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[Spoiler] Jerez Race


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Even if you're a big fan of Valentino Rossi, you'd be hard pressed not to say that the race was kinda boring:

Pole, fastest lap, win and led every single lap in the race.

 

A Lorenzo-eque dominant win. Lorenzo blamed rear wheelspin down the straights for not being able to take the victory. It turns out that Rossi and Marquez also had problems with the rears spinning from mid-race.

 

Sam Lowes took an almost equally dominant win: Pole, led from lap 2 to the end to win by ~2.5sec over Folger. Niether Folger nor Alex Rins (2nd and 3rd) had any answer to #SidewaysSam's pace and spectacular style.

Zarco had an uncharacteristically bad weekend, but benefited from falling riders (and passing Tom Luthi) to salvage a 5th position at the end.

 

In Moto3 Brad Binder did the seemingly impossible: after being demoted from 2nd on the grid to the rear for using an un-sanctioned ECU map, he still came through to win the race. Teenager Nicolo Bulega (SKY Team VR46) took pole and 2nd place by an audacious but cleanly executed pass of Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Navaro in the final corner. Surely two riders we are going to see more of in the future.

 

Edit: Oh, and Cal Crutchlow actually finished a race, for the first time year. Even picked up championship points too!

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In theory, next year should be super-interesting with MM, VR and JL on different motorcycles. That is, if MM doesn't decide to jump ship from the ailing Honda (I doubt that).

 

The Ducati/JL combination could either be a match made in heaven or in hell: the "Bologna Bullet" having loads of power, but JL more relying on that silky-smooth riding style and high corner speeds. If Ducati can make the bike work better for cornering, this is bound to be a success formula. If they can't, JL may well quickly rue the change - just like VR did.

 

I'm cheering on Suzuki to further improve their bikes, so they can start competing for podiums and (later) wins. Ducati seemed to suffer particularly much here in Jerez with their front runner (Iannone) 26sec back on the winner.

 

Aprilia seems to be a couple of years behind Suzuki in development. KTM hasn't done any official tests, so it's anyone's guess where they are.

 

What I see as the "Elephant on the racetrack" is the quality and tire-to-tire consistency of Michelin tires:

Baz suffered a puncture in the Sepang test, causing the rear to split down the middle. A horrifying 290kph crash ensued.

Redding had the entire top layer delaminate during FP4 in Argentina. Michelin has said it was due to "a combination of an unusual high track temp, severity of the track layout, and Redding's weight" (link).

During qualifying, Lorenzo's 2nd rear was a dud (heavy chattering), so he pitted immediately to get it replaced. All the riders complained about spinning the rear on the straights - something I've never heard complaints about with the Bridgestone tires.

Redding had another rear starting to delaminate on him during the race, so he backed down to 1m44s laps to ride the bike home (crash.net).

Michelin claimed that Scott's rear was "OK".

 

But something was definitely odd about the Jerez surface yesterday. The Moto2 guys were throwing their front ends all over the place - 12 crashes, and all due to loosing the front tire, if I'm not mistaken.

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Kai;

Didn't Bridgestone go through a similar start up problem when they took over from Michelin a number of years ago? As the resident Jedi Knight of all things MotoGP, you are the man to ask.

BTW, I finally got a chance to watched the Moto2 race last night - what a spectacle.

Kevin

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Kevin,

 

Didn't Bridgestone go through a similar start up problem when they took over from Michelin a number of years ago?

 

Excellent question. I don't remember that, and given that Bridgestone were involved as supplier to part of the MotoGP field before becoming the single support, I would doubt it. Maybe Bridgestone had teething problems the first years when they joined MotoGP in 2002.

 

Looking at Wikipedia's entry on tires in GP racing it seems like that the teams were already moving away from Michelins, because they were unhappy with them at the time.

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Now that you mentioned it, back in the day, I seem to recall Rossi complaining that Ducati had an unfair advantage over Yamaha because of the Bridgestone tires that Stoner had, and indirectly led Dorna to adopt the Spec tire rule. I do remember watching (on TV of course) Stoner running away from the field at Qatar as the trigger to the chatter about the B'Stones. Did I remember this correctly Obi Wan?

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I didn't follow MotoGP that closely back in the time, so I don't know. I'm sure your Google-fu is quite as good as mine (that's where I got the info for #5 from). :P

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Kai;

The answer was in your Wikipedia link. You are a true Jedi, even when you don't realize what you know.

 

BTW, I am perplexed why so few Forum members don't jump into these threads. Despite being physically unable to ride a track bike anymore, I follow it like I still can. I also believe that everyone who participates here is just as passionate about riding or they wouldn't be here right? Racing is the ultimate extension of our track riding experiences so I it seems to me that every track rider must have at least once, thought about doing it ergo my confusion. I know Yellow Duc (Go Dogs!) is racing (or did last year) so he's focused on repeating so clearly he's got an excuse but where are the rest of you?

 

Kevin

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BTW, I am perplexed why so few Forum members don't jump into these threads. Despite being physically unable to ride a track bike anymore, I follow it like I still can. I also believe that everyone who participates here is just as passionate about riding or they wouldn't be here right? Racing is the ultimate extension of our track riding experiences so I it seems to me that every track rider must have at least once, thought about doing it ergo my confusion. I know Yellow Duc (Go Dogs!) is racing (or did last year) so he's focused on repeating so clearly he's got an excuse but where are the rest of you?

 

Kevin

 

I read the threads. I comment infrequently because I don't watch the races and would not really describe myself as a race fan. The highlights themselves are somewhat interesting and I do loosely pay attention to those. I probably am in the minority here but perhaps not.

 

I am interested in friends and their racing experiences. I admire their passion, dedication and goals. I probably have read more about YellowDuc's racing than I have about MotoGP. Recently serving as pit crew in a friends race was a unique perspective as well.

 

As for the "you ride at the track so you must be interested in racing" idea. We all have different reasons for going to the track. My own reason is far removed from speed alone. I ride at the track because I enjoy the experience. It gives me the opportunity to improve my riding and learn an incredible amount of stuff you can't really learn anywhere else. It's also a lot of fun being able to go as fast as you desire. I'm sure other riders have their reasons. Someone interested in mechanical things might look at track riding as a way of learning about how faster than normal speeds affect the hardware. I have a few friends that have that theme in their track experiences. Their desire for speed usually revolves around being able to observe tires and suspension under heavy loads.

 

Just because the reasons are different does not mean the passion is not still there. The passion just has a slightly different focus. To state the obvious many people would not subject themselves to the risk and expense of riding at the track unless they were passionate about it. :)

 

An interesting quote from Twist of the Wrist I.

 

"I'm going to begin this book with a little confession. I've never really been all that interested in racing - I just wanted to ride."

 

Hopefully this gives you a bit of insight.

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