Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 151: More MotoGP Silly Season Madness

As racing draws near, the rider market is starting to pick up, with KTM announcing their entire rider line up, and Michael van der Mark moving from Yamaha to BMW in WorldSBK. So the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Neil Morrison, Steve English, and David Emmett debate exactly what has been going on, and how.

First of all, we take a deep dive into the situation at KTM. Was Petrucci the right choice, and how will he feel about taking a seat in a satellite team. We look at the alternatives, and how KTM's system is producing homegrown talent. Then we examine the Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi situations. Why haven't they signed yet, and when can we expect an announcement?

Finally, we take a look at the Van der Mark signing. Why would the Dutchman want to leave Yamaha, and what impact will this have on BMW? And who gets to take the seat vacated by Van der Mark?

If you don't want to miss out on these episodes as they are released, make sure you follow The Paddock Pass Podcast on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud we even have an RSS feed for you. If you do use Apple Podcasts, please rate the show and leave a review, as this helps other MotoGP fans find it. We now also have a Patreon, where you can support the show financially, and get access to exclusive content, such as rider interviews, debriefs, and more. Enjoy the show!

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Listening now. Petrucci was the right Orange choice now in that they need an older experienced rider, he was a bargain, willing to go Tech 3 so Oliveira isn't poached by Aprilia, and available now.

Yamaha WSBK may grab Baz. Or a new kid from Moto2 (WSS? No one there, is there? Cluzel? No).

Dovisioso is settling in with his (60%?) pay cut and will sign for 2 yrs. 2nd year may have option stipulations for both parties? Beloved Dovi's stock is no longer on the rise, nor flat. Such is the situation.

Rossi? He is about to sign at Aqua. There will be compromise on both sides, closer to half a dozen staff coming with, and interesting funding/contracts for them. Right now in his view is both the bike he has wanted for YEARS, and his sunset. He has the drive. This is a LOSS and grief process. It started with the loss of #58, and the Ducati humbling. Then baton wrestled from him in 2015 by The Marc. Then, Yamaha boots him out of the Blue garage for Quarty. Commence willingness and ability to consider what he begins next post racing. Hint, it will be epic and involve VR46 and Yamaha's team.

Not silly season. Serious actually, eh?'

Will Iker beat Smith and Rabat? Will these three be on the pace, or hanging off the back? How about Nakagami? I used to always see three or four packs on track, front/mid/rear, with big gaps. A few riders out ahead of all of them. Then the backmarkers as stragglers. That rear pack is the end of "the pace" in my mind and reveals itself looking at the timesheets, albeit somewhat subjectively. Within my own awareness it has been a rather consistent consideration over time. Now though the whole grid is compressed. Much bigger front group, with just Marc out front a bit, no one in second.

Parsing them out separately, first the bikes, then the riders. It isn't easy quite yet to get Orange or Aprilia mid pack. Look at how GOOD these bikes are lately! Bunched up so close. Rider talent as well, but hang on.

CRTs long gone, Customer mid kit year-olds & spare bins gone outside of Aspar's 2019 Ducs. We also have a Japanese LCR 2019 Honda. It can end up a bit of a hybrid bike if they buy goodies or the rider excels, but the spec of this 2019 Honda is a reliability focused basic Customer bike. These aren't such bad bikes relatively. Especially that well sorted Ducati! These 3, the 4 KTM's, and 2 Aprilias? Rear pack.

HRC's 3 Factory bikes are just ahead. Lovely motor matching the Ducati, in a nightmare chassis that doesn't want you on it. Nor bodywork that it is trying to throw off.. Then we hit Morbidelli's Yamaha, which is a more unique bike perhaps this year. It can become a bit of a hybrid. When Yamaha ditched the 2018 machine altogether and gave "Christened" Quarty a Factory bike w standard forks and some fat skimmed off the rev limit, did they mark a new way forward? Or will we see the 4th bike return to Customer "ride whatchagot?" Closer to the 2nd one.

Now we hit the good kit on the grid. And there is a LOT of it! 2 lovely conventional Suzukis punching well over their war chest weight. They have a NICE motor and electronics performing at a level that Suzuki is surprised that it can achieve. (Look Mom, we're on TV with 4 strokes!). Every Moto2 kid wants on it, it has been the best Yamaha on the grid for a couple of years. Until now.

4 Ducatis and 3 Yamahas intermix with the Suzukis right off their rear tire. Off of the top of my head, I can't remember the level of Bagnaia's bike relative to a Red one. Feel free to tack it on the bottom. When the update bits arrive, the two White bikes will get walked away from by the others and see a Suzuki wheel. It is 2020, and the Yamaha will look the better bike. But don't be fooled, the caliber of the Yamaha riders right now showcases their bike better than that of Ducati. One step ahead, loosely. Quartararo is better than anyone on a Duc. The gelling with the bike issue is there amongst them, yes. And we are on to riders, but I had the Ducati as the best bike starting 2019. Yamaha just came alongside.

2020 Riders (this is difficult, as they arrive in Spain and as MotoGP riders in in put every single one of them on a Suzuki, plus adjust Mir and Rins for bike familiarity):

Rider. - Trending
21) Iker Lecuona - up a wee but in the grass with Tito
20) Tito Rabat - (on floor)
19) Bradley Smith - flat
18) Alex Marquez - up soon
17) Brad Binder - way up soon
16) Takaaki Nakagami - down
15) Miguel Oliveira - up
14) Pol Espargaro - flat
13) Aleix Espargaro - flat
12) Joan Mir - up
11) Francesco Bagnaia - hello? Flat in Red, blossoming w Davide
10) Johann Zarco - up surprise
9) Danilo Petrucci - down
8) Jack Miller - up mildly
7) Cal Crutchlow - down
6) Valentino Rossi - down but w a flash several spots up
5) Andrea Dovizioso - flat to crested and downish
4) Alex Rins - slow rise swapping w Dovi
3) Maverick Vinales - upish
2) Quartararo - up
1) Marc Marquez - (there is no up)

Whew! #3 through #6 was toughest. Bonus: COVID changes winner? Andrea Iannone. Loser? Jorge Lorenzo

There is nowhere for #1 to go but down. Out of the top 6, I believe that 1,5 and 6 have the strongest heads. Curious to see if 2 can increase or even repeat last years trajectory. What happens if things don't work out as planned? Still see 3 as the most fragile of the bunch. Really curious about Binder. When that guy gets on the grid one can almost feel the steely look in his eyes. His first win in Moto3 from the back of the grid is worth watching again. Really loyal to KTM, but would probably give Pol a run for his money on the Honda. In the world of dreams, of course.

I would LOVE to listen to these but the "erm... Uhh... Ehhh... Urrr... Emm... Uhhhs" make it unlistenable. I'm sorry but listen to yourself, the pointless interjections ruin the podcast. Please please please listen to yourselves and cut with the erm... Uhhh... Ehh... and just talk. Thank you 

I would be critical except I have had to review transcripts of my testimony as a material witness in civil lawsuits, and it is not pretty.

Of course, the company David Emmett keeps does not help, since of course both Steve English and Neil Morrison are employed by Dorna as professional commentators (sort of like throwing a club racer into to a world championship level race qualifying session).


I am aware of how this sounds, as I have listened to myself talk a lot. I am continuing to work on this. It is much better than it used to be. Still really bad, for which you have my apologies. But there is no magic wand to make this go away. If there was, I would have made it disappear a very long time ago.

Love you like you are David!

(People should try speaking into microphones to record more than the simplest expressed thinking and listen to themselves. I bet they get stumped before reaching the end of "Hello, and welcome to the Paddock Path Podcasht," let alone be able to Steve English).

Noticing the new editing. It is just fine mate. (Now, about the three trees instead of forest and trees persoective taking...)

and it doesn't make any of the podcasts any less interesting. I don't want to lower the level on this site especially but seeing as you have decided to be so critical I'll keep it simple. 
if you dislike or struggle with it that much why don't you hop off and listen to something else, doubt you'll be missed. 

I do listen to 'something else'. If anyone listens to themselves it helps them to hear what others hear. It's about time that happened here. I and others begged last year for transcripts to be printed so we could read it but that was deemed too difficult. The information may be there but with the delivery I cannot wait around to hear it. Sorry if I don't give unqualified praise at all times. This is the only subject on which I have been critical and I only do it because I love the site and the sport so much that I want to hear what they say. I have been a fan since '78 when King Kenny went over and taught the world a lesson about racing American style. I will write what I wish when I wish as I wish. If you don't like it don't read my comments, you won't be missed.

The path of peace is to have no opinion - both with others outside of oneself and with the voice in the head, one's own thoughts. The way David expresses himself used to bug my mind also, until I accepted that that is just the way he collects thoughts and talks. I like to hear what David has to say. I just stopped agreeing with the character in the mind that complains about the way he says it. The "complainer" of the human condition is everywhere in this world. We don't have to add to it.

Good lord, now I've gone and destroyed everything, the world, racing, Motomatters and everything. I guess everyone is a whole lot more sensitive than I would have imagined. I am at peace. I suggested that they listen to themselves. It seems that is equivalent to knocking god off his pedestal. If the slightest criticism sets you off so much maybe you don't have as solid a foundation as you think.

Hi friends!

I get it. I have adjusted. Same for JD Beach over in MotoAmerica, he speaks well! Always makes the right appreciation for his project, and gets across what he is experiencing gracefully. Careful what you wish for re polish and delivery vs substance. Music is now usually "quantized" on a laptop in production, started in about 2005. Never again the varied beats per minute of John Bonham, which has soul and emotion.

Peterday, do you meditate? Have you studied non western traditions? Looks good on you mate.

David Emmett is not neurotypical. Everything outside of two standard deviations can count, it is varied out there. Each tail ~15%. When appreciated, and then reconsidering the "normies" they can be underwhelming in their very conventionality.

I am now critical of Krop for a few common "transgressions" and an apparent blind spot re his lens. Re "making a call" or perspective in the Podcast, I am mostly with Steve and Neil, both of whom are neurotypical (but very different of course).

Neurodiversity comes with gifts. Not in spite of it, of it. Easy example:

Continuum of representational vs concrete conscious thinking. On one end, Artistic and the other Autistic. One can't pass an algebra class but doodles a helmet design in an hour. The other invented the seamless gearbox but can't experience what you feel about it. Everyone in the middle wonders how they do it, but wants nothing to do with either at the cocktail party.

Everything is okay here folks. I promise.

I knew going in that commenting might stir the pot even more, but chose to anyway. And the absurdity is that I expressed an opinion about not expressing an opinion, which in of itself is somewhat hilarious. Really, I'm speaking of the human paradox that Motoshrink points to. Which is actually not personal even though it continuously and successfully sells itself as exactly that. Golly...all this covid free time allows for way too much contemplation. Please let the Motogp racing begin!

Hi Peter, I also knew going in that my comment would not be taken kindly but I did it anyway. I am maybe sensitive to the issue as I am a trained actor and I know that with some practice these issues can be addressed. I meant it as constructive criticism and pointed out a way to get better at speaking: listening to oneself. It is uncomfortable but it can help one improve one's speaking. I'm truly sorry that I've caused such a fuss. I need racing to return just as badly as anyone else. I can and will (try to) be more diplomatic in future. Thanks for your constructive criticism. I'm sorry I'm a bit cranky, this home confinement with no end on the horizon is getting to me for sure. I apologize to you, too, David for my rude manners, there's no excuse for rudeness and I won't make one.

Interesting video. Thanks. The struggle to know oneself is apparently a neverending one in this life. I know I struggle with it daily and I'm quite sure I'll never be done as the first 63 years of life have barely been enough to let me begin the quest. Still I persist. Thank you for being so gracious in dealing with my prickly personality.

and maybe I¬†was too sensitive in my reaction. I'm a foster career and a chairman of a charity revolving around special needs. Doesn't make me better, but maybe more accepting of things not always being how I would like or wish them to be. For the pleasure I derive from all of Motomatters, particularly David's insight, his vocal delivery, to me, is nothing much to pay for the greater sum. I took umbrage at what I percieived as an intolerance from you, maybe I¬†should have just accepted it as an opinion not aligned with mine, and for that I apologise. Motomatters is too cherished by us all to be bismirched in this way and -whilst I stand by my original post-I apologise and offer the hand of friendship unreservedly. ūüėä

Hi funsize, No worries, I am too blunt and direct to the point of rudeness at times so I don't take umbrage easily. I know that what I write will come across wrong but I write it anyway. I meant it to be helpful; I wasn't thinking of anything as an issue that can't be corrected. I have found that hearing my delivery can be excruciatingly painful but instructive in helping improve vocal delivery. I also cherish Motomatters and I don't want to be the cause of problems. Just sometimes I forget to be tactful. Thank you for your response; I appreciate it. I unreservedly accept your hand in friendship. Now let's get some racing going so we have real things to talk about.

And for the record, unlike Biaggi and Vale shaking hands, done on our own accord.

Now for dischord, Peterday you and I disagree re Quarty's mental strength. He has a vulerable nature that reflects ease and integrity. The kid has the goods! I like not liking what you said and can't be right about what is right for you. Until I am when you shift perspective via our dialectical process. Come disagree! Echo chamber of Me ditched in favor of harmony/disharmony of us.

A bit of friction creates heat. Sand, pearl. Particular point, backdrop context. Yamaha tuning fork, horsepower deficit. Make Aqua a collaborator instead of customer, boot Vale there. Wonderful! Maybe so. Disaster! Maybe so.

...At the end of this Podcast? "The next Episode is Pre-race Spanish 2020 GP." Not kidding, this year's Championship? Never before and never again. Very special. We may be rewatching it a lot. Especially the first round, that set a mark.

Here comes Yamaha. And maybe a Ducati. Or 2 (prove me wrong Dovi!). And maybe a Suzuki. And...?

A light flywheel may charge to the front Saturday, then crash out Sunday. A heavy flywheel guy may walk from mid pack the 1st weekend and show the front a wheel the 2nd weekend for a podium.

Expected surprise? Delicious. 3 Orange riders, Zarco, all 4 2020 Duc riders, A.Esgargaro? Mir, Rossi, Vinales? All of these could REALLY step forward past your expectations.

Q in two weeks! See you there.

Fabio's pain and suffering of not living up to the claim and label of being the next "Big Thing" when he entered the GP circus allows for the opportunity to recognize one's true identity. And That is the will of spirit. Yes, he exudes that innate goodness that can be misunderstood as naivete. Still, I await with anticipation the cataclysmic roar of 4 cylinder/2 wheeled machines rocketing down the front straight in order to feel at home in this world. The only certainty in this world is uncertainty. And even that cannot be concluded upon. Let the chaos begin! (which is endless) And let's put this extended silly season to rest. 

I would LOVE to to read more of these comments, but the "erm...

Pithy commentators can fill in the blanks instead of my obvious sarcasm. We need racing to talk about!


Sillier end to the potentially very silly season that wasn't: the limbo purgatory hold of Iannone's seat, last Honda seat at LCR, and especially stuck Ducati-Dovi contract is now making for silly.

Jorge IS in talks w Duc for the seat. Dovi "could take 2021 off rather than take a bad deal." Cal could go to Aprilia if they keep Nakagami, and Honda looks to be thinking longer term.

I believe none of these are very likely. They are silly. But...Cal could enjoy a better handling bike. Dovi really seems fed up, and Ducati interested in change. Jorge wants to race some clearly, regardless of what the Honda and he decided together. Possible. But silly.

By the way, in addition to announcing official cancellation of the Austin/COTA round for this year, the staff dregs sweeping the floor said an ownership change is underway. No idea where that is taking things, and have a hunch it is not good.

In a week there will be crates unloading in Jerez!

Dovi is reportedly earning 8 million euros for this year. Apparently, Ducati wants him to take a pay cut to 3 million and renew for one or two years (his choice) at 3 million per. He and his manager could hold them to their contract (as he did to Honda when Casey joined the squad in 2011) and earn almost as much for this season as the next three combined. Financially, he is in the driver's seat. And maybe he is fed up which can interfere with desire. I've also heard of rumors via Mr Emmett that there are some riders that pay their mechanic's salaries at the end of the year. I do not know the validity of this statement, but Andrea Dovizioso sounds like a guy that is cut from this cloth. The only irony in this story is that after Dovi signed his current big contract at Le Mans in 2018, he promptly crashed out of the lead in the race - a front end washout he was initially at pains to explain. He was an example of the very highs and lows of motogp stardom in a very short span of time.

I'm sorry, David, I was rude to you and that was wrong.

Plenty of worse stuff has happened here, and your repentance has been extensive. He sent me an email once informing me that any posts "calling riders tw*ts" would be deleted (even Jorge?). I called someone else out for narcissistic abuse once. Made a bottle of wine bet with someone that Jorge would podium on the Duc by a certain date, which he did, then they shirked sending it with crap excuses. So forth.

It will be forgotten in 8 days. Feel free to rejoin the discussion in comfort. No one is in here but us already after a week.


No need to apologize. You are absolutely correct. It is something I am working on. And would gladly take recommendations on how to fix it. I really ought to see a speech therapist, which is something I might do in the winter.

Last of the far from racing considerations of our longest of off seasons (skip this folks other than David). I refer to Speech Path and am in conjunction for some patients. There is a bit of overlap.

Brief thought to share. Deeper consciousness is engaged and integrated. Pre discursive/conceptual, involving somatic embodiment. Standing and swaying while speaking. Loosening. The Chi Gong "shake out" is wonderful. Alexander Technique is also related, for example. Cross median to non-dominant side, so left brain/right hand dominant person can take left shoe/sock off and rub it on carpet, squeeze/rub a tennis ball in their left hand, so forth. At first thoughts will be slower and murkier to articulate, but it changes. Much like the wonderful anchor of outside forearm on fuel tank, we get an organizing quality. One can "bounce" off of something to begin speaking. What exactly differs based on what neurological functions are how dominant. Vestibular is a good one. Try non dominant hand and foot at the same time. A squeeze and release of both hands, rock back then fwd, sway one side to the other. It can be subtle. An "and, go!"

Most applicable clips from "The King's Speech"

Hope you and yours enjoyed your anniversary. And now, back to our program...

Last toss your way if it isn't what you prefer. Happy to just talk racing. And there too are neurological style and such considerations of course.

I crashed out of a race for the worst of reasons. Pride, hubris.

Took me a year to recover from. My personality is a bit different secondary to the head injury. And shrink stuff stood the test. Took ONE day off of work, a Monday. Barfed in the garbage can Tues, and couldn't type my notes myself. Couldn't find words literally for things like "table" or "week." Brought me more appreciation for diverse focusing styles, as well as head trauma.

Your stock has risen even further in my estimation. Most of us would be butthurt and sulking. :)