want to see fighting in the form of passing and overtakes, a battle for a win. With the bikes so regulated in the form of engine allotment, fuel allotment, cylinder maximum, weight minimum, and the myriad of electronics at work....this is the sport today. You won't have a series that lends itself to passing until the fuel load is increased, electronics are minimized, and there is an abundance of power at the rear wheel that few can use. That was the formula of 2002-2006 and it worked so well that few complained about the 500's going away.

The snoozefest from 2007 until today, needs to go away. It's not good for anyone. If this series continues to be an electronic nanny love fest I will switch it off. There was talk it could change with them going back to liter bikes. But then some stepped in and said "Not with that fuel load" and some others said "Not with the sophistication of TC". I long for a reduction in electronic nanny devices, more engines, more fuel, and a more level playing field. It's a sad day in motorcycle racing when the smaller classes are more exciting and have more passing, by a margin, compared to the best bikes in the world.

I think they should just hand out the trophies after qualifying and be done with it. And I so much wish that Marco was still here on a factory supported Honda battling with Marquez. That would give 2 new(er) riders who would go for it despite the electronic madness, fuel madness, engine allotment madness, tire rule madness.

I would love to see them do a few laps in anger on a 500. I recall when Doohan went back to the Screamer version of the NSR 500 but none of the other factory Honda riders could ride it.

This new era MGP is much like the NFL where you can't touch the quarterback anymore. Still entertaining, but...

Had the early pace. Looks like his "sit and watch" played against him here.

As always hindsight is 20/20. I think what he did do by waiting behind Lorenzo was, secure 2nd, and what would've been third. If he had fought with Lorenzo, which only would've provoked Marquez. Cal was for sure going to be there, and it would've turned into a 3 way battle. I say that because Lorenzo looked like the himself from last year. Completely in control and able to go a 1/2 second quicker at will, and probably would've put his head down sooner.

So yes, maybe fight for the win, possibly 4th or worse. Not sure if he knew how big the gap was, or that Val was even out. I doubt it, due to the fact that he was locked in on Lorenzo, and Marc was cm's away. He probably sat there to make sure they pulled a gap, which they did. While hoping to have something left. Which he didn't. In the game of the Championship, it was a smart move. For us fans, it would've been great to watch the other way around.

End the end, he took 20 points and still has the lead in the Championship. At the end of the day, you don't win a championship in this class without being smart early in the season. It's chess, not checkers. And at this point, there are a lot of pieces left on the board.

Marquez crashed out of second, ahead of Pedrosa. As far as Pedrosa could know, he was going to finish third and have his championship eroded even more by the rookie. If it was known that Yamahas struggle under full fuel load, and that Dani would suffer under tire wear, then why not go for it early while he had the advantage.

Pedrosa is well known for that tactic - and has been very successful with it. But safe bets are what have given him second place season finishes. Well, that and injury.

Sadly what would've been a VERY entertaining race turned into a mildly exciting one with the Bautista/Rossi tangle. It would've been great to see what Val could've done from the middle of the pack. I think Crutchlow's performance is a great indication of the kind of progress Rossi would've made, if not even more from Rossi since his pace was perhaps even stronger than Cal's. Oh well.

Perhaps DORNA should come up with some kind of added bonus points for the most laps leading or a complex mathematical algorithm formula that rewards passes my men because yesterday's race indeed a parade, nobody try anything at nobody just waiting for a miracle to happen.

I disagree with the statement regarding Cal being hampered by Dovi as the reason for not sticking with the front runners. He actually passed Dovi fairly quickly for a change. At that point he was only over 1.2 secs or so from Marquez. They just left him behind. Cal's pace is currently slower than the top 3, and he needs to stop pretending he can run with them. No way was he going to catch Pedrosa or Marquez on Sunday. As far as I can see he earned the last 2 podiums but with some help from the weather and a couple key crashes respectively. Of course IMHO.

On a side note, Rossi's campaign is starting to ressemble the one for Spies in 2012. That second factory M1 seems to be cursed.

Given two more laps, he might have. But I would agree that the charge to the end was a little late. However, Cal lost a lot of time down that straight. He was several km/h slower than the factory guys. Given the right equipment, its not insane to say that he could have run with the top three.

Cal said he backed off and "let" Dani have second. That's not what I saw and that's certainly not what the lap times indicate.

From one lap before Marc crashed. Marc on 21, last completed was 20.

19- 1'48.655 25.675 22.960 35.507 24.513
20- 1'48.630 25.639 22.971 35.434 24.586
21- 1'48.887 25.692 22.959 35.622 24.614
22- 1'48.691 25.628 23.044 35.414 24.605
23- 1'48.881 25.737 22.935 35.613 24.596

Top speeds are almost identical to Lorenzo.y of their race in cle Cal is 1-2 Kph down. Considering that they spent the majoritan air. Cal just didn't get it done. He didn't "let" Dani take second. He couldn't catch Dani for second. Not taking anything away from him, he rode a fantastic race. It's just not the truth what he said in the interview. If he backed off, he would've went to '49's. He had over 15 seconds on Bradel. To me, that's not backing off, that's trying to catch someone and not being able to do it.

Cal was faster than Danny for the rest of the race (race analysis on MotoGP website). That doesn't sound like a rider not getting the job done or a rider not catching the bike in front - which he clearly was.

BP41 is correct about CC not backing off, the data says he didn't. However the data also indicates that Cal lost the fight with Dani in the first 50% of the race which corresponds with all we have read about the satellite Yamaha and associated issues on a full fuel tank with the higher centre of gravity compared to the factory bike.

On a separate issue;

Dani worked for and deserved his 2nd place, just as CC deserved his 2nd podium in two races. It does not matter is a rider falls off in the first lap or last lap, if you cant finish the race you cant say the rider that did was lucky to get the place. Funnily enough the riders who ride fastest and stay on seem to get the most 'luck'.

MM will probably explore the limit of adhesion another couple of times before he cracks the Bridgestones. That is not Crutchlow's fault.

Dovi wasn't lucky getting podiums last year when CC kept falling off, at the time Dovi could ride consistent high speeds and manage the tyres, he was better / more experienced at the time. At the moment Cal is more experienced than MM in tyre management and deserves the points MM isn't picking up.

Wait a few races, it'll all change again....

What I was trying to get at was, Cal was missing the .3-.4 a lap in the beginning of the race. He certainly go ton with his job and "got it done" with a great ride. He also was indeed catching the bike in front. But all of that doesn't matter when the checkered flag is waived. With 2-3 more laps, Cal would more than likely had second place. I guess the thing that irk's me about Cal and this weekend is his interview. To claim he "let" Dani have second was to me, a smack in the face to a rider that is clearly faster on any given Sunday. To me, he should start winning some races before he starts saying he "let" another rider have a higher place.

Separate issue: Yep, both deserved to be where they were at. 1 second behind or 40 seconds behind. You have to keep it on two wheels. A lesson Cal knows all too well. I know a lot on here all BIG Crutchlow fans. As am I, I want to see him do well. Just didn't care for how he worded the race from his prospective.

After the warm up I was pretty sure no one would hold a candle to him in the race. Some may consider runaway victories boring. Fortunately I can simply appreciate a great rider on the back foot defending his championship with a master class on the day to claw back the deficit to his rivals. Fortunately for me, mid pack incidents at any stage of any race are merely that. I had to feel for young Marc. So close to second. That crash reminded me much of Stoner's crash in Qatar while pulling away on the Ducati some years back. No hint,no warning,just bang and slide. Being an L-4 like the Ducati who knows? The Honda works the same, its just better at being an L-4 over any race distance. Given all that,another good day for Ducati overall. I'm especially impressed yet again with Cal and very pleased for the LCR team and Bradl. He needed desperately to get a confidence boost and Mugello was just the right tonic. That was an epic race long battle between him and the Ducati's mid pack which kept me riveted. Dovi shows his adaptability yet again.

Depree, I don't know about that similarity,but Rossi has already been subject to M1 issues this season prior to Mugello. Speaking of Spies,I don't know what the future holds for him because that shoulder injury is not healing at a rate of knots. I've been around that block and it raged on for ages,then suddenly I woke up one morning and it was as though the injury never occured in the first place and has not raised its ugly painfull head since. Hope he turns the corner with that injury by the time Brno comes around. In the interim he is damn good,unbiased and very knowledgeable as commentator. Loved it.

like it's now with Spies I think people starts to worry when comeback is difficult and delayed due to complication. It always looks kinda 'another career broken' slogan. Still this year seems more lucky for Spies than the last one...

Spies commentary was a much need healthy dose of factual, intelligent insight. At first I couldn't tell it was him, I knew it was some American that was actually taking a very critical outlook on the race, but not till the end did I hear them mention his name.

It was desperately needed as it seems all the motoGP analysts are capable of discussing is paddock gossip, and misreading which individual is on screen. Not to mention I often see something happening in the standings or on screen 10 seconds before those two even realize something major has happened.

And thank god for Ben Spies being there for that Rossi/Bautista incident. He stuck to his guns and called it a "racing incident" as soon as it happened, and even better described the two possible scenarios for it happening before even seeing the replay. Meanwhile the other two started blabbering about how unfortunate it was for Vale, and blah blah blah, home fans crying, blah blah blah, "surely it wasn't Vale's fault", blah blah.

I'm a huge Vale fan, but his desperation to get onto the front runners ASAP cost him that race. Sure it was part AB fault as well, but c'mon Vale, you know you had the race pace to be in the top 3.

The pattern for the last multiple years in motogp is: leaders jump out and rabbit away leaving the second and third place riders to fight for position and increase the gap. Rossi HAD TO try and make up all the space he could at the begining of the race when you have a chance to pass three or four in a lap. Otherwise, he'd have been held up significantly by setting up to pass them all individually.

And, as much as I loved Marco, he weighed at least 50% more than Marquez. In these days of fuel restrictions that means he would have a leaner mixture, less power, and less speed on the straights. Unless we start to look at at minimum combined rider/bike weight, we are going to see the motogp start to look like a field of jockeys.

Also, as well as Cal is riding this year, he might still end up without a competitive ride next year. He should take a cue from Hayden, who has been clinging for years. Start promoting the manufacturer, buddy. Bradl has a crazy long contract.
Shame about Rossi. I wanted to see if the former king still had it--I imagine he does too.

Bridgestone and new tyres. By all I can glean they had new profile rear for Mugello,not necessarily new compound. Probably in anticipation of endurance vs abrasion on the recently,well, 18 month old resurface. Fact is,it punished Honda and Ducati in terms of edge grip over race distance. It does not change anything. As the saying goes,a bad carpenter blames the tools. I'm sure Bridgestone had honest intent. On the other hand,the game needs the tyre war revisited,desperately.
Round Up Part 2. In anticipation,I suspect this will be about Moto3 and Moto2.
Pre-emptive strike. Moto3. What the hell is going on with Honda in this class?
Kudos to KTM,but really,the Honda Moto3 powerplant looks as stupid in a straight line as the Ducati twins look against the 4's in SBK. Good going Mahindra!

I agree. Shouldn't Honda be embarrassed. Perhaps they aren't willing to let some money go out the door. I thought the rules said the mfrs have to sell for a capped amount not actually cost that amount. Can't remember though.

Anyone else amazed at Rossi's enduring resilience to crashes? When I saw the replay of he and Bautista going into that fence hard, and especially the way Rossi was rag-dolled on the rebound, I feared that one or both would be taking a trip to clinica mobile. For a guy getting on in years he certainly still bounces well.
Next round will tell us something. Although it's his more dodgy passes that seem best remembered, I still recall his impossible-but-clean pass on the last corner to beat Lorenzo at Catalunya some years back, that was class.

Dodgy passes are what is required more times than not with these bikes as most of the passing maneuvers have to come on the brakes. It can't always be sweet buttercup passes to gain positions.

I mean "is on a trajectory to not make the corner". It IS possible to make a pass that is neither buttercup, nor dodgy - it just requires more skill. :)

For such a deadpan guy in the normal racing media he was really engaging in the commentary booth!

I wish he'd learn to stop talking once he's made his point.

So often during that race I'd hear him say something, then repeat himself, go on and on, then slowly his sentences would tail off, y'know, so right now not sure y'know how to stop talking, right now. This was before I knew who it was! I eventually guessed it was him.

The other are more direct, for which I'm thankful because there's a race going on out there!

those other two (Gavin and party) never say anything new. Everything they say has been repeated ad-naseum all weekend or been written already in every article. It's the typical PR meaningless crap.

At least hearing it from an ACTUAL motoGP rider gives real mental impressions of everything that goes on.

I wish my subscription gave me the choice of choosing the Eurosport commentators instead.

edit: in hindsight, they aren't that bad. Maybe its Gavin's exaggerated tone that bothers me, it always sounds so fake. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed Ben's commentary, but I'd much rather see him back on track.

Actually Gavin I find bearable - it's Nick Harris who makes me want to punch the screen :) No, Nick is ok, but both of them miss a lot of the simplest stuff, and this seems inexplicable to me given that they have other people in the booth with them whose sole function is to watch all the feeds on multiple screens and alert the commentators to anything worth a mention.

What really irks me is the hysteria that abounds when a chasing rider gets close to the bike in front - they start calling passes that are clearly not even close to happening.

If the camera angle is right all you need to do is watch the bikes shadows on the track - they give away far more about the relative positions of the bikes than the bikes themselves do. Surely these guys know this?

Hey David how about an article on the official commentary team and how they go about their business? I know it's been written about elsewhere but that simply means it hasn't had a top quality article done on it yet ;)

I like Nick and Gavin just fine. I find them both interesting and entertaining.

"Oh golly, poor old [Rider1] did all the donkey work, and now [Rider2] has picked his pocket!"

I do miss Ian Wheeler. He had some of the best insights, and he got the best paddock interviews.

has really slipped over the years. I used to like Nick Harris's enthusiasm, but after 6 years or so, can't he come up with another 3 phrases to add to his well worn out 5? He doesn't really add any insight to what's happening- he just shouts a lot.

The team I miss went over to Eurosport years ago- now i believe that its just 2 of them. that dream team was Julian Ryder, Toby Moody, Dennis Noyes and Randy Mamola in the pits. That was truly good entertainment.

yeah we could realy see that the 2nd M1 is cursed. it was already cursed when Jorge rode the 2nd M1 . we could all see that Rossi's M1 was WAY better then Jorge. why else could rossi pulled that last corner move on Jorge in 2010 i believe. And what about Honda's bike. Casey took the title simple as honda had put all the money in to casey's bike because dani was nothing beck then. a year later casey crashed and got injured and suddenly Dani could handle a MotoGP bike??? and Casey could't anymore. Sure Honda's CURSED 2nd bike make riders look silly.
Do i Believe what i just said???? NO!!!! its all bull$#it. 2nd M1 2nd rcv. Spies just isn't as good as dani jorge casey etc etc. Rossi had 2 ducati years and thats enough to break a rider as the past has shown that riders were even send the psych....... it has nothing to do with 2nd ride it all depend on the rider!!

YZRMI. As a cynic where these matters are concerned I'm 100% with you. Then again,the psychics are often employed to assist in shedding light on why's and wherefore's from the womb to the tomb.
My take on the issue is simple.
The bloke on the 2nd bike within the team needs to take it by the scruff of the neck and depose the bloke supposedly on the #1 bike over seasons length. The bikes are equal. Again ...carpenters and tools.
George did it with Valentino...eventually. Casey did it with Capirex and Dani...immediately. Marc is sure as hell looking to do it with Dani.
Nature of the game and the old adage... Beat your team mate first.
Clearly Cal is not subject to that situation vs young Bradley.
Nick is in a difficult situation at Marlboro Ducati in terms of team mates. Dovi is lining himself up to be the the most successfull team change rider and bike swap manufacturer rider to have graced GP modern. Food for thought. 800 L-4 HRC Factory, Tech3 1000 transverse 4 Yamaha sattelite, Factory Ducati L-4 1000cc. He sure is something special. His adaptability is amazing.
Sure the brownie points for GP wins and titles are not posted up there but he is pretty unique in his own right. Another Alex Barros? Absolutely admired that great racer too.

Was all Lorenzo. His consistency of lap times is amazing and I think Vale has referred to this as something he finds hard to deal with. As has been reported elsewhere, Lorenzo ran low 1:48s for the first half, did a high 1:47 just as Dani started dropping off and from there he edged away.

Something not reported here is the fact the two Ducatis were running around Pedrosa's pace in the second half of the race. See:


I believe the commentary team mentioned something about Lorenzo getting additional information, re: the gap to his pursuer, around the back half of the circuit. At any rate, he picked up his pace precisely when Pedrosa lost a few tenths, and pulled away from that point. If that's not a perfectly run race, then I don't know what is.
Scott Jones captioned his photo of the Lorenzo pass on Pedrosa "Jorge Lorenzo apologized afterwards for this move. We still don't understand why." I know why. He's turned into a class act, that's why.
And regardless of Marquez's crash, I think the writing is on the wall. I'm not a fan of his, and probably never will be, but this kid is the real deal.