Valencia MotoGP Test Wednesday Round Up: Judging Success on Limited Data

The point of the post-season test at Valencia is to give the new parts the racing departments have cooked up based on the data collected during the year their first run out. The hope is that the new parts – engines, chassis, electronic packages, etc – will provide improvements, make the bikes faster, and help drop the lap times even further.

There was plenty of good news for the MotoGP factories from the two days of testing at Valencia. Their work has been successful, judging by the initial results at the test. The new engines which have been brought are all quicker, the chassis which have been tested are all an improvement.

The bad news is that all of this applies to just about every manufacturer in MotoGP. Yamaha, Honda, Ducati, Suzuki, KTM, even Aprilia, they have all made steps forward. The trouble is, that if everyone makes a step forward, they all end up still left in the same place.

So who comes out of the Valencia test ahead? It is still way too early to tell. At Valencia, the factories bring their new concepts, in a fairly raw format. Engines need adapting to electronics, chassis need adapting to engines, the setups the factories start the test with are based on data from last year's bikes, and still need tweaking to refine.

The real work start at Jerez, a more complete circuit with a greater variety of corners. And the five days between Valencia and Jerez give the engineers a chance to find a better setup based on feedback from the new parts. At Valencia, the teams are figuring out whether things work. At Jerez, they start working on how to get the most out of the stuff which works.

Hope grows in the breast of man

That explains why on Wednesday, we spoke to a string of optimistic riders. More optimistic than in past years, because the factories have brought more updates which appear to have produced bigger improvements. It feels like everyone has made quite a lot of progress. But precisely because everyone has made a lot of progress, it is hard to judge just where everyone stands.

Yamaha have brought more and bigger steps than they have in recent years, with a new chassis and a new engine, aimed at improving top speed and tire life. Smarter minds than I believe the engine has a revised firing order, aimed at being more gentle with the tire, the engine sounding a little more aggressive than the 2019 M1.

That the new engine is chasing power is obvious from a glance at the new air intake. The taller intake appears to open into a larger airbox, or at least that was the impression I got from trying to peer into the intake while in pit lane today. The new shape should create smoother air and increase pressure, helping to feed the engine.

Running to stand still

The speed boost helped, but was not enough, both Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi said – only the factory Yamahas tested the new engine and chassis, the Petronas Yamaha riders likely to have to wait until Sepang to get their hands on the new bike. "For sure we need a little bit more power," Viñales said. "A little bit more has arrived, but it’s not enough, our competitors are still far away so we need to keep working on that area and try to not lose on the others."

On Wednesday, Viñales had tried to follow other bikes down the front straight, to see if he could stay in their slipstream. The fact that the new engine can be revved out higher made sitting in the draft of another rider easier, he said. "There is still 8km difference," he said. "I took many slipstream trying to understand if it was better or not. In the slipstream I felt much better because the engine keeps running, not like last year, so for that I’m quite happy. Yamaha works well, but now we are trying to recover all the information to improve for the next test."

Valentino Rossi was marginally more positive. "For me we move in a good direction, but still the gap is big," the Italian said. But more top speed was not the only objective. "For the engine, they tried to make something more easy to ride to save the tire and it's a bit better. Not so bad. It's true also that we have new tires, also for me the new tires are better. More constant. So this is a positive. Also the chassis is a bit different, something better, something worse. So you feel something, now we have to work."

To read the remaining 1879 words of this article, you need to sign up to become a site supporter by taking out a subscription. You can find out more about subscribing to here.

This is part of a regular series of unique insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for site supporters. The series includes interviews, background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion. Though most content on remains free to read, a select amount of uniquely interesting content will be made available solely to those who have supported the website financially by taking out a subscription.

The aim is to provide additional value for our growing band of site supporters, providing extra original and exclusive content. If you would like to read more of our exclusive content and help to grow and improve, you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here.


Back to top


Just curious,

now that is clear that Petronas have won the independent team. What Herve Poncharal and Dato' Razlan Razali bet in the beginning of season last year.

Too early to draw anything from anything.  Look at Marquez's position.  That tells you all you need to know.  Some riders look at the long game, some the short.  It's funny to watch people try to judge or come to any conclusions when the bikes are rolling labs, with constant part evaluation going on.  Engines, chassis, new this than and the other.  The riders themselves not 100% on everything they have tested one way or the other.  At least at Jerez we will be able to see the chassis evaluation better.  But, probably not going to be the chassis they race in Qatar.  ;)

Dispelling an Ugly Rumor

It has been reported that Andrea Iannone tried to stop the corner worker who was attempting to extinguish his flaming Aprilia, screaming "Let it Burn...Let it Burn!!" as he blocked the worker's approach. This is of course not true. While Andrea can certainly converse in English he, like all of us, will revert to his native tongue when faced with that amount of stress. What he actually shouted was "Lascialo Bruciare...Lascialo Bruciare!!". Glad we could clear that up.

Bendy is as Bendy Does

When describing a frame element or member, it can be confusing as to whether we are referring to it's shape (usually in section), or how the loads are applied for analysis. A frame element of rectangular or oval cross section may be loaded in tension or compression as a strut, in torsion as a tube, or in bending as a beam. And to make life more interesting, we are almost always dealing with a combination of loads (i.e., bending and torsion) because motorcycles rarely impose a single load when analyzed dynamically (though one of these loads may be the principle factor in our analysis, with the others having a secondary or tertiary influence). So the new structural element in the KTM frame will see tension loads in braking, compression loads in acceleration, and combined bending and torsional loads when cornering (acting as an element in a torque box, for lack of a better term, when joined to the other structural elements to make the complete frame assembly).

We want to understand how the entire system behaves, but to do so we will often analyze this as an assembly of elements (after applying the appropriate values for interface conditions and node types). And if we are a bit sloppy with interface conditions and nodes we will get things very wrong...even if we are spot-on about the individual frame members. As an example of how important an interface or node can be to chassis performance; where the factories decide to place the front engine mount on a MotoGP motor may have a greater effect on how the engine mass oscillates (with respect to the front and rear contact patches) than the details of the structural elements connected to them. And the oscillation of that very significant engine mass is a critical factor in defining traction limits. Honda and Yamaha (to name two) spent a lot of time determining the parameters for an optimum location, and do not appear to have made any significant design changes in over a decade.

The point of all this is not to be a scold, but rather to embrace what differentiates us from ignorant beasts, which is our ability to communicate complex subjects efficiently. There will always be a degree of divergence between the textbook definition and the common usage. And while I am certainly aware of the textbook definitions, and have used them exclusively in the creation or editing of international engineering standards, they are not the hill I will choose to die on. Because I have spent even more of my life training engineers or sorting out issues in production. As a result I have come to believe that what matters most is whether we can convey our intended meaning to others, and understand theirs in return. So if the common term is better understood than the arcane alternative, even if the latter is arguably the textbook definition, I am comfortable with the former. As long as a term is correctly understood...and subject to a single interpretation...fine, use it. If it is not both of those things, we may have wandered over the line dividing common use from sloppy use.  

What are they all trying to do?

First, a disclaimer: If you want to skip all this, knock yourself out. Spend your time reading what Neil Spalding, Mat Oxley, Kevin Cameron, and a few others have written on this subject and you will not be cheated. They know more than I do about this, and they express themselves better. I will not feel slighted in the least.

For those pilgrims who remain: We all hear a lot about how a MotoGP frame should be as stiff or as flexible as-required to support the race bike's functional requirements. For braking we want very little vertical flex to ensure stability, for turn-in we want good torsional stiffness for roll response, but for edge grip we need more flexibility side-to-side than we would ever allow for braking or turn-in requirements. And if we don't get our sums right we will not prosper. But what we should be looking at first is not how a frame structure behaves, but how the tire contact patches do. Because, as always, tires are the key to everything. The contact patches of Michelin's MotoGP tires could care less about about the cross sectional shape of a structural member, or how that member is attached to the rest of them, or whether a magnet will stick to our finished product or not. What they do care about is whether loads build and recede smoothly...and that those loads do not oscillate excessively while doing so. Nothing will kill tire performance at the MotoGP level more than loads that oscillate from peak to valley and back again. When the motorcycle is straight up and down the suspension units and basic front and rear suspension geometries do an admirable job of controlling contact patch load stability. So the manufacturer's racing organizations have instead focused on what happens when elbow meets tarmac...and those admirable controls (when upright) fly right out the window (because everything is now tilted the wrong way to properly function). Adding a bit of lateral flex to the chassis has been the go-to solution to enhance edge-grip for decades, so why isn't this all sorted by now? Maybe because riding styles have evolved to take advantage of tire improvements, and none of the previous solutions will make the different frame characteristics behave themselves and play in their own yard anymore.

And we can start with this: Maximum braking no longer occurs when the bike is vertical. In all cases the center of gravity (CG) and wheelbase impose an ultimate limit to retardation (assuming adequate tire traction for all cases). This limit occurs when the rear tire lifts from the track surface. When that happens there is no additional load that can be applied to the front contact patch, since its share of the total available is already at 100% (or the rear tire would still be touching the track), and if our hero pilot applies the front brake with any more vigor he will just wind up ass-over-tit for his troubles. Unless we increase the wheelbase or lower the CG we get just that much braking effect, and not one bit more. And acceleration is limited by the same relationship of CG and wheelbase. With the bike vertical you can accelerate until the limits imposed by the CG height and wheelbase are reached and the front contact patch starts to leave the track surface. Keep twisting the throttle and your only decision is; do you cover the rear brake with your right foot during the glorious wheelie that follows, thus exposing yourself as a cowardly fraud, or do you toss that right leg back over the tail section and rock it like a young Rossifumi? But either way you decide your acceleration is capped.

But no worries, because these days we can ride around those limits. And we do this by understanding that maximum values for both braking and acceleration occur with the bike tipped over a bit, moving the bike's CG inboard and down (and augmented by a coordinated shift in the rider's CG location), not when it is vertical. In truth, this set of conditions has existed for a good while, what has changed is that they have now become so pronounced, due largely to the characteristics of the Michelin MotoGP tires, that whoever can become their master will be the one on the podium. The reason that the maximum values are found when leaned over is quite simple; when leaned over the resulting lower CG (of the bike and the pilot), along with a slight change of wheelbase, allow us to achieve increased retardation values while keeping our asses down and our tits up. There are, of course, limits. At Motegi you will still brake while upright for all you are worth (or wish you had). And if you are at 60 degrees from upright the contact patch areas are a bit dodgy, so additional braking is probably not advisable, lowered CG or not. Instead, riders appear to be focusing somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees of lean, and when navigating curves with a well defined tip-in zone. But that may still require a new skill set, one which may prove challenging for the older generation (raised on braking very hard and very late, then tossing it over and letting their skill and reflexes deal with the ensuing mayhem).

But that last of the late brakers approach is not what Michelins do especially well. David elicited some great comments from Dovi about a few of the young riders and how they appeared to be sexually attracted to gravel (given the regularity of their visitations). The gist of Andrea's comments was this: You must keep the front tire contact patch loaded during the tip in phase all the way to nearly maximum lean. Fail to do this and the softish construction of the Michelin will allow it to pop-up, assume a different section shape that has a smaller contact patch, and then unload that reduced area. And forget about using the front brake to keep the front contact patch under load, because that is just robbing Peter to pay Paul. By which we mean that we are requesting that the front tire provide traction in two directions, one for cornering and the other for braking. It will comply with our request by reducing the maximum value that can be generated in either direction individually. The tire's traction circle may actually be in the shape of an oval, but its boundaries remain applicable. Violate those boundaries and you can then go learn how to ride on a scooter with your airbag suit inflated (Note to self, call Michelin re. marketing concept. All rider airbag suits should inflate so they look like Bibendum). But none of that invalidates loading the front tire (while avoiding the Bibendum look) as Dovi counseled, it just means don't load the front contact patch with the front brake (exclusively). Use more of the rear instead. This is the exploitable advantage of the lowered CG...the rear Michelin still has surplus traction available, so does not require all the pressure being applied to the contact patch, allowing some load to be usefully transferred from the back to the front. Since an equivalent decrease in forward velocity will always result in an identical rear-to-front weight transfer (being independent of the cause), using the rear tire to slow us down (by employing the rear brake, engine braking, or a combination of both) means we are still loading the front contact patch, but are no longer making those additional demands for front traction while doing so...allowing all the available front traction to be harvested for cornering. And we slow down exactly the same amount (with the additional rear application now compensating for the reduction at the front). Yes, we have reduced the total cornering traction limit of the rear Michelin, since now it is the one being asked to do two things, but it appears that the Michelin rear has bags of the stuff in reserve (and like they say, no one misses a slice from a cut loaf...or a sliced baguette). When Dovi speaks of using the rear brake to help his Ducati turn, this is a what I undertand him to mean; with the application of rear braking he can load the front tire patch with no additional traction demands (at the front), and so it will turn into the corner. Without that additional load the front won't grip and his Ducati drifts wide.

So how is any of this an advantage? Well, let's see if this makes sense. What we want to do now is brake earlier, but more gently, while upright. On the surface this would appear to be an invitation for everyone behind you to try a pass...but it isn't. While braking earlier appears to be a great way to lose a race, the fact that we are braking with less force means that by the time we reach the tip-in phase we are actually at a higher speed than was the case with the older method. Because what our new technique allows next is for us to absolutely hammer the brakes...on both we roll in. Taking advantage of our lower CG now enables us to brake harder (just after the tip-in phase) than was possible while upright. We have exploited having less weight transfer for a given braking force (due to the lower CG), and can now efficiently use the grip of two tires, not just one. This is why our speed is higher at the tip-in point. In our model we have not yet applied maximum braking effect. In the older model the maximum braking stage is already completed. This works for us because our maximum braking retardation (with our lowered CG) can exceed the maximum retardation available with the higher CG. And the increase in braking performance means that our speed at the apex is still exactly the value it needs to be.

On the way out we pick up the bike, not all the way but just enough to increase the size of the rear contact patch to the required value, and then accelerate like a demon...because our lower CG height allows for greater acceleration without unloading the front contact patch (compared to higher CG when upright). The much-appreciated Simon Crafar spoke of this today when answering a viewer's question about why riders seem to remain leaned over and turning even when they have exited a corner onto the straight. Simon explained that the advantages in acceleration due to the reduced CG height outweighed the more circuitous path. And if we do all of the above then Bob's our uncle. 

How are they doing this?

Or Bob is our Uncle if the engineers get the chassis working the way we need it. Because if we are mixing braking/acceleration, roll in, and cornering requirements together for this new recipe, we may have to change their relationships with each other as-well. Namely, torsional stiffness and lateral flexibility are now fighting with each other even more than they were previously. And of all the things that are difficult for chassis designers to do, getting increased roll response and decreased lateral stiffness to coexist happily is right at the top of the list. And as it appears, they are all trying variants of the same solution: Enhance lateral flex by reducing stiffness in the side frame members in an area just froward of the upper rear engine mounts (right after the frame has made a turn towards the front), and keep a moderate length of those local frame members (on either side) nearly parallel with each other. Relocate the aft connection (from those side members) to the forward engine mounts a bit further forward (so as not to over-restrain the lateral flexing of the side member's parallel sections) and try to make the vertical connections from the forward engine mounts to the steering head area parallel (again, with each other) for at least a modest length in the area nearest the forward engine mounts. The orientation of these opposing frame members is very important. Let them skew too much inwards or outwards and the loads will be resolved through tension or compression, not bending. Things don't bend because we want them to...they do so only when the bending mode requires the least energy to resolve the applied loads. Compression and tension modes are so much more efficient from an energy standpoint that given the chance they will chase bending right off the pitch. And after all that we can try to beef up-the steering head area (we had previously emaciated for the airbox inlet duct) to restore some torsional control. And we should probably stop there and forget trying to accomplish any significant part of this with fork flex. The engineering work done with composite forks appears to have made them an effective means of damping front contact patch load oscillations when leaned over, which is invaluable, but perhaps they should be focused on this task alone. Try to soften the lateral stiffness of the fork assembly too much and you will kill roll-in, and the additional flexing will allow the contact patch center of pressure to migrate away from the steering axis, which I am quite certain is not a good thing. There is more, but all that can wait. This one is quite long enough (OK, they all are. Sorry). But if we can better understand the dynamic issues, sorting the changes in structural details (or changes elsewhere) becomes far less daunting. I have had little success at starting with the structural changes and then trying to extract a rational meaning from them. Jerez will reveal more. Cheers.

Loved the explanation of the riding style! It almost felt like I was watching a video in my mind of the rider doing what you described as I was reading it. Brilliant! Take my 5 star vote!

Happy to add my 5 stars as well. I know as much about physics as do my goldfish, (though I have learned the hard way not to push the boundaries on my motorcycle), but by reading that explanation (while moving my lips) I pretty much followed the explanation throughout. What with David's descriptions of the action, and your technical input, the enjoyment and amazement of watching all the riders doing what they do is truly enhanced. Again, thanks so much to you both!!

Very interesting. In particular, thanks for the reminder that increasing rear braking (assuming there is sufficient tire contact and traction to translate that into increased deceleration) will still load the front tire more due to the weight transfer from that deceleration. However, I'd think that any braking improvement from lowering the CG during and after turn in, is offset by the additional cornering loads that the tire is starting to create. Can one really brake harder as the bike leans over, or is it merely that one doesn't have to let off the brakes as much, because the lower CG reduces weight shift to the front? All complicated by the transient nature of the turn in, the hysteresis of the tires as they flex as well as tip in, front to rear weight bias, etc. Oh, and the rider's technique as well. It ain't simple like those static bending beams they used in engineering class, especially back in my time when you had pencil and paper, and a slide rule for the final math. 

Great comments, mate, and much appreciated. You bring up any number of very valid considerations. Since I am still trying to wrap my head around this my thinking should continue to evolve. What follows is where I am after dinner this evening. I may view this differently after lunch tomorrow.

Who is in charge? Well as of right now, that would be Bibendum and the unique characteristics of the Michelin MotoGP tires. This (lowered CG braking) technique may be valid only when coupled with the extraordinary properties of the rear Michelin, and the somewhat less impressive performance of the front (if only by comparison with the rear, not in absolute terms). We could name the rear tire Marc, and the front Alex, and probably not be too far from the truth of it. What we are seeing today is not altogether different from what we have seen before. The riders, and the engineers supporting them, are simply trying to extract the maximum performance from the pair of tires as a whole. And if we need more traction, we need to first identify where some is available. Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, replied with his famous answer; "Because that's where the money is". There is not much point, really, in robbing the poor since they are perpetually thirty cents away from having a quarter. Willie had it right.

In the previous era, the virtues of the Bridgestone MotoGP tires were the opposite of today's Michelins...the front Bridgestone being pure magic while the rear was finicky and inclined to not generate sufficient heat to work consistently well. Casey Stoner was able to sort that out and extract more performance from the pair of B's than any of his contemporaries. He appeared to do so by almost always maintaining some forward thrust on his rear tire, even when rolling into a curve. He controlled this by applying a small additional braking force to the front tire...which he realized had surplus traction available to meet that demand and adequately offset the thrust he was applying to the rear. In essence Stoner was driving the rear tire into the front, with the former trying to push froward and the latter restraining those efforts. The result of this front-to-rear interaction was his rear B-Stone was always at the correct temperature at corner exit, where is competitor's rear tires were not. It was all about augmenting a traction deficit at one end by "borrowing" from where there was a surplus. If Casey were riding today I have no doubt he would be coping with the M front's limitations by leveraging the rear M's relative advantages. And Stoner, who I once said could ride a lamb-chop past a hungry wolf, was very much a genius when it came to finding grip.

So how can we exploit the rear Michelin? Well, the lower CG braking technique previously described is a good place to start, but maybe we should attempt to add some needed clarity.

  • I have no significant doubts about being able to brake harder with a lowered CG, even though when I first read Kevin Cameron's thoughts on the subject I promptly developed...and maintained...a proper headache for a few weeks. It was, for me, a difficult subject to come to grips with.
  • The lowered CG braking is not applicable everywhere by any stretch of the imagination. Even when it is deployable, it exists only during the transition period between when we tip-in sufficiently so that the CG is lowered enough to matter, but goes away when we pass a certain lean angle and the limited edge grip is more of a determining factor than the CG height.
  • The lowered CG technique is highly dependent on the unique characteristics of the Michelin MotoGP tires, especially the one at the back. Without the surplus traction available from the rear M tire, there is no bank to rob.
  • The real advantage of the reduced CG method is that the corresponding reduction in weight tranfer (for a given braking force) allows the rear tire's contact patch to remain loaded, and it is the combined braking effect of both tires, as opposed to the front exclusively (in straight up and down braking) that makes a transient increase in total braking capacity possible.
  • The lower CG method always follows an application of the higher CG method. The difference is where the maximum braking effect occurs, before the tip-in point or after?

It would appear that the application of this lower CG method is very much dependent on the relationship of three velocities. Vmax would represent the highest speed of the section immediately preceeding the turn, Vt would be the lower velocity we would need in order to tip the bike in, and Va would be the limit of apex speed, and is our lowest velocity value. The lowered CG effect exists only between Vt and Va. The higher CG method exists only between Vmax and Vt. (but may be augmented by trail braking the front from Vt to Va. The CG would still be lowered in the trail braking phase, but not used as advantageously).

Case 1: For a corner, such as one we might encounter at Motegi or Sepang, Vmax will be very high, Vt will be low, and Va somewhat lower still. Since almost all of the velocity delta is between Vmax and Vt, with not that much between Vt and Va, the reduced CG method may not provide any discernable benefits. We have to brake so much between Vmax and Vt that the higher CG method's performance is what matters. 

Case 2: A different type of corner, where Vmax is lower, Vt is higher, and Va can be any value as long as it is significantly lower than Vt. In this scenario most of the velocity delta occurs between Vt and Va, and in that situation the lowered CG method should provide the better result. In this case the value of Vt should also be greater than the value produced by the higher CG method alone.

So with that we can begin to estimate where the lower CG method might be advantageous, and where it would not. To be of any real advantage we would require that the delta between Vt and Va be large enough to allow the lowered CG method to be deployed long enough to positively impact our lap time. A nanosecond of lowered CG braking application will not get the job done, even using a timer that displays the results three places to the right of the decimal point. But a longer application of this method should. Secondly, we also need the delta between Vmax and Vt to be small enough to allow the bike to remain settled just prior to and during the tip-in phase (where a certain threshold of stability may be required to optimize braking from Vt to Va). If our race bike is still jumping around like a hooked marlin at Vt the rear Michelin may not allow us to make the traction withdrawal needed. But that is why the lowered CG method always begins by braking slightly earlier and more gently (from Vmax) so as to arrive at the tip-in point with greater control and at a higher Vt value (which will be accounted for by deploying increased braking efficiency from Vt to Va).

Three places to the right of the Decimal Point - That is how we all measure success and failure in MotoGP. There are no more bad bikes on the grid, with the possible exception of when the random Aprilia can be kept running long enough to decide that tossing a few gears through its cases and self-immolating is the only way out of this nightmare.

I see no demon tweaks on the horizon that will suddenly lower lap times by seconds. No, the battle for the podium is decided by tenths and hundredths of a second, and the winning teams greedily snatch those values up and stash them away wherever they can be found. If the lowered CG method is effective on a third to perhaps half of the corners on a given circuit then it can yield a small, but in relative terms still significant, advantage in lap time. Enough so that it appears that Vale is working very hard to come to grips with this method, while Marc, Dovi, FQ20, and Vinales appear to be the current masters of the technique. The Suzuki lads are good, but still have a ways to go to match the masters, and Jack is learning it from Dovi. But they all still need the damn frame to work. Cheers.

Nice Jinx ^

The more conventional balance and increased feel of the Michelin tires has made the racing much better. Not missing red hats in the least. Very pleased.

Thanks for your technical geeking!

MM used consistancy more than speed to win the title. The speed helped him not to be forced into mistakes. Next year if someone can focus on points the championship can come to them. MM is doing what Rossi did to the competition a decade ago. Nicky Hayden took the title with one win on the year, if I am correct.  Not the best way to win but you have to pick your battles.

Small correction: Iannone was not exiting pitlane, he was at full throttle at the end of the start/finish straight when the engine blew. It was on regular camera too. But I must admit that when I saw it the first time, he was already standing still and holding the bike, waiting for the marshall to extinguish the fire, and it looked indeed like pitlane. Later in the replay I saw the engine blow in a cloud of smoke (and immediate fire) on the front straight. Apparently they were pushing the limits of the engine to gather information. And probably it was a high-mileage one too; there won't be left (or made) any new 2019 engines anymore, so unless the 2020 engine fits in the 2019 chassis (which seems unlikely, hearing it is a radiacally new bike), this was an old mill.

What struck me most is how calm and composed Iannone acted. He stopped in a controlled manner, he did not drop the bike and he even held that burning machine waiting for the marshall with the fire extinguisher, instead of putting it against the guard rail. And there were some serious flames coming from the bottom of that bike! It's almost as if it was his own personal motorcycle on a track day. I've seen riders chuck their bikes on the ground for lesser reasons.

I just watched the video, Ianonne was impressive.  Admittedly one must distinguish between a fuel fire (eg Edwards on the Cube!!) and an oil fire, which is somewhat more subdued (he says from behind his keyboard).  It was cold in Valencia, perhaps he was enjoying the seat warmer??  But still it was a classy act from a guy who a little too often displays a lack of it.

I found it interesting when he went back into his pit garage, tapping his head with a finger as if to say "are you guys crazy / I told you so" sort of thing.  What odds he was told "we've raised the rev limiter to 25,000rpm, go out and we'll see which bit blows up".

I feel for Aprilia, they had their niche in the smaller classes and it was taken away (partially self-inflicted perhaps with the cost and spec of kit they made available to customers).  But their progress in the big class makes me think they should drop it and do a Moto3 bike, I really hope they turn it around but the results of this test (nothing new to try, bike exploded) do not presage a change of form.

I've seen something in suggesting it was a gearbox problem which caused the fire. Lower gearing= higher revs, too many revolutions per minute = big kaboomba.

Not exactly a gearbox problem in my opinion.

About 7-8 years ago, Casey explained how he went through 'Stoner's Corner' (not named that at the time) and it was.....staggering! This 'post' kind'a explains the engineering to give the 'pilot' what they need. But....when you have a 'pilot' Casey, or Marc.....the engineering is much easier!

Great post by David, and an extraordinary couple of posts by Jinx. This level of post and the support from the community is why I support this site.

Oh, and Jinx, no need to apologise for long posts, I love the detail.