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Reading between the lines: the Malaysian GP on the timesheets ... with some surprises

But are the current MotoGP bikes really these monsters they seem? Watching them live, yes, sure, but a back-to-back analysis with the times of 2019, three years ago, tell another story


Reading between the lines: the Malaysian GP on the timesheets ... with some surprises

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Malaysia reflections. In 2019 Vinales (Yamaha) won with a time of 40'14.632, on Sunday Bagnaia won in 40'14.332 = zero progress. Martin's fastest lap was in 1’59.634, Rossi (Yamaha) in 2019 1’59.661 = zero progress.

To underline the fact that Bagnaia was clearly faster than everyone else: average 5 speeds 332.2 km/h, even though he never had a tow. Never once under 330 km/h. Bastianini 329.4, Zarco 327.0, Miller 328.5, Quartararo 328.6, Espargarò 320.4 (in 2019 he did 322.3 ...).

Note that Rossi in 2019 only had a speed of 321.6, yet the same race times.

Morbidelli in 2019 best lap in 2'00.030, Sunday 1'59.993

Today he was faster than Quartararo over one lap, especially in 3 sectors, only in the first he was slower.

The lines you read above are not the result of my research but of my friend and colleague Silvano Di Giovanni, for a long time alongside Maurizio Flammini in Superbike and a journalist since the days of the production-based series, who took the trouble to go and see what happened in the last GP raced in Sepang.

It is a reflection that ... makes us reflect and which we forward to Gigi Dall'Igna with whom we will have a chat soon to see where the MotoGP regulations are taking us. They might have made some changes on important points - control unit, bore, aerodynamics - but, numbers in hand , it doesn't look like it's getting us anywhere.

And just think that in 2018 Marquez won with the Honda in 40'32.372, so a lot slower than the previous year. But above all we are concerned by the fact that almost all riders now complain about the difficulty of following those in front of them due to aerodynamic disturbance. And not only that: you will have noticed that last Sunday Bastianini always came out of Bagnaia's slipstream on the straights and the answer was obvious: he did it so as not to overheat the front tyre.

The doubt that assails us is whether or not, amidst front and rear lowering devices, better brakes and aerodynamics that generates an important aerodynamic load, an excessive overload has been created on the front tyre which has virtually not changed for years.

This gives rise to races in which, rather than all-out white-knuckle racing, the name of the game is energy-saving throughout and then cutting loose in the last five, six laps, for those who still have rubber on their tyres.

For heaven's sake: the result of the Grand Prix is ​​always the result of many variables, you might say, it's not just putting brute horsepower down on the ground, even if  Marc Marquez, when asked if he thought that the engine power was sufficient, candidly replied: "it’s never enough. The more power there is, the better! ".

All the riders know this, but the impression is that, today, MotoGP bikes have taken a big step forward in two important areas: braking and handling, allowing many riders to take them to the limit. Which, however, is not a real limit, but a limit of the vehicle. And this would explain why Luca Marini, an excellent up-and-coming rider, hoped for the arrival of "bikes that are more difficult to ride". So you can make a difference.

Having said this, hats off to Pecco Bagnaia who in the second half of this championship has scored five victories, four of which in a row, two seconds and a third place.

Whatever the problem is with MotoGP, the Ducati rider, who also has five zeros, four crashes and a rear-end collision in Barcelona by Nakagami on his scoresheet, fully deserves the title, while Bastianini out of four zeros can only recriminate the wheel rim in the Austrian GP.

It is clear, however, that Quartararo - three wins, four zeros - lost his way in the second half of the championship, while Aleix Espargarò, one win, four podiums, was the best paceman but has paid for one mistake by himself and another by the team.

There is just one more detail to add: in 2019, at the nineteenth Grand Prix of the season, Marc Marquez had 420 points, today Bagnaia 258. Oh well, every season has its own story.

 

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