Ryder Notes: Becoming Clearer
by julian ryder on the ground in the desert
Sunday, April 08, 2012

The mist is clearing just a little, and a few things are now clear. First, as we suspected after Winter testing, Yamaha have got it right. The motorbike isn't fastest through the speedtrap but it is the best package out there. All four Yamaha riders are happy: Jorge's on pole, Cal's on the front row for the first time, Ben probably would have been but for a second crash, and Dovi is happy. Why wouldn't he be? Looks like he got off last year's best bike and on to this year's?

The factory Hondas are both afflicted by debilitating chatter. Casey Stoner is sure it is due to the way the electronics are working and is already showing signs of impatience with the team, he obviously thinks they aren't listening to him. Mind you, he is also showing signs of impatience with the CRT bikes, the new for 2012 front brake lever guards, and most other things that come within range. However, Casey's problem is likely to reduce as the tyre wears so we may be back to last year where his idea of a bad day at the office is third place.

Valentino Rossi is even less happy. He's a second off his teammate Nicky Hayden and the slowest of the prototypes. But again, you couldn't help but be shocked by the sight of Rossi holding up class rookie Stefan Bradl in the closing stages of qualifying. The German has no chatter problems at all, adding weight to Casey's assertion that it is the latest electronics that is to blame for his problems. Bradl said yesterday that he is now actually riding the bike, whereas previously the bike was telling him where to go. He's been genuinely impressive. However, you know that Rossi will be able to do 1min 56sec laps (at least) all race, so despite all the grief he'll be in the top six even if his crew can't throw in a fix. Watch the times from warm-up for a clue.

And I think you should watch Dovizioso in the race. Despite making a bad set-up move in qualifying he's on the back of the second row and happy. He's never been a good qualifier and he's always been a fast starter. In fact, I wonder what odds I can get on an all-Yamaha podium? The new-for-2012 Bridgestones will wear in a very different way from what we have been used to and that plays to the strengths of Rossi and Stoner. Maybe that bet wouldn't be so sensible...

Edwards' Suter BMW is fastest CRT bike, I'd like to tell you what he said but it's not suitable for a family audience. I can tell you he was wearing a Captain America t-shirt under his leathers though.


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