Qatar MotoGP Sunday Subscriber Notes: A Much Faster Race Brings Emotion And Surprise, But Does It Mean Anything?

It was good to get racing underway again in 2022, given everything that has happened over the past couple of years, and what is going on right now in a corner of Europe. If racing is escapism, we had some of best stories of recent years, with plenty to talk about. So here are some initial thoughts after the opening round of the season, before taking a deeper dive later this week.

  • Just how much faster has MotoGP become?
  • Why old is better than new
  • Did Ducati have a great night, or a terrible night?
  • Jack Miller's wayward machine
  • Front tire troubles at Qatar
  • Are Yamaha in trouble?
  • KTM give the rest of the grid food for thought
  • Yes, the Honda really has changed that much
  • The Aprilia is competitive
  • Sport is emotion

First, just how much faster is MotoGP? Maverick Viñales won the first Qatar race of 2021 in a time of 42'28.663. A week later, at Qatar 2, Fabio Quartararo went over four and half seconds faster, to win with a time of 42'23.997. A year later, Enea Bastianini slashed just under 10.8 seconds off Quartararo's winning race time at Qatar to complete 22 laps in 42'13.198. That really is a huge amount quicker.

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Quartararo didn’t slow down, the eight guys in front of him just went faster this year. I believe there will have to be a V4 in Yamaha’s future. 

Just how much does the tire pressure increase due to an increase in temperature? Probably a lot less than one would think, this is due to the fact that absolute temperatures have to be used when calculating changes in gas properties. E.g. for a 25 deg C start temperature the absolute temperature is 298.15 deg Kelvin, thus for a 5 deg C rise in temp, the pressure would only increase by 1.168%. For a 33 psi(g) or 2.275 bar(g) tire pressure (I do not know the tire pressure for MotoGP bikes), the pressure would increase to only 33.55 psi(g).

Perhaps such an increase is something that could impact the handling of the bike, of course I would not know. Even a 10 deg C increase would only rise the pressure to 34.1 psi(g) or 2.313 bar(g).

 I would be interested to hear from other readers and of course David, to what extend such an increase in pressure would impact the handling of the bike.  

Honestly it frazzles my grey matter to think of all these myriad factors which come into play. Riders of various ages and various sizes, with vastly differing experience, on bikes with completely different internal structures, with different aero, with different fuel mixtures, riding different lines, with changing weather conditions, with points of psi different in their tyres from one session to the next. Yet between the first rider across the line and the last to finish there has been an average difference of a little over a second and a half per lap - that is: less than two second over a distance of nearly 5.5kms. All those factors to account for, and yet the tolerance is so breathtakingly small. It really is staggering. 

Fabio looked to be working the front very hard in the first couple of laps. Chicken and egg. An increase in pressure would affect things but if caused by an increase in temperature it is also a symptom. If the gas temperature has increased by 5 degrees how much has the compound on the surface of the tyre increased in temperature ? All parts of the tyre construction also. Possibly it's better to ask, how much work is being done to get the resulting increase in gas pressure. Considering that it is not a fixed volume, that the tyre is not rigid, a hell of a lot. Their feedback is pressure. Maybe it's a matter of scale, yes the pressure increase is small but they know that such an increase equates to very high temperatures on the surface.

I'm not sure, cannot be known...but I think Fabio's push from the beginning, a bike heavy with fuel on a soft front killed his race. The overtake on Martin at turn 10...I swear you could see the front tyre doing extreme yoga positions around the wheel. Once a tyre gets too hot he's between a rock and a hard place. Overall their inability to get the most from new tyres in qually put him in a position where he decided to push like mad from the beginning. One minute he's talking about being focused and not worrying about the bike they have. The next minute he's talking about having no option but to push like the devil. I think his best option is to get the best out of what he has and count the points later in the year. Trying to win a race you cannot win will not work. MM93 2015 a good example.

Megouo: your inferences about the impact of temperature on pressure assumes a linear relationship between these two variables. In fact, the relationship is described more accurately by the ideal gas law, i.e., pV = nRT. The volume of a tire, V, is more or less constant for the relevant pressure range under consideration (so we can assume that it is effectively constant), so changes on the right side of the equation will only impact tire pressure, p. The amount of gas (likely nitrogen) in moles, n, in a front motorcycle is close to 1, and R (Avogadro’s constant) is ~8.3. Therefore, small changes in tire temperature (the temperature of the gas in the tire) have a relatively large impact on tire pressure (i.e., an ~8-fold impact).

If we consider a Torus a decent approxomation of a tire, the volume of a torus is calculated by multiplying the area of the cross-section by the circumference of the ring. Volume = PI × r2 × 2 × PI × R. Where big R is 1/2x17" (wheel diameter) and little r is "about" 120mm/2 (for a 120/70 tire). I figure about 15 Liters or 2/3's of a mole of gas in a front tire AT STP. Your approxomation is to a first order of magnitude correct. I think the Kelvin temp scale factor mentioned by someone else is dominant.

DrEvol, ok, I did not want to go into a more complete technical explanation when I wrote my comment, but here we go :)

the starting state is P1 * V1 = nRT1 (eq 1), the end state is P2 * V2 = nRT2 (eq 2), let's assume the volume is fixed (i.e. the tire does not expand) thus V1 = V2, similarly n is constant and of course so is R. Divide eq 2 by eq 1, which gives us:

P2/P1 = T2/T1 or P2 = P1 * T2 / T1, thus the expansion factor is T2/T1, for the example of 25 deg C and a 5 deg rise in temp, T1 = 273.15 + 25 = 298.15 and T2 = 273.15 + 30 = 303.15, T2/T1 = 1.0167 or 1.67%. The point I wanted to make is that the fact that we have to use absolute temperatures means that the pressure increase is a smaller than what one would expect and if a rider will sense the impact of such a small change in pressure (around 1 psi). Highside Specialist has answered this question - the rider will sense such a change.

apologies for all the technical details


You are neglecting to take into account the volume available is constantaly changing. Tyres do expand as they rotate at every higher speeds, they also expand when heated. Furthermore, the tyre does flex and flatten out at the contact patch particularly at big braking points, and also at extreme lean angles. This instantantly creates a much larger contact patch and thus more friction and heat. The tyre will continue to rise in pressure as its used untill it can no longer flatten out suffuciently to create that contact patch that the rider is used to feeling (grip). Then the next problem starts, which is the outer skin of rubber becomes even more super heated due to not being able to spread the loads into the carcass and accross the tyre, now that rubber smears or peels away causing movement and lost of grip that the rider feels. The pressure might be rising and falling a fraction of the original tyre pressure, but it drastically changes the way the tyre flexes and in turn genertates grip/heat. 

GP riders are a sensitive mob. I remember Gabriani saying stoner could feel 0.5mm of spring preload changes... these fellas are in tune with the machine so much to take them to and stay on the ragged edge for 45min. 0.5 psi would be more then enough. 

I'm no GP rider, but when I am racing, the tire pressure is the most notable setting.  A pound of pressure here or there is the difference between feeling the front end, or going into corners completely numb and not sure what is going to happen.  Sometimes I'll enter the pit and tell my mechanic what's going on and where I'm struggling. his first change is always adding or removing a few pounds of pressure and the problem is usually fixed. 

In a race, when you're battling, the temps go way up and the characteristic of the bike changes with it. David, any insight into why motoGP doesn't use Nitrogen in the tires instead of air?  


(If a lengthy Jared but personal style mildly cheesy race account isn't your cup of tea, have a skip)

Quartararo upon entering the garage before the race did his usual fist bump of everyone. Without the bright joyful warmth usually on his face though. Visible tone change.

Pre race Brad Binder is made of steel and pointy. Like a weapon. Nicest of guys, but on Sunday before engines are started his entirety becomes a deadly implement. Aleix is equally serious, but more fidgety and just a dash less ominous. 

On the grid one rider was missing. Quarty stayed in his garage, lights down and the door partially lowered. His one dear friend chatting with him like usual. Needing some separateness for the nerves. Bastiannini? Relaxed, pleasantly chatty, having fun. 

Mute was hit for the Qatar anthem. Separateness. "New pre race ceremony" is good, united for peace - puck futin. And together we are, all racing from here on out. Unfortunately TWO spoilers weren't avoided this time. Dammit! I know who wins and two important riders that crash out together. Feck! Ah well.

No wind, clean track. Bezzecchi is our top rookie at grid spots, curious how they will all fare. The KTM bike is revealing a fresh face. I have a bad feeling permeating everything D.Binder on a customer Yamaha. I have watched a mouse be fed to a snake. Just wondering if maybe by some chance he squeaks away for a moment. Marc's fitness for race distance in conjunction with a new bike that has less development on tire wear is of interest. So is/are the two different 2022 Ducati engines. And dear Suzuki, even on a sighting lap your meager company of two has my heart.

Are we in agreement that this "press your Hayabusa button" moment is weird? How about distasteful? Am I an old grumpy codger?

The START, holy kashmoli, Honda 1-2 and Reds 9-15?! Martin slow response time and wheelies back to 8, for Ed to yank his bike out of the back wheel of Beast's. Binder bullet, Bastiannini holds firm. Asparagus stalks 5th. A weird start, don't you think? Polsparagus holeshat.

Lap one Quartararo cuts through a few bikes, Martin along, both staying in the mix doing the business. Alex Marquez notable for chugging his way 7 spots forward to 11th. Good open kid!

Clear praise for Pol, Binder and Mir - P1 P3 P4. Clear concern for Ducatis aside from Beast slotted in behind Mir. Binder has M-M tires AND is right up at the pointy end from go. This looks good! One has to wonder what bizarre occurrence has Ducati drop back eaten up at the start, are we in a mirror Universe today?! Unbelievable. Surely it can't get worse for Red.

If Marc can escape battling w 3rd he has a nice tow and energy conservation from Pol. But Brad is a shadow. Keen interest. Almost a bit difficult to breathe.

Infield noodling, then we get the Qatar big drag strips. Eager for our first look? Honda and KTM hold firm, Suzuki too! Bastianni reels Mir in just winning the first drag race. But not blasting by, walking towards, and getting fastest lap of the race with his 2021 Lavender lance. Asparagus in Black right in tow!!

Pecco makes some ground up but has lots of work to do. Quarty, with Rins, noodle forward through the turns to a very interesting second drag race. The Suzuki eats the Yamaha in one throttle pull bite, then grabs the corner on knife edge even though Rins overcooked it. Wipe blade, return to scabbard. Ouch.

Front pack at the early race stage? 10 bike train. Not much gap to mid pack. Rins running fastest laps from back in 8th behind Martin. One thought occurs, is our aero supporting these trains with less passing? I would hate to see that be true. Bikes are easier to ride closer to the limit, they behave and are tractable. UNTIL you go to pass. Changing dirty to clean to dirty air intensely disrupts the bike now. It will shake, rattle and not roll. Who is going to be inclined to do that except in the more secure moments? There are 18 laps to go in Race 1 and already someone farted in my face mask? Hope to be mistaken. On we go.

The Suzuki rear ride height device clunks down too quickly for sure. But in doing so is losing NOTHING to Lavender driving out and staying ahead. Good measuring stick for heralding Hamamatsu. 

Finally an error from Marc. At turn entry for a, you guessed it, right hander. Is it front end feel? Is it shoulder. Yes. Just both now since they cant really be differentiated. They are both just OK, and improving. P3! Maybe he will tell us something about it later.

Bastianini The Pink Piranha gets past Mir and in the noodles noneless. Watching the Duc handle great while the Suzuki unleashes very tractable big power is quite enjoyable. The line Beast grabbed on Mir was a...Mir line. Pinky reels Marc in, another drag race, Honda -vs 2021 Duc? Aided by slipstream, clear Duc win.

At about the same time NOT a Duc win if you are Bezz who goes from top rookie by a huge margin and in the excellent company of Taka and Zarco to gravel trap (gentle off into a smooth slide). Or Miller, who rolls off into the pits with a reportedly electronics issue. Pissed off Aussie.

Binder and Orange are putting every foot right. Pin point perfect. Hope for KTM is warranted, praise for Brad too. Quarty 9th, Morbidelli 16th, Blue is not doing the business. Old guard Dovi is even worse. At least D.Binder is on pace with his peers. But this is looking like the bad day for Yamaha that we feared. Morbidelli looked pretty good Fri/Sat, and Quarty had pretty good race pace (right St Steve?). But they are ALL feeling Blue about now. No pleasure in it here, but Quarty signing a Ducati Factory seat is clarifying. Apologies for repeating that, but it isn't a dead horse - it is racing in front of us right now. 

That silly season deal has entered the brain. Had to rewind the race because I left here and now. Pol is doing a GREAT job interview for the 2nd Honda seat. Yes, he has to earn it. They had been in talks with Mir, safe to say Mir went Suzuki before today. These matters have swift expiration date windows like bananas. Could Quartararo and Honda have been looking at a contract congruently? Could, for sure. Ducati too. Right damn now the bananas are green nor have spots. Importantly, the kid himself is showing us now that he thinks it would be bananas to stay at Yamaha. And this of course is a REALLY big game changing deal for the circus's fruit salad.

My eyes are drawn back to the changing complexion of the 2nd group of 5th thru 8th. Rins with Martin in tow starting to reel in Mir in 6th. Mir right on Asparagus in 5th. They all look racey, rocket sauce ready.

I remember to appreciate both Pol Espargaro and this new Honda mid race here. Wow! What a LOVELY show! A baby being born, a sunrise. This is interrupted when A.Marquez and Oliveira both break the shop window from 12th/11th, separate incidents but close together...gravel trap misery. While their bikes run P1 and P2 in better hands. Time for tires and maps or gravel traps? Shit is going down. 

2022 Ducatis run 8th and 9th at Qatar mid race. What script is this? Honda seat #2 leads with a KTM, Fausto's Ducati with seat #5 in the Orange draft. Wait, what? Really? Yes, really. And it is COOL. Pol, Binder, Bastiannini controlling our race today for real. Rub your eyes, but don't be gone long.

Pol decides to make a break for it. Who answers? Is there any way for Quarty to make gains from 10th? Unfortunately first here is blood on the hands of Pecco Bagnaia, hungry grab inside of fast T1 to lose the front he asked too much of right underneath poor Martin. They both look ok physically, but the whole of Bologna just fainted, dropped their Peroni, or choked on pizza. Engine braking issue? Or did Pecco shit the bed? Since I unfortunately knew this was coming, I was relieved for Martin. Why? I feared he had taken out Pecco in battle, and that (they are not short of memory at Ducati nor graciously impersonal) he had just thrown his Factory chances in the toilet. Odd viewpoint for sure. 

Pol creates a slight gap out front. Bastiannini has his teeth dug in to Binder. Marc maintains, he's holding up! But that's it. Ok, I can accept this. The Asparagus Aprilia slots in with increased pace! Wonderful. Rins is not making gains on Mir just behind. 

There is a LOT to see here at 9 laps to go. Marc's riding style looks good, not quite as dynamic as at his best, but normal. A few lines look slightly inconsistent but fine. He's 4th and solid. Binder is making no mistakes. He looks to be working his ass of now though at the upped pace, bike starting to move around under him more and look like a KTM. Bastiannini is grabs 2nd with a 1 sec gap to Pol. The Suzukis are a bit lonely in 6th and 7th.

Lonelier? Quarty is 8th and can't see the bike. His heart must be unzipped. Thinking he's 10th, and feeling he's worse. Wanting aboard one of the first two machines to continue his young career on. Heavy.

Binder holds his ground in 3rd. Marc doesn't as ALEIX and APRILIA don't just fend off Mir but beat out #93 for 4th. Marc isn't making mistakes, but nor is he thriving as he usually does in late stage battle. Leaving some room, not optimal lines. However, neither is he over the limit at ANY time. He looks...well, mortal. With 6 laps to go we are seeing something of a not yet WELL race fit new Marc on a new Honda. It is easier to ride! The bucking bronco is gone. The Marc? Not quite back, but solid showing nudging one to expect him arriving. It strikes me that we might now need to up expectations on Black Asparagus too, eh?! Pinch yourself. Aprilia is at the business end of a race at QATAR. And so is KTM, this has legitimately been a bogey track for them. Interesting!

5 laps out, full tilt boogie. Pol's Honda is starting some mild wagging on drive out. The Duc a little twitchy off throttle. No problems, but things are spicy. However (metal note re dirty air/passing/aero) Pol loses line into the next corner wobbling in and out of the turbulent draft. Of course he is also just good old getting sucked in deeper past marker due to slipstream. His line was disrupted too. My brain is adhering to a notion critical of aero. Boom, good recovery by P.Espargaro tucking in behind Brad for 3rd.

Brad reels in The Pink Piranha but not into the boat before the finish line. 3 10ths doesn't look like a lot, does it? Pol stays put, followed by a sorta sliding Aleix. Further back Zarco pips Quarty with motor to add insult to injury, and/or confirmation to go grab a V4.

After thought, Brad is a front tire smasher so his praise of the front feel on these Michelins is news. Good tires btw Michin, the only bike that looked to be starting to lose tire visibly may have been Aleix's soft rear? But he held in for 4th. KTM had to have made a BIG development step of fundamental integration of their bike for Binder to have the weapon to nearly win this. And, Brad's performance today was epic. What a guy! Is there a SINGLE detractor either disliking him or unimpressed? Nope.

The new Ducati needs to sort electronics. Just not enough time w the sudden engine change. That doesn't entirely explain Pramac bikes, as they've had a bit of time with the spicy grunt of the orig 2022 motor. But, still perhaps needing to sort the evolution of the bike. It starts its 3rd yr, needs ironing in the electronics area, and had a humbling go at it today that urges them to dig in and work. Of course, they will. 

Big hug to Mrs Gresini! May we see plenty more for Fausto from the Pink Piranha in lovely Lavender.

'Shrink I have mentioned your need for an editor more than once, but I did enjoy your latest novella, perhaps because it mirrored some of my own Qatar stream-of-conciousness during the race. So...

Pecco looking desperate--that's unexpected! He looked to be Rins 2.0.

Marc dropped by an Aprilia--ditto.

I was expecting the Suzukis to turn it on the last five laps as others burnt their tires, but they did not, unexpected also.

There are certain riders on a mental list I must keep in my head without knowing it, who, when they do well, I'm really happy that they succeeded--certainly Binder, the Espargaros, Franco, Petrux of course. Really fun to see Binder podium.

I predict everything will turn upside-down in two weeks in Indo!

It will be interesting to see if losing their trademark last-laps tyre longevity is the trade-off for that extra speed on the back straight. From the comments Aleix made it sounds like Aprilia may have made the same deal with the speed devil.

Consciousness streaming tends to not abide to grammatical rules and structure. Isaac Asimov, a prolific writer of something like 541 books, is a contrasting example. He would go into stenographer mode and type a book from beginning to end. The only "errors" were typewriter misstrikes. 

Just typing one fingered into a text to my own phone #. Unedited obviously. Sorry it doesn't read well. Sincere thanks for just skipping or skimming.

If one or two items of interest arise that a few people riff off of, that would be the hope. Esp if it is technical geek stuff! Or insider specifics. (Seriously, where the heck is Jinx? Are you ok?)

Is this aero changing what we see re passing? Bigger groups in trains?

What is the shapeshifter doing? Same thing? 

Did you see all those wheelies off the start line? WAY more than before start devices. More than before we had front/rear Hayabusa buttons. Martin's start was INTERESTING eh? Damn near 500GP stuff.

Suzuki and power and tires...again like the ride height devices? Meaning, again struggling to catch up with the likes of Ducati in getting the power down and conserve tires? (Lenovo - perfect sponsor for Red since their electronics geeks and simulators support the NASA mission). Wee Suzuki, please keep going! Aprilia too!

Little need to fear that the 2022 Duc is a dud. It is Evo of the 2020, not THAT far apart. It is sorting, off to a bad launch. 

If 2022 bikes were ordered re GAINS?

1) Honda 2) KTM 3) Aprilia/Suzuki tie. Gap. 4) Yamaha. Gap. Backmarker Ducati

However, expectation of trajectory? Ducati just "had an off track excursion" and could well jump right back up. They finished 2021 out front so this blip looks terrible. But they really aren't off track, just "having a save" due to engine spec change damn near right on the grid.

Contrast, Yamaha is expected to stay right there.

Both Suzuki and KTM have some more coming, expect gains solidified. 

Honda? They have more coming. They just have to. The bike is an infant. Their dark age is over. It will be seen an odd exception like an oval piston, a shameful memory of hubris and/or neglect.

Here they go again. But this time Ducati is there. Suzuki and KTM in draft (staying put Orange?). Aprilia reeling them in! 

The riders matter. You have to have one. Are there or aren't there Aliens? You sure? Is that solid, or changeable...will it look that way next yr?

(Someone go check on Jinx? I would reach out but have no contact info. Only know hisember name, that he is in the USA, and hasn't been in here for over a year)

All the Yamaha riders (don't know about Binder) were complaining about lack of rear grip. Sounded like Maverick, lol.

'Shrink, I assume your other nine fingers are operating brake/clutch/throttle on a Triumph as you type. I'm listening while reading, so:

Wild Weekend, NRBQ--Basto!

Our Lips Are Sealed, GoGo's--Fabio

or, maybe, Losing My Religion, REM--also Fabio?

Hangin on the Telephone, Blondie--Toprak

It's All Been Done, BNL--Dovi

Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads--Pol? Aleix?

I Misunderstood, R Thompson--Mav

"Can You Hear Me Knockin?" Rolling Stones -- 3rad 3inder and KTM

"Fortunate Son" Creedence Clearwater Revival -- Pol Espargaro

"Already Gone" The Eagles -- Quartararo 

"Uncontrollable Urge" Devo -- Bagnaia

"Jammin Me" Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- Jorge Martin

"I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" Beach Boys -- Dovisioso 

"Fire On The Mountain" Grateful Dead -- Maverick Vinales

"(Baby You Can) Drive My Car" Beatles -- Valentino (and his Audi R8 today, pretty fast right off!)

"Slow Ride" Foghat -- Raul Fernandez 

Hey, just in case you feel it and want to go on a musical ride...

1) Who is Percy Sledge?

2) What is Muscle Shoals?

3) What is Sound City Studios?

Find any video/archives/documentaries? Have a nice audio system linked to digital? 


Album "1972" by Josh Rouse

(What I am digging now)

Thanks for the suggestions. I love musical rides. Have listened to "I Misunderstood" by Richard Thompson several times the last few days. Thanks, St. Stephen!

Did watch an interesting documentary on the Beatles a year or two ago. Maybe three? Can't say. Some studio footage interspersed with more recent footage from different members commenting on what it was like in the heyday. Ringo said something funny. Something like, "In the beginning everything was coming at us really fast. The success, the money, the fame. That's nice for awhile...then you want it to stop. But it doesn't."

Vincent Black Lightning 1952 is what we motorcyclists jump up and recognize, but it's fun to go deeper. And it is fun for me to see a response from, spongedaddy...who got it! I do try to sprinkle my comments with something out there to see who gets the reference. I once circled my departure airport seven times listening to Walking on a Wire, volume at 11, unable to return my rental car...


I get the circles in life, St. Stephen. In an uncanny way. Doesn't mean they are fully understood, just that they are recognized when they appear.

Checked out a 1980 KZ 650 last August. Did the deep dive. Broken top triple clamp, one crash bar had been torn off, an electrical gremlin had been making a mess of the wiring harness, throttle linkage was jammed up, rear sprocket showed serious wear, exhaust header was missing the muffler, switch gear and dash plastics had spent to many decades in the sun and heat, and it had a dead battery. Plus more details. A serious project bike. But the engine had strong compression. Owner wanted 20,000 pesos ($1000 USD). I low bid them and it disappeared from Facebook marketplace soon after.

Just returned from checking out a classic '76 CB 750. Cool bike, but I've been raised on Kawi power. They were asking $4000 for the Honda and it had a dead battery. Got a charger? Not much motivation coming from the shop owner's son, Omar. Then he started talking about his project bike. A Kawasaki. I tell him about the big Kawis of my past and he leads the way to the back of the shop. There's that blue tank looming in the distance. Sure enough, it was the same 1980 KZ 650 circling life only to appear, yet again, in front of my eyeballs. Really weird... 

It was absolutely right that everyone celebrated the wonderful legacy of Fausto on Sunday. He was a titan of MotoGP and should never be forgotten. I'm sure his widow feels the same way. BUT. Her name is Nadia Padovani and I really, really hope that going forward we don't have to hear that she is Fausto's widow every single time something happens in that team.

I reckon I was right that Ducati have cooked their own goose with too much going on. At some point a policy of endless innovation fails to address the moment that matters. Jack might be under pressure but in the last three years he has had more than his share of misfortune. And I reckon I was right about KTM, though I did not count sufficiently for the seriously amazing brain of Mr B Binder. Any credit KTM get for this race belongs to him, and the question might have been rhetorical but I have never come across any detractor of his sheer MF effort. And it was genuinely heartwarming to see Gresini enjoy that success. Mr B is awfully impressive.

Forgive me the hubris of celebrating normally being 90% wrong to being merely 70% wrong. And even that's arguable - I KNOW!

It would be a true shame that Jack and Pecco lose out this first part of the season trying to tame that Ducati 22.

My take on yesterday is all about emotions more than electronics though: the palpable emotion in the Gresini garage and the emotional brilliant performance of la bestia.

The sheer joy of Pol Espargaro and the fighting spirit of his brother Aleix. And the brilliance of Binder. 

As an Italian there was emotion too, realizing that the 3 races were won by 3 Italians... When was the last time we saw that?


I think, looking at Ducati 2020 and Ducati 2021, the needle on the success gauge shifted somewhat....maybe 0.01 of a degree back and forth, maybe just a tremor on the other side of the planet...hard to see....but the result in this modern era of MotoGP is as we saw/see. It's only race one and we will only know who is consistent by half way. Interesting to see Fabio having a very 2020 race too. 2nd is never half as fast as 1st.

Oh and go team Basta ! Go team Binder (D) ! (Just pipped for top rookie)

"Forgive me the hubris of celebrating normally being 90% wrong to being merely 70% wrong" - on the positive side, that's tripling your rate of being right - celebrate away!

Fanboy I know, but I was watching Bezzecchi's steady progress throughout the race before his unfortunate mistake.

Starting 15th, he quickly disposed of Nakagami and Morbidelli, and was in a good battle with Zarco which is no mean feat for a rookie. He was well ahead of all the other rookies in qualifying and in the race. Would have been a top ten if he didn't lose the front.

Ifs, buts and maybes but keep your eye out over the next few rounds!

sidenote - If Enea doesn't get a ride in factory Ducati, I think he should try for Suzuki as he will end up in Pramac for two years before another promotion...

Yes! It is!

To each their own interpretation. I choose to see brolly girls as possessing natural human intelligence, free will, awareness, and the critical thinking that allows them to choose whether or not to hang out on the grid holding an umbrella over the head of a moto-gladiator.

And I enjoy observing the finely wrapped packaging that all the human 'qualities' are embodied with. While at times touching on the awareness that it arises from instinctual human drives like desire. It's all a part of being human. I even catch myself admiring the bodies of the male gender. Hey! I'm not gay! At least I don't think so... And there's nothing wrong with being gay! 

Looking from the outside, the anti-objectification-of-women movement seems to assume that a woman is powerless and does not possess full autonomy over her choices in life, that she lacks inherent human intelligence, or that a woman may be unaware of how she is presenting herself to the world. Marilyn Vos Savant put it bluntly. She said something like, "Women aren't doing themselves any favors by getting all dolled up with heavy makeup and fancy hairdoos." By playing the roll. But it is each one's choice how they interpret and conceptualize their world.


Like tobacco advertising - we need to see the back of this. Don't mind brolley people who are team members or even wives/husbands/partners - but why do we need to have women standing there who add little value except for their looks. I sound like David Emmett!

I’m with you on this. It adds nothing of value and belongs to a different era. Mind you, I always skip the grid walk anyway, only really interested in the races.

I do get it, even at this ripe age my eye can get caught by a pretty woman but I also get the objectification aspect and, as a daughters dad, want better than that for her so also want better than that for these women. I know, I know, their choice, free world, etc etc etc but it’s a circular relationship, isn’t it.

My attitude to brolly girls was that they were a bit of harmless fun  and that they added to the theatre of the event. But after getting reasonably close at WSBK at PI a few years ago I've changed my mind. The problem was not the girls, but the reaction of a significant number of spectators, whose overly crass comments suggested that they viewed the whole thing as some kind meat market. I don't know whether or not this also happens elsewhere in the world.  If so perhaps it's something that we're better without. 

So, is the problem the derelict idiot who doesnt engage their brain? Or is it the women who decided on her own free will and (I presume) is being paid with an agreed amount to be there? I dont see a problem with someone who wants to make money out of their body. Im a suspension tech,  I get paid for what I know and can do with that knowledge and my hands, hows it any different? Personally I dont care if its male/female/old/young that is attached to the umbrella. Fact is, if people agreed to do it under their own free will and are fairly remunerated then let them be and dont put them out cos some idiots cant contain themselves. Thats like punishing the victim of a crime for being there rather than the criminal for doing it.

Fair point, but let me repeat that I'm not blaming the girls, and I don't per se, have a problem with them being there apart from the behaviour it seems to prompt in some spectators. I'm open to other suggestions for fixing that problem - or do we just pretend that it doesn't exist?

It starts with determining exactly what the problem is. Or if one even exists. Imagine if everyone did ignore the guys acting out in the stands. Not a single reaction from anyone else. No one gave them any attention at all. Then what? 

What a great season opener , form book somewhat incorrect  and a great race up front. HRC seam to have built a bike that someone other than Marc can ride. I hope Pol gets some decent results and HRC give him a new contract for 23/24🤞 

Aleix slicing up the inside and brushing Marquez aside was a classic moment. The rider with zero gp wins on the Little-Manu-That-Could bike easily dispensing with the guy on the grid with the most gp wins riding the juggernaut HRC machine.

To see Marky Marq get passed, in my opinion. Not a fan (although I certainly admire his talent).

While getting caught up in the joy and celebratory success of the podium finishers, and the palpable emotion surrounding the Gresini team, I can also empathize with the disappointment of others that failed to meet expectations. But the upset of the perceived natural order really captures the attention. It's still just one race though.

Watched the race a second time from Marquez' onboard camera. After the checkers, the other riders could be seen from his rear unit. They slowed down to congratulate each other as he motored on through. Even Mir did. Marquez? Not so much, apparently. Like a great white shark that lost its dominance for a day circling the waters.


That's the kind of attitude that makes it impossible for me to like the guy.

It noticed that as well on many occasions in the past.
I actually feel sorry for him in a way. Why alienate yourself from the others like that. He started differently back in the days. Is is the 2015 antics that changed his approach/mentality.

Ornperhaps winning actually IS all that matters for him and all he needs is that close nit group around him?
For me probably THE factor he’ll never ride for anyone other than Repsol Honda, no matter what bike he gets.

Oppositely, being a VR46 associated rider surrounds you with a big warm group of support around you. The Moto3 kid came in and got SWARMED by every one of them from all classes wrapping him in praise and comraderie. It's touching. Must help. They are kids away from home. 

Not the best start for the Red Team:  Bastianini (who lost 3 places) DiGgia (who lost 3 places) Martin (who lost 6 places) Miller (who lost 6 places) Bagnaia (who lost 5 places) Zarco (who lost 6 places) Bezzecchi (stayed the same) Marini (who lost 1 place)

This looks like a software mistake in the launch control EDM or everybody had crappy clutch plates.

Best in the world to the worst overnight? Weird. Four different teams, so presumably four different software engineers.

“I felt capable of catching Vinales and Dovi but I had Darren Binder in front of me and I could not get past him. He is coming from the Moto 3 class so he was all over the place, coming back on line without looking, he was wide. It was a disaster and I lost the group. I am hoping to catch up with him to discuss this.” 
I’ d like to be a fly on the wall for that little session!


you’d expect him to be able to adjust enough to pass at a given moment. After all, he is a world champ…

I wanted to say, blast past him on the straight as the Yamaha was so slow, but I did notice on several occasions during the race that Darryn Binder was higher up the top speed charts than his fellow Yamaha riders…
Just slipstream effect or more setup/riding style?

Aleix Espargaro sure offers pretty good value in a number 2 rider! At what point do David, Steve, Neil and Adam concede that Aleix might have the measure of perennial head-case Maverick?

I think there is still the idea that Aleix can’t do the business over race distance.

Must say he has proven those people wrong on numerous occasions the past year or so…

Wrapping Pecco in cotton seems to be Ducati's rider management technique of the moment. Too bad it is needed. I have never been on the Pecco bandwagon, and expect more underperforming from him this year. His moment with Martin? Let's take a wild guess, factory rider coming up the inside of the satellite rider, in full red mist mode, says to himself "this satellite rider is NOT going to outbrake me, a factory rider". Expected results...

Landing position for Fabio? Looks like taking Olivera's seat at KTM is his best option now. Won't be long before KTM comes knocking if they haven't already.

Maverick? No slack cut. Well he did manage to beat Marini.

Who needs to get cut at the end of the year? Lets start with Taka, Marini, Olivera, A Marquez, Dovi, Maybe Mav. That's a good start.

Safety. Since we are opening up the possibility of rule changes based on safety, and folks have been complaining for years that the bikes are too fast for many circuits (run off) and too fast for existing brakes. A simple minded assay of go fast goodies that could be nixed: Shapeshifters and to a lesser extent hole shot devices. All aero appendages. Sector based track position location and concomitant turn by turn power maps. These (other than holeshot) represent attempts to increase acceleration out of corners and result in higher top speeds. We don't need higher top speeds anymore..

Mtiberio, I would like to know who you would pick from the lower classes/SBK paddock/… to replace these 6 guys.

Already on mY list : Toprak, Acosta
Depending on this season’s results/progress : Aug. Fernandez, Vietti, Lecuona, Locatelli
could replace any of these 4 by Ogura as they will always replace Taka with Ogura…

Not sure on Miguel tho, he’d need to have a shot on another bike first I think if he can’t reach Binder’s level this season…


No you don't. I only have so much bandwidth I'm willing to spend on racing. I don't pay much attention to Moto 2 or 3. Really. I hardly knew who Marc Marquez was when he arrived in MotoGP.

Great start to the season with such a fascinating weekend. I can't remember being this pumped for the start of the season for a while. As always a lot of good discussion in these comments.

Looking at the lap time analysis posted on the MotoGP website it is interesting that the Ducati GP22's of Martin, Pecco and Zarco only managed 9 laps in the 1.54's between them (Zarco 4, Pecco 3, Martin 2), while The Beast was in the 1.54's all race until the last 4 laps (even then, 3 of those 4 laps only just over 1.55 with the last lap slower as he eased off bringing it home). The GP22s in the middle of the pack and 2 of them with only a handful of laps doesn't help, but it is interesting. Hopefully this is just lack of knowledge on the best set up for the GP22 and not that there is something fundamentally wrong with the new bike (especially for my top 5 picks!). I notice also that Rins and Mir still had the highest top speeds, but only for a couple of laps so either fuel or tyre consumption (or both) were an issue.

To slow the bikes down I feel the easiest solution is to drop the amount of fuel available for the race. Less fuel and they all have to turn the wick down. Removing shapeshifters and corner-by-corner mappings will also help. Aero is a complex question though, induced drag increases with downforce2, so aero can significantly reduce top speed. It will also increase load on the front tyre during braking, improving braking performance. In the middle of the corner there is a downward component that will also increase front grip, but there will be a horizontal component pushing away from the corner making it harder to turn. There is an optimal point for sure, I just don't know where it is, but I think that overall aero will improve safety by reducing top speed and (if designed well) increasing stability. I get that people don't like it, particularly if it gets to a point where you can't follow closely or overtake because aero performance drops sharply in the wake of another bike. But I think the cornering issue will limit the amount of downforce that can be used and naturally avoid the issues that plague F1.

^ Howdy! 

I think the Suzukis were spinning up the rear on drive out just a bit. More power = need to sort and get it hooking up. Bet they do.

I was wondering how EB23's tires were going to hold up late in the race vs Binder's Med F and R. The Duc has become good on tire preservation, even though it has all that power and now is taking less V shaped stop and go lines? Wow! And the new kid is able to nurse them a bit, medium rear held up.

Pol Espargaro gets praise too! They ran the soft rear, and said he had a very different race plan - stay in the big front group, keep tires for the end. Nope! He did a "grip it and rip it" out front. 

Crafar calls Brad a "Sunday man," praise we used to have for Vale. Brad says they had too much traction control set for the bike, hungry! I love Binder's genuinely kind demeanor, great smile. But the more I see him on race day the more I fear his prominent incisors - he is a bloody fresh meat predator.

If you are like many of us, this 3 min best of onboard from the race "from the Hot Seat" video is a great watch several times in a row.


I know that Maverick's situation is perplexing and invites commentary, but the sense I get is that a lot of us don't want to comment too much on a situation in which the person involved seems to be involved in some sort of significant struggle with their performance and confidence. Yes, it seems like he could have handled the last couple of years better, but he is as human as any of the rest of us. It is interesting that Casey Stoner has reflected on his career and explained how he could have benefited with some additional support to address everything these guys put on the line. What I also find interesting is that Mav's frustration seems like an echo of what Fabio is experiencing now with the M1. We all know that Fabio has just won the bloody title but maybe what some of us have thought of as the Goldilocks ride really does require the pilot to strangle the hell out of it to overcome the top speed disadvantage.  Anyway I just wish Mav well and hope that he can learn how to ride that Aprilia like Aleix does, which is with great application and focus.

Looking from the outside, Maverick may have been subjected to ego inflation by someone near and dear to him when he was very young. Maybe even an idealized God-like image figure that chameleoned into the Devil, the destroyer of worlds, when results did not meet expectations. When this business is done repeatedly, it can be internalized and form a mental pattern. Confusion. My friends are my enemies? One way the mind works is through repetition. It tends to repeat what it has learned. And the ego tends to project its narcissistic and anti-narcissistic qualities onto others. Fortunately for Maverick, this false-image in the mind is not who he really is.

Or I could be mistaken and the reason that Maverick's situation seems so clear is because it is so gosh darn familiar. And that mental-mind malarkey is my own ego projection displayed on the screen.

and all, and have just watched after the flag.


It is so refreshingly nice to see these top atheletes speak and confer humbleness, real joy and a respect for their fellow competitors, even praise! I particularly liked BB. Comes across as a super nice guy, well spoken with a sense of humour to boot! I feel a lot of if not all other racing categories whould listen and watch and take some inspiration.

I feel Ducati has lost the championship already. Luckily I picked MM. ;-) Anyway. I wonder why they did not finetune or continued to develop the GP21? Obviously the bike was good at the END of last season , if not the fastest then. There must be a ton of data to make it even better on most tracks without having to bolt on new parts, and with the limited amount of testing available this year surely it shouyld have been a consideration. It will take tham a few races to sort everything out engine wise, well, the Lenovo team does not even race the new engine, and then the chassis is an unproven piece too. To have JMiller quit because of electronics and PB override his bike and crash must be the ultimate humilation, particularily after all the fanfare and hype the generated at launch. Like Ferrari, they manage to self sabotage with swiss precision every season. 

Maverick will ride his last season I reckon. Aleix will show him up like never before and he'll quit by seasons end wihtout ever having come close to his old glory days again.

The Suuuzukis wil be sorted before to long. I don't think he same can be said for the Yammi's though. It will be intresting to see how Quarty will deal with the hopelessness this season. It will make him stronger with a different team reaping the rewards, or it will break him. So glad MotoGP is back.

And loved the tire pressure talk!!! Very interesting!:-)

Why aren't the riders that runoff off the track onto to the painted run off areas, for example turn 1, penalized?

When Pol ran off at turn1, after being overtaking by EB23, Pol lost aprox 0.2 seconds, if that had been grass or gravel he would have been on his arse! If he had not gone down, it would have taken longer than 0.2 seconds to rejoin the race!

In my opinion, should be a time penalty for leaving the racing surface or give up a position at least....with regards to paved, painted runoff areas.....

Also regarding the soft rear tire, majority of the field used it, yet the Michelin dude in an interview with Crafar implied that this year's medium rear was last year's soft. Don't  understand why more riders did not use the medium rear?

Why aren't the riders that runoff off the track onto to the painted run off areas, for example turn 1, penalized?

When Pol ran off at turn1, after being overtaking by EB23, Pol lost aprox 0.2 seconds, if that had been grass or gravel he would have been on his arse! If he had not gone down, it would have taken longer than 0.2 seconds to rejoin the race!

In my opinion, should be a time penalty for leaving the racing surface or give up a position at least....with regards to paved, painted runoff areas....

Also regarding the soft rear tire, majority of the field used it, yet the Michelin dude in an interview with Crafar implied that this year's medium rear was last year's soft. Don't  understand why more riders did not use the medium rear?

He lost 1.8 seconds on that lap and lost a position to Brad with that run off. He finished the lap still in close company with Brad so i guess the 1.8 seconds was the run off at T1. The whole penalty business only starts if they gain an advantage or if in close order with other riders do not demonstrate a disadvantage. He could have jumped off his bike and slashed its tyres but he left his Repsol pocket knife in the garage.

Lap times available from the web site.

Sector 1 previous lap: 24.932

Sector 1 on the lap of T1 run off : 26.725

He was 2nd as they crossed the line having been passed by Bastianini on the straight, he was third before T2.

Sorry....I edited my post originally had 1.8 secs then changed it to 0.2 , which is the time EB23 made up on lap 17 on PE44

Fair question agro re runoff! We have gone over it a bunch here over the yrs. It comes up periodically via either moments in races, changes in the paint and run off for tracks, changes in rules etc. You would like Stoner's comments. If you Google search the site name and a keyword of a topic "track limits" "run off" "green paint" etc you may find something cool. A few discussions have been thorough and well examined!

Re the tires this yr, the race was run at an earlier time to get away from the impact of the dew point that used to set in mid race. Warmer temps, so new compound offerings. And the softs went the distance (so most used it)! And the medium front worked for KTM! Good job Michelin. 

HERE - Try this one! 2020 Styria GP, David's article AND a bit down in comments, some great stuff (jinx, oh jinx, wherefore art thou jinx?!)


Should have got 5 second penalty!

Shrink, I totally agreed with CS27! Get rid of the Vallelunga kerbing; get rid of the corner extensions added were the cars and bikes runoff in previous races/years; get rid of the painted paved runoff areas! Some tracks would still need paved run off areas like turn 1, Doohan Corner, Phillip Island, turn 1 Quatar and others!

The track is the edge of the bitumen/asphalt and the edges of the track delineated with a painted line not kerbing and painted green bits!

With the bikes being too fast, get rid of aero; shape shifters; launch control; mapping by corner or sector; let the rider control traction control; engine mapping; engine braking. Let the rider control the machine, not the computer control the bike!

With the bikes being to powerful, reduce the bore size, or reduce valve sizes, or reduce the number of valves, or get rid of pneumatic and desmodronic valve train, or mandate specific camshaft lift and duration, or mandate specific valve material to be used, or mandate rev limit or mandate an increase of piston ring thickness, or decrease the amount of engines available.

Who remembers the 2002-2006 990cc era? Those things were monsters! At Phillip Island they used to light up the rear tire out of turn 2,3,6,11and 12! Fantastic! Limited TC systems, steering with the rear tire flat track style!

The greatest MotoGP finish photo; 2006 Australian GP, Marco Melandri coming out of turn 12 on to Gardner straight, sideways, crossed up, tire smoking up, on the back wheel, one handed, chucking a peace sign with his left hand, FANTASTIC!!!!

AE41 was 1.1 secs behind PE 44 on lap 19, 0.7 behind lap 20, 0.4 behind lap 21 and 0.9 behind at the flag.

AE41 should of had a crack for the podium !

And THERE you may have a tire choice/wear example. It was noted that Asparagus's Aprilia may have had his tires going off at the close, but he kept it in check. He was RIPPING and the bike has lots of power. Cool! Er, hot!

How come Suzuki were able to find power over winter where the other inline four could not.

These engines are so developed that gains beyond the incremental only seem achievable by taking the engine closer to the edge of unreliability or by compromising the power band and hoping electronics and riders can work around it.

Or can Suzuki do magic?

It might be that Suzuki chose to develop their engine to be little more fuel hungry than the other manufacturers.  Would be good for qualifying and race tracks where fuel consumption is not a problem.  Qatar is known as a high fuel consumption track, so they probably had to run an engine map that did not allow full power so they could finish the race.  That could explain the Suzuki declining performance as the weekend progressed.  They were tuning the engine maps to reduce fuel use.  

Yamaha possibly could have followed the same strategy, but instead decided to not develop a hot-rod version of their engine that would have to run detuned maps at some tracks. 

You sure can see the aero on the Gresini Ducati via it being red on lavender. Anyone else find themselves staring at it last wknd? Particularly the lower one up front. Man! They are moving a LOT of air around, and in interesting places.

I wonder how much muscle it takes to get a direction change at speed? More w aero eh? Once it is tipped in, that aero must snug up the grip nicely though.

Maybe their tires are lasting further because sliding is down? But then, isn't more force being put on the contact patch too? 

I ain't geek smart.

Hated it when I first saw it, but compared to the other (black) crap most of the rest have gone to I've quite started to like it. At least it's easy to find on track, lol. It would be interesting to have somebody talk about how it feels to ride with and without them, for sure. Has to be a tough balance between the supposed anti-wheelie effect vs the obvious extra drag at high speed.

Lavender and red is a combination that would never have occurred to me but I think it looks fantastic, particularly under the lights at Qatar. Far too much black on many other bikes.

Yes, I had totally panned this bike and colour scheme during the team launch/unveiling event, but I agree that it looked good on track and somehow the additional pink '23' and yellow sponsor logos added to the overall picture. 

I really like the Pramac livery too, but I know that's not super popular.