Recent comments

  • Tito Rabat To Remain With Marc VDS In Moto2 For 2015   1 week 5 days ago

    Sounds like it would be an awkward situation if something happened to Rabat and Kallio managed to win the Moto 2 title.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 5 days ago

    'Why Suzuki and Aprilia are competing is a mystery'

    David, why do you commit your life to MotoGP? Surely you would be making more money doing nearly anything. Why do people race? WHY? In school/training to be a psychotherapist one quickly learns that 'Why' is a question to be avoided. It just goes plop on the floor next to the couch.

    I remember a friend of a friend long ago was working as a general contractor for Habitat for Humanity building houses for the poor here in the Pacific NW of the U.S. and I am ashamed at what I said openly critically of him in a dim moment - 'he is such a slacker, why is he working there when he would be making three times as much money doing the exact same work in the for-profit sector.' I worked in hospitals and public health outpatient clinics full time since the end of the 90's until taking a yr off to just Be, then started my own clinic. With a sliding fee scale to work w the under insured. Making less money. Why?

    Why did I race motorcycles for many yrs, putting ALL my money, vacation time, after work hrs in the shop w the bike, building relationships w gazillions of others equally compelled to be in motorcycle racing? Studying and researching the latest nuance of bike development? Carving lap after lap on tracks sculpting technique? Fixing a beat up van w a bed in the back that held two bikes and a pit scooter? Breathing paint fumes each late winter in an underventilated garage passionate about new livery I was going to crash the first race weekend?

    Why do we do it? Money?? Good lordy no. Why does someone fall in love? Start using drugs? Why does a caterpillar go into a chrysalis and turn into goop? Consideration of the cost-benefit analysis of butterfly-ness?

    We don't even DECIDE to go racing really. Each step gets taken from the last. We can watch the whole thing happen. It has an element of a dream-like quality. There is a compulsion. I remember boobs in Jr High School. And beer. And a scooter. And being 'overly responsible' for a good while to become a 'good enough psychotherapist.' Watching myself buy a Suzuki SV650 and recognizing an insurgent adolescent resurfacing to join the 'developed and successful professional.' Then a perfectly sensible move to 'getting some skills on the track.' Then 'I must have a Yamaha R1' and sort the suspension out. Then each little step just 'mostly made sense' and I was building a race bike in the garage for novice school 'to save money on track time' and 'enjoy a track-only bike.' Then...

    "The best dumb decision(s) you can make!"
    ;)

    Come on Kawi, the water is getting really nice and there is a window of time here to get in mid-pack on Michelins, w a nice little electronics package from Dorna. You can beat Suzuki and Aprilia and Ducati w a reasonable budget. Heck your Ninja 250 cup sure took off where super singles, 125GP, vintage bikes and such were (and here we thought that Honda 250 Moto3 bike would fill our paddock). Hmm, does it make economic sense? Eh, what's that you say? The Hayate budget seems to have done the job. Howzabout we just take a next step here - Tom Sykes is available to try out that one chassis/motor combo on the Michelins, we could do that. It just seems to assert itself in my consciousness...

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    Man. That was a lot. Read every line. Alvaro Bautista has been flirting with loosing his ride for a long time. Complaints about having Showa instead of Ohlins. Show is not a low level suspension company. They have enough world titles to prove it in the highest class of racing. Engine and other bits are of Factory Spec, he just is not focused enough until time to sign with someone. Probably one of the riders I would put HIGH on the list to be demoted to Moto2. Redding is very deserving of Bautista's ride even this year.

    A. Espargaro to Ducati is a surprise for me. But looking at his track record, he has proven to be a rider that can make a difference on a bike that is CLEARLY not up to snuff. Things he did on that ART against SATELLITE bikes was truly inspiring. Him being a gauge for Lorenzo may be a mistake. Looking at Lorenzo this year struggle with changes, and his own mental imprisonment makes me think even if Aleix does well, Lorenzo may not be able to do the same. Ducati have always been bikes riders mesh or adapt to. Not a bike that meshes or can be adapted to the rider. From what I have seen, Lorenzo can adapt to a certain degree, but the bike has to change to him. Aleix rides the tail off a bike good or bad. Even when it does not have anywhere near the horsepower, braking of a better bike.

    Dovi and Crutchlow seem to somehow end up together. Dovi is a good solid rider, proven not to be a title contender, (I am basing this on his time at Repsol Honda. No better team in the paddock to challenge for titles.) But Dovi at Suzuki makes me feel like retirement is coming in the next few years. Crutchlow has a strong fanbase who will loose it if you talk too bad about him, but has yet to show he can be more than a podium runner. Could see him leaving Ducati by choice. I still do not think he really had an understanding of what he was getting into when he joined Ducati. But do think this lesson will stick with him for the rest of his career.

    Folger Tech 3. That is surprising and seemingly out of nowhere. Judging from Herve Poncharal's choice's in the past, I have to go with him. The man gets people that can deliver and gets them to. Even if all they end up delivering is press from disappointments to press from being the next phenom. If Poncharal wants Folger that just means he sees potential not everyone sees. And he has proven to be above average in that department.

    Could go on and on, but at work, and beginning to be watched for slacking off. Thanks for the info David!

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I suppose the conventional wisdom is that Sykes is too old (he turns 29 next month), but he has certainly ridden at a very high level the past two years, and should be in the MotoGP rider discussion for a satellite seat. The almost complete lack of interest in WSBK riders (exception Johnny Rea, age 27) seems short-sighted. There is likely some good talent in WSBK, not just Moto2/Moto3. Baz, Giugliano, Davies ? C'mon, Hector Barbera has been in MotoGP for 5 seasons, time for a new face.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Can racing ever be too safe?   1 week 6 days ago

    Have you watched any of those accidents? Have you seen Laverty's foot? If you think crossing half an acre of lumpy grass on your ass at 140 mph is nothing, well..... you must have big cojones (tucked in I hope) and strong vertebrae.

    BTW - the IOM is not off the factories or teams schedules. Check out BMW, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati, PBM and more. They are there twice a year at least, even not counting the Southern 100. The Ulster GP, North West 200 etc are similar and popular (and not for accidents - people who love the sport).

    It's not MGP, but hugely popular, and for good reasons that include and override the danger.

    Sponsors, well, you get my drift. None of the big names go there without support and the races have headline sponsors.

    I'm not arguing against safety, just pointing out that there are levels of it. It's not black and white, or 'risk'/'no risk' as you suggest.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I also realize that all of this is BECAUSE of what Marquez has been able to do. If a rookie can win a GP title then perhaps we should embrace the possible and jump all-in into a future era of GP racing with open eyes and minds. Either way- I'm pretty fired up for the future!

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    It's interesting how the speculation shifts. Last week it was rumored to be The Tech 3 Espargaro team and now... Jonas Folger?!?!? That's surprising. I understand that markets can play big roles in rider signings but Folger wasn't on my radar for GP at all. It's been great to see glimpses of his potential in Moto2 and he definitely adapted to the bike quickly. Vinales and Salom have also showed this same ability to learn quickly and go fast in their first years. But all three of these riders suffer what many rookies do - inconsistency. Vinales is being looked at for GP and that makes more sense to me at this point given the results in the first half. He seems to be the most likely choice for promotion. He has had issues at some tracks and has qualified poorly on occasion but he is usually very fast on Sunday.

    I think David's ealier messages/tweets about a perceived desperation to beat Marquez are spot on. This desperation could lead to a few things: it could provide some great seats to up and coming young guns and give them a chance to learn and grow in GP while they are physically sharp and resilient. This is of course what I hope happens and we will enjoy the effects of that with more exciting on-track action. The more reserved take on it is that riders who are clearly not ready to make the jump to the GP class (here Jack Miller and Jonas Folger come to mind - disclosure: personally, I'd even give Vinales another year in Moto2) end up thrown into the deep end on bikes that they either a) can't control or b) is a second tier bike, suffering as a result and fading into obscurity. These guys are talented for sure, but so are Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio. Kallio came back from GP so it is likely that no team is interested in bringing him back up, but I figured Tito would be battling for the championship and get the shot next year. He is 25(?) and maybe seen as old to teams looking to beat Marquez but given his performance he seems like the only rider ready for the jump. In 2016 with Pons and Marc VDS looking into GP entries, why not wait the year and see how everything plays out.

    I can't imagine what it would be like to get an offer to ride in GP and how could you not take it?? But I think that this rush to find the next phenom may be a little too hasty and short-sighted. The talent is brewing in the lower classes. It will arrive in the premier class and should arrive as a natural progression in these young riders' careers. In the meantime, Marc Marquez has shifted the paradigm in such a way that might warrant some reflection.

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Can racing ever be too safe?   1 week 6 days ago

    But when you go off the track at PI's Turn One, you hit - nothing. Increased runoff area on modern tracks is the only - only - reason this sport remains as acceptable as it is to corporate sponsors and supporters. There's a reason that the IOM is off the schedule; factories and teams have found that killing their riders is bad for business.

    I have to say that I find this recent attitude shift toward an acceptance of greater risk to the riders disturbing. This website's author opined over the winter that the sport needs to market its danger in order to attract television viewers, then suggested recently that perhaps racing at unsafe tracks is OK if we get better protection on the riders. Now Mat questions whether MotoGP should go back to the Isle and simply take the consequences - something that's easy to suggest when it's not you or your kid on the 260-horsepower machine.

    I could not have been a fan of this sport when we started a season knowing, without a doubt, that we would lose one or more of the riders who showed up for the first race. And I suspect that those companies from which professional race teams seek support are thinking much the same way.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I posted this a few years ago, but.....when Ducati had the carbon fiber chassis, everyone had issues with the design, saying that was the major problem with the bike. So, when Rossi arrived and he flopped on it, it had to be the chassis design. Aluminum in/carbon fiber out....nothing has really changed. A buddy of mine, who worked for Rockwell Aerospace, and had decades of experience with carbon fiber, told me that the issue(s) with the Ducati had nothing to do with the carbon fiber. It was much easier to work with then aluminum. There were other issues with the bike. Hmmm.....

    We aslo hear that the designs of the bikes, all of them, are really stagnant, as no one wants to take a leap and design something totally different. Even in M2 and M3. Hopefully, 2016 will close up the field, but I doubt it.

    On another note: since many think that Marc is decimating the field due to his superior bike, I threw him out of the WC and added up the points, moving everyone up 1 spot. Dani and Vale would be TIED with 174 pts (if my math is correct). So, the washed up old man is tied with Dani on the superior bike! Don't think so. I think that the bikes are very equal in performance, +'s and -'s for each, and that if 'The Kid' were on the Yamaha, the standings would be the same! He's smoking the field due to SUPERIOR TALENT! He's changed the playing field, as Tiger did in '97 when he arrived on scene, and the guys in the Spanish Championship, and maybe M3, are his rivils simply because they can see the bar has been raised and know where they have to go....IMHO.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    .. but because I like the Moto3 better than MotoGP & Moto2 I have one of those expensive Dorna Subs.. pay for the feed & pay for the bandwidth. Maybe thats the real plan.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    Great summary! However I keep on thinking how much Red Bull will influence the faith of Rea. As his personal sponsor they wouldn't allow him on a Green&Go Honda. But that's just my opinion... I hope he gets a solid ride in MotoGP, he deseves it, but it may well be the energy drinks who have the final word in this matter.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    There is more than mathematics involved. It is a sum of how much a factory wants to spend, and what kind of return they believe they will get. Some factories believe the returns in R&D and marketing are enough to make the investment worthwhile. Yamaha and Honda definitely get more than their money's worth. Ducati need to build a competitive bike, which they may still do next year, and then they, too, will get their money's worth, although frankly, most of their costs are borne by Philip Morris. PM still believe they are getting their money's worth. 

    Neither Suzuki nor Aprilia will earn back their investment. Suzuki is spending a relative pittance, and will not build a competitive bike, and Aprilia is in much the same boat. The problem for Aprilia is that their bike is being made to look bad because it is being used by two of the least competitive teams. They need to enter just to stop the bike looking so bad.

    Rationally speaking, MotoGP only makes sense for Yamaha and Honda, and even Yamaha are on a very constrained budget. It only makes sense for Ducati, because they get a lot of financial help. Why Suzuki and Aprilia are competing is a mystery.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    ...I had heard Paul Bird make the same point repeatedly when he was in control of the factory team. The problem with such an argument is that it seems Aprilia and Suzuki (along with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, of course) surely face the same mathematics, yet they come to a different conclusion. There must be more than maths involved.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I'm surprised the Australian market is at all valuable to Dorna. Despite the past success of its riders, Very few Australians have any idea what MotoGP is, let alone wake up at 4am to watch the US rounds or stay up till midnight for 1/2 the European races.
    I've no idea what is paid for the rights to show it, but it can't be all that valuable to the broadcasters. In terms of advertising revenue it only attracts B grade Suzuki, insurance as well as the odd BMW motorad and local motorcycle dealership advertisements, they couldn't be paying much for those slots.
    But if that really is the basis for promoting Miller to the big leagues, Dorna must be desperate for that revenue. I can't imagine Dorna wouldn't be better off promoting Quataro the Frenchman or a rider of a similarly populous homeland.
    Those few who do watch MotoGP in Aus are very passionate about it, but the revenue from those few isn't worth millions of dollars in my view.
    Perhaps the broadcasters competing for the rights and Dorna don't see it that way.
    At least those watching from Australia don't have to endure the British BTsport commentary team, that has to be worth something to the viewers?? To be able to watch with the sound on and not go insane definitely has some value.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    Great write up. Can't wait to see what happens with a fair bit of rider movement to still be decided. It would be great to see Tom Sykes in MotoGP if he could swing a decent deal.

    I wrote a little something on the potential rider movement for Cal and Andrea.

    http://www.georgebourke.com/bigwords/2014/7/17/my-spaghetti-is-cold-thos...

    George

  • Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Can racing ever be too safe?   1 week 6 days ago

    You only need to compare a plane flight that goes 'as planned' and one where there is a violent storm or emergency landing etc. Probably no less safe, statistically, yet.....
    Safe and fast, when it comes to racetrack corners are a bit of an oxymoron. Turn 1 at PI , or many others, are not places anyone comes off a bike due to their speed with anything less than a high dose of adrenaline.
    Cojones are often referred to for a reason.
    If safety becomes the priority then they should just bring in Shell as a sponsor with their grippy stuff, and start putting speed advisory signs up.
    A dangerous corner is where riders cannot usually get up and walk away from an off - turn 11 at Sachsenring is a safe corner, which is why riders explore and exceed the limits with some confidence.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago
    Or

    He goes straight to motogp and doesn't shine for whatever reason and remains relatively unknown.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I am little saddened by the comment that the predecessor of Luigi Dall'Igna did not do much to make the Ducati more rider friendly. You could be referring to Bernd Gobmeier here but I think he spent too little time at Ducati to take the blame for non-performance. Therefore I think whatever your intention David, fingers will point at Filippo Preziosi rather than Gobmeier. I think Ducati has landed where it has due to the Valentino Rossi years. His impatience and the pressure on Preziosi to deliver led to a sudden direction change of direction as far as the chassis is concerned and Ducati were trying to do something that they never did before and deliver results in the very first year. I wonder how Preziosi's solution of the carbon fibre chassis would have worked with a more patient and less to prove rider at the helm. I think we will never know the answer to that. But without doubt Preziosi (I am his fan) became an unfortunate scapegoat thanks reasons more political than technical.

    I am disheartened that Kawasaki is not showing any inclination to return to MotoGP. David, your logic that you can be World Champion with 5 million a year rather than be 12th with 50 million can also be true of Suzuki, Ducati and Aprilia. That is apart from Honda and Yamaha. So then why are they choosing to be in MotoGP? I am a fan of Kawasaki and I really would like to see them in MotoGP rather than in World Superbike. What they were doing with Avintia and Forward Racing (till last year) can hardly be called involvement in MotoGP. Engine supply to perennial back markers is hardly the way forward. That is my tuppence, there can be disagreements I guess.

  • 2014 Laguna Seca World Superbike Race Two Results: Red Flag Attrition   1 week 6 days ago

    Holy cow that second race was all Badum-tassh!! Non stop action in one form or another. The accident could have been way worse,apart from Lowes, we were lucky that everyone got away lightly.
    The race went totally opposite of my expectations that we might have other challengers for Tom apart from the usual factory Aprillias. What a track. Every single race here takes your breath away. I lost a pound or two I guess just sitting on the couch watching these guys race.

  • Carbon Fiber Brough Superior Moto2 Bike To Make Debut At Silverstone   1 week 6 days ago

    Moto2 produces some close racing but it is nothing other than a glorified chassis championship. In order to keep sponsors happy and for that to remain competitive various chassis makers have all adopted the common aluminium twin spar chassis. The Moto2 class is therefore devoid of innovations in the chassis sphere. Sealed Honda engines and the claiming rules ensure that the engine also does not see any innovation. I really do not know why this category exists. Maybe to just have the three race format. Other than Marc Marquez no other Moto2 champion has shown that there is a logical progression from Moto2 to MotoGP. Toni Elias, Stefan Bradl and Pol Espargaro (at least as of now) have not looked like they will make some impact in MotoGP. I think Dorna needs to rethink this category. And while the return of the name Brough Superior is in itself exciting, I think racing that motorcycle in Moto2 with Honda engines is somehow not the right thing. In fact, Brough Superior should have first consolidated their road presence with their own engines (one can go to technology boutiques for that) and then thought of racing. On the whole I am not too kicked about this.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    Dorna sell the rights to Foxtel and he remains an unknown forever.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    The Ten network have been running live MotoGP telecasts here in Oz for many years but this year they have stopped showing Moto3 and Moto2. Instead they provide a brief roundup during the local commentators half hour post MotoGP live telecast.
    The thing that kills me is that Moto3 and Moto2 have always provided spectacular racing and this year we have Jack Miller storming along in Moto3 but very few Australians are able to watch it.
    I hope that Miller does the smart thing and goes to Moto2 next year but I fear that if the Ten network win the rights again, we will again miss his ascent and he will remain an unknown in Australia until he begins his MotoGP career.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    I've seen reports that Suzuki is offering about double the money that Ducati is offering. Four million euro per year versus two million. I can't vouch for accuracy, but have seen those estimates published.

    Think for a moment about that. Dovi has been around awhile, no spring chicken just emerging on the scene. And generally considered an excellent journeyman pilot rather than a prominent candidate to win the world championship. So double the money speaks loud and clear...

    On the other hand, he is Italian and generally popular among the public. And Ducati is the iconic Italian marque, essentially the Italian national team (as is also whatever bike Valentino is riding). And Ducati wants to keep Dovi, so for Dovi to flee to Suzuki is a very damaging vote of "no confidence" in Ducati's prospects. At least it seems that way to me.

  • The Comprehensive Midsummer MotoGP Silly Season Update - Ducati, Suzuki, Aprilia, Satellite Rides, Moto2 And Much More   1 week 6 days ago

    Things have been heading in a bad direction for Australian fans in MotoGP. This year Moto3 and Moto2 - previously screened on the free-to-air Ten/One network - were siphoned off to the pay-TV network. All we get on One now is the MotoGP race. We don't even get MotoGP practice or qualifying any more.

    It's clear that Australia is an important audience to Dorna, and having a competitive Aussie on a good bike is crucial to viewership here. But Dorna's priority, going by the experience in other countries (and I've been there), seems to be more about selling the rights to the highest bidder, rather than worrying about how many people will get to watch.

    I'm not sure how Jack Miller feeds into that. Do they want him in MotoGP so that the current free-to-air network (or another free-to-air network) is willing to pay a premium for the rights? Or are they just looking for the biggest dollar figure regardless of whether it will be on free or pay TV?

    Interested in the thoughts of David and others.

  • HRC Press Release - Repsol Extends Sponsorship Through 2017   1 week 6 days ago

    Not too shocking I guess? Wonder what kind of $$ is commanded to be the title sponsor for HRC?

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