Are lightweight riders really better? - MVAgusta.net
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Are lightweight riders really better?

I'm developing a theory about what's really going on with the new 800s in relation to speed and rider weight.

So the question is this:

Does the weight of the rider really make a difference?

Simple empirical evidence might indicate that it does (Stoner, Elias), but there are other factors which might indicate that a lightweight rider is actually a hindrance in certain situations that might not be intuitive. There is information from the car racing world that might corroborate this.

(But I really would need better stats than are available to prove this.)

So, race fans and closet analysts, let me know what you think.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 12:02 PM
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from a purely physics standpoint, i'd have to say yes - lower momentum, less lateral loading on the tire, so on.

however, it seems to me that the rider's brain is more significant. somehow,
Rossi and Edwards can get around the track faster than almost all the other guys even though they both weigh a lot more than some of the smaller riders (Pedrobot, Stoner, Elias)

but there are several rider managers at the motogp level who are taking the horse jockey approach. only riders 5'2" or less need apply...

alex
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 12:08 PM
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The thread title says are they (lightweight riders) better? I don't think they are better but they must have an advantage. Every sports bike manufacturer tries to get a few Kgs shaved off the latest offerings from Yamahondasuzi so it must help. I presume you mean that powerful GP bikes need a rider with some significant body mass to muscle them around Andy? I don't think that is the case these days although it might have been so 20 or 30 years ago. Just looking at little Loris Capirossi sliding the big desmodesici around last year is testament to that


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Look at qualifying as well, and don't forget Hopkins.

There seems to be 2 groupings of "fast" riders, using race results AND qualifying as determining factors:

At or below 59kg
At or above 67kg

With maybe Capirossi and Melandri breaking that rule.

I may be all wet, though. It may not be as significant as it seems (one of the problems with using statistics).

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 12:21 PM
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Won't a heavier rider mean the bike has an overall higher center of gravity? So, flicking from side to side may be a bit easier. The down side is the extra weight puts more load on the tires and slows it down on the straights? I'm just guessing here.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john
The thread title says are they (lightweight riders) better? I don't think they are better but they must have an advantage. Every sports bike manufacturer tries to get a few Kgs shaved off the latest offerings from Yamahondasuzi so it must help. I presume you mean that powerful GP bikes need a rider with some significant body mass to muscle them around Andy? I don't think that is the case these days although it might have been so 20 or 30 years ago. Just looking at little Loris Capirossi sliding the big desmodesici around last year is testament to that
There are obviously many factors, including strength. Reducing weight on the bike is probably always a good thing. But specifically, I'm talking about rider weight and what it has to do with results.

The lightest riders are not necessarily qualifying very well, although there are exceptions to that. A good package is a good package, which is what the Ducati is. But I might argue that a heavy rider might be able to go just as fast as Stoner on the Ducati. What Bayliss did last year might help prove that.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acruhl
I'm developing a theory about what's really going on with the new 800s in relation to speed and rider weight.
.......but there are other factors which might indicate that a lightweight rider is actually a hindrance in certain situations that might not be intuitive. There is information from the car racing world that might corroborate this.
.......
I think your theory will be impossible to prove because physics doesn't agree and I'd like to see ANY information that a lighter rider is a hinderance in any auto racing. Most racing series, including Nascar and Formula 1 but excluding IRL, include the DRIVER's weight when determining minimum total weight requirement to equalize the lightweight driver's advantage.

The truth is fat and weight just doesn't make the cut on the race circuit. Last I checked Nicky Hayden at 150 lbs is one of the FAT men on the GP circuit and the fattest is a beast at 159 lbs, Pedrosa is a fly at 108 ls. Rossi at 130lbs is about the norm. There was not one MotoGP rider over 160 !

Last year weights:
1. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) ... 59 kg (130 lbs )
2. Daniel Pedrosa (Honda) ... 49 kg (108 lbs)
3. Nicky Hayden (Honda) ... 68 kg (150 lbs) --> 42 lbs more than Pedrosa!!!
4. Toni Elias (Honda) ... 55 kg (121 lbs)
5. Marco Melandri (Honda) ... 61 kg (135 lbs)
6. Casey Stoner (Honda) ... 58 kg (128 lbs)
7. Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) ... 58 kg (128lbs)
8. Kenny Roberts (Team KR) ... 67 kg (148 lbs)
9. John Hopkins (Suzuki) ... 72 kg (159 lbs) --> The heaviest man in the GP circuit! 51 lbs more than Pedro
10. Makoto Tamada (Honda) ... 60 kg (132 lbs)
11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) ... 66 kg (146 lbs)
12. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) ... 68 kg (150 lbs)
13. Carlos Checa (Yamaha) ... 69 kg (152 lbs)
14. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) ... 59 kg (130 lbs)
15. Alex Hofmann (Ducati) ... 68 kg (150 lbs)

All that said - At club racer level, no one drawback is going to determine the outcome. Most riders are too far away from the maximum potential of the machine to be unable to compensate one deficiency with excelling in another area.

Tom

Last edited by TPadden; 05-25-2007 at 02:25 PM.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPadden
I think your theory will be impossible to prove because physics doesn't agree and I'd like to see ANY information that a lighter rider is a hinderance in any auto racing.
Ahh, but I didn't say a lighter driver was a hindrance in auto racing. I only said that I might have data from auto racing to corroborate that a heavier rider on a bike might have certain advantages

100% agree. In club racing, the most skilled rider wins every time. Machinery isn't that important. One of our guys, Mike Shreve, was pestering Mark Ledesma on his AMA superbike out at Firebird a few weeks ago. Mike was riding his supersport R6. Mark is no slouch, but it goes to show that almost anything is possible given the right conditions and riders.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, here's an obtuse hint related to my comment about car racing:

Some series regulate total race weight. To equalize weights in race cars, I believe I have read (still trying to find it) that teams may add ballast to the cars either in a pre-determined place (determined by the sanctioning body), or the center of the car, can't remember which.

Why would there be a stipulation for the location of the weight? (Therein may lie the answer.)

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-25-2007, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acruhl
Look at qualifying as well, and don't forget Hopkins.......
There's stats and then there's stats!

There is some question about the accuracy of those "official MotoGP" figures on size for Hopkins. He's listed as 154 lbs there, but the Laguna program last year had him at 140 (and he looks pretty small to me).

..... all that aside seems the "Mericans" are the "supersized" ones !

Either way - it surely isn't all about weight .............. but that doesn't mean weight doesn't count or that light is a disadvantage.

Tom
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