The Dangerous Power Struggle Inside Repsol Honda

10/23/2013 @ 5:53 pm, by David Emmett44 COMMENTS

The Dangerous Power Struggle Inside Repsol Honda marc marquez motogp respol honda 635x423

The 2013 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island – likely to be known henceforth as ‘The Debacle Down Under’ – taught us many things. It taught us that tire companies need to find ways to test at newly surfaced tracks (especially when a newly retired world champion and now Honda test rider lives in the same country), that pit stops in dry conditions are potentially dangerous when each stint is less than 10 laps, and that hurriedly changing rules and race lengths are far from ideal when trying to organize a MotoGP race. Those were the lessons that were immediately obvious to anyone watching.

There were more subtle lessons from Phillip Island as well. Marc Marquez’s disqualification was not just a failure of either strategy or his ability to read a pit board, it was also a sign of growing tensions inside the Repsol Honda box. The reactions of the various members of Marquez’s crew after he failed to enter the pits to swap bikes at the end of lap 10 (shown in an excellent free video on the MotoGP.com website) suggests a deep-seated failure of communication among the entire crew.

Most of his crew appeared to be surprised and shocked when Marquez didn’t come in to swap bikes, but Marquez’s inner circle, Emilio Alzamora and Santi Hernandez, appear unperturbed as he races by on the lap that would lead to his disqualification. Cristian Gabarrini, formerly Casey Stoner’s crew chief and now HRC engineer assisting Marquez’s team, is immediately certain of the consequences, the cutting motion across the throat showing he knows it’s over.

After the race, Marc Marquez told reporters that it had been deliberate strategy to ride for the extra lap. The strategy had been decided by a small group. “We made the plan together, with three or four guys, with Santi [Hernandez] and with Emilio [Alzamora],” Marquez said, but the plan had backfired.

“The biggest problem was that we thought that it was possible to make that lap,” Marquez said, expressing his surprise at being black flagged. He had thought the penalty was for speeding in the pit lane or crossing the white line too early.

Talking to the Spanish media, Marquez was a little more explicit. “We knew we had to enter on lap 9 or lap 10, and we thought we could enter the pits on lap 10. This was always the plan, to enter on the last lap possible, and we thought this was the last lap possible.” It was not, and that lap would lead to his disqualification.

If the plan had always been to enter the pits on that lap, why was there such surprise? Why, as soon as Marquez crossed the line, could Cristian Gabarrini be seen making the ‘it’s over’ sign to the rest of the people in the Repsol Honda garage? If Gabarrini immediately knew that Marquez would be disqualified, why did he not point this out to Santi Hernandez and Emilio Alzamora?

You would have to guess that there was no communication of the plan – other than perhaps ‘the last lap possible’ – between one part of Marquez’s team and the rest. Gabarrini knew immediately that doing an extra lap would lead to a black flag, yet Marquez claimed that he had not been told what the penalty was.

Valentino Rossi, for example, knew exactly what the penalty was for exceeding the maximum number of laps, but if someone in the Repsol Honda garage knew, they did not tell Marc Marquez and his crew. Clearly, Dani Pedrosa’s side of the garage knew exactly what the rules were, as Pedrosa came in at the first opportunity, swapped bikes, and was straight back out again, but there had been no consultation between the two sides of the garage.

Where does this failure of communication come from? To a large degree, it has to be put down to the arrival of Marc Marquez in the Repsol Honda team. Or rather, to the arrival of his manager, Emilio Alzamora. Alzamora’s arrival at the Repsol Honda team sees two of the most powerful men in the paddock, backing two of the best riders in the world, sitting on opposite sides of the garage.

Most MotoGP fans are by now aware of the influence which Dani Pedrosa’s manager, Alberto Puig, has, both inside Honda as well as inside MotoGP and Dorna. Not all will be aware of the growing power of Emilio Alzamora, manager to Marc Marquez, and the influence he has at both Honda and inside the paddock.

Puig has been a mainstay of both Dorna and MotoGP for over ten years now, spotting young talent and nurturing it ready for MotoGP. Puig helped lay the foundations for the Grand Prix Academy, which then became the Red Bull Rookies.

To this day, he is still involved in the selection process for the Rookies Cup, having a keen eye for young and undeveloped talent, and knowing how to develop the hidden potential of young riders.

He has helped many of today’s top riders climb up through the ranks, helping riders such as Casey Stoner, Bradley Smith, Dani Pedrosa, Toni Elias, Julian Simon, and many more make their way through the Spanish championship and into MotoGP. To his credit, he has been blind to nationality, helping riders from around the world achieve their ambitions.

Emilio Alzamora is a relative newcomer, and starting to fulfill the same role. Like Puig, Alzamora now has some of the top young talent on his hands, talent which he has nurtured from the Spanish Championship and into Grand Prix. Though Alzamora does not have the links with Dorna that Puig has, he does have the Monlau structure, a technical education institute which now runs race teams in both the CEV and Moto3, and had previously run Marc Marquez in Moto2.

Alongside Marquez, Alzamora has two of the hottest riders in Moto3 on his books, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. Then there’s the Estrella Galicia team in the Spanish championship, with Marcos Ramirez and Maria Herrera, currently 1st and 3rd in the CEV Moto3 class. Unlike Puig, Alzamora’s focus is entirely on Spanish riders, which comes as no surprise given that Monlau is a Spanish (or rather, Catalan) organization.

There is a rather pleasing and ironic symmetry in Alzamora mirroring what his young protege is doing. While Marquez has come in to the Repsol Honda garage set on winning the championship and edging out his Dani Pedrosa, Alzamora has arrived inside the HRC structure aiming to wrestle control of the garage from Alberto Puig.

As fascinating as it is for outsiders, it spells real trouble for HRC, as the level of mutual suspicion continues to rise. Relations between the two halves of the garage – at least on the management side – have never been good, but reached an all time low at Aragon, when Marquez clipped Pedrosa and indirectly caused him to crash. That animosity is breeding a deeper sense of mistrust in an already poisonous environment.

When Marquez moved to MotoGP, he tried to bring his entire team with him. That request was turned down, HRC believing that Marquez would benefit from the experience of the crew which had helped win two world championships with Casey Stoner, including one for Honda. That decision has proven to be the right one, as Marquez’s record-breaking rookie season is showing. Yet Marquez has already received approval for three more of his former Moto2 team to join him, leaving just three of Stoner’s former crew in place, alongside five of Marquez’s picks.

Though Marquez’s desire to have the men he regards as family surround him is a major reason for this change, Emilio Alzamora is another major factor behind this move. German language publication Speedweek quotes one HRC insider as claiming that Alzamora had wanted the former Stoner crew out of the garage from the start, as he did not trust them not to pass sensitive information up the chain of command to Honda management.

Team Principal Livio Suppo is the man responsible for bringing Casey Stoner and his crew to Honda, after having worked with them all at Ducati. Suppo is HRC Vice President an Shuhei Nakamoto’s right-hand man, and Alzamora appears to believe that Suppo and Nakamoto are too close to Alberto Puig, and that therefore Pedrosa could benefit from information gained by Marquez and his crew.

Puig has already lost some of his power inside Honda, HRC choosing to ‘clarify’ the former racer’s role alongside Pedrosa a couple of years ago, demoting him from ‘crew chief’ to merely ‘advisor’. Alzamora is looking to push home his advantage, and sees an opening with Honda’s Moto3 plans.

With HRC set to bring out a ‘KTM Killer’ Moto3 machine next season with a much more powerful engine, Alzamora has volunteered the Estrella Galicia team of Rins and Marquez (if, that is, Rins doesn’t win the title and stays in Moto3). Honda know they must have a top team and top riders if their new and more powerful Moto3 bike is to stand a chance of actually beating the KTMs.

If the Estrella Galicia team switches from their current KTM to Honda, Alzamora would become part of the Honda structure, acquire a more prominent role inside HRC, and wield a good deal more influence. At the moment, Alzamora wears MM93 (Marquez’s own merchandising brand) gear in the garage, and is not listed as a team member, as Honda hold his defection from the Suter Hondas to KTM for the 2013 season against him. Running Hondas again would bring him back into the fold.

This simmering power struggle appears to have caused its first casualty at Phillip Island last weekend. When Marquez said that they drew up the plan with ‘three or four guys’, including Santi Hernandez and Alzamora, you can be certain that Alzamora made sure that their plan was shared with as few people as possible.

Whether all eight of Marquez’s crew were in on the plan is uncertain, but you can be sure that Cristian Gabarrini, HRC employee and with close ties to Suppo, at least in the eyes of Alzamora, definitely didn’t.

Hence the Italian’s signal as soon as he saw Marquez cross the line. If Alzamora hadn’t been so fearful that information which he believed could give Marquez an advantage might leak across to the other side of the garage, he might have consulted wider. Alzamora was focused far more on the power struggle inside HRC than he was on ensuring that the pit stop strategy was the right one.

With Puig and Alzamora expending so much of their energy on Machiavellian schemes to increase their own influence and reduce that of the other, both sides of the Repsol Honda garage are starting to suffer. The contrast with Yamaha could not be greater, which is an irony in itself.

Now, though both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi’s garages are separate, both sides are aware that their enemy is the Hondas, and not each other. Between 2008 and 2010 this was an entirely different question, with Rossi and Lorenzo, and their respective crews, engaging in vicious internal infighting, which eventually led to the departure of Rossi to Ducati.

In 2013, there is relative harmony between the two Yamaha men, while the internecine warfare rages in the Repsol Honda garage. While Honda is favored to win the 2013 world title –  unless Yamaha can find something magic to fix their fuel consumption problems, perhaps 2014 as well – the infighting between Puig and Alzamora could end up being very costly for HRC.

Both men are focused on wresting control from the other, their battles extending to all areas of the team, their activities, and even the promotional role which both riders must play. Mutual mistrust has already cost Marquez one shot at the 2013 championship, and if it continues to grow out of control, stupid mistakes as a result of poor information could threaten both Pedrosa’s and Marquez’s championship challenges in the future.

Having two of the best riders in the world in your team is a real luxury, but it is also a major source of problems. Unless the situation is handled properly, it can quickly spiral out of control, with riders and teams focusing more on each other than on their real rivals.

Shuhei Nakamoto has been a transformational leader of HRC since he joined back at the end of 2008, rescuing the factory from its former flailing efforts to build a bike to match the Yamaha, to having two of the three best riders in the world, on what is clearly the best of the MotoGP machines on the grid.

He will have to deploy some of his own Machiavellian guile to put Puig and Alzamora back in their place. If there is no leadership coming from Honda, then the Repsol Team could end up tearing itself apart.

Photo: Repsol Media

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

Comment:

  1. TexusTim says:

    Nakamoto needs to put a stop to that B.S.

  2. Paul McM says:

    It was a very stupid strategy if you look at the clear intent of the stated rules, namely to prevent riders from putting more than 10 laps worth of distance on the tires because anything more was unsafe. MM’s handlers somehow hallucinated that this meant one meter short of 11 laps would be legal. That simply doesn’t make any sense if you understand why the rule was put in place. And MM’s team leaders also ignored the fact that if their interpretation was correct, then race management could/would have simply said: “All bikes must enter the pits before the completion of 11 laps.” If I was running the show for Honda, I’d be passing out a few pink slips. I also fault Marquez. He may be young, but he is an idiot for not consulting knowledgeable people AND insisting that this team’s “beyond 10 laps” strategy was approved IN ADVANCE by the race directors. This would have taken all of one minute. Q: “MM plans to continue into an 11th lap after the completion of lap 10, is that permitted?” A: “Absolutely not”. End of stupid idea.

  3. JW says:

    Thanks for clearing up that MM himself is not to blame for the BF incident, as so many have judged him with half truths and “armchair expert” opinions. HRC – the bigger they are the harder they fall..

    Excellent write up David.

  4. charlie says:

    Emmett needs to learn how to write shorter, more concise articles.

    And he’s one of a couple of so called ‘journalists’ though I believe he is neither qualified journalist, nor a motorcycle rider with any racing experience, who has repeatedly been sticking the knife into motorcycle Racing cause of what happened at the island. I think he needs to get over himself just a little bit.

  5. SBPilot says:

    umm…..David, it is pretty apparent that Hernandez is not unperturbed in that video. He’s waving his arms around while speaking to another crew. The only one unperturbed is Alzamora, but pretty obvious he has a concerned face, probably after seeing the reaction of …. the entire pit lane.

  6. SBPilot says:

    Everyone just needs to watch the newest video on MotoGP.com – Philip Island Debrief. There’s some very interesting new footage, and it explains everything (literally) all on video with audio.

    For those who can’t see it. The most important bit is that it shows MM crew admitting to Marc that they made a calculation error. Marc seemed very unimpressed telling his crew “I came in when you told me to” with the crew replying “We calculated wrong, you did what you had to”, he was not happy. Yes all on video.

    Further, it shows Suppo explaining things to Alzamora and Hernandez, Alzamora looking pretty childishly surprised.

  7. Puig deserve all problems. He did horrible things to all Honda HRC riders who divided the box with Pedrosa. remember Hayden… They got 7 shots in a row to be champ with HRC and didn’t take the title. The best thing Honda can do is say bye bye to them and hire Stoner again. I’m full of Puig and Pedrosa. Too much politics and too less speed from them.

  8. mattymatt says:

    The thing i find stupid about this whole thing is MM93 didn’t even have to win,he could’ve coasted into being a Rookie World Champ!He will be anyway!

  9. dennis says:

    is this a repost from motomatters.com?

  10. If this is to be believed, and I don’t necessarily do, particularly the corporate line about the tires, Bridgestone finally blew it completely just like they’ve been on the verge of blowing it all season.

    But means that Marquez was sabotaged, plain and simple. Because it’s totally absurd to entertain the possibility that he misunderstood the rules, while the other rider on the team didn’t, along with all the other riders and all the other teams. Didn’t they go to the same meetings, didn’t they get the same material to study, with clear instructions, specifically on the things that would get you disqualified from the race? If not, that was certainly no accident, and those responsible need to lose their jobs, because this is how you lose championships, even when you have the best riders and the best bikes.

    Any racing team at the top level like this with enormous competing egos needs to be run like a military operation, there is one commander, and he is in total charge of everything and everyone. One leader whose authority is unquestioned. Without that strong central leadership, things get out of control among teammates and they begin to forget who the real enemy is, the other teams. Next thing you know people are playing games as they vie for dominance. Race team leaders often play riders and drivers against one another promoting healthy competition, this can be helpful and beneficial to the team overall, depending upon the personalities involved, but it must be carefully controlled or it can get out of hand.

    In F1 leaders decide who has priority in this game and it always comes down to who can prove they are consistently faster and most successful, and then everybody gets behind that driver, including their teammate, because everyone must put the good of the team first, no individuals success is more important than the success of the team. It’s not like the people at Honda are unfamiliar with these basic principles.

    At Repsol Honda, Marquez made it clear early in the season that he is their best bet for a team victory, and at that point everyone should have lined up behind him. That’s really all there is to it. But of course when companies and organizations spend a whole lot of time and money grooming someone, and telling that person and everyone who works with him that it’s your time, and then it doesn’t pan out the way that everyone expected and planned, as it often does in racing, hopes, dreams and individual egos start collapsing, and people start turning up on one another, and blaming one another, and trying to undercut one another, that’s when your team falls apart, and that’s when you begin to lose. And if this is for real, that’s what we saw at Phillip Island, and it’s a total disgrace.

    This is also the kind of thing that turns fans and viewers off to Moto GP, they get disgusted and abandoned the sport over BS like this. It hurts everyone, every team, and all of motorcycle racing.

    I advise them all to pull their heads out of their asses forthwith, before they lose a season they had in the bag. Danny and his people need to step back and let the better rider take the lead, because that’s what Marc has been doing all season, leading. He did his job, now everyone else needs to do theirs. When you and your people start undercutting, sabotaging and backstabbing your leader in attempt to take his place, everyone loses faith in you, and no one will trust you or your people ever again. Time to man up and start behaving like sporting gentleman of class and character.

  11. BBQdog says:

    Curing the whole of MotoGP from this Spanish Flu would be (generally speaking) one of first steps necessary.

  12. Bruce Scholten says:

    Wasn’t it Doohan who said the only problem with Pedrosa was Puig? Well, at least at Phillip Island (20Oct13) Pedrosa was better off with Puig than Marquez with Alzamora. Why Dorna-MotoGP did not pay Stoner to test the new surface is beyond me.

  13. tony says:

    hey bbqdog- why bring your racist shit into this? go find a range rover to fight…

  14. smiler says:

    So there really is a Spanish Armada or in actual fact Trojan Horse designed to build MotoGP into a predominantly Spanish activity.
    Dorna are so stupid, they continue to try and make out that they are not biased towards Spanish riders which is clearly not the case and now out in the open “Alzamora’s focus is entirely on Spanish riders, which comes as no surprise given that Monlau is a Spanish (or rather, Catalan) organization”

    Honda are even more stupid in this regard. Everyone knows that they spend much more on motorcycle racing that others do. However they have 2 titles since Rossi left, one gifted to Hayend the other by a very telaneted rider but one completely uninterested in politics. Honda’s inability to handle this caused him to leave.

    As for Marquez being innocent. That is a joke. he has been pushing all season and had the luxury of no rookie rule. Sooner of later he was going to take out his team mate. It is ironic that is it the Aussies that stopped the Spanish Armada in its tracks.

    Also interesting, that the traditional Itanloisn success in MotoGP has waned but it is Rossi yet again taking the fight by involving himself in a moto3 team to bring on new talent.

    Dorna are just imcompetent and nationalistic and should be sanctioned by the FIM. Not even Bernie Ecclestone behaves like Dorna do.

  15. Jimbo says:

    @ dennis – yes it is – he says so at the bottom of the article

    @tony I too am constanly bored by the constant “I hate spain” vitriol on these comment slides. Can only assume all the posters are fishermen from Gibraltar! (i am not spanish incase bais was suspected)

    Great article David, really interesting. Think Shuhei Nakamoto needs to go postal and crack some heads.

  16. Spamtasticus says:

    The reason that spaniards dominate MotoGP clases is simple. Spain’s youth are a motorcycle culture. They also have the most impressive, organized, and competitive racing programs on the planet. Compare their championships to ours in the US. Motorcycle racers are considered gods by most spanish kids. Walk around a US city asking kids who Valentino Rossi is.

  17. jake318 says:

    IMHO the whole situation is a farce . What was the purpose of the …pit stop.. in the first place ? One of the factors that makes motorcycle racing exciting is that it is a trurue racing contect . The green flag drops and the man who get to the checkers first is the winner . Does a race fan really care which team is the best at changing tires and filling the fuel tank best? It breaks up close racing and spreads out the field . Exactly what the race fan DOESNT want to see . This fiasco was just riders coming in and changing bikes ? whats next ? is Ezpenosa going to have the riders carry an egg a spoon and run around the paddock , then get back on the bike and race ? Every avid MotoGP /WSBK race enthusiast thinks NASCAR racing s abut as exciting as watching paint dry. LETS NOT FOLLOW IN NASCAR FOOTSTEPS IN A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO GET SPONSORSHIP DOLLARS . if there was another purpose to the pit stop debacle( the mandatory pit stop was ruled before tire problems where known ) please enlighten me . Im all ears .

  18. BrianZ says:

    Nakamoto-san needs to drop the big ball of his weight and power on both of them ( Puig and Alzamora) in front of DP and MM, and reinforce that Suppo speaks for him and HRC and not for one side of the garage or the other.

    As far as the running commentaries on the sleights against the Spanish control, right now that just happens to be who is in charge and whom the best riders currently hail from. I think Dorna does need to step outside of it’s European circle moreso for tracks and market share, and you may find more of the potential in other countries to be the next generation of the cream of the crop. They already know the money is outside of Europe currently waiting, and the fan base is growing, and the manufacturers stand to benefit as greatly ( if not moreso) than the sport itself. It is a win/win, if DORNA would give up some centric based pride and traditional and spread its wings.

  19. SBPilot says:

    I just read on that Yamaha are also speaking to Race Direction about MM pit exit. Sometimes I think Yamaha also being very petty. Yes it’s “smart” to do this, keep kicking your competitor while it just took a huge blow and is down. But this doesn’t even seem like racing, it’s just bunch of ugly old idiots (Lin Jarvis) trying to play the political game to get an edge over their rivals.

    If RD does actually penalize MM days after the race is over, than that’s when you know things have become an absolute joke. Most rule books say any complaints must be made within a certain number of hours after the race itself or in some cases, immediately after. I’m sure that has expired.

    Lin Jarvis and Alberto Puig, though they play different roles, they are bad for both teams.

  20. Mariani says:

    Politics bore me tremendously.

    Well, that’s it.

    I get that at such a high level (highest, really) there will always be the need for some off-track shenanigans, but this is far beyond what should be in a sport.

    The whole scene just looks bad as a result.

  21. smiler says:

    “The reason that spaniards dominate MotoGP clases is simple. Spain’s youth are a motorcycle culture. They also have the most impressive, organized, and competitive racing programs on the planet”

    Ho hO he he.
    Lets see:
    Dorna is a Spanish organisation based in Madrid
    Spain holds 4 roounds out of 19 of the calendar. But it does not get the biggest crowds and has the biggest recession of all the countres hosting MotoGP.
    Repsol is Spanish and is the biggest sponsor to MotoGP.
    Hinda, has by far the biggest budget in MotoGP. The two princiaple managers are Spanish. Yet Hinda has won the title twice sine Rossi left in 03. Once in 06 when Hayden was gifted the title and second time when Stoner won it but was so pissed off withthe Politics he left.
    30% of the riders in MotoGP are Spanish but it is not dominent in any other form of motorsport. Odd considering that other countires provide racers and rider to other forms of motorsport.
    Marquez was not subject to the rookie rule which was brought in specifically because of the risks new riders are to those racing in motogp. Marquez has manged to do this in strides but because Repsol cannot rely on Pedro they promoted Marquez directly.
    The Spanish feeder chmapionship has only just been incorportated into the FIM during this year.
    If you look at some of the Spanish riders in MotoGP, Bautista (also a crash maniac) & Pol’s brother then do their results really reflect talent…..
    So please do not tell me it is about talent.
    The fact that Marquez manager is doing nothing other than trying to get Spanish telent into MotoGp and is being aided in that by Dorna is just another signal.

  22. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Smiler has a point. MotoGP has been spinning out of control in a weird Spanish orbit for a while. …although I disagree with his point about Bautista. I think Bautista is good. That other one, his name escapes me, the turd who beats his girlfriend, he’s talentless.

    @tony. Taking shots at Spanish control of MotoGP is not racist. People who are Spanish are from a nation not race. …so I suppose knocking the Spanish would be nationist?

    I have mixed feelings. Spanish control or not, some great friggin riders are coming out of Spain. I’m having doubts there’s loads of guys from other countries with Marquez’s talent sitting at home right now lamenting “if only I could get my chance….”

    I’m happy to see Repsol Honda breakdown into their own idiotic soap opera. I can’t stand them.

  23. Ross Ewich says:

    tho i respect A&R immensely, i have to agree a bit with “charlie”, above.

    writing style in this particular article is quite awkward. could’ve been half as long and much more concise.

  24. twoversion says:

    Or motogp being a commercial interest simply didn’t want the championship to end with 2 races yet to run and handed down orders that a mistake must be made. This seems more likely that 4 people forgot the rules at a time when they would otherwise be hyper focused on them due to the breadth of the changes made for that race.

    Oh well, it looks like we are headed to game 7 of the NBA finals again this year…

  25. Mark says:

    Smiler, stop it with that “Hayden gifted a title.”

    Nicky Hayden worked hard, overcame some bad luck, and won the 2006 title. Give credit where it is due.

  26. Norm G. says:

    re: “After the race, Marc Marquez told reporters that it had been deliberate strategy to ride for the extra lap. The strategy had been decided by a small group. “We made the plan together, with three or four guys, with Santi [Hernandez] and with Emilio [Alzamora],” Marquez said, but the plan had backfired.”

    re: “Talking to the Spanish media, Marquez was a little more explicit. “We knew we had to enter on lap 9 or lap 10, and we thought we could enter the pits on lap 10. This was always the plan, to enter on the last lap possible, and we thought this was the last lap possible.” It was not, and that lap would lead to his disqualification.”

    right then, so what you’re saying is nobody in this collective of “braintrusts” has ever seen an F1 race…? bullsh#t…!!! even without the DQ (that’s disqualification not dairy queen for you lay persons) this was NEVER going to work. repeat NEVER. nor was it intended to. IT WAS A 1-STOP STRATEGY SPRINT. one either has the cognitive abilities to recognize that…? or you don’t…? on this, all depends. (Yoda voice)

    by default, 1 stop only leaves you 2 options. A. you either dip in AHEAD of everybody (ie like dan)…? or B. you dip the pits at the SAME TIME as everybody. THERE IS NO 3RD OPTION. entertaining other is to deliberately entertain LOSING. no different than a regular race and volunteering for a ride thru. (see entry for CEII jumpstart penalty sepang).

    Q: “If the plan had always been to enter the pits on that lap, why was there such surprise? Why, as soon as Marquez crossed the line, could Cristian Gabarrini be seen making the ‘it’s over’ sign to the rest of the people in the Repsol Honda garage?”

    A: “Gabi” read the script.

  27. Norm G. says:

    Q: “Why Dorna-MotoGP did not pay Stoner to test the new surface is beyond me.”

    (correct, beyond YOU, but not beyond ME)

    A: repave’s have never been “auto-triggers” for scheduling any kind of test.

  28. Norm G. says:

    re: “The reason that Spaniards dominate MotoGP classes is simple. Spain’s youth are a motorcycle culture. They also have the most impressive, organized, and competitive racing programs on the planet.”

    it should be pointed out, there’s ANOTHER unique aspect forming the backbone of many a Spanish culture…

    TELENOVELAS…!!!

    I can only show you the door, it’s you that has to walk through it. (Morpheus voice)

  29. Spamtasticus says:

    @ smiler,

    Everything you said is true but the fact remains that it does not contradict what I said. Spain’s motorcycle racing program is second to none. It is producing a large amount of talent. Nothing else can touch this. Unless you are insinuating that there are teams out there ignoring non spanish talent that is better then it is all ancillary. To add to the spanish flavor. Did you know Carmelo Ezpleta is Generalisimo Franco’s nephew? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco

  30. MikeG81 says:

    “A: repave’s have never been “auto-triggers” for scheduling any kind of test.”

    No, of course not. Why bother when you can make up arbitrary rules and stomp on those that don’t follow them to take the focus off yourself. After all, it’s not like you need to know what’s going on with the circuits in your series.

    I feel bad for WSBK.

  31. SBPilot says:

    There is a lot of Spanish influence in MotoGP right now, that’s a fact. However, this was not the case in the past. When the Americans were dominating the GP racing, I don’t think people were pointing fingers at an over dominant American series. For Spanish riders to be dominant right now, it just seems like it’s their “turn”. Italians once dominated as well, sometimes the podium was like this, Rossi, Capirossi, Biaggi. That must have been irritating to some as well, but that’s era is also over. Yes, Dorna is Spanish so that has helped tremendously, but every era has an end. How long will the era last is dependent on what other countries do to fight back. I agree with Spamtasticus.

    Historically, the best riders came from a few countries including OZ, USA, UK, Italy, Japan etc. Italy hasn’t produced much lately, the best next Italian having fell to the ultimate misfortune of a fatal crash. Iannone just isn’t at the level of his fallen compatriot. Dovi again is also just slightly below the levels of the best. Italy has a number of very good riders, Canepa, La Marra, hard to comment on Petrucci, but I’m not sure if they are at that supreme level of talent. In Moto2 they are barely represented, and in Moto3, also struggling, with on and off performances from Fenati.

    The UK is well represented already, with Crutchlow and now Redding, and for some reason Smith. 3 riders from that tiny little island isn’t too shabby.

    The US is represented by an aging group consisting of Edwards (he’s on a countdown) and Hayden who’s time is always counting down. Spies was the next US hero, but we all know that the witchdoctor had other plans for him apparently. We also all know how pathetic motorcycle racing in North America is, but at least Herrin is now in Moto2.

    OZ has recent success in Stoner, but the rest are a bloody slow bunch. Staring, Aitcheson (sp), Vermeluen was once good, but he’s also long gone. Josh Waters is only doing so so in BSB.

    Japan has produced nothing lately, but there’s some hope in Takagami. For some reason they also suffer from some tremendous bad luck in their riders, ie. Tomizawa. Aoyama just isn’t up to par and he’s unbelievably boring to watch (both in interviews and on the bike). There use to be at lest 3 or 4 Japanese riders in the 500cc class, they need to step it up again.

    It’s not that the countries don’t have their riders, but they just have bad luck or just aren’t good enough (or in the wrong team) or their country doesn’t have a well set up system. That combined with superior Spanish organization and a tremendous amount of talent flowing has caused a dominant Spanish rider lineup.

    It is a bit sad to see THAT many Spanish riders, I’d like to see more from other areas. I mean next year there will be not one but two Espargaro’s in the same class. That says a lot when brothers are racing in the same class.

  32. BBQdog says:

    @tony: ‘spanish’ a race ?? Go read some books ….

  33. BBQdog says:

    And @smile 7.34: totally my thoughts.

  34. KillEmAll says:

    @BBQdog….fitting name for a fatty! go stuff your pork hole with more BBQ you ignorant small penis moron.

  35. TexusTim says:

    not that a repave would trigger an inspection or “tire test” Dorna and bridgstone do:
    1- inspect the condition of every track before a race or season to make sure no deteroation or safety issues have come up since the last season…most tracks do not just sit around they get used.
    2- they were aware of the tire issues going forward from mid season.
    3- they were aware of the repave and with there policy’s toward safety they would of had an inspection since it was a “total” repave, due dilligence would say “we may have a problem here with tire wear escpeialy if the weather is good”
    4- they all know CASEY STONER

  36. MikeG81 says:

    “@BBQdog….fitting name for a fatty! go stuff your pork hole with more BBQ you ignorant small penis moron.”

    Maybe it’s time to get some moderators for this place.

  37. Mariani says:

    I’ll be honest and say that the amount of Spanish riders does not bother me much.

    The amount of Spanish events, though, I can’t stand.

    Why on earth do they need 4 races on that one country? Go to Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam or whatever.
    Anything, really, but going to those glorified go-kart tracks.

    @MikeG81

    Yes, maybe it is.

  38. Norm G. says:

    @ textim

    again, wasn’t going to happen. items 1&4 would be great in “Shangri-La”, but 99.99 times out of 100 it would be totally unnecessary, not to mention costly. you just have to accept that this is a fluke and not everything can be controlled. when’s the last time something like this happened…? lemme think…? never.

    re: “due dilligence would say “we may have a problem here with tire wear especially if the weather is good”

    hence, the reason they shipped down the extra hard tyres, but they didn’t work. any other repave this would’ve been enough. this wasn’t your typical repave. it should be noted, Pi actually wasn’t very forthcoming with this information.

  39. Norm G. says:

    re: “@BBQdog….fitting name for a fatty! go stuff your pork hole with more BBQ you ignorant small penis moron.”

    very cosmopolitan. (kilmer/holliday voice)

  40. Norm G. says:

    re: “Nothing else can touch this”

    well… there’s that MC Hammer fellow… if anybody’s got something up their sleeve…? it’d be him.

  41. Bob says:

    The smiles on Yamaha faces made my day!

  42. usugo says:

    That’s why he is getting rid of the three Italian crew members! They have too many neurons!

  43. Marc F says:

    For fun, I’m going to posit the conspiracy theory that Dorna paid off Marquez to throw the race (and points) to bring the championship back into contention for the remainder of the season.

    More on point, yes this was a huge fuckup but trying to make it into some grand drama seems a stretch.