The crowds at Silverstone certainly got their money’s worth at this year’s British Grand Prix. The weather turned, the sun shone, the temperature rose, and the fans were treated to three scintillating races, along with an action-packed support program.

The Moto3 race was the usual nail-biter, the race only decided on the entry to the final complex at Brooklands and Luffield. The Moto2 race was a throwback to the thrillers of old, with three men battling for victory to the wire. And the MotoGP was a replay of the 2013 Silverstone race, a duel decided by raw aggression.

That the MotoGP race should be so close was a surprise. After Friday practice, Marc Marquez looked to already have the race in the bag. The championship leader was fast right out of the box, setting a pace no one else could follow. Where the rest complained of a lack of grip from the cold conditions, and of struggling with the bumps created by F1, Marquez simply blew everyone away.

A night of hard work figuring out set up solutions by crew and suspension technicians saw most riders greatly up the pace on Saturday, the front-end now riding over the bumps, rather than being jolted around by them. Marquez still took pole, but the pace in FP4 looked much closer.

The concerns which the Yamahas had was mostly temperature, and so a bright, sunny day was exactly what they needed. It completed the transformation of Jorge Lorenzo from Friday.

The tire brought by Bridgestone – the same compound as last year, but with the heat treatment layer which makes the edge of the tire a fraction stiffer – was not working for the Movistar Yamaha rider on Friday, but come Sunday, Lorenzo’s crew had solved nearly all of his problems. “We improved the bike so much from Friday,” he said after the race.

They had found more corner speed during the morning warm-up, and that gave Lorenzo the chance to fight. Once the lights dropped, Lorenzo took off like a scalded cat, and tried to make a break from the front.

Marquez followed, making a much better start than usual, but still having to first dispose of a rampant Andrea Dovizioso on the first lap. Marquez latched on to Lorenzo from the start, but could only follow in the early laps. “Today, I didn’t expect Jorge like that,” Marquez said. “He was so strong, and his rhythm was so high.” He had expected a very different kind of race, and was forced to wait until his tires began to wear.

The pair led a group consisting of Lorenzo and Marquez, with Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro and Valentino Rossi. Espargaro soon dropped off the front, moving backwards as his tires began to go, while Dani Pedrosa maneuvered his way forward to take Espargaro’s place.

But the group soon split, only Marquez able to match the withering pace being set by Lorenzo. Rossi, Dovizioso and Pedrosa were left to fight among themselves, as the stars of last year’s show prepared for battle once again.

Hostilities started in earnest around lap 12, when Lorenzo braked a little earlier for Copse and caught Marquez off guard. The reigning champion was soon back on the Yamaha’s tail, before taking the lead two laps later. Lorenzo was not done, though, catching Marquez and then passing him when the Repsol Honda man ran wide at Stowe.

Lorenzo pushed hard to get a gap again, but Marquez was determined not so suffer his second defeat in a row. Marquez tried to get through at Village, but Lorenzo held his line through the right hander, keeping both his corner speed and the lead. That left him on his normal, sweeping line through The Loop, but that line left the door fractionally ajar for Marquez.

The Spaniard squeezed his Repsol Honda up the inside of Lorenzo, just sticking his wheel onto the apex as Lorenzo started to turn in. The Yamaha man was left with two options: lift his bike and finish, or slam the door and take them both down. Lorenzo chose discretion over recklessness, and was forced into second place.

That choice eventually cost him the race, though there was little else he could do. Lorenzo lost 0.8 seconds through that section, putting him half a second behind Marquez. With two laps to go, it was more than he could make up, and Marquez could take his eleventh win of the season.

Afterwards, Lorenzo refused to complain of the pass, saying only that Marquez’s riding was “aggressive” and that the Honda allowed him to ride like that. The nature of the Yamaha made it hard to defend against a pass like that, Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo’s manager Wilco Zeelenberg was a little more disapproving, though he too refused to condemn the pass. The Honda allowed its rider to turn it on a dime and squeeze it into a tight spot, Zeelenberg explained. That was impossible for the Yamaha, as the M1 is built on maintaining corner speed.

That also rewarded Marquez’s aggression. He could put the bike somewhere questionable, and leave the decision about crashing to the other rider involved. “If Jorge doesn’t lift, they both go down,” Zeelenberg said.

The rider with the most to lose in that situation is clearly Marquez. It was obvious the championship was just about out of Lorenzo’s reach, Zeelenberg said, and so he had nothing to lose. All Lorenzo wants from the rest of the season is to win races, finishing anywhere else doesn’t matter.

If Lorenzo were to hold his line and both he and Marquez were to crash, it would make little difference to Lorenzo’s championship. Losing 25 points to Rossi or Pedrosa would put a big dent in Marquez’s lead, however.

Victory at Silverstone takes Marquez’s tally of wins to eleven, matching the record of Rossi and Giacomo Agostini, and beating the record of the man he replaced at Repsol Honda, Casey Stoner.

With six races left, Marquez needs just one more win to match the record for most wins in one season, held by Mick Doohan, and two more to beat it outright. You would have to say that is another record Marquez will hold by the end of the year.

Marquez, of course, was ecstatic, but he leaves everyone else behind him frustrated. Lorenzo was happy with a lot of things, especially the way he rode, saying that he “put everything on the track.” He extracted the maximum from the package he had, but pointed out that “the package” was not the best.

The element of the package letting him down was clear: it was black, round, and had a heat-resistant layer combined with too hard a compound on the edge. Lorenzo still finds it hard to forgive Bridgestone for the change they have made to their tires this season. And probably never will.

The good thing for Lorenzo is that this is the last time this particular combination will be used this year. From here on in, the edge of the tire is of a slightly softer compound, to compensate for the effect of the heat resistant layer.

Valentino Rossi was delighted to finally make it onto the podium at Silverstone, after three tough races in previous years. The improvements to the Yamaha mean he can brake better and be faster, but he still can’t match the pace of Marquez and Lorenzo at the end of the race. Once the rear tire starts to wear, it starts to slide too much, and he loses acceleration.

Fortunately for him, the others he was battling with had the same problem. Dani Pedrosa said he, too, had difficulty with rear grip, meaning he couldn’t carry the consistent pace of his teammate after the first few laps. Both he and Rossi said they were fast enough in the first part of the race, but couldn’t keep the pace up when the grip started to go.

The only other happy rider in the top five was Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian had spent all race battling with Pedrosa and Rossi, and had looked consistently strong. Where in previous races, his pace had dropped too much after the first half of the race, at Silverstone, Dovizioso could maintain his pace all the way to the end.

There was no single explanation for the improvement, he said, it was just a matter of lots of small steps taken over the course of the year. The bike brakes better, turns in better, is faster, smoother, and generally just easier to manage. Racing with this machine was now less draining than it had been, though it remains a physically demanding and intense task.

The goal had been to get within ten seconds of the leaders, and Dovizioso was delighted and surprised to have managed that. Finishing so close to Rossi and Pedrosa had more to do with their grip issues than with his pace, Dovizioso told the press, but it was heartening nonetheless. Progress is being made, and the Ducati is not looking like the dead end it was a year ago.

The next test of the improvements being made comes at Aragon, when Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone will get an upgraded bike, with a new engine and chassis. That is said to be a significant change, and though it will not solve the understeer which still plagues the Desmosedici, it should be the first step in alleviating it. That is the biggest problem of the bike, and the area where help is most needed.

If Dovizioso was delighted, his teammate was far from that. Cal Crutchlow has looked like a broken man all weekend, suffering his worst home MotoGP round mentally. His mood was slightly improved from Saturday, when journalists emerged from his media debrief ready to alert the Samaritans that their intervention was urgently needed.

There were positive points to be taken from the weekend, Crutchlow said. First and foremost, he had finished the race, and had not fallen off and broken anything, as he had so often at his home race. His lap times had been consistently much better than he expected. He was also touched by the reception he had been given by his home fans.

Crutchlow was fully aware that he could not reward their support with a good result. But they had supported him regardless, and he seemed genuinely humbled by that. It is hard to overstate just how tough this year has been for Cal Crutchlow. 2015 cannot come soon enough.

It was not a great race for any of the British riders at Silverstone. Bradley Smith had been confident going into the race, after showing strong pace in practice. But after a few laps, he felt his rear tire start to lose grip, and eventually become so bad that he had to pull into the pits.

Pressure in the rear tire had dropped from 1.8 bar, which they normally run in the race, to just 0.6 bar, the air having escaped through a cracked rim. How the rim came to be cracked remained a mystery. The wheel was well within its recommended mileage, the teams always choosing to race their best material. Smith had not hit anything out on track, and the wheel had not had a problem prior to the race.

It was just another in a string of problems this season for the Englishman. Though his problems pale in comparison to the annus horribilis suffered by Ben Spies in 2012 – two duff tires and a cracked rim are nowhere near as bad as a broken shock bolt, a cracked subframe, overheating brakes and heaven knows what else – but Smith has had more than his fair share of bad luck.

Leon Camier, too, suffered a technical problem, the brakes on his production Honda playing up in the early laps. That situation improved as the race went on, but Camier is still struggling to get the bike to behave as he wants.

Whether he will have another chance to ride the bike depends on Nicky Hayden. The American is due to have a medical to assess the progress of his wrist. If Hayden cannot ride, Camier will be back on the Aspar Honda.

Even the British rider with the best result was not that happy, though the only thing he had to blame was the uncompetitiveness of the RCV1000R. Scott Redding was the fastest Production Honda once again, beating Karel Abraham by 13 seconds. He also finished ahead of Crutchlow on the factory Ducati, and Yonny Hernandez on the Open Pramac Ducati.

Though his performance was excellent, this is not what he wants to be doing, he told reporters. It is hard to enjoy battling for the top ten on an underpowered bike, but over the summer break he had realized that this was what he needed to do to earn a ride on a factory-spec bike in 2015.

It was not enough to just beat the other Open class Hondas, he had to beat them convincingly, and put a lot of time between himself and them. This he has managed. At Misano, he will find out whether his efforts are to be rewarded, though the question is surely where he rides the factory Honda, rather than whether he will ride it.

If the MotoGP race was better than expected, the Moto2 race trumped that by a good distance. For once, we did not have a processional race in the intermediate class, the racing made exciting by Tito Rabat coming from behind to catch his Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio, then beat him in a fierce battle between the two.

Rabat had had trouble settling into his rhythm early in the race, his lines being disrupted by being caught in a group with Maverick Viñales, Jonas Folger, Johann Zarco and Simone Corsi. But as the fuel burnt off, Rabat felt more and more confident, and towards the end of the race, he set about reeling in Kallio, who had tried to make a break.

It came down to a brutal exchange between the two Marc VDS riders on the last couple of laps. In the end, it was Rabat who triumphed, taking his sixth win of the year, and extending his lead in the championship again to 17 points.

Kallio was resigned in defeat, but aware that this was one of his weakest tracks. From here on in, he said, he believed he could take the fight to Rabat. Kallio is determined not to let this chance at a title slip away, and will come back tougher at Misano. This rivalry will go all the way to the wire.

Wildcard in all of this was Maverick Viñales. After finishing sixth in Brno, the Spaniard was back on the podium again. What Viñales is really missing is consistency, but this is something which comes with time. He is not likely to get that in Moto2, as his signing to Suzuki will probably be announced at Misano, alongside Aleix Espargaro.

If the gaps at the top of the Moto2 and MotoGP championships opened up again, the battle for the Moto3 title got even tighter. Jack Miller’s advantage is slowly melting away like snow in the springtime sunshine, as the Estrella Galicia Hondas start to catch him.

Miller was with the front group for most of the race, but got caught up in a battle with Alexis Masbou and Jakub Kornfeil, which allowed Alex Rins, Alex Marquez, Enea Bastianini and Miguel Oliveira to escape.

Miller was lucky that Alex Rins came away with the victory, after a breathtaking final lap battle, taking precious points from his teammate Alex Marquez. That leaves Miller with a 13 point lead in the championship, but still an awful lot of racing to go.

The win was a very welcome one for Alex Rins, his first of the season. He had had several podiums, but a win would not come. He thought he had claimed his first victory at the last race at Brno, but he had miscounted the laps, and crossed the line cheering a lap too early. By the time he recovered, he had lost too many places, and crossed the line in ninth. No such ignominy at Silverstone, though the fight had been as close as at Brno.

Perhaps most impressive of all was the performance of Enea Bastianini. Just 16 years old, in his first year of Grand Prix racing, Bastianini has already scored three podiums this year. Silverstone was his second in a row, and once again, he had to be carried into the press conference, his broken heel still causing him too much trouble.

While Romano Fenati appears to be lost in mid-pack, Bastianini is a real ray of hope for Italian racing. His Italian nickname is “The Beast” – a play on his name. A moniker which is richly deserved. Bastianini is one to watch.

Will we back here again next year? Though the Circuit of Wales has the contract, it will not be ready on time for 2015. Donington is another option, though that track still needs work if it is to host a Grand Prix. Silverstone is ready and able, the only question being money. The Northants circuit may have a little more leverage over the Circuit of Wales than they ever had over Dorna.

The problem for any circuit organizing MotoGP is recouping costs through ticket sales. Attendance was down at Silverstone this year, bucking the trend of the races in other countries, though the weather may have had something to do with that.

Could the fact that MotoGP is no longer on a free-to-air channel be a contributing factor? The numbers are too inconclusive for that. It seems more likely that cool conditions and, perhaps, a lack of promotion could be the cause. We will see whether the trend continues in 2015.

Photo: © 2014 Scott Jones / Photo.GP – All Rights Reserved

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

  • KSW

    It does seem sad that perhaps the reason Marquez won and on more than one occasion is because other riders have to decide to allow him to run into them and cause bodily harm or not. It seems just a matter of time before the inevitable happens and Marquez hurts someone, including himself.

    Low attendance and lack of promotion could very well continue as the tracks can’t profit from the deal there forced to take, meaning they can’t afford real promotion that Dorna/Bridgepoint refuse to do beyond a website accessible for a fee to themselves.

    Thanks for the update Dave, personally the Tottenham v. Liverpool match was my choice but I did see a brief rerun of Lorenzo not allowing Marquez to crush his leg. ; )

  • Xan

    @KSW Ahh the tears from the haters… Gosh, the only way Marquez can win is by passing people! I mean jeez, everyone knows you have to wait for them to signal you to go through! Good times.

  • KSW


    Not at all, the kid has mad skills but when he can’t get by the best option isn’t if you don’t move you’re going down. There has been a call for better “action” more “competitive” racing. I don’t want to see what happens when someone doesn’t move in time. All the run off in the world won’t stop the incident that will happen when Marquez just plain runs into somebody. It is a bit like the BSB racing but “T-ing” someone up in a corner is a bit different than bumping elbows/bikes on a straight or corner exit than at the Apex. I’d love to see what would happen at LeMans if all the prototypes just knocked the rest of the field out by T-Boning them at the apex of the corners? MotoGP is just that now, the top few then the other progressively slower classes all on track at the same time.

  • Ducati should curb Cal now.. He’s already quit runs his mouth but can’t back it up.. Step aside no room for P*ssies in MOTOGP!

  • shady5

    @Xan and @KSW

    (Admittedly, I’m new to watching MotoGP regularly, so I don’t know the usual tactics, so bear with me.)

    I’ve notice exactly what KSW has mentioned before with Marquez’s riding. He has no fear of nearly running someone off the road. The author said it best, the riders either move or both of them crash. Marquez has done that several times this season, most recently against Iannone at Brno. Difference then was that Iannone shoved it right back at Marquez

  • @ Sandy5… Marc is pretty fearless but Lorenzo is pretty tough they both give and take especially last year..

  • smiler

    For the last three races of last year and this, Dovi’s results as the number of seconds he finished from the front in 2013 / 2014. Indy 40 / 20, Brno 35 / 17 Silverstone 40 / 9. At Silverstone he was less than 1 second from 3rd place at the end of the race. Open rules aside. Vorsprung durch technica!
    However the Ducati is a career killer, will never improve and no one should ride it.

    Xan showing your complete lack of knowledge yet again. Yeah haters gonna hate, well life is more subtle than that.

    Rossi on the podium, again and claiming yet another record. Pedrosa takes up his usual position now Marquez is back. Even Lorenzo at last showing some form again. Great performance by Scott Redding on the disappointment Honda and Smith cracks his rim, painful.

    Years best commentating award goes to the excellent Colin Edwards, funny, outspoken and very much on the ball, brilliant. Oddly lost for words but not in a good way when asked about Marquez overtaking. Funny that.

    Moto2. Mc Williams completes the race with a black eye on what can only be described as a very radical bike. Good to see some different thinking a la Britten in motorcycle racing. Great job.
    Rabat grabs hold again, what a great rider he is but Kallio, like a true Fin will not be intimidated 0.063 secs behind.

    Moto3, epic racing as ever. Post race interview with Freneti was great. Estrella team mates hunting as a pack, fun to watch to beat him up on the final couple of laps.

    Funny how the Estrella team is being helped by Dorna in another sponsor rule change, ostensibly to help the young and talented French rider but not really to help him but certainly to help the rest of the Spanish team.

    In an interview, the Welsh representative from the Circuit (in the middle of nowhere) Wales is confident that they will have the track ready in one or perhaps two years. If it is not ready next year then according to him there might not be a British GP at all. All in favour of building new tracks and trying to attract jobs with it, although history shows this is usually not a success but it is like moving the US GP to Hawaii.

    Before moving to BT Sport, MotoGP was watched by up to a million people in the UK, Now it is @150,000.

    Forza Dorna.

  • Jimbo

    Unusual for me to agree with Smiler (we dont see eye to eye on his constant spain bashing) but today I will. The move to BT Sport did one good thing – the coverage is complete. You can watch every warm up/free practice/qualifying/race for every single round which i am appreciative of. But

    1)while it did hire Julian Ryder for comentating (who is excellent), it also hired Keith Hewen who while experienced is infuriating to listen to. Always gets things wrong and then never admits it and just talks over Ryder who actually is very knowledgeable and has interesting things to say. Kick him out and hire Colin Edwards – who as Smiler said was very good in the box. Or get Steve Parish back in from the BBC. Parrish and Ryder = dream team!

    2) Cos you have to pay for the coverage, viewer ship gets destroyed. Give it back to Eurosport for the free practices and Moto2/3 and the Beeb for the MotoGP. Just keep Jules in the commentary box!

  • KSW

    Lastly, look at this from the team, sponsor perspective and the amount of money they have in the top riders. Would you want to be the team, sponsor of in this example Jorge Lorenzo if he’d been taken out with injuries because Marquez T’d him up in the apex because it was the only way Marquez could get by? Who’s on the Yamaha then? Who’s wearing the sponsors interest’s on the Helmet/Leathers/bike?

    The only one I’ve seen ballsy enough to set Marquez straight is Brad Baker on the flat track over the winter. Baker has Marquez’s respect now and until someone either takes Marquez out like Baker for his “aggressive” riding or the sponsors all walk over to Marquez themselves and bitch slap the lad out of his “other’s will move or be taken out” riding, the inevitable will happen.

    Real Road Racing sponsors use the “they could die and then what of our sponsorship dollars?” as to why they don’t sign long term or lucrative contracts. I’d say MotoGP sponsors of top riders excluding Marquez are watching this with baited breathe not because Marquez will kill them but because he’ll injure them serious enough they’ll be out the rest of the season.

  • L2C

    Moto2 was a great race! It should be like that every race weekend. Was hoping that Kallio would pull off the upset, to create an even tighter championship fight, but tire management and grip issues got in the way of that on the final laps. I thought that he would win because he was in front and theoretically stressing the tires less than the pursuing pack, but Rabat had other ideas. Great performance from both Marc VDS riders.

    Moving forward, Vinales is going to be the spoiler for either of them in the championship. Vinales bagging a couple of wins and 2nd place finishes could be the difference. And let’s not forget about Aegerter, who was unlucky in a crash yesterday. He could also steal some valuable points from Kallio and Rabat.

    Moto3 was a good race, but I think Moto3 edged it in excitement. And maybe that’s because an exciting Moto2 race was unexpected. Anyway, I enjoyed it. Fenati should be doing better, but it seemed like he and teammate Bagnaia suffered with major setup problems on Saturday. I put their dismal performance down to the team. It’s a young team with still very to learn.


    As for MotoGP, Bridgestone had way too much influence on yesterday’s race. Lorenzo and Marquez managed, but everybody else had issues. Call it a conspiracy if you want, but I’m beginning to think that not all Bridgestones are created equal all of the time.

    During yesterday’s the race, I started wondering if Bautista’s setup problems with the RC213V were down to the tires, because despite crashing a lot early in the season, the first three races, his pace was right up there with the top four. He suffered from a lack of consistency, not the grip issues that have plagued him at every other race, not including his podium finish at Le Mans. His performance during the second half of the 2013 season was excellent. I don’t think it’s true that he has lost his ability overnight, and while I don’t know what the specific problems are or have been, I have become suspicious that inconsistent performance from Bridgestone tires lie at the root of those problems.

    The only rider in the paddock who doesn’t have grip issues–ever–is Marquez. Except for Brno. That anomaly makes me think that Pedrosa got his tires, or for once got the lucky pick of the lot. Of course, being a Pedrosa fan, I don’t want to take anything away from Pedrosa, but what else was it that saw Marquez so well off the pace at Brno? In that race, he was sliding around and spinning up the rear with no grip very much like Bautista has been sliding around and spinning up the rear with no grip for most of the season.

    Since Marquez lost Brno, he has been pressed on this point a hundred times, and a hundred times he has given a vague non-answer. He could just avoid the question altogether, but instead he chooses to issue some gibberish that no one can draw any conclusions from. He makes it seem like his drop off in performance was/remains a big mystery to his team. Seriously, does anybody really believe that his team–arguably the best in the paddock–doesn’t know what the problem was?

    For me, it was the tires because the performance of the tires on Marquez’s bike is what we could see and observe. Marquez performing like Bautista could only come down to sh-tty tires, in my opinion. Normally, Marquez slides a lot, is nearly out of control a lot, but he has mega-grip all of the time, except at the 2014 Brno GP.

    At Silverstone, everybody had major issues with the tires. Everybody. Marquez was the notable exception. Credit for his practice and qualifying results went to his superhero superpowers, as usual.

    So what’s the conspiracy? I’ll tell you the conspiracy. Different cocktails for different riders. When Bridgestone can afford it, the top riders get organic mixtures consisting of organic super-stuff that’s rich in protein and complex carbohydrates. These tires deliver sustained high performance over the duration of a race.

    All the other riders get over-processed, high-fructose super-stuff that lasts for a few fast and furious first laps and then dies off quickly just like the best sugar high you have ever experienced. Tasty tires rich in simple carbohydrates that do not deliver sustained performance over the duration of a race. Tires that have little to no protein or other nutrients to speak of. Tires that leave you with a pounding headache soon after the best performance has subsided. Crucially, though, the tires would last the duration of the race (however many miles) just like the “organic” tires.

    For all intents and purposes, the two types of tire cocktails are the same. Orange soda is orange soda, only the ingredients between two types of orange soda are different, but both types of orange soda can legally be labeled as the same brand of orange soda. Both still taste like the orange soda you expect, one might taste a little better or different, but these are subjective measurements, not objective ones.

    Bridgestone tires are like this. The riders know what they like and why, but Bridgestone is only concerned with producing orange soda. Any obvious changes to how the soda is made, and its supposed benefits, is communicated to the teams and riders. However, the ingredients that go into each type of orange soda is not discussed.

    At the beginning of a race, and as far as Bridgestone is concerned, all tires are the same, but as the race wears on the differences in the tire mixtures begin to show. The performance differences that result can be explained by any number of things. Teams, engineers, mechanics, riders–basically comparisons and differences in bike setup, riders, and riding styles.

    Blaming the discrepancies in tire performance directly on how the tires are made and what they are made out of? Not so easy because legally Bridgestone can brand and label the two types of orange soda, er, tires as being the same even though they are made out of different, though somewhat similar ingredients that should yield similar if not identical performance.

    When Bridgestone runs into production issues, how do they deliver identical tires to each rider? There could be a shortage of something that makes it impossible to deliver enough identical tires, so they would have to do the next best thing of delivering objectively similar, though not identical, tires, right? Types of crude oil. Would the quality of a type crude oil used in Bridgestone tires impact performance one way or another? What about changes in chemical composition? What about rubber compounds, natural and synthetic? Are there major differences in the quality of rubber that’s produced in Southeast Asia and Africa? What about changes in manufacturing processes?

    Who gets the “best” sets of tires is also a question. Bridgestone would know which set/batch of tires are capable of producing the best results.

    So, go ahead, poke holes in my not-so sound argument. Hey, it is full of holes and not-so sound. Call me a conspiracy theorist. Tell me to retire my tinfoil hat before I lose my mind completely. Tell me all of those things (and whatever else you can imagine) but this is just my way of saying that on very little evidence, I suspect Bridgestone in MotoGP of doing to its tires what I know food manufacturers do to my breakfast cereals.

    Sometimes I get the raisin bran I want, sometimes I get the raisin bran that they give me even though the brand of raisin bran is the same. Sometimes it’s made with brown sugar, sometimes it’s made with high-fructose and other not-so good sweeteners and chemicals, but at least I can read the label of ingredients to know what I’m getting when changes have been made.

    I know I’m in way over my head on this tire stuff, but do teams and riders in MotoGP ever know precisely what their Bridgestone tires are made out of? Or do they just take Bridgestone’s word that everybody gets the same sets of tires? Everybody thinking that “the same” means “identical”.

  • Article dan

    That’s an interesting conspiracy you have there it wouldn’t surprise me at all and would explain his “next level” riding that no other rider in the paddock can match.

    Personally I can’t stand the commentary team on btsport and the whole btsport/BBC situation. Yea Mr ryder is very knowledgeable but he just bumbles his way through it with anecdotes, jokes and twitter updates. That’s not what he’s there for. The other guy is just as bad, they’re both full of mistakes.
    Haven’t seen the races yet waiting for highlights on itv :(
    Well done dorna for decimating the viewing in the UK. I’m sure this will spread to other countries and TV networks and then the sport will be really screwed.

  • Tires. The tires are distributed as follows:
    Thursday, Bridgestone rolls up with their allocation of tires, all of them barcoded. The barcodes are entered into a spreadsheet, and the spreadsheet is sent to the Technical Director. The Technical Director has an algorithm which randomly assigns tires to riders. The tires are then sorted into sets for each rider, as dictated by the TD’s spreadsheet, and the sets are prepared for each rider.

    Tires are continually being scanned and checked. Bridgestone scans them, to track their usage and as a quality assurance measure. The technical inspectors constantly check the tires, cross-referencing the barcodes to the list provided by the TD, to ensure that nobody has switched tires. No cheating has been found so far.

    Is the system fallible? Like any system involving humans, it certainly is. From my dealings with Mike Webb and his successor Danny Aldridge, these are men of great integrity, on the side of the teams rather than the factories. If they could cheat, they would hand the good tires to the private teams, not the factory riders. It is my firm belief that the tire system in MotoGP is transparent and fair. Nobody has ever questioned it, and if Marquez was getting the good tires, you could bet your ass that Yamaha would be crying foul. They are not, so the very least we can say is that they do not suspect the system is rigged. Nobody from any team has ever expressed any doubts about the tire allocation system, neither on or off the record.

    Compare that with World Superbikes. On the record, there is already a lot of complaining, but team managers off the record have accused Pirelli of all sorts of machinations. Talk to riders who have ridden in both championships, and they will tell you they can’t believe both how good Bridgestone’s quality assurance is, and how fair the system is. They will also tell you that World Superbike is totally different. In WSBK, Pirelli chooses who gets what tires. In MotoGP, Bridgestone hands the tires over to the organization, and the organization hands out the tires.

    If there was a conspiracy to favor some riders and not others, then Dorna must believe Bradley Smith is a massive threat. He has had two suboptimal tires this year, at Barcelona and Brno, and by the conspiracists logic, must have been a real threat to Marquez’ supremacy.

    The truth is that this year, Bridgestone have had a couple more QA problems than usual. Marquez is one of the few riders who has had a duff tire this year. I can’t remember Lorenzo or Rossi complaining of having a tire which doesn’t work as it should. Lorenzo has complained about the way the tires work, but his gripe is with the overall philosophy, not with particular tires.

    To my mind, Marquez’ advantage is that he is an exceptionally talented rider, who has an outstanding bike which allows him to ride exactly how he pleases. The Bridgestone tires work very well with the Honda, but then again, compare the satellite Hondas with the satellite Yamahas. The biggest advantage the Honda has is in braking. At Silverstone, Honda were running brake guards to retain temperature in the carbon disks. The Yamahas struggle more with the opposite problem, too much temperature in the disks, not too little. The difference in brake temperature is the biggest difference between the two bikes.

  • Brandon

    Back in the day tires would be flown in over night for Rossi, I don’t see any reason special tires don’t exist out there before hand nowadays. At Brno, it really did look like MM got Dani’s tires. There’s lots of money in this sport and who knows if sponsors or manufacturers can influence wins … doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

  • Bill

    Great stuff, Mr Emmett. Whenever anyone as talented as Marquez comes along, people will always cry foul or claim a conspiracy, as they can’t believe anyone can be that good. It was the same with Rossi, Doohan, Rainey etc etc. Seriously, just get over it.
    What you are watching right now is one of the most talented riders in the history of the sport, at the top of his game. Enjoy it while it lasts, he won’t be around for ever. When he’s gone, you will miss him.

    One last thing, anyone who still needs convincing how good Marquez is, take a few minutes out to read through this list:

  • Josh


    The passes were clean. It’s called racing not track days. If you don’t want hard racing go watch free practice.

    Both lorenzo and marquez didn’t say anything about the passes. Lorenzo’s pass was just as rough as marquez’s. At this level if you leave an inch people will take a mile. Attitudes like yours drive me up the wall.

  • M Willis

    Ha, I think those of you complaining about poor commentating on BT Sport have never had the displeasure of trying to watch it in the US with Ralph Sheehan’s booming ignorant annoyance ruining it, as that is truly awful.

    But regardless of how bad it can be, I don’t understand why networks televising the race to Anglophiles don’t use the excellent Dorna feed commentating of Nick Harris et al? Why go through the trouble of duplicating effort with an extremely inferior result?

  • Article dan

    Thanks David that clears that up lol.

    I thought MMs pass on JL was fine. Yea it was tight and he sat him up but it probably just shocked jorge more than anything else.

    Great to hear Colin Edwards on the commentary.

  • Jw


    Why would any manufacture at this level want to take the chance of greatly harming name and reputation in a global manner to favor one rider over another? No one could pay them enough money not even Dorna or the manufactures who also have a name and reputation to protect. Plus Bridgestone is pulling out of Motogp, so what does that tell you?

    This is Utter nonsense.

    I find these tire comments rather sickening..

  • crshnbrn

    @ M Willis

    Usually Nick Harris’ commentary IS excellent, but his commentary of the Silverstone MotoGP race was extremely pro-Marquez. Harris’ commentary sounded like the MotoGP race was scripted, and he had already read the script. The race was thrilling even though there wasn’t a lot of passing between Marquez and Lorenzo, but I would have enjoyed it even more had Harris’ commentary been more objective. Next time the commentary is so pro-Marquez, I might just turn the sound off.

  • “Back in the day tires would be flown in over night for Rossi, I don’t see any reason special tires don’t exist out there before hand nowadays.”

    Back in the day, there were tire wars and it was in the regs that teams could commission the factories to come up with rider-/bike-specific constructions and compounds. With the spec tire rule, that ALL went the way of the dodo. If you don’t see any reason special tires don’t exist, it’s only because you’re ignorant of the regulations and the systems in place.

    There is no conspiracy.

    “Both lorenzo and marquez didn’t say anything about the passes.”

    That’s actually not at all true. Lorenzo’s first post-race interview contained some condemnations for the aggressiveness of the passes and suggested that Race Direction should be taking a look at such maneuvers. He also added, however, that he didn’t think the Direction would do anything about it.

    For those with a subscription can see the interview here:

    Relevant comment starts at 1:50.

  • Frank

    I think the pass was what it was- hard and effective. Jorge pushed to hold his line after Marc had already put his tire ahead of him in the previous corner. Contact was made there as Jorge forced his way around. Marc definitely shoved himself up the inside to take the lead but that is racing. Jorge didn’t cry foul afterwards. Perhaps that was because he has come to realize that it doesn’t necessarily help him to complain about Marc’s tactics when he is fully capable of utilizing them himself- and is aware that he has done so. I recall him pushing Pedrosa off the track last year in Valencia. Dani was brilliant to not crash while Jorge went to work trying to create traffic and a scenario in which Marc would, as he said himself ‘make a mistake’ (translation: crash). That was some of the most consciously dangerous racing I’ve seen and at the time I thought – that’s a great strategy. Why? Because Jorge was racing for a world championship.

    Like another poster mentioned- this is racing, not practice. Marc definitely sees red while in race mode. But he is reacting and using his instincts to make split second decisions in the heat of battle. What Jorge did in Valencia last year was decide to get out in front of a pack of the most powerful motorcycles in the world and then brake check them in order to ‘create’ a situation in which a competitor could crash. What is more dangerous? I believe it was Jorge’s tactics at the end of last season after all that brought about a change in the penalty points structure to carry over into the following season – making them last a set amount of time rather than just a single race season. Jorge knew he had points to give and Marquez didn’t in the final few races of last season so he played with that in mind and made some questionable passes. He had nothing to lose and especially in Valencia- what would penalty points matter after the last race of the season? In 2013 – nothing.

    People seem to forget Jorge can and will dish it.

  • Frank

    And yes- I am aware that the precedent had been set by Marquez for the penalty point carry over from his antics in Moto2 and the incidents that he was involved in at the beginning of his rookie season in GP. With that comment, I was thinking more about how the implications of penalty points on the outcome of the championship at the end of last season played into Jorge’s hands as he was able to race with an allowance on points knowing that they wouldn’t carry over beyond Valencia.

  • crshnbrn

    I think the thing everybody is forgetting about the passes in question is that they occurred with only two laps to go. The kid gloves have already been removed by that point.

  • HateUK

    Amazing ride from Smith once again. I said last year he would be the new Crutchlow, despite already being middle aged, and with this result he proved the doubters wrong. I studied the telemetry and it looked like he was losing 300 seconds per lap due to wheelspin! Tech 3 has a secret lottery as to which tyre they stick on the back of the thing, unknown to Smith. Great race.