Brno MotoGP Sunday Subscriber Notes: Remarkable Rookie, KTM & Concessions, Yamaha's Engines, A Direction For Ducati, And Honda's Many Mistakes

If there was any doubt 2020 was going to be a historic season for MotoGP, the Czech round at Brno erased the last of them. It has been a weird year, the COVID-19 pandemic throwing the calendar out of kilter, then the resumption of racing bringing excitement, drama, and a whole boatload of surprises.

There was Marc Márquez breaking his arm one week, and trying to ride the next. There was Fabio Quartararo dominating both races. There was Valentino Rossi looking lost on the first Sunday, and finishing on the podium seven days later. And that was just the tip of the iceberg of weirdness.

After the topsy-turvy events of the two Jerez races, Brno turned the MotoGP world even more upside down. In these subscriber notes, an attempt to make sense of the madness, to filter some signal from the noise. There is a lot of signal, but also plenty of noise. Here's the signals we have picked up so far:

  • The rookie who finally lived up to expectations
  • The new best bike on the grid?
  • The consequences for the championship
  • Concessions explained
  • Petronas Yamaha's other rider gets what he deserves
  • Yamaha's engine situation
  • The Zarco vs Espargaro smackdown
  • Are Ducati really as lost as they seem?
  • Honda's litany of errors

Lots to get through. But there is only one place to start: with the winner.

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It seems like we've lived under the belief that the only viable challenge to MM would be MV, but only as soon as Yamaha got their act together and gave him the bike he needed. FQ was the first to put a hole in that idea. Now it's becoming clear that MV isn't going to be that challenger no matter what bike he's given, and the real challenge could come from several riders possibly on fourteen different bikes. I like that a lot more!

The end result is that KTM now have a much better bike than Honda. 

That's not the end result. The RC213V since 2019 has been a great bike. Marquez had his most dominant season on it, with the fewest crashes of his career. For the first time in years, he was able to run soft fronts as well as soft rears. Yes, he seriously hurt himself at Jerez, but so did Rins on a Suzuki, and Lorenzo on a Ducati in 2018. And that was also because Marquez was in the midst of an adrenalin rush and (unnecessarily) riding over the limit. 

Crutchlow is injured but that's a Crutchlow thing. He was a crasher in his Yamaha and Ducati days as well. More importantly, he hasn't been able to wrap his head around the early-braking-corner-speed style that this new Honda requires. Lorenzo arrived at Honda with a broken back (!) and a surfeit of confidence. Alex Marquez is a rookie, and he's doing a lot better than Iker Lecuona (even accounting for differences in natural ability) - finished just 2 secs behind Pol Espargaro at Andalusia.

Which brings us to Nakagami, who was barely mentioned in the article but is the one rider truly showing the potential of the Honda. They gave him the 2019 bike to test at Catalunya last year (in response to Crutchlow incessant whinging) and he was half a second quicker on back-to-back runs against the 2018 bike, despite getting only 20 laps on it. 

Nakagami was excellent at the Andalusian round and he was excellent again this Sunday. Finishing just 6 secs off the podium is an outstanding result when you're starting 17th on the grid. And he didn't arrive at Honda with the kind of stellar reputation that the likes of Espargaro, Binder and Oliveira arrived with over at KTM.

Simply put, Honda is in good shape and doesn't need to change anything.

Pol Espargaro's coming in, Crutchlow's on the way out. Nakagami is shaping into a solid rider. As for Alex Marquez... too soon to say, but he's not looking too bad.

Once Marc Marquez is back, they'll be covered on the rider front.

I agree 100% HRC will be in good shape as long as they have Marquez. Also his brother will progress well enough. I also agree with the author that MM and Dani made a more powerful team. Hopefully Pol can do as well as Dani alongside Marc.

... when he wrode the -19 that was ona  Monday test with Michelin rubber put down from the race the day before, and btw, all the riders went significantly faster on that day, see details actually matters...

He rode the 2018 bike in the morning, the 2019 bike for the very first time that evening, and still set his fastest time on the 2019 bike.

I have to firmly but politely disagree. The Honda is a pig of a bike and there's a ton of evidence and opinion out there to support that statement. 

Suzuki, you may hear it's the best handling bike on the grid, mention it's like a 250 and watch the eyes of the oldies soften with the memories of a lost friend. Not seen much in the way of pole positions or victories though.

Ducati, according to some, the best bike on the grid. Can't turn anything like a Suzuki but over the last few years won quite a few races. 18 race wins since begining of 2016. Never won the championship.

I think it depends on what you mean by 'a pig'. If you mean difficult, tricky to ride, cannot get any confidence etc...maybe. If you mean it's slow then it comes down to this. Marquez can bend the laws of physics or the grid is populated by second rate riders.

Taka has started to show some real speed on it, he says because he looked at Marcs data and saw how to get the time from it. I think, outside of his mad talent, if Marc has one thing up his sleeve that most seem not to have, it's figuring out how the bikes needs to be ridden and doing it. Same thing they say about Fabio, seem to remember Casey saying similar things too.

Marc cannot bend the laws of physics and therefore, looking at the results, Honda is a low fat low lap time piggy, and the evidence is in the results.

Nakagami's recent progress is most likely due to the HRC resources assissting him while Marquez is in recovery mode. Whoever scores the highest gets the most attention. Results driven business. Riders are always trying to improve. There is just more human and technological assisstance helping Nakagami do this.

Great read David, although I think Rins was worth a mention - for him to come within two tenths of a podium, in 30-degree heat with that shoulder injury was absolutely phenomenal IMO. 

Disappointed that Mir was so anonymous in the race, though.

Perhaps he'd have been less anonymous if Iker Lecuona hadn't punted him into the forest after seven or eight laps.

I meant prior to the crash tbh - Mir seemed to be having a solid weekend and was running well down the order before Lecuona took him out. Maybe he would have come up through the field later on like Rins did.

Honda have built a bike specifically for their cash cow, Marquez.  It being a pile, dangerous, is something I'll never buy into.  Marc likes the bike that way, needing to manhandle it.  That's his riding style.  And Marc, like many of his HRC predecessors, likes the bike developed like this, so he can ride it well and the other Honda riders struggle.  Many factory riders have liked it done this way, it takes competition from same factory riders away so they can focus on competitive factories and riders only.  Marc will come back on it, and he'll win, this year, again.

All that RedBull money cannot be understated.  KTM has deep pockets, pockets that rival HRC.  I don't think I have ever seen this in the class until now.  With the tires, electronic hardware and software all being the same, Red Bull money, KTM willingness to beat Honda (the head of KTM hates HRC with such a passion, I've never seen anything comparable) at whatever lengths, and a real riding talent, the recipe is there.  Motorcycling journalism is to fawn all over the latest winner.  Binder will need to prove it again in Austria.  If he's on the podium, or can pull off another win, and hat tricks that at Misano or another circuit this year, then finally we may have another rider (Dovi pushing Marc at times) to push Marc to the limit, even though Marc does that himself just fine on his own.  The new Aliens, Marquez, Binder, and Fabio.  And maybe Morbidelli keeps coming along and makes 4.  3 different factories.  If Suzuki can get Mir going and Rins repairs, and Ducati can find that youngster factory rider to get at it, the coming few years will be some of the best in history due to all the factories being competitive, sans Aprilia for now.  As David said, Binder isn't the only rider at KTM showing some real progress.  So many moving parts moving forward at the same time.  It's getting real damn competitive in MotoGP.  Lots of riders and factories that could threaten.  Imagine a MotoGP class with 6 guys that could win the title, or 7, aboard 5 different mfr's.  That's cray crazy.

Today I could only think, damn Pol, you could have stayed man.  To me not the wisest decision.  And even if Zarco does well at Ducati, again, you could have stayed.  Decisions both may regret down the line.  It's like the opposite of what Ducati did, to Lorenzo.  A rider or factory cutting bait too soon.  No patience in this sport for most.  

It's tough to not like Binder.  He's earned his spot, shows some crazy crazy lean angles, and does go, as David said, 100% flat out all the time.  It's nice to have some different nationalities get up there.  Marc is full of himself, arrogant, the I can get away with banging people around stuff.  Maybe Brad will pull that, but he's one of the most level headed guys you listen to, off the bike, talking to the media.  That's not strictly PR training, that's him.  I hope the South Africans are partying it up tonight.  I can't wait to have an American rider like that in MotoGP again.  Spies, Edwards, Hayden, all missed.  

Dorna wins again.  Dorna deserves so much credit for getting us this 2020 season with all that's going on, and deserve so much credit for making the series this competitive.  I can remember Dorna letting HRC dominate the MSMA and Honda getting their way with the same weight limit for their bike with 5 cylinders as others with thier fours.  The Spies rule, then the Marquez rule change.  Eat the sandwich HRC, eat that baked crow.  KTM just came in and whooped yer ass, starting from scratch.  Spielberg should be quite the burnt toast for that crow sandwich.  I am enjoying it.

I remember Valentino starting from pit lane for an engine iirc.  Yamaha seems poised to repeat that feat this year.  I doubt Ducati is going to agree.  And finally Ducati, "Pol should get the penalty, he cost us second!" that's a bit rich.  I've talked to a particular HRC head before in person and he was a word I won't use here.  Ducati heads of state in that garage remind me of him.  I wouldn't have a drink with them if Jesus was pouring it.  

So grateful and thankful to have a 2020 season at all with this virus dominating the world.  It's such a nice break from all the madness and rioting, and political bickering here in the States.  What a hot mess it is.  And good news for MotoGP.  I'm seeing F1 people that never watch GP watch it, ask questions about the tracks that F1 doesn't go to as they are seeing them for the first time such as Brno.  And seeing other people not even into motorsports watch a race due to lack of content, and getting into it fast.  They are seeing it for the first time and seeing the massive difference between auto racing they have bee exposed to.  The injury comebacks, etc, that we are all used to, they are seeing again, for the first time, and marveling.  And marveling at the HP, the speed traps, the corner speeds, suit elbows being all scraped up.  MotoGP has gained some fans.  Most of us can remember the 800cc days, the processions, the utterly dull and lifeless competitive racing.  It's good they are seeing this Dorna dominated competitive era and not the dull 800cc era.  Even with the circuits having no fans in attendance, MotoGP viewership is expanding.  The one positive thing in all this.  

Well put, BrickTop. 

Jaron Lanier indicated several years ago that if one were to examine a successful business closely, they will usually find a supercomputer. More and more, computing power is playing a role in successful business ventures. This is also true in Motogp. Racing is a business. Listen to the Paddock Pass Podcast #149 with Peter Bom. He speaks of the rows and rows of laptops behind the scenes. Brains and laptops, butts in chairs, tapping and clicking. All this transformed Binder's Friday death machine into an "awesome weapon" that, combined with the rider's talent and steely determination, resulted in KTM's first motogp win. So many people contributed and Binder was gracious in the way he commemorated them.

If only Liberty and the FIA would run F1 with the same apparent sense that Dorna runs MotoGP...

Honda has built a bike specifically so only one rider can ride it?  Load of crap.  Honda has built a bad bike and only one rider is talented enough to ride it is the correct story.

is the correct state of affairs. Marquez is the only rider able to tame the Honda but even he wasn't able to tame the bike the engineers came up with for '20, they aren't riding the latest fairing/aero or the frame they started with in testing.

Really ?, richest factory on the grid and also has some spare money to develop F1 engine project at the same time and they somehow built bad bike ?

2011-2013 were the times where Honda bike can be ridden by everyone and able to win races not just by 1 rider, even Pedrosa able to won 6 times in a row during 2012. Then it all goes downhill starting 2014 onward, where Marc completely dominate 2014 season and then Honda built the Bike more and more to suit Marc only.

We're discussing this season, the '20 bike in testing was a disaster...

Quoting David Emmett, 24-02-20

In a sign that Honda are concerned about the 2020 season, a 2019-spec Honda RC213V has turned up in Marc Marquez' garage, and the reigning champion is likely to run back-to-back testing to try to solve the persistent issue with front-end feeling and engine braking pushing the front end on corner entry.

QIt has been a bad test all round for HRC, the 2020-spec Honda RC213V still fraught with problems, as countenanced by the fact that all three riders have crashed on the bike. Marc Márquez destroyed one of his bikes in a crash at Turn 9, while Cal Crutchlow suffered a heavy fall at Turn 2 and injured his forearms, which became swollen and meant he lost feeling in his hands. He was forced to stop riding for the day, and hope that treatment will help him be fit enough to ride on the final day.

So despite Honda being the richest factory on the grid they did indeed build a bad motorcycle.


I’m sure Marc didn’t ask for an ill handling machine, but you need to remember the restrictions around development now, engines are sealed at the start of the season, chassis work can continue.  At the end of 2018, Marc was asked what he needed to beat Ducati in 2019.  He replied that he needed more power, so Honda obliged by moving the airbox/ intake to the middle of the triple clamp area.  The end result was more power, but a chassis that was compromised.  The thought being, that Marc could use the extra power straight away, and was capable of riding around the handling issues. They could continue to develop the chassis during the season.  The problem seems to be that they can’t find a cure for the compromised engine intake location, and Marc is seemingly the only one who can ride around it at the moment.

They also said it would take two years to realize if the developmental direction they chose was the correct way. Which sounds baffling - two years to determine if putting holes in the frame was the way to go or not? The fact that Honda obliged to the wishes of Marquez, and Ducati are unable to meet the requests of Dovizioso concerning turning issues says a lot.

Are KTM the only teams using WP?  If so a lot of praise should go to them.

Yep, everyone else is on Ohlins.

KTM own WP, and did you see how strong Binder was on the front end going into any corner? Impressive.

Check out the Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 157. There is more to the story about WP Suspension there.

I did not hear the podcast. Not yet. But journos in Italy say that KTM hired a bunch of engineers from ohlins... Which is quite ironic.  And that there is an analogy with the time back when all best magneti marelli engineers ended up conveniently in Ducati and Honda just around the time of the unified electronics... 



Something I should have mentioned, of course. I will talk about this (and Alex Rins, and Maverick Viñales, and a bunch of other stuff) in the things I missed piece on Tuesday or Wednesday

I would be cool to find out a little more about the current frame they are running as well. Is it still essentially a steel trellis frame with a beam, or haev they abandoned that design adn gone full Alu/box like everyone else? Thanks

Good suspension needs a good chassis to work.

What I found was really telling was interesting was the interest in Zargo by the Ducati red shirts especially when he was penalised. It was almost like they had given up on their factory riders and had suddenly discovered they had a rider on a 2nd rate Ducati who could get a podium & they could start cheering for. Wonder whether Zarco's team will get a few more trick parts from now on?

I saw that also . Red shirts everywhere . Zarco is definitely campaigning for , at a minimum a Pramac machine . Isn't GIgi giving his team support??

If you give Zarco a half decent satellite bike - he will ride it well. He ruffled a few feathers on that Tech3 Yamaha. This could have been Dovi's year with MM93 missing for a number of races. 

If he is strong in the next few weeks , they will offer him the contract Dovi turned down, and he will take it. Dovi and his agent may have over played their hand. 

I'd bet he'd be just as happy to get away from Ducati management and politics and spend the rest of his life riding dirt bikes in Tuscany. Not a bad thing, that.

I'd bet he'd be just as happy to get away from Ducati and spend the rest of his life riding dirt bikes in Tuscany. Not a bad thing, that.

I fully agree with Ducati on this one, 

Riding like he's trying to rip the handlebars off, runs wide, which you can definitely do in turn one and not lose time, a late apex will give good drive up the hill BUT...

With +0 on your pit board several laps in a row you can't run 10ft wide and expect someone on the comeback trail of zarco's ability not to be aiming for the gap. Motogp bikes are 135dB give or take! He knew Zarco was there and tried to chop his nose off, take the tight line out of the corner and misjudged it. Punished for the compound error. Imagine if zarco had come off and pol stayed on? It would look like Pol had cut aggressively across the track and knocked zarco off.

He must be absolutely gutted. By Midseason next year with Binder and Oliveira right on the pace he'll be part of the prologue in KTMs history while getting soundly beaten by his new team mate and his viciously recalcitrant bike under the cold, stern gaze of Alberto Puig. It all sounds really rather unpleasant. In fact it sounds bloody horrible.

I wonder if #2 at Repsol will become the archetypal poisoned chalice? How many careers will be ended by the atavistic allure of such a presitigious and hallowed legacy only to find it's a vipers nest of disillusion and displaced fractures. The grinning god king rubbing your face in it by mystically bending reality to his will as your dreams crumble in front of your eyes. hubris and Nemesis writ large.

MotoGP is the absolute best. This season hasn't been worth the wait, because that's a stupid reductive thing to say in the face of the predicament we are all in but, my goodness, is it surpassing all expectation.

Your last paragraph is spot on there. I was a bag of nervous excitement from about 15 minutes before the start all the way to the end of the race, because there was that feeling - especially with the grid the way it was - that something momentous was about to happen. (And then because I was terrified that Brad would stack it and ruin it...)

In all my 20+ years of watching MotoGP, I can never remember a dry premier-class race where I thought beforehand "I have absolutely no idea who is going to win this." And the best part? I feel exactly the same about Austria this weekend...

Binder, WP suspension, closely followed by Zarco and Rins. Really glad for JZ. He had an awful last  year but is most definitely getting his mojo back. Seriously impressive ride. Ducati have some big decisions to make. Being ruthless here but they should consider Lorenzo and Zarco, both on one year contracts for the factory and Pramac spots. 

I like the idea of Lorenzo back on a Ducati, but I think he got his fill of Ducati factory team politics. Would be awesome to see him on a satellite Ducati. I expect he'd do well and enjoy tweaking the factory guys.  I few more races from JZ and we'll know if he's really got the bike figured out.  That penalty lap was a dumb call but ended up a thing of beauty. 

Loved it. Anybody who watched Brad last year could see he matured into a machine but i never expected him to ride like that so soon, impressive.

I thought it would be a strange race. After Friday i decided it would consisit of riders whose tyres dropped of a cliff, riders whose tyres fell off the the edge of the world and within that first group someone would find a way to cope with the bumps and surface, suffer less and the win would be an easy one. Which it was, excluding the fact that it was a rookie. What i didn't expect was that KTM would be head and shoulders the best bike on the grid.

However, i think it was an odd race where KTM and their package, shocks and all, found themselves more able to cope with the track surface than any other bike on the grid. Reminds me of Silverstone 2016. Suzuki were on the up, just like KTM, but the circumstances of that weekend (very cold track temps if i remember) made every other bike look slow and Maverick delivered their first win of their current stint and easy win. Outside of that, they were back to being nearly there. Don't get me wrong, KTM have got to being 'nearly there' and that's an amazing feat in itself but i think in Austria, KTM will be back to being impressive but behind. Having said that, KTM have obvisouly made a big step this year so it will be interesting to see exactly where they are at a track like Spielburg.

As for Pol and Zarco. Zarco put his wheel in a gap, which is normal. It's going to be hard for Pol to see anything being slightly ahead, and hard for Zarco to see anything because he's on the other side of the bike.

A lot of other riders did exactly what Pol did throughout that race.

Some other riders did exactly what Zarco did.

None of them crashed which i think is 50% being more cautious on both sides and 50% luck. So the reason for giving a penalty was because Pol crashed, Zarco was punished for a bad or unlucky outcome...but racing sometimes produces crashes where i think the only blame is that they turned up to race.

I read somewhere that F1 drivers are now told what to say over the radio after an incident on track. They know the what 'key words' to say which the stewards will consider. What an absolute load of dung that is. Lets hope they stay away from approaching that level of madness, even if in MotoGP's case it's only the pit lane people who are lobbying for outcomes.

Fabio nearly binned it for the first few corners, good that his head accepted the reality. I was thinking in the first laps that this could be a test, a comparison between the more experienced Morbidelli and Fabio. Maybe we would see Fabio unable to accept the inevitable and throw it down the road trying to reach his 'rightful place'. Good points finish in difficult circumstances.

Honda is a fast bike, maybe just not easy. Nice to see Taka Naka showing some potential again. I think their grid placings in Brno demonstrate exactly why they hired Pol. They need strength in depth just like Yamaha, KTM and Ducati.

It's only race 3...this race was the first of the season i shouted at the laptop. Seems the season really has started angry

This great article is the kind of stuff that makes me value my subscription a lot!

2020 is a box full of surprises, and most of them good ones as seeing lot of riders with win options (the bads are the frecuent injuries).

My words to Rins, so good to fight for the podium after the crash.

The last paragraph is what I've been saying for years about Honda....

They can't build a good MotoGP bike. But what they can do is generate horsepower and throw huge money at talent. Like you said that was fine when there were only ~5-6 bikes at the front. The field is much tighter now. The gap to 10th in Marquez' first outing at Brno was 56 seconds- compared to just over 15 yesterday. Hell, Stephan Bradl finished less than 56 seconds back from Binder and he was the last man to cross the line. Back in the day you might have had 5 race winners and maybe 7-8 podium contenders on the grid. You can add half to the first number and double the second. It's a new time and Honda needs a new approach.

Like you said as a rookie it makes no sense to jump on a Honda. I'd wager whatever recruitment money they have is tied up in Marc's 4 year contract. You hop on that bike, you're gonna need surgery. And with it not looking good for many of the MotoGP seniors (Dovi, Petrucci, Vinales, Crutchlow) I think there will be seats available for fresh blood that won't come at such high incremental risk for bodily harm.

The big question mark is what happens when Marquez comes back. I hope his arm fully heals so we can get a real litmus test of this new crop of talent. Imagine race long 3 way fights between him and these new kids! What a time for the sport.

I see HRC differently.  When Rossi was with HRC he developed the 211v into a masterpiece.  Other riders riding it were fast.  Look at everyone who got on it and was at the front, not every week but in general.  Melandri, Gibernau, Biaggi, Ukawa, Tamada, Barros and Edwards even had good rides on it.  Hayden won a championship on it. 

Then HRC went the wrong way with the 800cc, and making it for Dani.  But when they flipped back to 1000cc, Stoner got it develooped.  And now Marc has developed it for his riding style, loose and out of control, the way he likes it.  I don't buy the argument but happy to be the minority and don't want to fight with anyone because my opinion is different.

... to remind us that the original 990cc RCV was perhaps MotoGP's first 'friendly' racebike, certainly well before Yamaha had figured out how to make the M1 into a willing companion (remember the first carbureted M1? yikes!). It singlehandedly spelled the end of the 500s, as seemingly any rider who got onboard found themselves effortlessly power-sliding around circuits at the pointy end of the field.

I heard it was Alex Barros' input on the M1 that helped direct the development before Rossi/Burgess got ahold of it. It may have been from an interview with Kenny Roberts Jr. Not sure, but Roberts Jr. had the opinion that part of Rossi's success was timing - that he ended up on the right bikes at the right time. 

I believe Honda developed a bike around him just like they did with other golden boys. It just happens his riding style makes for a bike that suits many other racers. Like any other guy out there, he is not in it to help others.

... building a good, versatile MotoGP bike - not individual racer's personalities (is there a world championship racer that isn't a bit self centered???), but nice attempt at attacking Rossi, yawn.

Not attacking anyone, what you put in parentheses is exactly what I was saying.

You've gotta love Brad Binder, what a class act, might have a small wager on KTM going 1-2 in Austria... 

Very happy to see Zarco on the podium, it's always a pleasure to hear him speak about his race or session.

It's a shame we cannot see Dani Pedrosa race the KTM, he'd do a much better job of it than Iker "the torpedo" Lecuona...

I wonder if KTM would be willing to sign Marquez, given the "hatred" of HRC at the management level; it would be a much better story for them to beat HRC with Marquez on board the Honda.

There has been hype surrounding Brad Binder for years, ever since his Jerez 2016 back of the grid to top step of the podium trouncing of the Moto3 field. A few years ago, Kenny Roberts said that he had given up believing the hype and did not see what everyone was talking about. I don't know what to say about that statement. What I witnessed yesterday certainly made an impression on me. I'll bet the neighborhood bully is restlessly squirming in his hospital bed, anxiously awaiting the moment he can put this new upstart back in his place.

Binder said he could hardly touch the throttle on Friday for fear that the bike was going to launch him into the sky. The guys in his team told him not to worry. On Saturday the bike was completely transformed. After the race he used descriptions such as "insane motorbike" and "awesome weapon". There must be a lot of brains and computing power behind the scenes.

That was possibly the most refreshing post race presser I have ever witnessed. There was so much joy and gratitude being expressed by Binder, Morbidelli and Zarco. It's very powerful and peaceful. Lovely. It reminded me of a Moto3 race at Indy in 2015. It was a wet race and Livio Loi's team changed to dry tires on the grid. John McPhee did the same but had to start from pit lane. Loi won the race, McPhee came second and Philip Oettl finished third. For each one it was their first podium in Grand Prix and these guys were so happy. They were all smiling so much on the podium and so grateful. It was a powerfully moving experience.

Quantum theorists have been debating for the better part of 100 years whether or not this reality is deterministic or random. If it is random, then we are truly on our own, this is all we've got and there is no "other." But, in order to comfort ourselves and make us feel less lonely, we create stories about purpose and karma (doing). When one uses the power of the imagination to create a dream, such as a child dreaming about winning a motogp race one day, it seems like unseen forces are put in motion. The dream is created inside the mind's eye of the dreaming imagination. The dream is inside "I". Then through a lot of hard work, assisstance (uncanny at times), challenges and setbacks (because this is the world of opposites and there can be cannot be assisstance without hindrance also, they both come from the one, unified source), one day the dream may manifest into reality. Then the dream is "realized". And suddenly life can take on a surreal texture. Life feels like a dream. Life is the dream. And not only that, those that observe the manifestation of the dream are affected in some joyous, peaceful way. If one is paying attention, this can call into question the source and whereabouts of "I". Who, what and where is this I? Is it inside or outside? And what is it? And again, there is the question of differentiating between self and other.

In these weird times with empty grandstands, the competitors become the fans on the cool down lap. And the rest of the motogp paddock become the fans back at parc ferme after the race. It really is strange.

If the Honda is the most difficult handling bike on the grid, and that's a big if that we cannot ever know, I am still of the opinion that Marquez likes it that way. He is the lead rider that, along with HRC engineers, heads the development direction of the RC213V. His power at HRC is uncontested and holds sway in so many ways that have been documented during his career at Honda. I believe the neighborhood bully enjoys winning championships on a bike that other Honda riders struggle with mid pack. He loves sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of other Honda riders as they question their abilities while comparing themselves to his results. There is no mountain too big, no challenge too great and no injury too severe for Marquez to overcome. "Let's create a nasty beast that only I can tame" (which instantly eliminates some of his competitors and occassionally bites him in the arse). I am also of the opinion that the RC213V is the best bike on the grid because the results prove it. The best bike is the one that wins the championship and Honda have won more championships than any other manufacturer than any other in the modern era. The bike doesn't ride itself and there is no way to separate the rider from the analysis. But this perspective allows for the least amount of assumptions.

Lecuona better grow up quickly and stop crashing. His spot at Tech 3 suddenly looks very desirable. And speaking of growing up, the Ducati management need to look inside and make an honest assessment about what's really going on. The rage they are feeling about the alleged rightous indignation concerning the Zarco penalty is actually the mind's reaction to the shame experienced from the reality in red - the pathetic performance of the GP20 riders. Seeing Reuben Xaus wave off Tardozzi mid-tantrum outside of the Avintia pitbox was hilarious. (Leave us alone our rider is about to get us our first podium). If Herve will take him, Dovi should split. The Ducati heads act like real jerks.

Motogp is awesome. I love it!

Pedrosa to KTM with the RC16 being a similar bike to the RC213V is such a genius move it almost feels illegal. Like having someone be undercover at your biggest rival brand for years, only to reel him in and apply everything he has learned to engineers that actually listen. Honda must be kicking themselves so hard I don't want to know.

his approach is to make it "useable" for all the riders rather than making it a weapon that only one person can utilize... just my 2 cents worth...

>Dani Pedrosa, meanwhile, joined KTM, where he became a key player in helping turn their MotoGP bike into a genuine weapon.<

That right there... says everything... there are riders... and then there are racers... those that understand what makes a bike "good"... and you have to wonder if Pol hasn't jumped from the frying pan into the fire.. with his move over to HRC for next season... It will be interesting to see if he gets the full "Lorenzo treatment"... from the bike... only time will tell...

In the two minutes prior to Pol crashing out I had a sinking feeling that something was about to happen to him. Not for the first time, he had wrecked his tyres before half-distance, and was starting to go wide and deep every few corners. Obviously we'll never know what would have happened if he hadn't crashed into Zarco, but to me it looked like his time left in the race was one or two laps maximum. We've seen it happen to Pol again and again.

KTM's 2021 lineup is looking formidable.

Espargaro looked like he was trying too hard and using up his tires. Started going wide in the middle of the corners. He probably did not like seeing his rookie teammate going for KTM's first dry podium (or even a win!) that Espargaro might have felt was deservedly his. Reminds me of Dovizioso's dissapointment when Iannone got Ducati's first win since the Stoner era at the Red Bull Ring back in 2016. At least Dovi had the wits about him to keep it together, not do anything stupid, and finish second in the race. P. Espargaro might be in a world of sh!t next year (wishing he had stayed at KTM). 

That's an excellent point about Dovi and Iannone - just look where the two of them are today. Dovi took it on the chin, learnt from his mistakes and became one of the finest riders of the last few years. Iannone... well, the less said the better.

Hopefully Pol can do something similar. When he's calmed down and watched the helicopter shot a few times, he can learn from the incident and come out a better rider.

Like I said elsewhere I love how raw and emotional they are.... it's a much needed dose of humanity and vulnerability in the sport. But on the flip side, it's definitely a hindrance in the heat of battle. You're not going to reach the top of MotoGP if you can't keep your emotions in check. Which sucks because it looks like from Marquez forward all the champions are going to be robots.

I think a hidden story in the many stories here is about suspension. I recall I think Simon Crafar mentioning in the feed about "having a better front end" or even about rear grip (a dynamic between the tire, riding style, mechanics, and of course suspension). One wonders if KTM is able to maximize their testing in part because they always have the suspension R&D to directly respond to the excellent test rider feedback, and in a way that is truly bespoke for the RC16

I think KTM, due to the frame style they use, are able to quickly fabricate and change the frame utilizing rider feedback and Dani's direction.  That's making that front end of that bike rock stable.  Even at Jerez, Binder was bending that thing 3 different ways to Sunday.  WP is being discussed but I think the bigger picture is that KTM frame.  With deep pockets, they can change it at well for front end stability. 

Something we should be celebrating as much as Binder, WP and KTM themselves is trellis frames!

Those in the know have told me many times that a "chassis" made of steel tubes won't work in MotoGp.

Thanks for the reminder BrickTop. WP suspension is also not the go, because every other MotoGp bike uses Ohlins.

Someone suggested that diversity is a good thing, may well be correct.

I always thought it was hard to pass on track if you are doing everything exactly the same as the racer in front of you.

GOSH that was a good race! Congratulations Brad Binder & happy birthday. Well done KTM!

We sure had lots of both doubts and hope, didn't we? Very end of 2015, right? Hoffman out there shaking it out. "Maybe they can do it? Is it even possible with that frame and their own suspension?"

Year 5 dry win. So now, can it do it at more tracks? Binder looked great. There was yelling. I still can't believe it.

I'm not sure that a trellis frame would be that much quicker to revise.  The time to figure out what the change should be, will very likely take longer than the fabrication.  There is a lot of computer modeling and simulation that occurs before any machining or welding happens.  I don't know how long the actual total time would be, racing organizations tend to work at warp speed compared to normal industry.  If KTM is not machining the individual pieces of tubing to acurately control and possible vary the wall thickness then they might be able to shorten the process by a day or so.  If they are machining the tubing then fabrication probably takes at least as long as a beam frame.

Being Zarcoed is when the leading rider leaves the door open on the inside of a turn and the trailing rider takes a tighter line to the apex, but does not overtake position on track - meaning his front wheel is still behind the front wheel of the leading rider. And the trailing rider refuses to back off when the leading rider closes the door. And the leading rider refuses to back off also (if he is even aware of the presence of the trailing rider) due to the agreement that the leading rider has authority to said real estate should anything happen. Because, this is the only reference a ruling authority has to determine fault and administer penalties - who is in front. Contact occurs and the leading rider skittles off the track. 

In racing it is common to see racers take a look up the inside of open doors in the turns and try a pass, only to back off at the last moment when they see they cannot get ahead on track and the leading rider is intent on closing the door (because the leading rider doesn't see them or simply won't be intimidated). The trailing rider cannot take the authority of the track position. If everyone pulled Zarcos in the GP races, there would be a lot more tire marks on leathers and more riders and machinery littering the gravel traps.

Miguel Oliveira had to have shoulder surgery after being Zarcoed last year at Silverstone. It was important that race direction gave Zarco some penalty for the move he pulled up the inside of Espargaro at Brno in Sunday's race. And it wasn't much considering Espargaro got a zero out of the entire weekend. The last thing race direction wants to do is set a precedent that encourages this behavior, because it leads back to the conundrum of riders being a danger to each other on track. Unless this is where Grand Prix racing is heading because this is what everyone wants. Be careful what you ask for...

Even though i'm not keen on this paticular penalty it's a very valid point. I don't really like the deliberate block passes but at least they start with a pass. Just putting part of your bike where the rider ahead is going doesn't count, no matter if they run wide or not. However in this case i think it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. Pol could have left a fraction more room just in case and Zarco could have seen it coming and judged a fraction earlier that he wasn't going to pass unless there was contact. They tread a fine line and this stuff happens.

Sometimes we see riders with situational awareness and neither gives in and they are able to go two wide through turns, like at wide tracks such as Brno, only for one to gain an advantage at the next turn. But turn 1 at Brno doesn't afford one that opportunity. It's a long turn and turn 2 is just a kink. We don't know if Espargaro was not aware of Zarco or if he simply wouldn't give in. Hard to imagine not being aware of a Desmosedici honking air right next to a guy's head, though.

Another consideration is that Espargaro had already passed Quartararo the previous lap going into turn 11 on the way up horsepower hill and had pulled several bike lengths heading into turn 13 where he overcooked the entry, lost the front and had to pick up the bike to save a crash causing him to run very wide. There is a lot of space there due to the entrance to pit lane. This error allowed Quartararo to just get back in front of Espargaro in turn 14. That's how much of an advantage Espargaro and the KTM had on Quartararo and the Yamaha. Espargaro looked impatient to me. 

For the amount room Pol would have to give i'm sure he wouldn't lose the position. Saw it happen a few times through the race, exactly because trun 2 is only a kink. However, this time everybody had traction issues and you could see riders really trying to get a straight run through T2. Either way, if he was so much faster then he would have repassed. Plus, even if he finished behind Zarco, it's better than the gravel. I do think Zarco just put the wheel there to be honest and was willing to see what happened. However, that's just my thoughts and have no relevance. The end result i think is a racing incident.

One funny thing to note however is that Zarco expected a penalty and also completely accepted that, with the rules how the are, that's what you get. Anyway, at least we got to see how a long lap is really done.

so basicly you are saying that if the leading rider goes a little wider, the following rider must hold back in case the leading one makes it back to the inner curbstone in time ?

or that the following rider isn't allowed to hang on the inside of his bike with his head in such  a position that he can't see a thing of what's happening on the outside of him, so he can see if  the leading rider who has gone wide and off-line makes it back to the racing line in time ?

If you think one of the above is correct, I doubt you have ever been in a race yourself, or that you know what it is like to go realy fast arround turns. all I can tell you is : you go in the direction you are looking at. If the following rider is forced to keep looking at the one going wide, he'll go at least as wide ;-)

I can't believe I wouldn't be allowed the racing line because someone up ahead has gone wide. If you are going to dive back down to the inside after a mistake took you wide, just take a glance back. And as for Pol yesterday, JZ5 has been -0 for several laps. If he can't be aware of where Zarco is on track he will have many a problem, I fear.

Is that when riders come into contact and splatter, race direction looks at which bike was further ahead on track before considering penalties, because this is the accepted old-school rule that is still in effect because there is an old-school ex-racer running the show in race direction (possibly until the general concensus decides that running into each other is ok). And I'm also saying Zarco has a record and habit of pulling the move he did in the Brno race last Sunday, and sometimes people get injured. I'm not saying a rider should not go for the door that's left open - that they should not race. Or that they should not hang off the bike in such a way that they can't see what going on next to them. I do not entirely agree with Mr. Emmett's opinion that the Espargaro/Zarco incident is similar to the Pedrosa/Lorenzo/Dovizioso incident at Jerez 2018 where the Ducati riders were trying to restart each other's bike in the gravel trap after the crash due to all the confusion of the accident and in the heat of the moment maybe were not aware of this. And maybe when they gave up trying to restart each other's bike it was because they were embarrassed by this fact and did not want to admit it to the cameras. In that incident, Dovizioso went a bit long in an attempt to block pass Lorenzo and Lorenzo cut underneath him in an attempt to pass on the inside, but due to Lorenzo's particular idiosyncrasies he never wanted to know the size of the group he was racing with (example G3), he only wanted to know the gap to the guy closest behind him. So he did not know Pedrosa was also behind Dovizioso and thus when he went for the open door on the inside of the Dry Sack turn, Pedrosa and his Honda were right there. That's why there was no penalty and they gave up arguing fault and admitted that no one was to blame. I'm saying that last Sunday's incident more resembles the move Zarco put on Oliveira at Silverstone last year and the move he put on Rossi at COTA his first season in Motogp. Rossi and Oliveira did not realize he was there, parked at the apex and not further ahead on track until they hit him. And in Oliveira's case he crashed and was injured requiring shoulder surgery. Maybe Oliveira's opinion of Zarco's move last Sunday would be more colorful than Mr. Emmett's. In both cases, Zarco was not ahead on the track. I'm not saying this manouver is unique to Zarco. I vaguely recall Mir Zarcoing Zarco last year. That may have been the time that the KTM backflipped Zarco. Not sure when or where without looking it up. The race at Argentina in 2015 when Rossi chased down Marquez and passed him just before the end of the race, Marquez came back and essentially hit Rossi with his bike in the middle of the turn. Something more egregious than being Zarcoed was the moves the late Marco Simoncelli pulled around the outside of riders going into turns leaving the other rider nowhere to go. He'd basically chop their front wheel off. It pissed everybody off enough that he finally got the message and stopped that crap. I'm saying that all of this incidential altercation stuff is open to interpretation which is what Freddie Spencer was hired to do. And I'm saying that race direction ruled in this case and so it's case closed even though we can't help but quibble about it. I do know what it's like to go really fast around corners on two or four wheeled vehicles, and I know what target fixation is. That's basically what I'm saying.

Those are the facts and I disagree with many of RD's actions concerning them. In each of the examples you listed the outside rider who had gone wide or was wide for whatever reason has only to turn his head a bit to see someone cruising on the correct line and under control, as Dani was, and avoid them with the slightest adjustment.
The overtaking rider is focused so far ahead from such an angle that it's physically impossible to know someone is about to ram into him. It makes no sense to have penalized Zarco or Mir last year for that matter. Yesterday was the quintessential 'racing incident'. Tough luck for Pol but he was the one out of control and he paid the price. But, omg, we were then able to witness greatness: that long lap showed me just how far these geniuses are from us mere mortals. What a breathtaking thing of beauty. Cheers!

As soon as a rider looks away from where they want the bike to go, the bike does not know where to go. Everyone knows this-even motorists. Where one looks is where the vehicle goes. If someone looks one way or another, the vehicle has a tendency to wander. How many times have racers looked behind them and then been promptly passed? Look backwards and go backwards. I've even heard the announcers say something like this because they have seen it many times. I find it very difficult to believe that either Espargaro or Zarco was not in on the "don't give a millimeter" mindset at that moment. It's only after a "racing incident" occurs that they acquire a position that is defined by self interest. Everyone has tantrums and the excuses are bullshit. But the long held rule of position on track (because it is so easily quantified by video replay footage) is the current rule. Until...

Many times racers will "look" (perceive) with their bodies and not their eyes. When they feel contact they adjust. THAT'S how close the racing is. Watch the 2006 Catalunya Motogp race and the first turn debacle. Gibernau uses his body to try to push the other guy away. This was the Motogp accident that brought about the brake lever guards.

Rule wise similar to that. Instead of crashing Rossi skipped over the 2nd part of the chicane. Marquez was never ahead so they judged it his fault, so no penalty for Rossi jumping the chicane. 

Pol should have guessed it. He even says he knows that's how Zarco operates (in his opinion) so, even losing a little time is better than a DNF. I just watched it again, Zarco got fully alongside and kept his line. Pol got back ahead because he was accelerating on his line...which cut across Zarcos. These things happen. How many times we see this kind of contact and nothing bad happens and then all say whoooooa great racing.

The cameras love to show the tire marks on the leathers in parc ferme after a great battle that ended with no casualties. It's only when racing incidents occur that the business of "right and wrong" presents itself on the stage of life. This business entices us to choose sides. Ultimately, we'll never know what the heck was going on - what each rider's true intentions were in the Espargaro/Zarco clash. We are on the outside forming opinions and our own self interests color those opinions. More stories about the stories the riders in question are talking about. I am just grateful that the racing is interesting enough for us to debate the stories. The first two races of the 2020 season were won by a satellite rider (on a factory supported bike) during the team's second year of existence in Motogp. That right there is phenomenal. The third race was won by a rookie in his third race onboard a factory bike which the manufacturer had yet to win a motogp race. The second place finisher, a satellite rider, achieved his first podium after two full seasons in motogp. The third place finisher, who was left for dead a year ago, is racing for the most private of "private teams". Certainty is an illusion and nobody knows what's coming next.

Motorcycling racing history is enriched with battles that contain contentious moves. Without this stuff it would be boring. Freddie Spencer is trying to bring some consistency to the ruling party concerning infractions. He is old school as is Simon Crafar who immediately declared that Espargaro was not at fault. This is because those were the rules that he raced by in his day. For now, track position (who's in front) plays a role in determining fault and penalties incurred when accidents occur. For now. But everything changes over time and this perspective will someday also change. In fact, it is most likely changing as we speak (virtually). 

And his spelling is disgraceful. Plus, his history with Ducati may be affecting his opinion. The storyline would be different if Zarco had skittled Dovizioso instead of Espargaro last Sunday. What if Zarco had run into Dovizioso at Silverstone last year instead of Oliveira, and Dovi had to have shoulder surgery? I believe some opinions about Race Direction's ruling last Sunday would differ. Mine wouldn't. Simply because of the long-time generally accepted rule of position on track when riders come together and there is an accident. But, in time, this rule will probably die out, too.

It's the turning of the tide. When Marquez harassed Quartararo last year in the Sepang quali (before highsiding and faceplanting in an act of instant karma), Crafar was vocal about how Marquez' actions were unheard of during his time. He reiterated speaking to Criville about how tense he was just watching it. This is because in the era Crafar raced in, these actions meant one was looking for trouble off the bikes. But now? Seems like it's no problem.

Petrucci put the same move on Dovizioso who was also in the process of cutting underneath Marquez at turn 1 on the last lap of the Mugello race 2019. They came 3 abreast at the apex and it came down to "who's going to let off?" Dovizioso blinked while Petrucci and Marquez didn't let up. It's possible that the Dry Sac encounter with Lorenzo and Pedrosa the previous year at Jerez affected Dovizioso's racer instincts. Who knows? But, if Dovizioso had stayed on the gas and it had turned into a double clatter with Marquez and Dovizioso in the gravel (possibly injured) with Petrucci taking the win, there would have been a Ducati/HRC managerial shitstorm. It's all about the circumstances and consequences that color opinions, about who is doing what move to whom. Not the racing moves.

It's easy to have a opinion sitting on the couch. It's easy to have confidence standing on flat ground. Maybe there is not as much confidence when standing at the base of a cliff looking up at a sketchy route and preparing to climb. But, one's true position comes out when they are in the midst of doing something that is a bit of life and death, where one mistake can have grave consequences. That's when they see their true character. Not when they are watching the screen.


no god, but definitely his right hand man/rider where bikes are concerned???? Not? Anyhow. I do not quite understand why Z's other moves where he caused a crash are always brought up in this scenario. I feel his transgressions, if that's what they were, came about differently and are of a different nature.

The move against Rossi I thought was brilliant! Rossi had left the door open as well, drifted a little wide, and Z took the opening. An absolute legitimate move and only hyped up because of whom it was made on.

Oliviera is a different matter. Here Z just came in to hot, there was not really a gap, and he tried to force the issue, crashed and took O out with  him. He took responsibility for that one and apologized if m memory serves me right.

Which brings us to the recent present, Mr.E. He also left the door wide open after ahving made a few mistakes before. The gap was there for the taking and that's what Z did. You could almost argue that the risk in that situation was greater for Z since he touched with his front wheel, which is certainly a risky move.

Who knows what the identity is of the people posting on this forum with all these obscure usernames? And you should listen to the GPRoundTable interview of Livio Suppo and his comments about his good friend Casey Stoner.

For some reason this browser doesn't support pasting. Here is the title:

It Was Gibernau or Bridgestone...We chose Bridgestone, it was the cheaper way to get results.

but it doesn't change the fact that Stoner knows a hell lot more about passing than most other people.  

I suppose what I'm saying is that what the fracas at a certain SE Asian track around 2015 taught all of us is that no one knows what it is like to be in the mind of a rider, such as Pol Espargaro or Johann Zarco during their contact at turn 1 last Sunday at Brno. None of us have an innate understanding of a rider's true intentions and perceptions at that moment. We are all on the outside forming opinions based upon our own experiences and beliefs. We are creating subjective stories about what happened. In this way I see Stoner's opinion no more or less valid than yours or mine. All of us on the outside equally lack true understanding of the situation in the moment. Even if one of us is a two time motogp world champ. He's not God. He does not know what those guys were perceiving and experiencing in that moment without forming assumptions. Just the way I see it, friend. 

....actually apologized (on Twitter) to Zarco for being wrong after he had seen the helicopter footage...

Ah well...good on him. Still doesn't change my view, though. And I like Zarco. 

I'm not from the movie "Idiocracy" but I think that being Marquezed is when one is run into by Marquez. Or they are bulled over. Or torpedoed by the front wheel of an RC213V. Or knocked into the grass or gravel trap because they have no right to simply "be" in the neighborhood bully's neighborhood (the racetrack).

Being Zarcoed is a maneuver that requires French finesse, where one lets the other rider run into them, thus knocking themselves out of the race. It's stylish. I know this for a fact because my wife is French and she said it is so, so it must be so. I don't want to upset the bedsheets. Plus, I lived in France for 10 months and the French charm seeped into my brain giving me the gift of understanding "joie de vivre." Even when it comes to racin'. Although the south of Spain is where it's the coolest in my opinion. Racebikes in restaurants. Billboards warning motorists about fast motorcyclists. No one getting their panties in a bunch when you act like a maniac on curvy roads. That's life! be Ionnoneed. Ask Dovi.

And here in the U.S. we get Pedrosed. As you know. The list goes on. 

Seriously, Pol did not have to crash, and Zarco was penalized for what Marc has gotten away with a dozen times. It's racing.

Seriously, Pol did not have to crash, and Zarco was penalized for what Marc has gotten away with a dozen times. It's racing.

100% correct, sir.

Ask Dovi.

My good man, HRC will be distraught hear that you have connected Iannone with Dovi in regards to this technique. They spent many good Euros flying Jorge to Japan mid-season for kamikaze lessons in order to take out MULTIPLE title challengers in one fell 'fall'. 

Or perhaps being Iannoned can remain for one taking their own team mates out of action (a la Binder in Andalusia albeit now very well forgiven and forgotten)

You are correct we saw many similar instances with the lead rider running wide and swooping back to the racing line to block the pursuer from going underneith. Sometimes we saw the pursuer lift at the last second. Other times we saw the lead rider stand his bike up at the last second to avoid collision. Zarco didn't lift and Pol didn't stand it up either... end of race for Pol and a spectacular penalty execution by Zarco. Seems like racing motorcycles to me...

I watched it a bunch of times as a club racer. Pol went wide and left the race line.  to me it was Zarco's obligation to fill the gap. he didn't change his line, he didn't lunge. I'm my view, Pol brought the bike back to the line he deviated from without consideration that someone else was now on the race line.  For me, Pol's fault, but overall, a racing incident. 


Zarco made the red factory guys look like ordinary satellite riders last Sunday. In this season, anything is possible. As much as I'm a Dovi fan, it would be hilarious if Zarco won in Austria. The only worse would be if he did the double. 

I'm a huge fan of Zarco but I think he (and the rest of the field) may have 2 or even 3 KTM's in front of him/them at Spielberg, given that track would appear to be perfect for the acceleration and braking advantage they had Brno. Who knows what the (forecasted) coolder temperatures will bring though!

It is their test track and with the concessions they are allowed extra testing which I believe they are doing in preparation for the race. KTM might do the double. Can hardly wait...

^ Exactly Peter! And at risk of being greedy or idealistic, will this breakthrough carry momentum? Have we turned the corner into which KTM has slingshat past Suzuki? And caught Ducati and Yamaha? That may be a stretch, but so was a Binder dry win. Next event should be quite the spectacle. Skewed for Orange. And very welcome. 

Yamaha has horsepower AND exhaust sensor woes. Ducati doesn't have a rider currently transcending earthly limits in favor of pointy end business. Suzuki has two too few bikes/riders and one of those is hurt but hanging on to well earned ground. The Marc just finally had two bad dice rolls in a row.

Is it thinkable that Binder just got up to his big bike pace and it is the real deal for the front pack? And that the Orange bike has breached the rideability and performance threshold of park ferme? In 2020's context...yes. 

And what a joy it is!


When was the last time in the motogp modern era that there have been three races in a row without a winner from the factory teams of Honda, Yamaha, Ducati or Suzuki? Ever? It's mind boggling and great!

When riders achieve success, they often speak about the details. It's almost never just one thing. Lots of praise being heaped upon the shoulders of the Little Samurai (rightly so). And yet, Binder alluded to the massive manpower behind the walls. It's many things - KTM's budget, brains, concessions and testing can take care of a lot of the details. They do the double at RBR and I believe their concessions are over? KTM are showing Suzuki the advantage of having 4 bikes on the grid. But, ya gotta have the budget for it.

Binder looks like the real deal - both on and off the track. He's been impressing for 4 years for those that were paying attention. Last Sunday was no surprise. Shocking, yes.

Just like life, the motogp world has been turned upside down so far this year. Somehow connected?

I am not convinced that Binder could be enticed by the HRC Repsol juggernaut. For one thing, Red Bull has deep pockets. Plus, Binder strikes me as a guy that walks the talk. I hope he does not allow his character to become corrupted by the success, money and fame that may possibly open up in his life. Brad Binder displayed humility, gratitude and appreciation during all press media debriefs. Things would have to become sour at KTM for him to cut ties with those that offered him the opportunities that he is now taking advantage of. 

Meanwhile, HRC looks a bit desperate with the signing of Espargaro. Last year, they were searching for someone whose riding style resembles Marquez' just in case they find themselves in the current situation they find themselves. This is the same energy Espargaro displayed in last Sunday's race as he frantically tried to catch up to his rookie teammate ahead on track, which resulted in small mistakes and his eventual predicament with Zarco.

It'll be interesting watching it all play out.

and I'm sure there will be more. All congratulations to him, his crew, and his supporters, it's very very well deserved.

But there is another young man who is also polite, affable and well spoken and deserves mention (besides amazing Franco Morbidelli), and that young man is Fabio Quartararo. He didn't bin it chasing the unobtainable, and that deserves mention as well. Championships are won on what you achieve on your bad days just as much as when you're P1.

Good on Pedrosa for developing an outstanding KTM ride.  Finally showing Puig and HRC what he is worth, and that you need to develope a bike that everyone not named Marquez can ride. Herve is licking his chops too, and is vindicated by his decision to leave Yamaha and their second rate satelite bikes.  Won't be long until Tech 3 KTM are on the podium as well.

As mentioned earlier that was one of the very best post race interviews I've watched. Zarco explained his race in remarkable detail. Morbidelli was calm and almost quiet. He was disappointed to have Binder pass him but not badly because he just wanted his podium most of all and knew he had nothing left. Binder was simply grateful... 

Can you imagine how crap Pol must feel.  To be heralded as KTM’s best rider.  To work hard and push hard over the last few years. To get results above expectations.  To have the pace all weekend to challenge for the win in Brno……  and then crash in the race and have your rookie teammate take KTM’s first win.  Someone please hide the razor blades!!!

You can add Iker Lecuona to that list too.  After being told by his boss two weeks ago “DO NOT CRASH” and promptly doing so, Iker goes ahead and crashes again at Brno, this time taking Space Station Mir out with him. Hey don’t hide the razor blades….. get him a bullet proof vest because Herve is loading his magazine as we speak!

Miller managed to salvage a relatively crap weekend for ducati.  Nakagama is starting to get a rep amongst the riders for being a bit reckless and he seemed to be in the mix in the opening laps (standing Miller up at least once).  For Miller to get back in the groove and pass Dovi, is not helping Dovi’s cause any.

Congrats to Binder, cracking win!

I've just spent the better part of five minutes staring at the KTM team pic from Mr. Gray above. I think that's a genuine smile on Pol's face and not forced... could be wrong of course! ;)

As an ex racer of a one make series there has, to my mind, always been an understanding that if you leave a gap, expect it to be filled.

When you close the gap back down in an attempt to rejoin, it is immaterial how much overlap one has over the other, you left the racing line and no one else should be expected to keep the door held open for you to get back in.

Pol caused the incident by his attempt to regain the 'accepted' line.

Totally agree with Pirate. I respect everyone's opinion but can't ignore that Pol had gone wide on a few corners and was starting to look like an accident waiting to happen. Pol went wide and left another gap, Zarco maintained his line and went for it. He stayed tight while Pol cut back in from his wider apex and paid the price of his obstinance. That's racing . . . 

I enjoyed this one the most for a long time. The set-up rulers in the back room must have some questions thrown at them. Rossi diverges and has a good race. Ducati and HRC wreck races for potential winners with rigid internal rules (or so we are told). Rules need to flex, just like chassis'.

The 'nicest' podium too - all three of them make me feel that we will cope without Rossi's personality to lighten things.

Poetic justice for Mr Z too. If you want to see how not to do it watch Andrew Irwin take out Brookes at Hollywood during BSB race 3 on Sunday. He was disqualified and demoted to the back of the grid for the next race. 

According to Dovizioso's post race comments at gpone, the team is worried because the analytical approach that has served them so well over the last three seasons no longer works. Theory, when put into practice, is not replicated in reality. And that has these guys confused. Combined with that perplexity is the lack of an agreement concerning Dovizioso's contract and whether or not he will even be racing next year. So the question is, are all of these unknowns contributing to the lack of understanding taking place? Is the tension in the pit box interfering with understanding the technical side of the problems with the bike? They probably don't help.

Solutions start first as ideas. It hard to say where they really come from since we cannot really say what consciousness is, the source of thought or how thoughts arise in the consciousness. One thing is for sure is that Ducati Corse Sporting Director is saying that Dovizioso's worth is less than what he and his manager claims. Is the current situation in the pit box simply a confirmation of the beliefs of the managerial heads of the Ducati racing department?

I don't know what anybody has been testing, but I thought that Honda was busy at Qatar checking back to back between the 2020 RC213V and the 2019 model. They probably did this because they had so much difficulty understanding their problems with the new bike and were trying to make some sense of the situation. If the factory Ducati team has not yet tested the 2019 model with the new Michelin rear tire, then they have opened the door to assumptions. Regardless of how similar the bikes may be, how could they not want confirmation that the problems exist with last year's bike? They must have already tried this. If not (and it's kinda incredulous to think that Ducati haven't conducted back to back tests with last years model) they have the perfect opportunity to put a couple of 2019 models in Pirro's pitbox this weekend. I wonder if the engine rules would allow this...

When Stoner moved to Ducati in '07, he burst onto the scene at the peak. He won 10 races his first season enroute to taking the championship crown with races to spare. The next year he won 6, in '09 he won 4 and in his last year he won 3. Win results started at the top and slowly tapered off resembling the second half of a bell curve. If we include Capiroosi's win results and look at Ducati's win rate as a whole, they won one race in '03, 2 in '05, 3 in '06, 11 in '07, 6 in '08, 4 in '09 and 3 in 2010. Then they went winless for five years. This changed with 2 wins in 2016, 6 in '17, 7 in '18 and 3 last year. The win stats resemble bell curves, and for someone that only understood statistics and knew nothing about what the numbers represented they would say that the number for this year would most likely be less than 3 and possibly zero, but more likely it would be 2 or 1. Considering the shortened and unknown season length that we are all aware of, I wonder if Ducati will win a single race this season. And if they do, I wonder what color the bike will be. The mood at the Ducati garage must be pretty dark right now. For what it's worth, Dovizioso's statements posted on gpone are quite clear and thoughtful. He's not lashing out or throwing anyone under the bus considering the duress that they are all working under.

Life has ups and downs. Fear, or a lack of understanding, travels in waves. It's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out this year. Hope there is a lot of racing still to come. 

 Quote from Peter Day "He's not lashing out or throwing anyone under the bus considering the duress that they are all working under."

Pity the same could not be said of the Ducati Management.

Wasn't that telling? I read Dovi to be being a bit more particular than I am understanding your take, not the analytical approach in general as much as the specific analysis set they have been using. They have a NASA ground control simulation and set up system that he thinks has stopped fitting the current tires in recent conditions.

It may be Professor Dovi's adherence to thinky efforts that accentuates the issue. Miller is more the "get on and ride it" sort, and we may be seeing the Pecco Renaissance we nearly forgot buried near Rabat potential territory. 

Ducati has been in a very long transition building a Championship winning program. Dovi did not make the next step. I REALLY like him. Nothing personal. They could not sign any of the 3-4 riders from other Manus they hoped early last silly season. I have some compassion for all involved over there. And interest! Excitement is being generated around THREE of their current riders. And Martin is pipelined.

Bagnaia has real chances right now of signing Red. Miller may be showing some short term faltering after a slow steady hard earned rise. The Dovi-Duc marriage appears to be on the rocks. Martin hasn't even been formally announced. All while The Marc is giving them a painfully opened window of opportunity. The situational pressure is huge.

Yes, that is what I meant. When they have certain problems, they do certain adjustments. And they have developed this vast knowledge over the last three years of how to make the bike "right". But that's all out the door and they are worried. The bike won't cooperate and nothing makes sense. Sounds very troubling cause the clock is ticking.

The odd thing about Dovi...last weekend there was a video at where he is expressing quiet confidence about the upcoming race, and at gpone there was an article about how concerned he was. Strange. I'm always wondering if I am missing some things due to translation between languages and also journalistic interpretation.

Dovi was in survival mode at Jerez 1 unable to fight, and through circumstances beyond his control he ended up on the bottom step of the box. Lucky. The only thing he has confirmed since then is his lack of speed and inability to brake well (usually one of the strongest on the grid). How bad does it have to get to test a 2019 bike with the new Michelin rear? Are they willing to spend the time doing this and can they even do it? (swap engines and whatnot) 

The other guys - Miller, Bagnaia and Zarco - need to confirm the speed they have shown. Sometimes a team and rider get lucky with the setup. Elias at Estoril in '06 (tires) and de Angelis at Mugello in '08 (setting) just to name a couple. Zarco's claims of wanting a better Ducati next year sounded like a fanciful dream, but just got more realistic after last Sunday's race. Both he and Bagnaia have a shot at red leathers next year.

But if team Ducati has a poor showing after two races at their home dragstrip, expect the corrupt demiurge to take over in the red box. (old emotional pain body)

In all the blaring Binder Orange plus bleach of Pol/Zarco coming together the Zarco podium can get underrepresented. Finally we have re confirmation of his skill. There was irony in a comment saying it was his customer parts bin 2016 Herve bike more than him that did the business. He and the Ducati are getting on more than just fine, eh? And speaking of data analysis, my concern above was with primarily recent Crash.newt like crap and then also similarly myself.

P.S. interesting the added presence of Red Bull making a bunch of insider videos representing Dovi. New twist. 

On an Avintia no less! The team he did not want to sign with because it was not a "real team". Zarco expressed a lot of gratitude to Ducati for their assistance. Not so much to Avintia is how I recall it.

You thinking Dovi to KTM? Reunite with Herve? KTM buys out Lecuona's contract? RedBull's got heaps of cash...

If Bastinini keeps it up, how can anyone resist? Dude looks relaxed and confident. 

I meant to add a photo of the KTM before publishing the article, but didn't. So I have added it in the middle of the article. Click on the photo for a full-sized version.

Thanks David. Nice touch. smiley So it's going closer and closer to a convetional box/ spar frame but what one can see. I wonder whether that beam is steel or alu? And it would be great to see the rest of it, without fairing, which I assume would be hard to get a photo off, since it must be reasonably sensitive information.

MM Folks,

Request: can we please note where the level of consideration is in the readership here? It looks like there are many new members. The tone in the comments section is in a bit of change again.

David offers us a wonderful journo job, AND a second to none community from around the World. It is us that keeps the comments section culture vibrant. Poignant? Edgy? Contrarian? Sure.

I for one can see that my comments can be more considered. Will snug up bias and minimize making anything personal or dead horse tired tropes. We can liken it to touring on the race line in FP. I will try to be more aware and adjust accordingly. Can other folks consider doing the same?

Please and thank you! And forgive the occasional contact, rubbing is racing. Sincere apologies where I have been out of line. I will do a bit better. This place Moto matters.

... loves the newfound engagement since clicks equals cash.  And as long this doesn’t turn into a Crash comment section then all is good, especially since the great majority of us contributes part of our their hard earned cash to Motomatters. I’ll be honest, it’s quite refreshing to read opposing views instead of some these war and peace type posts that just repeating what Dave wrote about, or other obvious things most of us are already aware of, I mean how many times do we need to hear about Honda’s front end issues or Yamaha’s lack of power....

As I am on the verge of ditching all advertising - except for the compulsory ads, and links to Scott Jones - clicks don't equal cash. The site runs currently about 95% on reader subscriptions, which is both heartening, and gives me more freedom.

I always welcome debate and disagreement, as long as it is respectful and thoughtful. Ad hominems have no place here. "You're wrong, because" is welcome. "You're stupid" is not. Perhaps my proudest achievement is the fact that the comment section is often so thoughtful and interesting. Rather too often, more interesting than the articles by me which appear above them...

The one request I would make of everyone is that they ignore comments that irritate them, rather than feeling they have to respond. I removed the comment preview step, which acted as a good filter for this. I would like to be able to leave it like this, and not have to reinstate it.

The site runs currently about 95% on reader subscriptions, which is both heartening, and gives me more freedom.

That is great news, and more confirmation of the quality of your work, sir.

Thank you David. Will do.

It is obvious that your transition last year has blossomed. The site is wonderful, really enjoying the evolution of your work. And your circle of interdependent compadres. I think we have interest in keeping you freed up from babysitting our comments. 

Interesting how we can get a volatile or strangely tempting second derivative ad hominem of attacking the person being considered in the subject at hand AND the person that is commenting without differentiating the two? "If you don't think Stoner would beat Rossi on the same bike you are obviously a childish idiot." "You have excuses for Crutchlow, of course you do." The term here has been Fanboy. Combine it with Ad Hominem? We have had two major outbreaks, and one of my favorite things about our string of sequential 2017 race winners was that it was the definitive end of 2015-2016's. A South African rookie just won a dry race on a KTM for goodness sake! A new SE Asian Satellite team running a French kid with a checkered past is front running. Why settle for tired tribalism these days?


"Ad hominem (Latin for 'to the person'), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a term that refers to several types of arguments, most of which are fallacious. Typically this term refers to a rhetorical strategy where the speaker attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself. This avoids genuine debate by creating a diversion to some irrelevant but often highly charged issue. The most common form of this fallacy is "A makes a claim x, B asserts that A holds a property that is unwelcome, and hence B concludes that argument x is wrong"."

I love this. I had not read your post fully but wanted to check and make sure of what ad hominem ment so googled it. Then got to the end of your post and 'voila' here it is. Thanks, made me smileangel

So if I'm reading you correctly, what you're saying is that you'd rather we didn't preface our comments with the salutation "Dumbass,"...


As a motorcyclist who could never get the chicken-strips off the edges of his tyres, I absolutely love the knowledge and expertise of so many contributors who, like yourself who share deep knowledge, experience and humour in equal measures. MM has long been my go-to site for understanding our great sport. I don't always agree with the opinions expressed, but value the respect and courtesy in which they are given. Long may it continue. Thank you all.

Can't say that I've noticed a change in tone (things do click up a gear following an action packed weekend such as we've just witnessed), but I agree with the sentiment Motoshrink. 

A brilliant post race report and 104 comments, following a remarkable weekend of MotoGP action - This is such a great community.

The pre race, race and post race report write ups are excellent and the reader comments are enjoyable, engaging and often enlightening (whether I agree with them or not). It's a pleasure to visit the site each week.


Did I miss something? I hope Jinx is fine. I miss those amazing comments.

Me too! 

Jinx, hoping you are well. If you started following something on four wheels instead that would not be well. Sincerely, a bit of concern that you dropped off last Fall. Your contributions were GREAT.


Unreal in here this week... So cool to see such interest in the greatest sport in the world. I love your comments, 'Shrink, even if my head gets a bit raw sometimes from trying to scratch out your meaning. Wouldn't miss a word. Keep it up IMO. Mir time is coming. And soon. The changing of the guard is upon least behind you know who - he who looms large, he who will races this season. This is gonna be great! 

Motoshrink, you really crack me up. I feel like I'm talking to a 9 year-old whose membership is older than his age (because that's what I read in your profile and I'm joking). This comment is surprising considering the way you have slagged off on Puig and the RC213V recently. I recall a race in '06 where Nicky Hayden crashed and Puig looked like a man possessed as he ran out to the pitboard and put HAYDEN OUT on it. Then the camera showed him panting slightly while restlessly fidgeting with bulging eyes like a madman next to the pitwall waiting for Pedrosa to come down the straight. I thought, "Wow, that guy really is bonkers." 

Then comes the race at Estoril and Pedrosa outbraked his bike into the back of Hayden taking them both out of the race. I was really fuming. What a teammate! Puig and Pedrosa were officially the enemy. But, at Valencia, Pedrosa was a real team player (unlike Lorenzo at Valencia in 2017). Pedrosa helped out and let Hayden by in the race. Since then, over the years I have found a lot of respect for Pedrosa, his character and his philosphy. And I have even found respect for Puig, also.

Even though I have sounded off on the management of Ducati, I have a respect for those guys, too. Dall'Igna is the man within the Ducati inner circle supposedly with the most strained relationship with Dovizioso. And yet, while listening to Dall'Igna on the "Undaunted" video expressing his opinion of how he believes the Ducatista would like to see Dovizioso ride the dark horse more in racing, I have discovered respect for his position. And seeing the current struggles of the Ducati factory from the outside, I cannot help but form an opinion. And the opinions are all personal in that way. They are opinions, they are stories, they are personal truth and are true for me, but they are not the Truth.

I'm not a fan of the way Zarco puts his bike up the inside and does not get his wheel in front. And yet, he has a very likeable character. And I can respect his perspective about it all and those that disagree with mine. It's just the way one sees it.

In time the reaction of the mind subsides and the respect grows. But, it is the person that gets the most attention from consciousness in this world. It's almost as if this world suffers a bit from person-itis.    

I also found Motoshrink's comment quite rich after the words he had for Puig recently. Would you address Alberto the same way if he was in front if you? That's the rule I apply to myself when commenting online.

I am not friends with Puig but I respect him, he is a known quantity to me. I know what is to be expected from him. He's loyal and the size of the fight he's got in him is remarkable.

On the other hand I never know what to expect from Motoshrink's comments.

I loved the voting system with stars. I was pretty brutal with it as I used only the one star or the five stars one. I rated only the best and the worst, ignoring the middle ground :)

I noticed that the quality of Motoshrink comments increases when he posts with less frequency.

It was my plan to write this message a long time ago but instead I tried to communicate by dishing one stars comments towards Motoshrink, covered by anonimity. Tough love, Puig's style.

Sincere apologies Motoshrink, I should have been more explicit, much earlier on :)

I love the comments on It is rare to find so many true motogp enthusiasts under the same virtual hospitality tent ;)

Please keep on posting them :)

Massimo Girotto aka Zombie Woof






I don't always understand Motoshrink's comments. Sometimes I feel like I need a translator. What views of his I do understand, I don't always agree with. It is what it is.

I really enjoyed Crafar's reply to Puig's response to the question about Marquez' return. "Fair enough." Classy. Crafar said Puig told him prior to the mic that he did not know and do not ask. Crafar told Puig he had to. "It's my job." I respect both those guys. Puig is probably under enormous pressure. Just like the Ducati management. It's surreal. All of a sudden KTM, satellite team Petronas and Avintia(!) traded places with HRC and Ducati Corse. Boggles the mind. Even my wife was interested and mototalk usually puts her to sleep.

But, I liked Motoshrink's post defining ad hominem. It's clear that people can hold their view so closely that any other conflicting viewpoint is considered an attack on their character and their sense of self. And they retort in the same way to protect their identity. I feel it both ways - coming in, getting identified with the energy and wanting to express through the same energy. And sometimes it corrupts how I'm expressing myself. It's unpleasant. It doesn't do anyone any good to continually spread this kind of energy. We are not at war with each other.

Your rule is being honest with yourself. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. Still kinda long for the old days when I would gather with buddies in a friend's living room to watch a pre-recorded race, have a beer or herbal tea, and a smoke or not. These days in this socially and virtually distanced world I miss the closeness of the camaraderie sharing mutually liked interests. Like watching Binder tear the motogp field a new shiney one. Old days are gone. Buddies are all over the planet. Glad to be a part of this forum.


I used to look forward to the comments section by ways of a quick snap shot into the mind of the discerning fan but these days it appears to be more who can deliver quantity over quality (motoshrink aside) please refrain from repeated "in-depth" analysis, & hearten youresleves to the fine & discerning words of Mr Emmett please. 🙏🏻 

The way I see it, members are all the same. The price of that sameness? $39.95. It's understood that this is Mr. Emmett's domain and he has made the rules simple and clear. We are allowed to express ourselves as long as we don't make it personal with one another. If you don't like what you see, you have the choice to not attach your peepers on the words. Maybe you are a paraplegic and scrolling is extremely difficult, and if that is the case - I'm sorry for your difficulties. When one starts making specialness about some members over others, we slowly begin to realize we belong to a cult. Now, it's possible that you are Mr. Emmett under a pseudonym, and if that's the case then I already do belong to some mysterious overlord cult. (Dammit! Again! Why does this keep happening?) But, I am going to assume that you are not and the innate goodness that shines within us all and is our true position in "reality" also is present in the coorespondence I had on this very subject with Mr. Emmett.

Great chatting with you and getting acquainted (virtually).

.....I’m the only who thinks Shrink's posts are for the most part “keyboard tapping excessive” since they rarely offer any new insight/thought provoking into the subjects, and the great majority is just repetition of what Dave has written, or what we previously have heard from Crafar or any other paddock insider.