Ben Spies is looking to put...
Ben Spies is looking to put together a serious title run this year — and the Yamaha brass is expecting it — after some disappointing setbacks last season.
Too often last year Lorenzo and Spies were handicapped by the power shortcomings of the 800cc YZR-M1. In Sepang, the new YZR-M1 showed itself to be much closer in both acceleration and top speed to the Hondas.
“It is more fun,” to ride the 1000, “because you have more torque and you don’t need to fight with an aggressive engine in the slow corners and you can enjoy it,” Lorenzo said. “I enjoy it a lot more than the 800.” All of the 1000s make massive amounts of power; the key will be getting the most out of it.
Now Lorenzo said he was “very happy with the power, the acceleration and the top speed. This was a thing that we didn’t have in the past and now we do. We need to work a bit more in electronics for the exit of the corner. The problem is not the wheelie, but we need to make it smoother. Yamaha has concentrated on the areas it is not good on and this is good. They concentrated in maximum power and top speed and we got it, so maybe now we have to look at acceleration.”
Spies refutes the idea that the 1000s will forcibly alter riding styles. “The corner speeds are going to be a little bit lower, but I don’t think it’s going to dramatically change anything,” Spies said. “I just think it’s going to help a little bit for me being a bigger rider, top speeds and things like that. That could really be the benefit. I don’t think these bikes — in no way, shape or form, even with a lot of power — resemble a superbike, so it’s still mainly the bikes just have a lot of torque now. That’s the only difference. Obviously with the 1000 you have a lot less rpm, just in revving and the power delivery is just so much different.”
Reigning Moto2 champion Helmut...
Reigning Moto2 champion Helmut Bradl managed to gather enough sponsorship to fund a Honda satellite MotoGP effort for 2012, and he impressed many in his first MotoGP test.
A bigger problem is between the CRT machines and the MotoGP prototypes. It’s expected that Dorna will announce the technical regulations for 2013 and beyond in May. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has a delicate balancing act. On the one hand he has to preserve the championship, which wouldn’t exist with the factories that supply 12 prototypes and have the option of continuing to do so in 2013. On the other hand, the factories are loath to be saddled with burdensome technical regulations that stifle development. One significant plus is that all three manufacturers are committed to the championship through 2016.
Said HRC’s Shuhei Nakamoto, “We have to make it cheaper. I don’t think we have to make it slower. Because there are some areas of interest for the technical area. To make the machine slower there’s no reason to continue in MotoGP. I fully understand and agree for the need to make the machine cheaper, but to make the machine slower, there’s no reason to stay here.”
An electronic glitch prevented...
An electronic glitch prevented Colin Edwards from running NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s newer 2012 model on the first day, but once it was fixed, the team made some significant progress during the test despite struggling with tire chatter.
Suggestions on slowing down the prototypes included rev limits, control ECUs, and weight penalties. “All of these we are against,” Nakamoto said. “Carmelo (Ezpeleta), he’s not a technician. For the technical regulation area, if he makes something, maybe not so good a decision. We fully support Carmelo about the MotoGP racing activities or promotion area. He should be concerned with this area. The technical regulation area we have the MSMA. We can manage.”
Ezpeleta’s proposal is that the Ducati, Honda, and Yamaha each produce a maximum of two full prototypes and two prototypes to lease for €1 million, plus crash damage. Their recent five-year deal allows them to race prototypes through 2016. But of what specification? Rather than specific technical regulations, Ezpeleta said Dorna was considering recommending freezing development of the engine or chassis for a defined period. To further limit costs, they may go to one motorcycle per rider starting in 2013. If so, the number of engines may be cut from six to five. But that’s only one of the suggestions to be offered. Nothing will be decided until late May.
Alvaro Bautista saw the writing...
Alvaro Bautista saw the writing on the wall regarding Suzuki’s pull-out from MotoGP, and quickly signed with the Gresini Honda team for 2012. Some are expecting big things from the Spaniard this year.
Already the cost of racing has had an effect on the grid. Team owner Fausto Gresini has cut back his San Carlo Honda Gresini race team to one RC213V for 2012, replacing the second prototype with a CRT machine. The Gresini CRT will mate a Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR engine in a British-made FTR chassis, along with Showa suspension and Cosworth electronics.
“I think it’s clear that MotoGP has many problems for four or five years, every year it gets more difficult,” Gresini said. “And this financial problem is difficult. There’s no money and every year the bike is improved. And every year MotoGP riders decrease and this is clear; for Dorna it’s an emergency. The manufacturers aren’t working too much to increase the number of riders and in that case it’s necessary for Dorna to work in another different way. In that case, for sure MotoGP is finished.” He added, “There needs to be a big change. And for this reason we need to decrease the cost and invest in new and young riders. This is important.”
Gresini hopes to bridge the gap with homegrown talent. This year, he’s the only team owner to field riders on MotoGP, CRT, Moto2, and the new Moto3 machines. That should bring new blood into the championship.
He continued. “The manufacturers have two riders and the satellite teams pay a lot money. OK, bring us this rider. But they don’t have the possibility to invest in young riders. The cost of the bike is too much and the teams don’t always have a sponsor to finance this project for young riders, because the cost is very, very expensive. And for this reason, it’s clear it’s necessary to change the system. And the manufacturers, for me, don’t have a good focus for the problem. They’re saying the problem isn’t for the manufacturers, but for Dorna. I think it’s a mistake.”
It may not be the only mistake. Already questions about the future of MotoGP are being answered, but the final verdict won’t be known for at least another year. SR