Is the pressure telling on Casey Stoner?
Which English rider could do what Ben Spies is doing; promote from World Super Bikes and look like he belongs?
Hi Rotty! There are some really good British riders in WSB at the moment but what Spies did last year - basically dominating in his first season - was something extremely special and demonstrated a very rare talent, the kind that could make him MotoGP World Champion. I'm not saying they can't do it but my feeling is that the likes of Leon Haslam and Leon Camier would have had a much better chance of making it in MotoGP had they been given the right opportunities in the smaller Grand Prix classes, which never happened. The longer they stay in WSB the more difficult it will get, which is why I think Cal Crutchlow should have taken a Moto2 ride last year. I would love to see one of them come over and do it but I think our next MotoGP star will come through 125 and Moto2, like Scott Redding and Bradley Smith are doing now. I'd love to see Eugene Laverty win the World Supersport title and move to Moto2 because he has a big future too, having also had limited opportunities in Grand Prix.
Is Casey Stoner crashing when leading races due to Valentino Rossi having one over him mentally, or are there other factors?
Daniel George, England
To be honest Daniel I think there is a case to say Stoner's crashes at Laguna, Brno and Misano in 2008 were down to the pressure being put on him by Valentino and if there was a different number on the bike chasing him down then maybe he wouldn't have folded. However, Casey's crash in Qatar was his first in a race since then and it was down to entirely different reasons so no, I don't think Rossi has one over him anymore. I also think he will prove that this season.
Matt, what can the country do to support our riders more. We were very lucky that Scott got a late ride with a good team but Bradley didn't get any real offers in MotoGP after a great season. How can we raise their profiles to get more sponsors to help our riders and maybe get British teams back in the paddock and taking young riders, such as Danny Kent, with them
Rich Fenwick, England
Hi Rich, that is a good question and one that we've been debating in the paddock for the last 10 years that I've been involved in MotoGP. The short answer is that it's a bit of a vicious circle because without a successful British rider winning races and championships it is difficult to promote the sport and convince sponsors that it is worth spending their pennies on it. I guess we have needed somebody with the sheer talent to break through and thankfully, with support from Dorna, we now have Bradley, Scott and Danny Webb. Hopefully, their rise through the ranks can coincide with an economical upturn back home and convince British sponsors to put their hands in their pockets.
Matt, we always hear how MotoGP demands so much rider fitness and how riders from other classes have to train very hard to adapt. Given that the best MotoGP riders appear to have a jockey-like physique yet can race for 45 minutes at full effort, can you give any insight into how they actually get so strong and fit to cope with the demands of the racing? And how they maintain that when they're carrying injuries so often?
Roddy Proudfoot, Glasgow, Scotland
Hi Roddy. The main goal for the riders in their physical training is building muscle endurance without gaining bulk and also achieving outstanding cardiovascular fitness. Alex Hofmann once told me that because of the sheer adrenalin his heart rate would be up to around 180bpm on the grid, and that was before the race even started! The main way they prepare for this is cycling - I would say that forms the basis for all of their training, as well as low-weight, high-rep weights, abdominal training etc. In the winter some of them mix it up with things like cross-country skiing, whilst guys like Jorge Lorenzo are also embracing new low-intensity activities such as yoga and pilates, which also allow them to train when injured.
Hi Matt, do any of the MotoGP racers ride motorcycles on public roads, or is it considered too risky by their team bosses?
Hi Conrad. Team bosses don't have anything against it and I know, for example, that Valentino Rossi was riding a Yamaha V-Max scooter around at home last week but the majority don't ride motorcycles on public roads simply because they can't trust themselves to stay within the speed limits!
Hello Matt. The news Rossi hurt his shoulder in motocross incident seems to be a familiar story. I know some sportsmen are contractually prohibited from engaging in certain dangerous activities. Motocross in particular is very high-risk, especially on critical body parts for bike racers, like wrists and ankles. Is it really necessary for these guys to ride motocross in their spare time? If they crash in testing, qualifying or racing then this I would consider collateral damage but all too often it seems to be motocross in their spare time. Perhaps you can help us understand better what and why these guys are doing for training and fun? Your insight would be very interesting. Jonathan Buss, Kuala Lumpur
Pedrosa has never finished outside the top two at Jerez
Jonathan, I guess it does seem strange to do something so dangerous in your spare time when you're a professional athlete but at the end of the day motorcycle racing is a dangerous sport and they have to do something to prepare. MotoGP is not like tennis or football, where you can spend all week on the court or training pitch practising. The riders go for long spells between races without testing and it is important for them to work on their balance, reactions and concentration on two wheels - as well as building muscle endurance in the right areas. Motocross and Supermoto are important to their preparation and I suppose they just accept the risks, as they do on the track.
Hi Matt. How do you rate Honda's chances for the title this year with Pedrosa? Surely they must be hurting after winning so few races these last few seasons?
Not very good, Daniel.They are definitely hurting and it can only be a matter of time before such a prestigious and powerful factory hits the nail on the head again and produces a title-winning bike. The new RC212V clearly isn't it and I think it could take a new top-level rider to help take them in a new direction next year. Having said that Dani Pedrosa has never finished outside the top two at Jerez in MotoGP so I could be eating my words by Sunday!
Hi Matt, VR is the king of cool and everyone knows it, who will try and take the crown when he eventually retires?
David Robinson, UK
David, how could anybody ever be as cool as Valentino Rossi?
Matt, do you think the experience of James Toseland in Motogp could "scare" other WSB riders from making the switch. Also, if one of them does move do you think they'd be better off spending a year in Moto2 first?
Jared Jedynowicz, England
Hi Jared, I think any WSB rider would take a MotoGP ride providing it was on competitive machinery, but those opportunities rarely come up. Teams are looking to Moto2 for the riders so yes, unless they have a season like Spies did last year (which is unlikely!) they may be better coming to Moto2 first, learning the circuits and adapting to a prototype chassis.