Photos

Fri, 2017-10-20 16:31
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Not a happy Doctor at the Island


KTM bullish on prospects in Moto2


Jack is back, after just 20 days


Maverick Viñales, happier than his teammate on Friday


Ducati's winglets helped turn Jorge Lorenzo's season around, but they haven't worked so far at Phillip Island


Upmarket workplace for lease, seven figure annual rent


Nick Harris, the voice of MotoGP for a generation or more


Romano Fenati nearly highsided himself to the moon this morning. Fortunately, he is made of rubber


What Andrea Dovizioso doesn't want to be looking at on Sunday


Coming off the back of a good result at Motegi, Andrea Iannone is of to a flying start in Australia


Watching in the pits can be more painful than actually riding the bike


Mirko and Freddie, snappers to the MotoGP stars, and stars in their own right


Honda, producer of fine-looking rear ends for 71 years


Food for thought


Cal Crutchlow won here last year. This year? It's going to be tough


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Wed, 2017-08-30 16:05
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The Misano test made a big difference to Valentino Rossi. Suddenly, he was competitive


All well for Jonas Folger on Saturday. His luck would not last through Sunday


Dani Pedrosa has more reason than most to hate F1. Their bumps gave him a hard time


Machine defeats man by breaking down on him. Jorge Lorenzo sprints back to the pits during qualifying


Maverick's seat sticker is safe until Duke Nukem lays eyes on it


From Aprilia to KTM: Sam Lowes heads back to Moto2 for 2018, aboard a KTM


Johann Zarco changed tack, went for the hard tires at Silverstone


The Tech 3 team is a family affair. Brother Jérôme prepares Zarco's bike


One day, the gremlins will leave Aleix Espargaro alone


Silverstone, flattish

 

 


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Sat, 2017-08-26 10:27
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The old man is quick when the sun is out at Silverstone


The winglet replacement aero package is the magic wand Jorge Lorenzo had been looking for


Home boy fastest at home


KTM showing real signs of progress. Pol Espargaro was 7th fastest on Friday


Marc Marquez brings the hustle


Communication is a vital part of the rider-crew chief relationship


Though sometimes messages take a while to sink in


Future? Unknown. But Sam Lowes has offers from several top Moto2 teams


Scott Redding slides his way through Northamptonshire


The Misano test brought more power off the bottom end for Aleix Espargaro


The disadvantages of being light: being tossed around over the bumps like a boat in a storm


The past, present, and future of the sport


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Mon, 2017-07-31 19:58
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The day is done and the battle is won. Yamaha claimed their third consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours on Sunday. The victory put a stamp on their dominance of the one race each year that the Japanese manufacturers place more emphasis on than any other. We take a look at the Yamaha Factory Racing Team's YZF-R1.

It's often said that endurance racing is the last bastion of design and technological freedom in motor sport. Whether it was Audi's decision to use a diesel engine on four wheels or the current breed of two-wheeled endurance bike, it's clear that there is plenty of innovation on the grid.

At this weekend's Suzuka 8 Hours, the Yamaha Factory Racing Team fielded arguably the most advanced YZF-R1 on the planet. With open regulations for electronics, a tire war and plenty of scope for innovation in the rulebook, the machine raced by Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark is very different to their regular WorldSBK mount.


The office, rider's view

“It's been really good to be able to compare the Suzuka bike to our WorldSBK bike back to back,” commented Van der Mark on the eve of the race. “When you race one and then jump on the other to go testing it really shows what each bike does well and where we maybe need to develop the WorldSBK bike.

“The engines are different between the bikes because the Suzuka machine has to last eight hours but the electronics are very different. On the Suzuka bike they are so smooth. There are some small differences which make the bike feel easier to ride. It still has the same character as the WorldSBK bike but it's so much easier to control the power with the electronics on the Suzuka bike. I'd love to have that on my bike!”



Simple switchgear belies complex electronics

Everything on any racing machine is built with speed in mind but in endurance racing it is also built with speed of maintenance in mind. Being able to change wheels quickly and to save time while repairing crash damage is crucial. Any seconds gained in the pits are as precious as gold dust and being able to work efficiently is a prized asset for any team.

Everything is designed with a tolerance for working with the minimum of intrusion. Compared to a WorldSBK or MotoGP bike, this machine is designed with quick release mechanisms and ease of work at the forefront. Being able to replace a chain, top up fluid and even how fast you can hoist the bike on a paddock stand are all leading priorities rather than an afterthought – the focus remains on speed, but with more than a single eye on the stamina required to go racing over eight uninterrupted hours.

Tires were an integral part of Yamaha's third consecutive victory inthe blue ribbon race. While the Endurance World Championship Yamahas are shod with Dunlop tires, the Factory Racing Team were once again using Bridgestones. This is a key advantage, with the Japanese rubber having been the tire to beat in the heat for years, and another insight into the challenge of endurance racing.

While we have grown accustomed to seeing control tires in MotoGP and Superbike racing around the world, it’s refreshing to see tire competition still play a part in racing. For the riders, the tires provide a very different feel to their WorldSBK Pirellis - but performance is key and the Bridgestones certainly prove their worth.

Kayaba rear shock on Suzuka 8H Yamaha R1
Tires aren't the only difference - Suzuka R1 uses Kayaba suspension

The feedback from the Suzuka races played a role in the development of the MotoGP tires used up until 2015 and the feeling is very similar. The tires give a strong front-end feel and plenty of confidence once they are into their operating window, but if they should fall out of that window there can be a high price to pay – and that’s when the ability to quickly repair damage returns to the fore.

With three riders on the bike, it will never be perfect for any one rider. The challenge is making sure it’s a bike that all three riders are happy with. For this year, that meant Yamaha adapting rider positioning to suit Van der Mark's tall frame, compared to the smaller Lowes and Nakasuga - they had to change their requirements on setup to find the best compromise for all of them.

Footpeg of R1 placed for best compromise
One size fits all: footpeg, seat, and handlebar placement has to suit all three riders

In 2015, Yamaha's first win of their recent successes, Bradley Smith was the “third rider” paired with Nakasuga and Pol Espargaro. It's not a diminished role and is just as important as the other two but as the Englishman explained, it did mean that he had a different task to undertake:

“There are three riders and you don't really ride that much,” said Smith. “I missed out on doing a lap in Superpole which is hard to accept for any rider, but I was the third rider on the list all through the weekend. Those types of things you have to take with a pinch of salt and not take it too personally. We’re there for our team result not for our personal result.

“During testing and the race weekend I spent a lot of time working on the tire and trying to understand which one was better. Some were going to be better for 20 or 30 minutes but not for the whole hour. That meant that I would tell the team the direction we should go with the tire and then we'd change the setting to that direction because I was confident that that’s the right one and it paid off. Consistency is the most important thing.”

Endurance racing is a cycle; a study in risk assessment and stamina more than sheer speed. Go too slowly or too carefully and you'll be off the pace and not able to get close to the podium - but risk too much and you could be relying on your pit crew being able to work efficiently in getting the bike repaired. It's all about compromise and these bikes are the epitome of that compromise; built to be the best over 220 laps and thousands of kilometers – for the whole team.


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Wed, 2017-04-26 22:21
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Marc Marquez. Always riveting in Austin


Over the hill? I don't think so


Bad starts are a thing of the past for Dani Pedrosa


Maverick's magic streak came to an end in Austin


Miller and Rabat play follow my leader


Plenty to think about for Johann Zarco


Eyes on the prize for Lorenzo. But the prize is still a little way ahead


Romano Fenati gets a sense of perspective


"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven;"


How Jonas Folger deals with the stress before the start


Technically, that is know as running wide


It all goes pear shaped at the start of the Moto2 race...


Stefano Manzi's enthusiasm got the better of him, taking Julian Simon out in the process


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Sat, 2017-04-22 17:15
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This is what total control looks like


Hustle by Petrucci


HRC are experimenting with a different exhaust, to modify the engine character. Results so far not promising


Dani Pedrosa, about to crest T1


The changed seat position is working out for Lorenzo. But it's not a magic wand


One end of the KTM


The other end of the KTM with legal winglets/aero fairing


The mystery continues at the back of the Ducati GP17


One of Tech 3's rocketship rookies: Jonas Folger


Cal Crutchlow holding his own after Argentina


A dry clutch, or spinny roundy bit, to give it its technical name


Tech 3's other rocketship rookie: Johann Zarco


Scott Redding is outshining his teammate so far. Not being given the 2017 lab bike turns out to be a good thing


Still crazy after all these years


One way of fighting wheelies: get as far forward as possible


Andrea Dovizioso is a big fan of motocross. Not so much of race tracks which have MXGP style bumps


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Sat, 2017-02-25 14:58
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Melandri's back, and as fast as if he had never been away


That's one thing the new Honda Fireblade does well. Saves on tire wear too


Which is a serious concern, especially on the left side


Thousand yard stare


Sure, the same three riders were on the podium, but this really didn't feel like 2016 all over again


Alex Lowes gets ready


A familiar look


Technique


All Italian


Nicky Hayden's "I'm not entirely convinced" look


Josh Brookes has a point to prove. Didn't manage to make it in race 1


Baptism of fire for Stefan Bradl. The Honda CBR1000RR still needs a lot more development before it's truly competitive


Take me to your leader


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Wed, 2017-02-22 13:16
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"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."


Throne


Josh Brookes is on a mission to prove a point, on a privately funded Yamaha YZF-R1M


Warning from the Surgeon General...


Lorenzo Savadori is looking a good deal more dangerous this year after switching to the SMR Milwaukee team


Stefan Bradl on a Red Bull Honda. Still a lot of work to do for the boys at Ten Kate


The real energy drink


The biggest obstacle between Jonathan Rea and a third WSBK title. Insurmountable?


Time to relax with a quick Sodoku before the next session


High hopes for Alex Lowes in 2017


The business end of an MV


Tuning forks


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Sat, 2017-02-18 13:21
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The mystery box. Now Danilo Petrucci has one


Watch out. Marquez is ready


Marquez better watch out. Viñales is ready too


A quick peek inside Suzuki's aerodynamic ducts


Johann Zarco has impressed down under


Redding. Loves life


Jack Miller at home. In several sense of the word


The dark horse emerging from testing. Alvaro Bautista


Now that's what I call braking


And that's how you keep the brakes warm enough to brake that hard


Alex Rins hadn't looked good after Valencia. His prospects have turned around completely at Phillip Island


The Brains Trust: Crew chief Silvano Galbusera, data engineer Matteo Flamigni, and some old Italian guy


Go time


Corner speed is still an issue for the Ducati. But not that much of an issue, obviously


Jonas Folger, making Hervé Poncharal look like a genius


The rough and tumble of a factory rider, visible in Pol Espargaro's leathers

 


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Wed, 2017-02-15 23:40
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He may be old, but he's still plenty fast


99 problems


A novel way of keeping the bike narrow. External clutches


Marc Marquez is impressively consistent at Phillip Island


Bradley Smith is having to completely relearn riding a MotoGP bike. The KTM is the very opposite of the Yamaha


Michele Pirro: not just a test rider, now Jorge Lorenzo's track analyst


Impressive once again from Viñales


Lukey Heights: stunning at any time of year


Andrea Iannone has taken to the Suzuki like a fish to water


Trying. Always trying.


Test start time


That's plain rude, Jack Miller!


Aleix Espargaro plays peekaboo


Tough day for Sam Lowes. This was one crash


Sliding along the tarmac


Then hitting the grass and sliding


Looks fine on one side...


Not so much on the other


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