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MotoGP - The Beauty of Progression?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Progression is a Beautiful Thing.

Think about it for a minute. Think about where we would be if all the Japanese manufacturers got together in 1983 and decided motorcycles are plenty good, let’s just keep making them like this. Not that I’m not a fan of the Suzuki GS1100 (that was the first motorcycle my father ever took me for a ride on), but think if that was all we had? No R1s. No GSX-Rs. No CBRs. No four-stroke monster 450cc MX bikes. No KTM 950 Adventurers. Technology and progression are wonderful things. And where does a lot of said advancement come from? Racing. Especially in the sportbike world. In fact, nearly all of it comes from racing.

Four color options are avaialble for  09.
Yamaha's all-new R1 - Direct descendant of Rossi’s M1.
Take the new Yamaha R1 I just rode in Australia for example. The hot news is the crossplane crankshaft pulled directly from Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha M1. Heck, Rossi has only had the crank for 4 yours now, and we the people can run to the dealership and go buy it. After riding that R1 (read the full story here) I can tell you Yamaha is onto something. The throttle response and drivability of that bike on corner exit, plus the resulting chassis mated to it truly are awesome.

So when racing organizations start implementing rules for control tires and spec ECUs it really gets my blood going. How much technology do you think the latest Chevy gets from Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR – which by the way still uses a 25-year-old engine, in a spec body that makes all the cars look the same. I actually think there is more new technology in the stock Chevy than the Gordon's NASCAR. And don’t get me wrong, solely as an entertainment entity, I see the appeal in NASCAR - and at the right racetrack even enjoy watching a few laps on TV. But it’s not doing anything to progress the automobile world. And we sure don’t want MotoGP to turn into NASBIKE, now do we?

They say all these spec tire rules, etc. are to promote closer racing, right? Well, let’s go back to NASCAR again. While the top-10 may be tighter at the finish, it’s still the same 5-6 guys at the front every weekend (barring some pit-stop incident). Fast guys will always be fast guys, it doesn’t matter if every single machine is identical. There will always be a winner and there will always be a lose. That's just the facts of life.

All these rules are start of the so called “slippery slope” people. In fact, I'm not a big fan of rules in general, but that's a whole different blog...
Rossi on the bike that started all the crossplane crankshaft business.
Rossi on the M1, Technology from this has already made its way to the dealership floors.

Thus, my new saying is: “No progression leads to more recession!” Say that a few times in your head and I think you will agree. We need MotoGP and all the crazy computers and Traction Control and anything else those clever Japanese and Italians can come up with. So, when GPs comes to the U.S., make sure you are there supporting it, and when more rules come about be sure to write us or your favorite website or publication telling them your opinion. We'll post every last one of them.

Long live technology. (Well, until maybe someday the bikes are doing the ride for us, as I do actually like being in control somewhat. But we’ll tackle that bridge if we ever get close to it.) For now, embrace change!
Post Tags: motogp, yamaha r1, valentino rossi
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Comments
Racer1 -Geeeez January 29, 2009 04:12 PM
Malcoman have you ever ridden a bike on the race track? Have you ever seen Rossi corner the in 125s? 250s? 500s? MotoGO 990? What the hell are you on about? This concept of yours that the M1 corners so much better than others because of crank rotation and that all other motorcycles corner with "lurching herky jerky movements": is assinine.... get a 1098 on the track (and some track/race instruction) and then we'll talk... Maybe a study of the cornering abilities of Pedrosa, Stoner, Bayliss etc. etc. and ask them how much their forward rotating cranks are holding them back... seriously! 55 Alive has it absolutely right that the "big bang" firing order configuration helps hook up the rear on corner exits - again this is something that a road rider would never notice, but at the GP level makes a huge difference. And yea, ditch traction contro.l...
Maicoman -Gyro effect of reverse rotation engine crankshaft January 26, 2009 05:26 PM
SO,when we see the M1 cassette and it has a extra jack shaft? We can only assume it is there because they gotta get the counter shaft going back the right way. We know ever gear to gear reverses the motion. (MAico gets around it by chain drive primary) The 4 cylinder inline crankshaft is outside of center line cg. To aid in cornering while under G loads and leaned over the simplest correction is a Gyro spinning on board of the vehicle in motion. Newtons Law. Or use reverse rotation of the spinning mass on center to aid the opposite rotation of the wheels and tires. Gyro assist.Will provide much more stable chosen line through the turns when you are flipping side to side. The V4's are more stable by design. We feel that the change to the Yamaha was made and you saw it this year,still low on power to the V4's but faster and smoother in the turns.
55 ALIVE -YAMAHA Crossplane crankshaft January 25, 2009 05:32 PM
I havent heard that this crankshaft spins backwords. Even if it does thats not the point.The new tecnoligy is a different offset of the crank throws. Not 180 deg opposed as in 2 pistons at TDC and 2 pistons at BDC at the same time and a 90 deg offset in fireing order.So this new crankshaft the throws are like 60 deg 130 deg 180 deg 240 deg so the firing order can be in clusters of cylinders firing close to the same time. Thus leaving a longer time lapse to the start of the firing order. This gives tire time to rotate to a new contact patch thus giving better traction upon hard acclration.
benroe -blog January 25, 2009 02:31 PM
I am for spec tires and spec cc engines simply b/c it turns more of the emphasis on the rider. The electronic traction control needs to be banned from all types of motorcycle racing. The traction control takes the rider's feel out of the equation and turns throttle control into a simple on/off affair vs. one of having a sense of feel for what the bike is doing. !!!!GET RID OF TRACTION CONTROL!!!!!
Racer1 -WTF? January 21, 2009 11:04 AM
Yep, all racing motorcycles with forward rotating cranks corner with "lurching, herky jerky movements". I could list over fifteen bikes I have raced - all with forward rotating cranks - that handle like a dream. The idea that you can't pick and hold a line on a Ducati, CBR600/1000RR, any GSXR or old R!/R6 (which I race )or virtually any sorted modern sport bike is ludicrous. You are dealing with technology that adds ,01% into the mix - makes a difference at GP levels, but nothing that most people (including racers) would even notice, let alone benefit from.
Maicoman -Yamaha Moto Gp's R1 January 20, 2009 11:04 PM
The main reason the Yamaha is so adept on track in the turns is what they learned about Legendary Handling of the Maicos MX's The engine rotates backwards to the revolving wheels. Acts like a Gyro to allow the motorcycle to guide into the turns and rotate back out in a fluid motion. Constant self righting about center line. No lurching,herky jerky movements. If you ever rode and Maico (and did not break?) you know this,pick any line and steer thru it. Rossi does it with aplomb. Honda?
Racer1 -I agree... kinda January 20, 2009 07:27 PM
Actually I totally agree with your general premise that a true prototype class with the least amount of regulations, will eventually improve the breed and trickle technologies down to us mere mortals... Obviously we need some capacity and weight limits - although I'm don't agree with fuel load limits as this leads to hobbling bikes to finish races - fuel consumption is a self penalizing factor (the thirstier your engine, the heavier fuel load you need to carry). However, I do truly believe that traction control and the endless electronic aids and computer control have swing the rider / bike equation too far away from the rider... it's a RIDER'S championship, not a computer geeks championship... Rossi was the king of throttle control on corner exits and won 125cc, 250cc and 500cc championships because of his finesse... to show the sad state of affairs now I quote this section about Stoner from "The Fast Stuff" by Matt Oxley.... START QUOTE "The Aussie had been flicked over the highside when he had got too eager with the throttle and he was angry "I should never have crashed" he told his crew chief "The traction control should have taken care of it" So Stoner believed that the electronics should have translated his greedy fistful into exactly the correct amount of power that the rear tire could handle at that moment. This would seem to be irrefutable evidence that traction control does take the skill out of riding" END QUOTE This is the line that we have crossed and where I disagree with your notion that ALL "advances" are good for the sport.
Superlight -Blog January 20, 2009 03:58 PM
Uh-h-h-h...Jeff Gordon drives a Chevy, not a Ford, but I get your point. You might want to rethink attributing all that improved R1 throttle response to the cross-plane crankshaft, though it may help in that regard. There are so many systems that interact to produce what you feel in the throttle (flywheel mass, throttle type (drive-by-wire), rotating wheel/tire/brake mass, sprocket cushion durometer, camshaft profile and many others).