First, it was great to watch Rossi fall back quite a few places when KR knocked him off the line, just to come flying back into contention.
Just watching Rossi's victory lap shows the control that man has over his RC211v. Riding side-saddle, sitting on the tank, around corners, waving to the crowd...
Fonsi Nieto's victory over the 250cc field was very fun to watch, obviously a man on a mission. And though Casey Stoner is making quite a showing for his youth and inexperience, it is obvious that he is the announcer's favorite.
In fact, the 250cc race really was exciting, unlike MotoGP, where the race is Rossi's to win or lose (as we saw in Welkom).
I only caught the end of the 250 race but it was pretty amazing. That battle between Melandri and Battaini (sp?) was intense. If only the MotoGP class could be fought out as closely up front. As much as I love Rossi I am starting to get a little of bored of his domination. He may be the best rider in the world today but I would rather see somebody who can give him a battle for more than a couple laps.
Okay, I know this is going to sound really clueless, but I've only just started seriously following the MotoGP circuit and I'm still learning quite a bit about the series.
Here's my question: why the switch to four strokes? I love the bikes and think they're quite impressive, but why? I have not yet seen this explained very well on any site (especially not the MotoGP site LOL).
Also, what's up with the twin cylinder bikes in World Superbike and AMA Superbikes? And why, during the Sears Point broadcast today, did one of the announcers claim that "the future is in the twins"?
Sorry I'm so clueless. I can easily play along with the crowd and act like I know what this is all about, but even after religiously following World SBK, MotoGP and AMA Superbikes so far this season, I still can't figure it all out.
Here are the quickie answers, hopefully they're the right ones.:
- GP added up to 990cc 4-strokes to the 500cc mix because it was felt technology had stagnated in the class. Most manufacturer's existing machines had been engineered to the max, and it was felt this would open up new avenues for innovation.
Speculation: Judging by the speed at which Honda and company got their respective 4-stroke prototype on the track, there may have been some pressure on the FIM from the manufacturers who wanted to work with technology that could translate to street going machines. It was also hoped that the power advantage of 4-strokes wouldn't eclipse the late-braking/handling prowess of existing and future 2-stroke designs. As the summer heats up, and tires start shredding faster, this may indeed come to bear.
- In World SBK, twins are beating the competition hands down, not sure if it's the same in AMA. That's because they are allowed more cc's (998 anyone), and current design allows those larger cylinders to rev extremely high, removing the advantage the smaller 4 cylinder machines had - smaller displacement but higher revs. With that in mind, there is a push (I am not sure if it already happened in Brittish SBK) to allow 4 cylinder machines just over 800cc's, evening out the playing field.
It helps to be hopelessly addicted to road racing, reading everything I can get my hands on. I am a big fan of Road Racing World .
As I recall, a whole lot of Rossi's wins last year were blow-outs. So, yes, the other 500's were that far behind last year. Kato (he/the media dropped the 'h' yesterday) is riding Rossi's bike from last year (w/updates), so it's just more of the same.
I was cheering Kato like a madman when he started making his move to the front! When he got around Ukawa, it was awesome!
Hmmm.. well, as you can imagine, there are going to be 100 different opinions on why they switched. At least some of the reasoning was based on GP's desire to win over some of the upstart WSB fanbase. Witness WSB's rant about it when the plans were first being discussed back in like '98 (I can't recall the year for sure.. it was 3 or 4 years ago). WSB sees this as stepping on their territory since GP's were all about 2-strokes and 'ultimate, unlimited motorcycles' and not about anything even remotely related to 'street-bikes', at least not directly.
Surely, the move to 4s will be touted as a way to capitalize on development of more "street-worthy" technology. There is more than a shred of truth to that, but not much more, IMHO. That's like saying that because Formula 1 cars are four-strokes, that we'll have engines and transmissions and so on that resemble those exotic pieces at some point. I, for one, never ever expect to see pneumatic valves on my passenger car vehicle any time before the supply of oil runs out! And before anyone says it... the 'paddle shifters' that are found on a few passenger cars out there today are little more than remote controls for a typical automatic. As far as I have read, only the paddle shifters in a few Ferrari models actually shift a 'real' standard transmission, and not just some smart slush-box.
F1 surely fuels thought and development, and of course "racing improves the breed", but certainly race series that are spec or even silouhette based provide a bit more of a direct 'spin-off' opportunity than the highest, most advanced forms of the sport. I suppose you could say that the highest form of the sport is like 'far flung' research that may or may not trickle down. Probably as much DOESN'T as does though.
So, I guess it boils down to whether you really believe that there IS going to be significant "trickle-down" from this. I think there will, but it will be both slow in coming, and less impressive than anyone is hoping. Yes, I saw the 'computer depiction' of the street-going 211v in the recent Cycle World mag (and whatUP w/Burns being added back on to that staff??), I also have an issue of Cycle World from about '97 or so that had a street-going "vision" of an NSR500 2-stroke bike, ostensibly to "fend-off" the challenge of the Bimota Vdue that was fresh off the press at the time. The Vdue actually 'happened' and was, unfortunately, just too under-developed and under-funded... a flop: thereby damning the chance for a new 2-stroke street bike forever. The Honda was just more FUD to stall off competitors.
The twins thing dominating is simply a statement of "fact of the moment". Since they get a cc-break (1000 vs. 750-4's), they 'win', simply stated. There's movement under foot in WSB and AMA (I think?) to let what amounts to SuperSport 1000cc 4-cylinder bikes compete w/1000cc twins. The important distinction being that the inline 4's only get the type of mods available to super-sport where the twins still get the more 'free' rules of superbike. For a detailed list of exactly what those rules entail, seek the websites of WSB and/or AMA... they generally fall into the categories of how much cam/head-work/pistons can be done or altered.
According to Capirossi the 2002 NSR 500 has made huge strides over the previously dominant 2001 NSR 500. Looks like even though it was a lame duck, Honda decided to keep plugging away at it, during the off season.