Sachsenring MotoGP Subscriber Notes: Why The Sachsenring Was 2022 Condensed, Ride-Height Failures, Hot Hondas, And Events vs Races

With the Sachsenring done and dusted, we have reached the halfway point of the 2022 season. A quick dash from the east of Germany to the northeast of The Netherlands, and then MotoGP goes on a longer than scheduled summer break.

If the German Grand Prix marked the halfway point of the 2022 season – the median, if you will – then the result might be classified in statistical terms as the mode: the most frequently occurring value in a set of results. If you had to sum up the MotoGP season so far, this is what it would look like.

I have a long motorcycle journey on Monday, so below are a few quick notes after the German GP, and what precisely makes it the modal MotoGP race. But also, some of the factors which make it atypical. And a sign of hope for the future of the series.

In these notes:

  • Fabio Quartararo puts on a masterclass in how to win a championship
  • Why his rivals failed
  • Why Pecco Bagnaia crashed out
  • The Ducati conundrum
  • When ride-height devices go wrong
  • Hot-hot-hot Hondas
  • Races vs events, and why the fans turn up at one race, but not another.

But we start with what made the German GP so representative of the season so far. Obviously, Fabio Quartararo winning convincingly and extending his championship lead is pretty much par for the course. His rivals finding ways to beat themselves, trip themselves up, or just suffer plain bad luck is also pretty typical for this season. Ducatis being successful, but in ever-changing configurations and orders, is very 2022. Suzukis crashing, Honda being nowhere without Marc Marquez, technology letting everyone down, riders blaming the Michelin tires (rightly or wrongly), the second Yamaha finishing 29 seconds behind Quartararo (Franco Morbidelli was nearly a second a lap slower than his teammate). A familiar story indeed.

The king is dead, long live the king

But first, to the 2022 MotoGP champion-in-waiting, Fabio Quartararo. How does the Frenchman come away from a race where he faced a strong challenge from Pecco Bagnaia having extended his lead in the title chase and reinforced his dominance in the championship? Two factors.

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Source: 
year: 
2022
round_number: 
10

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Comments

... it is very informative and enjoyable, thank you.

Just once, I would love to read your report on a Zarco win because I have come to really admire his work ethic.  His utter exhaustion after today's race demonstrated the effort and determination he put into chasing Quartararo in conditions where even walking would be uncomfortable.  'Super-fit' barely describes these guys, especially Fabio who was hardly sweating and was also sick!  

..will he always the bridesmaid, never the bride? I think everyone wants to see the Zarco backflip now and I hope he has kept practising it! I wonder now if he is the rider with the most podiums never to win a race, he must surely be close. Funnily enough I remember he had a similar problem in the 125s, things kept happening to stop him winning for some time..

I'm not sure that he had a backflip in him after that race. He seemed to be on the lookout for places to sit down.

Steve English will be flabbergasted! 😇

Excellent summary, as usual. Thanks. Enjoy your (hot) ride home.

The reputation never seems to get better. Highly variable french QC has long been an issue as well. Some might smell some national preference :) 

Howdy Josh! I have been really impressed w these Michelins. Accolades! 

Now, if they can please give us the 2019-2020 Winter new front upgrade please and thank you. 

;)

Impossible to please everyone. They have a bad day, it's the tire. They have a good day, they did it. I get weary hearing the constant complaints about tires. And I certainly don't believe there's any "national preference" involved. Personally, I'd lose the spec tire thing completely, or else provide one (1) tire spec per race and let them get on with it.

Oh hell yea.  Bring back multiple tire suppliers!

No thanks, last time around it was a Michelin track or a Bridgestone one, usually depending on temperature. Not a great way to determine a championship Imo

Oh to be so innocent again...no offense but the tire war thing doesn't work.

One has to admire Pecco's character - freely admitting that Fabio is decisively better right now, being super supportive of Milller, and generally behaving like a really driven competitor without any of the excesses of many others. And yes the Ducati might be the best overall average package but it seems like a razor's edge at the limit - hence the numbers of DNFs?

As for Fabio - he is a privilege to watch. He is making our ruminations about the depth of the field look a bit simplistic.

Finally this is another race where one or other of the GP riders are moaning about the tyres. Generally we seem to distrust those complaints from some but accept them from others. I don't think there is any basis to condemn Michelin but with the commentary from Aleix in this race and Miller from the previous round, in addition to the other riders, and it's a bit hard to dismiss some inconsistency altogether. Maybe it's the excessive heat that reveals that problem. Thanks for a great report David. 

Your comments about an event vs. a race are spot on. 
 

We flew from California to Italy in 2015 for the race at Mugello. No extra trains scheduled from Florence into the small town 3km from the track. No public transport at all once you got to that small town, except for the few enterprising locals charging €20 a person for a ride in their personal cars. Hell there wasn’t even a single sign at the train station to  point you in the direction of the track much less announce that the Italian Grand Prix was going on that day. 
 

Sounds like next time I should be heading to Germany. 

To what we experienced in 2004. We arrived in a nearby village, having not found any way of getting a bus to a track. In the end a local police man, who was sat reading a paper in a cafe, gave us a lift! It was wonderfully prosaic and like something from the 1960s, but probably not what a modern sporting event needs!

 We were at Mugello in 2019 having bought VIP Hospitality tickets and unlike any track we had been at previously, we were not allowed to wander around the circuit or even go to the merchandise outlets. Very strange indeed. The traffic back to Florence was a car park but fortunately our bus was stopped right by a small bar outside the circuit so wine eased the the long delay.

 

crying out for some professionalism. But it is not just the circuit. As noted above, the whole getting there and getting away is not made easy. That means a lot of people trying it will not go again.

I attended in 2019 and even though I went with a major trip provider of grandstand tickets it was amateurish. If going again I would know what to do but the lack of organisation around transport is a real shame. A rail line runs right past, but there is no station. Coaches have to park miles away and we had to argue with our organiser and coach operator to do the b-obvious. Access to car parks has some archaic traditions controlling access that we couldn’t figure I out. Also Italy is hot and sunny -wonderful. But please provide some shade……Older and less able people had a really tough time. Facilities were less than great. I would love to go again for many reasons but Ferrari or someone really ought to look at their management/ownership policy. At those prices it has to be better than it is.

I think Aleix made a mistake with a brand spanking new tyre. Impossible to predict maybe. The conditions for the race were not the conditions in which he had previously run a new hard front.

I went with my two closest friends this year: we hired scooters in Milan and rode to Bologna then Florence then the track then Parma and back to Milan. It was a bloody fantastic weekend, sitting at the braking point for turn 1 in qualifying with lightning bolts landing round the track was epic and Northern Italy is a wonderful place to fuck about eating well, drinking too much and messing about on inappropriate vehicles with friends.

The general admission tickets went on sale very late, only grandstands were available until maybe a month before and they were very expensive. I emailed the motogp ticket service to ask if the GA tickets were going to be on sale and they said no. Part of this, i’m sure was a Covid response: much easier to control the crowds if only grandstand seats are available but taking the time off at short notice and getting the increased funds together might well have been asking too much.

I went in 2017 and it was a much more placid affair this year which while a shame (think glastonbury meets mad max!) it did mean that we camped on a nice flat spot in front of a big screen on the bank of Casanova-savelli and had loads of space to stretch out. It also meant getting on the road afterwards was effortless instead of circa 2 hours to get out of the circuit.

I really hope it was a confluence of bad timing, covid concerns and price gouging that lowered attendance, it really is a magical place to watch bike racing.

David's write up on Saturday was so correct. He said if Fabio got away-Lights out! He was absolutely correct. This young gun does not make mistakes. Pecco's DNF was directly related to FQ's pace. He (Pecco) knew if FQ was laying down a pace, extract max early  performance from the mediums, he would build an insurmountable lead. End result, Pecco got on the gas a bit too early ...You can see/hear it in the video....And to think Yamaha did not bring big improvements to the package this year.....And FQ is only 23....Will this be a MM type run???? Only time will tell, however this kid seems the real deal and is quite SWAGGY!!! BTW, he seems to be in excellent physical condition....

 

I haven’t seen a comment on Fabio’s condition for this weekend. It was said that he was ill and in every interview that I saw he was coughing. His overall conditioning must be exceptional when you consider the heat and physical demands of the circuit. Could he have been battling one of the newer Covid strains and yet still seemed in much better shape that his countryman after the race? If he does win the championship this year on a handicapped bike his legend will be secured.

He's probably dealing with "one of the newer influenza strains" as most people do every year. If it was "new covid" he'd have tested positive and would be off in the naughty corner for a few days. It's almost as if it wouldn't matter either way!

I fear Ducati will never win another rider championship in MotoGP. They keep trading away their top prospects! The youngsters they have are certainly fast, but they don't seem to be ready to win a championship any time soon. The one rider they have that could give it to them is Johann Zarco! Yet he remains on the satellite bike. I admit he seemed pretty exhausted after the last two races, but he is clearly more ready to win a MotoGP championship than 'The Beast', Pecco, Jorge, Luca, Marco or Fabio. Even Jackass is more ready and they let him go! Something is terribly wrong in the Ducati MotoGP effort.

I don't know that they'll never win another title, but there is a comparison worth making that possibly has a bearing. Yamaha made a lasting commitment to Vale and, while they had their spat, they honoured the commitment by supporting him into his twilight. Honda seem to be doing the same with Marquez, when we all know a comeback is far from certain. That kind of thing matters, it sends a message to riders that this is a partnership of sorts, that the factory has your back. Ducati - well, they ran out of patience with Stoner within a year, the same with Lorenzo, and that sends a different message. They don't seem to have anyone's back and, while saying it isn't even worth a dime, they don't deserve another title. Jack may find himself better off at KTM - at the very least, he'll be with a team who would be in raptures if he makes a podium, and that's something worth having. 

Wishing Jack good luck and success for the next 2 years at KTM.

IMHO the KTM Is a 🍋 lemon!

Brad Binder has one year left on his contract with KTM, would love to see him on a Ducati, Aprilia or Yamaha.

IMHO his time on the KTM MotoGP bike has been wasted! He should have at least been fighting for a championship or won one by now! He has always had the talent to be a world champion in this class, but the KTM is not a world championship winning bike! Prove me wrong KTM!

Let's hope the KTM is improved for the second half of the 2022 championship and is definitely improved for the 2023 championship.

 

I think Pecco can win it. Ducati screwed up in the first five rounds. After five rounds Pecco was 38 points behind Fabio who seemed to be coming good as the championship returned to Europe. Pecco...win...dnf...win in the next three rounds. Over those three rounds Pecco lost only another 3 points to Fabio despite dropping it at Le Mans. Not a disaster but still, three less rounds to go. The crash in Catalunya, not his fault, coming with a Fabio win put the pressure up a lot more. A 41 point gap jumps to 66. Suddenly Sachsenring becomes a race you must win or at the very least a race you cannot afford to have any problem. If Pecco had scored better in those first five races, nothing special just good solid points, then maybe he leaves Catalunya with 35 point gap. Sachsenring ring becomes less crucial, finishing second not good but not a disaster. I saw an interview with Gigi and he said as much, they, Ducati were not ready for the season and made the mistake of 'testing' in the first races.

All true, but Pecco has yet to prove he is consistent. He showed flashes of championship mettle but his career is still littered with win-it-or-bin-it results. I'm not convinced that he's the guy and to be honest I wouldn't be all that surprised if Ducati fumble the ball yet again. They have some fast, young talent onboard but are a known quantity when it comes to how they treat their riders, especially when things aren't going their way. The contempt they are showing towards Jack right now is disgusting and I really hope Jack finishes on top, just to stick it to the brass.

Consistent top 5 finishes with a single DNF gets you in the ballpark. Enes? Nope. Yo-yo. Martin? No chance. He's a gravel surfer. Pecco? Maybe, but it's not looking good.

There is already in-fighting and Enes hasn't even got the seat yet. He managed to disrespect Pecco, Jack, Martin and the factory in a single sentence. Based on that alone - give him the seat and hand out popcorn. XL please.

"Of course Pecco doesn't want me there, he knows he can beat Jack and stay #1.."

Nice.

Very possibly maybe. I think what I was trying to say is that mistakes are more likely to happen when you are under pressure. Real or perceived the result is the same. Not one Ducati rider has any consistency. When there are five GP22s on track and everybody is struggling I guess bike before rider. The early Ducati struggles placed Pecco in the position of having to win races with alarming regularity. Since Jerez he has been the fastest rider on track. Le Mans was a huge mistake when added to Catalunya which was not his fault. In some ways I think Sachsenring was the result of Le Mans and Catalunya. Could be that this is a weakness which Pecco must overcome. Seeing as he is now a very remote championship chance and who bloody cares if he has a couple more dnf this season, he can enjoy more and win a lot more because I suspect he'll still be the fastest rider in Assen. Never forget the Fabio of 2020.

If I'm not mistaken, the last dry Ducati podium at Assen was Stoner in 2010. Bagnaia may be consistently among the fastest this coming Friday and Saturday, but can he keep nailing laps all race long on Sunday? Last year he had a long lapper for exceeding track limits. Assen looks like an arm pumper for the Ducati guys. Maybe the new fairing and scoops will help, plus it might be wet.

The most consistent of the Ducati riders. I really would like to see him get a win this year.

Very true, last year Pecco was 3rd on the grid, ran in P1 until the front said no more. However, looking at the Ducati performance in Jerez, Catalunya and Germany it is a reasonable step to imagine they will run better this year than last. Personally I think Fabio will win it, if not Fabio then hmmm Aleix but my predictions are usually useless !

Even if Pecco won every single race from now on - cant see him beating FQ because our world champion will continue to win podiums. Its the WSBK catch up scenario - you have to win everything and hope the leader DNF's. FQ has been here before - Pecco has let it slip. 

Of course Pecco will not win every race and Fabio will probably win some. The only chance Pecco has requires some no scores from Fabio and Aleix. It would require Fabio to have a disaster second half to the season equal to Pecco's first half.

Did anyone watch the race via BT Sport? I wonder if any other streams did this.

The switch to show the Ducati garage immediately after Jack Miller nicked 3rd spot at T1 must surely have been ‘replay’ feed of their reaction to Peco’s off many laps earlier? Or,  reaction to Jack’s previous two T1 attempts to pass where he ran wide.

If they were live feed reactions to their rider gaining a podium position, there is something very, very wrong. Regardless of their shortcomings when it comes to rider management abilities, a podium is a podium, especially after that rider had been forced to take a long lap penalty.

The feed is the same on BT but yes, I saw the reaction of Ducati. Ducati have been rooting against Jack all season. IMO they are a  bunch of assholes who think their gimmicks are more important than their riders. They are, of course, 100% wrongwrongwrong but their egos are too big to see it. If I never see that slimeball Tardozzi again it will be too soon.

Honda was (in)famous for insisting the bike was the best, the rider was just there to hang on and if he couldn't win it was his fault. That's the main reason Rossi left them in the first place. Ducati seems to be in exactly the same boat now. Aprilia seems to be quite different, quite possibly due to Rivola -- I might even say probably, since they weren't much different from Ducati when Albesiano was in charge (in all fairness, he appears to be a great engineer who was stuck in a position ill-suited to his abilities). Remember the way they treated Edwards, Redding, Lowes?

I've nothing against any of the Ducati riders, but it would bring joy to my heart if KTM made a big leap and Miller started handing them their asses on a plate next year. Also love to see Binder do the same; seems to me he and Miller are two of a kind. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/motogp/comments/pbikkr/brad_binders_balls/

 

To be fair to Honda they had a long run of producing the fastest bike on the grid year after year after year. Honda just missed the fact that they weren't beaten by Yamaha or Suzuki, they were beaten by Lawson, Rainey, Schwantz and Doohan's leg. In 2002 and 2003 they had THE bike, no doubt fastest. The next year Yamaha didn't have Lawson or Rainey...they had Rossi and sure enough, Honda magically produced a slower bike. In fact it was still probably the fastest bike on the grid.

When you win, it's Ducati. When you lose, it's you.

I get the impression with Ducati that when they lose it's the bike's fault. Take that design of swing arm off, throw it away, put a new design on...take that rider, throw it away, put a new design on.

Ducati are a conveyer belt team - you reach at the top and eventually you are dropped - Lorenzo, Dovi, Petrux and now Jack have been there. I think Zarco sticking with the Pramac team has it right. He has a factory bike but little of the baggage that goes with being on a factory bike. Bastianini (sorry spelling) needs to think this through - get on the latest bike but continue with the Gresini team. Let Jorge Martin go to factory team where he will probably crash and burn. 

The same reaction happened when Miller , during Q2 some weeks ago, got pole, cut to Ducati management and you'd expect elation etc but you saw the opposite! He was subsequently beaten to the final pole.

All you have to do is fire your rider and they will start doing well!

I'm sure there are some drawbacks with this approach, but it's nothing Domenicali and the rest of the Bologna brain-trust can't figure out.

They're very clever at Ducati, you see.

I hope that Jack does really well for the rest of the season (so we can see more glum faces in the Ducati pit) and blitzes it at KTM. That would stick it right up Ducati.

KTM this season is really lost, it seems.  I hope Jack can get on with the machinery and team and bring them some focus for development.    I wonder if the hallowed steel frame would ever be on the block, much like after years of resistance Duc has lost some of their “untouchable” brand identifiers.  

^ The KTM went the way of the 2021 and older Honda, they both had made a REALLY similar bike around the previous tires. It needs a revolution...AND a new front tire from Michelin. And they have shown that they can in-house craft a chassis to do so. 

23 min video we should all be watching, After The Flag 2022 Germany.

Solid consideration of Fabio Quartararo here at 1 min, focus on his T1 entry at 1:28 -- GORGEOUS bike control. Taking an Earth bound bike interstellar. Sick by the way, taking basically "Dayquil" to manage symptoms, even more impressive. It was Quarty himself that made the call on a M rear tire. And made it last!

Just as Jack Miller begins to speak, a face of strong emotion. Some heat exhaustion, yes, but also bare feeling. Huge heart. "Last 3 races (crap), now I feel like my whole self." He has front end feel and settings to do the business. Renewed appreciation of this still young guy. 

Simon at 11 mins offers a gem of a look at Pecco's crash AND a comparison of he and "catlike" Fabio. Simon thinks the Championship for Bagnaia looks done too. 

From 15:15 - 15:40 you get a close up sneak peek at The Zarco one cheek sneak struggling to withhold flatulence. He is going to now be a sincerely solid blue collar workhorse for Ducati at Pramac. Like a Cal, testing parts, developing the bike. Solid rider. He is at his career crest. Notably, he looks to have grown through his brainless overly aggressive dangerous crashing. That one big Morbidelli bike tossing wreck that careened both bikes at Rossi et al? The capstone and a safe one thank goodness. Sunday his pass on Aleix was as aggressive as ever, but clean and smart. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=D_VOa-L_eHU

over the limit yet so well composed and putting in the lap times on a bike on par with the Honda if anyone else rides it. Only 1 alien remains. May MM recover so we can see them battle it out properly.

And Zarco 1 second faster,  Jack 5 seconds slower, Aleix 5 seconds slower. KTM Oli  24seconds slower, Binder 13 seconds. Obviously conditions were different. Fabios fastest lap was faster than last years which was Oliveira.  Much cooler last year. Where does that leave KTM the team in meltdown because the bike is a dog. Seniormanagement blaming the riders, totally lost now. Quatararo in a class of his own but a fit Marquez on any Honda but this years back to 2014 would have won it by up to 13 seconds. So Honda are in the sameboat as KTM now.

Bagnaia starting to have his brain fried now and needs to seriously stop trying to win in the fastest time and think about the end of the race more than the start. Superior bike, but an inferior race brain.

Well, I cant wait for Assen. Forecast is weton Sundaywith sunny spells,lets hope that it stays dry,last year a Yamaha one-two,about as much chance of that happening as KTM winning.

Pedro Acosta broke his left femur today in a motocross accident. Having surgery. Out for Assen. 

Still on the rise. I am liking the kid. Don't pull a Marc kid, heal up smoothly.

Femur? Fcking ouch! Best of luck to him. He really does seem like he'll be the real thing.

Top link! Interesting to hear how Toprak goes from zero front brake to 20 bar pressure in an instant..No wonder he destroys the bikes!

 

Paul Denning gone up a lot in my estimation.Was around him a few times when he was in Motogp,he always seemed worried to death back then. A brilliant insight.

I can agree from limited experience. Indy 2013, amazing time, tons to do and see other than the bikes. Misano 2018, nothing. So starkly different