Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Rating The Factories of MotoGP: Honda, Yamaha, & Ducati

01/24/2014 @ 10:27 am, by David Emmett33 COMMENTS

Rating The Factories of MotoGP: Honda, Yamaha, & Ducati honda rc213v carbon fairings scott jones 635x423

In the final part of our look back at 2013, we review the performance of the factories. How did Honda, Yamaha and Ducati stack up last season? What were their strong points, and how did they go about tackling their weaknesses? Above all, what does this mean for 2014? Here’s our rating of MotoGP’s manufacturers.

Honda – Championship Standing: 1st – Rating: 10/10

It seemed as if every technical rule change and tire decision swung against Honda in 2012. First, they found themselves outfoxed over the minimum weight by Ducati, after the MSMA first told the Grand Prix Commission that they had unanimously rejected a proposal to raise it from 153kg to 160kg.

It turned out that only Honda and Yamaha had rejected it, with Ducati voting in favor, which meant the rule should have been adopted and not rejected. As a concession to the manufacturers, the weight was raised in two stages, to 157kg in 2012, and 160kg in 2013.

Then, after being tested at Jerez, the riders voted to adopt the new, softer construction front tires, despite complaints from the Repsol Honda riders.

Honda struggled for much of 2012, first working out where to place an extra 4kg (a problem the other factories did not have, as they had struggled to get anywhere near the previous minimum of 153kg), and then running through chassis and suspension options in search of the braking stability they had lost with the introduction of the softer front tire.

After the test at the Mugello round, they had most of the problems solved, and Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa went on to win eight of the last nine rounds.

Come the 2013 season, and Honda was well-prepared. The factory already had its braking stability issues under control, and the only point left was the extra 3kg it had to carry. Having had all of 2012 to prepare for the extra weight, Honda arrived at the start of the season with few issues.

Dani Pedrosa took a little while to get used to the extra weight, his slight frame a disadvantage when it comes to flinging the extra bulk around, but he soon had the situation under control.

All year long, Honda had the edge on Yamaha because of the work HRC had done in 2012. The better braking stability meant that Pedrosa and Marc Marquez could outbrake Jorge Lorenzo almost at will, leaving Lorenzo struggling to get back.

The Honda’s weak point came on a slippery track, when conditions were either too cold or too dusty, the RC213V struggling for grip out of corners and unable to carry corner speed.

Interestingly, Dani Pedrosa seemed to have more problems in low grip than Marc Marquez. Perhaps Pedrosa was expecting a particular behavior from the bike, while Marquez simply didn’t know any better. Being 20 years old and in your first year makes it much easier to adapt.

It wasn’t just braking stability where the Honda reigned supreme. In terms of fuel consumption, the RC213V was streets ahead of the Yamaha, the Yamaha riders having to cut fuel back at some circuits just to make it to the line.

Conditions helped the Yamaha out at some of the very fuel-heavy tracks. The dusty track at Qatar made the surface too slippery for the Honda, while at Motegi, severely limited practice meant nobody really got to grips with the track, allowing Lorenzo to run away with the race.

At other tracks, Yamahas had to be pushed back to the pits after running out on the cool down lap, something which never happened to the Hondas.

We can only speculate where the Honda’s advantage came from. As a 90° V4, the RC213V doesn’t need a power-sapping balance shaft, which helps. Having two separate banks of cylinders makes for better cooling, too, the 2013 bike sporting larger side vents in the fairing for dumping waste heat.

Honda has worked hard on reducing internal friction. And then there’s the electronics, where Honda is outstanding, providing excellent throttle response even with lean fueling.

The only place where the Yamaha was better than the Honda was in corner speed, but its advantage was small, and outweighed by Honda’s better braking and acceleration. It was a clash of design ideologies. On the one side, the harsh “V” of Honda, hammer into the corner, jam on the brakes as late as possible, get the bike turned quickly and then stand it up and get hard on the gas.

On the other, the sweeping “U” of Yamaha, brake early, carry corner speed, needing less acceleration as the bike is already going faster. The battle has echoes of ancient wars fought earlier, the ideologies of the two parties still intact after twenty five years or more. It is a battle in which the “V” has trumped the “U” more often than not.

The 2013 Honda RC213V was pretty much as close to motorcycling perfection as we have ever seen. HRC enters 2014 full of confidence; with 20 liters of fuel instead of 21, they should have the measure of Yamaha, and as for Ducati, they are still a long way behind. 2014 could be a wild Honda romp.

Yamaha – Championship Standing: 2nd – Rating: 8/10

Rating The Factories of MotoGP: Honda, Yamaha, & Ducati yamaha yzr m1 carbon fairings scott jones 635x422

In 2012, Jorge Lorenzo was left to defend Yamaha’s honor almost alone, as Ben Spies struggled with a series of bizarre mishaps, crashes, material failures, and more. The only help Lorenzo got was from the Tech 3 duo, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow pushing each other to greater heights.

With the return of Valentino Rossi to Yamaha, the Japanese factory hoped for a little more help for Lorenzo in 2013. It would not turn out that way. While Honda’s struggle with the softer front Bridgestone in 2012 had masked the underlying weakness of the Yamaha, the RC213V’s competitiveness ruthlessly exposed it.

The Yamaha had gotten around the problem with the softer front largely by ignoring it, relying on the ability of Lorenzo to carry an inhuman amount of corner speed. With Rossi in the opposite garage, it became clear that Yamaha had been relying on Lorenzo a little too heavily.

Lorenzo continued to take the fight to the Hondas, but the battle was a lot tougher than it was in 2012.

Lorenzo’s style – brake early, let off early, then sweep majestically through the corner carrying more lean angle than anyone else was capable of – “the only time we reach that lean angle is just before we crash,” Cal Crutchlow joked – giving him more exit speed to carry him on to the next straight.

All of Lorenzo’s transitions were so smooth – watching from track side, he looked like he was moving in slow motion – that he never upset the M1 at all.

The trouble was, after letting off the brakes, Lorenzo would find a Honda diving up the inside and then jamming on the anchors right in front of him, hogging his line, destroying his corner speed, and taking away any advantage he had.

Braking later was not an option, the Yamaha simply not stable enough on the brakes, so Lorenzo had to find another way of beating the Hondas.

Without Lorenzo’s corner speed, the other Yamaha riders simply didn’t stand a chance. Valentino Rossi was a distant fourth at most races, the only exception when Lorenzo and Pedrosa were injured, or track conditions played into the Yamaha’s hands.

Rossi’s strength – his ability to brake late, brake hard, and still get the bike turned – was completely useless, the bike simply not allowing him to ride that way, the front too soft to handle it. The less stiff front Bridgestone and Yamaha’s failure to address their own weakness worked against the returning Italian.

In part, Rossi himself was to blame. At the end of 2013, Rossi admitted that he had know that the new, softer construction front tire would cause problems when he tested in 2012. But given that he was already, as he put it, “in the sh*t” with the Ducati, a softer front tire was the least of his problems.

If it slowed the rest up, it might give him a chance to get closer to the Hondas and Yamahas on the Desmosedici. Once he swung his leg back over the YZR-M1, he found himself in deep trouble.

The factory men at least got some help after Brno. From Misano, Lorenzo and Rossi had Yamaha’s seamless gearbox at their disposal, giving them a big improvement in acceleration. The bike was more stable off corners, and upshifts were possible with the bike still heeled over, making it less tiring to ride and conserving tire wear over the course of the race.

The gearbox brought the Yamaha men that little bit closer to the Hondas, making Lorenzo’s job just that little bit easier. The advantage on upshifts has been canceled out, the Yamaha much closer coming out of corners. Now, Lorenzo and Rossi are asking for help on downshifts, the Honda riders not needing to use the clutch when changing down, while the Yamaha men still do.

The clutchless downshifts mean that the Honda gets into corners better, helping with braking stability by keeping the rear wheel more under control. There is as yet no date on when Yamaha are expected to have this improvement ready.

For 2014, Yamaha will have to work on braking stability, but with tire construction expected to remain the same, or perhaps even firm up a little, that should get Yamaha closer. Their biggest problem will be fuel consumption, the Yamaha being the thirstiest of the three factory bikes on the grid.

The long-bang inline four needs a balance shaft to suppress vibrations, and balance shafts use power, and therefore fuel. The inline four also means the two inner cylinders (two and three) run hotter, as they have cylinders on both sides, and not just one. More heat means more friction, and that too causes power loss.

The traditional way to cool those cylinders is to run them slightly richer, but that uses more fuel, robbing Peter to cool Paul. And there is little room for extra cooling, as the motor has to be kept as narrow as possible. There are no easy answers to Yamaha’s problems in the coming season.

Ducati – Championship Standing: 3rd – Rating: 5/10

Rating The Factories of MotoGP: Honda, Yamaha, & Ducati ducati desmosedici gp13 no fairings scott jones 635x422

Seen from Bologna, the problems of both Yamaha and Honda seem utterly trivial. The list of problems faced by Ducati are very, very long: the bike has chronic understeer, an engine which is too powerful and too vicious, a lack of feeling at the front end, and it requires a lot of physical effort to ride. It is too long, the swingarm is too short, and the gearbox output shaft and crankshaft are in the wrong place. But apart from that…

For the first time since Ducati entered MotoGP in 2003, the factory failed to score a single podium. While Honda and Yamaha were making progress, Ducati mostly went round in circles. At the beginning of the season, Ducati Corse boss Bernhard Gobmeier declared it would be a year of “evolution, not revolution.”

The factory did a fair amount of work, figuring out chassis stiffnesses and improving the feel of the bike. By the end of the season, the latest iteration of the chassis had improved front end feel, and in combination with a softer motor, made the bike less tiring to ride.

The lap times, however, remained stubbornly between seven eighths and a second slower than the leaders. Evolution had been nice, but what was needed was revolution.

That came at the end of the year, with Gobmeier being moved upstairs and off to car racing. In his place came Gigi Dall’Igna, heading up a wholesale return of Italian talent. He was joined by former Ducati boss Paolo Ciabatti, and former team boss Davide Tardozzi drafted in to run the MotoGP team.

For 2014 there is more revolution on the cards, with the factory likely to enter under the Open regulations, allowing them the freedom to redesign the engine as the season goes on. That will mean giving up their ability to develop their own software, but at this moment in the company’s history, performance gains from limited electronics are the least of their problems.

The engine is at the center of Ducati’s issues. Many people - including myself - have written that Ducati’s use of the 90°V was the root of the problem, but the revelation that Honda are using the same engine angle proves that this is not the issue.

Where Ducati is struggling is with power delivery – too aggressive, needing a heavier crankshaft to calm it down – and engine geometry, with parts all in the wrong location. The V has already been rolled backward to make the engine shorter, but it now needs to be moved further forward to get the crankshaft rotating in the ideal location.

Where it is right now – 5-8cm further back than Honda’s crankshaft – could be causing the understeer which so badly plagues the Desmosedici. That, at least, is the theory proposed by the extremely perceptive Giorgio ‘Manziana’ Mulliri of Motocorse.

Moving the engine forward would also allow the output shaft to be relocated, simultaneously improving the geometry of the rear swingarm. These issues were why the extensive work on chassis stiffness only paid very modest dividends for Ducati in 2013.

Ducati’s problems were more than just technical, however. One major issue for the factory was the fact that the engineers working in the Ducati Corse race department in Bologna never got anywhere near the racetrack, and the engineers working with the race team never visited the factory in Bologna.

Communication between the two groups was virtually zero, meaning that data from the track was never assessed and used properly. The two groups functioned as two separate entities. Motorcycle development and design relies heavily on communication, just looking at data provided misses the most crucial element: the input of the rider.

This was an issue which Bernhard Gobmeier never managed to address. As a German, an outsider placed with the factory by new owners Audi, he never enjoyed the confidence of the Italian staff.

The first change made by Gigi Dall’Igna on his arrival was to start rotating engineers between factory and race team. It is much easier to make that change as a fellow Italian. And especially as an Italian with the record of success which Dall’Igna enjoys.

What will 2014 bring for Ducati? The switch to the Open class – officially a decision to be made only once a back-to-back comparison has been made at Sepang, but with so many advantages for Ducati that it seems almost inevitable – will allow Dall’Igna to tackle the Desmosedici’s weakest point.

With 12 engines for a season, he can focus on gradual improvement by modifying engine internals, instead of being subject to both the engine development freeze and the reliability constraints of the Factory Option entries.

More changes will be made to Ducati Corse’s internal structure, with communication a key focus. With Dall’Igna, Tardozzi and Ciabatti in charge, the project will start moving forward again. A championship is out of the question, race wins are vanishingly unlikely, but being within sight of a podium must be a possibility by the end of the season. In 2013, a podium seemed like an impossible dream. There’s a long way still to go for Ducati.

Photos: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. chris says:

    “fortunately we only have two problems: the engine and the chassis.” v.rossi 2011

  2. L2C says:

    Yamaha should definitely suspend indefinitely Lin Jarvis’s constant refrain of Factory Yamaha being all about Lorenzo. Rossi needs braking stability and YFR needs both of its top riders competing at the front for the championship against arch-rival Honda. (Title sponsors are not going to come sniffing around for anything less.)

    Thanks to the factory satellite teams and the CRT entries, the days of the “Number 1″ rider nonsense are all but historical footnotes. Going the way of the dodo is good for some things.

    Pol and Brad need to have a future on top-notch competitive machinery, so 2014 has to be the season where YFR makes great strides to even the playing field against Honda. Otherwise with Suzuki and Ducati making significant progress, Yamaha could find itself in Ducati’s position in virtually no time at all — and that would be a shame.

    Aprilia is not sitting idly by either. From the sound of the rumors surrounding its MotoGP development effort, Aprilia should be a contender for podiums and major new talent in at least a couple of years, maybe sooner. Yet another reason why Yamaha cannot afford to be caught napping.

    Also, I swear I read a blurb somewhere recently of Kawasaki reading tea leaves…

    By the time 2015 comes online, things in MotoGP are going to be dramatically different. Yamaha has got to get its act together as soon as possible.

    YFR aren’t exactly falling apart at the seams. Struggling, for sure, but doing a decent job of holding it together. However, if the team fails to deliver for both Jorge and Valentino this season, the appearance of sudden collapse will be difficult to avoid.

    Honda has set the benchmark — is setting the benchmark — and Yamaha has to provide a worthy alternative. There is no escaping this obvious fact.

  3. crshnbrn says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with Mr. Emmett’s rating of 10/10 for Honda. I’m not saying they (only) rate 9/10. Perhaps 9.4/10 for the following reasons:

    1. Single, unprotected, rear wheel speed sensor input to traction control even after warned by team engineers that it was vulnerable. Traction control defaulting to full power mode. Marquez assessed a penalty point and Honda docked 25 Manufacturers Championship points from incident at Aragon. Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but 10/10 is perfection.

    2. Marquez’s disqualification at Phillip Island for not pitting when specified by race direction.

    3. Pedrosa didn’t finish 2nd in the final point standings.

    Marquez did win the Championship in his rookie season – breaking a lot of records along the way, and Honda did win the Manufacturers Championship, but it was (just) shy of a perfect season. If in 2014, Marquez can break the record for youngest repeat champion, Pedrosa can be bridesmaid for a fourth time, and they can avoid any stupid mistakes…

    Everybody’s got to have goals.

  4. L2C says:

    You had me agreeing with you right up until, but not including, points 2, 3 and most of the rest. With the exception of “Everybody’s got to have goals.,” those are all rider issues. That’s why they are reflected in the riders championship and performance standings.

  5. L2C says:

    And Marquéz being assessed a penalty point at Aragon is a rider issue, as well.

  6. L2C says:

    There was another issue that I’ve been thinking about for a while concerning Yamaha. I’ve been wondering if rider contracts influence the course of development and support for their machines.

    For example, if Rossi was promised, in addition to salary, X number of dollars if he won the championship or placed 2nd in the standings, and Lorenzo was promised, in addition to salary, X number of dollars if he won the championship or placed 2nd in the standings — would Yamaha be willing to develop and support a bike that both riders would be able to win a championship with, given the associated projected costs? Given the significant differences between Lorenzo’s and Rossi’s riding styles, it would be much less expensive to develop a bike that would suit one rider rather than both. And given Yamaha’s financial position and Lin Jarvis’s constant reminders that Lorenzo is Yamaha’s *Number 1* rider, this is not a far-fetched idea to consider.

    What I’m getting at is Yamaha could have been playing to their bottom line since at least when Andrea Dovizioso was with Tech 3, but perhaps even earlier than that given the development trajectory of the M1. Not only has the M1 been ill-suited for Rossi, but it has also been ill-suited for Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith with Tech 3.

    In stark contrast, Honda doesn’t have this problem with its factory or satellite riders. Sure, Alvaro Bautista (GO & FUN Honda Gresini) has been at a disadvantage to Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) because of the Nissin and Showa components on his RC213V vs the Brembo and Öhlins components on Bradl’s. But by the latter third of the 2013 season, Bautista’s disadvantage had all but evaporated despite the mechanical differences of his bike. Another point is Bradl almost beat Marquéz to win Laguna. Taking pole position and finishing 2nd in the race, Bradl was absolutely smokin’ that entire weekend. This strongly suggests that Honda’s R & D squad are not interested in building a single-purpose track weapon, but rather a multi-purpose one that could support virtually any rider regardless of riding style or contract. Compared to Honda, Yamaha’s R & D labs seems to be run by bean counters rather than engineers.

    Of course, these ideas could all be the work of not getting enough sleep! But also I don’t claim to be the first to have thought of this stuff either, because this possibility is rather obvious, isn’t it?

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “but with so many advantages for Ducati that it seems almost inevitable…”

    …that Dorna will catch hell from the Privateer teams (filing petitions this) for allowing a Factory (recently valued at 1.1Billion with a “B”) to capitalize on advantages that are intended for them.

    they’ll prolly go on to say, while they feel sorry about Ducati’s predicament, the fact that they’re getting their asses handed to them by the big Japanese factories really isn’t their problem. hey, welcome to the club.

  8. Norm G. says:

    re: “Yamaha’s R & D labs seems to be run by bean counters rather than engineers.”

    naw, it’s run by the engineers alright… unfortunately, it’s financed by the bean counters and beans don’t grow on trees. wait, scratch that last part.

    re: “Of course, these ideas could all be the work of not getting enough sleep!”

    you go ahead and crash out, I got this.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “Yamaha has got to get its act together as soon as possible. ”

    not going to happen.

    as indicated, they were already “performing without a net” in fuel terms, and now they’re a liter short ON TOP of that. F’ me a liter…? even with the efficiencies of finally adding a seamless gearbox, it doesn’t give them a buffer, and when competing at this level, a buffer (no not Michael) is what they need.

    unless something changes radically…? this might just be the “straw” that broke the Yamaha’s “back”. the gearbox cost them a fortune (money they originally said they didn’t have) and it’s been how many years now without a mainline sponsor…?

    they can’t keep this up forever. either it’s or Dorna, or Yamaha, or someone…? I don’t know what or who, but Normstradamus says something’s gonna give.

  10. smiler says:

    Seeing as the global recession is essentially now over or receding.
    Why the need for an open class. It was specifcally designed to reduce costs in a world economic decline.
    Global and country based recessions are usually @8 years apart. So there are 8 years to gradually reduce costs sensibly rather than making 2 classes and reducing the ability of manufacturers to recover the costs of racing through development of new tech.

    Audi makde it clear when the bought Ducati, that the bike would not be a podium offering until 2015. Thus far seems to be very much on track for that. because having Hinda always on the podium and Yamaha being the only contenter is very dull. Especially when you consider there are 8-9 manufactuers in WSBK next yr.

  11. 2ndclass says:

    @ L2C,

    Riders usually already have contracted bonuses for if they win the championship. Hell, Aleix Espagaro had, what, 100,000Euro? riding on being top CRT rider, not even an official championship.

  12. smiler says:

    And your point is 2ndclass?

    You have to hand it to Honda. In the Past they have won championships in the modern era with V2, inline fours, V5′s, V4′s and atriple. There is likely a boxer motor in there somewhere as well.

  13. Norm G. says:

    re: “Why the need for an open class.”

    it’s as much for parity as it is to lower costs.

    see, years spent watching OCC and Biker Build offs on Discovery have DELUDED many a people into thinking they can do what the OEM’s can do. turns out…

    they can’t.

  14. 2ndclass says:

    @ smiler,

    I was merely pointing out to L2C that their idea of riders having bonuses for taking the champoinship was already in place and hasn’t affected how the factories develop their bikes.

  15. crshnbrn says:

    @ L2C

    re: And Marquéz being assessed a penalty point at Aragon is a rider issue, as well.

    I beg to differ.

    Perhaps had Pedrosa’s rear wheel speed sensor been protected or redundant, he would not have ended up sliding down the track at Aragon on his hands and knees. The only telltale sign of any contact would have been the Bridgestone smudge on Marquez’s left sleeve. It was evident in the video the effort Marquez made to avoid contact. Marquez might have received a stern warning after the race ended, but there would have been no need to assess a penalty point. It would have been just an example of good close racing. Exactly what we as fans clamour for.

    Pedrosa was said to have a good chance of winning at Aragon, at the very least finishing on the podium. The MotoGP world was denied finding out who the best rider truly was that day. Fortunately, the 25 points he could have earned that day would not have changed his position in the MotoGP Championship final standing.

  16. taikebo says:

    Honda should be 9/10 because its cornering speed is slower than Yamaha. Yamaha weak point is straight speed.

  17. L2C says:

    @crshnbrn

    “re: And Marquéz being assessed a penalty point at Aragon is a rider issue, as well.

    I beg to differ.”

    Race Direction disagrees. That’s why they docked Honda 25 points to settle the factory issue. Marc’s penalty point belongs to him and him alone.

    ” It was evident in the video the effort Marquez made to avoid contact.”

    It was evident that Marc made an effort to avoid further contact. And it was the contact his arm made with Pedrosa’s rear wheel that sent him into evasive maneuvers. Marc didn’t know anything about a severed traction control cable until after the race.

    If Marc had made an effort to avoid contact prior to contact -like not riding too close to other riders in the first place- then perhaps there would not have been any contact at all. But we know that Marc is going to make contact whenever he can because he’s Marc. He made contact with Lorenzo even following Aragon. And his antics in the off-season at the Superprestigio provides further proof of the point.

    “Fortunately, the 25 points he [Pedrosa] could have earned that day would not have changed his position in the MotoGP Championship final standing.”

    Translation: Because it would have been the worst thing ever to happen in your world, no difference otherwise would have been made.

  18. L2C says:

    @2ndclass

    “I was merely pointing out to L2C that their idea of riders having bonuses for taking the champoinship was already in place and hasn’t affected how the factories develop their bikes.”

    Yes, but the idea that Yamaha would actually place itself on the hook financially to develop a bike suitable for at least both of its top riders is not in the signatory scribble. “Yes, Rossi. Anything you want, Rossi. Have it your way.” *sounds of chickens scratching* And then Yamaha continues to develop/maintain the M1 around Lorenzo because they can only afford to support one potential champion.

    Notice that Yamaha is the only factory, and the only team, to constantly make the distinction of a *Number 1* rider between their top talent. Honda doesn’t do it, Ducati doesn’t do it, none of the other teams do it. Only Yamaha Factory Racing does it. And when Rossi was with Ducati, Ducati still didn’t do it, even though the talent and input of Rossi and Burgess weighed a lot more than Nicky Hayden’s crew.

    That Honda and the rest of the teams don’t engage in this sort of thing says volumes about how all of these teams at least desire to give all of their riders equal support. YFR’s Lin Jarvis has been explicit many times, saying that Lorenzo comes first. And the biggest piece of evidence that proves it to be true is the fact that the M1 is only suitable for Lorenzo.

  19. Johnny Quick says:

    @L2C

    The reason that Ducati never had to openly state Rossi was the number one rider is that Hayden openly admitted that with Rossi there he expected development input to be spearheaded by Rossi and he hoped to reap the benefits. There was also the general perception that Rossi having more wold titles was the superior racer and Hayden was not on his level.

    The reason Honda didn’t mark Marquez as the #1 rider is that fact no one expected him to win the championship his first year. The reason they didn’t call Stoner the #1 rider was that Pedrosa had been there so long he was the more senior rider at the time for the factory. But when it was just Dovi and Pedrosa, Pedrosa was often referred to as the #1 rider. When Rossi rode for the factory HRC team he was referred to as the #1 rider.

    The reality is its not a team sport and at the end of the day if both riders want vastly different things out of the bike the factory team has to put there eggs in one of the two riders and they USUALLY take a gamble on the rider they HOPE/EXPECT to out perform the other….aka the #1 rider.

  20. crshnbrn says:

    @L2C

    So it is okay to make contact with a rider from another team on two seperate occassions as long as he doesn’t go down, but a penalty point is assessed if you make contact with your own teammate exposing a vulnerability with the bike and your teammate goes down as a result? That seems like inconsistent application of the penalty system.

    “Fortunately, the 25 points he [Pedrosa] could have earned that day would not have changed his position in the MotoGP Championship final standing.”

    re: Translation: Because it would have been the worst thing ever to happen in your world, no difference otherwise would have been made.

    Hardly! I have a life, and worse things have happened than Pedrosa finishing third instead of second.

  21. L2C says:

    @Johnny Quick

    The perceptions of *Number 1* riders in this modern era are entirely fan and media generated. Sure, if one rider wins the championship this serves to distinguish him from his teammate, but at the level of development of a factory’s/team’s bike there is no difference in support EXCEPT with Yamaha Factory Racing.

    The Yamaha YZR-M1 has been built to serve the purposes of one rider and one rider only: Jorge Lorenzo. Everyone else who has the privilege, has to learn how to ride Lorenzo’s bike.

    The Honda RC213V is a much more pliant machine. Honda has made it amenable to whomever is lucky enough to swing a leg over one. It responds exceptionally well to Pedrosa’s controlled precision, Marquéz’s ragged late-breaking style, Bradl’s smooth style, and Bautista’s ever-changing style. No other bike on the grid matches this performance.

    Right now, the M1 is on the verge of becoming the grids next bum ride. In other words, just as the talent and ability of Casey Stoner masked the deficiencies of the Ducati Desmosedici, so has the talent and ability of Jorge Lorenzo masked the shortcomings of the M1.

    Jorge Lorenzo has said that he needs more from his machine to keep up with the Hondas. He has admitted that he has had to work too hard and take too many risks. His situation is far from ideal. Does Yamaha want Lorenzo to continue to rely on luck to get him through?

    It is evident that Honda learned a long time ago that the *Number 1* foolishness should not extend to the development of their racing machines. The guy that wins more gets more — but he does not get to have his own bike that only he can ride. Ducati has learned this harsh lesson, now Yamaha is learning it.

    Think about how last season Cal Crutchlow was finally given the bag of goodies that Lorenzo and Rossi received to no positive effect on his performance. No sooner than his bike was set up with those “refinements” did he wish he’d had his previous bike, preferring the lesser of two evils. Bradley Smith saw some improvement, yet it only took him as far as just behind an injured and recovering and still miserable Cal Crutchlow. Injuries that were sustained pushing the M1 past its limit. And while Rossi saw some improvement with some things, he was still left in 4th and far from the front.

    What is happening at Yamaha sounds very much like what goes on in the Ducati camp. Improvements that come but which fail to fix outstanding problems. Like Ducati has had in the past, Yamaha now has a bike that suits one extremely rare riding style and ability. Honda may have 99 problems, but that is not one of them.

    Putting all one’s eggs in one basket is never a good idea. In personal finance, in business, especially in motorsport.

    You thought YFR’s financial position was bad when Lorenzo won the title, how bad can it be now? No world champion. No title sponsor. A bike with limited range. Four riders with few insufficient options. All eggs in one basket.

  22. L2C says:

    ” Four riders with few insufficient options.”

    Few sufficient options, I meant.

  23. L2C says:

    “That seems like inconsistent application of the penalty system.”

    It isn’t. Honda was penalized, Marc was penalized. Engineering fault, rider error properly penalized according to Race Direction. They don’t care what you or I think.

    @crshnbrn

    “Hardly! I have a life, and worse things have happened than Pedrosa finishing third instead of second.”

    Losing 25 championship points, through no fault of his own was hardly, in your words, fortunate for Pedrosa. And Pedrosa did lose all possible 25 points that he could have won that day. He went back to his trailer with zero.

    And the final championship standing certainly could have been different. At the start of the weekend at Aragon, the championship was still in reach of all three top riders. Nothing had yet been etched in stone. Anything could have happened if Pedrosa had won the weekend. Anything happened anyway, like it always does.

  24. L2C says:

    Jeez, even when I use a text editor, this little box slays me when I make a correction in it.

  25. crshnbrn says:

    @L2C

    The following statement came from Mr. Emmett’s article posted on A&R on 10/10/2013.

    “Though contact was only minimal, (Race Director) (Mike) Webb said, this was just one of a number of incidents which had happened throughout the year.”

    I don’t recall any penalty points being assessed for the other “number of incidents” Marquez had been involved in.

    re: Losing 25 championship points, through no fault of his own was hardly, in your words, fortunate for Pedrosa.

    You misunderstood what I meant by: “Fortunately, the 25 points he could have earned that day would not have changed his position in the MotoGP Championship final standing.” I didn’t mean that it was fortunate that Pedrosa left Aragon with zero points. What I meant was that had Pedrosa won at Aragon earning the maximum of 25 championship points and something happened to Lorenzo whereby he didn’t score any points, Pedrosa would still have finished third in the final standings since he finished the season 30 points behind Lorenzo. This of course depends on the rest of the season playing out exactly as it did.

  26. L2C says:

    @crshnbrn

    “The following statement came from Mr. Emmett’s article posted on A&R on 10/10/2013.

    ‘Though contact was only minimal, (Race Director) (Mike) Webb said, this was just one of a number of incidents which had happened throughout the year.’

    I don’t recall any penalty points being assessed for the other “number of incidents” Marquez had been involved in.”

    The point of Mike Webb’s statement was to illustrate that Race Direction has the discretion to award penalty points however it sees fit. If it finds it necessary to do so, RD can issue a penalty point as a warning. This issue of Race Direction’s discretion came up again when Marquéz was black-flagged at Phillip Island:

    “Motomatters: It was made clear to the teams that anyone exceeding the number of laps would get black-flagged?

    Mike Webb: In the notice that went to the teams, I didn’t specifically say ‘black flag’, I said there would be a penalty and it is forbidden to complete more than ten laps on any one tire. I didn’t specifically say what the penalty was. After the notice went out, some teams asked what would be the penalty, and they were told exclusion.

    So verbally with the teams that asked, we told them. I didn’t write it in the piece of paper. Normally, we don’t prejudge, Race Direction over the whole year, we very very rarely point out ‘this behavior will result in exactly this penalty’, because we take it case by case. We inside Race Direction were very clear in our own minds that exclusion would be the penalty, and that’s what we told teams. But it wasn’t written on the piece of paper.”

    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/motogp/mike-webb-penalty-points-interview-part-2/

    ***

    I didn’t mean that it was fortunate that Pedrosa left Aragon with zero points. What I meant was that had Pedrosa won at Aragon earning the maximum of 25 championship points and something happened to Lorenzo whereby he didn’t score any points, Pedrosa would still have finished third in the final standings since he finished the season 30 points behind Lorenzo. This of course depends on the rest of the season playing out exactly as it did.”

    Lorenzo lost the championship by 4 points. If Pedrosa had remained a factor until Valencia, who knows what the outcome of the championship would have been. And Marquéz would have remained an unknown quantity as well. You cannot just shuffle around one and not the others to get your statement to work. Each had bearing and importance to the others.

  27. crshnbrn says:

    @L2C

    I’m just glad it is winter, otherwise this dead horse would really be getting rank.

  28. JW says:

    It OK to not have to be so Right all the time. Maybe next time the horse won’t have to die..

    I wish this could be more like sitting down for a good football game with friends where there are different fans for each team, all having fun a poking jabs at each other in a loving affectionate brotherly kind of way way.

    Go Seahawks.

    LOL

  29. L2C says:

    @crshnbrn

    If you’re right, you’re right. If not, the time of year doesn’t matter, it smells the same.

  30. L2C says:

    @ JW

    It is OK. The trick is to converse/argue for the purpose of providing and learning more than you know. There doesn’t have to be a dead horse, but when it’s shot, it’s shot. And this happens when there is no give. You know it when someone declares the horse dead.

  31. Norm G. says:

    re: “That Honda and the rest of the teams don’t engage in this sort of thing says volumes about how all of these teams at least desire to give all of their riders equal support.”

    well that, or they’re simply not going out of their way to telegraph what it is they’re doing every 5 minutes.

  32. L2C says:

    @Norm G.

    Yeah, that too. The hierarchies are clear anyway, without the labels. I’m not dismissing politics.

  33. Westward says:

    @ Johnny Quick

    I called it. Before the season began I said if Rossi does regain his glory, Marquez will take the title. Then a bunch of people thought I was not giving Lorenzo or Pedrosa proper respect…

    Pedrosa choked as usual, and Lorenzo would only win if Marquez somehow faltered like he did his first year in Moto2. Marquez did not and is Champion.

    He will be again, if Rossi still does not find his way back…