2016 Le Mans Sunday MotoGP Round Up: On Crashes at Le Mans, and a Wide-Open Championship

Three race at Le Mans, three winners, and all three displays of complete control. In the first race of the day, Brad Binder waited until the penultimate lap to seize the lead, and render his Moto3 opposition harmless. Alex Rins took the lead much earlier in the Moto2 race, toyed with Simone Corsi a little more obviously, before making it clear just how much he owned the race. And in MotoGP, Jorge Lorenzo faced fierce competition at the start, but in the end he did just what Valentino Rossi had done two weeks ago at Jerez: led from start to finish, and won by a comfortable margin.

Lorenzo's victory was hardly unexpected. The Movistar Yamaha rider had been dominant all weekend, quick from the off, and peerless during qualifying. Everyone lined up on the grid knowing they had only one chance to beat him: try to get off the line better than the Spaniard, and enter the first chicane ahead of him. Lorenzo knew this too, and his start was picture perfect, no one close enough to launch an attack into the chicane. Andrea Dovizioso came close, but launching off the second row gave him too much ground to make up at the start, and he had to slot in behind Lorenzo and settle for second.

Lorenzo did not have it all his own way in the early laps. Both Andreas on the Factory Ducatis kept him honest for the first five laps, Dovizioso leading the charge at first, until Iannone took over. Iannone felt he had the pace to run with Lorenzo, perhaps even beat him, but that required the one thing he has not excelled at in 2016: staying upright. If the Le Mans race was meant to be an audition to be the rider Ducati will keep for next season, then it was a gambit that would fail. On lap 7, Iannone hit the deck, his race over.

Down we go together

Iannone's crash was not the first – Yonny Hernandez had binned it nine seconds earlier – nor would it be the last. In the end, a grand total of eight riders would hit the deck. Joining Hernandez and Iannone were Cal Crutchlow, Tito Rabat, Marc Márquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Jack Miller and Bradley Smith. After just a single crash at Jerez, Le Mans looked like a disaster for Michelin once again.

That is, until you actually look at the statistics. Last year at Le Mans, six riders crashed out, in pretty similar circumstances to Sunday's race. "The surface is fourteen years old," Eugene Laverty commented, one of the twelve riders to stay upright all race long. "It needs to be redone." The track is bumpy, and it is littered with patches where the asphalt has been repaired. The circuit is tricky at the best of times, but when the MotoGP field arrive at another new track they have not tested at, with Michelins they are still getting used to, and new electronics complicating matters even further, mistakes are inevitable.

Most of those who crashed owned up to their mistakes. Dovizioso ran a little wide, and went down trying to compensate. "It was my mistake, I have just two degrees more lean angle, and it was enough to lose the front," he said. Bradley Smith owned up to an excess of enthusiasm, getting tempted into trying to catch his teammate Pol Espargaro and Aleix Espargaro on the Suzuki. "I was trying to carry my corner speed, and just rolled off the side of the tire," he said. Tito Rabat and Marc Márquez ended up pushing the front too much, trying to make up ground under braking.

There were those who were less convinced. "I don't know what happened," Andrea Iannone said. "It's completely strange, and is very very difficult to explain what happened." He had Lorenzo in his sights, and had decided he did not have to push very hard to try to catch the Spaniard. For Jack Miller, the crash was similarly inexplicable. He entered the second part of Garage Vert as normal, and the front just went. "I hit the bump, and the bike disappeared from under me."

Why so many crashes?

What was the real reason for so many crashes? A realistic assessment is that there were a whole bunch of factors involved. Firstly, the feeling of every track changes on Sunday, after the Moto2 race. "There's always a little more rubber on the ground after Moto2," Bradley Smith explained. "They slide quite a lot going into the corner, so the track gets a bit more greasy." It is a recurring complaint among the MotoGP teams, as Sunday is the first day they hit the track after Moto2 instead of before the class. The heavy Moto2 bikes with their fat tires also lay more rubber on the track on Sunday, because limited electronics see them backing the rear into corners, and in the tight battles through the field, they are using much more of the track than they had during practice.

Then there's the extra pressure that comes with race day. "The constant demand of a race intensity plus full fuel loads is ramping up the front tire temperature quite a lot," opined Smith. Riders are not just pushing harder because it really counts for something, they are also doing so for lap after lap. On a track as bumpy and old as Le Mans, the risks are even greater than normal.

Some it is probably also down to a lack of data, as the teams and riders learn more about the new tires, and Michelin understand more about MotoGP. Eugene Laverty saw a lot of crashes happen directly in front of him. "They were happening when trail braking, before you would get a chance to catch it on your knee. There are a few bumps at this track, and with the Michelins, you definitely feel the bumps more."

DNA and data

Old instincts and a different feeling make it hard to determine the limit. "You never feel you are over the limit, but if you push just a little bit more, it can happen, and you lose the front," Andrea Dovizioso said. As Valentino Rossi put it, the DNA of the Michelins remains unchanged. The Michelins always had a reputation for the front tire lacking feedback, and that continues now that they are the sole tire supplier.

Bradley Smith had an even more interesting theory. It is possible that the minimum tire pressures set by Michelin are a little too high, Smith thought, causing the tires to overheat in the first part of the race, and tire pressures to rise to just outside their operating window. "I think potentially at the moment, we're going over the working pressure, because of the intensity of the racing, all of us hard on the brakes every corner, you're not quite as smooth as you usually are," Smith said. "I think we then take the temperature up quite a lot, and then we just start pushing. The tire stops flexing and it becomes a lot more rigid." Hit a bump with a more rigid tire, and the tire doesn't absorb it as much, and it's easier to crash.

This, Smith explained, is why the crashes were happening later in the race rather than earlier. "So it's kind of, building, building, building, and then it just starts to taper off, and when the rear grip starts to go, it stops pushing on the front, and the front is a little bit stiffer than it usually is, and away you go." It was only a theory, Smith was keen to point out, but without tire sensors logging tire data, it was something that would be hard to test. From Mugello, tire sensors are to be made compulsory, and Smith will get a chance to analyze his theory in more detail.

Dig your own hole

It wasn't merely tire pressures that were causing the Hondas to crash. Le Mans is a truly awful track for the RC213V, the nature of the circuit mercilessly exposing its fundamental flaws. Of the five Hondas on the grid, only one managed to complete the race without crashing. That is eerily similar to last year, when only one of the four factory-spec Hondas finished without crashing. The results are also similar: in 2015, Marc Márquez finished nearly twenty seconds behind the winner, Jorge Lorenzo. In 2016, Dani Pedrosa finished almost nineteen seconds behind the winner, once again Jorge Lorenzo.

The problems are exactly the same. The Honda has no acceleration, and is losing horribly out of corners. Asked to rank the bikes in terms of acceleration, Marc Márquez was frank. "For me, if we make a ranking in acceleration it would be: Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda. We are losing there. Ducati we are losing a lot, Yamaha less, Suzuki less, then we are there." The only option the Honda riders have is to try to make up on the brakes what they are losing on corner exit. That entails taking a lot of risk, and asking a lot of the front tire. That will only work for so long, until the front tire cries enough.

Such intensity is a lot easier to sustain outside of the race. "When you are riding in this way, in practice maximum five laps, it's easier, because you just concentrate for five laps," Márquez said. "But riding in this way for 28 laps is really difficult." Losing time in acceleration was frustrating, Márquez admitted. "It's hard because on the straight the time is 'free'. It is really difficult for your mentality when you see on the straight you cannot follow them." It is a problem which is difficult to solve, he added, as the engine design is frozen for the entire year.

Plus ça change

If this refrain sounds familiar, well, that's because it is. Márquez' words are almost identical to the things he said in 2015. The engine is too aggressive, the bike wants to spin up and wheelie rather than accelerate, and Honda is stuck with the engine because of the engine freeze. HRC brought a modified engine for 2016, which is a little easier to use, but the problem remains. Perhaps due to the spec electronics, anti-wheelie now no longer something they can cure in the ECU software.

The situation is so bad that according to MCN's MotoGP reporter Simon Patterson, Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo wants the engine development rule to be changed. Given the hole that Honda are in, you can see why they would want that. But it is hard to feel sorry for HRC, however, as this issue has not appeared out of thin air. The 2014 RC213V was already a tough bike to ride with extreme power, and at the Valencia test that year, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto acknowledged as much. "This year's machine is not easy to ride," he told reporters, and said it was something Honda would address.

The 2015 bike was, if anything, even worse. So bad, that it caused Marc Márquez to crash out of three of the first seven races, and arguably cost him a shot at the title. Honda brought Casey Stoner in to test the bike, then ignored the feedback he gave them, prompting the Australian to jump ship and sign as a test rider for Ducati.

Lessons from history

This year's Honda RC213V is a better machine, but it is still nowhere near competitive. Sure, Marc Márquez is second in the championship, and has won two of the five races. But look beyond that, and the Honda riders are in real trouble. Dani Pedrosa is fourth in the championship, but already 37 points behind the leader Jorge Lorenzo. Best satellite Honda is Tito Rabat, the ex-Moto2 champion having racked up a grand total of 11 points. Cal Crutchlow, fifth in the championship in 2013, and a man with eight podiums to his name, has just 5 points, and 2014 Moto3 vice champion Jack Miller has just two points. In five races, the five Honda riders have racked up a grand total of eight race crashes.

It feels like another repetition of the Stoner years at Ducati. A brilliant young rider flatters a frankly awful bike, deluding a factory into thinking the machine is not far off, and just needs a bit of refining to make it competitive. HRC will only really discover just how bad their bike is if Marc Márquez leaves for pastures new. If Dani Pedrosa leaves for Yamaha, then the rider they bring in to replace him could be in for a very nasty shock indeed.

Boys in blue

Compare and contrast with the situation at Yamaha. Between them, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have won three of the five races so far. This was the second one-two finish they have completed, and the first Yamaha home has never finished lower than second. The bike is superb, and the factory Yamaha riders decide the outcome of races based on who qualifies better. That has so far given the advantage to Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard managing the 15-minutes format better than Rossi.

It was his poor qualifying which cost Rossi a lot of ground at Le Mans. Though Rossi quickly worked his way on to the back of the group chasing Lorenzo, by the time he was able to get through on Márquez and Dovizioso, he was already over five seconds down on his teammate. When they both crashed two laps later, there was no necessity for Rossi to take the kind of risk needed to allow him to get close to Lorenzo, even if that had been possible. Rossi was content to settle for twenty points, and closing his gap to the lead in the championship.

Not necessary faster

At Ducati, the situation was a lot less phlegmatic. While Andrea Iannone expressed frustration at the crashes he did not understand, Dovizioso demanded a change in approach from the Bologna factory. "The positive thing is that we have the speed, and this is so important in MotoGP," he told reporters. "Now we have the base about the speed, but we don't have the consistency. I believe we use too much the rear tire, we use too much the energy to be fast, so it's difficult to keep for the race. To be in front, to stay with the Yamaha riders in this moment, we have to be consistent."

A change in strategy was needed, to reduce the consumption of the rear tire, he said. But Ducati were also losing out to Yamaha in the corners. "The turning of the corner, they are a little better," he said. "We have to be calm and speak with the engineers, and decide together the strategy for the future. But my opinion in this moment is we have to think in a different way."

A real podium?

Suzuki were delighted with their podium for Maverick Viñales, as was the Spaniard. But he was keenly aware that his podium had come in part because three riders had crashed in front of him. Still, Viñales had shown impressive pace, especially in the second half of the race. What's more, he had passed plenty of riders along the way, including his teammate Aleix Espargaro and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Aleix Espargaro.

Viñales' real weakness was at the start. From eighth on the grid, the Spaniard had made no real impression off the line, and taken his time to get going. Once he did, he was impressive, showing flashes of the brilliance that led many to label him as the next MotoGP alien.

Did Viñales' podium make a decision about his future harder? Not really, he said. "The decision has nearly been made." He now needed time to think, time at home without distractions, before making the right decision. He hoped to know his future before Mugello, he said.

Further back, Pol Espargaro brought the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha home to a solid fifth place, but the Spaniard was far from pleased. The result left him frustrated at the amount of ground he was losing to the factory bikes, both in acceleration and in braking. "We have amazing speed in the warm up," Espargaro said, when he finished as the fastest Yamaha. But he had been unable to convert that in the race. "In the race, we can't reproduce that rhythm," he told me. "In every acceleration, they take three or four meters." That adds up over race distance. "The gap is too big. In the end, I am 25 seconds from Jorge, and 15 seconds back from Vale," he said. For Espargaro, the podium is still a long way away.

Expect the unexpected

Lorenzo's win and Márquez' crash did help to shake up the championship. The Repsol Honda man's 17-point lead disappeared at a stroke, Lorenzo now ahead of Márquez by 5 points. The decision of Márquez to get back on the bike and continue the race was fully vindicated, the Spaniard picking up three valuable points at the end. Those points could end up being decisive in the championship.

With Rossi's third place, the top three are now covered by just 12 points. It is still very early in the championship, but it is already clear that we are in for an eventful season. With so much happening, and all three leaders having lost major points due to crashes, the championship is still completely wide open.

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David, any insight as to whether Philip Morris has any say in development direction? Assuming it is influential only and without direct authority, but their sponsorship dollars must give them a disproportionate voice. And they cannot be happy. 




Is it possible that Marc and Dovi's crashes were caused by a water leak? Marc was gesturing in frustration to Andrea as he sprang up to his feet with what looked to be a hand signal for "WT*" before turning his attention back to his bike in the gravel trap.

Dovi obviously did nothing wrong, and I don't think Marc thought that he did either, considering they were not really that close together prior to going down. So what was Marc gesturing about? The way Iannone backtracked and refused to elaborate following his crash on Saturday, other than to say a red light appeared on his dash which indicates a water issue, is hard to ignore. To me, this clearly means AI29 was told by somebody not to say anything to the media regarding the possible cause for his crash. Telling everyone in the presser to "ask Ducati" is further to the point.

Is a muzzle order being imposed again now following Dovi's rather more significant crash during the race, taking down the man who was leading the championship at the time with him? There are clearly far greater implications involved now than there were after Iannone's crash in Qualifying, so motive for muzzling is not lacking.

I only heard Nick Harris (very briefly) and Mat Oxley (via Twitter) suggest that another water leak could have been a factor in the incident, and Matt Birt refused to go there even in speculation. Is there a reason you don't mention the possibility of a water leak causing the exceedingly rare synchronized crash in your story, David?

Yes, there is a reason that I didn't mention a water leak from Dovizioso's bike. The reason is because there wasn't a water leak. Marquez said nothing about it, and he definitely would have mentioned it. He is not bound by Ducati.

I thought water leak at first, but listening to the riders speak, it was clear they did not believe a leak was involved. 4 out of 8 MotoGP crashes happened in that corner, and a couple of Moto2 crashes too. It is downhill with a bit of camber, and an easy place to crash.

The evidence points to it not being a water leak.

With regard to the times that there has been leakage, is an unpenalized fix possible? How do the sealed engine rules apply in this situation, or don't they?

If the source of the water leak on the Duc is indeed from the water pump, then the engine sealing rules do not apply as the pump is a component bolted to the outside of the engine, and the rule only prevents teams from going inside to make changes internally. The water pump is part of the cooling system and therfore exempt.

Wasn't there a patch of different pavement where both crashed?

I was particularly interested in the discussion around tyre inflation pressures, where David wrote:

It is possible that the minimum tire pressures set by Michelin are a little too high, Smith thought, causing the tires to overheat in the first part of the race, and tire pressures to rise to just outside their operating window. "I think potentially at the moment, we're going over the working pressure, because of the intensity of the racing, all of us hard on the brakes every corner, you're not quite as smooth as you usually are,"

From my understanding, tyres will overheat much more if underinflated. If this is correct then I think that what Bradley is saying is that no matter what the starting pressure the tyre will heat up but because the cold starting pressure is too high then the resulting operating pressure is past the designed operating window.

Then again, I could be completely wrong and something about Michelins means that the higher the starting pressure the more they overheat.

As far as I know, there are two ways of putting heat in a tyre. A lower tyre pressure will geve more deformation of the tyre and thereby cause the tyre to warm up as a whole, but a higher pressure will make the contact patch smaller, which means the load/power will have to be transmitted by less rubber, which makes the rubber (tread) overheat at the surface. You can usually see it because the rubber will show more melting, instead of a smooth sticky wear. Lowering the pressure will then actually cool the tread by spreading the load more.

My guess is that a low pressure will give quicker warm-up of the tyre as a whole because of the tread and carcass movement, but too high a pressure will cause higher end temperatures because of the overheating tread surface. Of course both too high and too low pressures will cause problems eventually; the delaminating rear tyre of Scott Redding was apparently more due to excessive carcass and/or tread movement than an overheating tread surface, as was the exploding rear tyre of Loris Baz (although in that case, I later read something about a possible puncture).

I'm NOT, NOT, NOT insinuating you are being muzzled in any way, shape or form, David. I am just curious as to why it is not being discussed as even a possibility that there was maybe yet another leak from the Duc. The odds of both those guys going down like that together for unrelated reasons is absolutely astronomical, so it just makes me wonder.

I dont think the crashes were unrelated. Dovi went in a bit wide and carried to much lean. Marquez subconsciously followed and made the same mistake.

These types of crashes are very rare but everytime they do happen there is endless discussion about why. Nearly every time it is just coincidence. 

Lorenzo must be wondering if he has just discarded five decent cards for a deal from the deck when playing against a man called 'Doc'.

It looked good: the Ducs were strong and advancing at the end of last year, then they grabbed the best test rider currently on the planet who demonstrated in the first full competitive test that he could wring more out of the bike than any of the signed riders was getting, and a Ducati Corse management obviously prepared to use him to the max. Someone with the ONLY true credentials for riding a Duc to a WC.  Someone with whom Lorenzo knew he could collaborate and whose strenghts (and possible weaknesses) he knew initimately.

It all looked like a lay-down misere for someone with Lorenzo's confidence. With double points for trumping Rossi's play at Ducati.

But Michelin has dealt the Joker.

The aerodynamic dance is a side-show.  Despite the predictions of a techno-war with the company with the best aerodynamicists and access to wind tunnels etc. having an advantage, relatively el-cheapo software can model aerodynamics to orders of accuracy that exceed the potential capability of advantage in an environment so diverse as a motoGp race. 

Until such time as Michelin arrive at a 'production' ( i.e. stable and continuing) tyre specification but continue to bring new tyres to every race, the 'Stoner factor' for development of the Ducati is nullified. The Duc engine has been, in Stoner's words', 'ticked off' (unlike for Honda).

As things stand right now, Stoner's input can't be useful, so he might as well continue to work on the progress of 'Team Stoner' - his daughter, who, although standing only 2.5 times taller than her helmet, is already perfecting her flat-track lines and practising burn-outs in Dad's garage..  (be very afraid, motoGp mysoginists).

IF MIchelin get to a stable production specification, then development of the Ducs to take them to the level of the Yamahas, can re-start.  As things stand, all the riders for every team are forced to work on getting the set-up working for the tyres that Michelin bring to the specific race-day - and Yamaha has all the aces there.  Genuine chassis development is impossible in this situation.

I rate the situations at the moment as: Yamaha: tops, needing neither engine development nor true chassis development, just good race-set-up for success.  Ducati, needing chassis development. Suzuki, needing engine developmnent. Honda, needing firstly engine development before chassis tuning can be of any use.

Somewhere after the summer break, if Michelin have managed to catch up with tyres that perform acceptably, the tides of fortune could turn in Lorenzo's favour for 2017.  I have a romantic notion that that WILL happen, and Stoner will wildcard P.I. 2016 and set the seal for Ducati's progress.  Then it will be a magnificent contest in 2017 between Lorenzo and Rossi, with Stoner in the role of eminence grise.

Could be epic.

"Despite the predictions of a techno-war with the company with the best aerodynamicists and access to wind tunnels etc. having an advantage, relatively el-cheapo software can model aerodynamics to orders of accuracy that exceed the potential capability of advantage in an environment so diverse as a motoGp race."

The design software (SolidWorks) that manufactures use in proof of concept comes before testing in a Windtunnel.
Windtunnels are very expensive purchase and operate. (Toyota recently purchased a Windtunnel that ran ino the millions of $$)
To defer the cost of a Windtunnel, companies will "rent" their windtunnels out to other companies, which Honda will not have to do. Honda and Yamaha have Windtunnels, and more importantly, they have Engineers and Technicians who have decades of experience with designing, developing, and testing aerodynamicts.

The Dovi - Marquez synched crash was odd to see!
There was a patch there, and they were asking for front tire adherence granted to the Yamaha that may be an ask for their bikes. Also, there has been the vague spot on the front while transitioning into a corner where it shrugs feedback for a bit. Perhaps it is the 17', perhaps the profile, perhaps the transition between compounds. Wondering if that bit has been a factor today.

Odd race.

Binder - impressed!

Nick Harris mentioned another synchronized crash involving Mick Doohan. I found it on youtube & it was spectacular as well. If my link doesn't work, just enter Nurburgring 1990 Motomondiale, Chili e Doohan. https://youtu.be/lUAB-5q7tF4


Took me a few years to appreciate moto3 but this weekend showed clearly how bright the talent is in that field. The moto3 race was the best race to watch this sunday. Real impressive riding entertaining start to finish.

Any more information on Racing Team Germany being remoed from Saxoprint Peugeot?   The situation would appear to be pretty poor if John McPhee cant even get a gear box that works.



As i understnad it, If a tyre is over inflated, the contact patch can be smaller and the tyre can then suffer from localized heating rather than heating throughout the tyre.

But yes, i took it to mean from Bradley that due to the need to push on the tyres hard, the pressure they are starting at results in a pressure that is above the point where the tyre flexes enough to be compliant.

So maybe the tyre isn't overheated per se, but just overinflated once it comes up to operational temp. 

Or, another way of looking at it:  perhaps Bradley and the other guys who crashed on it for this reason are asking too much of the front tyre, and treating it like a Bridgestone.


Hmm, maybe this is not the best site to go to if you do NOT want to know what happened in MotoGP... ;-)

If all you care about in the race is who won, you can save yourself a lot of time by just checking websites for the winners.  Me I actually enjoy watching the riders ride and if I know the outcome already, I will watch anyway.

While you may not be in for a surprise. You will still want to watch that race. The last lap was exceptional from Binder. For me, the way he rode that race and his last lap was more impressive than even Lorenzo's 21 lap string of '33's. By far the best race(as it most always is), and some real stand out performances from a few riders. Buluga again impressed and what can you say about Arron Canet, I was cheering for him the moment he told Fabio to follow. 

Ok, off to watch again! 

Hi David.
I haven't written here for a long time but I firstly want to say I admire your writing and appreciate your insights into MotoGP which many of us wouldn't receive otherwise. Please keep up the good work.
Why the Booing?? What has Lorenzo done wrong?? Is it just because he had the audacity to beat Rossi to last year's championship?
I might understand a Rossi 'fan' not liking Marquez. If one is to believe Rossi's complaints of Marquez's riding style last year then maybe a 'fan' would have some reasonable complaint. But what has Lorenzo done to deserve this in the Rossi 'fan's' eyes?
Am I missing something here? Or are Rossi's 'fans' really so ignorant that they have to boo someone simply because they beat the 'star'.
Thanks David and please keep up the great work.

Your question (I know that you asked David but a fan's point of view might be interesting too)
I condemn the booing. It's unbecoming and base. But to my knowledge big crowds have always cheered and booed....so I would say nothing new. As for Lorenzo: no they don't boo him because he beat VR (they booed him last week too in reversed roles on his home turf!) They don't forgive him for his behaviour particularly post Sepang. Moreover they dislike him profoundly for his way of going to almost ridiculous lengths to demeanish VR and his accomplishments. They despise the way he is constantly bragging about being the best (IMO when you are truly convinced to be the best you don't need to shout it out loud). So in a nutshell : the hate that JL publicly displays towards VR is so big and done in such a distasteful manner that it takes almost a zen monk like self-control to refrain from booeing him whenever he is not on his bike.
So there is an answer to why so many folks just can't help it....and each time they might think of stopping JL gives them another very good reason to have a go at it again. It's sad but it's what it is.

It's all subjective. Randomly replace the names for Rossi, Lorenzo or Marquez and die hard fans of either rider could copy/paste most of your post.

People need to grow up. Simple as that.

JL disrespected VR again in one of his post-race interviews. He said he could breathe easy after Marc crashed & that Marc is his main rival. He is entitled to his feelings, but I don't remember VR ever doing that to him. 

I think this is a very good summary for why some spectators are booing mainly Jorge - and not Marc, because it is written in a neutral way with the aim to explain rather than condemn or excuse someone.

For me too, the most awkward situation was the thumbs down-incident on the podium in Sepang plus his comments in the press conference after that race. What I disliked about it wasn't so much the fact it wasn't very sportsmanslike - I am no saint either. My problem is that in the month before the incident Jorge a lot of times talked about his respect for Valentino where it was already very clear that this is not the case. He did so because this made him look good, like someone who has a lot of respect even for his rivals, like someone with high moral standards. Then the Marc-Valentino-clash in the sepang, an incident Jorge was not involved in directly, made his mask fall so terribly and showed what I believe were his true feelings and they were the total opposite of the respect he had talked about until then. What I saw in the press conference there, was an unbelieveable amount of disrespect and hate towards Valentino that I could, and still can not understand given that Valentino did not do any harm to him, but instead to Marc (and Marc to Valentino) and also given that Jorge hadn't seen the images of the incident by then. (By the way the video of the press conference seems to be taken down from the  motogp.com-website). So to sum it up what makes Jorge so unlikeable for me is the mismatch between what he is saying on the one side and what he is doing on the other side. There are other examples but this is the most obvious. In my perception he shows a lot of behaviour that is not authentic. And that is one character quality which I personally can not stand in any person at all.

Regarding the booing: On the one side it is awkward to see that a rider who showed a great performance is being booed in what should be his moment of joy. On the other hand what other possibilities than their voice do fans have got to express their feelings? In my personal opinion a better way for fans is just not to chant instead of booing when the rider of their hate lifts the trophy.  


I seem to remember Lorenzo being the only rider not to pile on Rossi during his winless Ducati years and Rossi bering grateful to him for it.

The current 'hate' to me seems to have been geneated by Rossi's return to Yamaha and may be directed more at Yamaha than anyone else.  Here's Rossi coming back with his tail between his legs and Yamaha's current rider being the current world champ, yet Rossi seems to have slotted back into his position as Yamaha's favored child and Lorenzo being given short shrift.  Who wouldn't be pissed?  As far as all the BS that went on the end of last year Lorenzo was guilty of giving a thumbs down gesture.  Rossi tried to run a rider off the track and was let off leniently.  How are their behaviors even in the same ballpark?  Yet Rossi's fans must beat the dead horse.  I guess the pain of losing the title at the final rounds still stings.

Fans booing?  That seems to only be done by Rossi fans (Stoner and Lorenzo) when their idol is defeated.  Everyone else has more respect for the grid as a whole.

>>the hate that JL publicly displays towards VR is so big and done in such a distasteful manner that it takes almost a zen monk like self-control to refrain from booeing him whenever he is not on his bike.  So there is an answer to why so many folks just can't help it....and each time they might think of stopping JL gives them another very good reason to have a go at it again. It's sad but it's what it is.

This statement is exactly why people feel distain towards Rossi fans.  You condemn it and it is unbecoming and base and all......but......Jorge gives you every reason to do it so........  Even in interviews other riders condemn the booing but Rossi?  He shrugs his shoulders and smiles, as good as putting fuel on the fire.  IMO not the behavior of a sportsman.



I'm compelled to respond as your comments are directed at me. You're confusing different situations. VR has spoken about the booing and said that those who do are stupid and envious. You're asking him to play a role it's not his to play. Moreover put 100000 people in the same space and you'll get some moronic behaviour. Besides why on earth would VR try to intervene to defend the guy that spends most of his public time spitting (metaphorically ) on him? To show he's a better man? Honestly given the past records of public comment made by the two of them it's easy to see who is the better man. Now you think that JL hate is against Yamaha.... my take on it is somewhat different JL never ever managed to get loved inside that garage with or without VR. The only reason he accepted him back in that garage is because he thought that VR was done he was just happily gonna put the last nail on his coffin. But reality bit back and VR became a threat. And instead of of accepting the fight on the track he spent the whole of last season explaining that VR was winning out of luck. Sepang was just the final act where the mask came down. And since it got worse. Whenever JL talks about respect I laugh : he is so far from respecting VR it's almost funny. Do I condone the booing? I don't like it and I would never boo him but it does not change my opinion on him. He is a big boy he is the fastest the best the champion of the world. He is so good that VR steals !!!! Even his gears!!!!! And when I said that whenever people start thinking of stopping booing him he gives a new reason.... well did you hear him in Parc ferme in Jerez after quali? He asked very seriously if VR had done pole with the help of someone.... that sums it all in my opinion.

>>VR has spoken about the booing and said that those who do are stupid and envious.




"However, I did not create this situation, and I do not see how I could fix it."

Its easy: Say something against it.  And you did create it at the Sepang press conference.

I think you are confusing Rossi's pushback on the booing with when people were abusing Rossi's friend AI after Phillip Island because AI had the teremity to beat Rossi.  Rossi pushed back then but once the abuse was redirected to Lorenzo and Marquez he suddenly can't do anything about it.

>>You're asking him to play a role it's not his to play.

You mean being a good ambassador for the sport that has given him everything in his life?  I would say that it precisely his role to play.

>> Moreover put 100000 people in the same space and you'll get some moronic behaviour.

In the over 20 years I have been watching GPs I can only recall Stoner and Lorenzo receiving boos on the podium, right after beating Rossi.

>>Honestly given the past records of public comment made by the two of them it's easy to see who is the better man.

That is your problem, you think you know these people who you watch race around a track on TV.  You don't know diddly about either.  Your hating of Lorenzo is directly proportional to your love for Rossi, both strong emotions that are strange to have over a couple of strangers.  Strong enough for you to ignore the effort and risk the riders are taking for our entertainment and treat them with disdain.

>>my take on it is somewhat different JL never ever managed to get loved inside that garage with or without VR.

Agreed, but only because the garage already belonged to Rossi.

>>The only reason he accepted him back in that garage is because he thought that VR was done he was just happily gonna put the last nail on his coffin.

No, Lorenzo has said many times that he does not have input into who his teammate is.  All he cares about is receiving equal equipment.  And as I mentioned before he was one of the only riders to say during Ducati that Rossi was not done he was just on a bad bike so I don't know where you would get Lorenzo thinking Rossi was washed up and easily beaten.

>>And instead of of accepting the fight on the track he spent the whole of last season explaining that VR was winning out of luck.

Which was true!  7 wins to 4.  Fastest laps, more laps led, etc, etc, etc.  And you want to talk about someone not accepting the fight on the track!  That would be Rossi!  Mr. Don't race me too hard, I'm in contention for the title!

>>Sepang was just the final act where the mask came down.

The mask came down at Sepang?  Rossi's mask?  Not sure what you mean except again trying to equate a thumbs down gesture after the race with trying to ride another racer off the track during the race.  Sorry, but I don't buy it.  Lorenzo had been banned a race for knocking another rider down during an attempted pass.  He sees Rossi knock another rider down in a bizarre move that was not even a pass attempt and is not even red-flagged or given a ride-through.  He expresses his displeasure (what nerve!) and in an attempt to distract everyone from Rossi's atrocious maneuver fans try to lay some sort of blame on Lornezo.  He's even apologized for it but that is not enough.  It's quite pathethic behavior on the fan's part.

>>And when I said that whenever people start thinking of stopping booing him he gives a new reason

'people'  or 'Rossi fans'?  Rossi fans are the only ones that seem to boo.  Even the circuit announcers mentioned how it was coming from the yellow section.

>>well did you hear him in Parc ferme in Jerez after quali? He asked very seriously if VR had done pole with the help of someone.... that sums it all in my opinion

You keep falling into the trap of thinking every rider has to respect Rossi in the way you determine yet Rossi has free license to do and say whatever he wants to anyone else.  I actually prefer riders to have some animonisity towards each other.  To think two professionals at the top of their game in the same team fighting for the same prize are going to be friends is ridiculous.  The friction spices things up a bit but does not mean you have to hate or boo the other one.  That is just immature behavior.



Fan is an abbreviation for fanatic.

One definition of fanatic is "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion"

Synonyms include "enthusiast" and "zealot"

Rossi has lots of very passionate fans and they range from enthusiasts (good) to zealots (bad).

One last thought. In my very younger years I was an athlete good enough to be recruited in the national team (it did not last long university was more important and I don't think I wanted that life).
We loved to win we hated to lose. We got our fair share of booeing....
If anyone has practised a sport to a high level then it's easy to understand that besides cheating and stealing the match the most unbearable thing is an opponent refusing to aknowledge your achievements out of spite.
My comments on JL come from a place inside me when I was an athlete and i was competing. Regardless of my appreciation of VR.

>>on sportsmanship

I've played and watched sports my entire life and it has always been accepted fact that booing is poor sportsmanship and not behavior to encourage.  Are you really going to try to argue that it is not?  And that it is 'people' and not 'rossi fans'?

>>If anyone has practised a sport to a high level then it's easy to understand that besides cheating and stealing the match the most unbearable thing is an opponent refusing to aknowledge your achievements out of spite.

You really need to get over other expecting other riders to treat Rossi like his fans do.



Rossi has condemned the booing. I can go look up the PC when he said it. 

I guess some want Rossi to come out and instruct fans not to boo other riders. Maybe that would work, maybe not. I imagine he's got more to worry about than people in yellow booing. Such as how to stop the rider they are booing. 

For me, it's the ignoble fan of any rider that boo's another. They all have them, just some riders seem to have more. 

As many have said, Lorenzo should embrace the hate. Feed off it, his fan base would grow and he'd be THE guy to take it to Rossi both on track and off. The best gesture he's done to date was the "zip it" after Qatar. That was good! I shook my head with a smile and thought , well played sir, well played. 

I knew the boos were coming, that's why I was hoping he would plant that flag in front of the Rossi grandstand. Epic I tell you, EPIC! 

The next time he got boo'd on the box, he should play the air violin. I would die laughing and I'm a Rossi fan. LMAO.


Not only was Lorenzo not lamenting Rossi's failure at Ducati, he also welcomed him back at Yamaha.

Where the hate between those two started, I do not know. What I do know is that if Lorenzo would have requested a wall in the Yamaha garage, or would have ran another rider off track, or would have ordered Carmelo Ezpeleta to meet him in his trailer, he would not have been certain to live another day.

Regardless what people think of Lorenzo, it really doesn't matter what type of personality Rossi's opponent is. If you take the fight to Rossi, or worse: beat him, then a good part of Rossi's fans start acting like 12 year olds.

I don't think Lorenzo 'welcomed' Rossi back to Yamaha - but resigned that nothing could be done about it.  This interaction from the 2012 Valancia test sums it up perfectly for me.  Lorenzo had been crowned champion two days before, but all the press wanted to see was Rossi back on the Yamaha.


"The TV got their money shot, though, Valentino Rossi having gone out early on the rather beautifully turned out Yamaha M1, carefully denuded of Yamaha stickers. Surveying the chaos as photographers and journalists milled around Rossi's garage, all vying with each other to get the best shot of the Italian on the Yamaha, Jorge Lorenzo commented from the pit wall (link is external) "mira el campeon," a phrase which could be translated as "look at the champion," but which I like to think should be translated as "behold the champion!" Lorenzo, officially honored as the 2012 MotoGP World Champion, some 36 hours previously, got a glimpse of the media storm that follows Valentino Rossi around. Whatever Rossi does on the track, the mind games in the garage and in the media will be very hard fought indeed."

I've never been a fan of Jorge's over the top winning antics, I think he used to come across as a spoilt child, but this was about the time that I started to respect him.

When you are trying to find causes for the booing, I think the question is not about who of the two behaves more un-sportsmanlike. You could easily find examples where both - Valentino and Jorge - weren't good examples for sportsmanship.

It is obvious that they both don't like each other at least. But while Valentino expresses his feelings for example by shrugging his shoulders when asked about the booing (I did't see him do this myself) Jorge expresses his animosity (and himself in general) very often in more awkward ways like in the "thumbs down"-incident or in the "would have won by big margin"-incident.

I think this is at least one reason for why Jorge isn't liked so much and even booed. I for myself don't need riders to pretend to be saints. In my opinion a good sportsman isn't characterized by pretending to dislike the booing when in reality he is pretty fine with it. A good sportsman dislikes the booing in the first place and maybe condemns it if he likes. By shrugging his shoulders Valentino maybe expresses that he is just fine with the booing. And if that makes him a bad sportsman in that situation, that's ok for me, because I like riders (like any other person) to be authentic and not to be a saint.

The idea that these guys, any of them, are so sportsmanslike saints is to me a huge self contradiction. 
In their own way they are all ruthless competitors ready to go at each other throats.
Jorge is just not very good at hiding it. 
Rossi on the other hand even make a show out of it now and then.
Marquez is also fairly good at that game.
To me it seems like a lot of people want to congratulate the best actor. The one who is better at hiding disapointment when they loose or the restrain their joy when they win.
To me a true and dedicated sportsman rather show his disapointment. If that mean no interview or some unfortunate words so be it.
A great man is the one who admit to his own faults (especially when it is not his fault) seems to be another common belief.

Let them fight it out on the track I say. The talking is 50% BS anyway.
I couldn't care less if Lorenzo says he would have won with 10 laps without spinning. 
He still not my favorite, but I would applaud him for any victory he take without taking out others in the process.


In pre-Sepang press conference Rossi said that Lorenzo has a new suporter named Marquez. A ridiculous accusation but the fans believe it, they thought that Marquez and Lorenzo conspired against Rossi and then the booing started. I don't remember there had been any booing before Sepang but the 'fans' tried to relate the booing to Lorenzo's bragging being the best and the comments after race, even ridiculously this year's race. Accusing someone conspiring against you is disrecpectful and not a sporstmanship manner, booing is even more so.
Move on

believe Lorenzo and Marquez teamed up last year to keep the title away from Rossi. When they were announcing the riders before the race, the announcers mentioned that the booing was coming from one section where "everyone was dressed in yellow".

Their feud goes back to when Lorenzo came in to GP. The wall was introduced the next year I believe and the tension between the two has never really settled. Only when Rossi departed for Ducati did we forget about it. Now that they are in the same garage again, it's the same 'old tension. And this is to be expected of teammates that fight for the title. 


Lorenzo has never really been a fan favorite, even in 250. It's just his demeanor. He also seems to inject himself into situations that don't concern him, ie: the Sepang clash last year. Then there's his post Jerez race comments "I could have won...." (Rossi had the best comment post race LeMans). Add all that up and the Valiban have their enemy again. 


I thought it it was very telling of the twos relationship and how icy cold it is in the post race comments. Not once did Lorenzo mention Rossi as a threat. Instead saying after he knew Marc was out "I could breath easier....." 

I've been watching GP for Rossi's entire career and yes I'm a big fan. The guy just loves racing. I've never really cared for Lorenzo but you have should respect other competitors. That being said, I would have loved for Lorenzo to stop in front of the Rossi fan club on the cool down lap and plant that Lorenzo's Land flag in the gravel. Would have been epic. 

Well said 41BP

We will often have hero and villain personae in such a glorious sport of ours. When we do it is often a good period of sport too. Unfortunately the press has a lot to do with keeping it going.

We will also have folks like you see even here on David's site being biased and making things personal about someone else being biased and making things personal. It is as common as dust. It displays a developmental level. We all started out that way.

At least we have that as our base-bottom to scroll past here. The indulgent reactivity of the comments section of other sites makes them unbearable.

Not missing the tedious "oh yeah? Stoner fans are all (____) and Rossi the GOAT (___)" then "Well Stoner could beat all these guys if only (blah blah blather)".....

Lorenzo makes it so very easy for people to dislike him.

Don't get me wrong, he is mentally and physically strong and his display of guts after breaking his collarbone and racing after surgery is stuff of legend, but he is a poor sport winning poorly with over the top antics and losing even worse. 

My mate was Convinced spots of liquid of some sort downed Dovi and Marc. We were finally convinced it was a coincidence when we watched it in super slo mo and could see first Marc lost it several meters behind where Dovi's front let go. At speed it looked simultaneous.

Marerick looked happy on the podium. Although he knew he'd been gifted some spots, he was one of the upright ones at the end. Ya gotta finish (Take note CC35)! Still, he was looking at the two M1s ahead of him. I reckon he goes there next year.

Last, we're liking BEin's commercial free US coverage. Finally! The pre and post race commentating is a bit urk, but that'll improve. Anyway, it's easy to skip!

Hi there David, been a long time reader of your great website, and decided to post for the first time.

The Dovi/Marquez incident was so strange. I don't know if anyone remembers but back in 2013, the Moto2 race at Le Mans, both Pons bikes of Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat had an absolute carbon copy incident. Both falling at the same corner in seperate incidents at the same moment. So it seems the odd nature of that corner does cause for unexpected offs.

*Edit* As if by magic, I've managed to find a clip of the incident on Youtube. Spookily similar! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o72uNN7tDzw

Also wanted to add what a fine job Brad Binder is doing in Moto3 this year. That win at Jerez has lifted a ton of weight off his shoulders and now has the real self belief winners have after they've picked u their first win of knowing they can win and it coming more naturally to them.

As a result of Brad's early season success, do you think there is any possilbilty of MotoGP returning back to South Africa anytime soon? Kyalami has under gone a huge upgrade to the place and is almost completed. I saw a video recently of the revamp and it looks wonderful. The owners, Porsche SA are keen to get international racing back and with Binder doing so well, it would be really good if Dorna looked into it, whether it be 2017 or 2018. Obviously money will be the deciding factor, but surely the demand is there, especially if Binder could win the Moto3 title.

So did the Vinales podium just make his Suzuki contract an awful lot more expensive to wriggle out of?!

I've got to agree with the BTSport commentary... Iannone really did just throw his job down the road... And I suspect Dovi too...

I would GUESS that Ducati management/Philip Morris have viewed rider ability as a performance bottleneck for at least a year now, and I suspect that's sealed it...

Wild baseless speculation... But if I was Ducati I'd be going on a grade A offensive to sign MM... He's not happy with the RCV, he's just publically said that the Duc is a better motorcycle (in terms of acceleration) and a dream team of JL and MM would surely yeild results...

I still hope DP goes to Yamaha... But I guess Vinales stock just went up... Although had Dovi and MM not attended synchronised swimming class, then it would only (sic) of been a 5th...

...but credit where credit's due, first you've got to finish, and he rode very maturely.

and yet again poor Scott Redding... Probably the most naturally talented Brit out there in MotoGP.... Starting to have a career like Jamie Robinson (who was very friendly and chatty with me at the NEC show in 96, so no slur intended, but just like Jamie the better bike he gets, the worse things seem to go)

rides of the day?

well obviously JL, simply stunning display... The rest must be happy he's moving off the best bike

VR, I know, I know... But those third row to the box rides never get tiring and I can't imagine they're easy...

But Petrucci. Wow! There's more screws in his hand than in my (assembled) Ikea chest of draws, he's been off the bike for ages, hasn't had the season to get dialed in, yet still performs amazingly.

FWIW (really very little) I think if the same rider (from the top 3) wins the next 2 races, then that rider will have a decent momentum for this year's crown... And I suspect that'll be JL. But early(ish) days yet...

The booing comes from the fans because after the mm/vr clash it was JL Who run to RD to complain about something he had nothing to do with. Also when VR made a appeal to CAS it was yet again JL Who also made a appeal to the CAS against VR. Also about the thumbs down. So that are 3 things i know about. Yamaha wasnt really happy about that eihter.

You have 3 point, 2 of which completely invalid. Thumbs down is the only legitimate one (and JL apologized for it later).

Lorenzo didn't run into RD after VR/MM clash, It was reported by Neil Hodgeson later who retracted it and said that he was misinformed. Full trail here : https://twitter.com/lorenzo99/status/659103384549597185

Lorenzo didn't appeal to CAS against VR. He volunteered to provide extra case-studies which he thought is relevant to the decision (past incidents, including JL's own ban after taking out another rider during overtake). Why are Rossi fans such as yourself so insecure and against additional case-studies? Is it not fair that CAS makes a decision with as much relevant information as possible rather than looking at only one-side (Rossi's) of the story? Fair is fair.

Now I enter that period where MotoGP news becomes slow and I have to wait until the next race before my next GP fix like a crackhead. Worst time ever.

Thanks for another great write up David.

I cant wait for this Vinales move to be settled. I fear it will not end with Pedrosa at Yamaha which makes me sad. I really want to see what he's got to offer on a new bike. 

I also think its funny quite a bit of people have been writing off Rins in the comment section, then he puts it on the top step this weekend and is now 1st in the points if im not mistaken. 

Who would of thought Honda would be in the same position Ducati were in a few years back with only one Alien capable of riding the machine. Funny how quickly things change. I hope they dont change the rules to please them. But if they do I would expect Yamahas engines to be thawed as well. Honda might be opening Pandoras box. 

Listening to MV's lawyer/agent saying that money isn't the issue & seeing Lin Jarvis & Davide Brivio both at pains to stress they are waiting on a decision from 'others', makes me wonder if the delay is down to last minute haggling on crew chiefs & mechanics moving over, or not, as the case may be? Or sponsorship money? 

With a little luck, Ducati will rid themselves of both of their top riders, not just one. Neither has what it takes to win. They've had more than enough time to prove themselves. Maybe try Petrucci? Can do a lot worse. 

Another good ride by Binder.

Like Cal Crutchlow a lot, but I'm afraid he's not going to be in Motogp much longer. Too bad. He's a man of good character.

I won't be publishing any more comments on booing, Rossi vs Lorenzo. This despite the fact that some of them have been extremely informative. But the discussion has run its course, and is about to descend into the "my guy is better than your guy" slanging match which ruins other forums.

Please feel free to keep commenting, there is plenty still to talk about. But the booing discussion is done. 

I understand and agree on principle. But it's unfair that I cannot respond to a post directed at me. A post not very pleasant for that matter.

It isn't fair. But if I published every comment on booing, the tone of the debate here would descend far lower than it is. There were a lot of comments I did not publish, for precisely that reason. It isn't fair, but it is the best thing for the long-term health of the site. 

Sometimes, you will come out on the winning side of my moderation decisions, sometimes you will not. You will either have to trust my judgment, or decide not to visit the site any longer. Or, alternatively, take out a subscription, which will allow you to post comments without any prior moderation. That doesn't mean that those comments won't get deleted later, of course, if I feel they break the website guidelines.

4 champion-worthy riders capable of a title...

Several others on the cusp of that same status...

Fiercely competitive, as it should be.  


Dear MotoGP,

Please keep it coming.

I posted this earlier but diluted my question with some speculation about wings.  Rossi ran the fastest lap of the race on Lap 4 - by a lot - and started out Lap 5 on almost identical (one might say Lorenzo-like identical) pace in Sector 1 and Sector 2...but in Sector 3, Sector 4 and the following Sector 1 was 0.3 seconds slower than his "hot lap" and the beginning of Lap 5.  So it was fast-fast-fast-fast for Lap 4, and then Lap 5 was fast-fast-very slow-very slow and Lap 6 was very slow-fast again

I watched the race (BeIN feed in the U.S. whatever that is) and the only thing I can think is that he lost the front, got it back, and then rode a more conservative race thereafter.  This was all with open track.  I mention it again because that Lap 4 / Lap 5 pace was so blinding and the slow-down so significant I feel like I missed something interesting that wasn't shown on the feed - a recovery from a big a moment, I don't know.


I mean, creating your dream teams is half the fun here.  This is what I'd like to see for the factory squads.
Remember that epic scrap in Aragon last year?  The elder statesmen on the most balanced bike on the grid, both hungry to prove they still have it.  Pedrosa has been toiling away on that Honda for years and he's been the second son for too long.  If he's going to do that it may as well be on a bike that he can regularly place on the podium.  I think it would be a total renaissance for him.
P. Espargaro
I want to see Marquez help develop the bike out of its current quagmire.  That will be more constructive to his overall legacy and indicative of a long-term legendary career.  Pol because his style seems to be more Honda.
Petrucci coming in 7th at Le Mans is a minor miracle.  No painkillers.  More metal in his hand than Iron Man.  I love the Andreas but the crashfest has to stop.  Lorenzo because it's time for him to show us how good he is on a different bike, and even though I have my issues with him, a WC deserves to feel like the #1 in his team at least once.
A. Espargaro
These boys are doing an excellent job and should stay right where they are.  Their rivalry is good for each other and good for Suzuki, because they are constantly pushing the limits of the bike.  The entire operation feels young and hungry.  I'd like it to stay that way.
They're coming along and results are slowly improving.  I don't think a faster rider is going to improve anything.
And for pete's sake keep Laverty on a decent bike.

... wanting to see Cal Crutchlow on the HRC factory Honda (so he can finally put up or shut up about "if i was on bike X I'd be doing better"), I agree 100% with all of your choices.

Dani on Yamaha is a natural fit, and as you say i think both suzuki riders deserve their ride, and i'd like to see them bring Suzuki to the top.  Both are talented enough to either win or consistently podium if the bike gets there, and the progress has been amazing already (i'm sure they have a much smaller budget than ducati and they've managed a podium in only their second year).

Both Bautista and Bradl are plugging away and i think their results are in-line with what is reasonable to expect given the development time the bike has had so far and the budget involved.

Petrucci I think is one of the most likeable, determined and talented riders on the grid, who given an opportunity on that scale will grab it with both hands and give at least 110% - without throwing things down the road anywhere near as often as #29.  Given his pre-season and last season's wet weather results, I reckon he most certainly has the goods.



Can we finally and safely say that Ducati strategy of putting pressure on the two Andreas is proven totally wrong and counterproductive? The two guys seem so desperate to get some recognition and keep their seat that they give the impression they are not thinking straight any longer. I hear that now they implemented a strategy whereas when one is passed by the team-mate has now to wait one lap before responding and trying to pass.... if that is true good luck in keeping the rule once they announce who stays and who goes. I really think they had some real chances but they both give the impression to be under so much pressure.... I wonder what's gonna happen in Mugello that long straight gives them a real advantage and they've been testing there just recently. But what about the pressure?

Iannone has got the goods. One boneheaded "pass" through your team mate, whom the previous weekend had diced up a front running pace into a DNF, then a front end crash amongst a bunch, some choice criticism from Ducati brass during silly season...not affecting my read on his potential.

I cringed when he went down, and realized he had made things much harder for himself. But thought of it relative to perception of others, and the swing of politics in Ducati.

He has shown greatness. He is at "that" moment in his career when it may blossom. That is rare. Him and Vinales right now. And perhaps a second bloom from Pedrosa with a Yamaha. Then we have "the rest," hopes and plans.

Many must remember that Stoner was a one man crashfest prior to going to Ducati. But on the right bike it was a different story. Iannone needs another season without the pressure of keeping or losing his ride.

... has shown moments of greatness, but he's not a kid any more (he's 27 years old now i think?) and simply throws away podiums way too often.

if he hadn't crashed more often than he's finished this season he could be in Jorge's or Marc's position in the championship right now, and Ducati could be leading the constructors championship (and I'm sure Ducati care about that second point very much).

I think if he's not careful someone like Hector Barberra or Danilo Petrucci will be taking his seat sooner or later.  There's no shortage of guys doing great things on the older Ducatis at the moment.

First off, lets punt an African GP round possibility into the next soccer, cricket, rugby or stadium.

Fact is that in ZA and on the entire African continent, soccer is the big game irrespective of the dismal performances, especially for ZA. 

Getting a MotoGP round to Kyalami is technically and infrastructurally wholely feasible, but financially doomed. The province will not fund it and the organiser's would require provincial funding for such an event. Period. It will not happen.

I could say much, but it will be politically incorrect.

Racing and Brad Binder. He has done a fantastic job thus far, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I never did believe he would pull off a straight head to head against Fenati VR46 SKY but he did.

Mugello will be even tougher. So that issue addressed. MGP. Any fool and his dog knew that #99 would clear out and hindsight being 20/20 vision the entire weekend pertaining to that class was such.

Le Mans for me is such a roadblock, scratch and bump venue. The event is a non event, a pick up points event. I ENJOY THE 24HOUR event.

I look forward to the Jewell in the MGP Crown next weekend. Mugello. Expect a dominant Yamaha to win, whether #99 or #46 is irrelevant. Ducati, well, they may aswell offer Stoner an incentive to step in as a substitute for any Ducati crasher, just to bring a single Factory Ducati home in top 5. Petrucci to works team... ? I reckon Lorenzo's calling most of the shots re-team mate. 



AI is no doubt a talented rider but he must stop crashing!!!  Showing greatness means knowing when to close the throttle as much as it does when to open it.  I like the guy and wish him well but goal #1 right now should be to learn (or re-learn) how to finish the damn race.  

Deserves to be along side Jorge Lorenzo next year on the factory Ducati. His 1st race of the season, a hand with as much steel plated in as the Terminator, no pain killers, the flue AND(!) 1st time out on the Michelins. Remember him last year? Finished every race and grabbed a podium. Has more points now in 1 race than Crutchlow or Miller in 5. Keeps it upright and finishes 7th. What if he was fit and on Andrea's bike!? I bet you this is going around.

Honda will probably come out next year with a long bang engine...  They've been in screamer dream land for far too long.  They have to understand that their methods don't work and that they need to continue to copy Yamaha.  They now have the counter rotating crankshaft that they took from Yamaha... They just need to continue in this direction if they want to win. 

Please forgive me if I am wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the whole MotoGP field has been using Big Bang (I hope that is the same as long bang) for a long time now. It started in the 1990s when the powerful 2 strokes were spinning the rear tyre and shredding them at their worst and not offering any grip at their best. Mick Doohan requested that a screamer engine (even firing order in a V four configuration engine) be brought to the races since he had hardly a challenge accept Alex Crivelle trailing him closely and Doohan disliked that. The screamer engine request wash 1. to try something and give himself a new challenge and 2. to try and break Alex Criville. He did not succeed in the second quest of his. When MotoGP went four stroke, the V4 engines could continue to use the Big Bang engine but the inline fours required a bit of innovation to behave like the big bang V4s (uneven firing order in the cylinders unlike the even firing order) and it was Masao Azuma who introduced the 270 degree crank shaft and used the uneven firing order to make an inline 4 engine behave like a V4. Kawasaki in its brief stay in MotoGP adopted a similar configuration. As far as counter rotating crank shafts are concerned they are available on road motorcycles of 125 cc and less for a long time. I presume that you are referring to the reversing of the engine (a trend started by Ducati and adopted by all with no exception). Honda (much as I dislike the company for unknown reasons) does not need to borrow anything from anyone including Yamaha. They are perfectly capable to fixing their problems and what is stopping them from doing so now is the freeze on engine development during the season put in place by Dorna and the FIM. Most of the technologies that are discussed on forums may seem knew because the laity is talking about them for the first time but these technologies are out there with the companies for a long time. I do not mean any offense with this answer. If any of the things I have said is wrong, please point it out and I will not only stand corrected but also will be a smidgeon more enlightened. Thank you.

Honda have been running a V4 since 2007, and were running a V5 before that.  I think the last time they played with screamers was in the 90's.

It occurs to me that what we could have witnessed at Le Mans was a big crack in the new 'calmer/wiser/not-win-it-or-bin-it' MM. His technique of making up for the Honda's deficiencies by braking the bejeezus out of it is amazing to watch, and we know that at Jerez he said he nearly lost it 3 times before deciding to settle. But faced with being passed by Rossi, did the red mist return? Dovi is renowned as one of the latest brakers, Marc must have known it was a tall order to be trying to take it to him on that basis, especially as Dovi was turning up the heat to stay on the back of VR. What's more, in his comments we can see plain frustration with the Honda. And now, having thrown away the lead, will the pressure for results be even more, will we see a downward spiral? Or was it nothing, all a coincidence that he binned it so soon after being passed by no.46?

Answers on a postcard with a picture of mugello on the front I guess?

I definitely think that VR coming past had a lot to do with it. For both Dovi and Rossi for different reasons. Dovi is obviously needing a good result, and perhaps saw both Vale and Marc closing fast, then Vale pass, and the podium looking like it was slipping away.

So he pushed to hold position. Marc, obviously seeing his least favourite person on track come past both himself and the guy in front, putting Marc of the podium perhaps also decided he needed to get past Dovi to stay in contention.

Both of them pushed too hard and lost the front.  How I read it anyway.  A massive shame, I was really hoping for Dovi to finally get a decent result, his season started out so well until events outside of his control transpired to destroy his season.

Reading too much into it. Rossi didn't really have anything to do with it, Marquez caught Dovi about a lap before Rossi caught them. Rossi used the Yamaha's clear acceleration advantage to get past both but couldn't really pull away. Remember Dovi and Marquez were following Rossi around for two laps before they crashed.

Dovi says he just went a little wide and Marquez doesn't really know what happened. It's similar to all the front end crashes we've seen this year. Like Rossi at COTA. A few centimeters wide and the tyre just randomly stops working.

Of course, because of safety concerns, right?

Now what could happen in MotoGP given that almost everybody seems to be finding them useful? Does it outweigh their risks?

Winglets in motogp are thought to provide two advantages:  keeping the front down on the straights, and dirtying the air so slip-streaming is less effective.

Moto3 bikes don't have a problem with keeping the front down.  Drafting is too big of a tactic in moto3 to messed with.  The reason that we see such great fights in moto3 is because it's hard for a rider to break the tow and escape, so you always end up with riders in packs - which makes a good spectacle.