Silly Season Update: Forward's Privateer Yamaha M1s, Hayden's Future, And Honda's Production Racers

With all of the prototype seats occupied for 2014 - barring a contractual bust up between Ducati and Ben Spies, which is only an expensive theoretical possibility at the moment - battle has commenced for the rest of the MotoGP seats regarded as being most competitive. While the factory bikes - the bikes in the factory and satellite teams being raced as MSMA entries - are all taken, the privateer machines - using Dorna spec ECU software and extra fuel - are still mostly up for grabs.

The three most highly sought after machines are the 2013 Yamaha M1s to be leased by the NGM Forward squad, Honda's production racer (a modified RC213V with a standard gearbox and metal spring instead of pneumatic valves) and the Aprilia ART bikes, which are an increasingly heavily modified version of Aprilia's RSV4 superbike. Of the three, only the ART machine is a known quantity, with Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet having raced the bikes with some success in 2012 and 2013, joined by Yonny Hernandez and Karel Abraham this year. Teams and riders will have to guess about the performance of the Yamahas and Hondas, though given the basis of the two machines, it is a safe bet they will be relatively competitive.

The most popular machine among riders is the Yamaha M1, naturally enough. The bike is a near complete 2013 machine, with a few parts excluded, such as the fuel tank, and will utilize the spec ECU software from Dorna, being developed by the current CRT teams. Given just how good the 2013 M1 is - Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have won races on it, Cal Crutchlow has scored regular podiums - it is expected to be the best privateer machine on the grid next season, and anyone hoping to advance in the series is angling for a ride on it.

And so Giovanni Cuzari, the team boss of Forward, is a very popular man with the riders. He has had talks with almost everyone who is anyone, including current Pata Honda World Superbike rider Johnny Rea, Aspar's Aleix Espargaro, now rideless Nicky Hayden, current BMW World Superbike man Marco Melandri, IODA Came's Danilo Petrucci, as well as current Forward riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, and Forward's Moto2 rider Alex De Angelis.

Hot favorite for the Forward ride is Aleix Espargaro, it emerged at the Indianapolis MotoGP round. Espargaro has been extremely impressive this season, beating the satellite Ducatis regularly, and even, on occasion, finishing ahead of the factory Ducatis. Espargaro's problem, if you can call it that, is that he has a contract with Aspar for 2014, subject to finishing as first CRT rider. If Espargaro is to leave Aspar, first he must negotiate his way out of his current deal. "Aleix has to solve his contract problems with Aspar before we can start speaking to him seriously," Cuzari told Speedweek's Nereo Balanzin.

If Espargaro is unable to leave Aspar, then the ride looks to be a toss up between Nicky Hayden, Jonathan Rea and Marco Melandri. Hayden has the strongest cards, as the 32-year-old has the most experience of the current generation of Bridgestone tires in MotoGP. He also has strong backing from a number of manufacturers, as the Kentuckian remains hugely popular in the US. Johnny Rea is seen as having a lot of potential, as he demonstrated last year when he stepped onto the factory Honda to replace the injured Casey Stoner with no preparation. Rea made good progress each time he rode the bike, before Stoner returned once again at Motegi. Rea is believed to be frustrated at the Honda's competitiveness in World Superbikes, with signs that their mooted V4 superbike will not make its appearance in 2014, as had been rumored at the end of last year.

Marco Melandri is also in the frame for the Forward ride, and he has the added benefit of being Italian. The distinct lack of a competitive Italian - apart, of course, from Valentino Rossi - has been a problem for MotoGP, and having Melandri in the Italian Forward team would make commercial sense for all parties concerned. Melandri was still competitive when he left MotoGP, and proved to be very fast in World Superbike, but he has not ridden a MotoGP bike since his difficult season with Gresini in 2010.

Melandri is not the only choice of Italian rider for Forward. Alex De Angelis has MotoGP experience, and is riding for the team in Moto2. Danilo Petrucci is doing a very good job on a bike and team with limited development resources, riding the Suter BMW which Forward dropped at the end of the 2012 season. And existing rider Claudio Corti has put in a solid season in MotoGP, riding alongside Colin Edwards.

The American veteran would also like to stay in the series, and there is still a chance he could remain at Forward. It was Edwards who could be credited with kicking off the entire CRT class, being the first major signing announced by the Forward team to race a CRT bike, and sticking at it through a very difficult 2012. Edwards is a firm fan favorite, and generates plenty of interest for sponsors. But with a wealth of talented, hungry, and younger riders for Forward boss Cuzari to choose from, the 39-year-old Edwards appears to be slipping down the priority list.

For those who cannot get a ride on the Yamaha M1, their next best option is the Honda production racer. Two of those bikes have already been purchased, one by the Cardion AB team for Karel Abraham, and one by the Gresini squad to replace their Fireblade-powered FTR Honda. Scott Redding is said to have already penned a deal to race with Gresini next year on the Honda, with the announcement set to come at Silverstone. Redding would then take Alvaro Bautista's spot in the Gresini squad in 2015 aboard the factory RC213V.

Redding's switch to Gresini is dependent only on Belgian beer billionaire Marc van der Straten deciding against taking his eponymous Marc VDS team up to MotoGP and race with a privateer Yamaha M1. While still theoretically possible, that is a prospect which has now been almost completely excluded. If Redding does stay with Marc VDS, then Johnny Rea would be the favorite to take the production Honda alongside Bautista, with the blessing and support of HRC.

Nicky Hayden could also feature in that equation, or more likely, be added to the LCR Honda team aboard a production racer. American Honda is said to be very keen to have Hayden back in the Honda fold, after HRC dropped the American at the end of the 2008 season. Hayden is widely regarded as a powerful marketing tool for the manufacturers in the US market - at the Riders for Health auctions, Hayden memorabilia reaches some of the highest prices from the fans - and US distributor American Honda is keen to regain some of the momentum which they lost when Hayden departed for Ducati.

However, if Hayden is to get a seat at LCR, American Honda will have to foot almost the entire bill. Team boss Lucio Cecchinello has spoken several times of his desire to expand from one to two riders, but has been equally clear that he would only do so if he could cover the cost. Stefan Bradl and Nicky Hayden would make a very strong marketing proposition for Cecchinello, and with American Honda picking up the lion's share of Hayden's bill (Bradl receives financial support from both HRC and Honda Germany), it would be feasible. The cost for American Honda would likely be at least a million euros, the cost of a Honda production racer.

If the LCR Honda deal falls through, there is always the Aspar team, replacing Aleix Espargaro if he leaves. The advantage for Aprilia would be the commercial tie up with Nicky Hayden in the Aspar team, especially if the Italian manufacturer decides to enter as a factory effort, and no longer as a non-MSMA entry. That idea is still under consideration, as it would allow Aprilia to continue to use its own software. The downside is the reduced fuel limit, with Aprilia only having 20 liters to play with rather than 24. At the moment, the ART bikes are using a little over the 21 liters currently allowed the factory bikes; cutting to 20 liters would require a major investment. Aprilia may yet elect to do this, and also add the pneumatic valve head which has been rumored for some time.

If a competitive MotoGP ride cannot be found, Hayden also has options in World Superbikes. The American has an offer from Ducati to race the Panigale, but he has made clear that at this stage in his career, he has little appetite to spend more time developing a bike with an uncertain outcome. Only if he is offered a ride capable of winning will Hayden make the switch. Earlier reports linking Hayden to Kawasaki and BMW have gone quiet, especially now that BMW have pulled out of WSBK. But if Hayden were to switch series, his priority would be a factory ride such as Kawasaki or Aprilia. Both teams have vacancies, potentially, but those vacancies are some way from being fulfilled.

With all of the prototype seats occupied for 2014 - barring a contractual bust up between Ducati and Ben Spies, which is only an expensive theoretical possibility at the moment - battle has commenced for the rest of the MotoGP seats regarded as being most competitive. While the factory bikes - the bikes in the factory and satellite teams being raced as MSMA entries - are all taken, the privateer machines - using Dorna spec ECU software and extra fuel - are still mostly up for grabs.The three most highly sought after machines are the 2013 Yamaha M1s to be leased by the NGM Forward squad, Honda's production racer (a modified RC213V with a standard gearbox and metal spring instead of pneumatic valves) and the Aprilia ART bikes, which are an increasingly heavily modified version of Aprilia's RSV4 superbike. Of the three, only the ART machine is a known quantity, with Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet having raced the bikes with some success in 2012 and 2013, joined by Yonny Hernandez and Karel Abraham this year. Teams and riders will have to guess about the performance of the Yamahas and Hondas, though given the basis of the two machines, it is a safe bet they will be relatively competitive.The most popular machine among riders is the Yamaha M1, naturally enough. The bike is a near complete 2013 machine, with a few parts excluded, such as the fuel tank, and will utilize the spec ECU software from Dorna, being developed by the current CRT teams. Given just how good the 2013 M1 is - Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have won races on it, Cal Crutchlow has scored regular podiums - it is expected to be the best privateer machine on the grid next season, and anyone hoping to advance in the series is angling for a ride on it.And so Giovanni Cuzari, the team boss of Forward, is a very popular man with the riders. He has had talks with almost everyone who is anyone, including current Pata Honda World Superbike rider Johnny Rea, Aspar's Aleix Espargaro, now rideless Nicky Hayden, current BMW World Superbike man Marco Melandri, IODA Came's Danilo Petrucci, as well as current Forward riders Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti, and Forward's Moto2 rider Alex De Angelis.

Comments

hayden

was dropped by honda after 2007...

Total votes: 102

Tim...

David is right mate, Nicky was still riding for Honda in 2008.

Total votes: 78

it would be interesting to

it would be interesting to see Melandri on a M1 and Hayden on the Honda near Bradl. Or Rea
Also Hayden on the Aprilia seems interesting

Total votes: 85

@ hondars

my bad my bad :)...

Total votes: 86

Nicky's multiple options are hard earned....

on and off the bike....

Total votes: 85

Hayden

Some could argue, Hayden was dropped after the 2007 season :)

I hope he moves to a competitive WSBK team, watching him race for 5-6-7 place sucks...

Total votes: 87

Rc212

Yup Hayden last year was in 2008 when the Honda was redesigned and the tail part changed from pointy to what it is now.. If Hayden can get back on a Honda I would like to see what he can do ... I would not urge him to go to wsbk on a Ducati I think 5 years is enough of sum bullshit.. I would change bike and head in a new better fresh direction all luck to Hayden on what he gets.

Total votes: 89

Quite the Chess Match

With different pieces/riders holding sway in different positions.
Interesting.

I wonder if a team owner just makes a list of pros, cons, and prices for each rider, then makes a decision; or if the rider managers put on dog and pony shows. I imagine it's some of both.

Total votes: 79

Aye aye aye Hayden

Championship wise Hayden was dropped in 2007 no way he woulda won with stoner that year anyways

Total votes: 93

Anything but...

... Hayden on a Ducati will be exciting to see. Anything!

Total votes: 92

A few weeks ago, people were

A few weeks ago, people were questioning who would be buying the proddie Honda. Fascinating that two of them already are sold.

Total votes: 89

Hayden

I hope Hayden goes for the Yamaha over Honda. I know the Hondas are better but the way he was so Royally Fisted by Honda still pisses me off. Yamaha seemed to always want him around compared to Honda. Buying a two page add in Cycle News Magazine to congratulate Hayden on winning a World Championship when Honda angrily refused to give him any credit or spend a DIME to pay for any press on him winning the title. What team does that? Pay for an add for a Rider on their Arch- nemesis Team?!?? Honda thought they had a golden boy in Pedrosa. Who may be a better rider speed wise but he STILL has not come up with the goods (Championship), through his own doing in most cases (Crash/ Injured). If he does not do it this year he never will. Because Marquez will only get faster, not slower.

I know most of the fans and paddock has always looked at Nicky Hayden as the short yellow bus student (Mentally Retarded), Champion by happenstance. But he is the one rider in the paddock that has not bitched to high heaven about his situation which everyone, even his greatest haters have to admit is jacked at Ducati. Talent or not. Even when Honda threw him under the bus and made a bike that seemed CUSTOM TAILORED for Pedrosa after Hayden won the title, he still did not bitch. Even with the Press damn near begging him with them even feeling bad for him in interviews. He just would not do it. Personally, I think Ducati damn near OWES him a seat just off not speaking ill of a POS that they have not fixed, (and I am a HUGE Ducati fan saying this).

I wish him luck. Hope he gets a decent ride. But the options for him seem to not be that much compared to when he was younger.

Total votes: 119

Pedrosa could have won the

Pedrosa could have won the championship in 2010 and again in 2012. In 2010, it wasn't his fault. His throttle stuck (Honda's problem), he went down, and Jorge eventually won it. At the time Pedrosa was on charge, and getting faster with every round. He was very close to Jorge in the points when the throttle stuck and ended his title aspirations that year.

Last year, the same. He dominated the 2nd half of the season, steamrolling everyone, including Stoner. And he was ahead of Stoner in the points before Stoner wrecked at Indy and got injured. His team had a problem with the tire warmers/front brakes and the rest is history.

I'm no fan of Dani's but the flack he takes isn't fully deserved. He had two years, that I just mentioned, when problems from his team or manu cost him a championship. He deserves a lot of credit for 2010 and 2012, he was right there and it would have gone down to the final 1-2 races. Damn shame.

Total votes: 118

OK what about the other five

OK what about the other five years he's been on the Repsol Honda and didnt win? And last year after the tire warmer fiasco didnt he crash fairly early on trying to pass? He could have easily made up points in that race but binned it instead. Marquez could be the third teammate Dani's had to win a championship. A lot of the reason Dani hasn't won is Dani.

Total votes: 107

2008!

2008, Pedrosa is leading the championship and leading the race at the Sachnsenring when his own team/manager lies to him on his pit board saying he had a gap much smaller than it was. Pedrosa then thinks he needs to push and crashes in the rain, injuring himself and ending his title hopes.

If that doesn't happen, he shows up at Laguna in 2008 and smashes both Vale and Stoner, and that epic race they had is only for 2nd place. (like he did the very next year in 2009).

So that is 3 years.

Total votes: 112

In 2012 Dani crashed. In

In 2012 Dani crashed. In 2008 Dani crashed. Dani crashed. Not his crew, not Puig, not anybody else. His whole career Dani has crashed. The end of last year he did well - when Stoner was out and Lorenzo was nursing his championship lead and trying to make his engines last the season. And he still didn't win. Why? Because Dani crashed. I have nothing against the guy, but when 2 (soon to be 3) of your teammates win championships on the same bike you have and you can't get it done, it's time to stop making excuses.

Total votes: 92

I have to disagree

The flak Dani is taking is well deserved. No one will rank Nicky Hayden over Dani Pedrosa. Not for racecraft, outright speed etc.... But yet, when it came down to it, circumstances or not. He came through and got it done.

Dani on the other hand has the talent to win outright without circumstances going his way. He is at least as talented as Jorge Lorenzo, but he has always lost for this or that reason. It was not always his fault. But it is not like other riders have not had severe setbacks and come back from them. Stoner and Lorenzo both have had their setbacks but they got it done.

In other words. The fact that Nicky Hayden, who is universally panned as the weakest World Champion of a generation, but still World Champion, could do it. There is not a damn reason in the world other than a mental block holding Pedrosa back. He has the talent. But may not have that killer instinct to make that fully happen. Maybe he will this year. But if he does I bet that is it. And I KNOW Repsol will be saying "About damn time."

Good luck to him, because it will be good for the championship. But him getting it done is way overdue.

Total votes: 104

Bricktop, Stoner was injured for the 2nd half of 2012

He suffered a serious ankly injury at Indy, even though he raced. After that he missed three rounds and even after he came back early from surgery he was never fully fit again that season, so there would be something seriously wrong if Dani didn't beat Stoner after Indy. Even with that as teammates Stoner won 30% more races than Dani did and also scored more podiums and points.

With Stoner out of the running after Indy and with Lorenzo happy to take second places after Dani crashed at Misano, the question has to be asked who did Dani have to actually beat to win races later in 2012?

The test will be how Dani responds this year. He should be close to fully fit at Brno or shortly thereafter and he now needs to win a lot of races to catch Marquez who is still well with striking distance, if Dani can replicate his 2012 charge. The problem is he'll be facing a fully fit Marquez and Lorenzo will be just as hungry for wins as he is this year.

Pedrosa has had seasons ruined through injury he's also had seasons where if he'd been good enough he could have won it. When you look at the pure numbers of the aliens and what bikes they've had at their disposal Pedrosa is clearly the 4th ranked alien, and I'm not sure he'll ever win a title.

Total votes: 105

agree with your comments....Hayden is...

under estimated and under appreciated. Thick? Ha! 11 years in the big show with a factory ride, the love of sponsors across the globe, no scandals or misquotes, strong sense of family and character, refusal to get dragged in the mud by Stoner the petulant b*tch boy, always takes the high road with his comments, the Honda fiasco with Pedrosa, my fingers are getting tired...he's a f**kin hero mates!!

Total votes: 95

Rea?

Why does his name keep getting brought up over and over? He's a decent rider but he's kinda best of the rest. Never even been runner up in WSBK in fact his best career result outside of endurance racing has been runner up in the BSB championship and in WSS. He's never won a single title in a season long professional motorcycling championship. Many other riders are way more deserving than him.

Total votes: 106

Rea's

name keeps popping up for his Suzuka win which gave him the chance to replace an injured CS27 on the Repsol bike in 2012.

From memory he completed 2 GP's and finished top 10 both times without any prep whatsoever.

Total votes: 86

Rea

Considering that he's winning on a machine that is clearly no where near the rest of them. I'd say he deserves the reconigtion that he's getting. In fact, watching over the last 4 years. I know he does.

Total votes: 87

He's won not winning. He's

He's won not winning. He's won 1 single race this year. You underestimate that bike. Everyone likes to call it the oldest but the truth it that its the most developed bike and he still doesn't win consistently on it. Also according to his own team that bike is not down on horsepower to anyone. Sure he had his GP wildcard rides but taking into account the situations, a old Josh Hayes got better results on a satellite Yamaha. Rea is nothing special, never has been, and likely never will be.

Total votes: 83

Near Complete M1?

When did the leased M1 engine with supposed frame build guidance from Yamaha become a full blown M1 package minus a few details?

Total votes: 94

I was confused by this, too.

I was confused by this, too. Last we read here the Yamaha package was an engine, frame and swingarm. You were responsible for fairings, tanks, wheels, brakes, suspension and ancillaries.

Total votes: 81

I am no wrench turner, but

based on all that I have read over the years, the motor and the chasis are the two largest and most expensive items on the bike with the factory bike's secrets protected with a near death pact! Aren't almost all other component parts for the bike going to be bolt-on or near enough? I mean the software, black box and electronics are provided; brembos, ohlins, custom fuel tank, etc. are all that are needed.

Total votes: 73

Leased M1

The idea was always that Yamaha would just lease an engine, and a chassis builder would build a complete bike around it. Assen was the original deadline for the deal, which would allow just enough time for FTR to build a chassis. They overran the deadline and agreed verbally at the Sachsenring, which meant that Yamaha agreed to supply engine, frame and swingarm. Full agreement only came at Indy, much later, by which time it was getting too late to be designing anything major.

I don't know exactly what has been agreed, but I suspect that the bodywork won't be standard, and the wheels and suspension are all standard components anyway. Will try to find out more at Brno.

Total votes: 94

Thanks for the clarification.

Thanks for the clarification. This machine is starting to look potentially competitive with the satellite prototype bikes (Tech III, LCR) - that is, if Yamaha also is willing to provide upgrades and setup information.

On the other hand, if Forward is starting at the Yamaha price that's been published, and then the team has to add suspension and brakes on its own, that's gonna be one expensive "production" racer. Wonder if Honda's gonna get hosed the same way it does in Moto3, the class that was supposed to be for production racers, not factory bikes?

Total votes: 76

so basically....

we are back to leasing pretty much the whole [major bits] of the bike for around 1 million [or more since the engines were supposed to cost 1 million alone].

Although I'm glad we are going to see more "Yamaha's" on the grid, it is a little disheartening that at the end of the year Yamaha will collect said engine, frame, and swingarm adding to the sink hole that was the leased satellite bikes program prior to the introduction of CRT's.

And so the dog continued to chase his tail.

However if this gives Nicky Hayden the ability to stuff it up the inside of some red bikes, I'm so down.

Total votes: 86

Esparga-go-go's

Surprised nobody has picked up on the possibility of the brothers both being on Yamaha's next year, who'd like to stick their neck out and predict the battle of experience v equipment?

MotoGP hardend Aleix on the proddie bike against fresh new boy Pol on the superior satellite bike. Hard call, but I'm favouring Aleix to score the most points over the season

PS, I'm always wrong so put your money on Pol ....... :-)

Total votes: 91

If HONDA/HRC were Smart...

Hayden should get backed by American Honda... foot the entire bill and then some for him... they OWE that man tons including more respect! Honda and Hayden would get paid big-time... marketingwise! J.REA??? Rea has been riding the wheels off the (underpowered) Blade in WSB with decent success more often than not for a long time and he's won the Suzuka 8-hour for HRC! Rea should get the Gresini ride no doubt! HRC/Honda would have 6 bikes/riders capable of kicking the crap out of the rest of the field! It's a No Brainer imo...

Total votes: 90

and One More Thing, David...

Hayden being signed to the LCR/Honda team would benefit Dorna, Honda, and Hayden of course... but how will that pairing benefit Lucio for the US Market? Lucio would love having Hayden for his team/sponsors but what would Hayden actually be endorsing for Lucio to see it as a dream come true???

Total votes: 81

A second bike

Cecchinello gets a second bike for free, expands his team, attracts more sponsorship, and can market the US to some of his larger and more international sponsors (Givi, for example).

Total votes: 64

popularity contest

Bradl is a fantastic rider but Hayden = sponsors. LCR might even temp Playboy back again with a popular American in the team.

Total votes: 85

playboy

Although I believe the involvement of Playboy had a lot to do with RdP, and especially his then fiance, supermodel, Lauren Vickers, Nicky Hayden is just as marketable as a clean cut model and his girlfriend is quite beautiful as well.

Total votes: 81

Nicky

...needs to talk to Casey before he thinks about a Honda production racer. That would tell him whether the bike is a proposition or not, Stoner wouldn't beat around the bush.
And my overriding feeling is, if Honda aren't prepared to put any $$ into AMA, why would they put even more $$ into GP for Nicky? US Honda seem to have lost interest in road racing, and I'm not sure it's just because of the AMA clusterF#*k of the last few years. I think the suits and the bean counters have taken over, and the racers have no influence. I hope I'm wrong and he does have a future with Honda, but I just don't see it.
Cheers
Barry

Total votes: 98

1 problem.

Casey hasn't ridden the Production Racer yet. The rain on the 1st day of the Motegi tests meant that on the second day the programme was fully committed to acclimatizing to the RCV213 and developing the RCV214.

Total votes: 77

Nicky/Dani/Honda

There is no asterisk on Nicky's Championship he won it fair and square and beat the best in the world (including Pedrosa) doing it period. As far as Dani winning a title(premier class) we all know that will not happen he isn't mentally or physically strong enough, never has been. I don't think Ducati or Honda owes Nicky anything, any ride he gets will have been earned not gifted. He works hard and doesn't complain, I wish I could say the same about myself, because lord knows I bitch about my job all of the time. Hopefully Nicky will land a ride that allows him to showcase his talent, although I would be just as happy seeing him pitch one sideways at Peoria. Maybe Dani will quit after this year and open up a seat for a more deserving rider because after Marquez wins it Honda will toss him like yesterday's trash.

Total votes: 103

Not just beat Pedrosa, but won *despite* Dani

Dani rammed Hayden at Estoril and took him out, handing Rossi 20 points, and an 8 point lead in the championship - Hayden having led it otherwise since early in the season. Toni Elias saved Hayden from losing 5 more, with his famous milliseconds win over Rossi. At the next and final race in Valencia, Rossi had a bad start, and cracked trying to make up on Hayden. He pushed too hard and crashed at a low speed mid-corner. The bike wasn't badly damaged, and Rossi was able to restart and keep going, but the bike must have been bent enough that he couldn't make up enough places to stop Hayden taking the championship.

That was an amazing season and Hayden thoroughly deserved the championship, by being consistent and fast. Hayden's only DNF was due to the petulance of Dani.

Total votes: 98

The same Toni Elias

who knocked down Rossi at Jerez that year and robbed him off 20-25 potential points. Rossi has quoted in 'Fastest' documentary about the Valencia GP that- "For me, something strange happened with the bike, the tires were not the same as Saturday, I think. But, you never know.The reality is that I lose the championship and Nicky win."

and Nicky quoted that- "My boy told me Toni the biggest favor ever, I always have a soft spot in my heart for that guy." :p

Hayden is a World Champion while Pedrosa is not and you don't say anything to a man who beat Capi and Gibernau as well that year not to forget Dani too (though he was a rookie just as Marquez is).

Total votes: 80

Did Rossi also have an engine failure DNF that season?

Rossi perhaps also had bad luck that year. However, he still had more self-made crashes than Hayden, and that made the difference.

Total votes: 82

Nicky Hayden deserves to be in MotoGP

I am not a very big fan of Nicky Hayden. He is not spectacular, does not ooze genius and at his best he is the epitome of consistency. While everybody likes the gunslinger equivalent (and rightly at that) people do not really care about someone who doesn't have the charisma and unfortunately Nicky Hayden happens to be one of them. I don't know if he got short changed by Honda and by Ducati but I do know that his presence is essential on the MotoGP grid as a realistic counter point to all the brouhaha that surrounds Valentino Rossi and now Marc Marquez.

What Hayden brings to the grid is the idea that to be in MotoGP one does not need to keep playing the blame game. I still remember very clearly as to how calm and measured his responses were when Stoner dragged him into the controversy that was brewing between himself (Stoner) and Rossi. Stoner had said something to the effect of how disappointed he was with Hayden since the latter behaved as if he was waiting for Rossi to come and fix the glitches on the Ducati. At another point he claimed that Hayden had impeded him on the track during qualifying. Hayden chose to maintain a silence over the Ducati remark and when he was pointedly asked what he thought of Stoner saying that he was impeded he only said "I think he feeds of stuff like that to keep his winning spirit. If it works for him let it be". Those may not be the exact words but the meaning was the same.

It is for this reason that I say Hayden's presence on the MotoGP grid is important. If all the riders were like Rossi and Lorenzo, the MotoGP grid could turn out to be the most puerile place in the world. That is why I say Hayden is the ideal counterpoint. He is there quietly doing is job and letting the Rossi's of the world celebrate and that is what makes it possible to accept the celebratory antics of Rossi. I really wish Nicky Hayden did not have to ride production racers or Non-MSMA bikes. He deserves a factory steed. But the first scenario is acceptable to me because otherwise he will go to some other series.

Total votes: 98

To finish first...

First you must finish.

A racer who is very fast but poor at judging where the limit lies may win races, but will not win championships. A racer who is good at judging that limit may not always be quite as fast, but they're still damn fast and they may well do better over the season. The very fast but crash-prone racers often improve their judgement of the limit with experience of course, and go on to win the championship. If they retain most of their speed in doing so, they may even become near unbeatable. E.g. Stoner. Dani won't be the first very fast racer to have lost championships because of poor limit judgement (and mechanical problems explain only a piddling number of his many crashes).

Personally, the contrast between the "wild and very fast" and the "smooth, consistent fast" (be that by nature, or gained through experience) styles is part of the attraction that watching Grand Prix racing has for me. The "consistent fast" is just as awesome and beautiful to see - it just takes more than 1 or 2 races to appreciate the immense skill this needs. :)

Total votes: 97

Agreed

This is a great post. Hayden is so important to MotoGP for all the reasons you have laid out. One thing I have read about Hayden is that he's fastest when following. Although this seems to be a bitter thing to say about a rider, it does seem that he can follow anyone around a track and match their pace a (although not with Stoner at Ducati unfortunately). He followed Marquez' ridiculous qualifying lap at Indy and placed 6, way above Dovi.

He's certainly right in what he said about Stoner. Stoner fed off anything he perceived as unfair, and it drove him to go faster, often to the point where he crashed while breaking the speed barriers. The more he perceived as unfair or wrong, the more he was convinced he was right and the more he would shrink away from the world, to the point where either he would go faster, or he pulled out of a season, or retired.

Lorenzo's speed seems driven by arrogance and a willingness to be hailed as brilliant/ a genius.

Hayden's speed and determination seems driven by duty, pride, passion and love for the sport. So it's no wonder he's such a popular figure.

Pedrosa seems to have more self-doubt and confusion than motivation (luckily he's oozing talent), and Marquez is just young and crazy.

MotoGP sure is fascinating from a psychological perspective.

Total votes: 95

Motivated by inequity.

Not really on topic but your point with Stoner being motivated by his perceived unfairness or lack of support seems to be key to Cal Crutchlow,s character too. Let us hope he is able, in 2014, to make the Ducati perform as Stoner could.

Total votes: 61

Re: Nicky Hayden deserves to be in MotoGP

Right on. I'm going to assume the first sentence was just meant to throw me off. :)

Total votes: 93

Trust me...

...if they drop Laguna...there will be a freaking riot!!! As far as I'm concerned, Laguna is, and always will be, the US Grand Prix.

Total votes: 85

Hayden's choice

What ever he may end up on in MotoGP, will at best see him in about the same positions he is currently in. If it ain't a prototype it ain't a prototype. The proof seems to be in the electronics. As of today, I almost wish Nicky would call it a day because unless American Honda can force him onto a Factory-ish bike, Nicky will still be mid-pack at best. Rossi is back on the good stuff and is just barely able to stay at the front.

Also, I am a big Spies fan since he was on YSRs. It's all just too painful to watch, at this time. I hope something works out for him. A huge talent, but...he can be proud of his career up to now. Mabe come back to the AMA & ride bicycles for a while.

Total votes: 84

Cup of tea? Beer?

Whatever happens to Hayden and Edwards, they're welcome at mine if they're ever in need of a roof over (as if).

Total votes: 78

A participating American in GP

It has pained me to see Nicky struggle on the Ducati for the past years. I remember when he got the ride, I thought awesome now he has a chance to ride a bike like the old dirt-track superbike days. No luck.

Everyone will always remember Edwards and his battles in WSBK, especially with Bayliss. His personality adds character to the paddock brings a great light-heartedness to the grid. He still hungers for the win, even if it is a CRT win. That said his teammate is chomping at his heals.

Spies. Spies, what can we say. His next shoulder surgery he may want to have a horseshoe implanted. It was awesome watching him dominate the Superbike series for a year, then rise to privateer glory in GP.

There is no one in the pipe from the US that could jump in to GP right now and bring any kind of success that any of these three riders could do. I'm an avid GP fan and would probably always watch, and attend when possible the races - even if an American isn't part of the grid. This coming from a Canadian (living abroad).

I'd love to see Spies and Edwards teammates on the M1's NGM. Also, to have Nicky on an Aprilia or Kawasaki in WSBK would be great. Now - if only we could subscribe to WSBK in the US like MotoGP.

Total votes: 90

Agree about no one in the pipe from the US.

I am not sure if Poor Ole Blake Young is just completely psyched out at this time or what, but, regardless of the reasons for his continually testing the strength of the Attack CRT's welds, he is so far a poor ambassador of US racing and didn't he finish second a few times in the AMA Championship?

I do wish that Josh Hayes could have had a dry track when he was given his chance.

Total votes: 91

How rich is American Honda feeling?

I think Nicky should be pushing for a non-MSMA prototype RCV with 24 liters, 12 engines and spec hardware and software. Because of the spec software he would need to use the non-seamless trans but it would be a great comparison for the LCR team to have the same hardware (bike and ECU) but different software. Having the cheap transmission and not needing Honda's electronics technicians should lower the price of a normal MSMA-spec lease by a million or so. Until the 4 bike rule Honda had been willing to make as many bikes as there were buyers so production capacity should not be a barrier and since Yamaha is nearly doing the same thing with their leases it would not be an unusual move.

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

Total votes: 78

24litres?

Do I remember correctly to say that the production honda may be permitted 24litres by rule but by design is able to have only 21litres?

Total votes: 61

Does Kenny Roberts Have The Answer(s)???

The US motorcycle market has been CRAP for the last several years... MotoGP is the only series that's being televised with ease in the US! Edwards has a year or 2 left til he retires. Spies? Anybody's guess if he will ever recover and be what/where he usedta be as a rider. WSB may be on the slide as well with how the series is being restructured. I can't even watch WSB on tv anymore. I'd haveta watch it on a computer at NASA to get clear reception. And everything AMA-roadracing is about to die. AMA roadracing isn't even being televised lately. Atleast when on SPEED, they showed the taped versions albeit at late hours but i was able to see some action. Kenny Roberts needs to be a team owner in MotoGP again to get a fresh crop of young talented American riders into the MotoGP paddock. I can't see anybody else capable of getting riders to Europe to roadrace. Hayden/Dorna/Roberts need to help bring roadracing back to the forefront in America.

Total votes: 86

Kenny, team owner?

I read recently that Kenny Roberts was trying to set up something "big" in motogp. I would assume that was most likely to mean running a non msma team, given no more prototypes/mmsa machines are permitted- albeit ridiculously.

Total votes: 72

I would ***LOVE*** to see

I would ***LOVE*** to see Hayden on a ZX-10R alongside Sykesiepoo!!!!

Total votes: 68

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