Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview with Casey Stoner

Casey Stoner is the top Moto GP (Motorcycle Grand Prix) rider in the World right now, and this is some of his insight as to how the start of his 2012 season has begun.

I would like to share that in 2011 the riders in Moto GP were all riding 800 cc engines, and this year in 2012 they changed the rules to go back to the 1000 cc engine.  The 800 cc bikes favor the smaller riders, so my favorite rider, Ben Spies weighs in at about 5'10" 175 lbs, while Casey Stoner is shorter and lighter by about 4 inches and 20 lbs.  Just like a Jockey the horse can be exactly the same but the riders weight is going to play a pivotal role.

Riders changed teams this year in 2012 as well.  Casey Stoner went from Ducati to Honda, and if you remember from my previous post a Ducati is a V-twin and the Honda is an inline 4 engine.

Nicky Hayden (another larger rider) went from Honda to Ducati.

Valentino Rossi (about the same size and weight as Casey Stoner) went from Yamaha- Crossplane Technology- to Ducati

Below is some insight to how Casey has been feeling about the differences in style of bikes.

"Specifically, how is the 1000 different from the 800 on corner entry, mid-corner, exit?

Well, the only thing I think, not so much from the 1000 to 800, but just an improvement that we've made with Honda, is braking stability. 
The wheelbase is maybe a little different and when we go on the brakes we've, of course, got a bit more stability as we're going into the corner. The rear's not wanting to hop up as much. So we can actually sink our hands into the brakes a lot harder. So it's actually changing the braking points by a little bit less than what we'd expected, because our bike has improved quite substantially in that point. I'd say corner entry is exactly the same. Everything from that point on is very similar. I think it's mainly just chassis-wise that we've improved. The weight of the bike is exactly the same, the way it's going to react is very similar, if not the same.

The weight's the same?

Now we've gone four kilos, but that was quite recently that they decided to add that. The bikes were designed and built and then they go, Ah yeah, we're going to add four kilos. So I don't think that's really the right way forward. And I hope they fight it. I hope they fight it and win because you don't make rules and change it at the last minute when the bike's already developed. So I think the extra four kilos isn't changing anything like that anyway. It's more or less the same weight. If it was 20 kilos difference in the bike, it might be a bit of difference. At this point it just feels very similar to the 800. The only thing that's different for us is the way the chassis feels. Like I said, I think we've made some improvements with that. And just corner exit, we're able to use that power a lot better, we're able to get a more torque out of the engine, have a lot more control with the engine because it's not so peaky. And actually I've found a lot more traction. Because of the extra torque and control, it wants to drive out of the corner a lot longer before it spins.

Can you be less precise with the 1000 and still get away with it?

I'd say no. In a small way I think maybe, because of that extra torque you've got you can just square the corner off then and shoot it out. But the 800s already had a lot of power. And especially by the end of their time they already had a quite substantial amount and too much. You're still spinning up everywhere. So I'd say, no. I think you've still got to ride them in a very similar way. Try to ride them very accurately and everyone's just trying to massage out the bugs at the moment.

If you make a mistake, is it less forgiving than the 800?

No, I think it's very similar. The 800s, maybe you were carrying a little bit more corner speed. Because you didn't have the same power on the 800s then you didn't have the same problems with wheelies. The 1000s, of course, especially on a small track with a short gearbox, is just going to want to wheelie quite a lot, so that's going to be something you'll have to think about. So they did turn a little bit harder and you keep a little bit more throttle in the middle of the turn really. But such a minute amount. You can still ride them in exactly the same way. I was watching some of the lines out there of everybody today and looking at some of the black marks. They're using the whole track still. I'm using less and less of the track, because I'm happy with that extra bit of torque. But in general you can still ride them in both ways."

I suppose you have to know a bit about motorcycles in order to completely grasp these concepts but if you comment on this post I'll be sure to answer any questions as thouroghly as I can. 

Johnny 5-

1 comment:

  1. I never would have thought that the weight of a rider would have such an impact on their riding. But it makes sense when comparing it to a jockey and horse racing. Great post very informative and interesting.