Austria MotoGP Sunday Subscriber Notes: On Dangerous Tracks And Dangerous Racing, Dovizioso's Revenge, Rins One Shot, And How The Restart Affected Tires

Johann Zarco's Avintia Ducati after his crash at the 2020 Austrian MotoGP round at the Red Bull Ring - photo Cormac Ryan Meenan

Motorsport can be dangerous, as it says on the passes handed out by Dorna for MotoGP. We got a harsh reminder of just how dangerous it can be at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday. Both the Moto2 and MotoGP races had to be red-flagged after serious crashes left the track strewn with debris. There were some terrifying near misses, with not one but two riders having their helmets clipped by airborne motorcycles, and Valentino Rossi seeing first a Ducati GP19, and then his life flash before his eyes.

Fortunately, everyone escaped largely unharmed, except for some massive bruises and a few suspected minor fractures. All being well, everyone should line up on the grid again in seven days' time, to do it all over again. We may question the wisdom of that, but untrammeled ambition breeds courage, the will to win an appetite for risk. That is just the way motorcycle racers are wired.

In among the drama, motorcycle races were held. The crashes and disruption ended up having a significant effect on the races, and those races, in turn, had an important impact on the 2020 championship. New faces on the podium once again underlined that we are in a new era in MotoGP, as did the strength of the KTM once again.

In these subscriber notes:

  • The Zarco-Morbidelli incident dissected
  • Motorcycle racing is dangerous, but how much danger is too much?
  • The mental toughness of MotoGP riders
  • How the restarted race meant riders running out of tires
  • Andrea Dovizioso denies that this is getting his revenge
  • The strength of the Suzukis
  • KTM clean sweep on the cards?
  • Why Alex Rins tried and failed to pass Dovizioso
  • Brake overheating for some, but not all
  • The championship is wide open. Can we really rule Marc Márquez out?

There is much to talk about, but we start with the biggest unspoken philosophical question underlying MotoGP, and all forms of motorcycle racing: just how much danger is acceptable in a motorcycle race?

To read the remaining 6023 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, and is available to everyone supporting the site by taking out a subscription.

If you would like to read more of our exclusive content you can join the growing band of site supporters, by taking out a subscription here. If you prefer, you can also support us on our Patreon page and get access to the same exclusive material there.


Back to top


I found Dovi's comments during his interview shared in the After The Flag about the tires to be pretty interesting.  When it was brought up about how Miller used a Soft Front in the 2nd race because he didn't have another fresh medium, Dovi commented that "you could do two races with the medium" and more or less dismissed Jack 'requiring' to switch to a fresh Soft Front vs. just sticking with his existing Medium Front from Race 1.  Considering their machinery similarities (and Dovi's typically careful considerations), I wonder how much the assumption of Jack's team for "gotta fit a fresh front" was actually the only legitimate option.

As for the crashes in both Moto2 and MotoGP: I cried this afternoon.

That was horrifying.  We could have been discussing Valentino Rossi's death, Maverick Vinales death, or Morbidelli's.  None too pleased as I was worried about this Friday and Saturday.  Just not a fan of this circuit.  Don't even know where to start with Zarco.  Aleix's post race comments were pretty accurate.  Vale had to have thoughts of 10/23/2011.  What he did after, during race 2, was astonishing.  Any doubts about him got burnt up.  Immediately people are talking retirement.  I read that and said here we go again with the wishful thinking by the detractors.  Give it a rest.    

Andrea, well, handled himself all weekend like the gentleman he is.  He remained calm during both races, and did what he does, manage the race and tires until the end.  Unspoken, he basically dropped his pants and mooned Tardozzi and Gigi.  How Ducati can keep royally screwing their riders, is just embarrassing.  If Andrea wins the championship, oh my.  The Ducatista will have tiki torches in hand.  

That was about 6 races in a single event.  Geez.  Rins throwing it away, Pol throwing it away 2 races in a row in the exact same fashion.  Mir's podium, Jack's podium, Fabio's troubles, Mav's troubles.  Just an awful lot.  Have more to say but best to leave this alone.  Hoping for a much safer race next weekend and hopefully no rain.  Rain hits during the race they should just call it off.  

I understand the musings about safety and psychology of riders, especially at this level, as they operate in very rare air compared to we mortals. Acknowledging that though, it reeks of something too nutty to tolerate to allow this track to go unmodified. It was the dumbest luck in the world that no one was seriously injured or worse in either the Moto2 or GP incidents. When that evidence emerges someone/everyone should take note and take some action. On the Espargaro/Oliveira crash I can report Kevin Magee's comment on TV commentary, which was to the effect that if you run wide or make a mistake you have to assume that the rider who was right behind you is goint to go to that line. And it has been an interesting year for Mr Rossi - getting riding tips from the tyre manufacturer (!), having his set-up dictated by team 'politics' and then this fright this weekend. For all of that aggravation he is putting in some truly excellent rides.

so much food for thoughts in your report, David. I'm still shocked that those images were shown while the riders were getting ready for race two. they were frightening just by watching them from home, I can't imagine what must have brewed in MV12 and VR46 heads. It was disturbing and uncalled for in my opinion. No consideration for the "gladiators" that had to go back into the arena. such hypocrisy to hear the commentators repeat "I can't watch it, i had to close my eye" while the images are reapeatedly shown from every angle. disturbing.

Zarco : i'm absolutely team Morbido.  Zarco overtook Morbidelli, he went in too hot and  while trying to save it he wants to shut the door and willingly moves in front of Morbidelli. what was the expression: "dumbness outweighs talent"? This is not a first for Zarco, he acts as though there is no communication between brain and limbs and Pedrosa is right in pointing it out. Of course he did not want to assassinate Morbidelli, but that was dumb. and it could have turned into a terrible tragedy with many lives lost.

You are right to ask what does safe even mean. And the dichotomy of being both attracted and horrified by the danger. All the more reason, IMO, to expect from the riders a more responsible behaviour: at that level they have the craft and skills to do almost whatever they want with those two-wheeled beasts and exert precision to the millimiter: if they can't, then they should go somewhere else. 

Race two :  I would have loved to see Rins battling it out with Dovi... but I'm glad that Dovi won, poetic justice to the face of Ducati managers. And some poetic justice to the face of Pol Espargaro: he needs to calm down, and get some anger management counseling. I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of circus the Honda garage will be next year, and it's certainly not Puig who will be able to bring some peace and cool-headed management in there. 

on a side note : i'm beyond puzzled as to what goes on with the Yamahas. but, just talking about yesterday, if Binder had been slighltly less "earnest" on lap 3 of race two, maybe both him and Rossi would have had a shot at the podium. 

last but not least: no, we cannot rule Marquez out. but it seems very unlikely. KTM, Suzuki and Ducati all have a fair shot. 


I know.... 😉 who can forget? And Casey was right at the time: Rossi was too earnest, too eager and binned it for both. I purposely paraphrased the original "historic" sentence.

My point being that Zarco has made a habit of questionable moves. The fact that the incident did not turn into tragedy does not excuse his behaviour. Specially when considering his past record. 

A sometimes reckless mentality isn't limited to Johann Zarco.  As I recall it, our reigning World Champion has a sordid, well-documented history of being equally as aggressive - if not more so - than any other rider currently on the field.  Rossi has made his share of hard moves.  Gorgeous George scuttled... what was it, five riders?... in a single turn last year.

I'm not making excuses or taking up for any individual.  My only point is that racing is a tough sport, and sometimes excrement occurs.  This is part and parcel of the lifestyle they've chosen.

Nobody forgets but we are talking about a specific move by a specific rider.

No-one can ever forget the daily bullism that MM93 brought into the category. And not even in my darkest moments of brain in off mode, would I compare MM93 daily bullism with a couple of harsh moves made by Rossi or some mistakes made by JL99 in what: 20 year career ?

What I'll concede though, is that Zarco and some other guys will never have the talent of the 3 greats mentioned above. The unfortunate thing is that everybody seems to think that if MM does it so should the others. Personally I think it's wrong. 

Didn't we use to love surgical passes so well executed with such inch perfect precision? Do we really prefer the barging into the rider in front and just push him out?  This should be the exception, not the norm. 


Do we really prefer the barging into the rider in front and just push him out?  This should be the exception, not the norm. 

Well, that's the job of Race Control, or should be. I guess it's easier to worry about whether a Moto 3 rider was an inch or two off the track ...


Rossi is not immune to accusations of brake checking. Gibernau at Assen in '04 and Stoner at Laguna Seca in '08 just to name a couple. Let's not forget the last lap, last corner, last ditch, desperate move Rossi pulled on Gibernau at Jerez in '05. Watched the Marquez/Zarco "incident" at the end of the start/finish straight at PI race in '18 repeatedly from the heli view. Sure looks like Marquez was brake checking Zarco at one of the fastest parts of the track. If this is true, all I can say is that Zarco learned from one of the best at hairy, disrespectful manuevers! 

Why is Rossi acting like the race director? And why is race direction mum? Oh yeah...I forgot that Freddie Spencer is all too aware of the shenanigens that takes place on track since he most likely partipated in them because that's the unspoken accepted behavior among motorcycle racers. It's like we are asking for honor among a bunch of thieves. And a retired thief is dressed up in a policeman's uniform and given the duty of policing the theives. How to draw a distinct line between "acceptable" and "not acceptable" in the fuzziness of all out agression in motorcycle racing?

Not possible because it can't be quantified. Everyone has their own perspective of what is or isn't cool. And that viewpoint may be in a continuous state of change.

Yes, many found it rather comical that Capirossi (famous for his rather 'interesting' pass on Harada in Argentina in 1998) was appointed as saftey commissioner in MotoGP. Some things never change.

Capirossi definitely knows what's unsafe on the race track because he has a lot of personal experience in that area. 

Someone posted a link to a WSBK race on the Brno Race Roundup with the monster comment collection, where Crafar pulled a Zarco on Gobert sending his Kawasaki teammate into the gravel for a real egg-beater. Not sure why he felt Zarco was in the right at Brno last Sunday. There is just too much recorded info out there waiting to make fools of us...

If I remember correctly, Simon said that Zarco didn't get his front wheel in front of Pol's, so wasn't able to pass safely and therefore shouldn't have made the move.

Edit: I can't find that specific quote right now, but if you review the race on you can hear Simon say starting at 54:20 that it wasn't Pol's fault:

Edit 2: Found it. The quote starts at 1:04:30, and Simon says this: "As a rider, you know you have to get by, if you gonna squeeze through, when a rider runs out for a moment, you have to get your front wheel in front of his, before he comes back. And he didn't. He made the move too late."
I actually disagree because I think the rider who's back when someone runs wide can't know how far someone is going to run wide before they cut back. But Simon was clearly saying that Zarco was more at fault in Brno.

But Simon was clearly saying that Zarco was more at fault in Brno.

He did apologize later, said he was wrong, after he'd seen the helicopter shot. On Twitter, I think it was.

You could post it on Crafar's official twit account and ask him again if he stands by his position that Zarco was in the right at Brno. But, you probably wouldn't be making any friends...

It's what we ask them to do, for our "entertainment". We want close racing, but when it gets too close, many are ready to criticise riders. We're not the ones sitting on the bike at 300kph though. Race direction are the ones that should be making the call. They have access to all the information, and while other riders should have a say, they are not always right. Think Pol blaming Zarco for his crash in Brno, but then he went and did the exact same crash this weekend...

It is quite possible that movement was caused by airstreams created by the bikes traveling at 200mph. If two bikes are side by side and below a certain distance apart, a low pressure is generated that sucks the bikes together. A passing bike will create vortices that affect both bikes in different ways.

"If I was Pol already with two incidents of the same character, I would start to think if I am approaching racing in general in the right way because at the moment it seems questionable."


How can you not love this kid, calm, collected, polite while nailing it. Big hopes on his future.

for the thorough analysis of the track layout and impact it has on how the riders approach it. very insightful.

it almost feels like the sport we all love is actually some voyeuristic danger fetish. We tune into a gladitorial festival of danger to titilate ourselves under the guise of sport. Its not a new phenomenon and the rules of the game are ever changing to hopefully make safety improvements but if it was totally safe and without jeopardy would we be entertained? 

On less dramatic note, it is the unpredictability of the race that makes the entertainment. You do not get any of this seat of the pants emotion watching the lockdown virtual racing. The amount of tragedy, plot twists and sub plots today was worthy of Shakespear.

The fact I am disappointed for both Suzuki and KTM not quite winning is great for the sport. Rins crash marked the end of a remarkable injury recovery, but I suppose he can't be criticised for a lack of effort! I bet Pol thinks that Zarco has now cost him two victories,  but like people have said about Zarco being involved in these accidents so too is Pol. Oliveira certainly thought so and sounded remarkably calm compared to lashing out a kick in his pitbox to an inanimate object.

Mir was impressive and finally had the chance to show is potential. Compared to Ducati and Honda, I think Suzuki must be feeling quite relaxed about their rider situation. They have two great riders and have invested in their futures, much like KTM, and will reap the rewards. 

Dovizioso did what only he seems to be able to manage on the Ducati, a calm precise race. Its a shame he can't salvage more from his bad days, when he appears entirely lost and way down the field.

It is a shame that Mrquez is not racing to be able to gauge whether his Honda would be suffering such variable form that the other bikes appear to have this year. Or rather, competition is so tight that being slightly off the pace leaves you mired down the grid. Could Marquez continue to do the impossible? 

I thought Miller's race could also be described as calm and precise, not something that has been a characteristic.

Given his soft front tyre he did a mature job of preserving, defending and avoiding mistakes almost to the end. By comparison with Pol he did a great job.

I wonder if Honda regret not having more patience with Miller, he is an example where Honda did make some effort (but not nearly enough) to develop a talent long term and keep him on their make.

... of grooming young riders.  Or old riders.  Or intermediate riders.  Or existing riders, for that matter.

Honda's mentality (especially under Alberto the Merciless) is to say "This is the bike we have built.  You are allowed to adjust it within the parameters we have desinged into it.  You will ride this bike, or we will replace you with someone who will."

The level of hubris within Repsol Honda cannot ever be overstated.

Precisely this => "it almost feels like the sport we all love is actually some voyeuristic danger fetish. We tune into a gladitorial festival of danger to titilate ourselves under the guise of sport." I refuse to feel guilty about enjoying what is essentially a blood sport. We are better than the old board tracks, but are we? Is lashing a 35 HP 750 V twin into a bicycle frame and hurtling around a pine velodrome so distant? What I don't like is all the hand gnashing at the occasional reality check like yesterday. Things like that (and much worse) could happen every time bikes take to the track (practice or race). To deny that is to be in a state of, what is it?, that river in Egypt.

Isn't Quartararo the luckiest guy for having the chance to restart the race? How crucial will those points be in the end?

Wow it's almost like as soon as MM93 was out of action the rest of the grid realised that they have a chance at winning and really started to push for those extra 10/10ths. MotoGP gets more exciting every week!

David - I always anticipate your take on the events of the day - incredible depth and research - Thanks again and 👍👍👍

With what Kingfisher said. I look forward to Mr. Emmett's commentary as much as the race. Well, nearly!

I think it's a bit wide of the mark to be describing Zarco as some kind of assasin. At the very worst he's reckless as to the effects of his worst. I heard or read  that he said was on his normal line. I rewatched the race looking for his and other riders lines through T2 to T3 and to be honest they all took varying lines from lap to lap depending on the circumstances. He was wide at the point of contact but no wider than many other riders on other laps.

The thing that did stand out was the apparent sudden change of line. At the point of braking his bike stood up some. Why ? No idea. Maybe to help with braking? Aero forces? Changing line to cover the inside? Felt the front misbehaving? Or felt that given the line into T2 he had to stand up a bit? Pure speculation and nothing more. However, that step change in turning radius left Franco with no time and no physics left in his pocket.

I then rewatched the last 2 years races (not completely i'll admit) hunting for similar situations. I didn't find any. I was sort of expecting something between Dovi, Lorenzo and Marquez but there wasn't anything so acute. I think Rossi was correct and i think there's a time and a place for being aggressive. The patch of track between T2 and T3 is not it.

If Zarco did try to check Franco up by crossing his nose as they start to brake, if he did and that's a huge if, then pack his bags for him and send him home because it's beyond reckless at that point on the track. I just can't see how anybody would do that because it's a roll of the dice who ends up dead as we saw, and it could just as easily be the rider who causes it. Surely he didn't.

I have to come to the defence of Pol a little. At the point of contact with Oli, if he had seen Oli coming in time, he had only two options to avoid the crash. Stand the bike up and ride into the gravel or brake. It happened too quick. He was on the edge of the track and i think Oli was heading outside of track limits also. He certainly didn't cut across from what i saw. He ran wide to the edge of the track and stayed there, the only problem being he was moving forward and trying to get back to racing. If only Oli had managed to leave a little room, if only Pol had waited a fraction longer before getting back on the throttle...if...if. Seems the 'luck bag' was all used up at T3. However, hot heads often result in bad outcomes, seems true.

I really do hope Dovi is in the paddock next year. Saturdays interview with him was classic Dovi. You can see in his eyes, he knows they can do it, he knows how to do it and he knows it also takes a little luck. This knowledge and experience translates to his riding on track. He might not be Marquez but he's 100% class act and always one of the best to listen to before or after.

Well happy with Jack, didn't win it, didn't bin it, didn't have a long list of reasons why that went beyond himself and his team. Another podium in the bag.

EDIT: Scratch all that, just watched again, the bike doesn't stand up, it just doesn't get to the lean angle you may expect, which is unsuprising considering he's got to stop quickly. Zarco took the line he took which i think was to protect the inside somewhat but there would have been room, Franco was taking a line expecting Zarco to take a different line. Fast speeds, massive momentum means there was no time to adjust after. Camera angles play games.

If Zarco did brake check, that data is likely captured somewhere in on board diagnostics (or can be reconstructed from video of the front end diving) and can be compared to his previously laps.

I don't think he braked early or checked with the brake, just happened that the bike passed close infront of Franco as they were both braking. Franco lost the air. I mean lets say Franco should have conceded and backed off earlier, lets say Zarco should have eased off so he could keep a tight line or that Zarco should always leave the door open incase somebody else crashes...before long they all stay home. That's why i think Rossi said it quite well, it's how to apporach racing, especially at places like that. I think we all feel we've seen something amazing until it's not amazing suddenly.

I cannot fathom what it takes for these guys to literally face death and be out there competing again. Vinales and Rossi are incredibly lucky. But having had so many riders talk about how dangerous the track is, is it not reckless not to address this. Granted there are other tracks where there are issues and there is a risk in racing, but isnt there  a point where it ceases to be a risk and becomes a certainty. In which case does it not become deliberately reckless.

KTM have a bright future with their factory riders next year, both seem to have their wits about them unlike their current lead rider who seems to lose the plot if the race does not go his way. I am sure its easy for us arm chair racers to say, but one cannot help thinking if Pol was a little patient the race would probably come to him.

David, could you please, in your follow up thoughts,  touch upon penalties on track limits. The application of this seemed to be arbitrary in the Moto3 race where Abert Arenas seems to have exceeded track limits a number of times, albiet some of them being squeezed out. But you did have the commentators point out every time he went out on his own.

And as always thank you for the race report, it makes my day.


And a lot of thoughtful and concise comments above. Thanks to all.

Either Zarco was veering in front of Morbidelli getting on the brakes (Brake Checking?! There?!) at one of the more dangerous sections of track on the Motogp calendar in order to protect the line, or his bike drifted in that direction not completely under his control and he does not want to admit it. Listening to his comments about the crash, hemming and hawing - beating around the bush, I'm not entirely convinced of his veracity concerning the details about the crash. He is not forthcoming about his part in the accident-lots of gaps in his explanation. Maybe english not being his native language plus the intensity of the event affected his communication skills. Either way, french wife or not, I'm beginning to really not like this clown. That move, if intended, reminds me of the antics the late Marco Simoncelli used to pull. If not intended then he's out of control. Would love to be a fly on the wall at the rider safety meetings. There seems to be a collective understanding amongst the riders of how aggressive they are willing to take it during races. Zarco really needs to tone it down, he's acting like a headhunter. 

IF there are nine more races this season and IF Marquez returns at Misano and IF he puts up the numbers like he did last year (wins and seconds) then yes, the simple math of comparing final results from last year to this years projections says he's got a shot at the title. Marquez won the championship last year with a 151 point cushion for a total of 18 races completed. Should he return fully fit and complete 9 races with the same kind of results (and everybody else repeats what they did last year) that would calculate to a 75 point advantage at the end of the season (over those 9 races). It's entirely possible that he starts at Misano only down 75 points. And with such a high level of competition in Motogp, he could leave everyone behind to squabble over the scraps. 

Fortunately, there are so many ifs and everything is completely unpredictable this year. After yesterday's race, one could argue that Motogp is almost a bit too exciting. Glad everyone survived yesterday's chaotic warfare intact. I cannot say I'm all that excited about the Motogp circus returning there in 6 days.

... sensitive due to the stresses of the pandemic (and getting older;), but something about that race and it's near-catastrophe, felt like a 300kph metaphor to so many our transforming relationships towards mortality these days. Still, epic stuff.

/bows down to the terrifying greatness of roadracing

That was too much. I was in tears before the restart. Fucking grim reaper passed by is all I could think. Thankful everyone is safe, hope for the best for the rest of the season. 

I decided not to watch the restart and went to bed. It took me a long time to get to sleep.

I have always liked this track --- BUT this pair of corners is VERY dangeous (accident of epic proportions waiting to happen - fast straight followed by a slow sweeper - head on))...Dorna needs to look at all elements of this incident and make sure it does not happen again. Lucky day that several people were not killed. Dave

I was able to watch all three races on on Sunday which is rare.  Usually I only see MotoGP and then pick off the support races throughout my week.  Moto2 and MotoGP crashes clearly sobered us all up, I don't have any deep analysis for the conversation other than to say it all happened in a moment.  It's very easy to disect the incidents with videos from every angle, but the riders made choices that verge on instictual given the speeds and human limits to process and take action.  I'm so thankful we don't need to watch another live streamed funeral.

If you have not done so, go clear your head with a fantanstic, frantic and red flag free Moto3 race.  The announcers couldn't even keep up with all the passes and were giddy with the action.

If you have not done so, go clear your head with a fantanstic, frantic and red flag free Moto3 race.

Never seen a "Group 21" on a pit board before!

"It's very easy to disect the incidents with videos from every angle, but the riders made choices that verge on instictual given the speeds and human limits to process and take action."

Perfect summation.


"It's very easy to disect the incidents with videos from every angle, but the riders made choices that verge on instictual given the speeds and human limits to process and take action."

Perfect summation.


a) thankful that all concerned walked away from this amazing incident. at least four riders lives were in the hands of the gods.

b) (hoping this dosen't seem callous) thankful for the amazing camera work of the motogp crew which allowed us to witness every aspect of an event which will be talked about for years to come.

In recent weeks I have defended Dovi as the best motorcycle racer in the world the last few years, after you-know-who, and, more narrowly, defended Zarco in the Pol crash last week. So:

I continue to maintain that JZ was not at fault when Pol bounced off him in Jerez. But others had argued that JZ's accumulation of risky moves over the past few seasons made him guilty. I must admit that one more incident like this, and Zarco has struck out, whether his fault or not. 

Do-vi, Do-vi, Do-vi! As bikes hit the gravel left and right, and narrowly missed wiping out the factory Yamaha team, Dovi just kept doing what he is so often criticized for: winning by not risking it all, taking the long view.  (BTW, he is not just a calm thinker, he also has a bit of riding talent)

As others have noted, Oliveira's comments were thoughtful, polite, but spot on! Geez, Pol. Three strikes and you're out too. I agree, Repsol Honda will be fun next year!

St Stephen, your name always reminds me of The Grateful Dead. Last weekend, we were all quite grateful to be alive and well together. We knew this season would be a pressure cooker, but OOF.

Agreed, mostly. Dovi is such a good guy. Hard worker. Smart strategizer. 2017 I thought he was 2nd best. A few other riders have surpassed him I think. It was good to see him win. Wishing him luck at Aprilia or KTM. We are lucky to see another bike get a high level rider. He is likely to go talk to Herve about Iker's seat 1st. Then Aprilia, who will eagerly offer. Orange could use one older rider calming the stable. Loving Binder, agreed that he is a Casey. But with upgrades that will help him off track. 

Dani hasn't just passed down a really well sorted and developed bike to Oliveira, he also gave him his LUCK. Oof, poor guy! 

Previous round Pol was making errors, and his collision w Zarco really looked 50/50 enough to be racing incident. This round JZ05 stepped a tad past there, it was an aggressive pass. 

I don't think he bombed his brakes in the face of Morbidelli, and there are multiple lines in that area. Frankie could have rolled off rather than keep on the beans, and have a line or two available. Was it aggressive? Yes. Zarco is known for some courageous and aggressive passes. Is the polite era over? Yes, and I am glad. Is he on a new bike with a ton of motor, contrasting Frankie? Yes. Was it beyond what is reasonably expected in motorcycle racing? I don't think so. Are top riders in our sport doing stuff like this? Yes. Have I been recommending that Dovi take a step this Marquez direction? Yes. Is it preferable that duels are on clean, elegant and safe? Should Zarco (and Pol lately) take this feedback warning to heart and modulate. Uh huh.

Rins and Suzuki next weekend...2nd place? Pol thereabouts? Miller too? Looking fwd.

Answers a-plenty in the bye and bye...Zarco is doing quite well on the Duc, mid job interview. He got right up to speed on it. How many riders can we say that about? An announcer on the tele "how much of it is him, and how much the bike?" A reader here said the same of his Tech3 two yr old spares jalopie. He is flattering the bikes more than the reverse.

Keep it together Zarco!

In my opinion high speed circuits like Red Bull Ring should have electronic high intesity LED flags/panels system like I have seen at F1 races. In fact this system has been used at the Red Bull Ring for F1

This sytem should be linked to warning lights on the dash or fairings on the bikes and are GPS activated for areas on the track, before and after were an incident has occured. The FIA has a standard for this

FIA Standard 3504-2019 – Light Panels for Motor Racing Circuits

This standard prescribes the design requirements, test procedures and performance criteria for light panels intended for use by motor racing facilities to complement existing manual flag signalisation. These light panels should increase the visibility and safety for signalling marshals through remote functionality, as well as enhancing the direct communication of regulatory requirements and notifications to competitors during FIA Championship competitions.

or the bikes should have a deadman's switch that kills the engine and engages the brakes when the rider becomes separated from the bike.

Zarco needs to make a clear statement about the event last Sunday at the RBR. It is important that he describes exactly what was happening, what his intentions were, what the bike was doing. If the bike did not do exactly as he intended, then just say it and own up to it. We already know from previous statements that these missles are hard to manage at extreme speeds. It would be best if he reflected on the all the details during the few days off and made an honest statement before Styria. Last week's comments were dodgy and vague.

It looks like from the footage that Zarco veered over to the right, from very close to the left white line, to at least the center of the track in front of Morbidelli. Why did he do this? Was he taking a defensive line trying to block Morbidelli? Was he aware that Morbidelli might be sucked into his slipstream? It looks like from the footage that he is giving Morbidelli nowhere to go. Why did this happen? If he really was brake checking Morbidelli then he should get a race ban. Own up to it and eveyone can move on. It was the most horrific accident sin casualities since I've been watching moto racing. What occurred has made an impression on all that witnessed it. Binder had eyes as wide as saucers as he clearly desribed his recollection of the event. The look on Rossi's face in the pits said it all. Too many references of divine intervention. It's two races in a row that Zarco's riding has been scrutinized. Best he own what he did. And make very clear what he did not do.

Instead, I fear, it will be business as usual. Let's go racing as the possibly most dramatic event of the modern motogp era that did not end with a fatality recedes in the collective consciousness. 

"the telemetry showed that Zarco was braking later in turn 3 than in the rest of the race, so it is clear from this analysis that at no time was his intention to harm Morbidelli’s braking and close his line."

is the response from the team regarding the incident. No comment on his line through the corner though which I'm sure will be asked to Zarco a few times in the coming weekend..

But his team, Doran, FIM or someone should release all of the telemetry over preceding laps to prove what actually happened. While I fault Zarco for taking Miguel out last year, I don’t fault him for Pol last week and am truly undecided on his move with Frankie this week given there are so many lines to be taken and he was clearly ahead of Frankie.

Pol on the other hand, needs to reel it in; He is every bit as dangerous when he sees the race getting away from him and two similar and sequential accidents means he needs more situational awareness . He must presume that when he runs wide a bike will be there occupying his former position and he is using a poorly written - or poorly applied rule to hide behind. He has been completely out of control these last two weeks and I am betting we all knew how his race would end a few laps into the restart. Lastly, His perpetual pouting and temper tantrums are wearing thin and I question his sportsmanship just as much as I question Marquez’. He is becoming dangerous and it will only get worse the more Binder continues to show him up.

I totally agree with Vale’s comments on respect and aggression and I lay the blame for this new level of aggression at the feet of Márquez, or as Peterday calls him, the bully on the block. As Rossi said, he hit four guys over 20 years and Marc hits four guys in a given race. This sport doesn’t have any angels - to be sure, but there are perpetual bad actors that go unchecked  

What an interesting season - and it is amazing to watch how the leader board shifts depending on an ability to cope with tires. And while I am clearly no fan of Marc’s, this championship can still be taken by him as his consistency will trump the ever-changing rostrum 

Also, I take issue with an earlier comment - and I may be reading too much into it - but, I don’t think any of us watch this spot anticipating carnage. We deplore it. 

Zarco sounded too much like a politician during the RBR debrief after the last race. Immediately, I felt that I wasn't being told the truth. This is nothing new - everyone lies. But in this instance, considering the severity, he should be clear. Just my opinion. 

My gut says that his bike went farther right than he intended due to weird aerodynamic effects and he does not want to admit it. Maybe he doesn't completely understand what happened or he felt like he was not in control. But, maybe I'm wrong and he was aggressively protecting the line directly in front of Morbidelli. I recall Corser calling Haga "a dangerous ride" back in the early nineties. Haga rubbed the side of Corser's bike and practically took Corser's front wheel off at Laguna Seca going up the hill to the corkscrew. Both their bikes were shaking around. Looked sketchy. There was definitely contact for no apparent reason. I'd call Zarco a dangerous ride. He's involved in too many collisions. A fair amount of controversy was generated after the Zarco/Espargaro racing incident in Brno. Zarco says "we're racing not dancing" and the majority of comments on social media sided with him. Maybe he felt emboldened and justified as viewed in the public's eye. Then what happens 7 days later? Lightning strikes again - the Holy Mother load of lightning. 

Yup. Marquez is the new breed. Looks like he brake checked Zarco at the end of the start/finish straight at PI in '18. Pretty clear from the heli view. Could be wrong, maybe Marquez missed the braking mark (yeah right!) or lost the front at the beginning of the braking zone (which is the default response to the brake check accusation). But, if it was a brake check maneuver, that right there tells Zarco anything goes in motogp, even at high speed, because the world champ plays the game that way. If you get too close to the neighborhood bully, you might get thumped. Which is exactly what Zarco was doing. He was all over Marquez' back wheel and up along the side of him - really close. What we are witnessing might just be a changing of the tide that nobody really has any control over. It's the death and birth of beliefs about how motogp racers behave on track. A cultural shift.

I do not anticipate carnage during motogp races. I kinda hold my breath and hope everybody makes it through ok. It's only when Steve Day drops hints during the motogp race, about a similar red flag event happening during the moto2 race, that I find it hard to not anticipate carnage. I really wish Steve Day and Matt Birt would not breathe a single word about the lower class races. As soon as the thought hits the mind - stop. Don't speak. Count to ten and think about the viewers. But no, they simply cannot shut up about whatever juicy tidbit of racing news they just gotta talk about. What does it take to get this message through to them? Do they even care what we think? As soon as they drop even teeny weeny hints (that do not require a genius to deduce sometimes) the viewing experience is conditioned. I knew from what they said that Alex Marquez had won the moto2 title last year. It always starts with, "we don't want to give anything away, but..." and then they continue speaking and do exactly that! It's like I can't get the earbuds outta my head quickly enough with those guys.

> As Rossi said, he hit four guys over 20 years and Marc hits four guys in a given race.

Just thought I'd bring your quote to the fore, MSS 58. Four in 20 years sounds slightly generous to himself, but 4 in one (Argentinian) race is about right for Marc. The theory and ratio seems about right though.

This whole brake check theory against Zarco and Marquez is bollocks.  I'm sure we have many riders in this group that comment here that have been on fast tracks and I'm sure all of them would agree that approaching turn 1 at PI (my home track), is NOT a place you would ever brake check someone.  MotoGP riders may be axe murderers, but they don’t want to kill themselves.  Turn 1 at PI is frightening at the best of times, intentionally causing a situation that may result in a competitor running up your arse is not anything a MotoGP rider would consider doing. 

I'm sure turn two at RBR is the same.  Zarco did not brake check.  Did he go wider than normal? Possibly.  Remember he was overtaking, not taking his normal line, so his exit of that corner would not be normal either….. and they are doing 300kph there…. It’s very hard to be precise!  Did Morbidelli see him? Of course…  Zarco was past him for long enough.  Could Morbi have conceded the place and backed off a little? yep.  did he? No..... he didn’t want to lose a place, probably though he could outbrake him and take the place back.  So they are both equally to blame for what ends up being an unfortunate racing incident.  An incident both could learn from. 

Totally agree. High speed and the aero effect at play here, no stupid actions here.

Perfect use of the term for plums.

it's all amazing and spectacular until it goes wrong. I was thinking the same about the crazy PI races. Fast track and crazy racing. The term 'race of the decade' etc etc. The crowd cheers ! Yet this time not. It is a reminder of the danger but the danger is always there. How many barrel rolling bikes miss rider, it was a kind of luck that saw Marquez only break his arm. Flying bikes landing a meter from the prone rider.

No data required. No rules were broken this time. Just some sensible talking between riders in the briefing is all that should happen. 

As a life long motorcycle and car racer I've heard that old saw over and over again and I just don't buy it.  It makes the assumption that those of us engaged in risky activity contemplate the risk and then reach a conclusion that defies logic.  Any intelegent human being must realize, on some level, that it could happen to them.  When I head out on track, on some level, I know it could happen to me.  What I have done is to mentally minimized the risk by rationalize the odds so I can get on with the "reward" part of the "risk/reward" trade off.  So, the proper term is not "They don't think it will happen to them" but rather, "They rationalize the odds to eliminate consideration of the risks".

I feel sorry for Morbidelli, he is riding really good this year and now already has two scratch results, and a huge scare. His bike was destroyed, that probably means that he is now just down to three engines. That'll be tough for the rest of the season.

I agree with the approach of "Don't blame anyone, ask how we avoid such things.". Everyone involved knows the risks, and we have long seen enough to know the possible outcomes. Sure, some take it across that invisible boundary but no-one does these things deliberately with a malicious intent or expecting such consequences. It's professionalism. What is (or did) Ducati expecting of Dovi, or Miller? Are they aspiring to MM93 levels of 'controlled aggression'? How would that move have been applauded had the collision not occurred and a place won?

Racers have long played the "Don't mess with me" behaviour to intimidate. It's a fine line. The difference between the fast line and a defensive line is an overtaking opportunity. This isn't amateurism, it's hard-nosed professionalism. Riders are both naturally competitive and understanding of the need to do better unless it's P1. Sponsors expect it and spectators (usually) applaud it.

The massive improvements in safety equipment, circuit design, and medical interventions all conspire to make the power and speed 'manageable'. Risk is reduced. Fatalities avoided - the statistics do not lie. Yes, every serious incident like this is shocking for its very suddenness, violence, and consequences (actual or potential). Never crashed, or made a mistake? Pile in. You have? What helps most criticism and belittlement, or constructive discussion? That wasn't a Schumacheresque move to take anyone out for hard-nosed professional reasons. It was a very balsy move that carried a lot of risk and went wrong. The speed alone is scary upright and in line, with a lot of lean and associated aero effects it's beyond my comprehension. Zarco has had his scare, professional 'feedback', and public comments. Next weekend will be interesting to see how they all play it. 

anybody who think's riders to brake-ckecks need to realise some things :

* they are 100% aware of the fact that if they would do it, chances are the rider behind them will hit them. peope seriously think riders will take that risk at 300+ km/h ?

* the can never be 100% sure where the rider behind them is, so if they would do a brake check, they 'd need to start braking earlier, release the brakes and than re-brake. this will A/ cost time. no rider want's to lose time just to annoye another rider and B/ makes them more vulnarable for an attack on the brakes if the rider behind them isn't really "behind" them.

* I did some amateur racing in my younger years, and the only thoughts I had during a race was :

* if I thinck it's possible to catch a guy in front of me, I will go for it and try to overtake that rider

*at no point in that process you think of anything else. you simply do not have the time or unused brain-capacity : you are 100% dedicated to the cause

* about Pol's crashes : anybody who thinks "the one in front-if only by 20cm has the right to do what he want's" is dilusional. If a rider in front of me left a gap big enough that I think is big enough , I went for it. sometimes others came to me after the race to complain, I just replied : did we crash ? did you run wider than normal ? the answers where always (in order) no and yes. So was there a problem with my pass ? obviously not. If you do not go for such gap's, you are not a racer. If you go , that's  a split second descission, you do not even thinck about it. you either go (which means your SUBconscious has decided it's safe, you yourself do not decide that. If that would be the case, the opportunity is gone before you come to a descission), or you do not go and you do not go because the opportunity does not excist. The only reason you do not go is a deliberate discission to wait for later in the lap/race because you thinck that will be better( for whatever reason). But that is a descission you've already made previous the incident/opportunity.

the one going seriously off the racing line (Pol's incident's, not Zarco at the RBR, he clearly didn't go seriously of the racing line. you only have to look at the trail of rubber ontrack to see he is at max only a couple of inches -not even a bikes width- off the "rubber-line" ) should always check his inside. He is the only one that can. the guy on the inside of the corner does not have the possibility.

While I think Zarco did shift about on his lines some. I don't think he brake checked at all. At those speeds, as soon as he pulled in front of Morbidelli, Morbidelli would be instantly sucked into Zarco's draft. That would pull him in and throw off his braking point giving him no chance to brake in time.  The same thing happened to Zarco at PI. In that case he had 2 bikes ahead IIRC and when Marquez swung over( a bit aggresive, but not overly), Zarco was sucked into the back of the bike.

Just here to ape what motoshrink wrote.......Zarco has taken to the Ducati like a duck to water. HE should be the one replacing Dovisiozo.  Anybody who can't see that is blind as a bat imho.

Thw word respect seems to be the theme for last weekend's motogp event. On Saturday, Dovizioso manager dropped a bombshell on social media stating that Dovi will sever his relationship with Ducati Corse effective at the end of 2020. The word on the lips of many was respect, or a history of a lack thereof by Ducati Corse managers to their riders.

During the race on Sunday, a double bombshell monster event halted the race. After the race was completed, the subject of respect was mentioned again. This time as a need between the riders. The question is, "how much agression on the track is too much? How do riders respect one another when they are doing battle?" Not easy questions to answer.

In this very forum the subject of respect has been broached recently. Mr. Emmett has made it very clear that personal attacks have no place here. There seems to be a fine line in how one perceives an argument about the validity of one's opinion and one's sense of self. And, apparently for some, there can be difficulty in discerning between the two.

I respectfully disagree with the aforementioned comments expressing incredulity at the possibility of Zarco brake checking Morbidelli on the run in to T3 at RBR last Sunday. If it was unfathomable then why would Morbidelli and Rossi be accusing him of it? And I also respectfully disagree those shooting down the possibility of Marquez brake checking Zarco at the end of the start/finish straight at PI in 2018. I believe that in both instances it is quite possible that brake checking may have played a role. The heli view of the Zarco crash at PI is very telling. Zarco was busy being Zarco - pulling up alonside another rider and not showing a wheel. And either Marquez missed his brake point, or he was deliberately messing with Zarco. Marquez got on the brakes much sooner than any of the other riders in the front group. Looks like his rear wheel is trying to come off the ground. And he and Zarco almost collected the rider behind Zarco in the collision. 

Just the way I see it. Have to admit I'm not a fan of some of the moves these two guys pull on the track. after race in PI 2015 when he accused MM of purposely ruining his race when in reality it was AI who "ruined" his race, so I wouldn't pay too my attention to what he says, after all it was his buddy who was the rider who hit Zarco. 

Here's a bloke who walked away from a bike which wasn't working for him, and then had to consume a sizeable serving of humble pie taking a ride with a team he said he would not touch with a long pole. Sundays crash was a racing incident. If Zarco or Morbidelli had done something other than what they did, something else would have happened. But the fact that Zarco was prepared to overtake there, and the fact that Morbidelli was not backing off is what makes them great racers, and that's what we turn up for on Sunday. 

The word on the PPP is that Zarco is the big loser this weekend. He has lost trust amongst his peers, the rest of the motogp grid, due to his super aggressive behavior on track. Most of the other riders do not see last Sunday's incident as a "racing incident." The words "careless with lethal consequences" were used.

That's what the other riders think of Zarco.

My opinion after watching and re-watching the lead-up to the crash is that JZ was simply carried wide by his passing line. If you look at the T3 camera shot, JZ early apexes T2 in order to get underneath FM. JZ's early T2 entry carries him wider by 2-3 bike widths than he would normally be on the track. I don't think he did anything wrong and you can clearly see other riders approach T3 at around the same spot on the track as JZ at other times in the race.

The ONLY thing I could possibly fault JZ for is not thinking ahead enough about the possible consequences. However, I don't think he did anything any other rider wouldn't have done on any given day. It's only when you consider JZ's past history of weakish passes that one jumps to fault JZ first, but this pass couldn't be considered weak since he was ahead of FM well before the crash.

Phenomenal writing, David. It just keeps getting better. Thanks!

We are not in control

Perhaps the greatest arrogance of our species is the idea that we control events. We don't. But before we all collapse into an even deeper pit of despair after reading that, understand that this does not render us powerless. Because we very much have the ability to influence events, and that is both our sword and shield against random mayhem.

To explain the difference, the following example came to light many year ago when speaking to a senior aerodynamicist at what was, at the time, one of the foremost engineering/manufacturing concerns in the world. Someone had asked how we "control" the airflow over an aerodynamic surface using the latest wind tunnel and CFD software. The reply was: "We don't...we design shapes to influence the physical conditions so that the airflow will always behave with an acceptably small level of uncertainty. We can't tell you whether a specific air molecule 5 Km in front of a wing's leading edge will pass over or under that wing. But what we can do is influence the physical conditions at and in front of the leading edge in such a way that we are assured that the proportion of airflow over/under will be as intended".

About six years ago, when I was asked to work on the initial Additive Manufacturing (AM) Standard for Eng. & Mfg. (Y14.46), I had already moved solidly to the "influence" side of the control or influence argument. This mattered because one of the real challenges with AM is not making fantastic structural shapes...but proving you did so in a manner so that the End Product conformed to the Engineering Specifications. And this can be a real can of worms when so many of the critical features are buried within the as-built component (and so cannot be physically accessed for measurement). But this is not a riddle we haven't dealt with before. When we weld up the Hull Section of a Nuclear Submarine, how do we know how good the weld is at a depth of 60mm? In a CFRP layup for a wing spar, how can we be sure that there is no appreciable delamination or internal voids? If the Engineering Specs call for 4340M / 300M VAR Cr-Ni-Mo-V Aircraft Quality Alloy Steel, how can we know that the internal molecular arrangement is what we want? Iwata signed off on Engineering Specs for the material composition and heat-treatment of Titanium Valves in an M1 motor, how do they know that the actual components installed are conforming?

Well, there are ways. One of the easiest is to use a "Coupon" No, not the pile of grocery store discounts your Aunt keeps in a candy dish next to the remote control, but a manufacturing coupon, which is simply an additional part (or parts more commonly) that will not be installed in the final end product. But it will be manufactured from exactly the same batch lot of materials as the parts that are to be installed, it will be formed using the same processing equipment as a single "batch" operation, and then they are all heat treated (or whatever other post processing is specified) together. After which we can decide which components go on to greater glory, and which get sacrificed to the Gods of Uncertainty.

Typically, any rational enterprise will try to employ Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) methods instead of coupons. But where is the fun in that? So, where required, the coupons will be destroyed so we can have an acceptable degree of uncertainty about their siblings (which are going into the end product). In certain circles, this is humorously known as "Willful Destruction of Company Property" (or, with Subs, "Willful Destruction of Government Property, which is even better).

Welds can be X-Rayed for flaws. But for Hull Integrity, a smaller hull section coupon (though still pretty big in real terms) will be cut up and sent up the hill to the R&D shop, where there are cut up further for physical inspection, and some of those are then fed to incredibly powerful and nasty things called "sharpies", that work just like the Devil's own wood plane, except on very tough steel several inches thick. They peel back the weld area one thin slice at a time for visual inspection.

CFRP structural components can usually be NDT'd (even for internal flaws), but CFRP coupons would still be the rule for first article wing spars wth the coupons then sacrificed to expose any internal issues (or separately load tested to failure). That chunk of 300M Alloy Steel? A piece of it will also be sacrificed to examine the molecular structure, and then some of it will be machined to defined shapes (per ASTM E8 or and equivalent ISO Standard) and pulled (or bent, or both) to validate (at least) the ultimate tensile strength, yield strength, elongation and Poisson’s ratio. And the hardness of those M1 valves? If some likely engineer has specified a heat treatment to achieve a surface hardness on the Rockwell C Scale, then in all likelihood some lab is going to push a Brinell Ball into those surfaces to verify this. And in doing so properly ruin the valve (a magnified view of a Brinell Test area reveals a lovely little crater with a raised circumference). So valve coupons it is, and now would be a great time to explain to management that we were just kidding about whole "Willful Destruction" bit.

And this is a very long read just to get to some clarity about Yamaha Valves. Except none of this is about Yamaha Valves, it is about Baby Monkeys.

"Everybody Wants a Baby Monkey...Nobody Want a Monkey"

You will never read a more valid truism. Baby Monkeys are cute, curious, intelligent, and very affectionate. They will happily wear diapers, drink formula from a baby bottle, and cling to you with all their heart. You can easily influence their behavior.

Monkeys, OTOH, are wild animals completely unsuited for human companionship. They stopped being cute after their first four months. They are not curious about anything not related to being a successful monkey. They are really not all that smart (never confuse an opposable thumb with brains), and while your former baby may be dependent on you, essentially you are now just an annoying impediment, and they would just as soon that you f####d-off just as soon as you could manage it...but please leave the milk and baby bottle. Their first, second, and third options for conflict resolution is to bite whatever is currently pissing them off, and monkeys have no fourth options. You can now properly sod that diaper idea, and since monkeys do not mind stinking, well, like a monkey (and there is no higher classification on the stink scale), you can also bin those fond memories of when you bathed them as babies.

And the real kicker is: nobody ever really gets a baby monkey anyway. You get a nasty big monkey in a temporary baby disguise. That disguise lasts 3-4 months. The nasty big monkey lasts 30+ years. And you would have a better chance of successfully digging a hole in the ocean with a garden spade than influencing a nasty big monkey.

But that is what life regularly deals out to us: An enterprise that we love as this magic baby, only to have it all change into something quite nasty (if we are not paying close attention). I read an interview with Kurt Cobain, not long before his death, where the reporter asked him if his success was making him happy. It wasn't. So the interviewer surmised that he must have been happy before all that. "No" replied Kurt, being 30 cents away from having a quarter, with nobody willing to book your band, pretty much sucked as well. But he then confided that there was a magic period of time that briefly existed when he and his band mates were starting to get noticed. They could find gigs regularly, and the wolf was no longer at the door. They had yet to achieve any great commercial success, but they could see it in the distance. Life looked like a long smooth downhill straight. That was Nirvana's Baby Monkey Period. And then it was gone. And then he was gone.

So, all this twaddle just to talk about baby monkeys? Sorry, mate, not even close.

Group Culture and Uncertainty

Any enterprise, any racing team, any career that eventually thrives goes thru it's baby monkey phase. The talent is there, the level of cooperation is terrific, and all the hard work is beginning to pay off. What is often overlooked is that most of these virtues are being derived from a shared culture. It is this culture that enables the efficient influence of events. A virtuous shared culture also means that the uncertainty of outcome is very low. Tasks that need to be accomplished are done so without having to resort to 60 pages of process requirements. Knowledge is freely shared. But unless that culture is first recognized, and then cultivated, it can quickly disappear. And the signs of change are as hard to define, in absolute terms, as is the exact hour and minute a monkey stopped being a baby and and started to become a litany of bites and vile odors. One day you are the very model of a progressive and successful football club, and the next it's Bayern 8, Barcelona 2.

Both success and size (and the relation between them) can warp a culture beyond all recognition (and very often beyond redemption). And it can be the absolute death knell for any effective influencing of events. When faced with this ("where the crikey f##k did all these nasty monkeys come from?") people tend to redraw boundaries back down to where they can once again apply baby monkey levels of influence. So it appears to have happened with Dovi and Gigi. Ducati were no longer a Happy Band of Brothers, but separate cliques. Dovi had his paddock crew, and saw in them a better solution to technical challenges than Gigi and his separate troupe. Can't stop and steer using the new rear tire? Fine. But we don't need to put this back in the wind tunnel, we don't need 43 more technical debriefs, and enough with the damn computer simulations. We are going to look at changing the master cylinder size, the mechanical leverage on the system, and maybe three lines of code in the engine breaking software. But from Gigi's viewpoint, he was trying to preserve his own baby monkey. He had assembled a crackerjack engineering staff with its own great culture, but when they tried to help Dovi all they got for their troubles was broken skin and thrown diapers. So this was not about who is right and who is covered in monkey poop, but rather a split of cultures that was irreconcilable unless upper management stepped in. But Ducati management seems to be under the farcical notion that they are in control. They are not. Worse, the misjudgment means they are also no longer able to influence outcomes any more than King Canute could.

And I hope Dorna/FIM are not making the same fatal errors. If they think they can fix last weekend's worst situations with some additional rules, they had first better wise up to the fact that rules, standards, and process docs are just lip service for CYA purposes without an underlying culture of support. Because compliance, and management's commitment to support this, especially when it is damned inconvenient to do so, is the life's blood of any virtuous culture as an enterprise grows and matures.

I have been watching Vale since his 125cc Rossifumi days, and have learned to take some of his statements with a grain of salt, but what he said about what happened Sunday had the ring of absolute truth. It is about Rider respecting Rider more than anything else. But this can't happen in a vacuum. Racers are always going to push. And today's business model is not helping, especially in the lower classes. When teenagers are expected to bring six-figures to the table just to get a mid-pack ride, it is to be expected that their claws tend to be fully extended. Brake checking is used because it works (even on Ozzies going into turn 11 at Laguna Seca a good while back). They pile up on the racing line to get a tow...not to make a fist at the Ruling Class but because it can mean the difference between starting on the first three rows...or the last three. To that you can add, in many cases, their parents have hocked everything they own in this world to allow them to have this chance. 

And it is very easy to see a dark scenario where things get unintentionally worse, not better, because someone decides to monetize MotoGP carnage. Think not? The UFC is incredibly popular, and their business model seems to be glorifying people kicking other people in the head when they are upright, and kneeing them in the head when they are not. How many clicks did social media generate when Vale had one motorcycle launched at his nuts and a second one at his noggin?

It will never be an easy fix. The thing about a virtuous culture is you can't do coupon testing on people. Everyone is part of the final product, defective or named Puig or not. Maybe they need to slow things down a bit so the riders can get back to playing soccer Thursday afternoons again. Fat chance. Cheers.

PS - Some brief notes on the weekend. 

I was, for the first time in ages, very disappointed with the broadcasting crew. To start with they can stop injecting drama where none is called for. Jack's "mad" gamble on soft tires for the restart? Sorry, he was out of the preferred spec and that was his only choice (unless his box was listening to Dovi's and sorted out that the harder used tire from the first segment was perfectly viable for the second as-well). And while I might be the first to suggest that Pol, along with Maverick, should have his shoelaces taken away, be restricted to using only a dull spork for all his meals, and have a handler always nearby ready to dart him with a tranquilizer gun (at the required "charging rhino" dosage), his issues in the second segment were also due to not having another fresh tire in the preferred compound, not a nervous breakidown. And Maverick didn't wet himself after the restart either. Full marks to Top Gun for lining right back up to race, but dry clutches can still be bitchy little devices when subjected to multiple launches, and his was slipping more than gripping until it cooled down after the first few laps. Thank you, but I have enough bloody drama in my life this year and don't need you to manufacture some additional servings. And while I remain one of Simon's biggest fans, he is starting to sound like KTM's designated den mother. And no, I am not going to cut Pol any slack for behaving like a petulant child, because there are too many fast people who do not behave this way, so it is not a job requirement, nor should it be excusable.

One for David to look into: While Yamaha (except Vale) has denied that the extreme heat in Jerez was a factor in their spate of engine issues, I noticed that none of the engines that were run in Spain have been used since. And this includes several that have not been pulled from rotation and sent back to Iwata. Also, it appears that Yamaha's problem does not apply to all the engines. It seems that have identified a bad batch of components (apparently valves, which is why I suspect a materials/heat treat issue) that were only used in some engines. The rest appear to be fine. This may explain some of the confusion between riders over RPM reduction. Perhaps some riders received more of the bad allocation than others, and perhaps some not at all. Is it possible that some riders had the RPM limits lowered because they will have to complete the year with only two engines, and that it may be the case that while both remaining engines do not have the suspect components installed, there are just too many miles remaining to run at the original design RPM? I.e., the reduced RPM is not to protect suspect motors, but to protect "good" motors that now will need to run far more hours than their original design life?

Well, at least we finally know what was inside Gigi's "Salad Box" (since Johann decided to share it's content for all to see). After carefully analyzing all the hi-res images I could find I believe I have a definitive answer: Shrapnel.

The bravest thing Vale had to do Sunday was not climbing back on his was having to call his mom later that evening. Because in the eyes of a mother, we are always and forever their baby monkey. Cheers.


Jinx, you invariably have me laughing aloud as I read, and gobsmacked by the territory you cover in a single piece, not to mention the quality of the prose. I don't even particularly enjoy tech talk but this is like having Somerset Maugham writing the Haynes manual for a Landrover. So, thank you and well done, I think we probably needed this, to lighten the mood a little.

The funny thing is that I kind of had a real baby monkey way back when - my prospective sister-in-law's actually (both the monkey and prospective wife paled after a while....) and one of the best ever jobs I ever had was fabricating 'coupon' sections of oil rigs as well as the kit for ripping them apart.

Anyway, one thing you reminded me of here - the footie on Thursdays. What ever happened to that?  Though racing was pretty cut-throat back then as well.

JINX, where the heck have you been?

I literally was concerned that you were ok. Has all been well for you? Just scoot elsewhere with the longest Winter break ever? Decide NASCAR was a better use of your time? 


And I SWEAR that I doooon't have a brake check...

Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my telemetry. Zarco deserves a talking to, it will help. Pol too, he has a coach. We always have a few wild ones, don't we?

(Welcome back mate)

Thanks again Jinx. Good to hear from you. Reminds me of my previous life as a metalworker.

Not just baby monkeys.

I don't know what to say about the races last weekend. The circuit layout is part of the problem. Fast tracks mean fast crashes.

Thanks for an entertaining contribution, as always. Always a pleasure and an honor to read your posts. 

Had to file that one away to read when I could be fully engaged. Brilliant stuff.

The mob mentality that is condeming Zarco is way out of line.  Considering what Morbidelli endured I would give him a pass but for the the imperious Rossi to pile on is rediculus.  Any rider worth their salt engages in agressive moves in their quest to win.  Some, like Dovi, less so althought his lack of agression has been a source of critisism regarding his inability to produce more win.  But I've seen both Rossi and Marquez, two of the most successful riders in history, get away with moves that could have produced results similar to what we saw in Austria.  Only when the outcome produces the carnage we whitnessed at Spielberg does the lynch mob gather. And while I'm at it where does Pol get off thinking he can run off track and then agressively retake his line while he has someone right on his tail?  I know from experience that when someone runs wide you shoot the gap. That's what Zarco did, it's what Olivera did and it is what Espargaro would have done. Somehow regarding Pol's incedent with Zarco as evidence of a problem with the Frenchman is, again, rediculus.  The issue here is the track.  A revision that would tighten the final bend before turn three would address the inherent danger of that section.  Hell, it can be bike only if the F1 purests want to keep the old layout.  And lord knows Mateschitz has the money to pay for it. So fix the circiut and stop the finger pointing for god sakes.

Though spectators may not be allowed at present, it feels like the grandstands are being used well enough. My take is that a lot (but by no means all) of the noise from within the circus is mind games. More people than usual have more than usual on the line this year. Ordinarily teams might be saying to their riders that, although Marquez was 95% bound to win, do your best and maybe you'll get lucky. Whereas this year it's all to play for and I imagine many riders are under intense pressure to grab a crown while they can. And anyone caught slacking, not giving 110%, will be held to account down the line.

So, it's no bad tactic for team A to undermine a threat from team B by saying this or that rider is reckless, hot-headed, temperamental etc and put them under pressure to back off by a percent or two. I've seen much, much worse coming togethers than this over the years, and though none were anything like as scary or dramatic consequence-wise, they didn't generate anything like this heat. Hence my slight scepticism about some of the chatter.


Argentina 2015


I think it's pretty hypocritical by Rossi to be angry at Zarco for his move. Since he basicly did the same thing at Argentina 2015 to Marquez.

Quite a stretch to conflate those two incidents. Not seeing the similarity myself. I watched the race in 2015 and what I saw was MM getting past Rossi and slowing. Not one time but repeatedly. It's always been customary for non-title contending riders to not get tangled up with the contenders. Until 2015 when Marquez decided he should play around and mess up Rossi. Marc could've easily cleared off into the distance, as he later did, on Rossi but he didn't he kept slowing and backing up into him until VR got irritated. No, yesterday's was a racing incident. 2015 was a young punk who didn't know how to act when out of contention for the championship. IMO

It seems to me you are confusing Sepang 2015 with Argentina 2015. My comment was not about Sepang.

I must be itching for a fight or something. Re-engaging brain now

Of course VR has played dirty every now and again, I imagine most of the field has. These days he has less to play for, the odd podium and a sniff at a win, but he has more experience than two or three riders combined so is worth listening to when he's talking sense. Same as Capirossi, Spencer and a long list of other older guys who can now be a little more dispassionate. I'm not suggesting everything he says should be taken as truth or a pearl of wisdom, but neither should everything he says be disregarded out of hand. For instance,  I'd take Vale's position around who's fault it was with a pinch of salt, given Franco comes from the VR stable.

and apparently he braked later than all his previous lap's.

What do all the brake-checkers and Zarco-critics have to say now ? Probably they will stay quite untill the next incident and than say "see ? he did it again"  ?

And I am as curious about GM's data : did he also brake later ?


In what format was the data released? Do you have a link to the data? Which channels were released? For which laps? Did they release the data for previous laps so people can make a comparison?

All I saw was a press release saying "the telemetry showed that Zarco was braking later in turn 3 than in the rest of the race, so it is clear from this analysis that at no time was his intention to harm Morbidelli’s braking and close his line."

that's what I've read to. they wouldn't say it if it wasn't true, at  least I hope human kind still has at least that descency.

What does 'fast' mean ?blush

Fast in the context of a motogp bike around Spielburg.

Is it time taken from start/finish line to start/finish line ? cool

Is it the highest speed reached on any given lap ? devil

More complex, does the distance actually travelled (the 'racing line') count in any judgement ? Did you ever consider that Yamahas and Suzuki might actually travel further than a V4 and despite having a higher average speed on 'their lap', it takes them a tenth of a second more to complete 'their lap than a Ducati on 'the Ducati lap' because it's a longer lap. crying

frown The Yamaha would be, not the fastest bike (top speed), the fastest bike (time taken against actual distance travelled) and not the fastest bike (took longer point to point). All at the same time.surprise

What does 'later' mean ?blush

Gps isn't allowed so actual position cannot be known. Distance travelled can be estimated, but that depends on line taken and the possibility of the wheels not turning exactly as they should, kerbs for example or a wheelie if we are looking at the front wheel. What i mean to say is that we are looking at feedback from the bike to estimate position. Many indicators could be used to estimate. But the circumstances vary, especially in a race. Later suggests time relative to some point in time. Unless things have changed and they are allowed gps these days and i'm not sure if it could work at those speeds to that resolution.

Later is the opposite of earlier. If muggins applies the brakes well before the corner that is earlier. If I hold the throttle open a tenth of a second longer then brake, I'm braking later than Muggins. Alex Barros gets closer to the upcoming apex before he to, starts to brake. Marc Marquez is the best at this, braking later than most of the MotoGp class, decelerating more in less time. And releases the brakes smoothly. And initiates the turn with precisely the correct entry speed. mostly. When braking at the maximum it is easy to overbrake and get to the corner too slow. This is a mistake that costs a lot of time. Slightly too slow is better than a bit too fast. 

The sound of a bike clattering & scrapping along the ground, behind you, is a real worry when braking. It is impossible to know where the fallen bike is or which direction it's going. But you know it isn't slowing as much as you are. Just gotta ride your own race & hope. 

Bones breaking is another subject. I've done my R femur, L 4th metacarpel, L distal radius, minimally displace fracture of the... None fun.

...could still mean he braked directly in front of Morbidelli, giving Morbidelli nowhere to go, causing the accident. Without knowing exactly where the bikes were on track in relation to one another, the inputs being given to the controls of the machines and the telemetry data in real time, being told that "Zarco braked later than any previous lap" is meaningless.

In this context, later should obviously mean closer to the corner, so they should have said he braked closer to T3 than before.

So how do they know where on the track the bike was when he braked ? It cannot be relative to T3 on that lap, no matter how they can know where T3 is on any other lap, T3 was a little bit different on that lap.

From my limited knowledge i understand they can only know when the bike passed the sector timing lines however that is done. So they can know at time X the bike was somewhere along line A, can't tell where along that line. Then by interpreting the data from braking, throttle, lean angle etc and aha !...that's T3...but the bikes exact position on the track is an estimation. The more data sets, laps, the better the estimation may become but the difference between the estimated position and the actual position increases the further they get from a known position such as the sector lines i1, i2, i3 and the start/finish line. Again, can only know when the cross it, not where they cross it. The difference between 2 laps, fairly worthless.

In Austria i1 sits right on T2 which is good. The question is what is later ? It can only be relative to i1. It cannot be distance to T3 or distance anywhere, the distance can only be estimated and is dependant on the line taken through i1 which cannot be known from the data. 1/100th of a second ? How much different must a line be to create a 1/100th of a second difference in time, between i1 and the brakes being applied, yet the bike is still braking at the same actual distance from T3 ? (83cm at 300kayes)

And having said all that, i'd imagine the riders brake differently on every single lap regardless of what's going on. Fuel load, tyre wear. They play the brakes like a musical instrument.

'Later' on it's own means very little.

Welcome to Motogp. Later has meant closer to the corner since Jeebus was road racing his dinosaur. Either you're new to the sport or have just never heard racing terms before but there is no arcane language being bandied about. These are all common terms that all race fans know and understand. Again, welcome to motorcycle racing, the best sport on earth

No, not new to bikes, motogp or racing in general, not new to the world either unfortunately.

I know what 'later' would normal mean in racing terms and it seems my point goes over everyones head.

They wave a sheet of data about and say it shows he braked 'later'. It cannot show he braked later in normal generic racing terminology, meaning closer to the corner. It can only show he braked later in that general terminology called milliseconds.

Making assumptions about data you haven't got access too! Nor the experience in analysis of it, is meaningless also. 😉

no assumtions about data, i think. I only used examples to demonstrate, in some way, the limitations of attempting to define a bikes position on track with the normally legal methods allowed by the rules. Also to to give a very rough example of how the data could be deceptive. I really couldnt be bothered looking it up in the latest regs so i questioned if the rules had changed, as far as i know, positioning systems aren't allowed. I have never had access to the data from a motogp bike, but i have to analyse systems just as, if not more, complex on a regular basis (global), do a lot of measurments too...but i don't own a measure tape.

Anyway, onward and upward.....and back down again because sleep is nice.

Dorna puts on the show and yet they have to ask the teams for the information about what the bikes are doing wherever and whenever on the tracks? They need a real time central data processing hub with gps independent of the teams in order to remove all doubt about who was slamming on the brakes in front of whom so they can see the reactions and do calculations to determine if it was even humanly possible for rider B to even avoid an accident. They could see who is brake checking or braking in the face of whom all day long if they wanted to. They could determine just how dirty a rider is from data. Then they would not have to rely so much on personal testimony about what happened.

Dorna have access to all the data as and when required! It was stipulated as part if the implementation of the spec electronics from day one.

Does the data show exactly where on track all bikes are at in a certain point in time and all the info each bike is producing? 

So i looked it up. All the bikes have GPS, supplied by the organisers, part of the spec kit. It's forbidden to have it connected to the machine in any way other than as directed by the organiser. It's not allowed to control anything on the bike basically. It says nothing of it being used side by side with the bikes feedback in data analysis back in the pits. If it is so then the only limitation in knowing position is the system used,

I know y'all gonna hate me but the T2/T3 section has to be slowed down somehow, it makes me cringe when I see folks on motorcycles at 180mph mere centimeters away while their bikes are aiming at unsuspecting guys in bikes less than 200 meters away. IMHO the fastest, simplest and cheapest solution is to add a *drumroll* ...chicane cool , after thinking it a bit and looking around what's available, this be my preffered location, the drawing is not exactly as it should be, it's just a quick sketch! ...hey at least it will at least add an overtaking spot and completely eliminate the scary T2/T3 combo and the possibility of bikes re-entering the circuit.