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September 28th, 2020, 10:29 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Keshav View Post
I don't doubt that he had it in him.
I am less down on him than I was, but did not see him catching FQ, in fact he crashed trying to stay with him. Maybe 3rd, he may have finished ahead of Morbidelli but I think Mir would have got to him, and he is such a decisive passer that I doubt wiliness or guile would have availed Valentino greatly.
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September 29th, 2020, 02:42 AM   #32
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True. He did actually string some early season races together and it was after the finagling and tyre change that he started to look flaky, and doesn’t appear to have ever recovered his composure.

Lex whom I miss always had a theory that 2008 was a trial run for the control tyre and that it wasn’t the same high tech/multi edge/whatever tyre originally co-developed with Bridgestone to particularly suit the Ducati, which Stoner used to such advantage in 2007, in 2008. He also had early season problems in 2008 with a bike that steered even worse than previously on the tight tracks and a mechanical dnf leading to reversion to the 2007 engine. He was still making a bold return until Laguna Seca, after which he needed to beat Rossi pretty much in every race and win most of them. I put his subsequent offs down to pressure/rider error at the time, but Stoner always maintained it was the start of the bike becoming more capricious and throwing him off at random. Stoner was hardly unforthcoming in general however, and I don’t recall any specific complaint from him or Ducati about the 2008 tyres to confirm Lex’s hypothesis although there was considerable complaint about tyres in later years of course.
A motogp winner is a motogp winner. Viñales is in an exclusive club. You can’t fluke that more than once. So he is beyond doubt an elite athlete. To go to the next level, motogp champion, which is what is in fact expected or even demanded of him? Well dont ask me, I wouldn’t have a clue how to achieve that. Personally I wouldn’t say Viñales is a lesser Pedrosa until he actually retires as such. Stoner was no chance to be champion. Then he was. Then he was ridiculed. But then he was again. Hence I tend to avoid writing off riders.
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September 29th, 2020, 02:56 AM   #33
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A motogp winner is a motogp winner. Viñales is in an exclusive club. You can’t fluke that more than once. So he is beyond doubt an elite athlete. To go to the next level, motogp champion, which is what is in fact expected or even demanded of him? Well dont ask me, I wouldn’t have a clue how to achieve that. Personally I wouldn’t say Viñales is a lesser Pedrosa until he actually retires as such. Stoner was no chance to be champion. Then he was. Then he was ridiculed. But then he was again. Hence I tend to avoid writing off riders.
Sure, as is usually the case in matters gp bike racing you are correct, no armchair observer of bike racing such as I am has any business trashing the likes of Vinales. I was perhaps over-correcting on an admission of error in contending that Rossi’s tyre shenanigans screwed him back then.

I really rate Dani Pedrosa btw, his wins were no fluke, and nor were Vinales’ wins, particularly his first on the Suzuki when it was rather harder to win on a bike which was not a factory Yamaha or Honda. Pedrosa ran into all time great competition, whom he still dominated on his day, and didn’t bounce well. I am not anti-Vinales, he is obviously a supreme talent compared to nearly anyone who has ever ridden a bike anywhere, but with MM hors de combat he needs to be more consistent imo to grasp this chance at a title. I do take the point no-one else is being particularly consistent either in MMs absence. An under-rated aspect of MM’s run since 2015 imo has been great consistency with the title in play, if things are not going his way he still finishes 2nd or 3rd. This is a new MotoGP world now though, a factory Honda or Yamaha not ridden by MM is obviously no guarantee of any kind of result, particularly when the tyres change.

Last edited by michaelm; September 29th, 2020 at 07:57 AM.
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September 29th, 2020, 02:47 PM   #34
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What this season proves beyond doubt: Marquez is the class of the field and without him they appear a little lost. That is not unexpected under the circumstances, they know full well the unique opportunity which exists and can’t seam to help tripping over each other in the rush to establish themselves as the top dog. Even Rossi, with all that experience......
This season, Marquez crashed twice in the opening race, a very uncharacteristic thing for him to do. I think he was asking too much of the bike as is clear from how the other Honda riders have been getting on with it.

All the riders have struggled with consistency. Marquez himself predicted who would be the contenders for the championship based on the pecking order he was accustomed to based on seasons before this one where the tyres are clearly proving to be difficult to understand/tame to provide consistent performance even between consecutive weekends at the same circuit. It wouldn't surprise me that he too would be struggling a bit with consistency.

Of course, some are struggling more than others. Vinales, Rins and Dovi are three riders in particular that are struggling to maintain consistent performance. They seem particularly sensitive to the challenge of getting this years rubber to work for them.
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September 29th, 2020, 02:53 PM   #35
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Much as I'm not a big Rossi fan, I'd hesitate to blame his age for that fall. Could easily be just a question of that front rubber being slightly off from the rest of the batch, that, combined with a pretty cool ground temperature. Tho for him to fall two weeks in a row is really out of character since in either case, he didn't seem to be pushing that hard.
Yeah, all the top riders have had their costly falls. Rossi has had two in a row. Tough break for him but I think it harsh to be hard on him for it. It's quite the challenge for the riders and this is why I am so much enjoying this season. I come to each race weekend not having a clue what will happen except for some great qualifying and racing.

I would love Mir to get his maiden victory soon. The guy is slick and shining with some consistency where so many are unable to do the same.
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September 29th, 2020, 06:11 PM   #36
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This season, Marquez crashed twice in the opening race, a very uncharacteristic thing for him to do. I think he was asking too much of the bike as is clear from how the other Honda riders have been getting on with it.

All the riders have struggled with consistency. Marquez himself predicted who would be the contenders for the championship based on the pecking order he was accustomed to based on seasons before this one where the tyres are clearly proving to be difficult to understand/tame to provide consistent performance even between consecutive weekends at the same circuit. It wouldn't surprise me that he too would be struggling a bit with consistency.

Of course, some are struggling more than others. Vinales, Rins and Dovi are three riders in particular that are struggling to maintain consistent performance. They seem particularly sensitive to the challenge of getting this years rubber to work for them.
I think MM crashed trying to prove something to FQ, which he had done on a previous occasion before these new tyres which also resulted in an injury on that occasion. He couldve/shouldve settled for 2nd, since even for him there was no chance of winning off his own bat. In that one race he still seemed to have a significant advantage over the field, and the unheralded Nakagami has also shown reasonable one lap pace on the Honda since then.

No doubt the tyres are difficult for all, and seem to be a significant contributor to the marked variance in rider performance which even extends to performances on the same track a week apart in this Covid-19 affected year. I think they would have been difficult for MM as well and possibly were already in that first race as you say.

As to how the title would have gone had his injury not been basically season ending it would have depended on which MM lined up on the grid for the rest of the year imo. 2015 MM or the MM of the first race of this year would likely have kept crashing trying to win every race. Had he decided to ride for the championship as he has done in at least one season since 2015 I think he still could have been leading the championship by a significant margin, and while the tyres may have made him less consistent as well I don't see him even riding to finish ever ending up as low down at the finish as the trio you mention have in some races, but rather maybe top 5, probably 3rd at the lowest in most races.

He isn't there however so such speculation is not very relevant, particularly since he is not there due to his own mistake.
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Last edited by michaelm; September 29th, 2020 at 08:44 PM.
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September 29th, 2020, 07:25 PM   #37
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It is interesting that little or nothing has been said about how little Michelin has improved. They are much better than they were the first year they became the single supplier. However, they just just do not seem capable of innovating the way that Bridgestone did. One can not help but wonder, if riders are essentially at the limit, or the bikes are at the limit, to the point that there is really not much room for meaningful improvement. One can not help but wonder how long it will be before WSBK machinery catches up. Each new technological refinement the manufacturers create, at great costs, affords seemingly diminishing results.
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October 1st, 2020, 01:23 AM   #38
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Sure, as is usually the case in matters gp bike racing you are correct, no armchair observer of bike racing such as I am has any business trashing the likes of Vinales. I was perhaps over-correcting on an admission of error in contending that Rossi’s tyre shenanigans screwed him back then.

I really rate Dani Pedrosa btw, his wins were no fluke, and nor were Vinales’ wins, particularly his first on the Suzuki when it was rather harder to win on a bike which was not a factory Yamaha or Honda. Pedrosa ran into all time great competition, whom he still dominated on his day, and didn’t bounce well. I am not anti-Vinales, he is obviously a supreme talent compared to nearly anyone who has ever ridden a bike anywhere, but with MM hors de combat he needs to be more consistent imo to grasp this chance at a title. I do take the point no-one else is being particularly consistent either in MMs absence. An under-rated aspect of MM’s run since 2015 imo has been great consistency with the title in play, if things are not going his way he still finishes 2nd or 3rd. This is a new MotoGP world now though, a factory Honda or Yamaha not ridden by MM is obviously no guarantee of any kind of result, particularly when the tyres change.
I agree with what you say, but wish to point out there are 22 competitors that desire to be more consistent to win the title, but yet only one ever does. The odds to that achievement are astronomical, we can’t be too harsh on the ones that don’t because after all they are only 0.0000000001% off that magical number. Hell the odds to even make it and win a race.

Last edited by birdman; October 1st, 2020 at 01:26 AM.
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October 1st, 2020, 01:43 AM   #39
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I agree with what you say, but wish to point out there are 22 competitors that desire to be more consistent to win the title, but yet only one ever does. The odds to that achievement are astronomical, we can’t be too harsh on the ones that don’t because after all they are only 0.0000000001% off that magical number. Hell the odds to even make it and win a race.
Sure, MM is a rare if not unique genius who can ride around problems in a fashion which has few if any parallels in gp bike racing history.
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October 1st, 2020, 02:31 AM   #40
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It is interesting that little or nothing has been said about how little Michelin has improved. They are much better than they were the first year they became the single supplier. However, they just just do not seem capable of innovating the way that Bridgestone did. One can not help but wonder, if riders are essentially at the limit, or the bikes are at the limit, to the point that there is really not much room for meaningful improvement. One can not help but wonder how long it will be before WSBK machinery catches up. Each new technological refinement the manufacturers create, at great costs, affords seemingly diminishing results.
What I wonder is whether that is by design. Dorna is enjoying the closer racing, so why would they want to change it?
Bridgestone is a Japanese business and maybe they saw MotoGP as a way of not just advertising but improving and innovating their tyres. Michelin on the other hand might just care about the advertising. Riders still complain about the tyres and still talk about unexplainable differences etc. I've wondered if a huge part of Bridgestone leaving after 2015 was that Dorna were pushing for not so much a tyre lottery but an artificial way of keeping the races closer and Bridgestone wasn't interested in that. All the seasons Dovi was runner up were a direct result of his ability to slow races down and save tyres until the end of the race. Before 2016, I am not sure that strategy would have served him so well.
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