Puig vs Alzamora: The Dangerous Power Struggle Inside Repsol Honda

The 2013 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island - likely to be known henceforth as 'The Debacle Down Under' - taught us many things. It taught us that tire companies need to find ways to test at newly surfaced tracks (especially when a newly retired world champion and now Honda test rider lives in the same country), that pit stops in dry conditions are potentially dangerous when each stint is less than 10 laps, and that hurriedly changing rules and race lengths are far from ideal when trying to organize a MotoGP race. Those were the lessons that were immediately obvious to anyone watching.

There were more subtle lessons from Phillip Island as well. Marc Marquez' disqualification was not just a failure of either strategy or his ability to read a pit board, it was also a sign of growing tensions inside the Repsol Honda box. The reactions of the various members of Marquez' crew after he failed to enter the pits to swap bikes at the end of lap 10 (shown in an excellent free video on the MotoGP.com website) suggests a deep-seated failure of communication among the entire crew. Most of his crew appeared to be surprised and shocked when Marquez didn't come in to swap bikes, but Marquez' inner circle, Emilio Alzamora and Santi Hernandez, appear unperturbed as he races by on the lap that would lead to his disqualification. Cristian Gabarrini, formerly Casey Stoner's crew chief and now HRC engineer assisting Marquez' team, is immediately certain of the consequences, the cutting motion across the throat showing he knows it's over.

After the race, Marc Marquez told reporters that it had been deliberate strategy to ride for the extra lap. The strategy had been decided by a small group. 'We made the plan together, with three or four guys, with Santi [Hernandez] and with Emilio [Alzamora],' Marquez said, but the plan had backfired. 'The biggest problem was that we thought that it was possible to make that lap,' Marquez said, expressing his surprise at being black flagged. He had thought the penalty was for speeding in the pit lane or crossing the white line too early.

Talking to the Spanish media, Marquez was a little more explicit. 'We knew we had to enter on lap 9 or lap 10, and we thought we could enter the pits on lap 10. This was always the plan, to enter on the last lap possible, and we thought this was the last lap possible.' It was not, and that lap would lead to his disqualification.

If the plan had always been to enter the pits on that lap, why was there such surprise? Why, as soon as Marquez crossed the line, could Cristian Gabarrini be seen making the 'it's over' sign to the rest of the people in the Repsol Honda garage? If Gabarrini immediately knew that Marquez would be disqualified, why did he not point this out to Santi Hernandez and Emilio Alzamora?

You would have to guess that there was no communication of the plan - other than perhaps 'the last lap possible' - between one part of Marquez' team and the rest. Gabarrini knew immediately that doing an extra lap would lead to a black flag, yet Marquez claimed that he had not been told what the penalty was. Valentino Rossi, for example, knew exactly what the penalty was for exceeding the maximum number of laps, but if someone in the Repsol Honda garage knew, they did not tell Marc Marquez and his crew. Clearly, Dani Pedrosa's side of the garage knew exactly what the rules were, as Pedrosa came in at the first opportunity, swapped bikes, and was straight back out again, but there had been no consultation between the two sides of the garage.

Where does this failure of communication come from? To a large degree, it has to be put down to the arrival of Marc Marquez in the Repsol Honda team. Or rather, to the arrival of his manager, Emilio Alzamora. Alzamora's arrival at the Repsol Honda team sees two of the most powerful men in the paddock, backing two of the best riders in the world, sitting on opposite sides of the garage. Most MotoGP fans are by now aware of the influence which Dani Pedrosa's manager, Alberto Puig, has, both inside Honda as well as inside MotoGP and Dorna. Not all will be aware of the growing power of Emilio Alzamora, manager to Marc Marquez, and the influence he has at both Honda and inside the paddock.

Puig has been a mainstay of both Dorna and MotoGP for over ten years now, spotting young talent and nurturing it ready for MotoGP. Puig helped lay the foundations for the Grand Prix Academy, which then became the Red Bull Rookies. To this day, he is still involved in the selection process for the Rookies Cup, having a keen eye for young and undeveloped talent, and knowing how to develop the hidden potential of young riders. He has helped many of today's top riders climb up through the ranks, helping riders such as Casey Stoner, Bradley Smith, Dani Pedrosa, Toni Elias, Julian Simon and many more make their way through the Spanish championship and into MotoGP. To his credit, he has been blind to nationality, helping riders from around the world achieve their ambitions.

Emilio Alzamora is a relative newcomer, and starting to fulfill the same role. Like Puig, Alzamora now has some of the top young talent on his hands, talent which he has nurtured from the Spanish Championship and into Grand Prix. Though Alzamora does not have the links with Dorna that Puig has, he does have the Monlau structure, a technical education institute which now runs race teams in both the CEV and Moto3, and had previously run Marc Marquez in Moto2. Alongside Marquez, Alzamora has two of the hottest riders in Moto3 on his books, Alex Rins and Alex Marquez. Then there's the Estrella Galicia team in the Spanish championship, with Marcos Ramirez and Maria Herrera, currently 1st and 3rd in the CEV Moto3 class. Unlike Puig, Alzamora's focus is entirely on Spanish riders, which comes as no surprise given that Monlau is a Spanish (or rather, Catalan) organization.

There is a rather pleasing and ironic symmetry in Alzamora mirroring what his young protege is doing. While Marquez has come in to the Repsol Honda garage set on winning the championship and edging out his Dani Pedrosa, Alzamora has arrived inside the HRC structure aiming to wrest control of the garage from Alberto Puig.

As fascinating as it is for outsiders, it spells real trouble for HRC, as the level of mutual suspicion continues to rise. Relations between the two halves of the garage - at least on the management side - have never been good, but reached an all time low at Aragon, when Marquez clipped Pedrosa and indirectly caused him to crash. That animosity is breeding a deeper sense of mistrust in an already poisonous environment.

When Marquez moved to MotoGP, he tried to bring his entire team with him. That request was turned down, HRC believing that Marquez would benefit from the experience of the crew which had helped win two world championships with Casey Stoner, including one for Honda. That decision has proven to be the right one, as Marquez' record-breaking rookie season is showing. Yet Marquez has already received approval for three more of his former Moto2 team to join him, leaving just three of Stoner's former crew in place, alongside five of Marquez' picks.

Though Marquez' desire to have the men he regards as family surround him is a major reason for this change, Emilio Alzamora is another major factor behind this move. German language publication Speedweek quotes one HRC insider as claiming that Alzamora had wanted the former Stoner crew out of the garage from the start, as he did not trust them not to pass sensitive information up the chain of command to Honda management. Team Principal Livio Suppo is the man responsible for bringing Casey Stoner and his crew to Honda, after having worked with them all at Ducati. Suppo is HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto's right hand man, and Alzamora appears to believe that Suppo and Nakamoto are too close to Alberto Puig, and that therefore Pedrosa could benefit from information gained by Marquez and his crew.

Puig has already lost some of his power inside Honda, HRC choosing to 'clarify' the former racer's role alongside Pedrosa a couple of years ago, demoting him from 'crew chief' to merely 'advisor'. Alzamora is looking to push home his advantage, and sees an opening with Honda's Moto3 plans. With HRC set to bring out a 'KTM Killer' Moto3 machine next season with a much more powerful engine, Alzamora has volunteered the Estrella Galicia team of Rins and Marquez (if, that is, Rins doesn't win the title and stays in Moto3). Honda know they must have a top team and top riders if their new and more powerful Moto3 bike is to stand a chance of actually beating the KTMs. If the Estrella Galicia team switches from their current KTM to Honda, Alzamora would become part of the Honda structure, acquire a more prominent role inside HRC, and wield a good deal more influence. At the moment, Alzamora wears MM93 (Marquez' own merchandising brand) gear in the garage, and is not listed as a team member, as Honda hold his defection from the Suter Hondas to KTM for the 2013 season against him. Running Hondas again would bring him back into the fold.

This simmering power struggle appears to have caused its first casualty at Phillip Island last weekend. When Marquez said that they drew up the plan with 'three or four guys', including Santi Hernandez and Alzamora, you can be certain that Alzamora made sure that their plan was shared with as few people as possible. Whether all eight of Marquez' crew were in on the plan is uncertain, but you can be sure that Cristian Gabarrini, HRC employee and with close ties to Suppo, at least in the eyes of Alzamora, definitely didn't. Hence the Italian's signal as soon as he saw Marquez cross the line. If Alzamora hadn't been so fearful that information which he believed could give Marquez an advantage might leak across to the other side of the garage, he might have consulted wider. Alzamora was focused far more on the power struggle inside HRC than he was on ensuring that the pit stop strategy was the right one.

With Puig and Alzamora expending so much of their energy on Machiavellian schemes to increase their own influence and reduce that of the other, both sides of the Repsol Honda garage are starting to suffer. The contrast with Yamaha could not be greater, which is an irony in itself. Now, though both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi's garages are separate, both sides are aware that their enemy is the Hondas, and not each other. Between 2008 and 2010 this was an entirely different question, with Rossi and Lorenzo, and their respective crews, engaging in vicious internal infighting, which eventually led to the departure of Rossi to Ducati. In 2013, there is relative harmony between the two Yamaha men, while the internecine warfare rages in the Repsol Honda garage.

While Honda are favorites to win the 2013 world title - and unless Yamaha can find something magic to fix their fuel consumption problems, perhaps 2014 as well - the infighting between Puig and Alzamora could end up being very costly for HRC. Both men are focused on wresting control from the other, their battles extending to all areas of the team, their activities, and even the promotional role which both riders must play. Mutual mistrust has already cost Marquez one shot at the 2013 championship, and if it continues to grow out of control, stupid mistakes as a result of poor information could threaten both Pedrosa's and Marquez' championship challenges in the future.

Having two of the best riders in the world in your team is a real luxury, but it is also a major source of problems. Unless the situation is handled properly, it can quickly spiral out of control, with riders and teams focusing more on each other than on their real rivals. Shuhei Nakamoto has been a transformational leader of HRC since he joined back at the end of 2008, rescuing the factory from its former flailing efforts to build a bike to match the Yamaha, to having two of the three best riders in the world, on what is clearly the best of the MotoGP machines on the grid. He will have to deploy some of his own Machiavellian guile to put Puig and Alzamora back in their place. If there is no leadership coming from Honda, then the Repsol Team could end up tearing itself apart.

The 2013 Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island - likely to be known henceforth as 'The Debacle Down Under' - taught us many things. It taught us that tire companies need to find ways to test at newly surfaced tracks (especially when a newly retired world champion and now Honda test rider lives in the same country), that pit stops in dry conditions are potentially dangerous when each stint is less than 10 laps, and that hurriedly changing rules and race lengths are far from ideal when trying to organize a MotoGP race. Those were the lessons that were immediately obvious to anyone watching.There were more subtle lessons from Phillip Island as well. Marc Marquez' disqualification was not just a failure of either strategy or his ability to read a pit board, it was also a sign of growing tensions inside the Repsol Honda box. The reactions of the various members of Marquez' crew after he failed to enter the pits to swap bikes at the end of lap 10 (shown in an excellent free video on the MotoGP.com website) suggests a deep-seated failure of communication among the entire crew. Most of his crew appeared to be surprised and shocked when Marquez didn't come in to swap bikes, but Marquez' inner circle, Emilio Alzamora and Santi Hernandez, appear unperturbed as he races by on the lap that would lead to his disqualification. Cristian Gabarrini, formerly Casey Stoner's crew chief and now HRC engineer assisting Marquez' team, is immediately certain of the consequences, the cutting motion across the throat showing he knows it's over.After the race, Marc Marquez told reporters that it had been deliberate strategy to ride for the extra lap. The strategy had been decided by a small group. 'We made the plan together, with three or four guys, with Santi [Hernandez] and with Emilio [Alzamora],' Marquez said, but the plan had backfired. 'The biggest problem was that we thought that it was possible to make that lap,' Marquez said, expressing his surprise at being black flagged. He had thought the penalty was for speeding in the pit lane or crossing the white line too early.Talking to the Spanish media, Marquez was a little more explicit. 'We knew we had to enter on lap 9 or lap 10, and we thought we could enter the pits on lap 10. This was always the plan, to enter on the last lap possible, and we thought this was the last lap possible.' It was not, and that lap would lead to his disqualification.

Comments

politics

Great insight as usual David.Too bad politics can dominate everything these days.

Total votes: 60

Top tier Motorsport

Minot sure where you get "these days" from. This has been going on in MotoGP for as long as the sports been around. Nothing new except the players.

Total votes: 45

The first rider you want to beat is...

your teammate.

Some teams encourage their riders working together, but it would seem that HRC is happy to allow it's two factory riders fight against each other as much as they do against everyone else. Not saying it's a good idea, but HRC seems to allow it- just as Yamaha did with Rossi/Lorenzo a few years ago when they literally put up that wall in the garages and they still won the championship.

If nothing else, it's probably good for MotoGP- gives something for the fans & reporters to talk about :)

Total votes: 52

Teammate harmony

The only reason Jorge and Rossi are getting on so famously is that the pecking order is clearly established. Jorge is the clear number 1 in the team which he would have made sure of before Rossi was able to re-sign for Yamaha, and rightly so. Marc and Dani's situation is different because they are real rivals on the track, and the pecking order isn't as established.

After Stoner won the title Puig's influence with Repsol meant that Dani wasn't marginalised within the team, and still got equal or perhaps even favoured treatment within HRC, as with when Nicky was the reigning Honda champ but still ceded number one status to Dani.

It's a different kettle of fish with MM and Alzomora. Marquez being Spanish as well as mega talented could mean Dani and Puig have to really suck the hind teat at Repsol Honda if MM wins the title. Dani could be the true number 2 in that team for the first time, which means what's at stake is Dani and Puig's future title prospects because it will be virtually impossible to beat Marquez if HRC start focusing more on his needs rather than Dani's.

Total votes: 33

Val

If Val retires after next year(probably not) I think we'll see Dani at Yamaha. They'd be crazy not to pick him up.

Total votes: 42

Power struggle for sure!

They will never learn will they? Working together the championship might have been decided already. Keep fighting and Valencia might look a bit different?

Total votes: 43

2015

Excellent article!

I, and many others, predict that Dani will be retired or with a new team in 2015. The real question is whether Puig sticks around with HRC or leaves with Dani. Unless Alberto can place one of his other protégées in the Repsol garage, I think he is gone. Takaaki Nakagami or Lorenzo are my favorites to replace Dani and I do not think either of them are affiliated with Puig.

Total votes: 55

I agree

I think Pedrosa won't be at repsol in 15. Suzuki could do worse than pick him up

Total votes: 54

Second

So what method is Pedrosa going to find to come 2nd (or 3rd) in 2015? It's a while since we had people running out of fuel on the last lap. That would be some poetic justice for Honda, no?

Total votes: 49

Fast!

Great article! Dani & Puig are losing for the simple reason that he's slower. Dani's been on the bike for 7+ yrs and hasnt won a title. Casey throws a leg over it and mops the GP grid with the bike in '11 (and would have in '12 if Bridgestone wouldnt have changed tires) and now a rookie is about to win the title. Repeat...a Rookie! Dani's a great #2, but he hasnt the speed 'consistency' to win the WC. MM is the future for HRC and everyone knows that and I can see yhem looking for someone new by 2015.

Total votes: 85

"Dani's a great #2, but he

"Dani's a great #2, but he hasnt the speed 'consistency' to win the WC"

Dani lacks luck. Not speed. Anyone who thinks Marquez isn't leading the championship out of tremendous luck is.....blinded.

Total votes: 116

My eyesight seems fine...

...and I think he's leading due to tremendous speed. And points. He seems to have more points than little Dani. But thanks for your input.

Total votes: 81

He's leading due to his

He's leading due to his opponents breaking their collarbones, while crashing a significantly fewer number of times as he has. Jorge has crashed if I recall correctly, twice all season, and broke his collarbone each time. Marc has crashed something like over 14 times, one of them being the fastest crash in GP history, yet has sustained no serious injury. That's not skill, that's not speed, that's luck. If you can't "see" that, I call that blindness, not in terms of eyesight, but in terms of reasoning. He also stepped on to the best bike on the grid, with tires that are the best they've been for any rookie in the past decade. No other rookie has had that kind of good fortune since Vale.

Is Marc absolutely amazing? Yes, no doubt about it. But he also has that same luck that Vale had, only more so.

I forgot to mention the problem that the Yamaha has had with tire wear compared to the Honda all season, which had caused both Jorge and Vale to fade at the end of the race up until they got the gearbox. As soon as they got the gearbox, their finishing pace has been much better. So they weren't just complaining, they actually had a problem.

Total votes: 66

Lucky and young

Also, Marc is only 20 years old. Dani is 28 and Jorge is 26. I'm 29 and my body recovers a hell of a lot slower and things break much easier than when I was 20!

Total votes: 46

Couldn't agree more

Amen to that sircristo, just the same as Rossi, Marquez arrived in the right time with Honda, for sure he's very good, but he's no magician. Give a good rider a good bike and he can compete, otherwise you can't win races.

Total votes: 40

Not sure...

...what your point is, but I'll toss a couple thoughts your way, and then leave you to your arguments.

1) It seems as if Marc has failed to score points in 2 events, as has Dani. It seems as if Jorge has failed to score in 1. Not sure what luck, or collarbones have to do with this, but it seems like it makes no difference if you score no points due to a collarbone, or difficulties counting laps, it looks the same in the season statistics.

B) There certainly is skill involved in crashing. I know this from, well, crashing, and from being jealous of those who crash better. Understanding how close you are to the limits, understanding the retributive result of violating the laws of physics, knowing when to give up and enjoy the slide, those are skills. Marc seems to be a gifted crasher, which is a worthy attribute for one who dabbles at the limits as consistently as he does. It could be that because he can cope with exceeding the limits, he can approach them with such small margins, and possibly that, and not luck, can explain his success this season.

Or not. It's all merely a suggestion. Hope you can enjoy the rest of the season anyways.

Total votes: 49

http://www.motogp.com/en/news

http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2013/marquez+crash+telemetry
"Marquez left the track at 337.9km/h (209.9mph), sustaining several heavy blows to his back and shoulders as well as injuring his chin while sliding along the damp grass verge en route to San Donato corner.

Incredibly, it is quite possible that the 20-year-old’s body was subjected to gravitational forces greater than the highest recorded figure of 25G, as the suit’s accelerometers were completely maxed out."

Yep, sounds like a really intelligent, good crasher who chose when to crash. Luck is obviously highly overrated.

If you can't see how having the only other two title contenders riding with broken collarbones give you an advantage, I guess we don't need to discuss anything.

Total votes: 49

Luck IS overrated

Jean Cocteau is supposed to have said:

"We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?"

Total votes: 53

Fantastic quote

What a fantastic quote! Thanks a lot for that, one to remember...

Total votes: 33

making fast riders crash less

There is an old saying (was it Kenny Roberts Sr ?) that one can make a fast guy who crashes a lot, crash less, and become a winner, but one cannot do that for a slow rider who never crashes.

I think this applies in Pedrosa's case in a funny way. Luck has a ROLE, but it is not the only thing involved as you seem to like to believe. Some people make more mistakes (dumb and otherwise) than others. Too many of these and you can simply never win a championship. After 7 years Dani simply had too many mistakes, some because of others, but many because of himself. The perfect *example* of the latter is the German GP in 2008. He was over 7 seconds in the lead in a very wet race. As I was watching it I was thinking to myself that he was crazy. He shouldn't be this far out in front this early, he's pushing too hard. Sure enough 30 seconds later he crashed and that was the end of his title run that particular year. As others have pointed out -- you can crash, but it's better if you pick where you crash, where you can push to the very limit -- knowing that if you go over you aren't likely to have a serious injury. That is in the brains of the pilot, not in the luck of the draw. So instead of everyone believing Valentino had an incredible run of luck, it's more likely that he knew when and where to push the limit. Clearly he lost some of that ability in 2010 when crashed in FP2 at Mugello.

Dani's a brilliant rider, but I think like Max Biaggi, he may be the best in his era to never win a title. Much of that is due to him, not others. The "buck stops" with the rider in the end. No number of excuses can change that fact. Stoner coming in and winning in his first year on the Repsol Honda demonstrates this as well. You can't keep making excuses after 7 years. Now Marquez is likely to be Dani's 2nd teammate to win on the same bike in their first year on it.

btw, I am not anti-Pedrosa in any way, I just don't think he ever measured up to his competitors in the end. He's certainly not the first -- most rider never win a MotoGP championship after all, but I still enjoy watching them race.

Total votes: 53

Dani's fast but not often enough

He's really fast most of the time but not faster than Marquez or Lorenzo enough. He also has a tendency to fade too often. His racecraft also seems to be lacking sometimes. If he can't bolt out in the front and run away, he often looks tentative.

No doubt, he's also had some terrible luck but that's not all it is.

Total votes: 49

Both half right

Lady fortune has smiled upon Marc this season, no doubt about it. But he's also been good enough to take advantage of that, where Dani has had 8 years as the clear or equal number 1 at HRC and still hasn't won the title. Even in the years where he hasn't had bad luck and where others have, he hasn't been good enough to wrest the title from his rivals.

Total votes: 39

Delicious irony

What comes around, goes around. Notwithstanding Puig's slightly less Iberian-centric rider support record the corrosive effect he had in the HRC Honda camp with his Machiavellian support of Dani Pedrosa at the expense of all others - #69, #04, #58 in that order - it makes this little black duck happy to see him hoisted on his own petard.

Same for HRC. Always the ten-tonne-gorrilla when it comes to the squabbles over the technical regulations, squeezing yamaha off the pitch with big yen spending on fuel economy & engine longevity rather than beating them on the track. Maybe #41 on the 24litre, 12 engine, Dorna ECU Spec (whatever they call that class this week) Forward Yamaha can give them a kicking in 2014.

Total votes: 72

"support of Dani Pedrosa at

"support of Dani Pedrosa at the expense of all others - #69, #04, #58"

He supported Dani over all those riders rightfully, Pedrosa is and was faster than all of them, by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, they're all exceptional riders worthy of staying in GP, but if you're picking a rider on talent and completeness as a rider, Dani wins.

Total votes: 82

Who he supported is not the

Who he supported is not the issue, its the way he did it that is. Now history is repeating.

Total votes: 40

except

except that he will lose, as it did with #69 in 2006, and will likely again this year with #93.

Total votes: 36

Spanish Inquisition

If we're lucky, the unprofessional Spanish imperialists will all take each other out, and we will be treated to a proper international competition. Though Spanish commercial hegemony has become a blight on MotoGP, the MSMA cannot exculpate themselves from blame. It's relatively easy to have turf war in a deteriorating sport with bad technical regulations and four respectable factory bikes, than it is to take over a growing sport with with a dozen factory bikes and representation from a score of international companies who are eager to grow beyond their home market.

Total votes: 52

Dani come lately

Puig can't stand that his #1 rider is always #2. I wonder how much faith he really has in Dani or how much he just wants to be proven right? While Dani has always be fast, we see seven or eight years later, just being fast is never enough. Look at Schwantz (although he never backed off of a fight).

Yes. Pedrosa has beat them all at one time or another, but similar to James Stewart in MX, you some how know something will happen. Though by all accounts, Puig is right. Dani should have had a title or two by now. With so much in his favor, why hasn't he? When will he say enough and try another path or surround himself with different people?

Total votes: 61

So is this what really happened?

That 3 or 4 members of MM93 team had hatched a plan to pit at lap 11 and didn't tell the rest of the team who were expecting him in at the end of lap 10 and had the bike ready and the tyre warmers off and the bike running. Wow, I'm surprised MM93 is leading the championship if there is that much distrust in the team.

Total votes: 50

Politics

Why can't we just race instead of playing games with eachother?? Why has there always to be a factory involved to get some good racing?? Why do they change the rules so often so that other partys can not join this championship because the costs are way to high, and so on and so on. As soon as commerce (don't know if I write it correctly, sorry I'm Dutch) takes over and people take controle who do not understand what racing is you get this shit. I really hate politics in life and in racing.

Total votes: 47

Psychopaths run the world.

The same sort of people infest all corporate, political, and religious power structures. The damage they do to society as a whole in mind boggling. The sooner society wakes and and admits this fact, the better off we'll be. I say we give them the 'L.Ron Treatment': round them up, load them into airplanes, fly them into volcanoes, and drop thermonuclear bombs on their sorry asses!

Total votes: 57

Deleted

by poster.

Total votes: 31

Is it any wonder

And still people wonder if Casey will head back, with this sort of cr*p going on in the garage its no contest, Casey has always said he just wants to race and the politics meant he wasn't enjoying it anymore. and I can now see why, When will people start acting in the best interests of the sport and not their own petty little power plays which just cause trouble for everyone.

Total votes: 61

I don't understand...

....why two personal managers/advisors should be given any decisionmaking pwers at all within a factory MotoGP team. If I was Nakamoto, I would kick them out of the garage at once...

Total votes: 68

Great insight!

One of your best articles.

Total votes: 62

Fascinating stuff

Not just the article, which is once again a wonderfully written and excellent insight to the workings of MotoGP, but also the reaction to it in the comments.

What I get from the article is that there is a power struggle inside the Repsol box. And that Alzamora and whoever else on Marquez' side concocted a plan for the Australian GP which went horribly wrong, partly due to their own paranoia which resulted in not sharing this plan with anyone else.

Yet, what I see a lot in the comments so far is people bashing a) Puig and b) Pedrosa. Or c) Spaniards in general (you might wanna get that blossoming xenophobia checked) and blaming whatever is wrong with MotoGP on the tireless work that Spanish racing has done for years and years, grooming riders and building a strong foundation for the development of future talent.

So I am confused. Have we been reading different articles? Or have these comments simply been made on the basis of long-harboured feelings of anger towards a rider or manager which just needed to be vented once again, whether related to the story or not? That would be a really futile venture I feel.

Total votes: 75

You know the answer

There are many American Hayden fans who still feel aggrieved with Dani after the accident in o6 and with Nicky not being renewed by Honda after a poor string of results. It's just human nature and confirmation bias acting out in a grudge.

And Spanish riders being successful is the same for other nations as was US, Australian, then Italian ones - if it's not 'my' country they mustn't deserve it really.

Excellent article though, really captures the machinations that form at the top of any competitive structure. Power will always attract ambitious people and they'll always find justifications for their games.

Total votes: 56

I'm confused

I'm not sure what to make out of this article. I understand tha Alzamora and Puig are (maybe?) fighting for power inside HRC. From the comments of Marquez and Dani it is clear that there is no wall between both sides of the garage. Marquez has said that he can see Dani's data and Dani also said something about seeing where Marquez is so fast.

What I find confusing can be summarized in the following snippet:

"Alzamora was focused far more on the power struggle inside HRC than he was on ensuring that the pit stop strategy was the right one."

So although riders share data, they were so worried about the possible time gains in a pit stop that they felt they had to hide it?
Somebody was thinking that this is F1 and pit strategy will matter for the win, specially Marquez which only needs to cruise to be world champion?

Finally, which other team has 2 riders capable of being on the podium weekend after weekend?

Total votes: 40

MotoGP.com video

Excellent article.

Interesting things I observed from the video:

a) Gabarrini was using ear-defenders with #27 on them
b) Santi Hernandez (bearded chap) look really, really gutted
c) Marquez looked far more pissed off than the press releases would have you believe (seemed fairly nonchalant about it in them)
d) that was a Yamaha man running to race direction straight after MM93 started lap 10, right?

Total votes: 47

d) was Lin Jarvis literally

d) was Lin Jarvis literally running to 'chat' with the R.D. officials.

Total votes: 55

Another MotoGP video

MotoGP.com have another video on their website, though unfortunately, this one is only for paying subscribers. It has fuller coverage, complete with subtitled conversations between the various protagonists, including Marquez discussing the incident with his team. Worth a watch.

Total votes: 45

Lorenzo

Lorenzo has the most to gain from this newest twist in the Repsol garage's infighting.

If the disparity between the two sides of the garage is as great as it seems, then Pedrosa's side may very well not do anything to help Marquez clinch the title in Japan.

Total votes: 54

For a long time I've thought

For a long time I've thought Puig does Danny no favours and it is time he got himself a new manager / advisor. After so many years at Repsol and no titles to show for them he needs to try something new.

After some of Marquez's Moto2 incidents, particularly the team telling him to go fast on a cool down lap that caused the crash with Willarot and cost him a title and almost his eyesight and carreer, I decided the same of Alzamora. The events at PI proved I was right.

Both of them should follow Jorge's lead, sack the managers they grew up with and find someone better suited to their current situations.

Total votes: 58

Politics

Unfortunately, it creates havocs and cuasualties, in this case it may be the 2013 championship.

Total votes: 48

Dani

Im not bashing Dani when I said he's a great #2 rider but doesnt have the speed 'consistency' to win the WC. And luck has almost nothing to do with it as Dani's had 7+ yrs to win the WC and hasnt. He's blindingly fast when his bike is perfect (read Casey's comments), but when things start going off....

And yes you need luck over the course of a year, but....Who has the most poles/fast laps/wins?

Total votes: 48

We have a fundamental

We have a fundamental difference of opinion and reasoning which will cause us to be unable to come to agreement without a great deal of discussion.

Luck is everything. Dani hasn't had a single season without major injury, except last year, in which case the Honda suffered from severe chatter for the first half of the year. After it was fixed, he destroyed the field. Dani is also someone who is better in the race than in qualifying, like Vale.

Jorge and Marc are tied for wins BTW.

Total votes: 50

New blood.....

It seems a recurring theme when a new rider joins a team that the already in situ and proven team member doesn't quite get the respect and loyalty they maybe feel they deserve from higher management. Rossi/Lorenzo for example or Pedrosa/Stoner, almost as if the next project/rider is given more support without actually having the patience to complete the current project/rider.

Total votes: 46

Inter-team rivalry is far

Inter-team rivalry is far better than team orders. Imagine if Honda had ordered Marquez not to beat Pedrosa in the first part of this season.

Total votes: 39

'Intra-team' I should have

'Intra-team' I should have said

Total votes: 48

Racing

Again, Im not bashing, or agaisnt any rider, just calling it like I see it. Crashing and not getting hurt is part luck & part genetics. If you look at m/c racing, some guys just dont seem to get hurt that often, for some unknown reason (thats why I used the term genetics), while others tip over and break something.

Total votes: 48

Genetics are the physical

Genetics are the physical manifestation of chance, aka luck.

Total votes: 46

I don't think that is

I don't think that is entirely true.

You have to look at the nature of a guy's crashes instead of his genetics/luck. Some guys push the front too much trying to find the limit and have frequent minor lowsides. They always get up. Other guys might not be frequent crashers, but when they crash they crash spectacularly.

A lot of Pedrosa's crashes have gotten him some VERY serious air. Remember him tumbling endlessly at PI 4 years back? I don't recall him ever breaking anything from a minor lowside.

It's more to do with the way a rider crashes than his genetic susceptibility to breaking bones.

Total votes: 32

Does that mean that all those

Does that mean that all those comments about riders not being mathematicians, that it was just too complex, that no one knew the result would be a DQ will be withdrawn? And perhaps an apology to Suppo by MM's team, as he took the fall for their own machievellian ways?

Total votes: 38

My two pence worth..

As ever David, fascinating and brilliantly written. Thanks.

It's clear that Messers Puig and Alzamora are going to get pulled quietly to one side by Nakamoto. Sooner rather than later. If there's one thing HRC don't like, it's anything that can result in the detraction from their never ending goal to utterly dominate MotoGP. And they'll do it quietly and ensure the "party line" is towed.

Where are we this weekend? Oh yeah, Motegi. I'm fairly confident Alzamora is not so blinkered by a power struggle as to not think they'll be some back lash from what was (from my point of view) a VERY public balls up. So will his wanting of the Estrella Moto3 team endear him to HRC? Sadly, I think that all depends on how much money he brings to the table in sponsorship. But I think HRC might have just added another zero to a figure somewhere to give him what he wants and get him "into the fold".

As I've said lots here before. I'm a big fan of Dani. I admire Puig's drive to bring riders through. But I'm not a fan of Puig. Purely my opinion. I'm also rapidly going off Alzamora. Of course they both men are looking out for themselves. They are in this to make money. The more they get their riders the #1 status in the garage, the more they get from their rider in a managerial fee. So yes, they want the best for their rider.

But is that to the detriment of their riders? Philip Island, for Marquez.......I'd call that a big yes.

One more quick thing. The point raised about Lin Jarvis running down pit lane to talk Mike Webb, of course he did. He'd not be doing his job if he didn't. You can be damn sure if it was the other way around Nakamoto would have done exactly the same thing.

Yes, it politics, yes, it detracts from the racing. But, it's part of motorsport in general these days, it's something you either have an opinion on, or ya keep out of it and concentrate on the racing (I reckon).

Total votes: 47

Why not check?

Last year there was the fuss over MM's "special" quick-shift... but his team had the good sense to have it ok'd in advance by Webb. He also played the game by not telling everyone about it.

So why didn't one of the inner-circle discretely pose the question to Webb???

Total votes: 36

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