2017 MotoGP News Saturday from Valencia

Michael Scott | November 11, 2017
The Moto2 front row from Valencia,
The Moto2 front row from Valencia with Alex Marquez winning the pole. (Courtesy MotoGP)

Updates caused KTM to Use Too Many Engines

KTM’s penalty for using too many engines indicated not a lack of reliability, but collateral damage as a result of the fast pace of qualification.
Pol Espargaro used engine number ten in FP2 on Friday afternoon, incurring an automatic penalty for exceeding the allocation – as a new team with “concession” privileges, Red Bull KTM have nine engines for the year, as against the seven for established teams.
But it wasn’t a matter of reliability, Espargaro’s crew chief Paul Trevathan told Dorna.
“It’s the price we paid for bringing updates,” he said, explaining that older engines they might have been able to press into service did not fit into the latest chassis update, introduced at Aragon.
“We had to scrap some engines because of that,” he said.
* Motosport director Pit Beirer showed KTM’s human face when he explained why Bradley Smith was retained for the second year of his contract, in spite of poor results and an mid-season threat to consider his position. “It would not be fair halfway through the year … I knew something wasn’t right for him, but how can you perform when each time you ride you are thinking: ‘How many more hours do I have in this team?’ And since we confirmed he will stay, he had been going better,” he said.

MotoGP eSport Gamer Wins BMW

The first-ever MotoGP eSport champion was crowned on Friday evening at Valencia, best of the pick of the gamers who had qualified to compete on the PlayStation MotoGP17 game.
The final had 16 contestants from six countries, running a series of widely televised heats before the eight-strong final. With electronically identical bikes in sundry MotoGP liveries, eight riders made it to the final – and with lap times almost five seconds quicker than the best of the real riders, it made surprisingly good entertainment.
The winner, who went off with a BMW 240i Coupe, was an Italian operating under the handle Trastevere17. Whoever that might be.

Wings for Moto2?

The aerodynamic restrictions on MotoGP, banning wings this year, have born unexpected fruit for Moto2, where all aerodynamics were already banned last year … as KTM brought out a version of their wedge-nose MotoGP fairing for their middle-class bikes.
In the premier class, KTM’s response was a top fairing profile that was just not quite actually winged, since copied by Yamaha. Now riders Oliveira and Binder, first and second at the last two races, were using a smaller replica in practice.
Team boss Aki Ajo said the units were still being tested, adding: “We will probably race with the old fairing. But we went to get some data in advance of the tests next week.”

Riders Ruled Out

Luckless younger brother Darren Binder was ruled out of tomorrow’s Moto3 race after suffering left-thumb ligament injuries in a crash in morning free practice. Sibling to Moto3 champion and current Moto2 star Brad, the Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM rider has already missed races this year after injuries to the same hand.
British Moto2 wild card Jake Dixon is also a dubious starter, after a heavy crash in the morning. Nothing was broken, he said, but a heavy impact on his back left him in severe pain and doubtful whether he would be able to ride.

Is it Man or Machine in MotoGP?

If MotoGP riders didn’t push the limits and each other so hard, “if we don’t go to this level – it would be like Formula 1.” So said Marquez in Australia, after a bruising and frankly scary front battle, with eight riders up close and personal, and any number of collisions.
Suzuki rider Andrea Iannone, one of the protagonists, thinks MotoGP is already too much like Formula 1, however.
He gave this opinion to Italian journalists, reported the Italian web-site GPOne.com; suggesting that the bikes are now more important than the riders. And it wasn’t just a veiled critique of his Suzuki. “If the bike doesn’t work,” he said, “there is not much you can do. “Look at the Yamahas, for example.”
Their qualifying performance bore him out, with Vinales not even making it into the top dozen in Q2; telling the press it was not the tyres, but the bike, that was making it impossible for him to enter corners fast enough to be competitive.

Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.