Thursday, April 26, 2018

The "Joy" Of Being Right ...

Two years into the aero era, and MotoGP appears to be ready to come to its senses.

KTM has come to the MSMA, the organization that represented GP manufacturers, with an engineering report that contains about the least surprising conclusion in racing history. The report says that the aerodynamic structures, or wings, that have sprouted on MotoGP bikes in the past two seasons represent a vast waste of money spent on developing products that have no relevance for street-going motorcycles.

Credible? You bet. KTM is allied with Red Bull, which spends obscene amounts of money on aero research in Formula One car racing. Red Bull knows how much money is burned at the altar of the wind tunnel and computer aero modeling. Proof? This season, Formula One has mandated the Halo, a structure around the cockpit to protect the driver's head from injury or debris. Every front-running team has stuck a wing on their Halo. How much time in the wind tunnel did that cost?

You've read here before about how I predicted that the aero arms race for bikes was a waste of money. I'll repeat the most important point: Terrified that the series was going to turn into a runaway for Marquez, series organizers were happy to let Ducati keep its aero advantage, because it looked like that might be the only way to hold Honda at bay. It worked for a bit last season. It ain't working anymore.

I'll leave it at this: I'd rather have a bike with a torque-ductor than wings any day.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Superbikes: Images And Reflections

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Gougis

Superbikes: Images and Reflections” Now Available

A collection of images from the 2017 motorcycle road racing season, “Superbikes: Images and Reflections” features photographs from events in North America and Europe. Motojournalist Michael Gougis photographed the preseason MotoAmerica test at Circuit of The Americas and the MotoAmerican event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the British Superbike round at Brands Hatch and the World Superbike races at Laguna Seca, Lausitzring in Germany and Jerez in Spain. Full-color, 73 pages, with an introduction by four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes. Retail price $29.95 plus shipping.

Available at, or by following the link below:

For more information, contact the author at or at 626.221.7466.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Unfair Disadvantage, Or The Magic Of The Marquez

Arguments over the greatest rider of all time are essentially entertaining-yet-pointless exercises. Barring the invention of a time machine, it is impossible to objectively judge how a rider on any given machine on a particular tire in one year compares against the skills of another rider on a different machine (or that same machine) on different tires in a different year. It's impossible to say at the end of a given race which rider was better on a given day, regardless of who won. It's entirely possible to argue that the rider who came from a horrible qualifying spot on the grid to fourth was the best rider of the day.

It is entirely possible, however, to make an absolutely objective, unassailable argument about the relative advantages and disadvantages a given rider had during their careers. During certain periods, some riders are given such immense advantages that, win records aside, it's hard to argue that it is their skill that earned them their domination. It is the nature of the sport that introduces this variable - a talented rider will be given, by a factory and supporting companies determined to win above all else, every single advantage they can muster. Yes, it helps guarantee the success that the companies crave. But it also reduces the ability to truly judge the rider's skill in comparison to other racers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Words With P.J. Jacobsen: “It's Time To Move Up To Superbike ...”

Preseason testing marked P.J. Jacobsen as one of the favorites to take the Supersport World Championship in 2017. But in hindsight, the Phillip Island round may have been a harbinger of things to come. Undeniably fast, Jacobsen's season has not gone to plan.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

In Praise Of Elias, Or It's Not Easy To Tame A Tiger

It is fashionable to cite the success of Toni Elias as proof of the dearth of talent in U.S. road racing. The mantra goes that Elias, a washed-up has-been, showed up on a MotoAmerica Superbike ride for Yoshimura Suzuki and casually beat the best of the U.S.

Toni Elias, MotoAmerica preseason testing, Circuit of the Americas, 2017.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Factory Proximity

Dan Linfoot, Honda Racing British Superbike Team, Druids Hairpin, British Superbikes, 2017. The flames erupting from the exhaust aren't just spectacular to look at. They hint at something deeper, something that is relevant to the very core of professional racing.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Images Of Speed - 4

Been traveling a bit. Took my camera. Will be posting images of racing every now and then ...

Eugene Laverty, Milwaukee Aprilia Shaun Muir Racing RSV4, Turn 11, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, practice, Superbike World Championship 2017.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Images Of Speed - 3

Been traveling a bit. Took my camera ...

Superbike World Championship, Lausitzring, Germany, August 2017. This picture reflects the story of the season so far: Chaz Davies (7) and Jonathan Rea (1) battle for the lead in the opening laps of Race One, while Tom Sykes slots into third. On any given weekend, Rea and Davies are the two safest bets for the win. If you look carefully at the shot of Rea, you will note his more upright riding position, and that the top of his boot is on the ground.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Images of Speed - 2

Been traveling a bit. Took my camera. Will post images of racing every now and then ...

Fans in paddock, Brands Hatch, British Superbike, July 2017.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Images Of Speed - 1

Been traveling a bit. Took my camera. Will be posting images of racing every now and then ...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Comfort Zone

Me, CBR600RR with full rain tires, Woodcote corner, Silverstone.

I have ridden on racetracks for 22 years and always managed to avoid riding in the wet. Recently, I had a choice: Ride the Silverstone Racing Circuit in the wet, or don't ride it at all. I chose the wet. I am happy I did, because I was able to watch the MotoGP round at Brno with entirely new eyes, an immense amount of respect for those who can go fast in the wet, and more than a little sympathy for Valentino Rossi.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sport Touring, BMW, And Nirvana

Kevin Williams has done the 800-mile round trip to Laguna Seca for years on his BMW S1000RR. Photos by Michael Gougis.
I know these roads. I have ridden them from my earliest days of riding. They are the asphalt capillaries away from the highways that link Southern to Northern California, the two-lane roads that offer an escape from the beaten path.