Casey Stoner 2011 Final Lap chart

The prior version of this chart found some resonance when first published. Now that the season is over, let’s review the final numbers:

So, mostly similar to prior numbers. Casey Stoner lead 56% of all MotoGP race laps in 2011, and ran in podium position for an astonishing 93% of those laps.

If the scope is expanded to cover all laps, including FP, QP, and WUP data, the picture is actually not substantially different:

Obviously there were quite a few occasions in timed practice sessions where Stoner’s best was lower down the orders. Still, out of 1800 official laps, Stoner was in P1 for slightly more than 53%, and in podium position for 83% of the time.

These figures are beyond my ability to find superlatives with which to describe them.

2011 MotoGP Valencia FP2 Review

While FP1 was conducted on a wet-but-drying track, FP2 was awash in rain.

Alvaro Bautista continued his recent run of strong form, turning in P1 on the session. It will be an act of almost criminal negligence if Suzuki do not reward his — and the team’s — hard work with a renewed commitment to the series.

Nicky Hayden backed up his FP1 results with P2 in the second session. The Ducatis again showed their strengths in the wet; Hayden was followed by Randy de Puniet in P3 and Karel Abraham in P4. The rest of the session was a fair mix of riders; some riders ended above their normal positions, and other, well below.

Josh Hayes deserves a mention, turning in an impressive P10 in the wet, in only his second session on an unfamiliar bike, at an unfamiliar circuit. More noteworthy, though, is the manner in which he accomplished this position. Hayes went out on track as soon as the session opened and kept lapping continuously until the end.  Such nose-to-the-grindstone work effort is as remarkable as it is admirable.

2011 MotoGP Valencia FP1 review

So, back to the trenches, then. FP1 was the beginning of the end, in so many respects. The last race of the year. The last race of the hated 800s. The last race for the sport’s elder statesman. For a few riders, the last race with their current team. And, notably, the first race back from the grief and sorrow of Simoncelli’s death.

Fitting, then, that the weekend has begun wet and slightly cold.

As usual, Casey Stoner tops the timesheets this morning, but the session was not the expected parade of Repsol Hondas. Stoner ended on top, but he didn’t have it anything like his own way, spending much of the session behind eventual 4th and 5th place men of Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi, respectively. Second behind Stoner was his teammate Dani Pedrosa, followed by a predictable(*) third from Valentino Rossi.

Ducati GP11 variants in P3? Predictable? On a clear, dry day this would be an astonishing anomaly. Wet weather is and always has been the great equalizer; rider skill and bravery matter far more than mechanical superiority. In FP1, variants of the GP11 finished in positions 3 (Rossi), 4 (Hayden), 5 (Capirossi), and 7 (Randy de Puniet). Still, this collective result seems a bit counter-intuitive given the Bolognese machinery’s infamous lack of front-end feel & feedback. So full marks to those riders, then, for a strong display in tough conditions.

2011 MotoGP Philip Island FP1 review

Another session, another P1 for Casey. He always goes well on the Island, but he has made a habit of thoroughly abusing the competition this year. Casey grabbed P1 on his first flier and frankly never looked back. Lorenzo and Simoncelli had a nice battle over P2, with the Mallorcan eventually coming out on top, albeit nearly .3 down on Stoner.

The shock of the session has to be Edwards holding claim to P4. Even though he’s slightly more than a second down on Stoner, this is pushing the satellite Yamaha well above its normal station on the grid. Andrea Dovizioso will be disappointed to lose out to the Texan by a mere .052. At the same time, Dovi will no doubt be well chuffed to have beaten Dani Pedrosa.

Further down the grid, Nicky Hayden has upheld his reputation for yeomanship, putting in together with Hiroshi Aoyama the most laps in the session. Hayden also snagged honors for being the top Ducati on the day, handily besting his compatriots.

Damian Cudlin holds down a somewhat distant 17th, nearly 4 seconds down on Stoner’s time. However, saying so is a bit unfair; the relative gap represents a vast improvement over where he was in FP1 at Motegi. Given that this is only his second event on contemporary hardward, and that he’s on the notoriously fickle GP11, and he’s run back-to-back events for different teams, this seems to be a very strong result indeed.

New Features: Mouseover Data

Another day, another set of features added! This time, the focus is the Rider Analysis tab on the Events page. I’ve added a device that tracks mouse movement on the chart: hover over a graphed point, and you’ll see:

Similar (but much less verbose) treatment is provided on the Race Recap / Fast Lap Progression screen:

New Feature: Fast Lap Progression

I quite like the Race Recap view of race sessions as a way of showing where each rider was on a given lap. I like the format so much, in fact, that I struggled for a while to find a way to produce a similar view for timed (FP, QP, WUP) sessions. I’ve finally managed to come up with something that seems to fit the bill:

Under the Events page, if you’ve selected a timed session, the existing “Race Recap” tab is re-labelled to “Fast Lap Progression” (and it changes back if you switch to the Race session). The example above is for Motegi 2011.

The behavior is, however, a bit different for timed sessions vs races. For races, the behavior is clear: on the X axis, the Y value corresponds to the position of each rider on that lap.

For the Fast Lap Progression view, though, what I’m charting is not the rider’s time set that lap; rather, I’m charting the riders best time as of that lap. The other important point to note here is that the laps for each rider are normalized and compared by lap number rather than by the session-time at which each lap was set. Thus, the chart will obscure two scenarios thru normalization:

  • Rider A goes out on track the moment the session starts; Meanwhile, rider B stays in the box for 10 minutes.
  • Rider A turns 22 laps in the session, and Rider B only turns 19.

Pardon the Delays. Now returning to normal service

So, apologies for the delays in publishing Motegi data. I’ve been working feverishly on adding new features & capabilities to the site. And, as often is the case in these matters, I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place; I had the Motegi data in-hand and ready for timely updates, but couldn’t publish that data without also publishing incomplete functionality. So, the data had to wait til the new shiny stuff was done. And I’m pleased to say that it now IS done and ready for prime time. …I think!

So, what’s new?

  1. This blog. Everyone and their brother has one; big whoop. However, the point here is not merely to have a blog. Instead, I’ll be using it to highlight some interesting phenomena as things go.
  2. Session Commentary. I’ve added a new commentary tab to the event page, as a peer of the existing Results, Race Recap, etc. The tab will only be enabled when I’ve written something pertaining to that session. In general, I won’t be going back to add retroactive commentary, but future sessions will have content here. An example of the new session-commentary presentation
  3. A Raw Data view. This is another new tab on the event page. It provides a spreadsheet-like view of rich lap data, including laptimes, gaps, splits, and trap speed. A screen-capture of the new Raw Data view Moreover, it allows grouping of data. The Lap, Position, and Rider columns have a context menu. Click on the column header as indicated below and select “Group By This Field“: The Grouping feature on the Raw Data view… and you’ll end up with something like this: Grouped data in the Raw Data view
  4. Changed options on the Rider Analysis tab: I’ve dropped the Laptime Trend option, and added a new Gap to Next option to replace it. The former wasn’t very useful; the new option will show the accordion effect before & after passes. I think its pretty slick. 
  5. Charting behavior on Rider Analysis: anything graphed against the right-side axis is now drawn with dashed lines. Dashed lines on the right-side axis
  6. Events List: better indication of which events are available in the system. Events without data are greyed & italicized. Events List -- greyed options for future events
  7. And, the big one: a new whole-season view of Rider data. A new site masthead contains links to the existing Events list and adds a link to the new Riders list. Riders List Replacements & Wildcard riders are shown at the bottom of the list, indicated with an asterisk next to their names. Clicking on a single rider will take you to the detailed view for that rider: Rider analysis Some of the items shown in this view:
    • Years active (although I’ve only got 2011 data so far)
    • Teams that employed the rider this year, including seat type & service level
    • A spreadsheet view of Events that the rider contested, and their relative performance: qualifying & finishing positions, championship standings, etc.
    • And visualizations of performance