2016 Mugello MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Of Engines, Disappointment, and Blistering Battles

The 2016 Italian Grand Prix at Mugello was many things, but above all, it was memorable. It's not just that the three races ended up with incredibly close finishes – the margin of victory in Moto3 was just 0.038, and that was the largest winning margin of the three races – but how they were won, and what happened along the way that will leave them indelibly imprinted on the memories of race fans. There was drama, a bucketful of heartbreak, and plenty of chaos and confusion thrown into the mix. If there was a script for Sunday, it was torn up and rewritten a dozen times or more before the day was over.

The drama started during morning warm up. As the final seconds of the MotoGP session ticked away, Jorge Lorenzo suddenly pulled over and white smoke started pouring out of the exhaust of his Movistar Yamaha. His engine had suffered a catastrophic failure. This was a worry, as it was a relatively new engine, first introduced at Jerez, with twelve sessions of practice and two races on it. The other two engines Lorenzo had already used had 21 and 23 sessions of practice on them, and had also been used for two races each (including the flag-to-flag race at Argentina).

Though the engine allocation has been increased from five to seven engines for 2016, losing engine #3 at just the sixth race of the season could end up cutting things rather fine by the time we reach Valencia. Losing an engine so soon before a race seemed like a stroke of incredibly bad luck for Lorenzo. In fact, it would prove to be exactly the opposite.

Clouds and silver linings

"We’ve been very lucky today about the engine, because one lap less in the warm up, we wouldn’t break in the warm up but just in the race with the same engine," Lorenzo told the press conference after the race. Lorenzo had solid evidence to base that judgment on. Because on lap 9 of the MotoGP race, Valentino Rossi's #3 engine suffered exactly the same fate. Lorenzo may have lost an engine for the rest of the season, but Rossi lost an engine and a certain podium. And given just how comfortable Rossi looked chasing Lorenzo, a real possibility to take a win at his spiritual home for the first time since 2008, after some long and very painful years.

Just how painful the engine failure was for Rossi was obvious as he pulled to the side of the track. His engine had faltered a couple times in the second sector, Rossi losing nearly eight seconds and dropping a handful of places. Then the engine cut out completely, and as he coasted to the side of the track, a massive cloud of white smoke erupted from his exhaust.

Heartbreak hotel

Rossi was distraught. For the first time since he broke his leg in Mugello, he did not go to the podium to greet the cheering crowds, something he had done during the hard times at Ducati, and his first year back at Yamaha, when he had not earned the podium by right. He had believed he had victory within his grasp for the first time in years, and had been shattered by having it snatched so cruelly away.

He was not alone in his belief: "Wilco [Zeelenberg] told me that in the TV, it looks like Rossi stayed quite comfortable behind me," Lorenzo told the press conference. For five of the eight laps Rossi completed, the gap between him and Lorenzo was less than a tenth of a second as they crossed the line. The biggest advantage Lorenzo held at the end of each of those laps was just 0.140. Rossi was very much in the hunt until his engine lunched itself.

"For sure I can fight for the victory at Mugello," Rossi told the media afterwards. "That is - more than a target - one of my dreams in the last ten years. Because the last victory was 2008. Today in the race I was very fast. And I was behind Lorenzo, but sincerely I think that I had a little bit better pace compared to him, so I can for sure try to attack and try to make my race." It was not to be.

Breaking bad

The fact that two Yamaha engines destroyed themselves in just one day – an unheard of occurrence, and something I cannot recall in my ten years of writing about MotoGP – raises two important questions. Firstly, how did it happen, and secondly, why didn't both Rossi and Lorenzo use new engines just to be safe?

First, the possible cause. Mugello is a tough track for engines, as the bikes spend a lot of time accelerating in high gear with a lot of throttle. Then there is the front straight, where the bike reach 350 km/h officially, and over 360 km/h on the data. Rossi spent his eight laps tucked in behind Lorenzo along the straight, the radiator of his M1 receiving a lot less cooling air as he was being sucked along in the draft.

And then there is the hump at the end of the straight, taken pretty much at full throttle in sixth gear. Both wheels come off the deck at that point in the track, the rear much more so than the front, as this image captured by Tony Goldsmith clearly shows. At that point in the track, the engines are already pretty close to maximum revs. When the rear wheel comes free of the tarmac, there is nothing to prevent it spinning freely, and allowing the engine to rev freely well beyond its designed maximum. It may only be for a fraction of a second, but the accumulative effect could be to expose any design flaws in the engine.

Careful what you ask for

That may well be the case. Lin Jarvis told MCN's Simon Patterson that the engines are to be sent back to Japan for examination. They believe the issue is with the top end, something which aligns with the fact that there was no oil in the belly pan of either Lorenzo's or Rossi's bike, which is usually caused by the bottom end letting got. Jarvis also told Patterson that they would have a fix for the issue at Barcelona.

Though the engines are sealed, and the design fixed, this is still theoretically possible. If Yamaha submit the change to the MSMA, and the manufacturers universally agree, and MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge approves the change, then Yamaha can introduce revised parts to deal with the issue.

Whether such a request would be accepted is open to question: such changes are only allowed on the grounds of safety, and may not have any effect on performance. The other manufacturers could point to the Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, which did not suffer the same problem, as their engines are forced to use a lower rev limit, a measure imposed by Yamaha to ensure the reliability of Tech 3's M1 bikes. If Yamaha's problems can be solved by cutting fifty or a hundred revs off the limit, then is there really any need for new parts?

A decision on Yamaha's request should be made quickly. Should HRC be feeling Machiavellian – a state not unknown among Honda top brass – then they may decide to reject it. After all, they are stuck with an engine which is too aggressive to accelerate cleanly (as Marc Márquez being swamped by Lorenzo to the line so ably demonstrated), so why should Yamaha be allowed to change their engine, when all they need to do is cut revs, and thereby power? That would introduce a brand new and rather fascinating dynamic into the championship.

Why not change the engine?

To the second part of the question. If Jorge Lorenzo's engine blew up in the morning, why did Yamaha not take the precaution of swapping out Rossi's engine, which had similar mileage on it to the unit which blew up on Lorenzo's bike? Surely it is better to be safe than sorry?

The problem was that Yamaha had no clear picture of what the problem was, with it happening so shortly before the race was due to start. Rossi and his team had had some concerns, he told the media. "We were a little bit worried because usually it [engines blowing up] don't happen," Rossi said. "But our engine had less kilometers than Jorge's, so we could fit the fresh engine for Sunday like in Jerez, like in Le Mans. It was too tight the time to open the engine and try to understand what happened, so we continue with our program and were unlucky."

In theory, they could have used a completely fresh engine, taking engine #4. But there are no guarantees that a new engine would not have done the same as the #3 engine which blew up. The #3 engine was nowhere near its maximum mileage, and so the problem could not have been caused by normal wear and tear.

The long shadow

Rossi's retirement was bad for the race in several different ways. Firstly, it robbed the crowds of what was lining up to be a scintillating battle between two bitter rivals, and the match up we have been looking forward to all year. With Marc Márquez rapidly approaching, it would likely have developed into a three-way fight, between Valentino Rossi and the two men he accused of conspiring to steal the title from him in 2015. A mouthwatering prospect indeed.

It also leaves Rossi down 37 points to his teammate and the championship leader. Of course, we are only one third of the way through the season, and there are still twelve races left to run with a maximum of 300 points still at stake. Rossi's title challenge is far from over, but it has suffered a serious setback. Still, if there is one thing that is clear in 2016, it is that a lot can happen, and tides can quickly turn in the championship.

Battle unleashed

Perhaps the saddest part of Rossi's retirement from the race is that it overshadowed what turned out to be one of the toughest battles for the win and one of the very best last laps in recent memory. Marc Márquez had been hanging behind Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, attempting to hunt them down. After Rossi's engine blew, Márquez started to close on Lorenzo, and by lap 15, the Repsol Honda rider was maneuvering himself into a position to strike.

Márquez once again found himself conflicted. The lesson he learned last year was that if he wanted to contend for the title, he had to learn when to settle for a podium, rather than going all out for the win, and risking a crash. But like the scorpion perched upon the back of the frog, he cannot deny his nature, and with five laps to go, Márquez started to believe he could win the race.

Márquez started to attack, and Lorenzo fended off the unwelcome advances of the Repsol Honda. On lap 20, Márquez went through at Scarperia, but ran wide, Lorenzo taking over the lead once again. Two laps later, he attacked at San Donato, the first corner, but once again he ran wide. On the last lap, the race exploded, Márquez attacking at San Donato, then getting through at Poggio Seco.

But Lorenzo was not done yet. The Movistar Yamaha rider harked back to his days in 250s, and launched a counter attack on Márquez at Biondetti, the same place he attacked Alex De Angelis back in 2005. Lorenzo got through in a breathtaking move, but Márquez struck straight back, the pair balancing on a dual knife edge of grip and sanity.

The Spaniard led into the final corner at Bucine, but Lorenzo knew where the Yamaha was stronger than the Honda, and he outdragged Márquez to the line. Lorenzo took victory by just 0.019 seconds, the seventh smallest margin in the history of the premier class.

Fan myths have no basis in history

That last lap put to bed a persistent myth about Jorge Lorenzo. Some fans claim that though Lorenzo is a fast rider, he is not capable of the kind of close-quarters battle which crowds adore. If such fans had watched Lorenzo in 250s, they would know that he can give as good as he gets. But even in MotoGP there are plenty of instances of Lorenzo not shying away from a fight.

Though Lorenzo lost out to Valentino Rossi in the utterly superb battle at Barcelona in 2009, he fought Rossi all the way to the line, the Italian only triumphing with an audacious move in the final corner. Last year, Lorenzo fought hard at Phillip Island in the thrilling four-way battle with Rossi, Márquez, and Andrea Iannone. At Sepang, Lorenzo showed himself capable of daring moves when he passed two Ducatis in a single attempt.

Lorenzo is more than able to fight, but, as he pointed out in the press conference, why would he if there are more efficient ways of winning? "If you start well and you have a great first lap and second lap, why you are not going to take this strong point as benefit?" Lorenzo asked rhetorically. "As demonstrated today, I can win with not the best pace and not starting in the pole position."

Helped by Honda

Lorenzo's victory was aided and abetted in no small part by HRC. The Honda RC213V's weakness was once again painfully exposed, Lorenzo's M1 blasting easily past Marc Márquez' Repsol Honda, after Márquez had spent five laps completely overriding the bike and taking massive risks to try to win the race. Márquez deflected a question over whether he felt that Honda had cost him victory. "When I arrive in Parc Fermé, Nakamoto, all the Honda staff say thanks for the race, because they know that we are struggling," he said.

Yet Márquez did lay out where the problem was. "I did a really good last lap, like normally always face to face with another rider always I'm strong," Márquez said. "But this time I lose on the straight. Never happen. The only two times that happened was here and also Qatar this year. But in the end we know that is our weak point in the moment, but we will improve in the future."

Problems, problems

Saving the honor of Italy was Andrea Iannone, but the factory Ducati rider was intensely disappointed. A problem with the clutch had meant that the Italian had got a truly terrible start from the front row of the grid, dropping down to eight on the first lap. From there, he picked his way forward to end up in third, though still nearly five seconds behind the leaders.

Iannone was happy about the podium, but he felt he had been capable of much more. "Unfortunately, the start today for me is a very big problem," the Italian said. "I have a very big disappointment because I think in this weekend we have a very good possibility." Iannone had pictured himself battling for the win, and had set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, just shy of the outright lap record. His pace was good enough to be involved in the fight for victory. A clutch problem off the start had prevented that.

A similar issue had affected Maverick Viñales. The Suzuki rider was truly disconsolate, after an electronics problem off the line had seen him go backwards at the start. He did not know what had caused the problem, but it felt like he had hit the pit limiter, he said. "I don't know what it was, the bike started to cut out, and everybody overtook me," Viñales told MotoGP.com. "I started good, I was at the side of Marc, and then everyone passed me."

The power had come back after he had changed gear, and he was back on the pace. His problem was that he was already down in eleventh, with a lot of work to do. He battled valiantly on, but he used up his tires too much to fight his way forward to sixth. "Obviously I'm sad, because I think I could fight for the podium this race," Viñales told us. "Then, after I overtake all the riders, I make the same pace as Jorge and Marc. Sure with a good start I can be there. Anyway, I stressed a lot the tires in the first laps, trying to overtake, trying to accelerate good, I destroyed the tires more than I was winning positions."

The bright side

Worthy of note was also the battle between Bradley Smith and Danilo Petrucci. Smith was both happy and relieved that he was back to the level he had been in 2015, now that he and his team had finally got a handle on the bike and on the Michelins. Petrucci was happy to score such a strong result in just his second race of the season, and still lacking strength in his right arm, and the hand he broke during testing. He pointed to his leathers and the gap there was between the sleeve and his arm. That was the biggest issue he faced, and what he must now address.

All of this talk of engines, overtaking, and disappointment overshadows a rather important point. For the first time this year, we are not talking about tires, and whether Michelin have done a good job or not. The MotoGP race was run at a new record pace (1 second faster than the previous fastest race), and riders came up short of the pole and lap record by just a few hundredths. Of the crashes which happened during the race, none were related to tires. It was what you might call a perfectly normal race weekend. The scale of that triumph for Michelin should not be underestimated.

Supporting the support classes

There were two more races at Mugello, and both were more than worthy of mention. The Moto3 race was the typical kind of insanity you expect at Mugello, a massive group fighting for victory all the way to the line. There were plenty of surprises and disappointments in the group, but the eventual victor was perhaps the least surprising thing about the race. Brad Binder won his third race in a row, and has cemented his lead in the championship.

There was plenty for the Italian crowd to cheer for, and to commiserate with. Romano Fenati had a problem with his chain, and after looking strong for most of the race, was forced to pull out. But two Italians stood on the podium besides Binder. Fabio Di Giannantonio, the 17-year-old rookie, rode a superb race to take his first podium. And Pecco Bagnaia, who has been a force on the Mahindra, put the bike into third.

The Moto2 race was both utterly bizarre and rather thrilling, Johann Zarco holding off Lorenzo Baldassarri to take his second win of the year. Sam Lowes' third position was enough to secure the lead in the championship again, though he was upset that the race had been restarted, as he was leading at the time.

The Moto2 race had become a 10-lap sprint, after chaos with a quick restart procedure, teams not following the rules, sending riders out when the shouldn't, and Race Direction not responding correctly to the challenges they faced. That, however, probably deserves a chapter of its own, and will have to wait for another day.

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"until his engine lunched itself"

That is a great line!

"there is nothing to prevent it spinning freely, and allowing the engine to rev freely well beyond its designed maximum".

There is actually - it used to be called a rev limiter.  Now it is part of the electronics.

Rev limiters are not quite as accurate as you may think. Depending on how they are configured, the engine can spin past the maximum before being cut, so it oscillates around the configured limit. On road bikes, the limiter is set quite conservatively. On race bikes, it is set as close to the actual limit as possible. When the rear wheel comes free while the bike is already close to flat out, the engine can spike so quickly that the rev limiter can't quite catch it. It's only a brief moment, but it might expose an inherent weakness.

I would have thought it was more likely to over rev on a down-shift. There the electronics have no effect. Only the slipper clutch can save that.

"the software analyses all factors of machine function every millisecond or so" - so that brief 'moment' that you refer to must be pretty damn brief and certainly not enough to ruffle the feathers of a sophisticated, controlled valve system.

Rev limiters are not instantaneous. As the situation in Moto3 proved engines can quite easily rev past the limit before the limiter can cut in and prevent them. This is particularly the case at full throttle, top speed, close to the rev limit when the rear wheel comes off the ground.

In this case, it seems Yamaha set the rev limiter less conservatively, and they may have paid the price. If they had set the rev limiter 100 rpm lower, they may not have had this problem. But then again, they may not have seen the Ducati Desmosedicis for dust.

The bikes used to pull a little wheelie at flat out top speed just as they crested the hill. Did the winglets help keep the front on the ground this year and did they contribute to the rear leaving the ground instead?

Did the hated winglets cause any crashes at Mugello?

Did they cause dangerous turbulence to anyone close behind in the slipstream at this, the track with the fastest straight on the MotoGP calender? If so, no-one told Rossi.

Maybe MotoGP riders need all the help they can get to stay safe at 220 mph?


Thank you for the write up David. I must admit it's been a long time since I felt such disappointment. IMO without that engine break there wasn't going to be a 3 way battle. VR was faster in most sectors he would have passed him (as a matter of fact VR started having problems in lap 6...) the way I see it is he would clear off and then maybe there would have been a battle between JL and MM. My question is : is this the final straw? Since Jerez he had the momentum. Even the 10 seconds he took from JL in Le Mans were almost an incentive to avoid mistakes and still resolved with a podium finish. But this one?! How many blows can VR still take before he just gives in? I feel robbed of an exciting championship as I think that 37 points are almost insurmountable in this very tight high level season. My profound disappointment notwithstanding, great final laps. Given that I'm "team VR" I cannot root form MM (not yet at least: to forget and forgive is a long process ) but I must say that in close combat he is way above JL. N 99 might say that he has the fight in him.... but yesterday it was very clear who owns the fight.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when you had to close the comments on booing? I posted something about why JL inspires raw dislike....well his comments on post qualification against VR and his press conference where he speaks as if VR had not even raced sum up - once again!- why it's so easy to dislike him.

I think it's Rossi who should apologize to Marquez for his PI accuisations. Yes Marquez messed up his race at Sepang but that was the result of unfair humiliation VR gave him at the Sepang press conference. Maybe Marquez isn't ready to "Forgive and Forget" yet.
Given how JL is always accused of making excuses, "Rossi would've definitely won the race if not for the engine failure" sounds like another excuse to me given the pole was a result of the nice little tow Vinales gave him.

Rossi should apologize to Marquez, because after sabotaging Rossi's races at the end of 2015, Marquez is now trying to beat Lorenzo in 2016? Do I understand correctly that to you this Mugello battle is proof that Rossi was wrong about Marquez last year, in a very different situation?

And about "forgive and forget": For Marquez it's easy to say (and I quote him from earlier this year) "I hope things can be normal again with Rossi", because he succeeded in his aim. And now he wants all to be forgotten. Of course that would be nice for him yes. 

Marquez sabotaged Rossi's championship in the wildest dreams of fanboys. Rossi tried playing mind games and it blew up in his face. Answer this question with regards to valencia. WHY would marquez take all the risks in the world to stay with lorenzo when all he had to do was to stay back, have a nice sunday afternoon ride and lorenzo would still have won regardless of whether pedrosa got in front of him or not? Rossi wasn't a threat, he wasn't even lapping in the same timezone. 

Did we watch the same race? Did we watch the same press conference? It's almost as if people are trying to nitpick and find excuses to hate Lorenzo.

He gave as good as he got. Both riders fought on an equal level. And if his 250cc career isn't enough proof enough, just look at Valencia 2013 to see how brutal Lorenzo can get when he needs to.

As for the press conference, he clearly mentioned Rossi. He said Rossi was faster than he expected and he would have fought till the end. This was right before he addressed the engine issue. He said he (Lorenzo) was lucky to have his blowout in the WUP rather than in the race like Rossi.

I am team VR too. So I was disappointed after this race.

But I am much more excited about this year than I was last year. Even if VR was leading the championship at this point last year, he was not the fastest rider. Now he is, and I think it must feel much better than leading the championship.

Great battle between 99 and 93! Touching at 340 kph was crazy!

Authentic Fanboi drivel - so rare nowadays, with the advent of moderation and certainly inspirational to a whole generation of Rossi fans who weren't even born when he started racing. Some may not have been born when he last won a WC..

There is - you may be amazed to hear - a whole group of people who watch the premier class racing who actually watch it for the racing!  People whose appreciation goes back to Hailwood and Agostini - and even earlier.  Some of thoise - like Albert - are enthusiastic Rossi fans BUT have the capacity to appreciate the wider picture.  They are people who personally know Rossi - and Rossi knows them.  And they have no need to bag out other riders - in fact, their respect for other riders of equal calibre makes a success for Rossi all the sweeter - when he has triumphed over worthy competitors.

And they understand, from long experience, that 'racing is racing'. So does Rossi: 'shit happens'.  Rossi is disappointed that an excellent weekend turned sour - but he has been in the game long enough to understand, that shit happens to other riders as well. He doesn't go back to his motohome after the race and think about slashing his wrists, and I'd pretty damn sure that he would have no respect for fans who think that this is a tectonic-level catastrophe.  In fact, Rossi can be cheered up that next race, his fans will turn out with renewed enthusiasm and buy the T-shirts, the caps and the flags.  Which they will, because Rossi is Rossi and a focal point for enthusiasm for motoGp racing..

Here's a newsflash: Rossi is NOT god. It is NOT pre-ordained that the universe turns on Rossi - in fact, it his ability to remain extremely competitive in a field of superstars, that is admirable. Without decent competition, Rossi's achievements are hollow. Without honourable competition, Rossi's achievements would be as a gladiator slewing a field of rabbits.

The fact that Rossi has not won a WC since 2009, while riding bikes of two of the three manufacturers that HAVE won WC's since 2006, says that the competition is worthy.  In the last 9 completed years of motoGp, Rossi has won 2 WCs, Marquez has won 2 WCs, Stoner has won 2 WC's, Lorenzo has won 3 WCs. All worthy competitors.


Nothing to add to this write up. Except for the question whether racedirection may be worried by the massive risks Marquez takes. Where is the limit of putting other riders in danger. I mean at 340 km/h making contact (losing an elbow slider) and some kamikaze actions. And the second corner of last race where he almost rode Pol off his bike intentially. I enjoy the show, but is het no time for a warning?

I think Lorenzo actually held his hand up for causing the bump at the end of the straight, and while Marquez' moves on Lorenzo at the end of the race were vintage ultra agressive Marquez, i think Lorenzo made more of a kamikaze lunge than Marquez. IMO lorenzo was very lucky not to take both of them out in the last corner


Lorenzo made a mistake changing gears. I don't think any of them are wreckless.

If that was the case, they would have to take measures against any of the Moto3 riders ;)

I'm glad they don't. Overtaking and fighting is what racing is all about.  

He said he accidentally slected 5th while his foot was resting on the lever as they went over the bump. He apologised to MM after the race.

I think all the passes were fair, the last corner was more like 2 riders on different trajectories I think.

Good to see the fighting spirit of both Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

It's a pity that Valentino Rossi had some bad luck. He was being pretty egocentric again by not pulling over his bike. Afterwards it was concluded that the smoke was mostly water and no oil was spilt on the track. But this could have well been very different with a blown-up engine. It was potentially a very dangerous situation and Rossi should have left the track immediately, as any racer knows.

The disappointed crowd in Italy was sour as ever, booing at the Spanish riders. Mat Oxley turned out to be relieved there wasn't any riots at the ceremony. I'm glad there wasn't, but how sad that this should be a concern at GP racing.

Casey Stoner twittered: 'I think Valentino has an opportunity to show great sportsmanship, by asking his fans to stand down and respect his competitors.' I think Casey is right and it was unfortunate that Valentino missed this chance.

Thanks. I stand corrected. I'm glad Rossi did in fact try to moderate the fire (that he himself ignited).

I wish the fans would listen though. The booing is a disgrace. As is the photoshopping. It's counterproductive as well, as Lorenzo only seems to get stronger and more dedicated by it.

On TV on Thursday night. Then some excerpts being played over again on various TV channels and youtube. Then some of the Italian press reporting about it and asking comments in particular to MM.
Sometimes people just see what they want to see.
To be fair he did not say "I the undisputed ruler of the yellow people I ask my subjects to stop the booing" . Rather in a very relaxed but serious tone he said that the fans and the crowd should show respect to ALL riders. And to all human beings for that matter. Then the following day nobody asked him again about it. Instead all the journalists asked him if he would care to comment on the fact that JL had just said that his pole position was like copying homework from your classmate.
I guess by then all appeals for respect had just been flushed down the toilet.

>>Sometimes people just see what they want to see.

What am I supposed to see, you didn't link to anything?  I wonder why.

There are no reports of anything quoting Rossi on any of the mainstream sites, mm included.  Nothing on the motogp.com site.  Even crash.net which usually reports everything is silent except for the article title 'Marquez thanks Rossi over fan appeal'.  Marquez thanks Rossi!  Oh the irony, but not unexpectged from rossi.net, er, crash.net!  Contrast that with Rossi's pre-Sepang interviews with the italian press which started this whole tempest in a teacup that were reported far and wide for days on end.  Since then every utterance on the topic has been published ad naseum.  Everything but Rossi's 'appeal' for respect.  Its just more of the built-in 'Rossi can do no wrong' attitude that makes fans of other riders cringe.

It is exemplified by so many 'fans' leaving the circuit after he fell.  I mean how clear is it that those people are not fans of the sport too?


Use your imagination a little. Why would websites and magazines post a headline saying 'Rossi says people should be respectful of other riders and try to be decent to everyone' when they can type something that enrages people who lurk on the internet and gets them to click it and leave hundreds of obsessive messages? 

These places are all still businesses and website views make money. Hence the term 'click-bait.'

....that because you didn't read it somewhere you deduce it did not happen.
By your logic someone made up VR quotes on respect and then played a prank on MM...
I cannot "show you" because I'm technologically challenged and it would take me ages to copy paste links from the Internet into this post with my smartphone.
My guess as to why you did not see it on many media is simply because it was in Italian (and reported then on many italian newspapers) but probably nobody bothered to translate it. Instead they just used it to get a comment from MM.
When I said people just see what they want to see was a general comment not aimed at you. Relax! What I meant is precisely what you were trying to prove (ironically you have a totally opposite agenda) which is often media relay the information in a biased way.
It's much more "interesting" to talk bout bodyguards and safety in order to feed this image of VR the vilain who controls the hordes.....
Again, people see what they want to see.
I hope "fans of other riders" stop cringing: it's very very bad for the teeth.

>>....that because you didn't read it somewhere you deduce it did not happen.
By your logic someone made up VR quotes on respect and then played a prank on MM...

You obviously didn't get the point of my post which was the media not widely reporting Rossi having to ask his fans to cool it because it does not play to the Rossi is a victim story.

>>I cannot "show you" because I'm technologically challenged and it would take me ages to copy paste links from the Internet into this post with my smartphone.


>>My guess as to why you did not see it on many media is simply because it was in Italian (and reported then on many italian newspapers) but probably nobody bothered to translate it.

Again, Rossi's initial statments were in italian yet everybody bothered to translate and report them worldwide.  And again you are missing the point of my posts, the coverage bias that amplifies anything Rossi says that portrays him positively and muffles anything else.

>>When I said people just see what they want to see was a general comment not aimed at you. Relax!


>>'feed this image of VR the vilain'?

Now I question your grasp on reality.



"And again you are missing the point of my posts, the coverage bias that amplifies anything Rossi says that portrays him positively and muffles anything else"

Sorry I don't understand your post.
See:not only am I technologically challenged I'm also basic English comprehension challenged. :)
But I invite you to Google translate some of LA Gazzetta dello sport articles on VR.
The poor quality of the translation notwithstanding you can easily grasp that the main italian sports newspaper is definitely NOT "team valentino"
So I really don't understand your point. But I get the feeling that you probably have a poster of VR on which you practice darts. :)

Rossi told the Italian press that he wanted the fans to respect every rider. It was not widely reported in the English-speaking press because Rossi said it in Italian, after the English-speaking press had left to go to talk to other riders. The logistics of a race weekend are such that there is simply not enough time to listen to what a rider says in both English and their native language. (It is actually a sign of how healthy the championship is, to have so many competitive riders that we the media need to talk to.)

So, just because you didn't read it in the English press doesn't mean it didn't happen. 

from my posts:

Funny but I didn't see any articles covering Rossi's comments first hand.

There are no reports of anything quoting Rossi on any of the mainstream sites, mm included.

Where did I say it didn't happen?  I didn't.  I said it was not covered.  There is a big difference.

>>It was not widely reported in the English-speaking press because Rossi said it in Italian, after the English-speaking press had left to go to talk to other riders.

Just like Rossi's comments in Italian to the Italian press in a private gathering after the Sepang press conference.  Yet they were translated far and wide.

>>So, just because you didn't read it in the English press doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I'm surprised at your poor understanding of my posts.  Nowhere in my comments did I say he didn't say it.  Everywhere in my comments I say the press did not report it, just as you did not report it.

>>The logistics of a race weekend are such that there is simply not enough time to listen to what a rider says in both English and their native language.

Bullshit.  When it comes to Rossi everyone finds time, unless it happens to undercut his story of being cheated by other riders.


I don't get it, because you appear to be rambling incoherently.

>> When it comes to Rossi everyone finds time, unless it happens to undercut his story of being cheated by other riders.

No they don't. Very few journalists from English-speaking outlets understand Spanish or Italian, and so few stay to listen. Rossi's comments didn't get picked up by the English-speaking press because nobody heard them or understood them. And there was more than enough to be writing about than to go and check through every utterance of Rossi in English and Italian.

Every race weekend, I come away feeling I have utterly failed. I have reported perhaps 5% of what I know, and about 0.5% of what happened. Editors have to make selections, and when we do, we fail our readers. The worst thing is that readers then take only what they read from the press as having happened (understandably) and construct a reality around it. As with all constructed realities, the truth is a billion times more complex and nuanced than fans of the sport perceive. And 100 million times more complex and nuanced than even those of us in the midst of the sport see it.

Frankly, I, and probably some of my colleagues, are growing bored with the entire booing/rider misbehavior story. Fans have decided to boo, and on occasion, act like utter idiots. If they want to behave like utter morons, it's up to them. If they want to invent incidents to fuel their hatred (as the many photoshopped pictures of Lorenzo which are doing the rounds show), then it's up to them. I am sorely tempted just to close comments down altogether for a month or so. I have already started blocking a lot of people on Twitter, far more than I ever have in the past. 

People need to get over themselves. It's only motorcycle racing, a pastime in which people compete to see who can go fastest in a circle on a motorized two-wheeler. In the grand scheme of things, it is utterly insignificant. That does not mean that we can't be deeply and utterly passionate about it. It doesn't mean that we won't make sacrifices to be a part of it (my life would be a lot easier, and I would be a lot more financially comfortable if I did something other than write about motorcycle racing), but it needs to be seen in perspective.

Absolutely brilliant summation on the ever so many things that are involved, in such a short space of words.

Why not "live and let live"?
Getting fed up with all this rider/fan-bashing.
As far as I'm concerned everyone is entitled to be a fan of whatever/whomever he/she likes... is there a rule that you first and foremost have to be a fan of the sport before being fan of an athlete?

Would I react in the same way? F*ck no!
But I don't see myself as a fan of only one rider, but of motorsports in general, and thus of MotoGP/Moto2/WSBK/BSB and some of the riders.

Would I "boo" any rider? I wouldn't!

I just don't see the point of all this negativity. We're all fans in one way or another.

Well, you take the link to gpone provided by DjDiff, combine it with the story of Marquez expressing gratitude for Rossi's remarks, and finally this story from Julian Ryder. I hope you feel that you can triangulate sources now.

It's important to keep in mind the huge difference between what these riders (namely VR JL MM) say in their own mother tongue and when they speak another language. And even that is being "edited" by the editor.... so it's very tricky to really know what they say and what they have in their mind unless you hear it yourself and fully understand italian and Spanish. Besides the endearing expressions they all use ("take profit" for JL, "sincerely" for VR, "must to" for MM) their English is quite basic certainly not good enough to express in full with the right nuances what they really mean. Sometimes it's interesting sometimes is silly some other times right out nasty and cheap. What I'm trying to say is that even the best reporter who quotes them word by word in English will only have half truth compared to what they say in their own language whether good or bad. Let me make clear that I'm not picking on anyone here. This is about all of them.

Their English misses nuances most of the time, translations are bad, journo's love to bend quotes and pull them out of context just to add fuel to the fire.

Which is why I don't understand you 'quote' Lorenzo saying "JL had just said that his pole position was like copying homework from your classmate."

BTW my nickame is not Lo because I am a fan of Lorenzo :) I am not a fan of any particular rider.

Even after he exited the sport (because of the media requirements), Casey always had to have at least a little bit of a dig at Valentino, while Valentino either doesn't talk about Casey, or says fairly neutral things.

This is a part of the reason why I loved Casey as a rider, but never cared much for Casey in terms of personality.

Yes these two have history, and yes Burgess and Valentino went into the Ducati garage with such enormous hubris that a lot of people sighed, but remember, Valentino repeatedly admitted that he was bested by Ducati, and that he knew from the getgo (first test) that this would not be easy, if even possible.

Even then Casey just coulnd't miss an opportunity to have a go at Valentino in the press.

The first few times for me were a form of just desert, the "ambition/talent" comment was brilliant and witty, but man did it get old quite soon.

Wish I could see more of him on the track, and less in the media giving snide comments.

And also, as someone mentioned, Valentino asked the fans to play nice...

Thankyou David for such an informative and balanced article: Bang on with your insight.

Despite a cracking last lap battle which I had cheered MM on for the sake of the championship, I was so gutted for VR. Normally if he is unsuccessful it's because he isn't fast enough, or crashes, and I take it in my stride. This time, watching him improve over the weekend, make no mistakes, take a thrilling pole, then watching him biding his time in the race, sizing up his best opportunity to get past a slower JL - and it was inevitable - seeing his engine expire was so cruel.

So thanks getting for getting to the facts and setting out why VR followers felt he was cruelly robbed.

Gutted for Rossi.  

And dissappointment for Marq.  Did all the risk and lost the reward due to acceleration problems.   

Lorenzo did well to respond in the fight but that last corner lunge was bad.  He was lucky Rossi that his two rivals suffered problems.  Three of you count Iannone's clutch issue

From my view he backed out of the overtake and got an early drive instead. There was no last corner overtake as MM had the racing line, they were going to hit and JL backed out of it as the door closed. 

Isn't every rider who wins "lucky" his rivals have problems? 

JL had the inside line... so had he (dared to) pushed through he had every right so, but I think he had MM's style in mind and was smart enough to back out and take a wide line for extra corner speed & drive. I had thought JL would win the drag to the line by a bigger margin.

And that is exactly why I didn't really like JL's attitude last year... attributing VR's championship position due to "bad luck" on his part or "luck" on VR's. Luck may play some part, but it's not that he had a Spies-like season :)

I think Valentino has an opportunity to show great sportsmanship, by asking his fans to stand down and respect his competitors.' I think Casey is right and it was unfortunate that Valentino missed this chance.

VR did just that and even mm thank VR for that.

On the other hand i think CS shouldnt talk or Twitter over things he left the sport for.... "media"

I truly believe MM deserved that one. He did an incredible race and Lorenzo was really far when he exited this last corner. 

I'm not a Marquez fan and I found him a bit annoying last year in a few instances where he seemed a bit childish or arrogant and you could tell that he had difficulties understanding that he could not always win all the races as he did in 14. However, he seems to have matured a lot this season and unlike Jorge Lorenzo, he's really shown a very good attitude (for a textbook example, see his reply about the fact that Dorna hired bodygards for him in the pre-event press conference and compare it with Lorenzo's) + Given the piece of junk he's riding, his results really need to be acknowledged.

Also the post-race conference really made me understand that Lorenzo is mortorcycle racer and nothing else. His comments about the battles where he basically said : "if you can win without a battle, why bother?" show that, unlike MM or VR, he has no understanding of how to create value fpr his sport and how little he cares about his fans or motogp's.

He should ask himself whether the would pay to watch a football team that would consistently score 2 goals in the first 5 minutes of each game before playing super defensively for the remainder of the games and then say ("when you're up by two goals, why bother attacking?")

I think it was Jim Redman who said 'Always try to win a race at the slowest possible speed'?

Much as motorcycle racing is a show, it can be a very dangerous one. Championships can be lost by engaging in pointless battles...pardon the pun. :)


There is no rider who would be leading a race and then slow down to let his competitors catch up with him in order to make a good show.

Having said that, I remember seeing Angel Nieto doing just that in the 125 class in the early eighties. He was just like a director, looking back, giving directions to other riders, urging them to take the lead or stay close behind him, only to escape two laps before the finish and win the race. But those were different days. Angel Nieto's bike and capabilities were so much better than the rest that he could afford to do this smiley


... it's not done for the show.

You win the race at the slowest speed possible to reduce stress on the engine, the tyres and perhaps, if you can maintain concentration, yourself.

If you're pushing at 100%, things are more likely to break.  No one cares if you had a 30 second lead if the motor throws a rod or drops a valve and you DNF at 1 lap to go...

Seems like the Michelins were ok for this round, AI had fastest lap of the race on last lap, lap 23, 1'47.687 and DP fastest lap, also on the last lap, 1'47.734, 0.047 slower than AI

Also these 2 gained just under 2 seconds on JL and MM on the last lap due to the 2 front guys cutting each other up!

David, has there been any talk around the tire pressure sensors? I believe Mugello was going to be the first time these were mandatory, just curious if they fould something intersting or not... 

To say the race was ruined was by the blown engine was an understatement, that it might have a major effect on the championship was even sadder. It's one thing if the rider crashes, but to be on a pace to have an excellent chance to win the race, only to see it literally go up in smoke must be devastating.

The booing was inevitable and as I said before Valencia last year, will continue to happen (perhaps not so vociferously as at Mugello) through the season and beyond.

Even if Rossi wanted it to stop (and I doubt he'll ever forgive "the Spanish two"), there is no way the fans will forgive or forget. Lorenzo and Marquez will be (relatively) unpopular for the rest of their careers, The amount of bile and hatred I hear when I talk to other bikers here in the UK is amazing - and these aren't casual fans, these are people who have been following the sport for decades. Marquez tries to tow the PR line a little, but Lorenzo seems to relish being as clumsy with his mouth as he is smooth with his bike. He must know that it makes the situation worse, so I've determined that he doesn't care or actively enjoys it.

I was surprised at Stoner's comments, you would have think that he would have learnt by now that criticising Rossi is highly unlikely to help the situation - or next year's teammate.

For me, the race was a heartbreak.

I never cheared much for Valentino when he was the main protagonist, I watched with some interest during the Ducati years, but not much, wrote him off in 2013, was a bit surprised in 2014 but still never thought he had a chance of being a champion or a constant challenger at the front, but was amazed at the tenacity, skill and the way this "old man" acted as if he had the heart of a twenty year old. 

Then, when he was well and truly the alien underdog, I started cheering for him.

At the end of 2015 I thought that this was his last shot, but no, in 2016 he is truly fast. 
He's fast in the dry at tracks which have been known to be dominated by others, such as "Lorenzo's land". So the "old man" is a box of surprises, but I'm afraid 37 points may be too big of a setback. I do hope he proves me a fool once more.

Back to Mugello: 

His body position, the way he the helmed was drooping, it was hearbreaking.
Never seen the man so dissapointed, not even at the end of Valencia 2015. 


... outcome for the race with Rossi's retirement. But even for the short amount of time his terminal M1 allowed him to take part in the race, it's frankly unbelievable that Rossi looks substantially more threatening to his rivals compared to last year. In 2015 I thought, "Wow, Rossi is just a tick slower than his top rivals, but he's using all of his wiles to make the difference when circumstances allow it.". That's it, that's all he's got left in the tank, just enough to mount title challenge, it's all downhill from here...

Fast-forward to 2016 and Rossi often looks outright faster than anyone on the track in many cases, including setting the fastest lap of the race in Le Mans and pole here in Mugello. Rossi has managed to reinvent himself again and again, yet this season is truly mind-boggling.

Roll on Catalunya...


It's true. This is also the positive outcome of the off-track fights. Financial interests aside, it's now a personal thing, a matter of honour for the hot blooded Italians and Spaniards that they are, and I think never ever before did the top riders work this hard for wins and titles. You can also see it looking at their physical appearance, these guys are as fit as any Olympic champion. Look at his face, there is not a gram of excess fat on Rossi's body. I think at 37 he is fitter than ever before. Hat's off top him. And the rest of them.  

Considering that they had time to change the engine on Lorenzo's M1. Why didn't they do the same on Vale's M1. Whose call was it? 

I am so disappointed, ( just cant put in words how much ) about vale's engine blowout. He could have won, I bet. Jorge never got the setup right. I am not taking the credit away from him. He won a well fought race. But, considering the pace Vale had all weekend, he would have won for sure.

Like Vale said, this DNF means 25 points lost to the leader. what an ffffing pity. No wonder he didnt come to the podium to greet the fans. 

How fitting would it be when he wins in Barcelona, like he did in Jerez :)

Doing an engine swap at short notice would have been a risk - risk of overlooked bolts, sensors, etc. and no guarantee that the problem would have happened in any case, and no guarantee that the new engine they swapped in was actually OK anyway.

Hindsight is always 20/20.


Great race but I must say that at one point I was baffling between rooting for JL or MM.. Not a fan of MM but wanted this year's championship race to stay close and JL winning meant putting more points between him and VR. Sad that VR's enginge decided to die (like all the chainsaws that find a similar fate at Mugello) because I also thought that we would've been in for a 3 way battle that would've/could've been exciting. 

Now call me crazy but in regards to MM contract negotiations with HRC, is it possible that he's trying to delay the signing for as much as he can to see if the RCV actually improves or if they are able to tame it down? Could MM be in talks with Suzuki and jump ship if HRC doesn't get their act together?

I only say this because all of this time Aleix has never been even considered a contender for the second seat, we knew from the beggining that JL was off to Ducati and that MM would never go to Yamaha...

Again, call me crazy but can't find a good reason as to why MM hasn't signed a contract after 6 races. 

I can't say what motivates him, but how interesting that Casey retired from the sport because he disapproved of the medea circus, yet he's perfectly willing to pile on via twitter.

I think there's a bit of a difference between enjoying the racing as a fan and sharing an opinion, and having to meet sponsor and media commitments for 75% of each day as a MotoGP racer.

My guess as to why MM hasn't signed a contract yet is that he and Honda are arguing over price, or "negotiating terms", to put it more politely smiley. Since there is no other rider who can really replace Marquez at Honda and no other team that Marquez can realistically go to this should make for an interesting exercise in Game Theory!

They're arguing over how much say MM will have in the direction development goes in. He wants his crew (people he brought to Honda) to have more of a say after the bikes Honda has given him this year and last.


"The other manufacturers could point to the Tech 3 Yamahas of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, which did not suffer the same problem, as their engines are forced to use a lower rev limit, a measure imposed by Yamaha to ensure the reliability of Tech 3's M1 bikes."

Do they (Tech 3) use the same engine spec as the factory team or are they using last year's model (with new electronics)? They used to lag one year behind the factory team in parts, more or less.

Well no, to get the right perspective we need to mention that the Honda has been the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world's largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year. So, Honda is very, very powerful.
Regarding World Grand Prix (or now MotoGP), Honda has the most wins and titles in all classes (in most of the classes they are number one), other manufacturers would have a chance to catch or surpass Honda only if Honda leaves the series for a couple of years. Honda has the biggest budget in MotoGP and their partnership with Repsol is legendary, because it is the team with the most wins and championships.
We all know it is a matter of time until Honda fix the bike. For Marc to go to Suzuki or anywhere else is a step back in his career. He is allready with the best! He may go to Yamaha or Ducati in a couple of years just two try to take the title with another manufacturer, but we will see. Mick Doohan had offers from Yamaha in his days, but he always knew Honda will pay him as much as he asked, so...

David - thanks for citing how Michelin performed overall for this race.  I'd actually been thinking while reading your article "...not one mention of tires in all press coverage yet...wow!".  

I had a feeling we were going to see Michelin repeat their achievement in Qatar, in regard to overall race time.  With so many riders/manufactures so fast throughout the weekend, it just seemed it was going to happen.  

Lastly, and I'll probably repeat this numerous times the more I post here, but I'm a "new guy" to this sport.  I've only been wrapped up (obsessed?) in it for the last 4 years, so I've got a lot to learn before my opinions will hold much weight.  Additionally, I don't have a rider favorite - I enjoy all of the plots and sub-plots unfolding each race weekend, and have various reasons for wanting to see several riders do well.  All that being said, while my opinions may not be taken seriously, I am unbiased and with a fresh(er) perspective, and I sincerely believe the right rider won the race at Mugello.  He rode in a manner deserving of victory and it was anything but handed to him.  I'd likely say the same if it had been MM, which is why this race was completely fantastic, and not at all ruined just because another rider's engine blew.

But is there a chance all of Rossi's practice starts in FP1 put too much stress on the engine? Just a thought. That was A LOT of practice starts.

Seem to more than a few confused people here re Stoner and 'the media'.

Read his book.

We're not talking Twitter here, we're talking the press.  You only have to look at the antics of the Italian press last year in regard to Marquez.

To connect a Twitter comment to "the media", when they clearly mean two different things, is to attempt to conflate both to try to add weight to a piss-poor argument. 

I saw a great race.

Despite lots of comments here, I saw two great champions fighting for victory and the battle was great.

I saw the Marquez I loved and the Lorenzo I respect, winning a deserved race ... beautiful line/braking at San Donato, beautiful ! It's always a place with some "improvisation" for all riders, but not for Lorenzo, always the same, always the perfect line.

Rossi could have won ... yeah but we'll never know, that's racing. But for sure, the old guy is faster than last year, he may be in the role of the shark this year, we'll see. What can be said about so much talent, after all these years ... in fact nothing, except keep fighting my friend, it trully inspires my real life (I know it could sound stupid but it's true).

This is golden age for Motogp, golden age... 3 riders so different, so talented, so strong. I can't see any sport which can compete with that...

So move on guys, shit happens and happened last year, too much talk about "silly season"  for this year ... this year can also be legendary ON THE DAMN TRACK.

The old man is faster than ever, the Honda is week but Marquez is there ... and Lorenzo is Lorenzo. It's like a beautiful movie, and I think it's rare.

.. and thank you. We're fortunate enough to be witnessing a point in MotoGP history when any one of 3 or 4, or even 5 or 6 or just maybe 7 riders could win on one of the 4 major manufacturers, we're fortunate enough to be witnessing 3 of the potentially greatest riders in road racing at (or for one, resurrecting) their prime.
This fascination for riders perceived personalities and motivations are unseemly, purely fanboy speculation and so beside the point as to be distracting from what should be viewed as what you accurately labeled a golden age of MotoGP.
It's fine to root for someone, I root for Rossi because I've been a racing fan since the 500 days and I'm a fellow OG (old guy). But I have nothing but admiration and awe for the talents of any and all of the riders we watch. Do I think Rossi and Marquez are arrogant and Lorenzo is frightfully insecure? Yup. But 1) I don't know, 2) I don't care and 3) they're not running for Mother of the Year.
Sweet crack on a christer, there are people who are still actively and vehemently hating on Pedrosa for taking out Hayden ten frigging years ago. And Hayden still won the title!


The right man won on the day.  It was a fantastic battle...... the nudge at the end of the straight.... eff me that would be terrifying!! Many may not like Lorenzo, but you have to whole heartedly respect him for his riding.  He can bang when he wants to but he is always respectful in his overtakes.  If it were Marquez or Rossi behind Lorenzo at the last corner they would have jammed it up the inside and bumped him wide.  Lorenzo could have done that too but he didn't. A fair win!

Not sure if I missed something but was I the only one that didn't read anything into stoners Tweets on rossi?
To me he just pointed out an opportunity rossi had this weekend, he didn't criticise him at all or say anything more on the matter.

Last laps Marquez - Lorenzo battle


It COULD have been a 3 or 4 way with Rossi and Iannone and I am looking fwd to more opportunities for such deliciousness.

Lorenzo and his team found something good Sat eve. Marquez...wow! Watch him spin up on the drive and lose out on the first half of the straight. Then rocket forward to reel him in for the 2nd half...only to overcook the corner. Exemplifies the current era.

I never saw the pace of those last several laps other than that the fastest lap was AI29's. And Rossi looked to have a couple tenths in waiting.

It is very surprising that two Yamaha engines gave up the ghost on the same day. It is difficult to recall when a rider had to get off the track because of the engine giving up. So I am actually quite stunned. But good to see bad boy Iannone coming from 11th place to get onto the podium. I do believe that whatever be Dovizioso's capabilities he does not have that killer instinct when it is needed most. However, the biggest loss was Rossi, his engine blowing up has meant that many motor mouths like me don't have anything to say about Lorenzo or Rossi depending on the outcome of the race. Pity.

I beg to differ on Dovizioso. I think he has quite a lot of killer instinct and he proved that many times. Just remember his ferocious battles with Crutchlow in their Tech3 days. He had a lot of bad luck so far this season (much, MUCH more than Valentino), but I'm sure he will be fighting for the podium later on.

... mugello is very high speed and sustained speed at that.  would not surprise me if maybe Yamaha were pushing the limits of RPM vs. durability a little further in order to keep pace a little better (still 20-30km/h down on ducati) on the straight.

The Yamaha has never been a straight line weapon, and the Ducati is very very fast.  Whilst total lap time is important, being blown into the weeds on the straight, or simply not being able to keep pace or gain ground in the slipstream is a recipe for disaster as far as gaining track position goes.  Doesn't matter (or rather, it matters, but its doesn't make things easy) how fast you can get around the corners if there's a ducati in the way.

I'd be willing to bet that the wick was turned up a little bit for this race, and possibly, just that little bit too far.

Drawing a long bow here but is it possible that Yamaha looked at the extra couple of engines in the allocation this year and said - we easily managed last year with 5, lets take a punt and turn up the wick?  Might explain a bit of the performance discrepancy with HRC this year.
Also, just to further previous comments about the rear wheel lifting and over-revving the engine over the rise on the Mugello straight.  Not confusing this with the rear wheel lifting under braking but I don't recall seeing this previously - certainly not to this extent (could be wrong!).  Perhaps an unintended consequence of the large front winglets causing a downward pitching moment when coming over the rise, lifting the rear and thereby further stressing an already stressed engine?


Mugello battle was epic. I believe it's going to be 3 way battle as marquez slowly inches toward the battling yamahas. As rossi retired, it's become showdown between the remaining two riders. Still it's fantastic battle between them. Flashback to valencia 2015, barring the heated honda tires, makes me wonder why marquez ride like this?..

On a different note, why did Aleix not opt for his #2 bike for the race after the warm up crash? 

All mechanical components are designed with a 'factor of safety' which means that they can safely tolerate unintended stress for short periods of time. There's no evidence to suggest that Yamaha's M1 engine is any different to the RC213V or Desmocedici in this repect, so the 'wheels off the ground over-rev' theory holds little water.

Similarly, the 'down-shift over-rev' theory would appear to be baseless. Given that Lorenzo hit a bump at full speed and accidentally back shifted to fifth gear causing Marquez to collide with him, one may of expected San Donata corner to be littered with the contents M1 internals. But thanks to a rev-limiter and slipper clutch, the damage was restricted to a velcro attached elbow slider and the engine remained completely intact.

The engine can not spin up by momentum, it can only persist in a certain speed or rpm through momentum. Acceleration will stop when there's no combustion to drive the engine higher up.

It's not like acceleration will continue for a while even without power (giving force), just because you were accelerating.

When the bike goes over the hump on the long straight, it would have a great burst of acceleration the instant the rear tire left the ground and before the ECU cut power. Then it would continue to spin without friction from the ground.

Another way to think of it: imagine your bike is in neutral. If you rev it to the moon, the electronics cut power. Now imagine the bike is on a stand with the rear wheel spinning freely in mid air. Even if the electonics cut power, that relatively heavy wheel is going to keep spinning the engine at dangerous RPM.


No, I'm not calling you a jerk, I'm saying that there are higher orders of displacement than acceleration.  Acceleration (m/s^-2) is the rate of change of speed (m/s), jerk (m/s^-3) is the rate of change of acceleration.  When you're dealing with mechanical systems; particularly ones as crude as squirting organic compounds into a tube of fast flowing air, letting it travel down to a compression chamber, then igniting it; you will probably need to factor in higher orders than simple acceleration.

Factlet: the higher orders after jerk are 'jounce/snap', 'crackle', 'pop', 'stop', 'drop', and 'roll'.

As many others have stated, I was gutted to see Rossi have to retire with the blown engine.  That was hard to watch for a guy that is becoming the comeback kid.  However, there were some great developments here:

- Rossi is achieving results this year not just through being wily and prepared, but through being outright fast.  There's 12 races to go and lots could happen.  He's shown he can win with outright speed.  We have a lot to look forward to in terms of a hard-fought championship.

- I have no love for JL or MM, but come on, you have to take your hat off to them for this last lap battle!  Classic, classic racing.  Brave, daring, on the knife edge, hard but fair passes, it was honestly brilliant.  Credit where credit was due, they turned a race that had become pretty dull into something really exciting.  How can you not love that?  What a scrap!

- No crap with the tires.  Michelin has been working hard and it really shows.  

- Ianonne salvaged an awful start to claim third.  Very impressive stuff and must have been nice for the Italian fans to have him on the rostrum.

One thing not mentioned, is the status of the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS team. They can´t continue like this, with Rabat struggling and Miller not scoring better. Not with the crippling Honda fees, and an almost non-existing ROI of their MotoGP investment. I wonder what will happen, at the end of the day its up to HRC, I guess. 

I agree. Either Miller should have been brought up through the ranks like a few others, or: Maybe he ain't all that. I never saw the alien-baby talent that everyone was seeing, same with MM's little bro BTW. 

Please, I'm not saying they're not among the most talented riders in the world- they are. But I don't see big grey eyes and space suits. Miller and Rabat might be sweating a bit.

I'm happy to be proved wrong in the next few years; I love underdogs.

What Miller was doing in moto3 was pretty impressive in my opinion.  Being able to control a race staying near the front AND concentrating on keeping his rival towards the back of the pack so that he might be able to score the required points to win the title - that was some 2005 era Rossi calculating if you ask me.

Since he's come up to motogp he hasn't done so well.  I think he has the talent, but he didn't take it seriously enough in the first year, gaining weight and not training hard enough.  Since then he has tried harder, but still doesn't seem to have the discipline to quite make it.  The injuries lead to poor results, the poor results lead to pressure, the pressure leads to erratic riding and crashes - which lead to injuries.

I suspect that he didn't or still doesn't have the right people around to manage him.  Just looking at his social media feeds makes me suspect this (and maybe a bit of bias about the type of people who come from his home town).

I'm stoked vr went out. Sure heart break n all that but I think he would have got the better of Jorge in the end and won comfortably. His bike breaking down was just the thing to give fans of the sport a thrilling last lap battle.

It's always disappointing to see a rider retire through technical failure, and it's strange for two Yamaha's to suffer the same fate i.e. white smoke engine expiry. There are many theories as to the cause of the engine failures, but it's all guesswork so here's my mine.

The last time an M1 expired in a billowing cloud of white smoke was at Indy in 2012. On that occasion, the unfortunate rider was Ben Spies who was in second place at the time when his engine suddenly 'let-go' along the main straight on lap 6.

Spies had been leading and hadn't spent much time in the slip-stream of the race leader, Dani Pedrosa. Neither had he lifted his wheels over a bump. His factory engine was still fresh but it expired all the same.

Why? It's a few years ago now, but I seem to remember a report from a respected technical person (Neil Spalding) who later said that Spies' M1 had burnt a valve and that Yamaha had later cured the problem by 'flowing more fuel over the valve' to help 'cool it'. In short, he suggested that Yamaha had run with a lean mixture setting in search of ultimate power. Too lean.

Given Yamaha's top-speed deficit at any circuit with a long straight like Mugello (or Indy), this seems like the most plausible explanation for both engine failures.       

David, I know you wrote about it but maybe since Sunday you have more news: I'm still puzzled about VR not switching to an entirely new engine. I heard Galbusera on the radio saying that they could not take the chance of using a totally new engine as it's too risky. But then that's precisely what JL did. So first question : how risky is it?
Do you know whether JL had already used engine #4? So that he could "safely" race with it? I understand VR engine was "fresher" less mileage so they assumed that the broken engine was due to wear? They did not think that it could have been some faulty parts?
Thank you!

Firstly, to news on the engine: it is unlikely that we will hear anything new about the engine until Barcelona. Even then, I expect to hear nothing but vague platitudes.

Now, as to why Rossi didn't use a new engine. Someone posted a wonderful graph on Twitter showing the risk of failure of a new engine. That looked a bit like a cross between a U and Nike swoosh. Risk of failure starts relatively high, as minor inconsistencies in assembly which may not have been discovered mean there is a possibility of failure. The risk then drops to a relatively low plateau, before climbing again as the engine ages, and parts start to wear.

The engines used by both Rossi and Lorenzo were right in that low risk part of the curve, so statistically, Rossi's engine was less likely to fail than if he had taken a new engine. However, all statistics are averages, and averages are based on real results, and real results contain a lot of instances which were outliers. Rossi's engine blowing up was an outlier.

Lorenzo had no choice but to take a 4th engine, as his 3rd engine had blown, and his #1 and #2 engines had a LOT of miles on them. Rossi had a tougher choice to make: risk using a new engine which had statistically more chance of going pop, or stick with his current engine, which was statistically safer, unless there was some kind of design or set up flaw.

Paddock gossip has it that Yamaha added a few more revs to be able to hold off the Ducatis at Mugello along the straight. That is most likely why it ended up going bang. Possibly, under those conditions, even a brand new engine would have gone bang, and he would have lost a brand new engine, instead of one with half normal mileage. 

It will be very interesting to see the useage pattern of the new engine Lorenzo used for the race.  If the higher rev ceiling rumour is true, then his new engine might also have taken loads that might shorten it's lifetime.  I'll be curious to see whether they use that engine in a race again, I'd suspect they might try to use it as much as possible in Friday and Saturday.  Is this information publically available anywhere?

But what an absorbing race weekend, utterly brilliant.  A superb track great weather, some twists and turns in the plot, and exciting finishes in all three classes.  There's plenty more to come for the season and I for one have written nobody off, especially not Rossi.  Lorenzo has yet to get through his mid-season bogey tracks - especially Assen and Sachsenring.  If he can get through those without ceding too many points then he's looking much stronger, but all these guys are but one little slip up away from losing 25 or 50 points - as we saw on the weekend.  With the silly season finally all but out of the way (unless Marquez goes to Suzuki, wouldn't that be great!) we can finally get on with enjoying 2016!

Doesn't MotopGP run with restricted engine rpm limits?

Are you suggesting that Yamaha didn't extract the maximum from super fast circuits with long straights like Qatar, Argentina and Austin?

Paddock gossip aside, the above mentioned races occurred earlier on in the season and were tackled with fresh engines operating at maximum power - but Muggello is/was Round 6. 

To me, it seems as if Yamaha are once again dancing on the edge - like in 2012.

There is not a fixed rev limit in MotoGP, instead, there is a maximum cylinder bore of 81mm. That is meant to act as a rev limit, but it merely sparks ingenuity among the teams, with both Honda and Ducati far exceeding what most people believed were the physical limits of materials.

And yes, at Qatar and Austin, with long straights, Yamaha did not take the risks with their engines which they did at Mugello. They did not need to, as they did not fear the Ducatis as much.

I understand there may not be a mandated rev limit but each manufacturer will have their rev limiter set at the rpm level they deem safe for their engines.

Btw white smoke usually points toward head gasket or other cooling failure versus an actual mechanical problem.

Those few extra rpm it makes when the engine runs into the rev limit will not break the engine and as said in that article quoted by a previous comment the number of extra rpm and duration of when that happens are negliable.

Btw an engine doesn't produce more horsepower by running a higher maximum rpm, maximum power usually comes out of the engine before hitting red line.

Since horsepower is torque multiplied by RPM, we need to know the torque dropoff to know if the increased rpm gives more HP or not. Also, we need to know the difference in HP between the increased rpm limit an where on the HP curve we land after a gear change.

So, let's say we have an engine that gives 100HP at current peak RPM, and when changing to the next gear it drops to 80HP on the curve. Let's then say that we increase by 500RPM and land at 90HP at peak RPM, but also at 90HP after gear change. The advantage would then be that the acceleration after gear change would be slightly greater while also reducing the need to shift gear (able to run same gear for longer time), while the disadvantage is the obvious power dropoff. The questions then is if the advantage is greater than the disadvantage.

Please correct me if I'm wrong in my assessment.

Like I said, maximum rpm does not equal maximum horsepower.

Your engine characteristic is determined by porting, piston size, stroke, cam timing, valve size etc.

running at higher rpm does not change amount of horsepower it makes it just makes you able to use it in a slightly different way.

things like ignition timing can have a drastic effect on the heat an engine produces.

say for example if they advanced the ignition timing the engine would start to run at a higher temperature with possible negative outcome.