MotoGP pitstops: exploring the future

Sunday's MotoGP race at Phillip Island was a bit of a mess but with some proper thought and planning, it could be the future

Posted: 21 October 2013
by Ben Cope

The consensus is that Bridgestone screwed up by not testing at Phillip Island. I know that Marquez was dealt a bad hand and I know that things looked scrappy out there. Whatever the tyre, whatever the race distance, the conditions were the same for everyone. HRC messed up.

However, Sunday's MotoGP was the best race I'd seen in ages. Sure, the on-track battles weren't golden but seeing how the teams dealt with the bike swap, shone a glimmer of tactics onto a sport that has only given us a completely predictable top three and a completely predictable bottom five. For the past 5 years.

There has to be a future for pit-stops and bike swaps in MotoGP. What if we followed the world of F1, which now offers some of the most exciting, tactical and multi-dimensional circuit racing I've seen. Despite Vettel's dominance, it's not just a case of getting to the first corner first, then pounding out a monotonous run of identical laps. Anything can happen, does happen and that's what makes it worth watching. You don't know who's going to be on the podium.

If MotoGP had slightly longer races and teams could choose what tyres they ran and therefore what pit strategy to use and the fuel load too, it wouldn't just be fastest bike x fastest rider = the win. It would be about the fastest riders, adapting throughout the race and being the smartest riders. Lose the traction control. I'm not a luddite but these riders don't need it and without it, we wouldn't see loads more crashes but we'd see loads more action.

All top flight motorcycle racing is the same: 20 or more laps, go hard then go home. Am I alone in thinking that outright fastest races are almost always boring races?

Shouldn't Dorna raise the bar and try something new? The current run of 800, 1000 and now CRT has completely lost my interest and questions the ability of Dorna to know their arse from their elbow.

Thanks Bridgestone for getting it wrong, your mistakes made the race exciting. Shouldn't that be what it's all about?

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pilots trying not to shred their thanks..I prefer racing at it's purest form..pilots giving everything they've got.

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 13:01

Pit stops - absolutely not !

In an endurance race, yes, but Moto GP is a short circuit race and the winner should be the fastest guy out there, not the one who gets lucky with his pit stop.

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 14:30

This is the most stupid thing that could happen to motoGP. F1 is boring with races that lasts over 3hrs! We don't want that in motoGP; it is a motorsport and it should remain at its purest, the fastest bikes and the fastest riders.

The races should be more exciting by introducing new regulations that ensure bikes are more similar or eliminating old regulations such as limiting the number of factory bikes. For instance Factory teams like Honda should give Satellite teams like LCR and Gresini full spec factory bikes as the ones from the Repsol team and let them compete on equal terms. However, Dorna has limited this as they want to have more power than manufacturers.

If you want entertainment with bikes rather than pure racing then go and watch some stunt riding or indoor motorcross events and so on with obstacles, bumps, dirt, etc.

Posted: 21/10/2013 at 17:12

Ben Cope - I can only assume this whole article was written tongue in cheek?

The biggest clue was when you said F1 was exciting.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 09:17

The whole point of prototype racing is to develop technologies further - that includes tyre technology. I don't want fantastic tyres that last 10 laps, I want tyre firms to be challenged on how to develop tyres that last as well as perform.

But my bigger worry about pit stops is the added complexity and danger. Riders pitting together, changing bikes as fast as possible then rejoining tracks at high speed just adds needless risk of collision.

Add to that the nonsense of the placings on track not actually being the real positions until everyone has pitted just turns pure short circuit racing into an American-style, dragged out farce.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 11:07

the race is about who can get from point A to point B in the quickest time.
Full tanks, tyres that will last the distance with a bit of degradation allows for those riders with the skill to manage tyres or ride around the degradation.

I don't like the way F1 has gone.
Allthe overtaking is done in laps 1, 2 and 3, then during the pit stops.
Keep to pure racing between riders please.

Otherwise we might as well ask the rider to change the tyres on his own and that to win he has to do it really quickly then get back on the bike and race.
Na'aa, never work.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 14:21

Watch MotoGP3 if you want great racing.
fabulous overtakes constantly swapping leaders,racing at its very best.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 14:31

Exciting formula 1, you must be watching a different series. Bike racing should absolutely be about bike and rider - not a tactician and his book of statistics.

By the way, lucky this happened is a series where they're still allowed 2 bikes. What would've happened in SBK? full wheel swaps, or just turn a blind eye to it and hope everyone gets round...

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 15:24

What a load of bull !
Pit stops should remain as the prized possession of the Bormula One paddock, it has no place in motorcycle racing other than in endurance racing and when weather conditions justify.
MotoGP in particular is enhanced by knowing the deal is on the track, rider against rider, rather than the pitiful hype of pit stops and rules infringements. Watching how a race unfolds is the attraction and not on the extra seconds changing tyres.
As for the Phillip Island farce, Bridgestone are contracted to supply tyres for known conditions and as such are obliged to supply accordingly. Their inept performance, and the resulting "solution" of a two part race ruined what would have been yet another spectacle of proper racing and witnessing the sensational skills of those concerned.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 15:45

God, I've just read Ben Cope's garbage again regarding Bormula One.
"You don't know who's going to be on the podium."

Excuse me, I haven't watched it for years, but the 45 second summaries on TV news seem to suggest otherwise, unless of course it hits the headlines because Bernie Ecclestone is having another tantrum, someone is falling out with their team, or another race is scheduled to be held in some desert kingdom.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 15:52


Posted: 22/10/2013 at 16:14

It looks like Mr Cope and I are alone in this opinion, but I for one found the whole spectacle of Phillip Island this year to be very entertaining indeed. Granted, you can't really replicate the "Oh dear, the bikes aren't going to get round" squeaky-bum-time moment Bridgestone had and then the furore that followed, however I honestly found the bike swapping to add drama and uncertainty to a race series which has become very boring and predictable.

I whole-heartedly agree that bike racing should be about the pilot getting from A to B in the fastest time - however, that argument as the sole reason to avoid pit stops or bike swaps is somewhat null and void when you consider the following:

If MotoGP was truly about the most skilled rider getting from A to B in the quickest time possible, and nothing more, then all the riders should be on the same machines. Honda are light years ahead (relatively speaking) of all other teams at the moment and even the might of Yamaha is loosing its foothold (again, relatively speaking).

Therefore, its not really about getting from A to B, is it? - Its about getting from A to B on pieces of equipment that vary greatly in quality. Put Lorenzo on Pedrosa's bike and I think the gap at the top would be a hair's breadth. You could even stick Dovi on an HRC machine and he'd probably be in very close contention each week.

So why not add in an element of uncertainty to each race? Introduce a little bit of tactics to a race and you increase the drama, increase the spectacle and ultimately increase the fan base and viewing figures, which is good for the whole series.

To simply poo-poo the idea without a rational argument as to why is pretty narrow-minded.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 18:37

This is the stupidest idea I've evr seen on this site. Somebody give Cpoe a huge dopeslap!

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 20:17

Sorry for mispellings! But if you want to talk about narrow-mindedness, the rationale that MotoGP would be made better by including artificial, contrived distractions from the balls-to-the-wall racing which is the essence of Grand Prix could only appeal to the casual, couch potato, attention deficit disorder sufferer who seeks titillation above all else.

Posted: 22/10/2013 at 20:29

I don't think people are narrow-minded simply for having a different point of view from me, far from it. I was referring to those who just Nay Say without offering an actual argument as to why they don't agree with it. There's a lot of good reasons already mentioned above, by people who have actually taken time to justify their opinion.

It's possible to see both points of view, particularly when people spend time actually making a valid point. It's more enjoyable to have an actual debate on a subject rather than just hearing someone say "NO!". Personally, I don't think the issue is as simple as "pit stops = a dilution of the quality of racing."

I'm not a couch potato, nor do I have ADHD, nor am I a "casual fan". But I would enjoy seeing a more tactical element to the racing and would enjoy seeing more bike swaps and the like, for the reasons I mentioned above.

Posted: 23/10/2013 at 03:27

You can't compare the pit stops in F1 to MotoGP until either F1 requires a car change during the pit stop or MotoGP bikes swap wheels. You would not be able to do a wheel change on a bike in the same time it takes on an F1 car, and the time taken to do it adds a pointless and unnecessary break in the racing.

How is introducing tactics going to change anything? It hasn't in F1 has it? I mean the top teams still win all the time and the shit ones still finish the race hours after them.

Sorry TDH241, but your arguments are just not very compelling.

True, MotoGP has become a bit tiresome, but pit stops are most definitely not the answer.

Posted: 23/10/2013 at 09:48

Active suspension, greater adaptive aerodynamics, KERS boosts, would be great to see.

Pit stops made it good as well, another pressure put on the rider to see how they react to a challenge.

As for F1, if Vettel wasn't there it would be a lot more interesting, behind that car, cars are changing position more often, DRS has seen to that, two types of tyre shows cars which perform better on one type than another, KERS has added an element of 'Mario cart' where a driver can help assist his car for 8 seconds a lap, when does he use it, how will the other racer react. I love it!

Posted: 23/10/2013 at 12:10

No wonder that Dorna gets free pass after free pass on their blunders when journalists call best races in ages the ones like last weekend or when it rains .... really? really?

Posted: 23/10/2013 at 12:38

Ehhh No!

Posted: 23/10/2013 at 17:34

Got to be a gag this one!

"it's not just a case of getting to the first corner first, then pounding out a monotonous run of identical laps" this from a man who gets very excited about Lorenzos consistent laps...???

Posted: 30/10/2013 at 14:04

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