Interview: Mika Kallio On The Moto2 Title, Lighter Riders, And Dani Pedrosa

Mika Kallio is quietly intense, focused, and often overlooked in Moto2. The Finn is in his fourth season with the Marc VDS Racing team, where he once again forms a serious challenge in the Moto2 championship with his teammate. Last year, it was with Scott Redding, this year, teammate Tito Rabat is the main obstacle between Kallio and the Moto2 title. friend and contributor Mick Fialkowski caught up with Mika Kallio at Barcelona, and spoke to him about a range of subjects. Kallio talked about his approach to trying to win a Moto2 title and how the Kalex Moto2 machine has changed over the years. Kallio also talked about the problems the combined rider weight rules cause for lighter riders, and how he sees the comparison with Dani Pedrosa. 

Mick Fialkowski: It's been a pretty solid start to the season. You must be pretty pleased?

Mika Kallio: Yes, of course it's not bad. I'm second in the Championship which is a quite good position. I'm happy with how the season had gone so far. Just maybe the last weekend at Mugello wasn't the best, not perfect as I was struggling a little bit to find the feeling with the track. but the other races were good. I won the two previous ones at Jerez and Le Mans, so everything is good. We're ready to fight for the championship.

MF: So how much are your focusing on the title and now much is it race by race?

MK: Before the season my goal was to win the title, absolutely. Now we're second in the championship so we're going in the right direction, but we need to go into it race by race and don't think too much about the standings. There's a lot of races left, so you need to go step by step and try to repeat the same good feeling with the bike. If you start to think too much about the championship, it's not good for your head. It's better to keep the pressure as little as possible and focus on the right things.

MF: You're one of the most consistent riders in Moto2. What's the key to that?

MK: For some reason each year in Moto2 we can see the same story; one rider can be really fast and win a race and then in the next race he's nowhere. It has something to do with these bikes. They're so sensitive to find the right settings, that if you miss the feeling a little bit, like I did at Mugello, immediately do drop a bit. It's complicated to keep the same level every week, also because of the rules, because all the bikes are so close. That's the main reason. If you don't have the confidence you drop a lot. However me and Tito are the most consistent ones and I think that in the long term, to win the championship, that's the main key. You need to win the race and be on the podium of course but it's also very important that when a bad day is coming – and it will come anyway in such a long season – then you need to still be somewhere and score points. Consistency is the key.

MF: Has the Kalex bike changed a lot comparing to last year?

MK: From the outside it looks almost the same but there are always some differences. The frame we have now from the outside looks the same but the stiffness is a bit different and it's better with the front feeling. It's good for me because with my riding style I need and I like to have the right front feeling. If I don't have it, it's hard to be aggressive with the bike. We improved a bit in that aspect this year. But it never stops. We're testing and changing stuff during the season as well. Normally the bike you end the year with is quite a bit different to the one you've started the season on.

MF: How does it work with the base settings. Are you changing the setup much between races?

MK: Usually in Moto2 the best thing is that when you can find a good confidence with the bike, you need to keep the base setting more or less the same. It doesn't matter what track are you on. You need to be around this one area. Of course you need to fine tune it for every track, but if you change too much and the bike starts to feel different every weekend, you can't build your confidence with it. The most important thing is to find the base in the winter and then stay in that area. I believe that in this class rider is still the most important aspect. Even if the settings aren't perfect, you can fix it with your riding if you have the confidence to do it. To build the confidence it's important to keep the bike settings similar.

MF: So when have do you started using the base you have now? In the winter? Last year?

MK: Already last year we found the way. We saw which direction we had to go and we followed it step by step. We found something interesting for the rear part of the bike in the winter and improved the rear grip. Then I saw I could make the last step and beat the guys at the front. Since then we're pretty much staying in the same area with the settings and it seems that it works. Of course we need to see how the season goes from here but so far so good.

MF: How different is your rivalry with Tito Rabat this year comparing to Scott Redding in the last few years?

MK: For me it doesn't really change a lot. Of course with Scott maybe we had a special feeling together. I like him a lot and I think he likes me as well. So it was a very good feeling in the team and everything worked well. Now we have Tito and for me he's a nice guy anyway. I can talk to him about anything and it's not a problem. Mainly the way during the race weekends is like that; you have your own crew and you work with them and then your teammate has his side, so it's a bit like two separate sides of the garage. We don't really spent a lot of time together but everything is fine and the atmosphere in the team is the same as last year.

MF: There's no number one and number two in the team, right?

MK: Both riders have the same support and same bikes and parts. We can both win and there are no team orders, so it's all good. I think that's the fair way for everybody.

MF: With the minimum weight limit of bike and rider at 215kg, you have to race with a ballast. How much of an issue is that?

MK: After they changed the rules for last year we needed to put the extra weight on the bike, usually it's around seven kilos. We had to find the way to put it on the bike. For me it's not really fair to have these rules, because nobody really thinks about it from the other side. Ok, they think the heavy riders have some disadvantage because of the weight, because they have more weight to stop and accelerate, of course they're losing there but nobody thinks about how we ride with our body. A heavy and tall rider can put the weight where he wants and move on the bike. When I'd compare with Scott he was much faster in direction changes because he could move his body on the bike, so what he lost on the straights, he gained elsewhere. In the end the balance was the same. Now, with the extra weight on my bike, the balance went too much in the wrong way and the heavy riders have more of an advantage comparing to the light ones as they have a lighter bike to ride on and us we have more weight on the bike. It's not fair but we have to live with it.

MF: Can you play around with that ballast?

MK: Normally we keep the ballast in the same place. We have a bit of the weight everywhere and we keep it that way. Like I said, it's important to have the same feeling with the bike, so if you start to play with the weight, you can lose that feeling.

MF: What's next for you? Could you come back to MotoGP?

MK: I hope that I can still race here. That's my goal of course. I don't know about how many years I have ahead of me but I feel good and have a lot of motivation to push hard and win. I believe that I'm here as long as I have the feeling to be fast and the motivation to do it. As for MotoGP, every year I say that I'd like to go there but it's difficult to find a competitive bike. I don't want to go there if I couldn't get a good result but if I could be competitive, then for sure I'd love to try again.

MF: Sometimes people say you're a bit like Dani Pedrosa; always there but never the number one in the end. Is that a fair assessment?

MK: I think that his riding style and the mental side of him, which you can see on the bike, is similar to me, so yeah, maybe you can say we have a similar style. He's got the same goal and that's the most important thing. I don't really think about the others and I hope that's the key to be the best.

For those who read Polish, you can read more of Mick's insights into MotoGP on the Polish website

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I am in favor of combined weight limits, as I dislike the way the sport naturally selects very tiny riders.

Per, Kallio is 58 kg. So with 7 kg ballast, that is 65 kg (143 lb) and that includes boots, leathers, helmet.

For MotoGP, the weight allowance for rider and his gear should be higher than that. I'd favor 75 kg (165 lb) as the break point, and below that ballast would be required.

Nice to hear from an actual rider that the combined weight minimum is bullshit. Besides the fact that being lighter isn't necessarily an advantage, there are plenty of sports where being taller or heavier does help a lot. Punishing someone for being shorter is punishing someone for something they do not control.

Honestly you might as well start punishing people for their talent and have everyone race with 'success ballast' like WTCC used to do.

That is of course the opinion of a smaller rider, and is slanted as such. Sure, performance-wise they may equal out, but he (conveniently?) skips over another major factor - fuel consumption. Larger riders require more fuel to accelerate at the same rate as smaller riders. And in a fuel-limited class (is Moto2 fuel limited? I'm not sure, but GP certainly is) that means that a lighter rider/bike combo has more acceleration available than a heavier rider/bike combo. And that is a one-sided equation that benefits the lighter riders. There is no give-and-take on that side of things.

That showed a heavier rider could increase maneuverability because of weight shifting.

>>And in a fuel-limited class that means that a lighter rider/bike combo has more acceleration available than a heavier rider/bike combo

In MotoGP the bikes are not accelerating to the engine's potential anywhere but the top half of 6th gear. The wheelie control/torque mapping systems are active all the time so in most acceleration areas the shifting of rider weight to move the CofG forward to change the wheelie limit could allow a higher acceleration rate than a lighter rider could accomplish. The same is true in braking and accoring to Mika in transistions too. Those advantages are balanced by increased fuel consumption and potentially worse aero.

I never understood the proponents of a overall weight limit in MotoGP as they are trying to solve a problem that does not exist. Its not like races are only being won by the smallest riders. Because of the high level of competition you are not going to see any rider with a few kilos of fat on them, just like top athletes in any sport. Well, besides American football. And some baseball pitchers. And Sumo wrestlers.


to effectively punish a taller heavier rider you would have to shorten their arms, legs and torso, and no I don't think that's particularly fair

For one, heavier riders aren't necessarily disadvantaged by engine outputs being limited. Electronics take care of that. Top speed of the bikes is not determined by the weight of the bike but how well it can keep the front wheel on the tarmac coming out of the corner.

For two, that rule was not designed to give anyone an advantage or disadvantage weight wise. A minimum combined weight is only designed for that. It solves a problem that doesn't exist.

Don't agree, firefly. In Moto2, for example, the engines are sealed and deliver about 140HP.
So if everyone was operating at the weight limit the relative performance would be similar, at approximately 0.65kg/HP. But if you are 5kg over the weight limit you need 3.2 more HP for the same performance. And without the minimum weight spec if you are under by 5kg you get the equivalent of 3 extra HP in terms of relative performance. Horsepower is the main determining factor in motorcycle speed, so basic physics tells us that more HP = more speed. Keeping your front wheel on the deck will assist of course, but that's a variable based on skill, and can't be empirically measured.

If all else is equal, with 2 bikes of equal performance, the lighter bike + rider should accelerate quicker, use less effort in braking, and achieve a higher top speed.

If you can't adapt the engine to give you more HP, you have to find your performance elsewhere, through lighter components and so on. Typically, the lighter components are exponentially more expensive, which is something the series organisers are trying to avoid. Rather than having a technology war in the lower classes, which act as development classes for MotoGP, the organisers have opted for the weight limit, which allows the teams to keep costs down and for all of us to work out who's really fast. I think that's a good thing.

My comment was about MotoGP. You are talking about Moto2, where Kallio already stated this:
"A heavy and tall rider can put the weight where he wants and move on the bike. When I'd compare with Scott he was much faster in direction changes because he could move his body on the bike, so what he lost on the straights, he gained elsewhere. In the end the balance was the same. "

So again, there is no problem. And again, punishing someone for being lighter is like punishing someone in basketball for being taller. It makes no sense.

Flat track, Motocross, SX, Road Racing, Enduro's and most forms of motorcycle racing have always featured championship contending riders of very small stature. Moreover the largest of them seem to adopt training methods that shed body fat. There must be a reason...

LewTheShoe explained that brilliantly and briefly. The sport does select smaller riders and that's simple evolution. One really doesn't need to look much further. Thank you for the insight.

From another angle, we are talking about world class athletes in the peak of their skill, age, and desire. Do any of us doubt that it would be anything more than child's play for them to gain weight if needed? If the sport really moved in a direction that favored heavy riders, we would see all of them gaining weight as needed.

It's probably a bad idea to go by riders' opinion on such scientific aspects. Not implying that they are stupid - they are probably brilliant than most - but they lack the specific training. Not to mention having fearsome and pathological levels of competitiveness which inevitably cloud their opinions.

The combined weight limit is a joke. You are trying to control a variable to make things "equal" and it will never happen. It will never happen for the simple fact that a racetrack is not a controlled environment. There is never a perfect set up, there is never a rider who brakes at the perfect spot, who turns in perfect, who hits the apex perfect and who punches out of the corner perfectly every single lap of every single race. If every rider on the grid was capable of that then yes, weight would play a factor. They are trying to justify a weight limit based on a controlled environment with all things being equal, it never has been and it never will be.

If the weight limit was such an advantage Pedrosa would have 8 GP titles now. The fact that he doesn't, and the fact that the lightest riders have not won a GP title dismiss the notion that the rider weight plays any significant role in the outcome of a race.

As for the fuel consumption issue, don't blame the riders for being smaller, blame DORNA for the stupid limit. The fuel limit is the root cause of the problem and is more of a joke than the combined weight limit. When it comes to manhandling a 265+ HP machine, being a few pounds lighter means jack squat on the racetrack, endurance and skill is what matters.

I agree. I wish the fuel limit would go away. Whatever purpose it was supposed to serve (I think it was to help slow the bikes down) it has failed miserably at.

Weight does matter, especially in a series like Moto2 where they are all using the same engines. You're looking at a sport where every single spec of data on every ounce of material is analyzed, optimized, streamlined. Modern Moto2 and Motogp is a space race compared to even ten years ago. Of course they're going to look at the feasibility of combined weight limits, because the data is telling them that it matters. Also, physics says that it matters.

The idea that a combined weight limit is a penalty for lighter riders is, not to put to fine a point on it, a complete load. If you weigh 85kilos and you need to weigh 95kilos to avoid having ballast put on your bike (or whatever the figures are,) gain the extra in muscle mass and enjoy the benefits in strength and endurance, not to mention the body placement benefit that Kallio mentions. These people are professional athletes and if boxers can spend their entire careers fine tuning their weight while getting physically punished every bout, then surely these tough as nails racers can get to a gym in the off season and pack on ten pounds of muscle. Honestly. What are we even arguing about? If you don't like the ballast, add muscle and get back to work. I can do that while I work a 50 hour a week office job, so I'm just completely at a loss for words as to why pro racers can't do the same.

>>Weight does matter, especially in a series like Moto2 where they are all using the same engines.

I'll give you that much, once you muck the rules up so badly that teams can't change gearbox ratios then a rider weight rule is only one more turd on a huge pile.

>>Modern Moto2 and Motogp is a space race compared to even ten years ago.

MotoGP yes, but a Moto2 bike is less sophisticated than most national 600s and even some club racing bikes. Beautifully built, yes, but technically quite bland.

>> If you weigh 85kilos and you need to weigh 95kilos to I'm just completely at a loss for words as to why pro racers can't do the same.

Dani pedrosa in 2011: I have short arms and legs and I can't distribute my weight like the bigger guys can. I have desired a lot in the past to be 10cm taller. This would help give me a better position on the bike. If I was taller I could use my body more to put weight on the front and rear at the same time but with my size I can only weight the bike in the front, middle or the rear at one time.

How does gaining 10lbs (or 22lbs if it is 10kg) in muscle mass and a resulting reduced flexiblity help here? Not to mention that having lots of muscle mass is actually bad for endurance as it puts a higher load on the cardiovascular system and these riders need endurance to last 40+ min at peak performance. Its the reason you only see professional weightlifters lifting weights. That's the only thing having all that muscle mass is good for.


Hey Chris, thanks for the reply.

Moto2 rules: honestly, if they were that bad, wouldn't the racing be awful? Instead it seems quite close and much more based on skill than about half of the MotoGP field. That might be overstating it but you get my drift I think.

DP26: I will grant you that at his size packing on 22lbs is a big ask, the height really does make a difference here. I have to admit they're not all going to be able to just become VR46's size and weight. However, they can definitely take steps to get there or at least split the difference between ballast and muscle mass. Or, I suppose, they can sit around and say "It's not fair."

Muscle mass: it doesn't have to result in decreased flexibility or decreased endurance, but you have to be careful about how you add it to avoid those side effects. However, they're athletes, they should have trainers, these are all attainable goals within reason of given body types. Every other sport has physical trainers, don't see why this one shouldn't. "Its the reason you only see professional weightlifters lifting weights. That's the only thing having all that muscle mass is good for." With respect, that is utter nonsense and belies decades of science. Many athletes in many sports and disciplines have a weight-lifting component as part of a well balanced strength and endurance program. It's not just for inflexible meatheads and linebackers. If you want to know who was one of the big pioneers of adding weightlifting to a cross-training program with phenomenal results, you can look to Bruce Lee - all 140ish perfectly sculpted pounds of him. No one seemed to notice any loss of flexibility or endurance there.

The racing in Moto2 actually has become worse since the introduction of the combined minimum weight. It's a miracle Pol Espargaro managed to win that championship last year with all the weight they had to add to that bike.

>>honestly, if they were that bad, wouldn't the racing be awful

A spec engine in a GP series is an abomination. To me rules and the 'quality' racing are completely independent of each other. This year in MotoGP is a good example. All the haters of electronics and fuel limits predicted more processional racing with larger riders having to slow down in the closing stages because of fuel issues. Yet we have the bike with the 'best' electronics moving all over the place (Marquez), one of the heaviest and tallest (Rossi) riders on the grid being extremely competitive and 2nd in the title chase and races that are extremely exciting (because at least the first 2 riders are dicing). In other words, its the riders, not the rules.

>>However, they're athletes, they should have trainers, these are all attainable goals within reason of given body types.

Every rider has a personal trainer and holds to a rigorous training regime. They are all very close to optimum physical condition for their body size. There is only so much you can do to bulk up, especially with WADA anti-doping rules excluding many 'nutritional supplements' that weight trainers use.

>>Every other sport has physical trainers, don't see why this one shouldn't.

They do. Ask Jorge how not doing his full off-season training regime affected his performance in the beginning of the season. All of the riders are at the peak of their fitness and adding 10-20lbs of muscle is not easy.

>>Many athletes in many sports and disciplines have a weight-lifting component as part of a well balanced strength and endurance program.

Yes but notice I said 'professional weightlifters'. They are the ones that seem to be able to add a lot of muscle mass to any body style and the only thing it seems to be good for is striking Adonis-like poses on the stage.


I'm wondering if there is any reason why the rider wouldn't add the weight to their leathers? Simply going from the kangaroo skin they use to cow or buffalo hide would add a few kgs, and If they wanted they could add mass to there knees, waist or something. Centralising the mass and making it work in the corners.
Obviously this adds to the workload of the smaller riders but not more than the larger riders deal with. The smaller riders choose where the mass goes the larger riders can't.

Or maybe, if Pedrosa was 6' tall he'd never have made it past the 125s despite his massively impressive ability. He'd just have been too tall and heavy to display any success?

It's hard to have it both ways, and as moto3 and moto2 are feeders into MotoGP I'm in favour of leaving the minimum weights in those categories as they are.

To Mika's credit, he qualifies his comments:
"For me it's not really fair to have these rules..."

By contrast, forum commentators tend state their views as absolute.

I am not arguing physics, I am arguing that it is almost irrelevant when it comes to racers racing in a prototype series. Yes, the engines in Moto 2 are almost all identical in terms of HP and all the teams are running the same tires. Are all the teams using the same frames? Are all the teams using the same weight distribution? Are all the riders skill equal? Do all the riders ride the exact same style? Those points matter more than combined weight.

Races are won and lost on in Moto 2 on skill and bike set up, not because Joe Snuffy weighs 5KG less or more. History has proven that.

There is a penalty to the lighter riders by adding weight, physics would agree with that.

Adding muscle as you put, is not the answer. Endurance is what matters and you do not gain longer endurance by gaining weight. All of these riders are in peak physical condition for a reason.

Well, they're going to get the weight anyways, right? What's more useful? Dead weight secreted around the bike that just ends up being more for a little guy to push around a course for 40 minutes, or added muscle mass that makes pushing the bike around that much easier over the course of that 40 minutes? Why was JL99 working his tail off all this season to get fitter to the point of having his leathers enlarged to contain the extra muscle mass? Because it's useless? I have to doubt that.

Re: more muscle must mean less endurance. What are you guys reading? You can add muscle mass and increase endurance simultaneously. Ask anyone in the NFL, ever. Look at the world cup. You think those legs they run around all day on make them light? Serious muscle mass there and incredible endurance.

Little racers of the world, hear me: get thee to the gym. Just don't skip cardio.

Smaller, lighter riders need to go to the gym to work extra hard to keep up with the heavier riders who have to do no extra work whatsoever? Talking about unfair...

Everybody is already working to be as fit as they can be. There is no problem needing to be fixed.

This one has been debated a lot. I discussed this with Kevin Cameron and asked him to write an article on the subject for Motociclismo. He did and his conclusion was that, while weight was of vital importance with the 55 HP Moto3 and the 130 HP Moto2, the situation in MotoGP was not so clear. He concluded that with 270 HP on tap with a combined package of fuel, bike, rider and gear, adding weight was probably more of a handicap to a small rider than a compensation to a reasonably large rider. I remember in Valencia the Ducati 990 seemed to accelerate pretty will with Michael Jordan at the controls. I will look for that text. It was published in Spanish but I have the original. It is a question that Kevin said could not be answered empirically.

Most definitely the argument is different in MotoGP than Moto2 and Moto3, where HP levels are relatively lower.
In MotoGP there is no bike + rider limit. Only bike weight of 160kg.
In Moto2 and Moto 3 respectively the bike + rider limits are 215kg and 148kg.

We've seen the impact of carrying extra weight (and/or height) in the smaller classes where more weight or more frontal area has a significant impact on non-drafting top speeds. The impact is way less in MotoGP where the engine dominates to a greater extent. In the smaller classes where they are generally running out of HP before they run out of chassis capabilities, the impact of weight and/or frontal area is greater.

Putting on some muscle would benefit riders more then harm them. Muscle = Durability, look what happened to Spies when he came to motoGP. He dropped a large amount of muscle mass and then started getting more injuries. Pedrosa has been plagued with injuries also. Being able to take hits from the ground would be better for the rider then having more "endurance".

I was fortunate enough to cover World Superbike for Spanish TV for three years (and did another two on my own as a virtual boss wanted me to cover GP and I said I needed to clear my mind of all the cooperate PR and get back in touch with the atmosphere that made me love racing in the first place). We were discussing fitness and weight one day in the Ducati tent (yes, their hospitality was a tent…flapping in the wind at Brno) and Bayliss said of a particular rider, "He´s too lean…all bones and no muscle. That´s why he breaks bones so often. Nothing protects like muscle." But until the new rules were introduced in Moto2 riders like Scott Redding and Tito Rabat looked like victims of famine. I agree that, just as basketball in general (Mugsy Bogues apart) favors height, motorcycle racing does not offer much opportunity to big guys (Lous Baz and Dieter Braun apart) but the fact that the prime path to MotoGP is now via Moto3 and Moto2 means that average sized riders (say 5´10" - 160 lb) are at a disadvantage. There´s no way to make it completely fair, but the Moto2 and Moto3 combined rules are a positive step and one that should have, in the case of Moto2, been taken much earlier. I´d like to think, now that Dorna promote Superbike as well, that the a new path will open to MotoGP that bypasses both Moto3 and Moto2…as an alternative for bigger riders. That would be National Supersport, National Superbike and then World SBK as a meandering route to MotoGP. Probably not a better route, but one that offers access to riders from countries like GB and USA.

How much weight has Nicky lost since he began racing in GP? He won't say, but he's certainly smaller than he was in 2003. Which is the opposite of what naturally happens going from your 20s to your 30s. So someone, somewhere along the line, decided that a lighter Nicky would be a faster Nicky.

From an American point of view, the idea that someone 6' 160 lbs. is considered big is a bit laughable. Just an observation.

Being so wildly off topic but have been missing and was searching for any of your insightful, and more recent Noyes Notebook articles which I used to find and enjoy on the Speed website. Is there somewhere you are posting now that you could re-direct me to? What a treat it would be if Mr Emmett could convince you to add some contributions to this fine site!

I for one don't like to see riders smaller than my teenage daughter riding the fastest bikes on earth. Some of them can't even pick up their bikes from the gravel.

There should be a BMI limit so we can get rid of riders starving them selfs to get a ride.

If its not important having a smaller and lighter rider, those who think that wouldn't mind i quess adding another 10kg to the bike vs a heavy taller rider. hrc didnt complain when the rules changed after they were done and had to add extra ballest to the bike??!
Yes they did.! being more heavy means burning more fuel,more tyre wear, harder on the brakes, less earo dynamics. And with the fuel further down its even harder to achieve similar results.
So... one more time those who dissagree wouldn't mind lighter riders (lets say this time HRC) put extra ballast to the bike! hey and if heavy riders can change direction more easy.... put some weight on the shoulders of the lighter rider right!!! so they gain even more advantage!! would be a win win situation right for the lighter rider!

Lorenzo put on weight during the off season because he could not train due to the surgeries. He did not bulk up muscle mass, he gained body fat which is why his leathers had to be expanded. He is still in the process of regaining his fitness level.

Trying to compare fitness of motorcycle racers at the highest level to the NFL and soccer is like comparing apples to nuclear bombs. NFL players rest between plays, they have substitutions, as do soccer players. Soccer players are not at a flat out sprint the entire match, nor are football players.

If you don't think that all of the GP racers have some form of training regiment that involves both cardio and weight training I'm really not sure what to say to you.

Different riders have different strengths.
Some are stronger in braking.
Some are stronger in maintaining corner speed.
Some have more fighting spirit.
Some are more calm and collected.
Some have more talent.
Some have bigger balls.
And so on.

Seems to me that a rider's physical stature is just another strength to be used to its best potential. Why should we handicap it?

No one ever said, "Rossi, you're too good on the brakes, we're going to make you use smaller rotors."

No one ever said, "Lorenzo, you're too consistent. We're going to make your ECU less precise."

No one is saying, "Marquez, you're too talented. We're going to put you on lesser tires."

So why are we telling some riders that they are too light and making them ride heavier motorcycles?

Couldn't have said it better myself, even though I tried. :)

If they don't do anything about minimum weight, then you get riders that are unhealthy and shouldn't be fit to ride. Riders' health is important. If you're going to allow all these ridiculously light riders, then you're forcing the other riders to undergo unhealthy diets as well to stay competitive. But if they're unhealthy, you'll never see their true potential either.
They're all sports people and they all need energy to perform. Indeed, Tito and Scott Redding have many pictures online where they look like walking zombies. Top sport is promoting role models as well for average people like us and those people should not look the way they do!

Some people here say that weight does not matter and should be considered as an advantage or disadvantage, just like talent, balls and so on... maybe that's true to a certain degree, but there are more factors at play here. Last year, and especially the year before that, you could see that e.g. Scott could keep up with the pace of the faster riders, but because of his extra weight (and we're talking about more than 6 or 7kg here), his tires wore out way before others started to notice any degradation. On light bikes like Moto2, a 10kg difference makes a difference of day and night and no matter how much talent you have, that's not something you can ride around.

Kalio is complaining that he doesn't have the weight to move around, but there's nothing that prevents him from taking weighted suits so he can move more weight around on the bike too. There's no rule that says where the weight must be. It's much easier and healthier for smaller people to gain weight (muscle weighs 4 times as much as fat) than for taller people to loose weight. All training that GP riders do these days is cardio. Stay fit as hell without gaining muscle. All the drug/doping rules they have in top sport is for the same reason, to keep sporters healthy. Well, see it as you want, but being under-weight is the new drug and for that, it's good that you have the bike + rider weight combo. If the rider wants to go below a healthy weight limit, just add the extra pounds. And just like others have said a couple times before, more body mass is natural protection in case they crash. And 99% of all pro riders could use quite a few extra lbs.

Interesting interview. Somewhat perplexing discussion re weight limits, it isn't seeming to bring out the best of us. More insight and less brute assertion of something fairly static or isolated that someone 'knows for sure' (that can be a bit unenlightening) is preferable from my seat. "I know physics, it is like this, and you are an idiot" is the best we've got? I have seen us do a bunch better! ;)

Guy Coulon (who strikes me as just a bit nutty btw) just did an interview on in which he said that when the team via set-up gives a rider 2 tenths that the rider parlays that into much more because of the confidence it gives them. Fits w what Kallio says about confidence here, and with also the need for consistency w set up to maintain bike feel. Different riders are more or less in tune with or affected by this though it seems. The ability to 'ride around a problem' would be the opposite. Some of these guys are amazing at finding speed with a bike someone else can't (at the moment Edwards vs Aleix for example). Makes me think of Ducati and the set up problems they experience, and which riders are a better fit for it.

Re contentious nature of weight limits, I am unsure of what I think there. Seems maybe that "having them or not" isn't as relevant as at what weight and combined vs bike, relative merits of them. Same for "weight limits are good (or bad)" vs "they have these effects which ripple out to those effects in various situations."

'Taint a dichotomy folks (again). Now about those FUEL limits on the other hand (cough cough horsesh*t!)...

I'm likewise undecided. I'm not that into the finer technicalities of MotoGP, but Rossi is a big lad and doesn't seem to have suffered too much from that, Lorenzo looks similarly tall, as did Stoner. Champions all three. Pedrosa on the other hand is a titch but that doesn't seem to have helped. Seems like weight is a marginal issue in MotoGP so why tinker with it. It's tempting to say it's all different in the smaller classes, but wait a minute; all four of the above came up through the ranks and wasn't a 125 as small and weedy (relatively speaking) back then as a Moto3 is now? It's always been a drafting game in that class, and I can't think of any rider who was a 'would have podium'ed lots but for his size' progressing into MotoGP and then standing on the podium week after week.... and I can think of a few in that bracket who were going to do so, but never did. I have a feeling that the cream always rises to the top in MotoGP, whatever obstacles are put in their way.

Completely agree that the fuel thing is daft. If it's meant to demonstrate the development of fuel economy to be passed on to road bikes, well, in the course of 40 years of riding and driving there hasn't been a year when I haven't heard that this or that new motor is the most super-efficient thing on wheels etc. But my 5 year old 2.0L diesel still only does 33 mpg. And fuel efficiency was one thing I NEVER worried about on bikes! Jeepers, motorcycle racing is not meant to be green or socially responsible, it's about the thrill of thrashing the guts out of a machine and going round corners at insane speeds without falling off!

And matter much more in Moto3 and Moto2 compared with MotoGP where all the bikes have too much power.

You've also got to bear in mind that most of the riders are within a relatively small range - Dani is quoted on at 51kg and Valentino at 65kg despite being a lot taller and obviously Marc, Jorge and most of the others are within that range. Danilo Petrucci is by some distance the heaviest current rider at 77kg so maybe we would start to see a noticeable difference there (and makes his performance last year even more remarkable). Niccolo Canepa was - if I remember correctly - about 88kg in 2009 when he rode for Pramac Ducati in MotoGP, with the massively lighter Kallio as his teammate.

I'm pretty sure, on appearing out-of-shape at a racetrack, Anthony Gobert once said "I'm trying to see how fat I can get and still win races".