Casey Stoner On Electronics, Ducati's Screamer And Engine Penalties

After the canceled practice session at Estoril, Casey Stoner spoke to the press during his regular media debrief. In that session, Stoner spoke about a number of issues, including electronics, fuel limits, Ducati's screamer vs. big bang engines, and the engine penalties. Here's what he had to say, in his own words:

Q: I spoke to Carmelo Ezpeleta yesterday, and I asked him about electronics, whether there was any plan to limit them, and he said that nobody has been complaining about electronics for the past six months, and he gave you as an example, that you turned your electronics right down, and there is nothing wrong with the current situation. What do you feel about the amount of electronics? 

Casey Stoner: There's one thing that's going to stop everybody from putting any limits on them and that is that it's a lot safer with them. It stops those big old highsides and you know you can get the engine braking wrong coming a corner, it really helps with that. If you know people missing gears or whatever, if the engine frickin' goes, basically if anything happens with the engine, internally, my engine will shutdown, or go into safety mode, it goes duhduhduhduhduh. I haven't even enough power to hardly go along. So it's not just about what the electronics will do to save you from yourself, it saves you when something goes wrong with the engine. 

So if it feels like the oil pressure is going down, this, that, anything; it'll just shutdown as a safety measure. In the race I can override it, switch it off and keep going if it's just a small electronic problem or something stupid. But I mean, as a safety issue, it's huge. It's stopped a lot of accidents, it's stopped a lot of things from happening. So it's hard to say. 

I mean, I really still don't enjoy them, I still love going out there and being able to slide a little bit more than what we can. But to be honest, I don't think results from anybody would really change.

It doesn't help you to go faster. It sometimes helps you to conserve tires more,  things like this, but what we mainly use the mappings for is just to map the engine, not so much the electronics or the traction control. Just to map the engine, the way the power comes on, things like this. 

Q: To get a nice power, smooth power response.

CS: Exactly, so we've got three maps, and normally the bottom two maps, the bottom map especially, is just for bringing it home. I can still run some good lap times, especially when I am on a flowing track, when you don't need the power. But if I was to overtake someone, I wouldn't really have the acceleration to come out of corners. It's mainly when you at the front, or by yourself somewhere, and you can just start rolling through, the fuel consumption is gonna be a lot better on that map. 

Whereas the B map uses a little bit more, the A map, the map that I use the most, gives you even more, like I said, until you've got that advantage, you whack it back to the C map just to bring it home, make sure you've got enough fuel. Because the higher maps can really chew through fuel, especially with wheel spin.

Q: So if there's a dry race tomorrow, there is going to be a lot of people pressing buttons on the, and playing around with their maps.

CS: I wouldn't be surprised, yes. They'd stagger a set of maps, and see which one is gonna work, and hopefully all these electronics work with fuel consumption management, and all this sort of stuff, and bring us home. Because it is gonna be the hardest thing. They have to go out and actually map the engine to understand how much fuel it's going to use, and if they don't understand how much fuel they are using, it's very difficult for them to know where to set it.

Q: Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just give you a couple of extra liters of fuel?

CS: I would love that, but that's too complicated. I don't know why we haven't got more liters in the tank. I don't see it being a money saver, or for any particular reason, it's just a limit they put on there. It's more the MSMA that make those sort of decisions, I think, rather than the Grand Prix Commission or anything like that.

Q: And the MSMA don't listen to the riders.

CS: Not a lot. They're engineers, they're technicians; they do that and they want that, and they don't care. 

Q: And it's up to you to ride the thing.

CS: Pretty much. 

Q: I know you're leaving at the end of the season, but it looks like Ducati might be revisiting the screamer engine concept over the winter. Have you given any thought about whether it is worth having another look at that concept, or if it would be better to stay with the big bang?

CS: If they can learn to control it, then yeah, it could be a great thing, because we lost a bit of power this year. Not so much lost from last year, but they brought an evolution of the screamer engine to the Valencia test, but the thing was just ridiculous. It wanted to rip my arms out and spin up and try and spit you off, and buck and weave. I did a few laps on it and decided I didn't want to have anything to do with it. So we rode the big bang engine, and it was quite similar to the other one, maybe a little less bottom end that first bit, but there was just so much more torque and progression through the revs. 

As we've shown, it was the right decision: once we got the chassis to work a bit better, the engine was capable of winning races. We just missed the mark a bit. Considering we had one engine down after the first race, I think we've done pretty well. We're going to have no problems finishing the season. So we've basically done the whole season in five engines, and I think that's pretty good, compared to everybody else. We've managed it well, done everything right. 

And we definitely chose the right engine for this year, we just weren't on the money with the setup, so, we took a little too long with that. Should be interesting to see what they can come up with for next year. But yeah, I rode whatever I had for this year, and it was the same from start to end, so I really had to work hard on it. 

Q: Now we're near the end of the season, how do you feel about the engine restrictions? Have they made it interesting or made your job more difficult, because you're balancing engines, or has it not affected you at all?

CS: Sometimes it has made it more difficult, trying to go back and forth between engines. One engine in particular we had not too long ago, it might have been Aragon even, my second bike, it didn't feel quite as good. I was talking to my electronics guy and he estimated to me between 10 or 15 horsepower less than my good engine.

But that was really the only one this year. Most of them for me have been quite consistent throughout their life, so even the ones that we'd run off at quite a few corners, we didn't really have any issues with. I think everybody has been able to manage the situation quite well. No one seems to be in a tight situation, and everybody has managed it. Even if you do get the penalty, it makes an interesting race. 

I wasn't really worried about the whole penalty, because we were looking at a pretty tough situation after race 1. Having already lost an engine, it looked like in the last two or three races we were going to have to put a new engine in. We were pretty lucky to be able to manage with what we have, and we know we weren't too worried about having to do a race like that. It happens, it was not a lot different to a terrible start I had in Silverstone. So, it's just whatever you can do, whatever the rules dish out, everybody has got to deal with, so the manufacturers as well.

Q: And there is worse places to start from than pitlane in Valencia.

CS: That is one thing that needs to be for sure addressed, because some circuits it's like a two seconds penalty, and other circuits it is a literal ten seconds penalty. So I don't see it being the greatest thing like that. I think if they are going to do the penalty, it has to be after the last rider or first rider passes you...

Q: From the back of the grid, and then a second set of lights for you or for whoever it is?

CS: Well, if somebody is starting up the end here and the start line is here, time has to start once you pass them, I think. In Philip Island you're basically starting together. So it's a huge disadvantage, whereas in Valencia you get five seconds and then you keep going. So things could be really different, you know. Interesting anyway. 

After the canceled practice session at Estoril, Casey Stoner spoke to the press during his regular media debrief. In that session, Stoner spoke about a number of issues, including electronics, fuel limits, Ducati's screamer vs. big bang engines, and the engine penalties. Here's what he had to say, in his own words:Q: I spoke to Carmelo Ezpeleta yesterday, and I asked him about electronics, whether there was any plan to limit them, and he said that nobody has been complaining about electronics for the past six months, and he gave you as an example, that you turned your electronics right down, and there is nothing wrong with the current situation. What do you feel about the amount of electronics? 

Comments

In-depth Interview

Every time I see interviews like this I just wish someone would manage to convince Casey to sit down for a 60-minute in-depth interview across the entire breadth of MotoGP, Moto-2 and 125 his background, thoughts and experiences.

Unfortunately he's still probably the hardest rider to get to agree to it though. But maybe if David can keep asking interesting questions there's a chance!

Total votes: 99

Great Reading

Agreed - that's some interesting info. I'd love to hear about more of this type of thing.

Total votes: 112

He has......

Australia's TV channel 10 (and more recently ONE HD sporting channel) have had many an in-depth interview with Casey and I'm pretty sure there is some Youtube footage of some of these floating around that covers his background in the UK etc.... They are very informative.

It's interesting that when Casey is interviewed in a situation where he is able to give answers that are not dependent on the current contractual situation, he is seen as mature and informative and frank, and will give real answers that show great insight into the racing world. It is all too often seen when big money sponsorship and team/manufacturer pride or message or marketing strategy is on the line, that the rider is reduced to purely a one or two line PR mouthpiece, and that just makes for uninteresting and predictable reading.

If the teams, manufactures and sponsors realised that these types of interviews can actually enhance their brand (even if what is said is being critical) to a broader audience than just that of their core fan base, then the profile of MotoGP and hence their team/brand/marketing message would receive the benefits that come with mass media exposure....ie Money.

It is intensely frustrating then, that so often Casey (and others) is seen in a bad light because some websites/publications seem to prefer to take 1 or 2 lines of a post-race frank parc ferme and make it into an apparently legitimate story that really only serves to further fuel those that would call him a whinger, moaner, spoiled brat and ultimately spend money on their tabloid mag.

If only those publications realised that interviews like these can sell a weekly publication in the UK too.

Total votes: 105

kind of

In fairness, the 10/One guys can ask an interesting question, but with the exception of Beattie they don't really go in to much depth, and rarely followup Caseys answers with additional questions. They do seem to get more of his time than most though.

I do remember one half decent interview in the Philip Island program guide a couple of years ago, although for a change he was trying to be politically correct around questions to do with Laguna Seca which was novel :-) (along the lines of, its in the past, its all forgotten, but it had nothing to do with the corkscrew move)

Total votes: 100

Excellent interview

Very very good questions, thankyou.
I am now very interested to read Valentino's reaction to the screamer engine when he gets to try it.

Total votes: 90

mee too...

mee too...

Total votes: 101

Thank you

This is a very very very good interview. Compliments to both.

Total votes: 105

For the record

For the record, these questions were posed during a media debrief with several journalists present. Only about half the questions are mine. 

Total votes: 99

Integrity...

One of the reasons this site is unique.

Total votes: 109

Fuel Map Concerns:

Stoner's comments are a little more intriguing in hindsight, when considering what happened in the subsequent race.  What happened to Nicky Hayden can only be considered a travesty, even if Ducati intend to lay it off on a technical "glitch" or code error.  Does every team make him their fuel-map guinea pig?

Reading between the lines, what Stoner appears to have established is that, with all the rain and lost practice time, Ducati did not have a fuel map for the race for these engines in the dry for Estoril.  So they guessed?  Or, more correctly, they told the bikes to guess? 

I wonder how Stoner's race would have turned out if he'd gone full distance.  It seems logical to assume he would have faced the same difficulties.  I wonder what that would have looked like.

And, just to keep beating the drum...  Anyone who's read What If I Had Never Tried It? already knows the answer to the big-bang vs. even-firing engine question.  The real question is, how many times will they be allowed to have these fuel map problems rear their head with Rossi aboard?

Total votes: 102

Nicky

I wonder what would happen if Nicky, realizing that he was doomed to run the engine on Lean mix, had just put the fuel-guzzling map on and just rode it to win, and when it ran out of fuel, just walk away and say "Yup that's what happens".

Wishful thinking and would not have been productive for anyone, but it still was not fun seeing him hamstrung out there.

Did he ever say if he regretted going out on the soft tires?

Total votes: 86

Soft Tire Regret?

I highly doubt it.  After Lap 21, he was on pace with - or faster than - all the riders in front of him.  Tires were definitely not the problem.

http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/xx/2010/POR/MotoGP/RAC/Analysis.pdf?v2_343ce332

 

Total votes: 96

Casey,fuel limit

Great to read an article like that,thanks. Good 'pot shot' he took at the MSMA.
Not paying much heed to what the riders want. Just do their own technical rules thing. Now, if they negotiated with the riders to a certain degree and stopped being so autocratic, just maybe the GP grid would not be in the mess it is and the racing better.
Reminds me of way back when, regarding safety issues with Roberts and Sheene almost leading a rider walk out and forming a breakaway series. Must it come to this before the powers that be finally lend an ear to the blokes, who at the end of the day are actually the ones risking their necks and putting up the show on track.

Total votes: 113

Screamer

"the thing was just ridiculous. It wanted to rip my arms out and spin up and try and spit you off, and buck and weave. I did a few laps on it and decided I didn't want to have anything to do with it."

Must have been one hell of an engine. I wonder what the durability would have been on a beast like that.

Total votes: 99

from what I read

earlier in the year, I seem to remember that Ducati said they went with the big bang for ride-ability and that the screamer wouldn't last with just 6 engines.

Total votes: 104

screamer engine with their

screamer engine with their even firing impulses actually last longer than big bangers with their pulses lumped together. the bangers are tougher on cranks, primaries, cases and all the drive line parts except tires.

Total votes: 95

Eeeep...

Q: And the MSMA don't listen to the riders.

CS: Not a lot. They're engineers, they're technicians; they do that and they want that, and they don't care.

Q: And it's up to you to ride the thing.

CS: Pretty much.

I guess the engineering marvel you slid around PI was built by a bunch of uncaring engineers and techies eh? I have to listen to this drivel every day. People don't study for years because they lack caring bud, quite the opposite.

Total votes: 98

And I'm listening to the worlds tiniest violin

playing just for his sorrows.

Total votes: 99

Wrong Context:

"I guess the engineering marvel you slid around PI was built by a bunch of uncaring engineers and techies eh? I have to listen to this drivel every day. People don't study for years because they lack caring bud, quite the opposite."

Technically, you're missing the point.  He is very obviously speaking about the engineers making the rules, not the engineers making the bikes.  His point is, there are no riders who have suffer to through the stupid fuel limits (for one example) and the impact that has on riding the bikes involved in making the rules and living with the consequences.

I liken this much more to bean-counters who make policies that they think will save money, but because they have no field experience, they are dead wrong and end up radically escalating the costs they claimed to be saving.  "Unintended consequences..."

 

Total votes: 92

Knowledge transfer

Part of the reasons to invest in MotoGP is to develop technology that in the medium/long run can be translated into production. Not sure whether this apply specifically to fuel consumption (David?) but it seems plausible to think so. Another example of "big picture", a picture that is not necessarily of immediate interest for a pilot.

Total votes: 87

Yes, it lacks caring

The world's best technology is useless if the people who ride the race bikes don't particularly care for it. If the MSMA doesn't listen to the fans and the riders, MotoGP will be dead (too late?).

Businesses have learned this lesson the hard way. If they do not contribute to societal welfare beyond the simplified statistics of profitability, they end up getting regulated, taxed, robbed, boycotted, extorted, sued, unionized, divested, and any other negative consequences you can image. Businesses relocate, and society is needlessly impoverished by a fundamental misunderstanding between the government and the governed. If the MSMA do not learn to participate in a sport that does more than generate minute, secretive technological gains, they will end up being dismissed or they will leave voluntarily to avoid onerous regulation. The fans and organizers will actually choose technological impoverishment over tyrannical control by the MSMA. Actually, it has already happened (81mm 1000cc engines). Spec is creeping in.

Technology is supposed to make people's lives better without destroying their sense of self-determination (the theme of Stoner's anti-MSMA rant). Engineers have abused this basic principle so badly that most of the people in MotoGP (FIM, IRTA, DORNA, fans) actually believe the sport will be better off without some of the engineers!! This is prototype racing!! The gross negligence exhibited by the MSMA is unforgivable. You can play the victim and feign outrage, or you can examine the extraordinary circumstances that have caused prototype-lovers to become engineer-haters. Technological ignorance is certainly part of the reason MotoGP is anti-engineer, but anger is a much bigger contributor. The fans are angry that the MSMA have sacrificed the sport to obtain new technologies that the fans cannot see or enjoy.

The #1 biggest problem is that the MSMA are obsessed with proprietary technology that has little or no production relevance. As a result, they keep all technical details a secret which prevents fans from experiencing the "coolness" of engineering. Fans know so little about internal combustion technology, some of them are in favor of abandoning the ICE altogether (for electric motors) as if the ICE (a mechanical art form) is completely inconsequential. How can ENGINEers stand by and allow this to happen? What synapses are misfiring? The internal combustion engine is one of the most complex mechanical devices human-beings have ever built. The MSMA are too dim to explain the technological intricacies of racing ICEs? The MSMA are too spineless to defend the racing ICE b/c it has a nanoscopic carbon-footprint? FOOLS!

If the MSMA had any brains at all, it would be mandatory to publish the schematics and materials (but not production techniques) for all MotoGP engines. If such a rule were enacted, the engines would become ultra-high-performance production engines built from expensive exotic materials (prototypes but without the obnoxious ancillary F1 tech). If the engines were no longer protected by a veil of secrecy, the manufacturers could engage the fans by rebuilding engines in the paddock area and by explaining many of the technological features of engine design that the average yokel may not understand. The manufacturers could also sell the engines to private teams. Electronics could be restricted, but would remain proprietary. Chassis design would also be proprietary (must remain proprietary in a control tire sport).

To protect the historical practice of producing secretive racing technology, Dorna can allow special tests (a true winter championship) which allow the manufacturers to hide their engine designs behind a veil of secrecy. Perhaps these bikes can be even more prototype than current 800cc machines. The fans can observe the true engineering prowess of the manufacturers without requiring close racing or timed schedules that meet the demands of TV producers. The riders would enjoy testing, and the MSMA would actually get looser technological restrictions.

I hate to say it, but the preponderance of the evidence is overwhelming, engineers lack the intelligence to protect and grow MotoGP. They can't even protect their own trade by explaining its benefits to MotoGP's fans (they can't even preach to the choir!!!). The engineers (MSMA) desperately need to be managed by someone who respects their trade, but who forces them to maintain a strong relationship with the fans. Perhaps Dorna's new consultant will fit the bill.

Please excuse the length of this rant, but it has been percolating for many months. I feel the need to pile on b/c Casey's rant was merely one sentence long.

Total votes: 96

An add-on to Phoenix 1 and Rusty Bucket USA posts..............

The "engineers " that are the root cause of problem are the ones that lacked the very qualities and passion that were needed in their chosen profession. They are the ones that served some time in the racing departments of their corporations, found they couldn't cut it (or were booted out as being f******g useless !), but they realized that by espousing management friendly "ideals" (cost saving, positive environmental images, etc ) they could still grovel their way up the corporate ladder. They morphed into bureaucrats, their only agenda to cover their own asses and join the higher echelons of management, unfortunately in all too many cases, ending up running the racing programs. Leaving a trail of expensive cluster f**ks in their wake.

Those are the types that "graduate" to the MSMA.

In 1999 Geoff Brabham wrote an very pertinent article in "On Track", (a US auto racing magazine) in similar vein, titled " Why Corporations Shouldn't Go Motor Racing " . It was true then, even more so now.

Total votes: 101

No no no no no don't bite at

No no no no no don't bite at this one...get cold beer from fridge...back away from computer...pet dog...ahhhhh...cold shower...no no no no no no no no no no

Total votes: 88

People skills

Many engineers of various disciplines I have worked with over 35 years have had great (even brilliant) technical skills but aren't inclined to be too good with people skills. Still, they do create these marvels we all ride so I don't really care too much if they have feelings.

Total votes: 99

Great Read - thank you

David,

You may not of asked all the questions, but this is the first place I have seen anything about it. You know your readers well and what they're interested in.

I also, really like the comments of the posters. With some exeptions (and yes this includes me too). There's a minimum of contentiousness and lots of other great info.

thanks again,

Total votes: 100

Ditto- Great read

Excellent interview and interesting comments. Thanks to all.

Total votes: 99

A couple of points

Just a couple of points to make here. Firstly, I would be very hesitant to call this a "rant" against the MSMA by Stoner, it was more of a few off-hand comments. I tried to get a quote out of him, and his response was pretty measured. Stoner's tone was calm throughout, and he was being very careful not to upset anyone. He did a good PR job, speaking his mind without pointing the finger.

As for the MSMA and fuel limits, they really like them, as it provides them with a lot of information. I asked Shuhei Nakamoto of HRC about the fuel limits, and he said they learnt a lot about fueling bikes at part throttle. Given that this is where 99% of bikes spend 99% of their time, those are useful lessons which they can immediately apply in production bikes.

Total votes: 99

Well hopefully Honda figures

Well hopefully Honda figures something out for the VFR1200. Cycle Worlds long-term update showed 27 mpg for the bike with the DCT after almost 800 miles ridden.

If it doesn't transfer soon, then I would like to see the fuel limits raised or the races shortened by 20K.

Total votes: 95

For sure part throttle driveablity data is ...............

important but it does not justify setting an artificially low fuel tank capacity that precludes flag to flag, WFO racing for all entrants. They should get their data from testing.You don't (shouldn't!) do your R&D/testing in a race weekend.

My understanding of Honda's R&D budgets (separate to the racing budgets) for a "pet" program is that they are as close to "bottomless" as it gets. Maybe they think that their willingness to
spend on R&D (and pushing for artificially tight limits ) gives them the "unfair advantage" over the opposition.

Casey had to be "PC", Honda sign his cheque ! And most importantly, they control the flow of upgrades during the season !

Total votes: 106

Racing has two benefits to a

Racing has two benefits to a manufacturer: Marketing their brand to sell their product, and research to improve their product.

The fueling issues help them learn how to make the motors more efficient. Good trickle down potential there.

But the gps based traction control? I can see no benefit downstream, no potential market outside of the racing world.

Carbon brakes are what's needed to stop them, but in all the time they've used them, again, no consumer application. A road machine will never reach the temps needed to make them work, nor sustain it.

Spec tire means no impetus, no competition, to improve them.

Stoner quoted Carmine saying that no racer had bitched about the electronics in the last few months. I recall Rossi being quoted here within the last two months at how the electronics need to go. Disconnect there, or just obfuscation, but it's a bullshit quote.

Total votes: 100

I believed it was DE who

I believed it was DE who quoted Carmine in this case, not Stoner.

Total votes: 104

No trickle down

MotoGP mixtures are too lean (too hot) to be applicable to the production market. Does anyone want a CBR1000RR that gets 52mpg, but requires an engine rebuild after 10,000 miles? Anyone wanna pay an extra $2500 for high-pressure injection systems that give 10% better fuel economy?

I don't. The MSMA know damn well that people don't buy 1000s or 600s for fuel efficiency so I have no idea why they are dedicated to this masquerade. They simply want to see what's on the other side of the partial-throttle mountain, and the board has agreed to fund the expedition. Partial throttle fuel efficiency = funding. That's all. Not very sexy or entertaining.

Buyers won't benefit from minor improvements in fuel economy. Want better fuel economy on your sportbike? Shift 500 rpm earlier. It's free. It protects the engine. It doesn't require any new equipment. AMAZING. The fuel-supercomputer is actually in your head.

Total votes: 102

Not CBR1000s

The thousands of owners of Fireblades may not care much for fuel consumption. But the hundreds of thousands of owners of  Honda Scoopys and their ilk in Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and the rest of the world certainly do. There's more to motorcycling than sportsbikes.

Total votes: 92

Fuel injection

Those little 50cc scooters don't even have fuel injection in the developing world. Many of them don't even have fuel injection in the developed world.

Honda want to see what's on the other side of the mountain, and they will make up any reason to have a look. We already know the 800s spend more time at full-throttle than the 990s. Two strokes (clean two-strokes as well) are most efficient at partial throttle while the exact opposite is true of 4-strokes.

They aren't accomplishing anything, they are making sure that their default setting doesn't waver from killjoy.

Total votes: 103

Not true

I have been living in Thailand for about 5yrs now, and in most of the markets mentioned, almost all new scooters (most of them 110,115,125 or 135cc) are fuel injected. The recently released Honda PCX even has an idle stop mechanism so that the engine shuts itself off to save fuel at traffic lights. Turn the throttle and the engine starts instantly.

Fuel economy is huge stuff here, as most folks can barely afford a motorbike at equiv USD $1500 brand new. Make things slightly more affordable for the customer, and you sell another million units.

Total votes: 93

The 50s

Most of the Japanese 50s are not fuel injected. David mentioned the CHF50 in particular. It's not fuel injected. Even if it was, it is unlikely they can run the engine in lean burn mode. Some of the popular scooter models are still air cooled as well. Those certainly can't be run at lean mixtures.

Let's not get bogged down in the details, all that matters is that Honda are horsing around. Have you ever seen the RC211V documentary (youtube has parts of it)? Honda engineers claimed that built the V5 b/c they were bored with building another V4.

Honda were bored at the beginning, and they are bored now. Partial throttle is just to pass the time and keep them from becoming completely jaded. Sadly, it is the fans who are now becoming jaded and cynical b/c partial throttle fuel efficiency is not a compelling narrative yet it is quite intrusive on the results as Casey pointed out in the section about fuel maps.

Total votes: 94

Err...

David did not mention the CHF50, he mentioned the Scoopy by name, which in Southeast Asia is a 110cc FI scooter. Honda likes to reuse their names, ie the car called the Fit in North America is called the Jazz in Asia, while to North Americans a Honda Jazz is a CHF50.

David mentioned southeast asian countries and India, and if you look at populations :
Indonesia upwards of 220 million ppl
Thailand 64 million
Vietnam more than 85 million
Malaysia about 30 million
India about 1 Billion
China about 1.3 Billion
etc

I think the point that David was trying to make is that these markets are hardly insignificant, and going forward will be more important than the current market make up where Europe, the States, Japan and to a lesser extent countries like Australia tend to figure prominently.

I used to reside in Canada with about 33 million ppl but very few unit numbers sold. A comparable population would be Malaysia with probably 100 times the unit numbers sold yearly. If you were a manufacturer, which market would you have your eye on?

Bored or not, they make and sell a hell of a number of single cylinder grocery getters there.
The company's directive isn't to relieve the boredom of their engineers, it's to sell units. The wishes of the engineers at HRC and other racing divisions be damned.

Total votes: 93

2 things

First of all, even if the Scoopy (which is listed as the CHF50 or the Metropolitan in the US) had fuel injection (which it doesn't but let's just suppose they add it) do you think they would be able to run the thing at lean partial throttle mixtures? I don't think so, and if they chose to put a relatively high-tech fuel injection system onboard to run the engine lean, they'd probably have to increase the cooling capacity to reduce operating temperature. Mild engine redesign is imminent.

Do you think the MSMA are spending millions of dollars on partial throttle fuel efficiency out of the goodness of their heart, or do you believe that they have a long term profit motive? If they have a long term profit motive, aren't they trying to relieve consumers of their money? Isn't the new technology designed to capture marketshare before it achieves some intangible human virtue?

If they want profitability and marketshare, do you think they are interested in equipping low-margin scooters or high margin bikes with MotoGP technology? If the manufacturers are only developing this partial-throttle fuel efficiency to increase their own profitability by raising the upfront cost of their vehicles, are they really helping the consumers in the long run when you consider interest and taxes generated by higher MSRP?

It's a charade. It's always a charade even when they are making "cool" race technology, but the difference is that HRC have sacrificed the sport to chase partial throttle fuel efficiency. Furthermore Honda is 1) using MotoGP to develop car technology (unforgivable) or 2) they are developing fuel efficiency at the race track b/c they believe that the MotoGP brand will raise the profile and the value of the technology (even more unforgivable). It wouldn't matter so much if they weren't forcing everyone to follow them down this wayward path.

HRC can pretend they are curing cancer, I'm not going to forget they are actually pursuing a profit motive, and I'm not going to forget that they are actually planning to relieve consumers of more of their money. Not evil, but no way in hell I'm going to sacrifice sport so that they can use MotoGP for their techno-political ambitions. Life is too short to watch awful racing and fuel-limited bikes.

Total votes: 93

2 points

As far as the racing being sacrificed for the aims of a few manufacturers, cloudy as they may be, you are preaching to the converted here. I agree wholeheartedly.

This wasn't the point however. I think that you may have a tad western-centric view of the motorcycle market. "High Margin" sportbikes which cost a ton in R&D and sell in few numbers world wide vs small scooters which are produced by the millions in a number of different countries - we're talking about the difference between selling 100,000 bikes of one model that cost millions in R&D and tooling etc not to mention having to satisfy the requirements of a number of markets, vs having a few models period, each sharing the same engine, chassis etc and selling millions of that unit. Scooters aren't profitable? A number of European manufacturers would have been out of business several times already if it weren't for their existence. When Aprilia were selling 50 RSV100's in Canada, they were selling 200,000 Ditech 50cc scooters in Europe. The RSV might be "higher margin", but ...

The truth is, a company like Honda just stores all of their data, and whether the technology ends up on something as unsexy as a lawnmower or generator or weedwacker or what have you, that's part of the reason they go racing.

Total votes: 96

Agree with Japhrodisiac.

Ridden a Honda Wave-I 125 back in 2005, Singapore. The underbone great grandson of the Honda Cup is EFI equipped. Southeast Asia when people rode a bike as a means of transport instead of pleasure, fuel economy makes great sense. 40km/L on that Wave-I.

I read that Taiwan is making laws that majority of the scooters will have to be EFI, no more carburetor.

Total votes: 93

Certainly not a rant

I certainly didn't get the impression that Stoner was 'having a rant' against the MSMA.

Q: And the MSMA don't listen to the riders.

CS: Not a lot. They're engineers, they're technicians; they do that and they want that, and they don't care.

I got the strong impression that what Stoner was saying is, in effect, that the rules imposed by the MSMA are what they want - i.e. in terms of their technology development imperatives - and that the result has been that what the riders might want in terms of an 'ideal' racing machine is not of interest to them.

The entire 800s formula is surely convincing proof that what Stoner has said is realistic. The ostensible reason for the capacity reduction - lower speeds for more rider safety - has been comprehensively dismantled. The bikes are more surgical instruments for the use of intensively-honed rider/technicians than battle-ready weapons fit for warriors.

As Julian Ryder and David Emmett have commented, one of Stoner's major skills has been that he 'surfs the TC' - in other words, he is not actually playing directly with the engine characteristics in the way that say a Doohan had to manage the narrow powerband, but instead is in effect fighting with the technology in place to manage the engine so as to extract that little extra. That's one degree of seperation from 'rider control' - right there.

Total votes: 100

I'd just like to offer my congratulations...

...to David and the rest of the posters on this site. I learn more here than a dozen manuals on racing.

Thank you!

Now for my very off-topic suggestion to David: I find it very difficult to read the really long posts given the white text on dark background. Am sure you have a very good reason for it, but in case you are considering some changes in the overall look on your seriously terrific website, please treat this as input from one loyal reader. (I am from an advertising background!)

Cheers

Total votes: 104

The Ogilvy school, eh ;)

Well, here I suppose it could serve a purpose: to encourage people not to make their posts too long.

Total votes: 110

+1

Thank you!

I suspect that I am not alone when I skip over most posts that are more than a small paragraph or two.

It is a waste of my time to read a complete thesis in order to understand an opinion on an internet forum.

Just my opinion.

Total votes: 99

A Tip

Try holding the Ctrl key and scrolling backwards. It will enlarge the text for those of you that are visually impaired. =) To put it back scroll back in the opposite direction.

Total votes: 100

Thought I was the only one...

...but I do like the depth and frequency of debate here. I would really like to read some of the longer posts - there is a lot of good insight there. But I think as people key in their stuff, they forget about para spacing etc. So it ends up as one big mass of white text.

My two-bit. And nope, not Ogilvy, but JWT. :-)

Total votes: 103

The fuel economy and long

The fuel economy and long life engines are simply how race departments 'sell' racing to the companies accountants.
Most manufacturers race departments are dwarfed by marketing and accounting, I can name at least 1 or 2 former Race depatment chiefs that went on to be CEO. Far better to have a ex-race dept boss as CEO than a former company accountant.
No manufacturer NEEDS to go racing, after all there are many ways to burn millions of dollars.

Total votes: 108

Not to be sycophantic...

...but that was a scintillating read. Really interesting and enlightening, and delivered with the trademark frankness we've come to expect from CS.

Thank you, CS & DE!

Total votes: 104

We're missing something here . . .

We're missing something here . . . I can't BELIEVE that MSMA 'aim' would be to 'dumb down racing', but that what it appears! 800cc . . . are they sold ANYWHERE? or is this their way of appearing 'green' to the media/world/etc? Fuel limits to LEARN how to make bikes more 'efficent'? GIVE ME A BREAK! While my Honda 750/903/CBX got about same milage as my '08 FZ1, performance ain't even close, BUT . . . like someone already posted . . . STREET BIKES running as lean as these GP bikes would last about . . . 10,000 miles! How does that benefit the people PAYING FOR THIS SHOW----US, the CONSUMER!!!! Something else is going on here w/the MSMA! David, you have ANY IDEA what it might be?

Total votes: 84

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