2013 Silverstone MotoGP Monday Round Up: Rossi In The Second Group, An Improving Bautista, And Aprilia's CRT

With so much happening at the front of all three races at Silverstone last Sunday, it is easy to overlook the battles behind. Especially when those battles seem to be falling into a fixed pattern, repeating the results of previous races. A glance at the results of the MotoGP race Silverstone gives you a sense of deja vu. While the top three swapped places, positions four to six were identical to their finishes at Brno, places seven to nine differed only in the riders who crashed out, and Aleix Espargaro took tenth spot, as he did in the Czech Republic. A pattern is definitely starting to form here.

The biggest victim of that pattern is probably Valentino Rossi. Finishing fourth for the third race in a row is frustrating. Battling for fourth with Alvaro Bautista for the third race in a row is even more frustrating. Finish over ten seconds off the leaders for the third race in a row is positively depressing. 'It's like arriving at a party and not being invited in,' Rossi joked afterwards.

The problem is the early part of the race. Rossi lost nearly four seconds in the first four laps, and by the halfway mark, the Italian was over seven seconds behind the leaders. Where Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez are at full speed right from the start, Rossi struggles to match their pace. As the race goes on, Rossi's pace gets closer to that of the front men, but by then, the gap to the front is simply too large. The factory Yamaha man continues to struggle with braking, his problems still not completely solved, and until then, racing at the front is difficult. 'We need another step,' Rossi told reporters.

What Yamaha needs is either the new seamless gearbox or an uprated chassis to help with braking stability, and all four Yamaha men need the help in that area. Even Jorge Lorenzo, who held off Marc Marquez in a heroic battle at the front, is starting to plead with Yamaha for help. His team manager Wilco Zeelenberg refused to pick one development over the other. Asked if he'd prefer help with braking over the seamless gearbox, he replied: 'whatever comes first.' There is still no ETA on the seamless gearbox, though if it is to come, it should arrive at the Misano test. Until then, Rossi looks set to extend his string of fourth places, while Lorenzo will continue to struggle to hold off Marquez and Pedrosa.

While Rossi was disappointed with fourth, Alvaro Bautista was happy with fifth place. The Go&Fun Gresini rider has made a step in the second half of the season, and has now consistently found a spot in the second group. Bautista's work developing the Nissin/Showa combo is starting to come together, and while the gap to the leaders is still large, it is not as big as it has been previously.

While Bautista has gone forward, Stefan Bradl has gone backwards. The German put on a brilliant display at Laguna Seca, following on from a strong race at the Sachsenring, but at Indianapolis, he was once gain nearly 25 seconds behind the leaders. He still has the speed over a single lap, as witnessed by his fourth spot on the grid at Silverstone, and his frequent strong showings in practice, but over a full race, Bradl is losing out. At Silverstone, the problem was corner speed, as it had been at Brno. A lack of edge grip at full lean left him spinning the rear, rather than driving out of the corner, and a sixth was all that Bradl could manage.

While Rossi, Bautista, Bradl for the second group - Cal Crutchlow oscillates between closing on the leaders and dropping back into that second group, when he hasn't crashed out of the race - the Ducatis continue to fight a battle of their own, even further behind. The frustration at the lack of progress is showing, with even team manager Vitto Guareschi commenting that the bike is simply too slow. 'We are one second behind,' he said at Silverstone, and that deficit is not getting better fast. Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of eighth place, and was at a loss to explain what happened. He did not feel he had done much wrong, he said. 'It is hard to call it a mistake,' Dovizioso said. 'I was just right on the limit.' That the limit on the Ducati is harder to feel is obvious, the front still not giving much feedback.

At least the new engine spec is something of an improvement. The new engine is slightly more responsive, offering the riders a little more control. Dovizioso explained that it helped cure the pumping of the rear suspension, by allowing the rear tire to spin up more controllably, and also helping to get the bike turned, albeit only marginally. There is still an awful lot of work to do, but at least some of that work is happening. Most of the work, however, is invisible, and involves internal changes in working procedures at Ducati Corse. Now that Warren Willing is getting more and more involved, ideas are being pushed at Ducati, but these will take some time to come through. A genuinely new bike is likely only to appear at the Sepang tests in early February next year.

Aleix Espargaro is continuing to rip up the CRT class, finishing 10th once again and extending his lead in the CRT standings. His success is two-edged sword, however, as ending as best CRT rider will automatically extend his stay at Aspar. While staying with his team for another year would be a good thing, Espargaro is being tempted by the offer of a Yamaha at Forward. More power and a proven chassis (at least until FTR get their version of the chassis finished) would give him a better chance to match the satellite riders, though the big question mark hangs over the development of the spec ECU software. While the ECU hardware is outstanding, software updates from Magneti Marelli have been slow in coming.

Aprilia, meanwhile, look set to continue as a non-MSMA entry - or as they will be known next year, a MotoGP entry, without the factory option. The Italian factory will bring a completely new bike for next year, with pneumatic valves, revised engine spec and, so rumor has it, a version of the seamless gearbox. The engine will be fitted to a new chassis with new aerodynamics, but the restrictively tight limit of 20 liters of fuel is preventing Aprilia from making the switch to a factory option bike, and keeping the use of their own software.

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in the journalistic guild to break HRC and talk about Team Orders between Marquez and Pedrosa?

Inquiring minds and all.

The thing about moto-journalism or sports journalism or any journalism in general is the balance between access and telling the true story. It's a shame that most prefer the former.

Pedrosa was 2.6 seconds back and made up the time. But you say he was "fast from the start." Not true. Pedrosa was demonstrably faster than the leaders for quite a bit of time.

Probably nobody talks about it because it's utter nonsense. HRC didn't stop Stoner last year and they will not stop Pedrosa now.

There are about 20 possible explanations for why Pedrosa could not get past Marquez after catching up, team orders is certainly not one of them.

Have you ever heard of Honda before?

Everyone is talking about the team orders for Dani in this race.

Are you saying team orders don't exist in racing?

Did you see the Webber and Vettel incident at the Malaysian Grand Prix earlier this year?

Oh, I see, it's only Red Bull that has team orders.

Wait...the same race, Hamilton and Rosberg had team orders.

Oh, I see, it's only Formula 1 that has team orders.




I don't think I'd put much weight on bsn's reporting. Read the article on whether there'll ever be another British champ etc. What a load of uninformed b*****ks.

If there's one thing I've picked up in over 20 years of watching GP racing, it's the fact that running a second or two per lap faster than optimal lap pace is enough to kill the tyres.

Seems strange... but not as strange as some of the conspiracy theories I've seen in all those years : )

Usually when there's an issue like that, you'll see a release of a picture of the tire. That might require some journalism, though.

Team orders are a fact in racing.

The fact that you can't admit it doesn't mean it's there.

See the above links. It's not like they're from 1950.

Firstly, it is not 'everyone' who is talking about team orders. It is a very, very small number of people.

Secondly, the reason no serious news outlets are reporting that Pedrosa is subject to team orders is because nobody takes the idea very seriously. Pedrosa posted three lap records in a row catching Lorenzo and Marquez, and by the time he got there, his tire was overheating. It was not destroyed, just the best of it was gone. The only place he could overtake was around the first two corners, and he could never get close enough at that point to pass.

And before you go accusing people (and, given that you are commenting on this site, especially me) of not being good journalists, I would point out that on this site, I have accused Honda of fixing the rules in their favour, buying championships, driving out competitors and ruining the spectacle in MotoGP. I have had Honda spokespeople take me aside for a word. After all that, I do not think that Honda would bat an eyelid if I accused them of team orders. The reason I am not looking into team orders is because I do not believe they were issued. I think Honda is happy to have both its riders ahead of their main rival in the championship. I do believe that at some point, team orders could possibly be issued. I certainly do not believe that we are anywhere near that point yet.

Besides which, whenever Marquez slows into the corner he then gives it a load of wellie and re-opens the gap. It looks like you have to be right on his tail in the right place and right corner and try to force him a little wide, and dani simply doesn't look like he can quite get to that position.

even when they were losing the championship to Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha in 2004. And that championship was certainly a top 10 of the most importants in their history.

I'm with you as well with Honda buying championships, fixing the rules and co. but team orders, to their credits, Honda just don't do that.

On a number of occasions - virtually alongside twice, I do find it odd that he didn't make a single passing attempt given the championship points position. Whether its team orders or he's just too polite to pass unless he knows 100% it will stick.. look at the passes Marquez and Jorge were putting on eachother towards the end of the race when their tyres were well and truly past their best. Reverse the positions, Marquez would have sailed past Dani on a wing and a prayer and if didn't stick fine, try again next lap.

Just getting alongside MM was the most DP could do. He knew that if he dived inside MM, he'd just spin the tyre up coming off the corner again, allowing MM to drive past.

So, what would be the point of that? He's Dani Pedrosa, he's been doing this for a long time. He knows whether he can make a pass work or not.

Yes, Marquez might have tried his hand, but that's what he does, and will continue to do, until it bites him.

Marquez and Lorenzo both still had side grip to drive the bikes out of the corners, so they were able to fight. Pedrosa *thought* that by hanging back in the last few laps he'd give his tyre a chance to cool down and regain some grip, but it simply didn't.

Maybe Marquez wouldn't anticipate it and get run wide himself by the pass, which happens quite a lot. Maybe it ruffles Marquezs feathers enough that he goes into the next corner too got and makes a mistake. Who knows? But at least have a crack rather than just play follow he leader for 10 laps!

Why can't this ridiculous 20L of fuel rule be delayed for another year. F1 does stuff like this all the time when it is in the best interest of the series. If we keep it 21L for 1 more year you gain two FACTORY teams in Aprilia and Suzuki.

Next year this is what the standings are going to look like roughly:


Followed by Ducati, Aprilia and then the rest of the CRT entries. Does anyone see this as just as much of a problem has having too many spanish riders?

And yes I'm assuming the Honda PR and Yamaha lease bike are going to be more competitive than Ducati. Possibly.

Except that if they left the factory bikes at 21L, your list would look exactly the same with the possible exception of a Ducati or two at around 7-8. Dorna's longer term goal seems to be to force a spec ECU-Software on everyone, remove the fuel limits completely and relax the engine rebuild limits. And the only way they can do that is to keep tightening the screws on the Honda-Yamaha factory specs until they fall in line.

I'm finding it very hard to think about a prediction for next year. I suspect that some of the non-factory teams will be very competitive during the race but will lose out in qualifying. So we might see Redding starting 6 places behind Bautista but catching and passing him. Or Aleix on a Forward Yamaha doing the same to Pol on a satellite Yamaha. What's not clear is if 20L will slow Marquez, Lorenzo, Pedrosa in the race enough to let anyone else get any closer when they are still considerably faster in qualifying (when fuel limits are off).

Do we even know what amount of fuel the Honda and Yamaha PR machines will need to use? They are based on factory designs developed specifically to cope with the 21 liter rule, hardly a drop more, and it's already been stated this year that the Aprillia CRT motor simply cannot gulp enough fuel to exploit its 24litre allowance.

So even with the factory boys dialed back to 20 liters over race distance I don't think 24 liters is ever going to be needed by the non factory entries, the factory machines will open the taps in qualifying, always start from the front and, carrying 2-3 kilos less weight in fuel will simply disappear in the first five laps.

And I guess after that the director just won't show any of the other bikes circulating no matter how good the dices are.

Just scrap the limits and make the factories use the spec ECU and software.

As the race goes on, Rossi's pace gets closer to that of the front men,

I must be missing something but I have to disagree. Except for Losail, Laguna, Cataluya & of course, Assen this is not true.

As pointed out on the forum VRs pace has been .437 slower on average throughout the season. At Indy, CoA, Brno, Germany & Silverstone he has faded consistantly from begining to end. It is blind fanboyism to suggest otherwise.

Add that to his inability to embrace the new qualifying format (only instituted to expose HIS vulnerability, no doubt) & what you are seeing is tarnishing of a legend.

If you say the bike has been developed for JL & the tires don't suit his style, then one can only assume that he has won his championships only when EVERYTHING was designed for him..rather demeaning.

I used to be a fan, but never bought into the GOAT thing with him or anyone rlse. I think Best so far is a better description, & I believe that moniker has passed him by.

Rossi doesn't lose as much in the second half of the race as in the first half. He's still losing time, just not as much. He loses 7.25 seconds in the first half of the race, then 6 seconds in the second half, largely in a battle with Bautista.

At the end of the 2nd lap Rossi is already 2.8s behind due to the usual havoc at the start when running mid pack. From lap 3 to 11 Rossi lost 4.7s vs the winner. From lap 11 to 20 he lost 5.7s.

Though his fight with Bautista did cost some time in the 2nd half it doesn't look like 1s worth (and he's also fighting with Bradl at the end of the first half).

I've been keeping a close eye on his lap times for the past few races and, though his pace in the second half *is* much better than other's in the group he's usually fighting with (SB6, AB19, CC35), the lap time difference to the top remains fairly constant over the full race.

It's a bit easier to compare pace over several laps using these:

You're right that Rossi was at his quickest during the last 4 laps at Brno (0.1s/lap down) and during laps 16 and 17 at Silverstone (0.2s/lap down). However I'm not sure if taking a such a small number of laps give us enough information to judge.

Ignoring the first couple of laps which don't tell us much pace wise, at Brno Rossi lost: 3.619s over laps 3 - 12 and 4.154s over laps 13 - 22 vs the Winner.

That said he had some kind of issue on lap 18 (gearbox I think) that cost him around 2s, so he only really lost 2.1s vs the winner in the second half. As you point out the better relative performance in the second half of the race is mainly due to the last 4 laps.

That demonstrates the point I was trying to make, but failing to get across. Rossi is faster in the second half of the race than he is in the first half of the race. He is losing a lot of ground early, less in the second half.

He still can't keep up with the front three, however. Early in the race they are running away from him, later in the race they are walking away slowly. He is the best of the rest, until Crutchlow finds his form again. 

At Brno Vale was losing on average 0.360s from laps 2-12 and the exact same from laps 13 - 18 (taking his error into account). There was also quite a lot going on for the leaders during the last four laps which might justify a slightly slower pace at the front.

I really want Vale to be up there fighting for podiums, but his lack of speed isn't down to some mysterious problem he has in the first few laps. He's missing 0.3 - 0.5s per lap and that's just not going to be easy to fix.

The thing that really bothers me is just how slow he is in qualifying vs his race pace (typically 0.6s to 1.4s off pole). I can't make any sense of that. It's true that last year he was often beaten in qualy by Hayden, but I thought it was just general lack of motivation.

Could last year's change in front tire construction be affecting him much more than the other riders?

Yes he clearly doesn't use the soft tires to full potential. Basically he has too much grip, the bike suddenly doesn't behave the same, and he can't find his way around that. Honestly I can't see how he's ever going to solve this problem... Even at his top he wasn't that great in qualifying, so now... Anyway he's used to it, he always consider second row as a great success !

Regarding Brno, he was sitting behind Bautista before he went into neutral at lap 18. Then there was this gap, and only then did he really had to push, and suddenly the lap times are good.
Looks like he can be fast when he needs to !

Is he still on the Showa/Nissan stuff? I thought he switched. It's good to see he is finally pretty fast on the Honda.

Dani said somewhere that he got a bad start, and then ruined his tires running down the leaders. I think he was fastet on the track until the last 5 laps or so. When he caught them, I thought he would get through and go on to win because he closed on them so fast. But once he arrived, he was done. His tires overheated.

The way I saw Pedrosa's start was that it wasn't great but then he got blocked behind Crutchlow how had a pretty crap start and the two riders either side of him.

Yes he is, it's clear in the photos. It was Bradl that switched, he had one good race and everyone said "See! Brembo+Ohlins is so much better."
Since then, he has finished behind Bautista. Maybe Japanese suspension and brakes arenot so bad?

I can't wait to see that pneumatic valve Aprilia. For some reason people never liked the CRTs but I find them very interesting, their performance changes quite a bit from race to race and year to year, they have much more relative development compared to the MSMAs. Next year the Honda will be a little bit different, the Yamaha will be a little bit different, lets hope that the Ducati will be a lot different but I think this ART bikes will be completely different and is going to be great to compare them to the "cheap" Yamahas and Hondas. I really hope Alexis stays so he can get the best out of them.

If Aprilia can field an ART with pneumatic valve head, seamless gearbox and new chassis while having more engines at their disposal and 24l of fuel, they should be a force next year. This will be a Ducati beater

"I lost the front during my hot lap in qualifying", "I got a bad start" well guess what Dani "I lost the championship and came in 2nd again !" is next. Excuses don't get your name on the side of the trophy.

The little tough guy was paired up with a 990 World Champion for starters at the height of Rossi's domination. The breaks went his way in the Jnr classes no doubt, but he's had everything and the kitchen sink chucked at him in MGP in terms of top tier competition. Rossi battling Capirossi,Gibernau,Biaggi in his prime is hardly equivalent to Pedrosa battling Lorenzo,Stoner,Rossi and now Marquez. Different league. Admittedly,different era as Rossi's finding out. One excuse per second lost at the start on any given Sunday. Stoner would have been crucified by now had he trailed Marquez by almost a hundred points on a factory Ducati 2013,let alone a factory Yamaha or Honda.
HRC are quite right in backing Dani equally as they did with Casey and Dovi in 2011.
Afterall, he's leading George with engines to spare. Like Casey,Dani does not compromise his team mates nor opposition,(2006 Estoril exemption-Rookie Blue).
He's a solid 2nd in the run to the wire. Lets hope it goes down to Valencia between the 3 of them.

Poor Ol' Max and Sete it always bothers me how they have been forced into the disrespectful "untalented rider that made rossi's legend" place in history. I wonder if 10 years form now people will be saying that Jorge and Dani were second grade raiders to explain Marc's domination.

Max was certainly no slouch & there were plenty of tough fast riders. Always has been. It could also be argued that the bikes back in the latter 500's & early 990's pre electronics takeover & fuel limits provided a wider if not deeper field of competition. Come along with the current dominant riders also came the performance disparity that ensured only a couple bikes capable of podiums without unusual circumstances. While the recent aliens are surely the cream of the crop I doubt talent alone has ensured an almost total lockout of podium positions.

I think objectively, the competition has gotten tougher since Rossi won all those titles in the 990 era. Sete, Max and Loris were all sometimes able to challenge Rossi, but Rossi himself admitted in those days he rarely had to ride at 100% to win, whereas against Stoner and Lorenzo particularly he's had to ride at 100% just to be in contention and even then its often not enough, even before his Ducati spell.

2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013?

... But he was also well known for playing mind games, and telling people he wasn't even at 100% may have been one of the best of these. It's always tempting to negate the value of a champion down the line but personally I don't buy that. Gibernau, Biaggi and that other Spanish bloke who's name unforgivably escapes me (won one championship) were tough cookies.

yes, that's who I was thinking of. apologies Alex if by some chance you read these things

Alvaro Bautista and the Nipponese Showa/Nissin association on track. Sure,Bautista has absorbed his lumps for sundry indiscretions on track,but. The smiley bloke deserves some credit though,indeed much credit.
I wonder how long it will be before Ducati switch to Nissan/Showa, or are they contractually obligated to stay with Ohlins/Brembo?
No resumption of the tyre war so they may aswell look at suspension/brakes to cure the turn in issue..Whichever way,Japan has it locked down.
Speaking of which. Fukushima and the Motegi race. Another delay or cancelation?
When/If is Stoner going to swing a leg over that valve sprung RCV...correctly... L 1000cc in line 4?
Back to Bautista...Sterling job done thus far 2013 and the Spanish Train.

That will never be the case re Jorge, The bloke is phenomenenal and ever so gracious a competitor. Hell! He was gracious enough to allow Rossi a return into Yamaha Factory after Rossi effectively booted himself out. If George never wins another MGP title he will always go down in my book as an absolute great.
I would rank him alongside King Kenny and Jon Ekerold of yesteryears.

What are we going to witness? Marquez... he will come back stronger and more determined than ever to show Jorge exactly why he's the Next Legend! MM will ride smarter yet aggressive in the next 4 rounds to have a 50+ point advantage to win the title ahead of Valencia. Dani will not allow Jorge to catch/pass him in the standings. Dani will not win the title unless something more serious happens to Marquez (God Forbid). Sad but True for Dani's championship hopes. Jorge will grow even more frustrated with Yamaha for them getting their butts handed to them by the Repsol team. Rossi will continue to head the 2nd tier of riders until Crutchlow sorts out the new tank set-up issues. Alvaro (who is getting stronger) has a score to settle with Rossi so that will be fun to watch. Bradl needs to bounce back asap to show HRC/LCR that he's capable of being on the podium regularly. Nicky Hayden? The world is eagerly waiting to know where he's going for 2014... 2 more weeks to go. Hayden over Dovi in the 2013 MotoGP standings after more inter-team battles. HRC will be focusing on giving the RCV more corner speed and edge grip to totally negate Yamaha's M1 sole advantage.

It isnt that I dislke Dani...he's a hell'eva rider, but, if anyone else was in his seat, the last 5 years, he'd have been fired. If Casey was MM's teammate, people would be crucifying him for being 30 points behind a 'rookie', getting his ass handed to him race after race, and always having an excuse as to why he finished 'behind'. But Dani gets a pass. He definitely had some selected 'help' while at HRC by.....someone.

I couldn't disagree more; if you owned a team, what would you want most of? Why, to always have one rider with huge capability to win races and the championship, and a second rider who can be relied upon to take points off the first blokes nearest rival. From where I'm sat Dani is perfectly placed to continue at Honda for another couple of years at least.

Until Marquez mark 2 or another Newbie who Honda think is more deserving comes along. Honda or Pedrosa's patience must wear thin at some point.

I don't know if Dani always has an excuse but he quite often has a broken collarbone at some point in his season to contend with. By that same logic Rossi's shoulder & broken leg in '10, Casey's broken leg in '12 and illness in '09 were just excuses for not taking the championship.

It's not like it's a great mystery or anything. Repsol wants a Spaniard on that bike. Of course he doesn't deserve it. But who said motoGP was fair? Nicky Hayden might have to move to WSBK next year, for God's sake.

who would you replace Dani with at any point? There's not been a better choice.

.....you've got a point, but 'other' riders would get severly critized for not winning the WC on that bike after that many years. Hayden won and got fired and Dani's still there! He is a hell'eva #2 rider though.

As always, he starts the season slowly, makes some mistakes, and comes back stronger. He has his weaknesses (taking out other riders obviously) but I like him honestly, he's a race-day kid with usually great overtaking skills (haha don't laugh please, his pass on CC by the outside at motegi last year was a true masterpiece) and a lot of aggressiveness. For good or worse, he always makes his race interesting to follow.

I thought he deserved Bradl's factory/Öhlins/ package more after last year but what I gonna do, I'm not Mr.Honda. They must have good reasons perhaps....

It's very probable IMO...Unless he gets so much good results that the HRC gives him a factory support for 2015

Considering they have stated quite verbally that Redding will be riding AB's bike in 2015, unless the rules change on the number of bikes a manufacturer can supply, Alvaro will have to look elsewhere for a bike with pointy end potential.

The good news is that in 2015 you have Suzuki entering, as you mentioned, and you have the Aprilia possibly being "factory" by then. Not a bad year to be a free agent.

Of Note: Cal Crutchlow will most likely be a free agent during that time frame and probably at the peak of his career. Ofcourse, 2 years on the Ducati can do a number of things to a career.

Surely Scott Redding will replace Dani in 2015, assuming he is competitive on the Honda production machine. I can't see Honda getting rid of Dani before then. He is too fast, and too polite to his teammate. He's the perfect wingman to MM, albeit unwillingly.
Dani is doing a good job this year but he can't match MM on corner entry, so he can't even begin to hope to pass his team-mate. He has no problem passing JLo or any one else in the field for that matter. He passed three fast riders in two laps in the initial states of Silverstone.

I'm far more frustrated with Bradl. A new contract was under threat, so he suddenly started running at the front and qualifying on the front row, and then he signs a new contract and he is back in 6th/7th. It can't be a coincidence. It's really frustrating. Did the contract threat force him to ride beyond his own limits? Or is he being lazy?

I find MM's racing style interesting. He seems content to run behind JLo and then attack at the end of the race. Stoner and JLo seemed/seem to prefer qualifying first and kissing goodbye to the field in the first lap and never looking back. I suppose MM's approach is more similar to Rossi's.

Also, regarding Rossi - you just can't judge such a decorated champion on his riding as a 32 year old. It just isn't fair. Everyone gets old, everyone gets slow. It happens in every sport. Was he the fastest rider ever? No, I think that would be Stoner, Lorenzo and MM. Even Dani at his best is faster I believe. But was he the best racer ever? Absolutely. We have seen that in every MotoGP race this season. His race craft is unmatched, and it's a pleasure to watch. Has he come off second best in any scrap this season with a bike he was competitive with? I'm not a Rossi fan really, but I think his racing is amazing.

Not sure about that, and don't count out Nakagami for a MSMA ride yet. He's been showing an impressive learning curve lately and kid has pure speed skills through the roof, something that can't be taught. Next year could be fun with both of them in mgp

I'd suggest Rossi isn't anywhere close to the speed of the other Yamaha rider nor the two Honda factory riders. What I see him doing, is hanging back in the field behind realatively fast riders, saving his tires (I'm saying he's slipstreaming/drafting them), then when the end of the race is near and the rider(s) in front of him have done all the mule work and worn their tires out, he passes them. But by then he's what? 10-13 seconds back from the lead rider.

He flat does not have THE PACE to be near the front unless he gets a good start and can draft the lead riders. He's frankly always complaining (see his two yrs at Ducati) that the bike isn't right. Bull. There's something not right and the thing is there is not the right rider on the second factory Yamaha. He's been too OLD for over two years. It's plain to see to anybody that just looks with open eyes.

The New Face of Elite RoadRacing: Marc Marquez! All of the veterans have had the opportunies to write their names in the history books: Rossi, Dani, Jorge, Hayden, Alvaro, Dovi, and even Edwards. MM and the RCV... deadly combination. Now the veterans will have no choice but to let the Rise of Marquez happen... battle all they want. But look at what the 'Rookie' has done so far. Yamaha is very clear on their next objective. Build a NEW M1 for the young rider(s) that will dethrone Marquez. Why do you think Yamaha is not rushing the upgrades for the M1? The NEW M1 must be bada$$ right out of the gate for Pol, the next Jorge! If/When Marquez clinches the championship this season, all of the veterans will feel that their time is running out fast... except Rossi. Rossi has made his name millions of time over. Rossi is proud to hand over the crown to Marquez. They are like brothers, cut from the same cloth. Now all the newer riders to MotoGP: Bradl, Pol, Redding, and Smith will haveta dig deep within themselves to figure out how to stop Marquez. That's where the real pressure lies! Yamaha are already working on this equation...

the theory that Pol is to be the next challenger to Marquez. He couldnt even hold a candle to Marc unless everything worked for him and on his day, and only then ha managed to get a few wins. But look here, the bloke that won the 2011 moto2 championship aint nowhere near Marc, despite being on identical machinery.
Pol has too much of a penchant for his head to explode, even Scotty is doing a good job messing with his noggin. I see Pol being capable of a couple of wins here and there, but apart from that Marquez will continue to torment him as he did in the lower classes.

While I agree with those that say Rossi doesn't have the pace to match the front runners, I simply can't dismiss 9 world titles and the many *many* thrilling battles I've watched him win over the years. When I think of the times I sat on the edge of my seat, heart racing as though I were riding myself I can't feel anything but gratitude. No one stays on top forever and the same fate will befall MM someday, it happens to everyone...

I also see MM dominating MotoGP the way Rossi did 5-10 yrs ago and I'm grateful for that as well. He brings a level of excitement that can only come from youth bursting with talent and confidence. And, he does it with an air of cheerful humbleness that can only come from someone that simply enjoys riding motorcycles more than anything else. Just in the nick of time too!

I agree RRHRC with you and others regarding Yamaha's (Wilco's) choice to battle Marquez! Pol is not the rider to take down MM93. Even Cal put Yamaha on blast regarding Pol... publicly! I think Pol's older brother has the experience and drive to battle Marquez... if he was given a factory ride like Bradl! Bradl rides the RCV like Dani does... inline 250 style! They can't ride the RCV with the rear wheel spinning up too much. Maybe it affects their confidence, their 'feel' or both when the bike is loose like that! The rear wheel spin doesn't both Marquez much in the same manner that it didn't bother Stoner! They just ride around that issue when the RCV isn't doing exactly what they want! With Aleix riding the inferior CRT, I think Aleix would do very well on an M1 or RCV! Redding might have enough grit to give Marquez a run for his money though.

I agree Aleix sure looks fast. He dominates RDP who has never been known to be slow. But I think Aleix's problem is his racing history. He's ridden Moto2, 250, 125 and in all those years has no wins, no fastest laps, no poles, and 1 podium. Not so hot. I can't think of a MotoGP rider who has been less successful in the junior formulas.
That being said, his speed in CRT is beyond question and he rarely crashes. For a CRT rider to be ahead of 2 Ducatis and a semi works yamaha (b. smith) on points is pretty amazing so here's hoping one of the big teams give him a shot.

I was tempted to say the same myself. Seriously impressed with that young man this year.

Every race win is deserved, but, look at the real season. What if, JLo & Dani had been healthy and the Texas race was mid season? MM is riding high partly because his confidence is unbroken. But things are how they are. MM is doing a bang up job. He played the hand dealt him very well.

Don't forget Mugello, where he had one of the fastest crashes in history and binned it in the race. He still podiumed and set a fastest lap at the next round.

... is an ancient an venerable practice ('uncle me no uncle' - W. Shakespeare). Nouns turn into verbs, and verbs into nouns, at an astonishing rate, where you or I like it (and I, like you, am not that much of a fan). The strength of the English language is its flexibility, its ability to adapt and change, free of the confines of an official body laying down the usage rules of a language. My second language (Dutch) uses just such a mechanism, and it is both ineffective and moronic. Languages change.

Ironically, you constructed your own petard in the example you gave. You may object to 'dinnering' after cooking a steak, but if you cooked it a few hours earlier, I suspect you would have had no problem lunching.

Why do we end up in the endless merry go round of "Stoner V Rossi"?

I feel privileged to have watched both in their prime, along with Doohan, Spencer, Rainey, Criville etc. etc.

The on track rivalry between Stoner and Rossi has been the story of the last decade but its over. And its over for both, the truly great Rossi is nearing his biological end point for racing at the elite level, and Stoner has turned his back on the sport he loves BECAUSE of politics, race restrictions and the isolation he felt in the motogp field (I find this an appaling reason to leave the sport, for two reasons, firstly his own lack of maturity about the opportunity in front of him (how will feel about this decision when he turns 50? Regrets anyone), and secondly, because the organisers (be they team or otherwise did not manage this 'young guy' carefully enough - lactose intolerance and he was panned by the Ducati senior management for lacking heart, wonder how that management idiot feels now?))

Please accept both for what they are. Unbelievable talented men on a bike but otherwise flawed like the rest of us. I cannot forget watching them at Phillip Island in 2009, not an overtake (from memory) but almost on top of each other for the whole race, they were 20 seconds clear from 3rd and forced the crowd into near silence because of how 'on the edge' the two of them were. An absolute privilege to have watched them, simpy a privilege!

No one is going to comment further on the repeated failure of Cal's leathers then?

Having your leathers let gravel in to mess your skin up on two separate occasions is a bit beyond what a top tier motorcycle racer should be prepared to accept... I'd be interested to hear what the outcome of this is.

To me, racing is the ultimate testing ground for leathers. You often see riders bin it, slide an improbable distance down the road and across the gravel, then get up and run after their bike none the worse for the experience. Seeing leathers let go at the seams is rare. Would I consider buying leathers known to split at the seams? No.

should be getting good data from Cal and others. If I were him I would be asking Dainese/Alpinestars to do me an un-branded air bag suit!

David, has it been decided yet whether the Aprilia's in Jorge Martinez' team will run the Aprilia software or the 'Dorna' Magneti Marelli software. Story I heard was they were investigating the latter before deciding. If they go with their own software, do they get 5 engines, or 9 - over the course of the season?

Also, on Ducati and Willing. Story I heard was he went there months ago to work with the 'laboratory' bike or whatever it was called, but they would not listen to him. Then he got moved up to the race team. I think a few more heads have to roll inside the Ducati Corse operation yet.

Their Superbike is downright shameful too.

It has long been noticeable that VR is a 'poor' qualifier and my recollection is that he has also often started poorly. Being 7th on lap one was not unusual, and it provided good entertainment.
Burgess has recently said that the 'soft carcass' front introduced last year (to help stop the cold tyre plague of crashes) mitigates against Rossi's late-braking style and that Stoner etc. were right to criticise its introduction. The suspension tweaks (and other things?) helped that, but it seems (to me, a suspension non-expert) a bodge rather than a fundamental cure, judging by the variable performance since Assen. I expected him to be more competitive at a fast, largely flowing circuit like Silverstone....
Mat Oxley has been criticising Bridgestone for a while now for the poor tyre option choices the riders/manufacturers have and his latest blog on this site tells us that changes are on the way. Hopefully, options to help both Yamaha and Ducati are included.....

Yes the single tyre manufacturer rule. How about a little in house competition within Bridgestone engineering? One crew work with Yamaha,one with Honda and one with Ducati. A 4th outfit work with the rest. Bring back the tyre war in house. Can't be that difficult,can it?

Phenomanel talent he was and still is,but if he can't handle the heat he should get out of the kitchen. His M1 return is in my book as fruitless a venture for the whole team as his RA RA Ronald McDonald's Ducati venture. Its not like starting 7th or 10th on the grid was an issue for him back then, it sure is now.
Back then he would have scythed past Bautista within three turns. Not capable now. Circumspect,caucious,play the percentage game. On occasion he finds the reckless abandon of Marquez,but its waining fast.
My biggest gripe right now is that he's creating a huge bottleneck at the top.
I don't believe he should not be in GP. I do believe he should not be in the saddle of one of only 4 bikes capable of winning in MGP current.
Really. When last was his qualifying position ever an issue for him? Now all of a sudden it is. Marquez will inevtably go down the same road eventually as all do. Perhaps Stoner hung up his gloves at precisely the right time. By doing so he inadvertently opened the bottleneck at HRC which in turn allowed the spark that is Marc Marquez into the arena that is GP Premier class on kit worthy of the young tallent.

It will be interesting to see how Magneti Marelli responds to the competitive situation next year. You would assume that working with a large number of teams they will have an abundance of data which should accelerate their learning curve. It may be that by the end of the year the Magneti Marelli software will be a match for the factories efforts.
That would be an impressive accomplishment for Magneti Marelli. On the other hand, having a captive market they may just take the money and run.
The opportunities are great, as fans of the sport, let's hope Magneti Marelli grabs them!

Is what Dorna need to get.
The success of the Marelli package will be down to people. Dorna need to start attracting some staff who can write MGP algorithms and get that fed into the standard ECU software.
Allocate them to the teams with good technical staff and riders (inevitably the faster ones, but that's life...) and feed it out to the rest. Open software will help level the playing field.