Moto2: Marc Marquez Accused of…What Exactly?

11/06/2012 @ 2:34 pm, by David Emmett27 COMMENTS

The Moto2 paddock in Phillip Island was awash with rumors of cheating, and not for the first time. There have been accusations of cheating by Marc Marquez’s Monlau Competicion team running around the paddock for most of the two years the young Spaniard has been racing in Moto2, accusations which we have been reporting on since earlier this year.

The rumors in Australia centered round illegal manipulation of the spec HRC ECU fitted to all Moto2 machines. The German magazine Speedweek suggested that Marquez’s team had been able to load an illegal map on to the ECU, capable of overriding the quickshifter function and preventing fuel from being cut when the quickshifter was used. This, Speedweek claimed citing an unnamed technician, is what the Monlau team had been doing, and this explained his superior acceleration.

The advantage offered was that by not cutting the fuel injection, the air/fuel mixture was much better directly after a gear change, improving throttle pickup and helping to explain some of Marquez’s advantage in acceleration. The fuel map, Speedweek alleged, would be loaded onto the ECU before the start of a race, and would then automatically erase itself when the engine was switched off.

I contacted MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb for a response to these allegations. Webb prefaced his remarks saying that he had not read the allegations made in Speedweek, as he was not a German speaker, but was aware of the contents of the Speedweek report after being approached by the magazine’s editor, Günther Wiesinger.

The allegations, Webb told me, were in part incorrect and in part irrelevant. The accusations that the software of the ECU was being overwritten and then wiped when the engine was switched off were wrong, said Webb. “I am confident in the information from my technical experts (including the ECU suppliers) that the alleged rewriting of the ECU software, and then magically wiping it again is not occurring.”

As to the quickshifter strategy Marquez’ team is accused of employing, Webb said that it was not necessary to hack the ECU to achieve this. “Quick-shifters are ‘free’ [not defined as a spec part in the regulations], they are deliberately not included in the official definition of the Moto2 engine, so the team is free to choose their own solution. Whether they choose to use the quick-shift strategies included in the ECU is up to them,” Webb explained.

“In fact no manipulation of ECU software is necessary in order to use a non-Honda quick-shifter, which may or may not use the fuel cut strategies available in the ECU,” he continued. The quickshifter used by Marquez’s team had been submitted for approval to the Technical Director, HRC and engine supplier Geo Tech for inspection at the beginning of the season, as had the systems used by all the other teams. No irregularities had been found in any of the systems.

The accusations being leveled against Marquez and his team appear to consist of doing something that is completely legal. The Monlau team maintain that they prepare Marquez’ bike completely within the Moto2 rulebook. When asked about the allegations, a spokesperson for the team told me “the best they can do is to open the bike”. No doubt Marquez’s Catalunya CX Suter machine will be subject to a full inspection at the last race of the year this weekend at Valencia.

Source: Speedweek & Racing4fun; Photo: HRC

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

  • MikeD

    Juicy…here comes the dirty underwear flying out the front door. LOL.

  • Gonzo

    Sour Grapes from sore losers! Happens in ALL sports.

  • Halfie 30

    We will find out next year. If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.

  • Motobell

    Big Marquez fan and not doubting his talent – should have won last year but has proven his ability to fight and nber give up. Pol espargaro is amazing too

    But narquez has always has straightline speed advantage where he routinely sits up to avoid passing. Either due to better drive off corner or better top speed or acceleration or all of the above – clearly there is a advantage not discounting the talent he has – may be it would have made pol closer this year

  • Agree with gonzo. As for what he’ll do next year, well, like any other rider who steps up to the plate, it will take even a rider of Marquez’s extraordinary talent a little while to get used to the new scene. Remember he crashed 4 times in the early part of his Moto2 first season then went on and, but for bad luck, should have been champion in his first year.

  • ” If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.”

    All you’ll know is that, for some reason, he didn’t acclimate to the premier class. It happens, you know. Toni Elias was notable for coming into MotoGP as Moto2 world champion and spending the whole year riding around at the back of the pack and crashing. He had an ongoing argument with the Bridgestone tires; the tires won.

    That won’t stop the punters from making up any facts that aren’t obviously there, though. Rumour and hearsay are what make the world of sport go ’round.

  • Skip

    “We will find out next year. If he can’t keep up in the premier class, we know what really happened.”

    R yes Stefan Bradl must have been cheating for the 2011 moto2 title right? Hes not keeping up either .

  • If u can’t beat them accuse them of cheating…. pretty lame….

  • Hugo

    Well, his bike surely looked less “the same” than the others’

  • The same could be said of Pol Espargaro (and/or his bike) in light of his absolute domination at Phillip Island. Face it, the top guys in Moto2 and MotoGP are the aliens who are simply capable of wringing performance out of both themselves and their bikes far beyond what others on the grid can manage.

    The logic here is that “looks different” =/= “cheating”. One could reflect the other, but it isn’t a given causal relationship.

  • Anon 1

    So Marquez team is using something similar to what the Corona Suzuki WSS team did some ten years ago? I remember reading in a magazine that their bike had a manual kill switch of the ignition (software was not allowed), so that you could change up with full throttle. Basically hitting the gear lever to go up the gears would kill the ignition for the brief moment that you had press the lever. Nowadays it appears to be the opposite. All within the rules.
    Magically erasing ECUs? No way. Usually the solution is probably much simpler than that.

  • bring back the carbs! hohohoho

  • You would assume that this quick shifting would enable higher speeds down the straights. It stands to reason. (There are other issues like corner exit speed but we can assume he’s not too shabby on the brakes either).
    The top speed trap speeds are listed for every GP for all classes on the MotoGP website. Marquez posted the fastest speed during the Malaysian weekend (in warm up), but in all the other recent race weekends he’s been maybe top 5 or 10. He made 6th down the long straight at Aragon, during the race.
    Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio are regularly at the top 5 of the speed lists. Are they ‘cheating’ too? Are they hacking the ECU? Maybe they’re using the same quickshifting technology? Or something else?

    I think this boils down to his skill, and his relatively small, light build which makes it easier for him. This also helps Kallio, and perhaps Rabat, who is a very tall lad, but very slender with it.
    Dani Pedrosa always used his diminutive stature to his advantage, and still does. That is all I believe Marquez does too. Hopefully the rumoured minimum weight limit for Moto2 will come in and level the playing field in this respect, although Marquez won’t be around for us to see what difference it makes.

    I’d like to see a drag race between the two factory Hondas next season too….

  • buellracerx

    so, not that I know a WHOLE lot about these things, but say the throttle was wide open w/o spark for ~50 ms at 16k rpm, with fuel injection performing as normal. This would result in ~6 rev, or 3.6L of A/F charge in the exhaust. This makes a hell of a bang when spark comes back in (gives you that sweet *pop* on shift – kills the packing of your muffler over time, too).

    SO, was there a huge pop & flames out of the exhaust when he shifted? (flames might be hard to see)

    Whenever people get dominated, there will ALWAYS be accusations of cheating…

  • Westward

    If Marquez can’t beat Bradl next year, then there is room for doubt. Marquez was better than Bradl in Moto2, and next year he will be on a better machine too. Bradl’s evolution and experience in the premiere class is comparable to Marquez’s evolution and experience of fighting for the championship in Moto2.

    In my opinion, I simply think Marquez is more talented the way Rossi was at that age…

  • Bryan Niese

    People accused Stoner of cheating too even when he was a child first racing in the UK. Then in 2007 people tried to say that it was again the bike making the difference since nobody could possibly beat Rossi straight-up. We all saw how accurate those accusations were. I suspect this is just the same thing going on. In watching Moto2 I don’t really see anyone having an advantage in terms of the machine. Nobody really runs away with victories, Marquez included. Maybe, just maybe, he’s fast because he’s amazingly talented and he can hang his whole friggin’ body a few inches off the ground in every turn.

  • FuzzyOne

    Webb’s explanation makes more sense than magical deletions of ECU data. If Honda used a different quick-shifter, and if it was legal of them to not send the shift signal to the ECU, then congrats to them for clever engineering. The fastest team is sometimes the one that best interprets the rulebook.

  • Westward

    2006 and even 2007 were the best bikes Ducati had ever produced for MotoGP. Ducati nearly won 2006 with Capirossi if not for Catalunya and Assen, a direct result of an accident and injury. But most importantly Ducati had a tyre advantage along with the talent of Stoner. So great were the Bridgestone factor, that Rossi ended a long time relationship with Michelin to race the Bridgestones in 2008, halfway through the season Pedrosa followed suit (an un heard of move), and the following year 2009 the entire premiere class…

    But to have a pilot go from crashing all over the place in 2006, to winning in dominate fashion the next year in 2007, and not crashing a single time in his second year on a new bike is unusual to say the least and talent is not the only factor.

    I have never heard of Stoner cheating. Marquez is understandable given his close relationship with HRC. Stoner never had that luxury of closeness until 2011, even then the rumours of cheating were specific to HRC not Stoner…

  • DareN

    FuzzyOne – you have just beat me to the line with your post. It reminds me a double difuser story in F1 a few years ago.If you can outsmart the book – more power to you…

  • Gritboy

    Seems like they’re blowing smoke up their own asses. It’s just a great bike and great rider.

  • BBQdog

    “No doubt Marquez’s Catalunya CX Suter machine will be subject to a full inspection at the last race of the year this weekend at Valencia.”

    Too late. The nice bits have all been removed as he is already world champion.

  • TexusTim

    well guys the old addage that cheaters never win,is no longer a valid thing to say…in modern soecity cheaters allways win..look at wallstreet ! think those guys are honest ? so this isnt surprising but unfortunatlly expected…many of those that seem to be “superior athletes or sports stars” like lance armwrong,,,are really cheating to gain an advantage look at mcguire, sosa and bonds,,,see what I mean ?..many people worship these cheaters and actully believe in them and hate all those that expose there favorite hero……..see it’s all in the cheating now and more than half of all these guys cheat one way or the other…..aufully inspiring isnt it ?

  • TexusTim

    hey one more thing…if I have an ilegal advantage I would do my beast to not let it show..but when it’s time to make a move make it look like the rider when in actuality I could drive away from them from the start but it would be obvious right….so dont be fooled by players playing.

  • Westward

    Don’t forget Lance Armstrong, and he was routinely tested for cheating. They have stripped him of most everything, and he is still a multi-millionaire. Cheating pays big, and it is worth it to get caught too, cause you can make millions more to write a book about that also…

  • Anyone watching these races could see that Marquez hat an acceleration advantage which he could tap into anytime he pleased, no other bike on the track could touch the acceleration of that Honda. Oftentimes at the end of a race he drove around people at will on that extra power and got the win, without it he would’ve lost. If it’s proven, he should be stripped and banned. And Repsol should be suspended from the series, yeah right like that’s going to happen.

  • mr x

    ah masa seh yang boneng negh…?

  • @Gonzo – sour grapes from sore losers??

    Yeah, maybe I suppose. Especially if the soreness was caused by Marquez numerous questionable moves during the year!!