Misano MotoGP Subscriber Notes: Bagnaia's Start, The One-Man Yamaha, Behold The Bestia, And What Honda Need To Fix

It is crunch time in the championships of all three Grand Prix classes. In Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP, the leader went into Misano with a comfortable lead: 46 points for Pedro Acosta over Sergio Garcia, 39 points for Remy Gardner over Raul Fernandez, and 53 points for Fabio Quartararo over Pecco Bagnaia. Enough of a lead not to have to win at all costs, but not so much that they could afford to throw away points.

If anything, that's more stressful than having a much smaller lead. With a gap of just a few points or so, your only option is to put your head down and try to win as many races as possible. You have to take risks if you have any hope of winning the championship; the choice is out of your hands. With a comfortable gap, you have to start thinking about how much to risk, and when and how many points you can afford to give away. You can't relax and ride freely, because you are still a long way from actually wrapping up the title. But you can't just ease off and ride for points, because if you lose a couple of places you can suddenly find your rivals have slashed large chunks out of your championship lead, making your job even harder.

So the pressure is on. In Moto2 and MotoGP, the current leaders rose to the challenge, and did what they needed to do to minimize their losses. Both Remy Gardner and Fabio Quartararo rode outstanding races to finish second, behind their main title challenger. Both of them lost points, but ironically, trailing by 34 points and 48 points respectively with 4 races left is a more comfortable position than trailing by 39 and 53 points with 5 races to go.

Margin for error

Gardner went from being able to lose 7.8 to 8.5 points a race, Quartararo from 10.6 to 12 points a race. Gardner needs three thirds and a second to beat Raul Fernandez to the Moto2 crown, Quartararo needs three fourths and a third to hold off the charge of Pecco Bagnaia. And these calculations assume that Fernandez and Bagnaia win the rest of the remaining races. If they don't then the job of the championship leaders gets an awful lot easier. We are on course for the titles to be wrapped up either here in Misano when we return in October, or else two weeks later at Portimão.

Why not do the same calculation for Moto3? The race in Misano made it plain why calculating what might happen in the junior class almost pointless: Romano Fenati was on his way to a massive points haul, bringing him a lot closer to the leader in the championship, when he crashed out. And with his second win in two races, Dennis Foggia leaped back into title contention, alongside Sergio Garcia. Where Quartararo and Gardner have been exceptionally consistent in their classes, Pedro Acosta, Dennis Foggia, and Sergio Garcia have been notoriously unreliable throughout the season. Moto3 ain't there yet.

But back to MotoGP. The Misano race turned into a masterclass of riding, and whittled the championship fight down to just two names: the man who finished first, and the man who finished second. Joan Mir was once again the victim of Suzuki's poor qualifying, and the mistake of his team, and said afterwards that though he will never give up fighting until the championship is mathematically impossible, it did look like his chance of defending his 2020 title had gone.

New class

The podium consisted of three riders with an average age of 23, and with relatively little experience in the class. Enea Bastianini scored his debut podium in the premier class in his rookie season, while Quartararo and Bagnaia are in just their third season in MotoGP. Another sign that we are in the middle of a generational change.

We also learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of the various MotoGP machines. With a test coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday, riders spoke more openly than usual about their bikes, and the bikes of others. A clearer picture emerged of where the championship stands right now, and what the manufacturers have to improve.

There was a little controversy too. The race winner Pecco Bagnaia appeared to make a jump start, though you had to watch very closely indeed to see the evidence.

So in these subscriber notes:

  • When is a jump start not a jump start?
  • Where Fabio Quartararo lost the race
  • Ducati's Panigale advantage
  • Quartararo laying it on the line
  • Why only one rider can ride the Yamaha, for the moment at least
  • The new generation taking over MotoGP
  • The brilliance of Bastianini
  • What Honda needs to fix to be competitive again

First, about that jump start. Watching the start live, it was hard to see anything wrong. When the TV director showed the replay halfway through the race, highlighting Bagnaia from the helicopter shot, then doubts were raised whether the factory Ducati rider had anticipated the start or not. When they showed the replay of the start from onboard camera of Johann Zarco's bike, starting from the middle of the second row, some commentators started to cry foul.

Did Bagnaia's bike move before the red lights went out? A very close examination of the view from Zarco's bike suggests that he did move very fractionally before the lights went out, though you have to look carefully. I put together two consecutive frames from the MotoGP.com video feed, which Twitter user @sirbastian kindly stitched into a gif. If you look closely at Bastianini on the left, you can just see that he moves, even though the red lights are still on.

Another Twitter user (@MotoetGPaddict) posted a slightly longer segment, and from that, it seems that the red lights go out in the very next frame. Assuming that MotoGP.com streams in 30 frames a second – a common frame rate for live sports, given the constraints of bandwidth the world over – Bagnaia's bike would have been moving for less than four hundredths of a second. If the frame rate is faster, say 60fps, then Bagnaia would have been moving for even less time than that.

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It would be interesting to know what Yamaha is doing geometry-wise these days. Dovi stated that the bike is long and low which was giving him trouble getting comfortable as he is a bit vertically challenged. That would tie in with it being able to carry big corner speed and help Quartararo pull off the late hard braking he's so good at. But that would also make it slower to turn and not want to adjust mid-corner, and yet it seems to be and reported as being very agile and we can see Quartararo ducking and weaving through traffic at will. Must be some absolute voodoo going on in the Yamaha factory at the moment.

Comparing a time advantage at the start to a time advantage at the finish line seems niave if not foolish.  It ignores the problem of passiing as opposed to just catching up.   

I'd say the advantage at T1 is the majority of the consideration with jump starts.

The whole point of the rule is the bike moving forward. This has to have a reference which i believe is the front wheel rotating/moving forward. I remember Cal's jump start and they showed the footage from the camera which was placed to look directly at Cal's front wheel from the side. I don't know what fps those cameras use, you'd hope better than 30fps. Then again maybe 0.03s is judged perfectly sufficient for these purposes. Front wheel moving forward, ok maybe that's obvious but you have to consider what it does not include. It doesn't include the bike leaning left to right, changes in loads on the forks or swing arm, the rider moving on the bike etc. Only the front wheel moving forward. The images shown from the onboard cameras show movement but it's impossible to say if the front wheel rotates/moves forward at all. Chip size, focal length, FOV highly dodgy cameras. What that means is, we don't know if the front wheel moved at all. Hopefully RC could see.

The jump start rule's intention is to remove ambiguity. The difference between moving and not moving is definitive. Sunday's race shows how the rule, if enforced in exactness, would not be not fair - a perfect race ruined by a few milliseconds of movement before the lights went out. Was it Iannone that had a similar situation? He launched just as the lights were dimming. The rational was that the off button had been hit before or at the exact moment that his bike began to move, so no foul. I am relieved that RD did not give Bagnaia any kind of penalty. It would have stained an incredibly awesome race.

I agree with the opinion that in this case, a penalty would have dirtied a beautiful race. Rules like Laws should allow for interpretation, and I believe this was the intent of those who wrote the Book of Rules, including the clause ''In the case of a minor movement and subsequent stop whilst the red lights are on, the designated officials will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained.''

We need more such racing, we have tasted the best and are not satisfied with less...


"The podium was also a long-awaited reward for the Esponsorama team, coming in their final season in the premier class. Before this, their best result was Johann Zarco's podium at Brno last year. They had to celebrate that mutedly, in the midst of the pandemic How they celebrated Bastianini's podium doesn't bear thinking about."

What happened? Or didn't happen?

Only under the microscope of super slow motion can one detect the Peco's "jump start".  Did that warrent ten paragraphs of analysis complete with a reproduction of the applicable rules??  Good god, I support this site because I believe it provides the most comprehensive coverage available but this really seems like overkill.  Sure, cover it but ten paragraphs??

The guy didn't jump the start and didn't get a penalty. What's with the obsession on his start? Same thing came up in the podcast for no reason that I could figure. Haven't seen a hint of claiming a jump anywhere else.

This excerpt is worth the year's subscription "his stupendous ability to stop the Yamaha and get the bike turned to slide up the inside of other bikes, and leave them nowhere to go."

Loved the line about the Esponsorama team, "How they celebrated Bastianini's podium doesn't bear thinking about." :D

I wonder why Mir always seems to pass bullishly on Miller.  Marq showed last week you could pass cleanly and fairly without driving your opponent super wide.  Mir always seems to stuff Miller up when he tries to pass him..... not on Miller's christmas card list, for sure.

I think Miller isn't on Mir's list either, cfr. Qatar...