Jerez MotoGP Subscriber Notes: Breaking The Mold, Consistency Counts, And The Ins And Outs Of Arm Pump

"That's why we line up on Sunday. You never know what's going to happen," the late Nicky Hayden once said, in response to a particularly stupid question on my part. Jerez proved him right once again, events conspiring to confound what seemed to be an obvious conclusion from the very beginning.

What happened? At 2pm on Sunday, the MotoGP grid lined up with Fabio Quartararo on pole, starting as favorite after laying down an intimidating pace in practice. Alongside him were Franco Morbidelli on a two-year old Yamaha, and the Ducati of Jack Miller, while the second Ducati of Pecco Bagnaia started behind him.

It was obvious to the experienced Jerez hands that Fabio Quartararo would walk away with the race, the Frenchman having way too much pace for anyone else to stay with him over 25 laps. The Ducatis may have lined up third and fourth on the grid, but they would surely face; Jerez is not a Ducati track after all. The last Ducati victory at the circuit was way, way back in 2006, when Loris Capirossi kicked off the season with a win aboard the Desmosedici GP6.

That didn't happen, of course. That's why everyone lines up on Sunday, after all. Instead, we had a new MotoGP winner, records broken, preconceptions shattered. We saw the specter of arm pump raise its ugly head, the start of a dream being shattered, and perhaps the first sign of a legend in decline.

In these subscriber notes:

  • Jack Miller, answering critics, and performing under pressure
  • A new championship leader in a championship where consistency is still everything
  • The state of the championship
  • Franco Morbidelli's future
  • A deep dive into arm pump, and why some get it, others don't

But first, a quick detour to Moto3, where Pedro Acosta racked up his third win in four races. He now has 95 points out of a possible 100 in the championship, and sits 51 points clear of Niccolò Antonelli, comfortably ensconced at the top of the title table. That is remarkable enough, but the fact that Acosta is just 16, and this is his rookie season in Grand Prix racing is simply astounding.

If his championship lead wasn't impressive enough, the way he won the Moto3 race on Sunday had the mark of greatness. On Thursday, he sat in the pre-event press conference and had the greats of MotoGP sing his praises. That would normally be enough to go to a 16-year-old's head, and make him buckle under the pressure to perform. But Acosta clearly isn't just a normal 16-year-old.

Instead, Acosta bided his time in the leading group throughout the Moto3 race, waiting for the end of the back straight on the final lap to pounce, putting in a pass that looked impossible a couple of hundred meters previously. He put just enough daylight between himself and the chasing pack to be almost impossible to catch, and then when chaos unfolded in the final corner – as it invariably does in Moto3 – he was safely in front of it.

A wise head on young shoulders

What impressed about the ride was above all his racecraft and the maturity and calmness with which he approached it. He won because he put himself in the right place at the right time, only fought the battles that mattered, and saved his energy for a final assault. Along the way, he was sliding a Moto3 bike in ways which have rarely been seen. Acosta controlled the race as skillfully as he controlled his bike. History is being made in Moto3 right now.

Acosta wasn't the only impressive winner at Jerez on Sunday. In Moto2, Fabio Di Giannantonio rode the race of his life to take his first win in the intermediate class, leading from pretty much lights to flag. In MotoGP, Jack Miller took his first dry win in the premier class, taking his victory tally to two after his wet win at a rain-soaked Assen in 2016. And unlike 2016, and so many of Miller's other wins in Moto3, he won it by riding an inch-perfect race for lap after lap, his concentration never flagging.

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And I think that Rossi should swap bikes with Morbidelli as he is not using the full potential of the 2021 Yamaha.

He could swap with McPhee - he'd hardly go any worse.

Petronas SRT must be close to wondering whether it's worth putting out six bikes every weekend - only Frankie, Xavi and Binder minor seem to be bothering to take part.

The other three have two point-scoring finishes from eleven starts.

I totally agree with you rusty trumpet. But under the rules is he allowed? Even if VR46 was to agree ( which he won’t anyway)

The last time I felt this happy about a race win was when Petrucci won at Mugello in 2019.

Maybe it's just me, maybe I'm getting old (no maybe about it) and maybe I'm just insensitive. But. What is it about social media that upsets people so much ? read what is written and it is obvious that 90% of what is written is either insignificant or pure crap. To me it's like getting upset because you read the earth is flat. Then again the ignorance of a simple word like 'suggestion', the resulting efficacy of the label 'fake news' on the concept of objective truth, some guys 1st 'tweet' actually being sold for a small fortune and i guess we can say humanity crossed some important threshold. I know the whole world is telling us all that we should give a f*** about everything but there's a reason why you shouldn't give a f*** about some things and that's because it should be left to the the blow flies...and if it's enough to make a blow fly puke then your in the wrong part of town or too sober.

Miller has got what is needed to win and his bike isn't too bad either.

Overidentification with the mind and the sense of self held in the imagination. The ego construct of beliefs. When one's beliefs are challenged, their sense of self feels attacked. It can feel very real like one's life is at stake. The mind receives thought like an antennae due to what the mindset attracts, which are immediately followed by an emotional response felt in the body. Fear, guilt, shame, anger and judgment are signs of imbalance due to being identified with the mind. All that emotional stuff occurs from mid-chest and below. Below the heart. More common in some cultures than others. No ones fault. One's native language can play a role. Spanish has two ways to say "I am." One is based on the conditional and the other refers to essence. When one is overidentified with the mind, their sense of self is based on the conditional aspects of "being." This is an unstable point of reference of being. The personal identity is always changing with moods. Makes life rich, but always in motion. Lots of antidotes for an unstable mind. Meditation is just one. Deep sleep is another. Every night the "I" ceases to exist in deep sleep. And it's perfect. Fear of death is overrated. And the reward of eternal life sounds more like a punishment than a blessing.

Have you heard of the book, "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***"? Hilarious, but the f word is overused and I had to give up partway through. Thought provoking philosophy though.

At least that's the way I see it, WaveyD1974. For all I know, I might be a complete loon because all that blather is just more belief.  

Hey Peter. Constructs of constructs of constructs of something which ding an sich cannot be known. Words are important, as are angles. When they don't add up to 180 it's no longer a triangle and loses the properties for which we needed it the most. Without structure there is chaos. Structures, constructs, complexes are made. However, without the ability to see and understand them, in themselves, how is it possible to be sure which is useful, essential or fundamental ? Cogito ergo sum ! The unconscious mind cannot be know in itself, it is what it says on the tin.

About Jack or others getting upset by social media. It is obviously very easy for me to shake my head in disbelief that anyone would take any of the crap written on social media seriously but I've never walked in big celebs shoes and therefore, never had anything written about me. I think I'm just a little bit shocked with Jacks comments about it. As i said it's very easy for me to say but if i was Jack the only people I'd be worried about are myself and the ducati team, i wouldn't be worried about pleasing anybody else (except family, significant others, potential significant others).

It was not quite often that a tech aritcle will touch your heart but this one did.

The most I liked is we're all human. Sometime we did the right thing and sometimes thing went not very well but the most important thing is keep doing our job and be happy with it.

Thanks again. :)

Another well written, researched and condensed write up. A pleasure waking up to these post-race reflections. Thank you David, it makes the day after ever so much nicer!

While reading this article, I wondered if diet might partly play a role in the onset of arm pump. The VR46 Academy riders said that they did not have any of these arm pump issues. Could the mediterranean diet have something to do with this?

Thank you, David, for the arm pump detail and explanation. It's something I've always been aware of but I didn't know the ins and outs of it.

Your press-up analogy worked wonders when I had to explain what happened to Fabby Q to my mates at the pub this afternoon! laugh

That move on the last lap at turn 6, when he passed Oncu and Masia in one go and STILL managed to hold the apex... I think that's one of the greatest overtaking moves I've ever seen.

I was a little unsure about the Pedro Acosta Hype Train a few weeks back, but I'm very much on board now.

I will add to what many have already said... well done and thank you David. I just happily renewed my subscription.

Weren't there a whole bunch of Marquez fans on here just before the Portimao round claiming he was going to win his first race back and be in the lead of the championship by midway in the championship. I could have sworn there were. 

^ Still here w my long game on Marquez as a little challenger THIS yr. And I think the 2021 Honda is dangerous w a garbage front end feel chassis. He is coming. The bike will too, maybe next yr. 

Marc was 3rd in his FIRST session back on a new track that was very physically demanding. 6th in the race. Next round, started crashing like everyone else on the Honda, and still managed to get a decent finish. 

The BIKE was designed around what he was able to do at full fitness. That was a sh+try idea. It finally threw him then struck him. Now, will he get fit? Yes. Soon? Yes. 

Will Honda undo their bucking bronco of oddly unacceptable to unrideable sheer lack of front end feel? How can't they. 

All is as it should be. Still, he comes. I have him top 3 this yr. Put him as #1 just to make things interesting. Several riders and bikes are making things very interesting! This is good. The Ducati is here! (And perhaps has been since 2017, but that is a can of Italian worms that bumps up against The Marc in form). Unfortunately, Maverick is not. KTM and these tires are not. We are about to hit Ducati territory. But the season is long. We have an assortment of bikes sorting into the top 5. Prepare for some Red. Expect some Blue. 

Who's oil was that on track?

Marquez is about 50 points behind, he's only finishing about 10s off the winner over a full race distance even at his current level of fitness, and everyone at the top are taking points off each other. He could still do it.

(P.S. I am not an MM93 fan and I want Mir to keep racking up the top fives forevermore laugh )

We're 4 races into a 20 race season with Marc having done 2. He has decent finishes with one arm on a bike that is set up for Stefan Bradl. I thought he would be more healed than he seems but even as is he is a formidable racer. He'll be leading soon enough. Everyone else is so equal no one is getting away. And Mir will be 5th.

let me guess. You'd say anyone that still thinks Rossi can rejuvenate himself is completely deluded while at the same time claiming you still believe MM93 is a title challenge this year?


I'd say MM93's issues have clear causes that can be addressed and were covered by Motoshrink above.  I don't know if MM93 can win the championship, but there is no doubt he will return to form. 

On the other hand, Rossi's issues continue to elude him, a very deep pocketed manufacturer and a garage full of smart guys.  He's no closer to a solution than he was a couple of years ago.  I don't think I'd say 'delusional', but hope for a turnaround would be 'unrealistically optimistic'.

Pretty much. Also, It's kind of blowing my mind how far off the pace MM is. he's just a click off and and he's struggling to stay in the top ten. Once he builds some bike fitness he should get back to the front, but how is he supposed to do that when he can't really train between races?! Basically, we know how good he is and hes not at the front. We also know how good Rossi is and he's NOWHERE. Sometimes I'm guilty of thinking that the winner on any given day has had an "easy" win.

No. Just no. The entire grid is very talented and these psychos will do anything to win. A Win, is a win, is a win. 

If you look at the end of the last race, watch them come through the finish line. It is a steady close train of riders all the way back to...what position? The gap from the front group to the middle has moved and shrank. Super cool! Only two riders aren't "in the game," and with Pirro in France it will just be one. The kids coming from the lower classes are hauling ass here. The silly season is going to be interesting. 

So glad to get to watch this era. I like Rossi's earnest response today about his performance Sunday. Basically the same pace as last year. On the same tires. Tad cooler temps. The difference is that the other riders have hungrily grabbed some tenths. The circus fights on. He thinks about setting up the bike to get some improvement. And is brilliant at it. He will right now be of HUGE help to the other Yamaha riders re sorting the bike. However, kids have taken steps past him in riding style. The old guy has made many transformations in riding style over the years. He can figure this one out too! The kids are already doing it. But he is just getting old for this cage fighting bloodthirsty business. Today, with a bit of grace about his ON track doings. And those of Bagnaia and Morbidelli can be toasted with bubbly water. He is retiring. The announcement will be a carefully planned affair avoided w the press until time. 

Mir/Suzuki consistency can be heard typing at it's desk if we are quiet. If you go look in the back, the late night work is lit in Orange with S African and Austrian accents. They are sorting these tires before Summer break. Look at all those frames lined up over there?! Dani, you look like an elf in Santa's workshop back here! Which toys are your favorite? 

Contrast Honda. Go look at what Pol just said. That is bordering on what Honda's culture considers rebellion. And it is SO spot on. The bike is bad because their organization is (arrogant aggressive idealistic unwilling to listen to riders) so the bike is (see organization)...round and round. Quit waiting for the last Bridgestones to return, see that you almost broke your Alien and realize there ISN'T another. Pay Bradl more, and get on with chassis development.

Quartararo is about to announce his standard arm pump surgery (does Weds work for you?). Again, the Red bike can turn! A.Espargaro can run top 5! So much to see these says. The permutations extrapolating forward make a BUSY crystal ball. Incredible show.

It really is strange how much conviction and certainty is built up from a foundation of assumptions. I know this to be true for me because I do it on a daily basis.

In 2018, Rossi bagged several podiums, regularly finished in the top 5 and finished the season 3rd in the championship. The pattern continued in 2019 until a triplet of retirements at Mugello, Cataluña and Assen. Then the question for the rest of the season was if Rossi would get another podium as he fought for an average top 5 or 6 result. That pattern continued last season until his second home race, then his results fell off a cliff. Retirements, covid and a couple of twelfth places finished his 2020 campaign. This season, Rossi is struggling to finish in the points. He looks like if he descends any lower he will become a backmarker.

Marquez' story is even more dramatic and we all know it well. He was passing riders "like water through a screen" to coin an often used cliche, before crashing out of the first race last year. This resulted in what would become a season ending injury. After a delayed start to 2021, Marquez is fighting for top ten positions. The immediate question is not how many championships will he win, but when will Marquez return to full fitness. And, more importantly, what exactly will his "full" fitness be?

What these two examples show us is that anything can happen in racing and in life. As both Rossi and Marquez (clearly the benchmarks from two different eras) struggle to find a semblance of form, the rest of the riders and teams have gone about the business of setting the benchmark further on down the racetrack. Ducati finished first and second at a nemesis track. Aprilia has emerged as a possible podium contender with A. Espargaro having the best start of the season in his entire GP career. Yamaha seemed to have corrected their technical woes from recent times and just missed out on bagging wins in the first four races of the season. Nakagami may have found his form by reverting back to last season's chassis. And on and on...

Repeating patterns are ubiquitous in nature. The mind's tendency is to draw conclusions when patterns emerge. At the most basic level the mind says that what is being perceived must be true because it is being continuously perceived. The senses that report to the brain indicate and confirm that, so it must be so. 

I learn a lot from following the racing, reading the wonderful articles and the interesting comments. Thanks, motomatters team and fellow contributers for the varied input. It's fun playing the game of drawing conclusions based on the repeating patterns and making predictions. And I enjoy being stumped.

Peter, I suspect that much is a confluence of events. Rossi's problem is certainly part age but also not being able to get along with the Micehlins. Nor is he alone. KTM broke through last year. This year with a neew rear tire, they can't buy a podium. The Dukes hated last year's rear.l This ear, not so much. Indeed, the biggest problem with MotoGP is Michelin. Not only is their rubber a hate iot or love it affair but they seem to have terribly inconsistent build quality, I think David mentyiuoning that riders are no longer allowed to discuss how their bike works well on one medium tire and and is completelty useless on a a new version of that same tire.


How'bout swaping front and rear brakes so the front is operated by foot and rear on right hand. That would have taken some of burden out of arms.