MotoGP Stoner-Ducati and the clash between riders and manufacturers over the development of the bike: the precedents

Casey’s words (“Borgo Panigale focuses too much on the bike and on what the engineers want to see on the vehicle, not on what the rider wants”) reopen the theme of technical projects, which are often decided by the manufacturers, not by the riders. Examples from the past: from Agostini’s Morini 250 to Rossi’s Desmosedici flop and this year’s complaints from Bagnaia and Quartararo

Massimo Falcioni

– Milan

Casey Stoner, the Australian champion who in 2007 brought the MotoGP world title to Ducati and then made an extra number in 2011 on Honda, has returned to criticize the Bolognese manufacturer: “In Borgo Panigale, they focus too much on the vehicle and on what the engineers want to look at the bikes, not at what the rider wants, and if the rider does not feel right, he does not get results. ”In motorcycles, riders have always complained about their bikes, including Agostini even in the golden years when he dominated by MV Agusta, and the manufacturers have always designed, built and developed their racing bikes based on their needs, technical and market, imposing their most important rule: the one who is the driver who has to adapt to the vehicle and not the other way around. been with Guzzi, Gilera, Benelli, Mondial, Morini and Aermacchi up to Morbidelli, Garelli, Aprilia, and so it has always been with the major European and Japanese foreign producers.

in Augustine’s time

There have been and still are exceptions, but they remain exceptions: sometimes they have brought sensational results, other times they have produced sensational failures. Let’s see some examples. No pilot from the official Guzzi squadron knew in 1954 that engineer Giulio Cesare Carcano of Mandello Lario (along with Enrico Cantoni and Umberto Todero) designed an unprecedented 90 ° 500 V8 engine to replace the 500 four-cylinder engine from Eng. Gianini is now insufficient to counter the 4-cylinder Gilera and MV Agusta. The 500 8-cylinder, from the first 70 HP engine to the last from 1957 with 85 HP and over 280 km / h speed, was the most powerful, fastest and most technologically advanced racing bike of the post-war period and despite having champions in the team from caliber Lomas, Kavanagh , Campbell, Dale, Sandford, Colnago, it was the drivers who had to adapt to the new race car and not the other way around. In September 1963, Giacomo Agostini made his debut as a “junior” among the big names in the 250cc World Championship in Monza on the saddle of the single-cylinder Morini 250, the perfect two-axle two-axle, tailored to Tarquinio Provini: the young man from Bergamo took to the field with the bike that had the “goals” from his famous captain, who will then dominate the race by beating the Honda 4-cylinder split led by Jim Redman. In 1964, neither Agostini nor his teammate Silvio Grassetti “dared” to ask Morini’s racing department for changes to the 1-cylinder cars that were considered “perfect”. Grassetti himself in the early 1960s was unable to go beyond a few fearful “complaints” about the limits of the new Benelli 250 4-cylinder, which will be modified, then totally redesigned and rebuilt, thanks to Provinis technical genius and charisma. Renzo Pasolini himself will not be happy with his requests for modifications to the Benelli 4-cylinder 250 and 350, very competitive race cars, but certainly not without limits. One could go on with a long list.

flopped by rossi on the red

How about the tale of Valentino Rossi, who, after taking the leap from Honda to Yamaha, joined the Borgo Panigale manufacturer for 2011 and 2012, bringing with him his own technical staff, primarily Jeremy Burgess, but despite having carte blanche did he make a hole in the water? Even with investments never made before, Desmosedici did not want to be tamed by the champion from Pesaro, who for the first time in his career could not even win a win in both seasons, considering having been the best in those two years. ducatista. A failed choice, therefore, for Ducati to replace Stoner with Rossi, due to the underestimation of how much the Australian champion had contributed to the conquest of the MotoGP world title and to the overestimation of Valentino, who is considered invincible, always , everywhere, ii at least.

today’s complaints

And today? In MotoGP, the most competitive bikes Ducatis, albeit only for power and speed, are very important elements, but of course not crucial to winning the title. So much so that reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha leads the 2022 rankings after the first 11 rounds. Quartararo himself at the start of the championship was not happy with his M1 when he shouted for a “brand new” bike, especially by pulling back the in-line 4-cylinder. However, the Iwata manufacturer is still on its way in the logic of evolution and not the revolution, offering its number 1 rider a balanced, extremely ride-friendly and competitive bike. Even in Ducati, at the beginning of the season, Bagnaia himself (not just him …) complained about the new 2022 bike, as Enea Bastianini with the 2021 bike won three victories in the first seven races. Then Pecco will have to change his mind and win in the last six rounds three Grand Prix that could have been … many more without the crashes in the Sachsenring and Le Mans and the knockout in the Catalonia GP. And the Honda? It can be said that Marc Marquez dictated the line here and continues to dictate it, although the future is linked to the questions of the return to racing of the champion from Cervera. In conclusion, there is no set rule, even if it is the manufacturer, not the rider, who tracks the technical lines and the development of their racing bikes, even after the market. What matters is always the result. And never say never, for there is no shortage of exceptions, there is no shortage, there will be no shortage of exceptions. Casey Stoner docet.

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