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Freddie Spencer Weighs in on State of MotoGP in New Video


Motor Sport has posted a YouTube video in which multi-time World champ Freddie Spencer discusses the Austrian MotoGP round, insights into various riders and factories.

It is particularly interesting when he discusses the fight between Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) and Marc Marquez (Honda) at the end of the race, which was won by Lorenzo, but his earlier comments in the video explain some of the issues faced by Factory Yamaha reflected by the poor performance of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi (which led to an extraordinary apology from a Yamaha engineer). Here is the video:


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29 Comments

  1. relic says:

    The FIM dropped the ball, as usual, in the changeover to 4t gp. GP is higher level than wsb. The problem is that 1000cc road bikes are now as fast as 500 2t gp bikes. This squeezes gp between wsb and safety limits. Can’t protect racers at 200mph. It is now like nascar where restrictors are used. The racing amounts to shaving a thousandth of a second here and there: this is invisible to the spectator.

    • Artem says:

      MotoGP are 50 kulograms leighter

      • Dave says:

        The minimum weight in MotoGP (160kg) is only 8kg less than WSBK (168kg).

        The change to 4t was inevitable. Perhaps the better path would’ve been to make WSBK 600cc.

        • Fred_M. says:

          “Perhaps the better path would’ve been to make WSBK 600cc.”

          That would have crippled development of 1000cc sport bikes and slowed their sales to a trickle.

          Manufacturers participate in WSBK in order to “win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” It’s one of their best tools to promote their liter class offerings.

        • Fred_M. says:

          You wrote: “Perhaps the better path would’ve been to make WSBK 600cc.”

          There’s already a WSBK “Supersport” category for 600cc machines, so you’re recommending we just kill 1000cc class, leaving only the far less popular 600cc class? That’s a sure way to kill WSBK as a series and the development and sales of liter-class sport bikes.

          • Dave says:

            Motorcycle displacement is arbitrary. Before there were 1000cc bikes in Superbike, there were 750’s, for years.

            So yes, kill 1000cc Superbike, replace is with 600cc superbike and replace 600ss with something else, perhaps a displacement that matches up with the licensing schemes in Europe (lightweight 400-500cc?). As long as Dorna markets the Superbike class as a premier championship, and racers will reach for it and viewers will watch.

            The money spent on racing superbike and MotoGP does not translate directly to sportbikes sales, otherwise it would be an unjustifiable spend. It is a brand builder that impacts everything they do. So 600’s, 1000’s, whatever…

          • Dave says:

            “That would have crippled development of 1000cc sport bikes and slowed their sales to a trickle.”

            Why? There has hardly been any development in the 600cc class since 2008 and they’re selling as well as they’re selling as well as could be expected in the current market climate.

            Displacement in racing is arbitrary. Right now there’s two 1000cc classes, WSBK and MotoGP. Neither of these creates a large enough direct sales impact in sportbikes. They’re brand builders that life a manufacturer’s brand profile as a whole. Selling 1000cc sportbikes was never the goal.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I can say from some long ago work experience that a particular client of a research firm I worked with was very, very keen on establishing performance metrics that identified how well racing improved sales of their sport bikes specifically.
            Selling race replica displacements is indeed the primary goal of production based racing series. And it worked, at least back then. Brand building is the other primary motivator as you mention.

            That isn’t to say your opinion is wrong necessarily. I haven’t been involved with that kind of work for a long time, but I would suspect that the correlation between the production bikes series and sales has broken down some over time, at least in the US. And manufacturers have probably seen the market respond more favorably to the prototype class of MotoGP in terms of overall brand building. Racing just isn’t that popular amongst the youths anymore, and the traditional race fans from back in racing’s peak aren’t really buying sport bikes. Their buying everything but apparently. The fact that only Kawasaki puts any real effort into WSBK is evident of that.

            In any case, you are right about one thing: displacement is arbitrary. The mfgs can race whatever displacement they want.

  2. Artem says:

    Did I get that he was faster
    then Kennie Robers and Barry Sheene

  3. Rapier says:

    Way off topic but I have not been able to login to Motorcycle Dot Com for several weeks. I can’t be the only one. Even a Google search is fruitless in turning up a link that works.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The site is up and running if that is what you mean. I’ve had no trouble. If you are referring to the Discus login for comments, that also works.

  4. Hot Dog says:

    Methodical analysis, just like he raced. I’ll gladly take more of Freddie. He won 2 titles in one year, one on a 3 cylinder 500cc 2 stroke and another on a 350cc twin cylinder 2 stroke. I seem to recall him being recognized by the President and Johnny Carson that year.

    Direk, I want my old logo back as I’m still a walking cesspool of sublime useless BS.

    • Doc says:

      Back in the day, 1991 in fact, I met Freddie at Shawnee Cycle Plaza in Overland Park KS. He was racing an RC30 for Two Brothers Racing at Topeka that weekend. The guy was my hero. A class act. Like to ride Tail Of The Dragon with him. By the way his first championship was on the v3. The ’85 was on the v4.

    • Doc says:

      His other championship in ’85 was on the NSR250.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Thanks Doc, things were pretty hazy back in those days.

        Freddie’s fingers on each hand indicate he knows what it’s like to be on the pavement.

  5. Mark says:

    It’s nice to get the insights and facts from a pro.

  6. DeltaZulu says:

    Where’s that big, manly “Onto” to teach Fast Freddie a thing or two about riding??? Hope he replies as I love to hear the ramblings of an arrogant idiot.

  7. AL says:

    Interesting to listen 2 but way to lengthy! get to it Freddie!
    \

  8. TimC says:

    Oh lord, the great Freddie Spencer is being picked up by MD now too? His rambles on MotoGP are pretty tiresome really.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Tiresome… really? I thought it was very interesting and informative. I think I actually understood most of what Freddie was saying about how involved and sensitive the electronics could affect the outcome. I never had to deal with electronics as far as ride modes and racing maps, but feel I understand some if not the majority of the problems that slight adjustments the wrong way could affect the ride. To each his own.

  9. dt-175 says:

    OMG erv must have the patience of a saint! what a chore waiting for Freddie to get to the point.

    • Artem says:

      I suppose, he said it from the start.
      I suppose, you do not feel th speed alot.

      • Artem says:

        “Fast Freddie” drove much more difficult motorcycles the JL and HL have. I suppose.

        • Bob K says:

          Yes he did. Actually, his bikes were more composed than what his main rivals were riding at the time. Those widow makers.
          .
          Also, funny, looking back and seeing them use duct tape on their knees since slider pucks didn’t exist yet.

        • Artem says:

          I mean JL and MM

  10. Artem says:

    Respect to Freddie

  11. Artem says:

    I was too young too watch him at races.
    Yet, much respect to Freddie.
    I suppose that was that that times of
    auwful movie “Silver dream rider “.

  12. joe b says:

    This should be combined with Keven Camerons comments (at cycle world) about the tire choices now. How in the past, a “soft” tire, gave better grip for shorter time. Today, a “soft” tire choice, is not the same as it used to be. Interesting how Spencer says Dovi said he made the wrong tire choice, using mediums? when Lorenzo was on soft, and Marquez was on med front and hard rear? I know, Marquez was on the Honda and Dovi was on Ducati. What was fascinating to see, Lorenzo stay in front of Dovi running at a pace he thought would save the tires till the end (supposedly). And all the comments about Yamaha brass apologizing, are they that lost? Cant wait for the next race, and next year when Lorenzo will be on Honda, like Stoner, I’ll bet the Honda fits him like an old shoe, lets hope he can bring some of that insight he is using at Ducati, to help the Honda.

  13. Jeremy in TX says:

    Always fascinating to hear the perspective of someone who knows what he is talking about.