MotoGP, Honda vs Yamaha: who’s the fastest of them all?

In just over a week, MotoGP will be back on the track for the first of the two Grand Prix pairs that will make the second part of the championship a sprint to the finish.

In fact, in August there will be a race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on the 14th, immediately followed on the 21st by Brno in the Czech Republic.
Then it will be time for Silverstonein England, on 4 September, paired with Misano a week later on the 11th.
It will be an extremely hard tour for all the teams that will need to cross the English Channel during the night and try to be on the Italian Riviera by Wednesday with their trucks and hospitality areas.

After that, only the Aragon race on the 25th will be left before the final rush that will take the world championship consecutively to Japan, at Motegi on 16 October and then to Phillip Island in Australia on the 23rd, followed by Sepang in Malaysia on the 30th, leading up to the final showdown in Valencia on the second Sunday of November.

The championship always gets very short during this period and if Marc Marquez seems to be racing toward his third MotoGP title at +48 ahead of Lorenzo and +59 over Rossi, Honda has not lost sight of what, along with the rider title, is a very important result for them: the constructors championship.

In fact, if Yamaha won the triple crown last year – riders-constructors-teams – that is the goal for HRC this year.
But will they succeed, bearing in mind that at the beginning of the season it seemed that the RC213-V was not at peak performance when compared with the Yamaha M1?

Well, right now the numbers tell a different story, because although Yamaha is currently leading the constructors championship, it is only by a one-point lead over Honda at the moment!
In fact, thanks to the Lorenzo-Rossi duo, the M1 has brought home a total of 5 wins and 9 podiums so far (and only with the two official riders), whereas Honda has a total of 4 (one with Miller) and 10 podiums earned partly thanks to Pedrosa and Crutchlow.

Ducati is significantly farther back with -62 points in the constructors standings and only 5 podiums.
So, if the battle for the constructors title is on the razor’s edge, it would seem that Honda has a bit more breathing room in the all but ignored teams championshipwhere in any case they are in the lead ahead of none other than the Yamaha Factory with no less than a 33-point advantage.
This point difference was achieved thanks to the reliability of Marquez who has figured out this year that, in order to finish first… you have to finish!
But let’s have a detailed look at the performance of the five manufacturers participating in MotoGP.

YAMAHA, NOT ALL THAT GLITTER IS GOLD – At the beginning of the season, the M1 was pegged as the best bike of the batch, but is that really true?
If we think back to 2015, maybe yes, but this year the in-line four cylinder from Iwata has shown at least one weak point: the engine, if it is true that, when pushed to the limit with a nudge toward the high end of the limiter, it blew no less than twice at Mugello.
Deserving of an in-depth analysis that we will postpone until the end of the season, on the other hand, is the fact that the Michelin tires seem to suit Valentino better than Jorge.

HONDA, FROM RAGS TO RICHES – In Qatar the RC213-V finished behind both Yamaha and Ducati. Outdated in terms of road holding, handling and engine, most outside observers expected it to have an uphill championship. To be fair, even Shuhei Nakamoto admitted that the HRC had to work on the electronics since it had to go from its own ECU to the Marelli unit, hardware that the rivals know well.
The defects, if there were any, were at least quickly adjusted, both in Argentina and in Texas, where Marquez took home a double win, riding crossways like in his lucky 2014 season. Filed under: well then, I suppose this RC isn’t so bad after all…

DUCATI, THE GREAT UNACCOMPLISHMENTThe 2015 goal to win at least one race was not achieved and that is why it was set again for this year. The Reds came very close to success in Qatar, where they had almost done it in 2015 as well. Very fast on the long straights and featuring lightning fast acceleration, the Desmosedici seems to struggle the most where there are frequent direction changes. In these situations it has proven to be slower and perhaps a bit less precise than its rivals. In Borgo Panigale they are convinced – the facts prove it, signing Stoner as tester and Lorenzo as rider for 2017 – that the riders are at fault. The two Andreas have the task of demonstrating otherwise in the second half of the championship.

SUZUKI, BUT IS IT TRUE GLORY? – For us, Suzuki is a huge question mark. In fact, in qualifying, Maverick Viñales is often able to take it to the front, along with the fastest riders. However, then in the race, the blaze is extinguished and, with the exception of the French Grand Prix where he finished third, the results are not very striking.
The impression is that the GSX-RR is a very agile bike, so it can be exploited well on the flying lap, but the engine is lacking something to stay up with its rivals. Without considering the fact that it must show that the chassis can hold up to a possible horsepower increase.

APRILIA, A GREAT FUTURE BEHIND THEM – The entrance of the manufacturer from Noale to MotoGP came with much criticism on the fact that Aprilia actually abandoned Superbike in order to race in the premier class.
The reality of the situation is that the (relatively) narrow V4 inspired by the multi-victorious street RSV-4 starring in the factory derivative championship is simply not shining and, above all, is making very slow progress. The best result so far, a 7th place finish earned in the two-part Argentinian race, does not make a summer. A decisive step forward is urgently needed, especially to keep from being unprepared for the arrival of KTM in 2017 who, unlike the Italian manufacturer, took a year to test before making its debut.