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Old 12-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #61
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... i wonder how much better tires would be today if Michelin and Bridgestone had been able to sustain that level of competition.
I think that some serious science would be done and these tires would be off the hook. I think competition is a good thing and drives this kind of development. I'm with you on the way the Aussies handle their tire rules, too. It just makes sense.
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Old 12-07-2013, 01:27 AM   #62
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[...]
Now, by definition, prototype means:

1.An original piece used as a working model: the original form of something, which has the essential features and is the model for subsequent forms
2. A full-size functional model: a first full-size functional model to be manufactured, e.g. of a car or a machine
3.standard example: a standard example of a particular kind, class, or group

So if looked upon in that context, then technically MotoGP machines are on some levels prototype machines.[...]
I had not thought about the actual definition of prototype; just knew that it was the word used to refer to the top machines. When was the last time that motogp bikes could be thought as prototypes according to the dictionary definition 2, as "models" that were actively worked on for improvement, and would eventually be manufactured and sold to the public? It must've been the case at some point, for the word "prototype" to survive to our days, even though today's bikes are no more manufacturing prototypes than fighter jets are prototypes for commercial aircraft (sure, some stuff may eventually "trickle down," but prototypes they are not).

Maybe the heyday of Ducati in the early nineties?
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:18 AM   #63
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personally, i think the AUS national championship has the right idea w/ tires. any manufacturer can play. but they must give the same tires to everyone that uses them and they can only develop a few extra compounds during the year. this allows riders to select which tires are best for them, allows deficient tires to improve, and provides competition so the tires are the best. id like to see this model in ALL forms of motorsports.
mostly +1 (with some exceptions I'll mention later)

It's interesting that you guys are taking about 'prototypes' yet not really seeing the 'trickle down' effect from all kinds of new technology. Sure, other than the Ducati Desmosedici - which I've heard from Ducati insiders was a lot closer to the 'real deal' than most people realized - there is generally no 'prototype' MotoGP bike that becomes a production bike 3-5 years later. However, there are tons of little breakthroughs that do indeed 'trickle down' and make production motorcycles far superior. Comparing a modern 600 to one from 20 years ago, it's easy to see that today they weigh at least 50 lbs less and make at least 50% more power. That doesn't happen by accident, it's the result of incremental improvements that trickle down over years and years.

This trickle down effect has also influenced electronics and the progress that's been made with traction control is nothing short of amazing. What may not be quite as obvious is that tire technology was also progressing until spec tire rules essentially neutered them. The incremental improvements in tires have slowed down to a crawl, competition is basically non-existant anymore. How many of you have heard of the Michelin C3M process? I found something on TireRack that might help:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=19

I will say that Michelin has never allowed me to see the actual technology. It is a very closely guarded secret. What I know about it is all second hand information which may or may not be completely true. That said, Michelin's competitive advantage wasn't at all related to the fact that their production was in Europe, it was due to the fact that the new C3M process allowed them to build a new tire in less than 24 hours, beginning to end. Nobody else could do that as far as I know. And given the relatively minuscule C3M equipment, rumor was that Michelin could've built tires at the track, inside of a trailer. I suppose that would've been checkmate in the 'tire wars' but it never got that far because Dorna changed the tire rules and effectively killed Michelin's C3M competitive advantage by requiring all the tires to be produced prior to the race weekend.

The part I disagree with as far as the AUS championship tire rules is that 'everybody should have access to the same limited number of compounds'. Sure, it's a nice 'parity' theory, but in reality it's bullshit. Take for example AMA Pro from 7-8 years ago when Spies and Mladin on Yoshimura superbikes made the rest of the field look stupid. We all heard the whining that they were getting special tires that the other guys didn't get but would the other guys have gone as fast if they had access to those tires? Absolutely NOT, they couldn't make those tires work! The Yosh superbikes had a power advantage, a setup advantage, a rider advantage and their overall package was capable of going 1-2 seconds per lap faster than the rest of the top factory riders, 5-6 seconds faster than majority of non-factory riders. That kind of time differential puts the racers on two different planets, the slower riders might as well be in fuxxing Siberia! Without the big hp and laptimes, they would've never generated enough heat to make Mladin's tires work on their bikes. Never!! For example, many years ago I remember getting some special 16.5" rear slicks that I had a couple of top AFM racers try out, Ken Hill and Andy Carman. We nicknamed this one compound the 'Flintstones Special' because the tire was so freakin hard it took at least two laps at Thunderhill to sort of come up to temp (even in triple digit summer temps!) and the tire never really hooked up - it wore like iron and probably would've lasted 10 trackdays but it was worthless in terms of grip. Well, that tire worked for somebody, that's why they built it, but it was probably for a faster rider with a much faster superbike than that of a couple of top club racers.

Years ago I was in the 'equality' camp too but now I realize it's crap. Not all the riders need to have access to the tires of the top 2-3 guys, the guy in 16th place can't use that tire to its potential anyway and the mass produced tire might actually be a better choice. He's in 16th place for a reason and it's not the tires - he'll finish in about 16th place anyway. In my ideal scenario, you have several factory teams on different brands and Bridgestone, Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli are busting ass to help their top 2-3 guys win. THAT is where you have progress in tire technology, that is where you have innovations trickle down to the mass market. The top 10 riders are 'the show', the rest of the field are grid fillers who are hopefully learning and trying to prove themselves worthy of one of the factory rider jobs.

Due to the global trend towards 'spec tires', the trajectory of innovation in tires has flattened substantially compared to 10 years ago. We used to laugh when Honda sold the same bike from one year to the next and they would list their only 'improvement' as BNG (bold new graphics ). Guess what, that's about all you're getting these days from tires, regardless of brand and their marketing bs. At one time I actually thought that Michelin C3M technology could trickle down all the way to your local motorcycle shop; can you imagine if you dropped off your bike, they measured your weight, the bike's weight, asked your tire carcass preference (stiff, soft, ??) and when you came back later that day to pick up your bike it had 'custom tires'?? I don't see that happening anytime soon anymore, the world is becoming accustomed to just 'good enough' tires. There's not a whole lot of 'trickle down' going on anymore, in part due to the 'spec tire' nonsense.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:40 AM   #64
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not forcing everyone on a brand of tires to use the same specs or constructions opens up too many chances for favoritism and inequality. theres no possible way to rule that team A's tires must be just as "good" as team B's if they are both in brand A. if brand A brings 3 tires to a race, every team running that brand should get to use it. w/ the situation run by the Aussies, if team A can't use the spec that brand A is offering, then team A can switch to brand B or brand C. there are options and they are much more fair than what we used to have in GP.

the whole "not fast enough to generate heat" is old school and doesn't need to be an issue. Bridgestone and CRTs have shown us that this year. Bridgestone's solution has worked great... riders w/ less HP and less pace run softer tires. Bridgestone decides if the softer tire is softer in compound or construction or both. of course, that has only applied to rears and even the CRTs run the same front as the factory bikes. maybe if there was tire competition, Bridgestone wouldn't have made their front tire less stiff recently, but i bet they'd still offer the softer construction for the slower bikes. it is a possibility that even the faster bikes could still use the softer construction, negating the advantage the slower bikes would get out of it. but even then, u couldn't say that the slower bikes weren't fast enough to use the tires.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:46 AM   #65
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realisticallym, the tire rule fixed a problem that wasnt there

in 2006, bstone won four races and was on the rise, improving every year against michelin, who seemed to have platue'd (remember rossis tire chunking problems).

loris capirossi on bstones in 2006 (depsite huge crash in cataluna)
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:37 AM   #66
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:59 PM   #67
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mostly +1 (with some exceptions I'll mention later)

It's interesting that you guys are taking about 'prototypes' yet not really seeing the 'trickle down' effect from all kinds of new technology. Sure, other than the Ducati Desmosedici - which I've heard from Ducati insiders was a lot closer to the 'real deal' than most people realized - there is generally no 'prototype' MotoGP bike that becomes a production bike 3-5 years later. However, there are tons of little breakthroughs that do indeed 'trickle down' and make production motorcycles far superior. Comparing a modern 600 to one from 20 years ago, it's easy to see that today they weigh at least 50 lbs less and make at least 50% more power. That doesn't happen by accident, it's the result of incremental improvements that trickle down over years and years.

This trickle down effect has also influenced electronics and the progress that's been made with traction control is nothing short of amazing. What may not be quite as obvious is that tire technology was also progressing until spec tire rules essentially neutered them. The incremental improvements in tires have slowed down to a crawl, competition is basically non-existant anymore. How many of you have heard of the Michelin C3M process? I found something on TireRack that might help:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=19

I will say that Michelin has never allowed me to see the actual technology. It is a very closely guarded secret. What I know about it is all second hand information which may or may not be completely true. That said, Michelin's competitive advantage wasn't at all related to the fact that their production was in Europe, it was due to the fact that the new C3M process allowed them to build a new tire in less than 24 hours, beginning to end. Nobody else could do that as far as I know. And given the relatively minuscule C3M equipment, rumor was that Michelin could've built tires at the track, inside of a trailer. I suppose that would've been checkmate in the 'tire wars' but it never got that far because Dorna changed the tire rules and effectively killed Michelin's C3M competitive advantage by requiring all the tires to be produced prior to the race weekend.

The part I disagree with as far as the AUS championship tire rules is that 'everybody should have access to the same limited number of compounds'. Sure, it's a nice 'parity' theory, but in reality it's bullshit. Take for example AMA Pro from 7-8 years ago when Spies and Mladin on Yoshimura superbikes made the rest of the field look stupid. We all heard the whining that they were getting special tires that the other guys didn't get but would the other guys have gone as fast if they had access to those tires? Absolutely NOT, they couldn't make those tires work! The Yosh superbikes had a power advantage, a setup advantage, a rider advantage and their overall package was capable of going 1-2 seconds per lap faster than the rest of the top factory riders, 5-6 seconds faster than majority of non-factory riders. That kind of time differential puts the racers on two different planets, the slower riders might as well be in fuxxing Siberia! Without the big hp and laptimes, they would've never generated enough heat to make Mladin's tires work on their bikes. Never!! For example, many years ago I remember getting some special 16.5" rear slicks that I had a couple of top AFM racers try out, Ken Hill and Andy Carman. We nicknamed this one compound the 'Flintstones Special' because the tire was so freakin hard it took at least two laps at Thunderhill to sort of come up to temp (even in triple digit summer temps!) and the tire never really hooked up - it wore like iron and probably would've lasted 10 trackdays but it was worthless in terms of grip. Well, that tire worked for somebody, that's why they built it, but it was probably for a faster rider with a much faster superbike than that of a couple of top club racers.

Years ago I was in the 'equality' camp too but now I realize it's crap. Not all the riders need to have access to the tires of the top 2-3 guys, the guy in 16th place can't use that tire to its potential anyway and the mass produced tire might actually be a better choice. He's in 16th place for a reason and it's not the tires - he'll finish in about 16th place anyway. In my ideal scenario, you have several factory teams on different brands and Bridgestone, Dunlop, Michelin and Pirelli are busting ass to help their top 2-3 guys win. THAT is where you have progress in tire technology, that is where you have innovations trickle down to the mass market. The top 10 riders are 'the show', the rest of the field are grid fillers who are hopefully learning and trying to prove themselves worthy of one of the factory rider jobs.

Due to the global trend towards 'spec tires', the trajectory of innovation in tires has flattened substantially compared to 10 years ago. We used to laugh when Honda sold the same bike from one year to the next and they would list their only 'improvement' as BNG (bold new graphics ). Guess what, that's about all you're getting these days from tires, regardless of brand and their marketing bs. At one time I actually thought that Michelin C3M technology could trickle down all the way to your local motorcycle shop; can you imagine if you dropped off your bike, they measured your weight, the bike's weight, asked your tire carcass preference (stiff, soft, ??) and when you came back later that day to pick up your bike it had 'custom tires'?? I don't see that happening anytime soon anymore, the world is becoming accustomed to just 'good enough' tires. There's not a whole lot of 'trickle down' going on anymore, in part due to the 'spec tire' nonsense.
Sorry, buddy - it sure as hell wouldn't fit into a trailer. Portions of the process? Maybe. But there's a LOT more to it than you think, and it most certain isn't 'pour rubber into the magic machine, and it craps out tires.'

I spent a summer as a factory worker for a very reputable tire manufacturer. I've got a very good idea how the process works, and it's nowhere near as simplistic as you make it out to be, nor feasible in the manner that you describe. Nice try, though.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:15 PM   #68
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Sorry, buddy - it sure as hell wouldn't fit into a trailer. Portions of the process? Maybe. But there's a LOT more to it than you think, and it most certain isn't 'pour rubber into the magic machine, and it craps out tires.'

I spent a summer as a factory worker for a very reputable tire manufacturer. I've got a very good idea how the process works, and it's nowhere near as simplistic as you make it out to be, nor feasible in the manner that you describe. Nice try, though.
Sooo... did you miss the part where I clearly stated:

"I will say that Michelin has never allowed me to see the actual technology. It is a very closely guarded secret. What I know about it is all second hand information which may or may not be completely true."

It wasn't a "nice try", I simply posted what I had heard, you know, "second hand information". If you have better and more accurate information that's great but I'm not sure why you feel the need to put somebody else down.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #69
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Sooo... did you miss the part where I clearly stated:

"I will say that Michelin has never allowed me to see the actual technology. It is a very closely guarded secret. What I know about it is all second hand information which may or may not be completely true."

It wasn't a "nice try", I simply posted what I had heard, you know, "second hand information". If you have better and more accurate information that's great but I'm not sure why you feel the need to put somebody else down.
What about your poor attitude toward Rossi?

Anyway, no real offense intended. The company I worked for also guards their process quite closely; cell phones and cameras are banned in the factory, and if you're caught with one, you're done. Their setup allows them to quickly change molds and produce as little as a single tire, or as many as they'd like, which is something that isn't as common as you'd think. Many other manufacturers are stuck doing large scale batches and sit with thousands of tires on the shelf as overhead, rather than small batches based on forecasted demand. It's a pretty slick system, and the time to make a tire from raw rubber to finished product is also quite short.

Simplified... The carbon, rubber and other chemicals are mixed and extruded, and then undergoes a couple of other processes (depending on the desired role for that particular rubber). These parts are all bundled up / spliced / joined during the formation of a 'green' tire, which is then chucked into the mold/curing press, baked into what we know as a tire, and then sent off for QC. While a lot of the plant was dedicated to large scale production (*many* curing presses, for example... producing ~20k tires per day... or was that per 12H shift? I can't recall...) you're talking about a huge amount of industrial equipment, an intensive process, and *serious* infrastructure and energy requirements. (And I'm glossing over a lot here, too.)

Tire production isn't necessarily long with regard to the start-->finish times; the final curing itself can take as little as 10-15 minutes for smaller passenger car / moto sized tires. You can crank tires out pretty quickly once you've determined what you want to make, but it isn't something that could ever be done on the fly as you described. At least not yet. The company I worked for is one of the best in the world, with a very highly valued process that is the envy of a lot of other manufacturers for their ability to rapidly crank out desired tires in small batches. Small batches being the key phrase here... At least with today's tech, that's a process you'd never be able to fit into the back of a truck. Even if you *could*, the energy and time constraints to make a single tire at a time are simply impractical given the hassle necessary to do something like that on a portable basis. Way too slow, and it's easier for them to simply make a few hundred tires in the factory, and chuck 'em onto an airplane for shipment to whatever MotoGP track is next on the calendar.

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Old 12-09-2013, 07:01 AM   #70
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:26 AM   #71
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Dorna wants IROC in 2015 not 2020. That's the whole point of this "Open" class which is actually a "Closed" class.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:16 AM   #72
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The part I disagree with as far as the AUS championship tire rules is that 'everybody should have access to the same limited number of compounds'.
Fair enough, but the fact that only a select few riders could make adequate use of the more specialized compounds, does not in my mind equate to supporting them not having the option to use them.

Whats the harm in say 'over on that shelf are some tires you probably wont like, but your welcome to try them out.'
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #73
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #74
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:26 AM   #75
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