Aragon MotoGP Subscriber Notes, Part 2: The Nonsense Of Team Orders, And Losing Out At The Start

Much of the attention after Sunday's race went to what happened at the front: Enea Bastianini beating fellow Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia, Brad Binder firing from mid pack to the front in the first couple of corners, and of course, the massive crash caused by Fabio Quartararo hitting the back of Marc Marquez' Repsol Honda, and in the aftermath, Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami colliding, and Marquez being forced to pull out of the race with a piece of Quartararo's fairing stuck in his rear wheel.

But that meant that some of the things which went on behind were overlooked in the media overload. Aleix Espargaro's return to the podium puts him right back in the championship chase. Brad Binder showed his exceptional class to finish fourth, and nearly on the podium. And some of the riders who felt they had the pace to make up ground in the first couple of laps after qualifying badly.

First, a few words on team orders. At Misano, everyone on a Ducati told us that Ducati Corse CEO Gigi Dall'Igna had been round to have a word with them. The gist was that they were to feel free to try to take the win, if the win was there, even if it meant passing Pecco Bagnaia. But they were not to take excessive risks while doing so: beating Bagnaia was acceptable, but attempting a pass and taking Bagnaia out if they failed was not.

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The piece of context missing here is that Dall'Igna told his riders this when Bagnaia was 44 points behind Fabio Quartararo with seven races still to go, an average of 6.3 points per race behind. At that point, the onus is on Bagnaia to score points, rather than the other Ducati riders to get out of his way. After Misano, Bagnaia had cut that deficit to 30 points with six to go, the average now 6 points per race. He had inched closer, but had still left himself a lot of work to do.

Aragon changes that dynamic significantly. Bagnaia now trails Quartararo by just 10 points, an average of 2 points for each of the five races remaining. Bagnaia has the championship in his own hands: he is capable of winning the title without any external help at all. But interference could ruin all that, so surely Ducati should now start issuing team orders to the other Ducati riders, telling them not to pass Bagnaia?

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...if you have the pace, the confidence, and the factory boss hasn't told you not to. 

Is this where one manufacturer owning a third of the grid could get very messy? 

Its almost the same dynamic that once played out in WSBK with Ducati having multiple fast riders to take points off eachother while Yamaha had 1 clear fast rider who didnt have a teammate to contend with.

Lets visit WSBK 2009 Monza - Haga/Fabrizio/Spies

I cannot find it now, but I specifically remember seeing a video of Davide Tardozi being asked if he could see a scenario where not issuing team orders between between Nori Haga and Michelle Fabrizio might mean handing the Championship to Yamaha later in the season, and Tardozis response was "Impossible, this will never happen".

At this point in the season it was already clear who the main championship contenders were. Ben Spies and Noriyuki Haga.
In race one just before finishing Ben Spies ran out of fuel from 1st and finished 15th collecting 1 point.
Fabrizio finished 1st collecting 25 points with Haga finishing a close 2nd scoring 20 points. 

Fast forward to the last round of the season in Portugal, Haga had a points lead over Spies going into the weekend but gave it up after retiring via lowside in race 1.

In race 2 Fabrizio would once again finish 1st taking another 5 points from Haga who would bring it home in 2nd.
No team orders meant Ducati and Haga would lose the champion to Yamaha and Ben spies by 6 points.

At the very least it was fascinating to see those words from Davide come back to bite him. Had Fabrizio not taken 5 points off Haga at Monza, Then perhaps going into the very last race Fabrizio would be faced with the possibility of being heralded a Ducati hero for helping them clinch the 2009 crown. Something that seems normal in most "team" sports, but Motorsports is different.

Living in "what if" land, Spies subsequently doesnt make the move to MotoGP and WSBK history looks very different. 

On another topic it reminds me of what Ben said of his decision to move to MotoGP in that there was nothing there left to do in WSBK after coming in and dominating (although he won by 6 points). Contrast that with Rea who had dominated 6 seasons without making the move. Interesting to how different riders approach their careers. 


I hope communications from engineers never happen in MotoGP, riders working it out themselves is a purer form of racing.

If pecco loses the chip by 2 points that’s way more fun right? 11/10 drama for next year.

If you wanna win? You gotta win. Only 10 ply soft lads ride for points, Tardozzi knows and so does Enea.

Is wrapping knuckles a thing in other english variants (other than american). It's rapping knuckles, AFAIK. The caption of Tardozzi words to Enea was in error.


Turns out if you're faster than the guy ahead of you you can still pass him. I still don't buy the technology scapegoating. People blame shapeshifter devices for their bankruptcies and divorces.

Yet riders complain it is getting harder to pass and sometimes impossible despite being faster. Rins was out of 'position' due to the Fabio/Marc clash so he his pace was much higher than the riders he was passing. I don't know but the impression is that if a rider's pace is only slightly quicker than the rider in front, they cannot battle, pass or must take very large risks to pass. However, passes take place at every race. I think if the riders complain it is more difficult and nearly impossible then it's not just people imagining a bogeyman. I also think it's maybe possible to gauge the performance of ride height devices and aero from how little a team's riders complain.

The riders seem to say it, and we see it. Mir repeatedly with Miller in 2021, the Suzuki pass on the Ducati was often an inside hip check arriving before apex. The Duc has most motor, and stable on brakes. Miller finally had an angry reaction after about 3. The Yamaha? Can't even arrive at the opportunity. Quartararo used to be smooth and stay out front. Now he is ragged and trying to get there.

Last two races, just see it - two Ducatis swapping spots the final lap, gap behind, then V4's battling for 3rd. 

# of passes is factually down. The why is debatable. Less talk about F tire pressure up while behind since the heat dispersing carcass update. 

How we have opening laps like last Round may be related to needing to get out front early, or be stuck behind one of eight Ducatis. 

No disrespect, but I would not rank the riders as they stand in 2022. It has all been said. Mir hurt himself from trying to Quartararo. Marc got back from overriding injury. 2nd Yamaha at 12th is great news for Cal. Binder got a 4th beating Miller and is heralded. Rins finishing 2nd pack is strong. Bezzecchi, Marini and DiGi have had sessions near the front and even podiums. Zarco is way fwd of his Orange yr. Miler is a contender most weekends. 

M.Marquez and Quartararo are Aliens. Bagnaia and Bastiannini are Astronauts. A.Espargaro is a Dovisioso-like blue collar hard working human being and excellent rider. 

Shuck fapeshifters, and Ducati's hold on the rulebook. It is good for MotoGP. Same for Spec Electronics and Honda plus Yamaha in MSMA. I care! 

Still really enjoying this season. Hats off to Ducati, and ESPECIALLY Aprilia, for pulling off their successes. Soapbox rant over. 


v Go Bastiannini! And Marc...I am behind him still, albeit w a touch of space - right Taka and Fabio? (Too soon?). Brad too, huge fan!

I just rank the rider in how they finish and forget the bike-rider +/-. It's not an accurate ranking of aliens but it shortcuts all of the discussion :) I too am enjoying this season even if some of the racing is more expectation of the pass that does eventually come instead of full on battle royale. I just hope Fabio doesn't sink like the end of 2020. Would be really nice to see the title decided in the last race winner takes all.

There definitely seems to be less passing up front. I've been bored and looking into it. Will let you know...

"Thank you Simon. We now cross over to WaveyD with analysis on passing..."

Hahaha cue my best Champ Kind impression.

It's sketchy. It's only the number of times two positions swapped from the end of one lap to the end of the next. Both riders must finish the lap etc, no dnf...I can't quite believe Silverstone 2022 but I keep checking and it's as it is. Just picked the last five 2022 races. I did pick Silverstone and it's 2019 for Silverstone.

  2018 2022
Aragon 16 29
Misano 29 20
Spielberg 38 17
Assen 36 27
Silverstone '19 18 42

Needs more race and years because it's six of one and half a dozen of the other at the moment. Another day. This is also the whole field....maybe top 5 is better.

Same rules as the little table but light blue is all field, dark blue is top 5, grey is for the lead. Should also say that if a rider jumps 2+/- positions it also doesn't count. It's just a specific event, two riders swap positions from end of one lap to the next.

Seems despite some exceptions, not much be changing Bob.

Interesting to check 2020 Aragon 1 and 2.
Significantly less overtakes during second race.

As there are no technical updates (aero, ride height gizmos) on the bikes between both races and the weather was quite steady, I can only guess why less overtaking was done.

Without rewatching both races, the only difference I see is the fact that the 2nd race was 7 sec faster than the 1st. However, the 2022 race was another 12! sec faster with a number of overtakes close to race 1 of 2020. So at least faster racing does not mean fewer overtake, right?

Actually very interesting to compare total race times between 2020 and 2022 of the different riders and brands:
- Great work Ducati and Aprillia
- Honda standstill
- Amazing Brad and Rins (be it somewhat under the radar for Alex)
- Lost Franco. (time to look elsewhere, should have jumped ship this year tho)


WaveyD, any chance to extend this to all tracks? 😁

Well....funny you should say....A version which works across each sector of each lap will be running soon. I'm lazy in a way that makes me do more to allow me to be more lazy which usually means I do too much. Something not right there. Grab each sector time from the website pdf, put them onto a running total for each rider and you get the running order for the end of each sector. Might be quite confusing in parts. For example, Spielberg might show a pass by zero point zero something at the start finish but braking for T1 and it's that a pass ? Will need some playing. I think it's quite difficult to say anything from any one year. Wet race / dry race, yes, that can be a difference but is more likely a qualification I think. I would expect large deviations in the results year to year simply because random events can have a large impact on the results. Random things are usually, constantly, definitely, maybe present. It would be boring otherwise.

I think the difference in passing between the two 2020 Aragon races is because nothing much changed between the two races...yet the was a big difference between the two races. At Aragon-1 the riders/teams had four FP sessions, 1 or 2 Q sessions and a Warm up to prepare for the race. At Aragon-2 the riders/teams had 8 FP session, 2 to 4 Q sessions, 2 warm up sessions and a full race (Aragon-1) to prepare for the race. Everything was so well sorted for Aragon-2 that the bikes were more likely to qually and run through the race in the same position.

Oh and I made a mistake, the gray isn't for the lead it's for top two.

The more I think about it, Pecco, Ducati, Dorna should be thanking Enea for making Pecco earn it. The whole sport is uplifted by a champion having to do battle to win a title. The stench of team orders has no place here.


... on the team orders thing. Never works, useless, etc., etc.

Anyone remember Melandri in WSBK ?? Team orders to allow Guintoli to take both wins in Magny-Cours. Marco followed team orders in race 1 but decided his self respect and respect for his crew and sponsers meant he had to win race 2 when the opportunity arose.

^ Left hand wave while smoking a spinning rear tire doing celebratory calligraphy, single best drift corner in MotoGP history for me.

Hayate bare bones Black Kawasaki abandoned year old bike and minimal staffing, just a contractual obligation fulfillment. Loved it! 

There was muttering of a Suzuki Hayate, just one from a single mechanic. I didn't bite, but noticed.

WSBK, disappointment. But viva MM33 in GP's, Spiderman high side aside.

I LOVE this red w bright yellow livery, our team ran similar for 2006.

Smiling knowing exactly which this is, clicking to be sure. 


(We sure get the most out of our Krop subscription, like frequent visitors in his lounge...have you checked the fridge for leftover pizza? Where's the bottle opener?! Oh no, not the Rossi vs Stoner "discussion" again. It's NOT the bike, wait until 2015)

Not checking fridge except for milk...for the coffee...which is needed in vast amounts for the 1st fly away. I managed about 40 minutes of FP1 and then woke up after the flag.