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Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Thursday, 3 June 2010 15:39 UK

Matt Roberts' MotoGP Q&A

Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo is setting the pace this season
Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo is finding the season to his liking so far


Hi Matt, I'm a Valentino Rossi fan, but Jorge Lorenzo is a real danger to him in terms of his talent (if he can stay on the bike). Do you see Lorenzo's race attitude starting to mature this season, which will make him less likely to fall off and even more of a threat to Valentino? Or do you think he still has weaknesses?
Liam Cragg, UK

Hi Liam, I agree that Lorenzo is a definite threat to Rossi this year and I believe the main reason for this is exactly what you say - his increasing maturity. Jorge obviously has a lot of natural talent but when it comes to learning he is like a sponge and he always comes back stronger from his mistakes. A clear example was the race at Jerez - 12 months previously he crashed out of the same race when pushing too hard to chase down Casey Stoner for a podium finish.

This time he also made a bad start but gradually fought back from fifth place and began hunting down Dani Pedrosa at the front. Unlike last year he didn't panic, he remained calm and focused, let the bike come to him as the tyres went off and got his reward on the last lap. I think that said a lot about how much he has grown.

His only real weakness at the moment is his starts and once he sorts that out he will be very difficult to beat.

In the situation of a wet race and people come in to change bikes when it starts to dry out, can/do they change the fuel maps to take advantage of a full tank but only a fraction of the distance left to race? Also, how does this (racing two bikes in one race) transfer to the use of six engines?
Chris, London

Great question, Chris. I had to go and speak to a couple of engineers to find this out! The answer is that they change the fuel maps on the spare bike every couple of laps once the race has started. Technically they can remove fuel from the bike but this is a risky strategy because the temperature will have increased since it was put into the tank and this obviously creates a build-up of pressure. So they usually just leave it with a full tank of fuel and make occasional adjustments to the mapping to maximise the power without changing the characteristics of the bike, which the riders will have become used to over the weekend. The six engines rule stands for the season regardless of weather-affected races.

What makes the Ducati so notoriously difficult to ride well?
Jon Wilmshurst, UK

Hi Jon. Thankfully for Ducati this is not as much of a conundrum as it used to be and they finally seem to have come up with a bike that more than one guy can ride. The main changes to the GP10 are in the firing order, which they have changed to a 'big bang' - which basically means the cylinders fire closer together (time-wise).

The engineers tell me there is very little difference in the data but the riders say the bike feels more predictable on corner exit. They have also played around with the height of the bike to alter the way it transfers weight from the rear to front under braking and vice versa under acceleration. I guess these were the main areas that made previous versions of the Desmosedici so difficult to ride.

I'm really glad to see Nicky Hayden back up there bashing fairings with the best of them. But strange to see Stoner slip backwards. Why do you think it is that the Ducati doesn't seem to suit him as well this year - even though it's much better for Hayden?
Andi Cook, UK

Cheers, Andi. I agree it is great to see Nicky back up there again. As I mentioned before the Ducati is definitely more suited to him this year but it is too early to say that it doesn't suit Casey. By Casey's own admission he made a mistake in Qatar and he has never gone well at Jerez on any bike, for some reason, so we'll have to wait and see how it pans out. That kid could ride anything fast and I reckon he'll be challenging Lorenzo and Rossi for the championship lead within three or four rounds.

Given the updated technology to the bikes each year... do you think the riders enjoy starting from scratch, or is it exciting to use technology of these machines that they have to ride, and do they find they have to change their riding style?
Max Stenning, UK

Cheers for the question, Max. The biggest changes taking place on the bikes at the moment are in the electronics and whilst some riders have reservations about them, they are definitely the future. Valentino Rossi has gone on record as saying he is motivated by keeping pace with the changes in the bikes and adapting to them, so it is clearly an important part of his longevity and anything he does is an example to the rest. All the riders at this level (well, most of them anyway!) are very intelligent, as well as being brave and talented so I think they are stimulated by the extra challenge.

Hi Matt,

Is the job really as good as it appears to us bike racing fans on the TV? What's the best and worst parts to the job? You and your colleagues at the BBC do an excellent job. Keep it up!
Dan Miller, UK

Thanks Dan, I'm glad you like the coverage! What you see on air is definitely as much fun as it looks. The thrill of taking part in a live broadcast amidst the tension and excitement of the build-up to a MotoGP race is a massive rush and if I didn't enjoy that then it's time to go home. The worst part of the job is definitely the travelling - the endless airports, hire cars and hotels - but it's a small price to pay really.



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see also
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
03 Jun 10 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo triumphs in French MotoGP
23 May 10 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo takes thrilling Jerez win
02 May 10 |  MotoGP
Cloud forces Japan MotoGP switch
19 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi wins as Stoner crashes out
11 Apr 10 |  MotoGP
MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP


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