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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Arrow MotoGP » Pietro Caprara (JiR Team Scot): Q&A. | 2-stroke vs. 4-stroke *UPDATED*

Pietro Caprara (JiR Team Scot): Q&A.

Thursday, 21st August 2008

JiR Team Scot Honda Chief Technician Pietro Caparara talks about MotoGP 2008 compared to when he started out over a decade ago...

With JiR Team Scot experiencing a superb MotoGP season with Andrea Dovizioso on their Honda bike, attention now turns to who has made them such a force to be reckoned with in 2008.

Close to the top of that list if Pietro Caprara, JiR Team Scot's Chief Technician, who plied his trade in MotoGP with Yamaha and Aprilia before switching to the satellite Honda outfit.

With more than 12 years experience in MotoGP, the 41-year-old looks at the state of the championship now, compared to then…

Q:
Since the mid-seventies, two-strokes dominated the 500 class, before the four-strokes came along at the end of 2001. What are the characteristics and differences between the two technologies?

Pietro Caprara

PC:
“The differences between the two types of motors have both construction implications and mechanical, environmental, how the motorcycle is driven, as well as construction and maintenance cost issues. Mechanically the two-stroke engine is simple, the piston, with its alternating motion, opens and closes the ports of the intake and exhaust from which the mixture of air/petrol and oil and exhaust gases enters and leaves. In comparison, the four-stroke motor is complex and heavier than its two-stroke equivalent. The upper part of the engine is the ‘head', which holds the intake and exhaust valves, driven by camshafts. Engine power comes from petrol shot into the engine via injectors. The lubrication of the two-strokes engine, crankshaft and connecting rods, is entrusted to the fuel. The power is normally governed by a carburettor that has a mechanical operation typically controlled by the depression created by the movement of the piston. The lubrication of the various mechanisms of the four-strokes is entrusted to oil and this can be collected in a reservoir, built in the lower part of the engine called a sump, which can either be a ‘dry' or ‘wet' sump depending on whether the oil is collected in a separate tank.”

Q:
How have these differences changed the way you work in the pit garage?

PC:
“The maintenance and alteration of a two-stroke is very different from a four-stroke and can be carried out completely in the field, given the simple nature of its construction. Historically these changes used to be made by the team, even in satellite squads.

The maintenance of the four-stroke is complex and only factory technicians are entrusted to work on the engine, while mechanics from satellite teams are only allowed to do maintenance that doesn't involve opening up the engines.”

Q:
So, with these two very different technological characteristics with these powerplants, what are the different feelings for the rider using them?

PC:
“The peculiarity of the two-stroke engine, in principle, is that it produces very little torque low down in the rev range but lots at high revs. In 500ccGPs maximum torque was very close to that of maximum power on the rev counter, but in modern MotoGP the release of both torque and power is more linear and more progressive and so is more exploitable and has wider powerband than that of a two-stroke. To give the two-stroke more flexibility exhaust powervalves were adopted to broaden where the power and torque came in, giving more drive when you opened the gas. The differences on the track were that riding the two-strokes smoothness on the throttle and through the corner was the best way to ride and the bike had almost no engine braking and the weight of the machine was lower too. In MotoGP you can break the smooth trajectory through the corner as you've so much torque and power, you can acceler! ate away out of the turn. With a 500, the acceleration phase was the most delicate operation, because the violence with which the power came in meant that rider error would lead to sudden loss of adhesion of the rear tyre and a subsequent classic high-side. The two-stroke motorcycles required sensitivity from the rider: especially on the throttle. With the four-strokes, the relatively large amount of power is offset by the electronic management and traction control system. This year for example, beginners in the MotoGP class coming from the 250cc two-stroke category have adapted quickly, getting good results in the race, although they are generally the riders who have been the best in the category they have just left.”

Q:
2002 was the year of the MotoGP four-stroke engine debut. Doubts and misgivings have now melted away, but what's the difference in working with these motors from the view in the pit garage?

PC:
“Since this ‘new adventure' there were unknowns, not only to the development of the motorcycle but this new technology also demanded a different way of working from the team. From an operational point of view, in the pit-box, things will work in a different way; on four-strokes you will do things or work on parameters that on the two strokes were less present. The typical example is the electronic management system, which on four-strokes is crucial, whereas with two-strokes you would be spending time opening the engines and changing cylinders and pistons.
So today the technicians and mechanics now concentrate much more on the development of the set-up of the bike and on tyres.

Q:
It would seem that the amount of work in the pits has declined and that everything is now delegated to specialist electronics. Is that right?

PC:
“We don't now ‘work less' as we have less to do with the motor, instead the areas in which we work have changed. We work hard and the skills of the mechanics and the competitive nature of our work means the riders are chasing vital parts of a second and we need to be looking at the smallest details. To get even a single tenth of time on the track is essential. That's the real competition that takes place inside the pit-box.”

Pietro Caprara (JiR Team Scot): Q&A. | MOTOGP News | Crash.Net


Part 2

Q:
What has the transition from 990cc to 800cc been like?

Pietro Carpara:
“With the advent of the 990cc machines, this was initially greeted with many uncertainties related to the competitiveness of the machines, but soon we saw an escalation of the dizzying performance, which led to a reduction in engine capacity – all in the name of safety of the riders, as the power looked as if it was going to be difficult to manage. Since the switch, you watch the stopwatch and now the times are equalling the 990cc machines, but the intervention of important electronics has helped here. Security and safety is a factor to which the team, riders, Dorna and IRTA have given more and more attention.”

Q:
Engine, tyres and suspension are the three parameters that must be balanced with each other to the needs of the riders. Can you identify a priority among these elements?

PC:
“Certainly suspension and tyres hold a crucial role and must work in ‘balance', with each other. And – particularly in the light of the benefits that we have with today's tyres – the set up of the bike has to be made very carefully. It is no less important the role of an engine, but with the advent of the four-strokes, the electronic management is the core in order to maximise the performance of the bike tyres and suspension.”

Q:
We often hear that there is no such thing as the perfect bike, but instead a rider must adapt to the machine to influence the results.

PC:
“Yes, it's true, but you can reach a good final compromise. In general we try to develop a balanced motorcycle, whose base is exploitable on all circuits. For sure, it is better to have a bike, which is adaptable, than one, which gives 100% but only under certain conditions. A rider of talent is an element that integrates into this context and he may be able to cover any gaps in the bike and ride around problems.”

Q:
During practice, in the final twenty minutes riders are battling together and locked in the frenzy of using qualifying tyres. In just one lap the rider must give his maximum. How do you adapt the bike for this and how much comes from the rider himself?

PC:
“The preparation of the bike does not change too much, as you might think, with regard to the overall geometry of the bike. The suspension is used as it would be for the race, but possibly ‘hardened' up a little to exploit the qualifying tyre a little more, which is only useable for one lap, sometimes only a lap and a half. Instead, it's more the rider who tends to change his style of riding to exploit the increased grip, which is often disproportionate to the rubber used in the race. Think about it, if in any corner the rider can make up a tenth of a second on qualifying rubber and the circuit has ten corners, then a perfect lap would mean you're a whole second faster. The rider who can better exploit this advantage of qualifying tyres takes pole – in theory!”

Pietro Caprara (JiR Team Scot): Q&A Pt 2. | MOTOGP News
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 11:00 AM
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interesting that he knows anything about that, given that he wasn't in the class when the 500's where around.

really he's comparing 250's to 990/800's.

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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This really sheds some light on the possibility of a privateer team ever being able to win a championship... the possibility may exist but it seems rather slim, since the teams can't open up the mills to extract xtra HP.

And who governs the manufacturer from purposely castrating their customer bikes?

This is just more fuel for me to reiterate that some riders will never get a fair shot and their results not indicative of their true potential... but some will just never get it. For some reason it is as clear as day will all these impeding variables.. bleh...

I watch GP cause is still motorcycle racing, and that's it. WSBK FTMFW!!!!
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior View Post
interesting that he knows anything about that, given that he wasn't in the class when the 500's where around.

really he's comparing 250's to 990/800's.
Do you know what teams he worked with previous to Scot? By the way it is no secrets he is giving away either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by racerraul View Post
This really sheds some light on the possibility of a privateer team ever being able to win a championship... the possibility may exist but it seems rather slim, since the teams can't open up the mills to extract xtra HP.

And who governs the manufacturer from purposely castrating their customer bikes?

This is just more fuel for me to reiterate that some riders will never get a fair shot and their results not indicative of their true potential... but some will just never get it. For some reason it is as clear as day will all these impeding variables.. bleh...

I watch GP cause is still motorcycle racing, and that's it. WSBK FTMFW!!!!
Buts still most of the riders on the grid wouldn´t be WCs even on the best bikes as the BEST riders always end up on the best bikes in the end. You could spend as much money you want on Ant West but he will never beat riders like Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo.


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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 03:20 PM
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Buts still most of the riders on the grid wouldn´t be WCs even on the best bikes as the BEST riders always end up on the best bikes in the end. You could spend as much money you want on Ant West but he will never beat riders like Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo.
Hayden


Fair enough, I kinda assumed he'd been with LCR indefinitely.

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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-21-2008, 11:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gustav O View Post
Buts still most of the riders on the grid wouldn´t be WCs even on the best bikes as the BEST riders always end up on the best bikes in the end. You could spend as much money you want on Ant West but he will never beat riders like Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo.
True... but the racing would sure be alot better if the satellite teams had a fair chance...
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 12:06 AM
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there used to be times that satellite teams would make a solid go at the championship, or atleast throw a monkey wrench in it.

McCoy in 2000, would be a good example. Rainey in '89 is another really good example. That push in '89 is what broke Ago's back and got KR the factory team.

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 01:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior View Post
Hayden


Fair enough, I kinda assumed he'd been with LCR indefinitely.
That is very arguable. The M1 wasn´t very good that year with all their chatter problems. The Ducati wasn´t up there and haydens Honda was the best Honda in teh field, as you´ve agreed with me before. Suzuki and Kawasak has never been title contenders. If you sum all that up Hayden had one of the top two bikes in the class, if not the best bike wich is what most of the tests at the end of 2006 said.

Quote:
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True... but the racing would sure be alot better if the satellite teams had a fair chance...
It sure would but the more money the factories invest in the bikes the more unlikely that will be. As Junior wrote it was a time when a good, smart satellite team could mess with the big boys more than they can now. Although Dovizioso and his great Scot crew has turned the worst team in the paddock (JIR) into a very good team on satellite material.


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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
 
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By the way guys, I just updated the post with Part 2 of the Q&A...
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 10:55 AM
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ya that's not what I was disputing. IMO he had the best bike in the paddock, and had had it for years.

My point was that you said most riders couldn't win the championship even if they had the best bike, and I'd say that if Hayden can do it? probably anyone else can too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav O View Post
That is very arguable. The M1 wasn´t very good that year with all their chatter problems. The Ducati wasn´t up there and haydens Honda was the best Honda in teh field, as you´ve agreed with me before. Suzuki and Kawasak has never been title contenders. If you sum all that up Hayden had one of the top two bikes in the class, if not the best bike wich is what most of the tests at the end of 2006 said.

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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 01:50 PM
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ya that's not what I was disputing. IMO he had the best bike in the paddock, and had had it for years.

My point was that you said most riders couldn't win the championship even if they had the best bike, and I'd say that if Hayden can do it? probably anyone else can too.
I see I got it really backwards there....
Regarding Hayden? One in a thousand I´d say. He was there in a pretty weak year. Compare the top riders now to 2006 and I´d say it is pretty much harder to win now than 2006, I mean Colin Edwards II was very close to winning a GP race goddammit!


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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 01:59 PM
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I see I got it really backwards there....
Regarding Hayden? One in a thousand I´d say. He was there in a pretty weak year. Compare the top riders now to 2006 and I´d say it is pretty much harder to win now than 2006, I mean Colin Edwards II was very close to winning a GP race goddammit!
ya it was 1 in a thousand, I've never seen a championship like it. Totally left my flabberghasted. Like at the end of the season "omfg, did that just happen?"

if there was ever anything made me wanna believe in divine intervention, that was it.

But I think it does prove that a mediocre rider on the right bike in the right circumstances can bag the championship.

shit even Criville did a better job of it I thought, and I'm certainly no Criville fan. (lets copy Mick's set-ups, follow him around the whole race then try for a draft pass at the line!! Aren't I a great racer!?!)

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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A here we go again... hey guys... shed some light on this for me...
Motorcycle Daily

Cause he may have been on the best bike but with clutch issues everyone likes to call BS, yet HRC admited to having trouble fixing all year. You can't help but speculate that he would have won a few of those races he podium 13x in a row if the damn think shot out of the corners as supposed to.

You wack the throttle open, it just ain't there... was he supposed to get off & push too? Rossi tried that on the last race of '06, but getting off to push cost him dearly.

Yeah I'm bringing the dead horse back from the grave...

03 - 5th Rookie of the year
05 - 3rd
06 - World Champ

Not bad for a lame SBK redneck with no world track experience.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 03:13 PM
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That´s a fair bit of speculation on your part and I won´t get in to that. He is a former WC and I won´t take that away from him but this says a lot as well.
94 starts, 3 wins while in one, and partly during his career the, best teams/bikes in the paddock.


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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 04:13 PM
 
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94 starts, 3 wins while in one, and partly during his career the, best teams/bikes in the paddock.
That certainly gives it a certain ring to it, leaving so many details out.

But I wont go over it yet again... its pretty clear the smaller details are conveniently left out for the purpose of glorifying\diminishing a riders efforts.

And I have experienced a slipping clutch on the streets & it sucks... it's a fair assesment to say it is far more crucial in the professional level were tenths of a second per turn\lap equate to a large margin over a race distance.

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Can I just for a little bit? I kinda missed it...

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A here we go again... hey guys... shed some light on this for me...
Motorcycle Daily

Cause he may have been on the best bike but with clutch issues everyone likes to call BS, yet HRC admited to having trouble fixing all year. You can't help but speculate that he would have won a few of those races he podium 13x in a row if the damn think shot out of the corners as supposed to.

You wack the throttle open, it just ain't there... was he supposed to get off & push too? Rossi tried that on the last race of '06, but getting off to push cost him dearly.

Yeah I'm bringing the dead horse back from the grave...

03 - 5th Rookie of the year
04 - 8th
05 - 3rd
06 - World Champ
07 - 8th

Not bad for a lame SBK redneck with no world track experience.
Why did you leave out 04 and 07?

Quote:
Originally Posted by racerraul View Post
That certainly gives it a certain ring to it, leaving so many details out.

But I wont go over it yet again... its pretty clear the smaller details are conveniently left out for the purpose of glorifying\diminishing a riders efforts.

And I have experienced a slipping clutch on the streets & it sucks... it's a fair assesment to say it is far more crucial in the professional level were tenths of a second per turn\lap equate to a large margin over a race distance.
Leaving so many details out? Everything you've said "might" be the reason why he couldn't win more race(s), and when I say "might", I'm really pushing it. All this still don't change the fact that other riders on a satellite Honda in all those seasons, including 2006, were capable to win more races. Are you gonna tell me that the factory bikes are worst than the satellite bikes now?
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 06:05 PM
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was there really a problem with the clutch? or was their a problem with his head?

Just watching Hayden's onboards he's WAY more aggressive on the clutch than anyone else. Shit I've got onboard of him dragging the clutch all the way to T1 at Sachsenring, is it really the clutches fault that it fails when you only stop dragging it when you're going for 3rd gear?

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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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Leaving so many details out? Everything you've said "might" be the reason why he couldn't win more race(s), and when I say "might", I'm really pushing it. All this still don't change the fact that other riders on a satellite Honda in all those seasons, including 2006, were capable to win more races. Are you gonna tell me that the factory bikes are worst than the satellite bikes now?
To the best of my knowledge in 06, Nicky was the only one on the evolution bike which... I will reiterate for the thousandth time... HRC admited to be struggling with its clutch.

I left 05 & 07 out in the same manner I would leave 06 & 07 out for Rossi as not his best years either. Although 06 Rossi did put one hell of a charge despite the problems HE was having. Besides I would tell you again what happened in 05 & 07 in support for Nicky's worst results but you'll just ignored them anyways as has happened in the past...

That is what I mean by details... all the weight on the riders shoulders & none on his supporting cast. HRC is no angel, you guys can quit acting like they are & do no wrong.

Quote:
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was there really a problem with the clutch? or was their a problem with his head?
You tell me... read the link I posted... BS or not?
Besides, if HRC backs Nicky with saying they couldn't get the clutch right, you still asking if it was in Nicky's head?

Last edited by racerraul; 08-22-2008 at 06:20 PM.
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To the best of my knowledge in 06, Nicky was the only one on the evolution bike which... I will reiterate for the thousandth time... HRC admited to be struggling with its clutch.

I left 05 & 07 out in the same manner I would leave 06 & 07 out for Rossi as not his best years either. Although 06 Rossi did put one hell of a charge despite the problems HE was having. Besides I would tell you again what happened in 05 & 07 in support for Nicky's worst results but you'll just ignored them anyways as has happened in the past...

That is what I mean by details... all the weight on the riders shoulders & none on his supporting cast. HRC is no angel, you guys can quit acting like they are & do no wrong.



You tell me... read the link I posted... BS or not?
Besides, if HRC backs Nicky with saying they couldn't get the clutch right, you still asking if it was in Nicky's head?
I don't think you read my post right. Even though I still believe it's bs, but I will give you 2006. Now please explain 04, 05, and 07, same again, satellite riders were able to win more races or do better. You don't really believe his bike was worst than theirs, do you?

Leave out 06 and 07 for Rossi, why? I wouldn't leave them out, finishing 2nd or 3rd is a different story than finishing 8th.

Both Yamaha and other Michelin riders have been admitting struggling in 2007 too.
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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 08-22-2008, 07:08 PM
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You tell me... read the link I posted... BS or not?
Besides, if HRC backs Nicky with saying they couldn't get the clutch right, you still asking if it was in Nicky's head?
ok I read the thing, and I definitely didn't learn anything new.

And yes, I'm still suggesting that it may have been in his head. His fan following is far too fanatical for HRC to disown and disavow, plus they needed him to shut his f*cking mouth and bag the championship.

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