Ezpeleta On The Future Of MotoGP: Bikes Costing 1 Million Euros, Fewer Spanish Races And Performance Balancing

Although the Wrooom event at the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio is formally meant as the launch for Ducati's MotoGP and Ferrari's Formula One season, many other big names from the world of racing are also in attendance. One such person was Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and given the major changes coming to MotoGP for 2012 - and even bigger changes from 2013 onwards - Ezpeleta had arranged to give a short press conference to talk to journalists about some of his plans for next season and beyond. But he barely made it into the press conference: on his way in, he was doorstepped by a group of journalists who started grilling Ezpeleta about the future of MotoGP, leaving the Spaniard with little left to say in the press conference. His answers did provide a compelling look at the future of MotoGP as Dorna sees it.

That world will look a little different to the way the series has developed since the switch to four strokes in 2002. The spiraling cost of MotoGP machines has to be brought under control if the series is to survive, and at Madonna di Campiglio, Ezpeleta put a number to what the cost of a MotoGP bike should be: as satellite teams are capable of securing budgets of between 2 and 2.5 million euros on their own, then a MotoGP machine capable of being competitive should cost 1 million euros, GPOne.com reports. "The problem is that now the bikes cost three million," Ezpeleta said. 

The problem was that in the balance between research & development for the factories and entertainment for the fans, the balance had swung almost completely towards R&D. Motorcycle racing was built on two pillars, Ezpeleta explained, technology and entertainment, and if you were forced by economic circumstance to choose between one or the other, entertainment was the better choice. History had shown that when manufacturers could spend their way to success, the risk was that a factory could spend what it takes to win, and then pull out, leaving the series empty handed. And so the rules for 2013 onwards would be changed to both drastically cut costs for factories and private teams alike, while attempting to create a better balance between the factory bikes and non-factory bikes, whether those non-factory bikes be leased satellite bikes or CRT machines.

Ezpeleta said there were a range of measures that could be introduced: a spec ECU and rev limits had been discussed earlier, but engine development freezes or adding ballast were also options. The factories were dead set against a spec ECU, as the electronics are the mainstay of their R&D efforts in MotoGP. And while Ezpeleta had proposed a spec ECU, what was more important was to limit performance, and by limiting performance, impose limits on cost. The Dorna boss was already in discussions with the factories about the rules from 2013 onwards, but if they could not reach an agreement by May, then he would impose a set of regulations himself, he said. When the factories had control of the rulebook (under the previous agreement which expired on December 31st, the factories were responsible for the technical regulations, which the other members of the Grand Prix Commission were bound by contract to accept), the prime focus of the rules had been to drive technological development. The result of that focus is clear for all to see, Ezpeleta insisted: the cost of leasing a satellite bike had become impossible for the satellite teams to afford.

And so Ezpeleta's aim was to ensure that a competitive MotoGP machine would cost private teams no more than 1 million euros per season. Just what those bikes were was irrelevant, Ezpeleta said. Whether they be CRT machines, or satellite-spec factory prototypes, the only thing that mattered was that the bikes were affordable and competitive. Ezpeleta said there were several options for ensuring this, apart from the technical regulations: if necessary, he would consider limiting factories to just 2 bikes each, or banning the leasing of bikes, and only allowing factories to sell them to private teams.

Much had been made - especially in the Italian press - of the safety aspect of CRT bikes. The speed difference between the factory bikes and the CRT machines would create dangerous situations on the track, is the objection most commonly heard. Ezpeleta was adamant that safety would not be compromised. Though the grid would be expanded from 17 to 21 - 12 factory prototypes and 9 CRT entries - only four new riders would be on the grid, and measures would be taken to ensure that they do not cause a safety risk. The difference in speed between the fastest and the slowest rider was in any case lower than in Formula One, Ezpeleta explained.

It is not just the rules where big changes are expected, however. The MotoGP calendar could look very different from 2013 onwards. What is certain is that the era of having 5 races on the Iberian peninsula is over: neither the economic climate in Spain and Portugal, nor the image of MotoGP as a world championship was helped by having so many races in one place. And with Texas and Argentina scheduled to take their place on the calendar, something will have to give. Though Ezpeleta did not give any hints as to which of the rounds would be dropped, the dire financial situation faced by Jerez means that this iconic Spanish track is the first one likely to be dropped. The Catalonian regional government have also stated publicly that financial support for the Formula One and MotoGP Grand Prix is also up for question, though it appears as though the main target is F1, as the subsidy paid by the Catalunya region for the privilege of staging an F1 race is vastly bigger than the amount paid for MotoGP, making MotoGP look affordable by comparison.

Even the season ender at Valencia may not be safe: the Valencia regional government is seriously considering dropping the Valencia F1 Grand Prix, as the costs of organizing the race around the street circuit in the center of the city of Valencia outweigh the benefits to the region. But the Ricardo Tormo circuit also receives a generous subsidy from local government agencies (including the Valencia tourist board) to host the MotoGP round, and this, too, is a subject for discussion.

As for Estoril, the economic situation in Portugal is even worse than the situation in Spain, making a continuation after this year look extremely unlikely. Even the 2012 race is at risk, Ezpeleta told reporters, as there is still no contract signed for this year. With the Estoril round due to take place one week after Jerez, there is a reasonable chance that the season will see the schedule cut to just 17 races.

So where will MotoGP be racing in future? Ezpeleta announced that negotiations were already under way to race at the new circuit at New Delhi (where 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo took a lap on a Yamaha R15 on Wednesday), and that talks were also being held with organizers in Korea. Other possible destinations include Brazil and Chile, Ezpeleta said. More tracks would not necessarily mean more races, however. No matter which circuits were added, the season would not be expanded beyond 18 races, Ezpeleta affirmed.

What is clear from Carmelo Ezpeleta's statements to the press is that there are very interesting times indeed ahead for MotoGP.

Although the Wrooom event at the Italian ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio is formally meant as the launch for Ducati's MotoGP and Ferrari's Formula One season, many other big names from the world of racing are also in attendance. One such person was Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and given the major changes coming to MotoGP for 2012 - and even bigger changes from 2013 onwards - Ezpeleta had arranged to give a short press conference to talk to journalists about some of his plans for next season and beyond. But he barely made it into the press conference: on his way in, he was doorstepped by a group of journalists who started grilling Ezpeleta about the future of MotoGP, leaving the Spaniard with little left to say in the press conference. His answers did provide a compelling look at the future of MotoGP as Dorna sees it.

Comments

Speed Differential & Electronics

Given the fact that Moto GP bikes and WSB run very close times and the tracks on which they both compete I can not imagine hysterical complaints that the CRT bikes are going to be in the way. Why will a CRT bike not be faster than a Superbike? And if they are faster, or even as fast, they will not be "in the way".

Secondly, I can not believe that the development of ECU technology is the main argument within the motorcycle industry for their continued participation in motorcycle racing at this level. Are they really proposing to their Boards of Directors that traveling around the world in jets....paying giant airline and hotel bills...paying rider salaries...fabricating incredibly complicated machinery..buying expensive tires....and participating in very dangerous races is the best way to develop ECU units for tiddlers that they sell in less developed countries??? That is an insane argument. It is not sustainable. They may say those words in interviews, and use this argument to try to avoid a standard ECU, but the argument is nonsense. They should be able to produce a very sophisticated ECU without employing Jorge Lorenzo, or endangering the lives of their employees. By the way, where can I get a Ducati moped? I understand the ECU was developed by Valentino Rossi???

I like the idea of a $1,000,000 claiming rule.

Miguel

Total votes: 209

Lap times...

Where are you getting that MotoGP bikes and WSBK bikes run "very close times"?

Total votes: 194

The fastest WSBK still arent

The fastest WSBK still arent as fast as the slowest GP bikes, close at times, but the fastest GP bikes walk on the WSBK. I think its a soft comparison...

Total votes: 200

The wsbk bikes themselves

The wsbk bikes themselves might not be as fast as the slowest gp bike, that is true. But the slowest GP bike in the hands of a struggling rider have at times been slower than an on form WSBK racer and his sbk.

Off the top of my head are Carlos Checa at Misano I think it was this past year, Ben Spies on his AMA sbk a few years ago poled in at a time that would have put him around 12-15th if i remember right back at laguna seca.

At certain 'riders' tracks it has happened.

The CRT's like moto2 before them, may well be slower than wsbk's for the first year or two in the same way moto2 bikes were slower than WSS at many venues. As the chassis designers and teams develop their equipment the gap will be closed quickly and then exceeded.

Even with the same powerplant as a WSBK, a CRT has a prototype chassis, bridgestones, carbon brakes, and custom electronics working in its favor.

Total votes: 208

Please read stats

Then you wont be so sure about soft comparison.
The following list created 1 year ago. As you can see its about 3 tracks. If you look carefully it seems to have 1 or 2 mistakes but numbers are ok and double checked

Assen: motogp - moto2 -- SBK -- ss600 -stock1000-stock600
Race : 1.34,52-1.38,91-1.36,31-1.38,65- 1.39,22 -1.41,82
V-max: 292,6----255,3----286----250,7----273,7----247,3

Brno : motogp - moto2 -- SBK -- ss600 -stock1000-stock600
Race : 1.57,52-2.04,31-1.59,76-2.04,01- 2.04,28 -2.07,01
V-max: 294,9----251,1----292----257,8----274------245

Mis: motogp - moto2 -- SBK -- ss600 -stock1000-stock600
Race : 1.34,34-1.39,43-1.36,58-1.39,36- 1.39,19 - 1.41,74
V-max: 273,9----234,2----245,1--247,9----239,1----229,5
(Mis=Misano)

Notice 1: SBK tires are Pirellis. These tires can't handle more than 200hp for a hole race, that's why 4cilinders are all over the place by mid race
Notice 2: SBK have steel brakes

Now put bridgestone tires and carbon brakes on SBK and they'll be 1 sec faster But that's illegal so a new name (like CRT) and a new WC (like motogp) would do the job.

Total votes: 216

Good for Less races in spain.

it's good to see than Mr.ezpeleta have intentions to remove some rounds from spain, if this is a World Championship then the spanish should agreed than having four races is excessive, two is reasonable. if this continue now we can talk about than this is really a world championship, ill like to see the idea than argentina, brazil can offer GP Racing, india also.

Now for spain is time to choice what races will be in 2013, two must be sacrificed, my opinion jerez and montmelo that two must be cut off from the series.

About CRTs, well with this economic spiral is reasonable than the powerfull teams also must adapt, life is all about changes and adapting to those changes, the important is than the races be must offer emotions and having more than four bikes fighting for first place is better.

Total votes: 212

LIP SERVICE

re: "it's good to see than Mr.ezpeleta have intentions to remove some rounds from spain, if this is a World Championship then the spanish should agreed than having four races is excessive"

i don't see where he has "intentions" at all. he's only reacting to fill potential holes in HIS 18 race schedule. the fact that the fillers happen to be in other countries is purely incidental. if spanish real estate hadn't fallen off a cliff and all 5 rounds were fully funded...? neither he nor Iberia would be paying this any lip service.

Total votes: 205

Entertainment? Still Waiting...

Mr. Carmelo can keep talking all he wants about CRTs this and Factories that... but let's gets things finalized in ink already! Set the rules... set the limits... set the specs! The sooner it's done... the sooner everybody can stop complaining and get down to business! This is motorcycle racing after-all... we are not trying to visit other planets via MotoGP! The 4 aliens are not leaving the series anytime soon anyway. Carmelo has the 'juice' now... we all know that. He needs to stop showing it and just use it already. It's time for the fans, that support the series religiously, to get all the entertainment that we have been missing since 2006 and prior!

Total votes: 174

Less Spanish rounds and ECU's

I would agree that 4 Spanish rounds is frankly excessive. Keep Jerez, it's iconic. The atmosphere is just incredible, even from the telly you can tell that. It's THE european round to do imo, hotly followed by Mugello. Catalunya needs to stay too, Aragon...do we REALLY need this track on the calendar? No, in my opinion, same for Valencia, no one likes going to Valencia, it's not a good place to race bikes, again, in my opinion.

The Moto GP paddock needs to go to different places. India looks like it would lend itself well to Moto GP. Whilst watching the F1 there this year I thought "this looks like a big version of Misano..which could work, I guess we'll find out next year. Problem is, that nearly all new circuits come from Tilke...and are solely designed FOR F1. Thats not to say Sepang hasn't given us great races, but I do worry that we might lose the whole feel for bike racing at proper bike tracks.

With regards to the ECU's, I was lucky enough to chat to the PR man for Crescent's BSB squad, and he confirmed that the most expensive part on any bike IS the ECU. Drop the cost of those, and you'll drop the price of the entire package. I'm all for "stock" ECU's and then lets get back to the mechanics of making a racing motorcycle go faster. Lets face it, not ONE person riding a bike on the road is ever going to be able to afford a Magneti Marelli ECU, let alone notice the difference that one gives to their bike.

Total votes: 191

THEORY OF RELATIVITY

re: "With regards to the ECU's, I was lucky enough to chat to the PR man for Crescent's BSB squad, and he confirmed that the most expensive part on any bike IS the ECU."

most expensive part relative to which...? mass produced GSXR...? or GSVR prototype...?

Total votes: 239

Future of MotoGP

Senor Ezpeleta has quite a few tools to enhance the competitive balance in MotoGP. In my opinion performance ballasting, where winners are penalised by having to carry more weight in successive races, is archaic and anti-competition in it's operation and is more attuned to club-level series than to MotoGP. I do not see that the "crisis" in MotoGP is so severe that we need to discard the technical aspect of MotoGP all together. It would be foolhardy to go overboard in the regulations before we have any experience of the new class in competition, and as Ezpeleta has stated he, as benevolent dictator, can change the regulations "on-the-fly" as needed.

Total votes: 195

Success ballast

'performance ballasting, where winners are penalised by having to carry more weight in successive races, is archaic and anti-competition in it's operation and is more attuned to club-level series than to MotoGP'

If that is your opinion, you also understand why racing is in its current depressed state, particularly car racing. In the free market, when a competitor or a small group of competitors (functioning as a cartel) exert power over an industry, regulators usually invent ways to break monopolies and cartels by reducing barriers to entry and subsidizing upstart competitors. Why, then, do race fans imagine that a sport with 3 major competitors is somehow the morally-correct end result of motorsports competition? On what basis or paradigm is that theory founded? Theory of fair governance? I hope not.

In human contests, time takes its toll on the human body and mind, which means traditional sports have a natural ebb and flow. No need to balance people. Technology portfolios don't sunset. Since the FIM cannot break HRC into 3 separate racing teams, why not create a system that polices manufacturing monopolies with some objectivity? Why not break the cartel by taking the rulebook away? If F1 had a system of ballast for the winning constructors, F1 probably wouldn't have developed into the spec sham it is today. Regulatory retribution is often sufficient to deter anti-competition in the first place.

Obviously, the manufacturers don't want ballast b/c they have a control-oriented agenda. For that reason, the manufacturers killed success controls many years ago. They have substituted spec regulations, and they increase or decrease the cost and sophistication of the regs to expel or attract competitors. Racing has really evolved! :-P

That said, I'm not sure we have a clear indication that success ballasting is effective or safe in motorcycle racing, but I'm not opposed to experimenting with the idea if it allows more freedom of design.

Total votes: 223

stuff ballast

>>If that is your opinion, you also understand why racing is in its current depressed state, particularly car racing.

Because they chased their most lucrative sponsors out of the paddock and we're in a multi-year global recession.

>>killed success controls

Success controls? Nice euphemism. We're really in a sad state when you talk about punishing the victor as a reasonable approach.

>>That said, I'm not sure we have a clear indication that success ballasting is effective or safe in motorcycle racing, but I'm not opposed to experimenting with the idea if it allows more freedom of design.

So you want people to use freedom of design to come up with new designs that will allow them to win which will then end up penalizing them for their innovation and success? Good luck there.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 261

Punishing the victor?

What do you call it when a small group of manufacturers dominate competition, and the sport falls by the wayside? If MotoGP doesn't exist, all of the manufacturers accomplishments and the industry they've created will be banished into obscurity. Is that what you call rewarding the victor?

This is a game of corporations, which means it must follow the basic systemic arrangements that make corporate competition possible. The reason the racing business is just a series of systemic shocks that collapse Groups, Classes, Series, and entire sanctioning bodies is b/c people don't care to run it properly.

The fans imagine that competition between soulless indelible corporations is the same as sport between passionate temporal human beings. Wonderful marketing story, but those two types of competition aren't the same. That's why we have an entirely different set of rules for competition between businesses. You either understand why those rules exist, or you cry yourself to sleep when your favorite sports and entertainment properties collapse under the weight of their own indiscretion. Racing is by far the least evolved sports-entertainment property on earth, which a serious problem since it is definitely the most complex sport. If you mix the least discretionary individuals with the most complex competitive environment on earth, you get the tumult know as the history of racing.

MotoGP doesn't have to use success ballast, but the underlying concept behind success ballast is not the death of sport. Success controls, whether ballast, budget limits, or intentional rules instability, represent a step away from spec equipment. Spec equipment is the latest craze in racing's endless quest to find a bit of stable ground.

Total votes: 207

yes, the victor should be rewarded

>>What do you call it when a small group of manufacturers dominate competition

I call that competition in its most natural form. Everybody can't be the best or compete for the best. This whole level playing field thing is a farce. The cream always rises to the top, that's the nature of the beast. When talented people get together and achieve success they usually stay together and achieve more success. When have privateer teams ever been consistent front runners in any series? Never. Every now and then they throw up a surprise and then those riders or techs gradually get promoted to the big teams and then either win more or don't and drop back a rank. And don't be disingenuous, nobody cared about Rossi dominating the results during his best years. Everybody was amazed at how good Honda's V5 was but I don't recall demands to slow it down so that Yamaha and others can compete. Honda got the 800cc bike wrong for years but there were no calls to hobble Yamaha's M1. Now that Rossi's win ratio is dropping like a lead weight all of a sudden there is this requirement to have a level equipment playing field. People called Rossi's PI win by 15 sec when he got the 10 sec penalty amazing but then complain when Stoner or Lorenzo do the same. What gives?

>>and the sport falls by the wayside?

I call it mismanagement by the sanctioning body. There have always been fast teams and slow teams. Backmarker teams used to be happy to be participating in the top level sport as just being on the grid is a privilege and an indication that you are already in the top .1%. Lapping slow riders was much more prevalent in the years of old that people say were better racing than today. The issue that is the problem is money in the sport is decreasing and as a result the satellite teams can't afford factory bikes. That's not a big surprise, the customer 2 strokes were not the same as the factory bikes either.

Instead of turning the entire rule structure upside down, introduce separate technical regulations, impose spec equipment, (and in general become more like NASCAR) and antagonize the only people willing to spend money on racing (the factories) there is an easier solution.

Production equipment has been used in GP racing many times in the past. There should not need to be rule changes to allow it again. Have Honda, Yamaha and anyone else who wants to make customer bikes around production engines. Aprilia is already doing it but in the process violating the spirit of the CRT rules in the first place. If they were allowed to sell them for 1M it would actually be profitable! Then we can have our 6 or 8 factory bikes and then another 12-16 more production racers that in all likelihood will be a large step above any current non-factory CRT effort and only a small step behind the factory prototypes at a much lower cost than a full-on prototype. We get big grids and retain manufacturer-backed technology development so our street bikes keep getting better and have healthy satellite teams with equipment they own and can reuse.

Trying to micromanage and equalize competitiveness through technical regulations is doomed to fail as I'm sure any manufacturer will be able to put more effort towards finding loopholes in the rulebook than the sanctioning body gave in creating the rulebook in the first place. Its like the US tax code. Its complex beyond belief in the attempt to be fair but corporations and their huge accounting departments easily find cracks to slide though due to that complexity so in the end it is anything but fair.

>>The reason the racing business is just a series of systemic shocks that collapse Groups, Classes, Series, and entire sanctioning bodies is b/c people don't care to run it properly.

Who is running it?

>>Racing is by far the least evolved sports-entertainment property on earth

That's because of its costs and dangers. Comparing motorsports to soccer, rugby, football, baseball, basketball, cricket, etc. is meaningless. Other sports are not developing new technology and feeding into manufacturing production lines. They are purely entertainment with little relevance to society once the channel is changed. Motorsports is largely responsible for the vast improvements to the transportation devices we all use everyday. If you want a closely technically managed series in order to purely provide entertainment it exists, its WSB. GP racing exists for a reason and that reason is not selling TV contracts.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 223

Heady Idealism

Your heady idealism is rooted almost entirely in social concerns and cultural moralism. If the point of competition is to strengthen the breed, then the purpose of sport is to maximize the challenge and to maximize the number of people who take on the challenge. A sport in participatory decline is no longer strengthening the breed. Hegemony by the victors is indeed the natural consequence of competition, but it isn't an optimal outcome and it doesn't help strengthen the breed so you shouldn't be singing its praises. Therefore, you should have no qualms about subjecting the victors to sustained competition rather than letting them rest on their laurels within the sanctity of their cartel. This competitive philosophy has been around for nearly 400 years, and it has correlated with a forward leap for the material/intellectual condition of mankind, not an unnatural decline.

Without competition and challenge there is no sport. It has been common throughout racing for manufacturers to declare 'we came, we saw, we conquered'. They withdraw as suddenly as they arrived. Neither Honda nor Yamaha are cast from that mold, but they control the rules so they are never without the challenges they want. The corporate directives of Honda and Yamaha, as impressive as they may be from a technological standpoint, are not necessarily in the best interest of the sport, the motorcycle industry, or the competitors. The Honda-Yamaha challenges do not necessarily represent the best way to strengthen the breed, either.

You have made yourself an instrument of those companies b/c you think your agendas are aligned. I would encourage you not to be so simplistic. If a manufacturer is unwilling to accept a more difficult challenge, ballasting or otherwise, are they really competing to strengthen the breed or are they more concerned with their own recreational agenda and their public image?

Total votes: 202

good one!

>>Your heady idealism

If the shoe fits, I'll wear it.

>>rooted almost entirely in social concerns and cultural moralism

You don't know me very well. MotoGP is top level competition. Competition is survival of the fittest, not make the fittest wear a lead jacket so the non-fittest can keep up. The results of this competition actually benefit me. I can buy better motorcycles. I can buy better aftermarket tires, brakes, etc. I can travel the same distance spending less on fuel. And I can tell the environmentalists to leave me and my hobby alone because it is not that damaging thanks to the strengthening of the breed through competition. And I can dream of participating in that level of competition and not having arbitrary rules affect how good a vehicle I can make and know if I win it is not because of artificial handicapping.

>>If the point of competition is to strengthen the breed

Yes, that statement is generally accepted.

>>then the purpose of sport is to maximize the challenge and to maximize the number of people who take on the challenge.

Where did you get that? It makes no sense. Sport is a leisure activity. Our conflict is happening because our previously competition-focused hobby that was also fun to watch is trying to reinvent itself as mass market broadcast entertainment.

>>A sport in participatory decline is no longer strengthening the breed.

You are confusing quantity with quality. They are completely different and unrelated. And you may be confusing the bikes with the riders that pilot them.

>>Therefore, you should have no qualms about subjecting the victors to sustained competition

Honda and Yamaha were competing pretty well against each other in 2011. Stoner made the big difference there. In 2007-2010 there were 3 factories competing tooth and nail for victories every race. Is that not sustained competition?

Let's get what is going on straight: the victors are being slowed down to enable a class of rider and team that was never before competitive to become competitive.

>>Neither Honda nor Yamaha are cast from that mold, but they control the rules so they are never without the challenges they want.

The Permanent Bureau consisting of Dorna CEO and FIM president Vito Ippolito has veto power over any proposed rule, unanimous MSMA vote or not.

>>You have made yourself an instrument of those companies b/c you think your agendas are aligned.

No, its just that I happen to agree with the approach of companies that have supported racing for decades and whose products I have purchased and enjoyed, not the approach of the company that has a short term lease of the FIM rights and are concerned about how much their TV contracts are worth. And remember, it was Dorna who took the technical rule making responsibilities from the FIM and gave them to the MSMA.

>>If a manufacturer is unwilling to accept a more difficult challenge, ballasting or otherwise, are they really competing to strengthen the breed or are they more concerned with their own recreational agenda and their public image?

Your best point so far and companies definitely have a huge self-interest but if the same rules don't apply equally to everyone than it really isn't competition or sport, it is like handicapping in amateur golf. It allows players of different skills to play in the same round and have somewhat of a basis of comparison. However the pros don't use handicaps because it is an artificial construct that has no place when you are trying to determine the best. The idea of using a handicapping system (which success ballast is) in MotoGP is ridiculous. The whole point of the history of GP 'open class' racing is to see who can be the best.

Again, all of this is being done to get a few more entry level teams on the grid. There are easier and less sacrilegious ways of achieving this goal.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 204

Negative

I don't need to know you to see that you are treating corporations as individuals. You are also using competition-between-humans and competition-between-companies interchangeably, though, they are not the same contest.

No one is suggesting that Casey Stoner be forced to were a lead jacket to slow him down. If you wanted to make Casey Stoner better and stronger than he is now, you would make him race in a lead jacket, but that's not how human contests work. Human competition has a natural ebb and flow b/c people age, thus, we let people enjoy their temporary reign.

Corporations don't grow old and slow. They have a going-concern, and their long-term goal for development spending and capital investment is to improve profitability and capture marketshare. In other words, they want to eliminate competition. In the interest of preserving competition and the strength it brings; cartels, stagnant oligopolies, duopolies, and monopolies are broken.

You can twist it however you want. At the end of the day, you are arguing that companies (you deem worthy) should continue winning b/c you believe it provides you with better technology. So even though you know that a win does not add a single bit of technology to the intellectual property portfolio (an engineering challenge does), you still believe that MSMA victory is somehow going to give us better street bikes. Behold the power of marketing and branding. They turn human beings into fanboys.

[metaphor]If you were playing dodgeball against a bunch of six-year-olds, and I were referee, I might make you alternate between throwing with your left hand and right hand. My goal is not to make you lose. My goal is to make the game more enjoyable and to introduce new challenges. While you complain about being treated unfairly, you also become ambidextrous. Are you weaker?[/metaphor] In the market we don't allow the government to handicap companies, but we do let them bust anti-competition. MotoGP is not a public market, and Dorna can't break-up the companies. The GPC should always be deliberating about ways to improve competition instead of letting the MSMA run amok b/c the fans mistakenly believe street-bikes will improve.

If fuel efficiency is the holy grail of street-bike tech, instead of adding success ballast, restore fuel capacity to 24L and delete 1L of fuel for each championship. Fuel-efficiency technology would be the focus of the major manufacturers, meanwhile, the lesser teams would be working on elemental technologies like chassis flex, geometry, electronics, engine integrity, etc. A lot more people would be developing technology which improves the likelihood of innovation. The rules would be relatively stable, and people would fret as much about unsustainable development spending.

I see no particularly good reason to decry handicapping or success controls other than misguided hardline ideology.

Total votes: 224

fail

If the best metaphor you can come up with is an adult playing dodgeball against a bunch of 6 year olds then there's not much more to discuss.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 237

I didn't get the impression

I didn't get the impression you were discussing much anyway, just shooting down point after point.
Tell me..What does your 'purist' stance think about the fact that a rider who is running at the front loses his position because the bike goes into "make it to the flag mode" because it's running out of fuel?

"It's the same for everyone" won't suffice.

Total votes: 192

I'll say that a rider burning all his fuel before the end

of the race is like a rider running out of grip for riding too aggressively too early, it's a technological constraint imposed on all the riders and they have to be clever and make the most of it. It's part of the skills required to win, you have to manage your race, not to be the fastest over one lap, it's not a time trial.
So since a few years managing your race included managing your fuel in addition to your tires, your stamina and so on. As a spectator I don't have any problem with that.
It's also interesting because unlike other benefits coming with having the best engineers in your team the rider has a direct input onto this, choosing which map to race and when to switch between maps, it adds another layer of complexity to the sport.

The days where the only skill required to win a Grand Prix race was to pin the throttle are long gone, you can lament these days but they are never coming back.
Nowadays much more is required from the rider, setting up the bike and providing understandable feedback to the team are more important and the possibilities far much wider. A certain level of understanding of all the electronics and how to use them best is certainly needed to set up your bike best, both on the "mechanical" side and the "electronics" side.

That being said I know that the caricature of the current situation is "now only the techno kids will win as opposed to true racers" but there is no doubt in my mind that these new skills are merely an addition to the usual riding skills required and that the current riders who dominate MotoGP previously dominated their respective categories earning multiple podiums, wins or even world championships in 125, 250 would still dominate should the electronics be banned from MotoGP.

Total votes: 230

thanks frenchie

>>I didn't get the impression you were discussing much anyway, just shooting down point after point.

If I don't agree with something I say why and if I do agree with something I say that too. How and why do you go about posting? I try not to include rider favoritism BS in my posts but yes, I am a purist, and I believe the same rules should apply equally to all participants. That is the task of the sanctioning body, not having rolling rulebooks and behind the scene agreements to let rules bend as necessary. To me that is what is dangerous to the health of the sport. How can you entice anybody, participant or sponsor, to invest large sums in a situation where there is no stability or clarity in the rules?

>>What does your 'purist' stance think about the fact that a rider who is running at the front loses his position because the bike goes into "make it to the flag mode" because it's running out of fuel?

I'd rather finish lower down the order with a bike in low fuel mode than have a DNF with a bike that is completely out of gas.

>>"It's the same for everyone" won't suffice.

Care to elaborate? Its been that way since 1949. Sometimes we have great racing, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we have full grids, sometimes we don't. A couple of years of not completely full grids and all of a sudden we have to revamp premier class racing? To me it is a knee jerk reaction because of Dorna's entertainment-focused strategy which I obviously disagree with.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 175

Purist?

In 1949 the FIM wrote the rules. In 1949, the MSMA hadn't arbitrarily banned two-strokes. In 1949, the sport wasn't on TV; therefore, MotoGP's only commercial responsibility was to the participating manufacturers and the venue owners.

The manufacturers tell you that if you support them, and their decades-long participation, you are a purist. I don't think you need to me to tell you that they are yanking your chain.

The sport has changed a great deal during the last 60 years, as has the industry it represents. You claim to be a purist b/c it is an easy way to ignore the diseconomies and inefficiencies. Most importantly, though, it allows you to pretend you love sports by writing blank checks for the biggest businesses in MotoGP.

Last time I checked, Honda was more than 400 times bigger than MotoGP. Good thing you care about preserving the integrity of the sport. :-P I'm not against the manufacturers, but my consideration extends well beyond their bottom line and corporate strategy.

Total votes: 208

Dorna is in charge, not the MSMA

The Permanent Bureau (FIM president and Dorna CEO) have had veto power over any proposed regulations. All of the changes to 4 stroke, to 800cc, to spec tire, were unanimous vote. Its a bit late to start blaming the MSMA for proposals that everybody voted for.

If you read my posts you see what I am in favor of 2 things:

1. Equal regulations for all participants in the premier class. This is the responsibility of the sanctioning body (the FIM), who passed it on to Dorna, who accomplishes everything though opaque old-boy-network style negotiations. Instead of worrying about reducing engine capacity to prevent straightaway crashes or getting Rossi the best tires, spend some time designing regulations that can last for more than 5 years which is what really creates stability.

2. Elimination of spec equipment (tires) and well thought out rules that discourage technology development that is not relevant to improving the production breed.

>>Last time I checked, Honda was more than 400 times bigger than MotoGP. Good thing you care about preserving the integrity of the sport. :-P I'm not against the manufacturers, but my consideration extends well beyond their bottom line and corporate strategy.

I'm not sure what Honda's corporate size has to do with anything. I don't get your dislike of motorcycle manufacturers. They have been the driving force and main competitor and equipment base for motorcycle racing since day one. What has changed is: a.the focus on entertainment, which is directly attributable to Dorna's (not unreasonable) desire to make money with their leased business, and b. the FIM giving away responsibility for rule making.

I'm not for the MSMA making rules or blank checks given to anybody. It's just that this new desire to have smaller and slower teams be competitive where they were never competitive before by slowing down the faster guys is not competition, it is reality TV.

And please stop telling me what I know but won't admit to myself. (You have made yourself an instrument of those companies b/c you think your agendas are aligned., I don't think you need to me to tell you that they are yanking your chain.) It's insulting to me and only shows your lack of any factual argument to support your position.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 234

Chris..

Thanks for the measured reply.

You run a business and therefore must be aware that times are hard at the moment.
Just twelve bikes was not going to do anyone any favours and with respect, describing that scenario as a 'not completely full grid' is being economical.
Like it or not, Dorna have been charged by the FIM to run the commercial side of the sport. They jumped into bed with the wrong people when they delegated rule-making to the MSMA and seem to have been on a promise ever since.
In what other world level sport do the competitors make the rules, with all the implications that brings? Why should potential participants be subjected to these rules that have set the bar artificially high because of cost, preventing any chance of parity?
We know now that the permanent bureau has the ultimate say-so, but where the hell has it been hiding?
I have a certain amount of sympathy with your disdain for Dorna, but the double-whammy of Ezpeletas extended patience and the WFC had almost brought the racing to its knees in terms of the spectacle and lack of diverse competition. Something had to be done.
The Japanese have walked before and the racing continued, if they walk now without CRT it won't. This is a transitory period, a 12 bike grid, which I thought was 6 below the requirement to ratify the series as a bona-fide world championship, was staring us in the face with a stable rule-set.

I read that Hondas rumoured budget for the last year of 800, to bring home the bacon, was $450million and they have the collywobbles over Aprilias homologated RSV4 streetbike with a few extra engines and litres of fuel competing?
There is no sadder indictment of how far it's gone wrong than that, surely?

Total votes: 176

Its about planing for the future

Yes, as a business owner I know that not planning for long term growth is a sure way to prevent it. That is the main issue around what is occurring in the sport. Dorna had a team willing to dump their own money and effort to build private bikes (WCM) but didn't support them. Yes, I know the paddock all liked the effort but the bottom line is that Dorna did not try to legally enforce their production/prototype position for WCM. The idea that if a bike is not homologated for WSB it is then eligible for GP could have been made as easily in 2003 as in 2011. I guess Peter Clifford is not Spanish.

>>They jumped into bed with the wrong people when they delegated rule-making to the MSMA and seem to have been on a promise ever since. In what other world level sport do the competitors make the rules, with all the implications that brings?

Dorna leased the rights from the FIM and Dorna gave the rule making ability to the MSMA. Who made those decisions again? And who is getting the blame? Even in 2001 it would not take a psychic to know that letting the inmates run the asylum would only lead to grief.

>>We know now that the permanent bureau has the ultimate say-so, but where the hell has it been hiding?

Its always been the case. They are hiding because they allowed bad decisions to be made would rather stay hidden than take the blame.

>>Ezpeletas extended patience

He's the person who brought us to where we are today!

>>the WFC

If the problem is a financial crisis then weathering the crisis without giving away your soul would make sense, not reorganizing and diluting your sport to deal with a temporary situation.

>>I read that Hondas rumoured budget for the last year of 800, to bring home the bacon, was $450million

Rumors are rarely accurate. Where did they spend all that money? The 2011 bike was very similar to the end of season 2010 bike so no big development happened over the break. They can't have Q engines or bring a new spec engine to each event like they used to so there's another place they can't spend on. Tires are spec and quantity limited so that limits their testing, which was also limited so they can't spend on that either.

Honda is always a convenient punching bag (and I have taken a few shots too, especially for Moto2 ) but I think they are largely blameless in this situation.

>>and they have the collywobbles over Aprilias homologated RSV4 streetbike with a few extra engines and litres of fuel competing?

Its Ducati that have their panties in a wad over the RSV4. And why prohibit factory involvement in CRT but then ignore factory Aprilia technicians (in factory uniforms!) in the garage during testing? Why declare that we have a rolling rulebook? That's great for stability. Instead Dorna should be pleading with the manufacturers to build production-engine based GP machines that could be sold. The mfgrs said many times that the engine is the biggest cost component so if they could replace the GP engine with a production one then satellite bikes would become affordable and year old ones could be sold to lesser teams. Its only now (10 years into the 4 stroke age) that Dorna showed their cards and officially allowed production engines in even though they have been used many times in the past. Maybe it just makes too much sense.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 219

WSB v Moto GP

I don't want to spend a lot of time at this but at Silverstone this year Hopper qualified at 2.04 at the WSB round on a GSXR Suzuki. At the Moto GP round, Rossi qualified at 2.05 with a prototype Ducati, carbon fibre frame and Burgess in his corner...plus supposedly magical tires. Hard to say that WSB is always slower...

Miguel

Total votes: 194

Too Much SpeedTV?

MotoGP should just hire "Pinks" host Rich Christensen and get it over with.

Maybe start Casey from the back of the grid? Give Rossi five lengths?

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinks

Total votes: 188

Good for you Carmelo....I

Good for you Carmelo....I applaud it.

Go standardized or spec ECU, which limits traction control. Let's see the bikes go sideways again. Will put all the development back on the chassis and motor to work together without all the nannies.

Every single fast guy I know that spends heaps on track days turns the chit off anyways, prior to the first session. This is racing at its' highest level, let the riders right wrist be the traction control. All this software, TC, LC, Anti spin, etc, etc, has done is up the costs exponentially and thus pushing Kawi and Suzuki out. The sport costs too much.

Spec out that ECU and be done with it. New mfr's will come (hint BMW, Aprilia, KTM, who else?), old mfr's will rejoin (Suzuki, Kawasaki) and let Honda take their ball and go home.

I'm tired of hearing that electronic nanny development argument from the Japanese. They could do that at their own, private test tracks, and not have to fly multiple teams around the world for 18 races.

They need to be honest and admit that all the electronic nannies are good for is giving the mfr's more control over the bike (yes I know they shave a few tenths, big deal). The mfr's don't want an anomaly to come along and beat them on a slower bike. Since the 800's began, they've severely increased electronics and their importance.

Don't let anyone fool you. The mfr's, unless they are put in check, will continually to try and take duties out of the riders hands and put it in their own pockets.

As of December 31st, 2011, they don't run chit any more. Thank God.

Go Carmelo, you are my new hero!

Total votes: 168

i'll pass

>>Go standardized or spec ECU, which limits traction control. Let's see the bikes go sideways again. Will put all the development back on the chassis and motor to work together without all the nannies.

Why do you think removing electronics and making the bikes harder to ride will make the racing any closer?

>>Every single fast guy I know that spends heaps on track days turns the chit off anyways, prior to the first session.

Yea, let's look to trackday riders to see the future direction of GP technology. The reason they are track day riders and not racers is because they are not fast enough. If we lost the sophisticated electronics then Stoner would be even further in front, Lorenzo would highside into orbit around Mars, the M1 would take a huge performance step backwards, the Duc would be even more unrideable, and Honda would just make an unbeatable engine.

>>Spec out that ECU and be done with it. New mfr's will come (hint BMW, Aprilia, KTM, who else?), old mfr's will rejoin (Suzuki, Kawasaki) and let Honda take their ball and go home.

Why would they come? They can't come as a CRT, the whole point of that is to eliminate factory involvement. I think BMW is too logical to spend that much money as a factory entry when they only have one model in the sportbike segment. KTM isn't even in WSB, why do you think they would spend even more money to be in a series that does not relate to their production models? They wouldn't even let KR run their V4 engine. Well they would have one reason to participate if they could develop new technology as their road bikes are the least sophisticated of the bunch but restricting innovation eliminates that reason. Aprilia is already semi-involved and won't be entering a factory team any time soon as they'll get much more bang for the buck supplying engines to privateers that will be nipping at the satellite teams' heels.

>>I'm tired of hearing that electronic nanny development argument from the Japanese. They could do that at their own, private test tracks, and not have to fly multiple teams around the world for 18 races.

Japanese companies are businessmen above all else. If they could achieve this development in their private testing facilities at lower cost they would be doing it. They can't because there are only a select few riders capable of pushing the limit and expanding the performance envelope and they want to be world champions, not test track riders.

>>They need to be honest and admit that all the electronic nannies are good for is giving the mfr's more control over the bike

That's just wrong. In the past 10 years motorcycles have become lighter, more powerful, more fuel efficient, emit less pollution, last longer, and become more manageable to ride both slow and fast. That's real progress and largely attributable to the switch to 4 strokes in GP racing.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 234

Traction Control Kid

So Lorenzo is the new traction control kid? :D
Just kidding, I realize you were making a point. I think if he remembers that he has no TC and/or doesn't forget to turn off launch control before the corner, he would adapt just fine.

Total votes: 168

his corner speed is why I pointed him out

He is a very high corner speed rider which dovetails nicely with the bike he rides. The high corner speed nature of the Yamaha requires careful engine control so the bike can roll smoothly through he corner allowing all tire traction to be used for lateral grip instead of wasting part of the traction pie fighting engine braking. He adapted extremely well to the Yamaha electronics but I think with less advanced systems the riding style that the Yamaha rewards will be difficult to perform reliably.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 191

Where to begin?

This announcement and auxilliary rumors are a lot to digest. The most interesting new rumor is the success ballast so I guess that's where I should comment.

Success ballast is actually a bit different from performance balancing. Performance balancing is what they use in FIA GT racing and Grand Am. BoP (balance of performance) involves writing different rules for each manufacturer and vehicle until the performance of each vehicle is roughly the same. If you look at the FIA GT3 website, they list the different specs of the cars, and they give some info about how the downforce, drag, and horsepower are manipulated to equalize the vehicles. The changes are often part of homologation so the performance balance is locked in. Success ballast generally focuses on the winner or winners, not all vehicles, and success ballast is not added with the explicit purpose of equalizing the winning vehicle. Success ballast is just a way of maintaining competition over the long term, by reducing the racing benefits of torrential development spending.

Success ballast, if implemented properly, can allow for blue-skies technical regulations. If the sanctioning body knows performance will not get out of hand, and no manufacturer or group of manufacturers will dominate, the sanctioning body doesn't have to regulate technical attributes as strictly. They could theoretically set the rules at 24L 1000cc and have a few additional regulations.

The most interesting part about success ballast is that it isn't really compatible with a control tire. If Edward's bike was success ballasted by 10-15kg, the rider/bike combo would be 30-40kg heavier than Dani Pedrosa. A control tire might work with rider weight handicapping, but I think it is more likely they will let tire companies build tire carcasses and tire compounds to handle the additional work. We already know the riders and tire manufacturers are not keen on the control tire situation.

The drawback of success ballasting is safety, imo. Two riders have been killed by bike strikes in the last two seasons. I seriously doubt that adding more power and more weight will help reverse the trend.

Total votes: 242

??

>>Success ballast, if implemented properly, can allow for blue-skies technical regulations. If the sanctioning body knows performance will not get out of hand, and no manufacturer or group of manufacturers will dominate, the sanctioning body doesn't have to regulate technical attributes as strictly. They could theoretically set the rules at 24L 1000cc and have a few additional regulations.

This is a flawed argument. First is the small disclaimer of 'implemented properly'. Then, even if against all odds it is, you have to know that 'performance will not get out of hand, and no manufacturer or group of manufacturers will dominate'. How does one 'know' that or does it need to be enforced in addition to the success ballast? And how would you enforce it? By limiting technical regulations. So much for those blue skies.

>>If Edward's bike was success ballasted by 10-15kg, the rider/bike combo would be 30-40kg heavier than Dani Pedrosa.

Don't you have that backwards? Why would Edwards' bike be ballasted compared to Dani's? Last time I checked Pedrosa had a hell of a lot better record than Edwards even when Edwards was on the same factory M1 that Rossi was beating Pedrosa with. And if you mean that the rulebook changes will be making Edwards finish in front of Pedrosa then that is complete shit as Pedrosa is a better rider and should be finishing ahead of Edwards and manipulation of the rules to that extent would be just shameful.

Chris
http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/

Total votes: 206

One squids unqualified opinion

It's all so backwards. I call shenanigans.

There is always an avenue to spend more money for those with the budget and will to win (like bidding more for top riders or R&D). They should be removing the rules that give an advantage to money, not creating more. Limited fuel and closed motors being the biggest.

Trying to nerf computers is backwards. Any software/hardware that is rare today is plentiful and cheap the next. The though of nerfing development with stock bits makes me convulse. What about e-bikes? It wont be long until 'smart' bikes start to shame the ICE bikes running around on their 2010 bridgestones 20 years from now.

I can't even imagine explaining this CRT crap to someone. I can't wait to hear the race announcers using half their air time going over WTF a CRT is in relation to the factory and sat bikes each race weekend. How can this possibly attract more viewers (consumers)?

Ezpeleta should be looking at ways to increase his market share. Open up viewership so that people can actually watch the races and become fans instead of the unimaginative business model of selling shitty streaming at over priced rates. Make money from merchandising and special content once you increase your mindshare many times over. The simple act of putting the races up for free streaming (with some delay) would generate a much greater viewership. Maybe teams can get sponsors when actual eyes are on the races. Maybe people wont look at me like I'm speaking in tongues when I mention names like stoner and rossi outside of race forums.

If it wasn't for torrents I think GP would have an even smaller audience then it does now, no thanks to Ezpeleta. If he ran google I think his best idea for more income would be to charge 1$ per query. It's the business model that is broken.

Total votes: 233

another ex-squid's armchair quarterbacking

I find it hard to believe that the ECU could be so expensive. Certainly it's not the hardware that's costly. I guess the electronics guys that Honda stole from Yamaha are doing more than twiddling values in tables. Are they actually writing code? Does, say, Magnetti Marelli give Yamaha full source to the ECU code and allow them to modify it as they wish? Even if they do, the software development cycle is a lot faster/cheaper than making bits out of metal or carbon fiber. Wringing the last few HP out of an engine while ensuring it stays together for 1000km is a lot more time consuming than optimizing the performance of software.

Yes, CRT is going to cause quite a bit of confusion for the unwashed masses (i.e. those who don't read MM). I think it will actually make things a lot more interesting for me, since the CRT bikes' performance is relatively unknown and will change rapidly. But by 2013 apparently there will be no confusion, as all bikes will effectively be CRTs, so any confusion to the casual fan is a transitional problem.

I couldn't agree more that the streaming business model is stupid and broken. When you try to protect an antiquated distribution system (cable/sat TV) by providing locked-down video streams of inferior quality at high prices, consumers are driven away, sometimes to illegal alternatives. Just look at how that's played out in the music business.

I'd happily pony up 100 Euro for one full year of 1080p streaming coverage if I could download it and watch it on any device I want. I wouldn't miss listening to that moron Brian Drebber "enhance" the MotoGP race coverage on Speed. If Dorna could get Toby and Jules to do the official MotoGP coverage, I'd happily pay more!

Total votes: 197

Oh dear

You obviously have no idea how much software engineering costs...both in terms of time and manpower...it is incredibly complex, and always changing...Moores law after all...;)
A web developer usual going rate in NZ is $50-70 per hour, depending on your skill and experience...now when you get into advanced stuff like banking, games, business software, and yes ECU stuff, you are looking at a far FAR higher rate.

Total votes: 202

MotoGP vs SBK lap times

Looking at the lap times at various races this season (thanks endopandou) I reckon if you outlawed carbon fiber brakes and got rid of the super-stiff Bridgestone tires (something which is going to happen) the pure prototypes aren't going to be more than a second faster than the CRT bikes by season's end, given equal rider ability. It's going to be a very interesting season, technically.

Total votes: 193

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