Tag: motogp

MotoGP 2014, Aragon: a tale of what-ifs

What an absolutely fascinating race the 2014 Aragon MotoGP presented. It had it all – lots of battles, drizzle slowly getting heavier and some clangers of decisions made in terms of a flag-to-flag race. Lorenzo scooped up after the Repsol Honda boys binned it trying to hang out too long on slicks. The race itself is covered extensively everywhere else, what I thought I’d do here is present a race history chart and then, below the jump, look at the what-if scenarios for Marquez had the weather been a touch more favourable. First up, the race history chart

MotoGP 2014 Aragon: race history chart
This chart is fascinating for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the big thing is you can see the effect of getting the call right in terms of lap to pit. The rain steadily increased, making it a tougher call. Even the fastest guys on wets, e.g. Lorenzo, were only doing 2’02-2’04 laptimes, and until lap 18 Marquez and Dani were increasing their lead.

Nevertheless, slicks don’t keep their heat forever and the rain steadily increased, catching out those who stayed out a bit later… the biggest losers here were both of the Repsol Honda runners who really screwed the pooch in this race. That said, it was far from a clear-cut decision because the decision was being made only a couple of laps from the end. Looking at the lap times, the cost for pitting was about 28-30 seconds; with 4 laps to run you just have to be doing 7s/lap slower on slicks to still end up winning by not pitting. Below, let’s look at what would have happened had the weather gods smiled a bit more on Marquez.

MotoGP 2014: Aragon pit stop analysis

Just a quick one while I look at the madness that was the 2014 MotoGP race at Aragon. This is a quick look at pit stop times for each rider and their rankings.

MotoGP 2014, Aragon: pit stop rankings

First up we have the rankings. Aleix Espargaro ended up with the fastest combined sector 4 and sector 1 time, which includes the time in the pit lane. Hector Barbera had a hugely long stop as he only had 1 bike available and had to swap wheels. Of note is that Marc Marquez didn’t end up with a blistering fast time, although he would have been riding gingerly back to the pits after crashing due to staying out on slicks too long.

If Cal Crutchlow had stopped 2 seconds faster, he would have easily beaten Aleix to 2nd… this is the difference between a slightly tardy and a speedy bike swap.

Of interest for me was if there was a trend of slower pit stops the later the riders stopped. This didn’t really seem to be the case. Maaaaaybe there was a slight trend as the wetter the track got, the slower the riders had to approach the final few corners before negotiating pit lane but still, there is very little evidence for a major difference. Certainly the spread due to how gingerly or aggressively the riders took it on their in and out laps, and their speed swapping bikes, has more of an effect than the increasing amount of rain on the track.

MotoGP 2014, Aragon: pit stop time versus pit lap

Suzuki MotoGP: 4 part video series on their return

Suzuki released a few videos a couple of weeks back detailing their preparations for a return to MotoGP, and they’re worthy of a watch. 4 parts, each pretty short so people with short attention spans (read: Suzuki fans) should be alright. First vid displayed, 3 more below the jump. Also, if you don’t like Suzukis, I’ve included a pic of Lauren Vickers beneath the jump so you have to look :).