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warregl

2011 Motogp - Predictions?

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So the 2011 MotoGP season opens at Qatar Sunday after next and I for one am excited to see it start. After the musical chairs at the end of last season I'm anxious to see what shakes out.

 

Stoner to Honda: To my admittedly untrained eye, Casey looked like he could have had a monster year if he could have just sorted out the Desmo last season. I have a feeling that if he clicks with that Honda he is going to be very impressive.

 

Rossi to Ducati: It would be cool to see Vale, known for being able to sort out a bike, get the Desmo straight and be able to do that thing he does come race day. Just another reason to consider him one of the best of all time.

 

Spies to Yamaha: If Ben continues to improve at the rate he showed last year he could be amazing as well (but my guess would be he needs another year to hit full stride).

 

In short, all three have positioned themselves to do amazing things and if they start clicking at the same time this could be a great year to be a fan. And then there are Lorenzo and Pedrosa...

 

I'm by no means going to say any of that is an intelligent opinion, but I'm having fun speculating and I cant wait to see how it unfolds. Thoughts?

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Stoner is gonna kick everyones ass this year, pedrobot is going to look second best and get hoofed from Honda, Lorenzo's going to find Spies a hell of a challenge, and Rossi's going to struggle for a bit, but win some epic battles and get some glory. Have to say, overall, Stoner all the way, he's been flying in testing.

 

 

 

Bullet

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I've been casually watching the winter test results. If the testing is any indication, Honda is going to be superb this year, and I bet Stoner can pull off the championship now that he's on what appears to be a better bike. On the other hand, the Yamaha team of Lorenzo and Spies could be frightening if they ride as they did last year. Although Rossi and Hayden have had some good days, the Ducati seems to be lagging noticeably behind. I continue to wonder if Rossi is going to regret leaving Yamaha.

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Love seeing the Aussie do well but as an Aussie we also like the underdog so I will be right behind Spies this year as well. I reckon he is going to ruffle a few feathers out there this year.

 

Bring on some good close racing with some more epic battles like Stoner and Rossi at Laguna a couple of years back!!!

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Stoner, Dani P, Spies

 

Lorenzo just misses out on third and Rossi 5

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Title fight to stand between Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

 

4th to 8th to stand between Rossi, Simoncelli, Spies and Dovi.

 

Bautista and Aoyama to round out the top ten.

 

I don't think there is much in it between Jorge, Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa as riders - it is basically down to luck who will win the title. By luck I mean getting a bike that suits the rider's way of riding, having a good team, having top reliability and avoid injury, stupid crashes and being punted into the gravel by others. We saw what bad luck cost Rossi in 2006 and what crashes have cost Stoner and Pedrosa since 2007.

 

I also believe that Simoncelli has the potential to climb up to that level, and perhaps Spies. Dovi I have less faith in. He's very good, indeed, but not a freak. And Spies may not be mental enough. Simoncelli, however, is mental enough for two.

 

Furthermore, I think Rossi is past his peak - which is hard to say for a die hard Rossi fan. He is older and wiser and less willing to take risks, and he cannot mentally dominate the competition of today in the way he used to. In real world speak that means Rossi IMO doesn't hold any clear advantages over the competition, he is "merely" on par with the other 3-4 freaks at the pointy end. Which willl hamper him on the Duc now that Jorge is oozing confidence and Honda seems to have built a dominating bike once again.

 

If I had to put my money on somebody this season, it would be Lorenzo. He isn't fuzzy about details, instead he find ways to make his bike go very fast. As such, his motorcycle is a known quantity as opposed to those who turn their bikes upsidedown and insideout between meetings. Jorge is also incredibly strong mentally. If he doesn't turn out to have had a freak season in 2010 like Stoner had in 2011, he will be the man to chase.

 

However, Stoner and Pedrosa won't be far behind, and any of those 3 are very probable title candidates. Fantastic riders, no doubt, but I do not have any favourites since they all lack the kind of personality that makes one want to cheer extra hard.

 

I think Spies is too mature, too calculating to be in the hunt - just as I think Rossi is in addition to having a very particular bike to struggle with, a bike that only Stoner have been able to master because it for some reason suits him pretty well. If the reason Stoner went so well on the Ducati is down to pure talent, the rest of the field should not be able to see which way he went in 2011 and he will take a dominant title much like 2007.

 

Simoncelli is getting to grips with the motoGP thing and I think he'll lift himself to a regular podium finisher this year. I see him as an outsider.

 

 

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I agree with Eirik, Simoncelli is the dark horse this year, he was topping the timing tables on occasion, I can see him giving the factory Honda boys some bother if he carries on improving like he did last year.

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I noticed you guys completely left out Nicky Hayden... no love apparently ;). Hayden needs to get on a different bike in my opinion. I know he struggled a bit after the RC211V to RC212V switch, but not that badly, and the Honda seems to be developing excellently, whereas the Ducati seems less so. I'm sure things will improve, but if Sepang testing is any indicator, Ducatis are going to be a rare sight on the podium this year.

 

The Simoncelli and Spies comments are interesting. Spies finished 6th and had a couple podium finishes on a private team, while Simoncelli finished 8th with no podiums on a private team. Now Spies is on a factory team, which has strong winning history, and Simoncelli remains where he was. I think the machinery will make the difference, and Spies will be top five for sure.

 

My pre-season picks:

1. Stoner

2. Pedrosa

3. Spies

4. Lorenzo

5. flip a coin...

 

 

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Simoncelli has a factory bike this year, even if his team is private. And he was rapidly improving during last season, whereas Spies' performance was more static. Simoncelli was the slowest rider last year in Sepang, this year he had a day were he was fastest and he was consistently top 6. I'm not saying that Spies cannot end top 3, but I see it as unlikely at this stage. I also think Simoncelli nees one more season in order to establish himself as a title contender, but I'm less sure that Spies will be able to climb another step. We will see once the season gets underway with a couple of races.

 

Hayden simply isn't fast enough. He has 3 victories in his CV, 2 in Laguna Seca. He won the title in 2006 after Rossi suffered tire failures and engine failures as well as a bike that suddenly found itself on horrible (for the Yamaha) tyres after Michelin decided to totally rebuild them to better suit the Honda. Both Hayden and Rossi got punted off their bikes by other riders during the season, so that equals out. Not that he didn't deserve the title; he and his team did the best job over the season and ended as champions. But he didn't win because he was the fastest rider out there. Now, there are too many riders that are faster than him to make it even remotely plausible that he should be lucky enough to take another title.

 

 

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Both were rookies, but Spies was more consistently near the top and now he's on a better team/bike (imo). And I'm not knocking Gresini (or Simoncelli for that matter), but they aren't Repsol Honda or Fiat Yamaha. Watching recorded races all winter, Spies looked like he was in the hunt, Simoncelli looked like he was playing catch up. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't agree with your analysis either, so we're just going to have to see how the season goes ;)

 

 

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Yes, isn't great to be armchair experts :D Pity we usually get it wrong, but that's half the fun ;) I enjoy discussions like these and I don't mind being wrong or right - the thought process is where the fun is.

 

The real racing cannot start soon enoug!

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Hi, I'm Kai and I'm a Doohan-fan. Oops, wrong forum and decade.

 

Lorenzo, Spies, Pedrosa, Stoner, Rossi ... all good candidates for the title.

 

From my armchair point-of-view, what's going to be really interesting is what each of those riders is going to do with the equipment they're handed:

* Did Lorenzo 'just' capitalize on the effort of VR&JB, or is his team able to continue to dominate in not just this season but also on the 1000cc from next year?

* Can Spies actually win races, or will he be an also-ran like John Hopkins (I really cheered on Hopkins after seeing him in Faster).

* Stoner .... seems like he's back in full strength on a competitive bike

* Rossi - I agree that he's probably past his peak. But he'll be a huge step closer to GoAT-ness if he can win on the Ducati (actually, that would settle it for me). What magic can JB&VR come up with in the Ducati garage? They haven't had optimum preparations, but JB's got 10+ 500GP/MotoGP titles to his name, and not without reason. He just has so much amassed knowledge and error-fixing that it's going to show over the season*. Question is: how quickly can they identify the problems and fix them? Gut instinct says it'll be sometime into the spring before the Duke is competitive. Only time will tell if that's in time for Vale to win the title.

 

*) read an anecdote in Roadracing World (March 2008, page 32) that at the very beginning of the Yamaha campaign, Rossi came in from the track complaining that he kept locking up the front brake, to which JB said "That's excellent!" VR (looking strangely at JB): "Why?" JB: "You know, we had that problem on the Honda once, and we know just how to fix it!". Sure enough, they fixed it right there by lifting the rear end 20mm :)

 

Kai

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Wow, those Honda's are going to be tough this year. Looks like Qatar is going to be an interesting race :)

2011 MotoGP Qatar Qualifying:

1. Casey Stoner (Honda) 1'54.137

2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 1'54.342

3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1'54.947

4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda) 1'54.988

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha) 1'55.095

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Spies isn't good enough to be top 3. I'm not saying he's not good, but the competition is too great.

 

I've said that Simoncelli was going to do well next year when they go back to 1000's, but looks like he's going to do well on the 800. He did what our reigning champion did a lot in his rookie season: wreck. But now Lorenzo's dialed into the bike, and Simoncelli will be also. He needs to be able to monitor the bike now, or he'll fall back at the end of races like Hayden did/does, and like he did last year (the races he finished).

 

Stoner looks set to dominate. He did last year as well and, if you remember, looked exactly the same last year in Qatar. We'll have to see.

 

Dani P. has a lot to prove. He's always blamed the bike. He'd better beat Stoner is all I know. It will be a monumental task keeping up with Stoner in Losail alone. When Pedrosa rides 100%, he doesn't stay upright long.

 

Lorenzo will beat Spies. If you don't think so, it's a fan based assessment.

 

I don't know if it's Rossi or the Ducati, but one of them is too old and can't keep up with the competition. I hope it's the bike.

 

Dovi needs to do great things. Repsol kept a third rider to give him a chance when Simoncelli could be on a black and orange bike putting it up front.

 

Hayden needed to leave Moto GP when they went to 800's. He didn't win the champion because he won races (he won 1), he won because he kept the bike upright. I know he still won the championship, but that's not going to cut it this year.

 

As long as Suzuki continues running their primitive electronics (Mitsubishi?), you can feel free to count them out. Bautista isn't even racing tomorrow.

 

Crutchlow will be the rookie of the year and will do on the bike what Spies did last year. The kid is good.

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If you look at Capirossi's performance so far, I'd risk the statement that the Suzuki is at least on par with the Ducati and probably easier to get right with a proper team and developer. The Ducati, what with it's non-frame carbon fibre design using the engine as a structural member isn't nearly as flexible. For instance, they cannot alter the height of the swing arm pivot like the other teams can, and CF doesn't behave like aluminium.

 

Stoner took the win today easily enough, but not as easily as I expected. A fit Pedrosa may have kept him at bay, even.

 

Pedrosa is really worried because he said he was comfy doing the pace until he lost feeling and power in his left arm about midway. Like Rossi, his injury from last year has the potential to spoil at least parts of the season.

 

Capirossi + Ducati + team mate = hand injury. Sad start for Pramac indeed.

 

Considering my personal expectations, Lorenzo did the best race today. Dovi did really well. Rossi did OK, as did Abraham. I expected more from Simoncelli and Aoyama and Spies. Barbera did exactly what I expected.

 

I must say that overall, the race was a lot closer than I anticipated after the QP. Taking Q times as a starting point, each rider should be/was so far behind Stoner at the end of the race:

 

Jorge: 18 / 2 seconds

Pedrosa: 5 / 5

Dovi: 24 / 6

Marco: 18 / 7

Spies: 21 / 10

Rossi: 33 / 16

Edwards: 33 / 26

Hayden: 38 / 27

Aoyama: 35 / 29

Crutch: 32 / 35

Barbera: 24 / 35

Karel: 55 / 38

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Just finished watching the race...

 

That factory Honda should be illegal. The Yamaha looked great in the corners and on the brakes, but the power of the Honda was simply amazing. Ducati... disappointing.

 

Pedrosa losing his arm strength gave Stoner the easy win, and also gave second to Lorenzo. If Pedrosa can recover and maintain his health, he will be very tough to beat. I thought Dovi and Simoncelli looked good. Spies started poorly and couldn't get back in it, but Edwards looked pretty good (for a mid-pack guy). I think the Yamaha riders will be more competitive in Jerez, but we'll have to wait and see...

 

In my fantasy racing league I picked Stoner in tier 1, Dovi and Edwards in tier 2, and Pedrosa/Dovi for the team. Gave me a pretty good day, but they haven't posted the league ratings, so I don't know just how good yet.

 

Spies isn't good enough to be top 3. I'm not saying he's not good, but the competition is too great.

 

Lorenzo will beat Spies. If you don't think so, it's a fan based assessment.

Of course it's a fan based assessment, but I'm still taking Spies :P. He's talented, calculating, and only in his 3rd year riding on the world circuit; most of the top competition has been there 8-10 years. But I'm biased and don't mind saying so ;).

 

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Just finished watching the race...

 

That factory Honda should be illegal. The Yamaha looked great in the corners and on the brakes, but the power of the Honda was simply amazing. Ducati... disappointing.

 

It sure looked like a Honda practice session for a while with Stoner, Pedrosa, Dovi, and Simoncelli all running hard. The Honda machine looks strong but different tracks might show another side of it. And Vale didn't have the storybook start many wanted but it's a long season and I'm hoping he will get that Desmo sorted out bring us some good battles as the years progresses.

 

Of course it's a fan based assessment, but I'm still taking Spies. He's talented, calculating, and only in his 3rd year riding on the world circuit; most of the top competition has been there 8-10 years. But I'm biased and don't mind saying so.

 

I'm with you on Spies. His potential "up side" is huge. Will he live up to it? Only time will tell, but it should be fun watching him. I wish there had been a bit more coverage of his battle with Vale yesterday. And as for being biased, that's all part of the fun isn't it?

 

It's just great to have racing back on.

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5e2e4f83.jpg

Rossi said he lost .5-.6 of a second every lap due to his shoulder injury, which would have brought him at least up to the fight for a podium position. Spies need better starts, or he would have been fighting for a podium as well.

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Rossi said he lost .5-.6 of a second every lap due to his shoulder injury, which would have brought him at least up to the fight for a podium position. Spies need better starts, or he would have been fighting for a podium as well.

 

There was some speculation that Rossi may have been overstating his shoulder injury as a bit of gamesmanship...or playing 'possum as we say in the Deep South. It would appear that is not the case. I wondered about that when he didn't seem to attack Spies back after loosing position to him.

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It does seem that he's been pretty honest throughout the off-season and also during this weekend. Pity also about Pedrosa and his arm trouble because he could otherwise have given Stoner a fight to the door.

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He may be using it as an excuse so he doesn't say "this bike sucks" in public.

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He may be using it as an excuse so he doesn't say "this bike sucks" in public.

I think you've got it nailed...

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He may be using it as an excuse so he doesn't say "this bike sucks" in public.

 

I'd be willing to bet there's something in his contract about saying things like that...:P

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He may be using it as an excuse so he doesn't say "this bike sucks" in public.

 

I'd be willing to bet there's something in his contract about saying things like that...:P

 

Yeah. It's probably called the Max Biaggi clause.

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