Sepang MotoGP Test Subscriber Q&A: Send Your Questions To Be Answered

The Sepang MotoGP test ended a week ago, and we have already published a bunch of articles on what we saw at the test. But now it's time to open up the floor to you, our subscribers. Do you have any questions about what went down at the Sepang test, or what we learned? Want to know about a particular rider or bike?

Post your questions in the comments below, and I will try to answer them as best I can. You have until midnight Monday CET to post your questions, and I will try to have them all answered on Tuesday. I will only be answering questions from subscribers, as one of the benefits available to readers who support financially.

I will be running two separate Q&As, one on Patreon and one for subscribers. If you are a subscriber, ask your question below. If you are not a subscriber, but you are a Patron, head on over to the Patreon page and ask your question there.

Over to you... 


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Not sure if you can answer this question. For this year Ducati lost their electronics guru Marco Frigerio to Yamaha and Dovizioso's suspension technician moved over to KTM. Was money the sole reason or is something else at play? (The tension between Dall'igna and Dovizioso is spilling over to others in the pit box, Ducati is seen to be losing their way, better prospects of being on a championship team, etc) 

Has KTM altered there chassis design as it now looks oval where as when they started out it was just circular.

I assume this new design is to give them a stiffer chassis to reduce the bucking and weaving often seen with such a chassis design?

 My question..

With KTM not shy of telling all how much they're spending now and going forward, my question is-whilst we know they have traditionally the technical ability-do Aprilia (Piaggio) really have the will to spend what's required to haul their way to the podium?

Hi David,

First of all, thanks for your amazing work and for this great chance of an interaction with you. I have two questions that I hope you will find interesting.

I’m still thinking about Viñales, Rossi and Yamaha. Do you feel that, if factory Yamahas keep performing below expectations (even comparing with Petronas), Viñales will keep its place at Yamaha or do you think there’s place for another plot twist? And, if that happens, who do you think Yamaha would choose - would Rossi stay there?

Being a Portuguese MotoGP fan, I’m obviously keeping tabs on Miguel Oliveira’s performance. And it’s not the first time - maybe I’m reading too much in your words - that I see “Miguel Oliveira” and “Ducati “ in a same sentence of yours.. Do you feel he has a real chance of challenging for a factory or Pramac spot?

Thanks again!

I'm a Rossi fan and even I consede he won't be at factory Yamaha in 2021/2022. Vinales has a contract for 2021/2022 with Factory Yamaha as does Quartararo.

Yamaha don't have the money to waste paying big money compensation to terminate a riders contract. Quartararo and Vinales is probably the best pairing of 2021 apart from Rins and Mir at Suzuki.

How will KTM manage to keep Jorge Martin on its team, considering that they already have three young and good pilots?

Why Fabio Quartararo didn’t focus on having a more consistent running pace, instead of trying to get around faster. Apparently Márquez is more concerned with Vinales and Rins, and less with him.

How do you see Rins options for 2020?

Could be a real championship contender or just someone that fight for some wins in favorable circuits?

Jack Miller's Progress

How would you describe J.M.43's path from fast & loud Moto3 gp winner to hot prospect for a factory ride in the near future?

In addition to Apical's request I am wondering what it will take for Jack to win in the dry.  The latest podcast was very interesting suggesting it was about Jack managing tyres, is it as "simple" as that?

How was Jorge Lorenzo's lap consistency and does it look like his speed will return?

It almost looked like Jorge's presence at testing was more about marketing than testing. It's my understanding that he was on last years bike, and although way down on the time sheet, he wasn't too far behind Vinales who was focussing on race pace rather than the fast lap. Reading between the lines perhaps it was about getting him used to the bike for the next test?

Hi David, I'd just like a bit more detail on how Dani is fitting in with and contributing to KTM's development progress. It seems like he's doing well and they value his input, but I became a bit of a fan of his over the last few years and would like some more news.

Oh, and a huge thanks for doing these Q&As, they really add to the value of subscribing.

I have read that Suzuki races in MotoGP with a smaller budget than its rivals. Can you comment on what the relative budgets are among the manufacturers? If Suzuki does spend less than their rivals, how are they able to save resources yet still compete for race wins? 

I've gotten a bit of a more routine pessimistic vibe from Dovisioso recently.  With the roumored potential animosity beween Andrea and Ducati Management, do you think Andrea is actually on the out with them, or is it just paddock gossip? 

Would Andrea actually consider a ride with Aprillia if offered or would he more likely hang up the MotoGP leathers?

Please let us know if  Casey Stoner will be involved in any shape or form with any factory  in 2020 Motogp...

Many thanks


Casey Stoner isn't well at the moment.

In a recent interview, (maybe the Greg Rust one? not sure) Casey said something like, A round of golf is physically challenging for him at the moment.

Casey's chronic fatigue is bad as far as I know. so seems unlikely he will be getting back on 300 horses again anytime soon, sadly.

Why is Ducati constantly antagonizing their riders? What is their management issue? A disconnect between the MotoGP team and Ducati top management?

How is the small Suzuki team managing to do the opposite thing: Raising young riders, giving them space to grow without weird rumors leaking out constantly.

Hi David.

My comment is more about practices rather than the pre-season tests but it strikes me that the way practice is somewhat geared towards qualifying is a huge waste of effort. The teams spend time in sessions 1&2 ensuring they make it through to Q2 directly and their time to focus on race pace is compromised because of this. There is no doubt that Q1 and 2 are exciting but ultimately does not benefit the race. Without losing the spectacle,if organisers changed the criteria and introduce a mean average time over say 12 laps, riders would have to do longer stints full race pace for their grid positions and so the full session would be a value to both the teams and viewers alike. Just a thought.


Do you think that MM has the mental strength to deal with credible and cosistent challenger? There have been incidents in the past that make me have some doubts: the crash last year in Sepang, his attitude in the car at the end of the Silverstone race last year, his reckless riding from last on the grid and the one that got him that penalty. With the aruable exception of Dovi in 17 I don't think that MM has faced a credible challenge for the championship since he moved to MotoGP and I think that it will be interesting to see how he will respond if someone like Quartararo can indeed mount such a challenge. Thanks

Hi David,

How is Nakagami getting on? Is there any wider interest in him as a rider in the paddock? I feel like we are still waiting for him to break through, and that this could be his year after a couple of strong performances last season. He seems to remain very much under the radar (at least in the European media).

Thank you,

I doubt any other Motogp team's will be looking to sign Nakagami for the 2021/2022 seasons. He's a decent rider but he's no Quartararo, Rins or Vinales with the potential to challenge Marc Marquez for the title.

Nakagami is in his current seat for the exposure from the Japanese and Asian market. He's on the 2019 Honda bike for this season which was a nightmare to ride for anyone apart from Marc Marquez.

A what if question....

Just been reading on GPOne that Carmelo Ezpeleta was approached by Kawasaki to run Rea on a superbike as a wildcard at a GP.

If the approach had been accepted how do you think Rea'd have done?

(I guess the choice of circuit would be significant) 


Why didn't Honda want to give Nakagami a 2020 bike?  Seems like they could benift from more rider input, especially with Alex on the second factory bike now.  Granted Nakagami has the shoulder issue now but Honda wasn't going to give him the 2020 spec even before that.

What will it take for Zarco to be in consideration for the Factory Ducati ride?  If Crutchlow decides to hang it up at the end of 2020 any chance Honda would look at Zarco for that seat?

Thanks for the Q and A segment.  



Hi David, do you think the GP20 lost its "edges" since other manufacturer started using hole-shot device, rear tire "spoon" etc? And who do you think Marc or Dovi would adapts new Michelin better? 

Why did Lorenzo sign up as a test rider for Yamaha, just after quitting Honda to avoid further injury? Is he still riding injured and if so, why? The winter break can’t have been enough for his back to fully recover.

Given that Lorenzo is still not 100%, is his feedback of any use? Or did Yamaha hire him now to lock him in and he’s only expected to really deliver in the coming months?


Ducati missed out on making a big signing for the factory team for next year. It seems they may now have the pick of the litter from the Moto 2 crop for next year though. However it shakes out for the factory team, they should be able to offer, at the very least, a Pramac seat to the top talent from Moto 2 for next year. Is there a rider or a group of riders who's riding style fits the characteristics of the GP20 or GP19 particularly well? Additionally, how much weight do GP teams put into riding style when targeting younger riders? Is it even realistic to compare riding styles from the lower classes to riding styles of the top GP riders?

It seems to me that it takes most of the Rookies half the season or more to adapt and get used to their MotoGP bikes. I've often thought that its a shame that the limited access to tires and riding an actual MotoGP bike stops them from being fully prepared to ride a MotoGP bike at the begining of the new season.

 Do you think it would help the rookies and make them more competative if they were allowed to have say three or four two day rookie practice sessions between end of season at Valencia and the first test in Malaysia using the old (e.g 2019) MotoGP bikes and tyres?

1. What exactly does Johann Zarco's Ducati factory support consist of, at least at the tests? (b) How is he getting on with the Pramac team after sort of dissing them earlier?

2. Dani Pedrosa's times are a bit of a revelation considering his last racing season was a bit miserable for him on the Honda. To what do you attribute this? 

Given that tires are so important to bike performance now, what are the chances that Michelin will tweak what's available to teams mid-year (with a new offering or just a different range of compound) to re-balance any apparent advantage to one bike-style? Also, one of the narratives that never goes away is that riders would claim a "sample" would be mysteriously different from another of the same compound. Without Michelin acknowledging such, is this thought to be addressed?

Michelin can't tweak change the tyre's mid season for 2020 like they previously done in 2017. The rules got changed after that season with riders complaining especially Vinales who was on a very hot streak until Michelin suddenly changed the tyre's out of the blue. 

How much does it cost to develop and build a MotoGP  bike for one season? Asking for a Japanese friend who likes to wear green. 

I know energy drink and petrochemical sponsors have been around for the last decade as title sponsors.  How is the health of those relationships with teams and might some face a financial shock in the coming year with contracts under review?