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Different Riding Styles At The Top Levels


Jaybird180
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In a previous post I made a comment about Kenan Sofuoğlu. Cobie suggested that I start a new thread. Here it is in expanded version.

 

 

 

Kenan Sofuoğlu made the bold comment last year that no one in the world was faster than him. He basically stomped over everyone in World Supersport and then in 2008 went to Superbike, where he didn't do as well (around 13-18th place finishes). The last race of the season, he swapped rides with Jonny Rea. Rea did well on the Superbike and Sofuoğlu was back to his stomping ways.

 

Is there a difference in rider technique that makes one better suited to one type of bike or the other?

 

FWIW, Rossi has commented that he didn't like riding a Superbike. It was noted that Superbike was more about bravado and GP was finesse. Agree/disagree???

 

Colin Edwards is an example of a crossover rider. Ben Spies is next. There are scores of riders going from Superbike to MotoGP or the other way.

 

We can only speculate what would happen if we put the best riders of each type on equal equipment.

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How about Troy Bayliss? 2 years on the Ducs in MotoGP, no real results, back to WSB has done well there for sure, then back on a MotoGP bike for a cameo and wins!

 

There for sure are different riding styles, and some do well on one and don't adapt as well to another. There have been many that haven't made the transition from one type of bike to another. James Toseland hasn't really excelled this year, despite early promise.

 

There are going to be a few different aspects to this: the team and technicians one has, the rider and his approach, his personal support, the bike and the tires pacakge, just to name a few (how about just being a teenager or just past and having to travel worldwide for the first time?).

 

Over the years I've liked reading the interviews with the crew chiefs: Erv Kanemoto, Kel Carruthers, Jeremy Burgess to name a few. One theme I got was they understood their riders very well, and helped them. I remember reading 2 interviews some while back, and these guys both said they would do stuff/approach one aspect of the problem by simply what could they do to make the bike easier for their man to ride.

 

Contrast that with a rider that comes into a team and is told to use certain settings (as they worked for the guy before), but they didn't work for him! Rumor, but heard that happened on a top WSB team some years ago. The guy improved immediately when he got very insistent on going his own way.

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The strange thing is that no one has ever won both the motogp and world superbike titles yet, I think that will change in the next few years. I am not a great Rossi fan but you have to respect his ability, He has won world championships in 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 990cc and 800cc, thats a record that can never be beaten!

Colin Edwards was great to watch in SBK but has yet to win in motogp, and has had the opportunity to race on championship winning bikes.

Nicky Hayden did well going from AMA onto the 990cc gp bike winning rookie of the year and became a consistant podium finisher to eventually win the championship, unfortunately its taken nearly 2 seasons to find a riding style to suit the 800s.

its not only different classes though, look a melandri and hopkins they went from top 5 to back of the pack on different bikes in the same class.

The list of riders that struggle or succeed on different bikes is endless!

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The MotoGP and WSBK bikes are completely different. That is the GP 990's and WSBK bikes. When they went to 800's, I knew Hayden wouldn't do well, and as soon as I saw what Stoner did with the Duc while Hayden struggled on the Honda, knew that was the only way he could be competitive again. And a year later.....

I did think Hayden was going to WSBK. He could be the first to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles if he doesn't do well on the Ducati.

By the by, a couple years ago Bayliss did ride as a MotoGP fill in, and dominated. If I remember right he won. I know he did podium. Isn't Toseland going back to WSBK?

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The MotoGP and WSBK bikes are completely different. That is the GP 990's and WSBK bikes. When they went to 800's, I knew Hayden wouldn't do well, and as soon as I saw what Stoner did with the Duc while Hayden struggled on the Honda, knew that was the only way he could be competitive again. And a year later.....

I did think Hayden was going to WSBK. He could be the first to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles if he doesn't do well on the Ducati.

By the by, a couple years ago Bayliss did ride as a MotoGP fill in, and dominated. If I remember right he won. I know he did podium. Isn't Toseland going back to WSBK?

 

I wonder how much has to do with the crew chief too. Look at the guys that have been multi-time world champs: they all had someone there (Kenny had Kel, Wayne had Kenny and the other guys--Warren Willig I think?) Freddie had Erv. Doohan had Burgess, as has Rossie and I tihnk Gardner too.

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The MotoGP and WSBK bikes are completely different. That is the GP 990's and WSBK bikes. When they went to 800's, I knew Hayden wouldn't do well, and as soon as I saw what Stoner did with the Duc while Hayden struggled on the Honda, knew that was the only way he could be competitive again. And a year later.....

I did think Hayden was going to WSBK. He could be the first to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles if he doesn't do well on the Ducati.

By the by, a couple years ago Bayliss did ride as a MotoGP fill in, and dominated. If I remember right he won. I know he did podium. Isn't Toseland going back to WSBK?

 

I wonder how much has to do with the crew chief too. Look at the guys that have been multi-time world champs: they all had someone there (Kenny had Kel, Wayne had Kenny and the other guys--Warren Willig I think?) Freddie had Erv. Doohan had Burgess, as has Rossie and I tihnk Gardner too.

Don't forget that Rossi insisted that Burgess come to Yamaha with him. Miguel is losing his Chief this year to officiate....or maybe tip the scales in the old guy's favor (lol, that was wrong, I know).

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The MotoGP and WSBK bikes are completely different. That is the GP 990's and WSBK bikes. When they went to 800's, I knew Hayden wouldn't do well, and as soon as I saw what Stoner did with the Duc while Hayden struggled on the Honda, knew that was the only way he could be competitive again. And a year later.....

I did think Hayden was going to WSBK. He could be the first to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles if he doesn't do well on the Ducati.

By the by, a couple years ago Bayliss did ride as a MotoGP fill in, and dominated. If I remember right he won. I know he did podium. Isn't Toseland going back to WSBK?

 

I wonder how much has to do with the crew chief too. Look at the guys that have been multi-time world champs: they all had someone there (Kenny had Kel, Wayne had Kenny and the other guys--Warren Willig I think?) Freddie had Erv. Doohan had Burgess, as has Rossie and I tihnk Gardner too.

 

 

 

 

 

Is it the crew chief or the exceptional riders who eventually made the crew chief famous (or the chicken or the egg)?

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For sure its a team effort, but I think there are riders that are educated in bike setup and how a bike works, and there are guys that are mega fast but dont know why, the problem is the same guys can be slow some weeks and dont know why either, these guys depend on a good crew putting a well set bike under them, whereas the educated guys can work with there crew to get that bike the best it can possibly be for the race.

I saw an interview with one of Rossi's crew and he said that Rossi is selective with the problems he tells them he is having, he may have 5 problems but only tells his crew about the worst one, they then focus all their resources on sorting out that problem, once fixed he will tell them of another problem, come race day his bike may never be perfect but any major problems are eliminated and he can ride around the minor ones!

Is a well known big name crew chief necessary if you have an educated rider and a team of mechanics dedicated to getting the bike as good as it can be, Dovisioso achieved amazing results this year on a non factory bike with a crew he has worked with for years!

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The MotoGP and WSBK bikes are completely different. That is the GP 990's and WSBK bikes. When they went to 800's, I knew Hayden wouldn't do well, and as soon as I saw what Stoner did with the Duc while Hayden struggled on the Honda, knew that was the only way he could be competitive again. And a year later.....

I did think Hayden was going to WSBK. He could be the first to win both MotoGP and WSBK titles if he doesn't do well on the Ducati.

By the by, a couple years ago Bayliss did ride as a MotoGP fill in, and dominated. If I remember right he won. I know he did podium. Isn't Toseland going back to WSBK?

 

 

2006, final race of the year at Valencia Bayliss won the last ever 990cc race standing in for Sete Gibernau, he never really got the credit he deserved as this race was to be the first time the championship was decided in the final race for, well a very long time! All eyes were on 2 guys that day Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, Hayden had been wiped out by team mate Dani Pedrosa the previous week in Portugal making him go into the final race 2nd in the championship. This was going to be the best race ever, Rossi fell off for no apparent reason in lap 5 and Nicky took 3rd to win the title, Ducati took 1st and 2nd with Bayliss and Caparossi! That was back when moto gp used to be exciting, it took a year and a half until Laguna Seca this year to get that excitement back!

 

Also James Toseland is riding with tech 3 Yamaha again in moto gp next year!

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Hayden has a lot of problems with fuel management. His engine takes power toward the end of the race to ensure he finishes. Problems only a different bike can fix. Thus Ducati.

Does anyone know how true the rumors about Repsol favoring Pedrosa are? I wouldn't think a company would ignore the needs of a world champion on a top bike. How can they put all that money into a bike and rider and not even try to fit him to the bike?

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Hayden has a lot of problems with fuel management. His engine takes power toward the end of the race to ensure he finishes. Problems only a different bike can fix. Thus Ducati.

Does anyone know how true the rumors about Repsol favoring Pedrosa are? I wouldn't think a company would ignore the needs of a world champion on a top bike. How can they put all that money into a bike and rider and not even try to fit him to the bike?

 

 

Repsol are the massive spanish oil company that sponsor the factory Honda team, Dani is the young Spanish rider and one of the faces of repsol as seen in most of their advertising campaigns in Spain, He has been sponsored personaly by them for most of his career as can be seen on his previous bikes in the lower classes, his Moviestar 250 had repsol bellypans. I read that it was repsol that forced honda to put Dani on Bridgestones mid season this year, You can never underestimate the influence of sponsors in racing and the power they have when they threaten to pull their money out! When Honda began testing the 800 2 years ago it was clear that it was one of the smallest bikes in the paddock, it appeared to fit Dani perfectly and Nicky looked awkward and uncomfortable on it, ironically this was the day after Nicky won the championship!

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What tire brand is Nicky running?

 

Whatever it is, they will all be on the same tire next year. Has anyone heard if the spec tire for MotoGP has been chosen yet?

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What tire brand is Nicky running?

 

Whatever it is, they will all be on the same tire next year. Has anyone heard if the spec tire for MotoGP has been chosen yet?

I think it was some time ago now that they announced Bridgestone as THE tire of MotoGP. I like the battle of the tires myself. Michelin screwing the pooch at Laguna. Riders setting their preference. At least they're not all stuck on Pirelli (COUGH WSBK).

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What tire brand is Nicky running?

 

Whatever it is, they will all be on the same tire next year. Has anyone heard if the spec tire for MotoGP has been chosen yet?

I think it was some time ago now that they announced Bridgestone as THE tire of MotoGP. I like the battle of the tires myself. Michelin screwing the pooch at Laguna. Riders setting their preference. At least they're not all stuck on Pirelli (COUGH WSBK).

 

I agree. Spec tires are fine for production based racing. They fit the underlying intention of the class or series. But for GP or Formula racing, tire choice should be, like you said, part of the game!

 

Which leads me to my next opinion which is that it's bad enough that GP racing is effectively being turned into alleged Formula racing, I think they are ruining the concept by way of essentially production based classes for the pocket books of the manufacturers, ie. 600's to replace 250's, and some other single to replace two stroke 125's? It's BS. If they wanted a Formula series, fine. But why do away with the purest most sublime and elegant racing machines in the world to do it? A two stroke motor has three moving parts, and the lightest chassis possible, eh? It requires the best riders to ride well. But we're supposed to swallow a formula based on the most complex technology possible? Four stroke motors, Desmodromic valve trains, traction control, etc, etc. And then talk about instituting claiming rules to keep costs down?

 

Baah!

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