Barcelona MotoGP Notes From Pit Lane

A few thoughts on things I saw walking up and down pit lane.

First, it is clear that teams are worried about tire temperature. The factory Ducatis, the factory Yamahas, and even Andrea Dovizioso were using the silver wheels, using special paint to dissipate heat more effectively.

Aprilia appear to have the most sorted motorcycle, judging by the parts and tools in the garage. Where other teams and factories have shocks, fork springs, and even swingarm linkages (Suzuki) lying in the garage, Aprilia are just changing tires. That is ominous for the rest of the grid.

As one of the factory KTM riders left pit lane, a caught a glimpse behind the bottom of the fairing. It looked like they have a lot of hydraulics there, which are most likely used to control the ride-height device. Locating it under the bike is ideal in terms of weight distribution.

That is also apparent on the Ducatis. Johann Zarco is Ducati's designated race tester, as is traditional for one of the Pramac riders. On all the other Ducatis, the accumulator powering the automatic ride-height devices are located in the nose of the fairing, as seen here in photos by Mat Oxley. On the bikes of Johann Zarco and Ducati test rider and Barcelona wildcard Michele Pirro, that space is empty. The nose of the fairing is empty, as you can see in this photo (taken on my phone):

What this means is that the accumulator has been moved somewhere else. That is desirable, because the entire construction must have weighed in the order of a kilogram or more. Moving that to somewhere more central would help centralize mass. It would also help make routing the hydraulics more manageable, a welcome change for the mechanics. Working around hydraulic cables can cause a great deal of headaches and frustration.

Excuse the lack of photographs. I really need to get a camera to take pictures in pit lane. But the downside to using a camera is mechanics, engineers, and team bosses leaping out in front of you trying to stop you and block your view.


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I'd say the use of white and silver paint on the front wheels won't increase heat dissipation; instead it will radiate less heat than black paint. The purpose to me seems to be the opposite, namely to absorb less heat from the hot brake discs. Those are surely radiating a lot of heat into the front wheel and thus by conduction into the front tyre.

Brilliant, a shoulder cam on David! Or maybe a hat cam? ;-)

He could make a really cool spy video, talking us through the whole thing while walking through pit lane. Add a zoom function on that shoulder cam and it would be perfect!

Thats a ton of wheel weights. TPI sensor? I don't expect anyone to appease me, but you could probably double the volume of air under the tire, making it much less susceptible to heat related pressure rise by connecting the under tire air toroid through hollow spokes to a chamber at the hub.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I seem to recall the teams all use paddock only tires for rolling the bikes around when not on or getting ready to head out onto the track. That tire appears to be one of those tires. Which makes me wonder: why bother balancing it if it isn't ever going to be used at anything more than walking speed? Perhaps the weights are left over from a previous race tire?

I admit that I didn't put too much effort into looking it up, but I could swear I remember something about the teams not wanting to waste any of the rubber on a race tire rolling the bikes around in the pit/paddock, so there were tires specifically for that purpose. That tire, while treaded, is definitely not a rain tire, and there are no intermediates, so it must be a "transport" tire, which should never turn a lap. The idea of balancing that kind of tire seems weird to me. Okay, "curious" is a better word, I guess.

They do, easier to push around if that was ever an issue. The wheel might even be junk, damaged in some way. All tyres the teams use during the weekend go back to Michelin. That them there in the pic be Michelin Power GP's. What tyres are they allowed to use on their R1's ?

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