Dear MOby,

I’m new to motorcycle roadracing, and really enjoyed yesterday’s MotoGP from Misano. But I’m trying to understand how a guy who hasn’t been up front all year, Dani Pedrosa, managed to suddenly badly beat all the riders he hasn’t been able to get anywhere near, including his teammate on the same bike, Marc Marquez? What the heck goes on?

Rick Fournier

San Diego, CA


Probably you’re no more surprised than Dani Pedrosa. According to one of our favorite motojournalist insiders Mat Oxley, this weekend it was all about the tires. At 135 pounds, Pedrosa is the lightest rider on the grid as well as one of the smoothest, and both of those factors mean he has a hard time generating enough heat to get his tires up to optimum temperature. In general, the hotter the conditions, the faster Pedrosa rides.

For Misano, Michelin brought a new front tire with a stiffer casing and thinner tread to reduce the heat generated by heavy braking into the Misano’s many tight turns. The new tire was available only in medium and soft compounds, though, and Pedrosa was one of only two riders to go with the soft option (Ducati-mounted Michele Pirro finished 7th on the other one).

Marquez’s team didn’t think even the medium compound would last the whole race given MM’s aggressive riding and Misano’s heat and abrasiveness, but Valentino Rossi finished second on the medium after running up front for much of the race.

For Pedrosa, who came all the way from sixth on lap one to pass Valentino Rossi into the lead with seven laps to go, it couldn’t have worked out better. With the track temperature up to 110 degrees F, Pedrosa sailed to an easy win, setting a new race-lap record on the last lap and lopping 22 seconds off the previous total race-record time, knocking out 28 laps of Misano in 43 minutes, 43.524 seconds. Just goes to show you, well, something. In the end, a stiffer tire designed to shed more heat at Misano actually helped the guy who usually needs to shed less heat win the race.

Next stop, Motorland Aragon in Spain two weekends from now. The Michelin Power Slick front Pedrosa used to such good effect was supposed to be a Misano-only one-off, but you know Pedrosa will be begging for more of the same. Eight different winners in the last eight MotoGP races makes this year’s MotoGP series a pretty dang compelling reason to spend more time on the couch this summer. And Fall.


Direct your motorcycle-related questions to AskMoAnything@motorcycle.com, though some say we’re better at non-motorcycle-related ones…

  • Starmag

    Born in Sabadell, Catalonia, Spain.

  • Vrooom

    Dropping 22 seconds off the previous race record? Shouldn’t that be 2.2? It’s pretty hard to believe he was that much faster than last year’s race.

    • Robs

      I’m pretty sure he meant the whole race was 22 seconds shorter/faster.

      • Vrooom

        Makes sense, I’d never heard of an entire race record before, but that doesn’t mean anything. Thanks for the clarification.

        • john burns

          Looking it up in official MotoGP archive, it says total time for Pedrosa was 43 minutes 43.524. That’s 22 seconds faster than Lorenzo in 2013 – 44’05.522.

  • Ian Parkes

    Another aspect pointed out elsewhere was that Pedrosa worked damned hard to keep the tyre in the right temperature zone. His lap times varied very little and, crucially, he didn’t let the temperature drop while idling behind other riders – hence the aggressive overtaking. Robot brains very good for logic and sticking to plan.

  • Old MOron

    No doubt his tire choice and management were key.
    And as FNG Barry Allen points out, having been pushed to 5th in the championship standings might have lit a fire in his belly. http://disq.us/p/1brzpha

    • Ozzy Mick

      G’day OldMO.
      Is Barry Allen and Bruce Allen one and the same? Just askin…:)
      You’ve got me confused cos I told Mr Allen that I’d hang out a banner with his name on it if I make it to Phillip Island. Maybe I’ll just have Mr. Allen on it.

  • Robs

    This season really is really giving my money’s worth for the MotoGP Videopass! Oh, wait…I won it in a raffle…=D

  • umpalumpa

    Dani won the race without them wings!

    • Old MOron

      Gee, I hadn’t notice that. They say the main benefit of the wings is wheelie-preventing downforce on the straights. I wonder if the absence of wings somehow helped Dani to preserve his soft tire.

  • Michael McMillan

    Every other place I’ve seen Dani’s weight given as 112 lb (51kg) at 5′ 2″ (1.58m). I think 135 lbs may be a bit heavy. Rossi is at or near 6 feet tall and he weighs in at 148.