Take a look around any dealership floor, bike night parking lot or race paddock, and the vast majority of motorcycles will be wearing a chain and sprockets for their final drive. Belts and driveshafts have their perks, but chains are the dominant drivetrain thanks to their low production cost, efficient power transmission and easy gearing changes and component replacement.
Chains basically come in two categories: unsealed or standard roller chain, and sealed or O-ring chain. Unsealed chains are commonly found on vintage bikes, small-displacement economy rides and off-road motorcycles. They’re what you see on bicycles and conveyor belts, and even the treads on a bulldozer are a type of unsealed chain. Standard chain is just a series of plain bearings made of metal links and nothing else. That means it’s up to you to apply lubricant to keep the parts from grinding themselves into dust, and you have to do it every few hundred miles. Even then, reducing friction between high-wear components like the link pins and bushings is difficult, and as a result unsealed chains wear quickly, necessitating frequent slack adjustments and replacement.
Sealed chains, as the name suggests, have rubber seals sandwiched between the side plates and inner links, sealing in grease that’s sucked in around the pins via vacuum when the chain is manufactured. The O-rings seal the grease in and keep dirt and water out, ensuring the pins and bushings are bathed in lube, which greatly reduces wear and extends the life of the chain. This arrangement also means less frequent and lighter applications of chain lube, since all you’re doing with that can of aerosol is keeping the O-rings moist and pliable and preventing the metal links from corroding.
Sealed chains were introduced in the late 1970s and revolutionized chain maintenance by greatly reducing the need for lubrication while simultaneously increasing the life of the chain by up to tens of thousands of miles. More recently, other seal styles have been developed, most notably the X-ring. Here’s the idea: When that chubby little O-ring gets squeezed between the plates, it creates a fair amount of surface area that results in a small amount of drag every time the chain link pivots. That drag saps power getting to the rear wheel. With an X-ring chain, the sealing ring’s profile resembles an “X”” The X-ring is more readily compressed between the plates, and its shape provides four sealing surfaces around each link pin (instead of two), but with less total surface area, resulting in less drag.
If evaluating the drag on your chain seems like the kind of obsessive minutia only a racer would think about, you’re right. X-ring technology was developed for the track and adapted for the street, where the better sealing of the X-ring helped increase chain life even more. As a track-bred product, X-ring chains are typically made from harder, stronger metals and may have weight-reducing features like hollow link pins and thinner side plates. With all those virtues, however, comes a higher price.
Generally speaking, the better sealing (and thus service life) a chain offers, the more expensive it’s going to be. That being said you may be tempted to slap a standard unsealed chain on your bike because it’s cheap, but the upfront savings simply isn’t worth the cost of increased maintenance and more frequent replacement. Unsealed chains still make sense on smaller, less powerful machines that will log fewer miles, but for regular road use a sealed chain–whether it’s an O-ring type or some other variety–is definitely the way to go.
Sealing lube in around the critical wear components of the chain has taken what was already a practical, reliable and efficient drivetrain and made it even better. No wonder the majority of motorcycles rely on links and sprockets to get down the road.
Round 16 of the MotoGP™ Podcast is here and as we’re heading to Mugello this weekend, this week’s episode features Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin discussing their favourite tracks, as well as MotoGP™ Legends Randy Mamola and Freddie Spencer reminiscing about theirs too.
Effective for the rest of the 2019 season and continuing into 2020, Lenovo will be the key technology partner for Dorna, which will include equipping staff with Lenovo desktop PCs, laptops, workstations, tablets, monitors, and data center solutions. From day-to-day office operations to analyzing computations from high-tech sensors, like the gyroscopic 4K cameras on each bike, the collaboration with Lenovo will also enable Dorna engineers to explore new and better ways of packaging video in dynamic formats, allowing TV viewers to see what’s happening in the moment from all angles.
Desmo Dovi did admit that “it’s not easy to find just three from 300” but he started his top three with his one and only victory at Mugello from two years ago. After waiting sixteen years, and finishing on the podium on four occasions during that wait, Dovizioso finally tasted victory at Mugello after breaking clear of Maverick Viñales in 2017.
“Arriving in Mugello after a result like Le Mans, with three Ducati in the first four positions, is very positive but we still want more,” said Dovizioso. “This is our home race and I think we will be competitive and fast, so our main objective will be the podium again. As we have seen in the first races this year, our rivals are also very strong, so it is very difficult to make predictions.”
Pablo Nieto, Team Manager: “As a rider, I remember that the sequence Arrabbiata 1-2 was perhaps the most beautiful and at the same time technical turn of the whole Championship. To be done full gas. Today, as a Team Manager, we arrive at Mugello with many expectations: it is the home GP for the Team and it will be a crescendo of emotions till Sunday when we will show to everybody the special livery for the race. After Le Mans, we spent two days in Barcelona for testing. A track, the Catalan one, very similar to Mugello and where we worked hard to better face the next two races. In Moto2, Luca and Nicolo can still reduce the distance from the very first guys and hit important placements. In Moto3, Dennis and Celestino, after a great recovery, want to confirm themselves among the protagonists.”
This is the 34th occasion that a GP has been held at the Mugello circuit, including 28 times in a row from 1991.
Mugello hosted a Grand Prix event for the first time in 1976. The 500cc race was won by Barry Sheene by the narrow margin of 0.1 sec ahead of Phil Read in a race lasting over 62 minutes.
This was at a time when Suzuki riders dominated the premier class; the first non-Suzuki rider home was Waerum Borge Nielsen in tenth place on a Yamaha. The layout of the Mugello circuit has remained basically the same since 1976 with the official track length of 5.245km unchanged.
A total of 105 Grand Prix races for solo motorcycles have been held at the Mugello circuit since 1976: MotoGP – 17, 500cc – 16, Moto2 – 9, 350cc – 2, 250cc – 24, Moto3 – 7, 125cc – 25, 80cc – 2, 50cc – 3. Misano is the only other circuit that has hosted the Italian GP,in 1991 and 1993.
The Mugello circuit also hosted the Nations GP (1976, 1978 and 1985) and the San Marino GP (1982, 1984, 1991 and 1993).
Honda is the most successful manufacturer with 16 premier class wins, the last of which was in 2014 with Marc Marquez.
Yamaha have had 12 wins in the premier class including with Kenny Roberts (1978) and Wayne Rainey (1991) on 500cc machinery, five successive victories with Valentino Rossi from 2004 to 2008 and five wins with Jorge Lorenzo in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016..
Last year at Mugello, Jorge Lorenzo gave Ducati their third MotoGP win at Mugello, after Casey Stoner back in 2009 and Andrea Dovizioso in 2017 when he became the first Italian rider to win on an Italian bike at the track in the premier class.
The best result for Suzuki in the MotoGP era is fourth, which was achieved by Andrea Iannone last year. Prior to that, Suzuki won twice at Mugello in the premier class, with Barry Sheene (1976) and Kevin Schwantz (1992).
Loris Capirossi is the only Italian rider other than Rossi and Dovizioso to win in the premier class at Mugello, taking victory in the 500cc race in 2000 after a race-long battle with countrymen Max Biaggi and Valentino Rossi, both of whom crashed in the closing stages.
The MotoGP race at Mugello in 2004 is the shortest ever premier class Grand Prix race: just six laps. The first attempt to run the race was stopped due to rain and it was restarted for the remaining laps as per the rules at the time.
Italy, the Netherlands and the UK are the only three countries that have hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix each year since the motorcycling world championship started in 1949.
The MotoGP race victories at Mugello since the category was introduced as the premier class of Grand Prix racing are shared by just six riders: Valentino Rossi (7 wins), Jorge Lorenzo (6 wins); and Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso all have a single win at Mugello.
The winning margin for Jorge Lorenzo over Marc Marquez at Mugello in 2016 was just 0.019 seconds, making it the seventh closest finish of all time in the premier class The nine Moto2 races that have taken place at Mugello have been won by seven different riders: Andrea Iannone (2010 and 2012), Marc Marquez (2011), Scott Redding (2013), Tito Rabat (2014 and 2015), Johann Zarco (2016), Mattia Pasini (2017) and Miguel Oliveira (2018).
The seven Moto3 races that have taken place at Mugello have been won by seven different riders: Maverick Viñales, Luis Salom, Romano Fenati, Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder, Andrea Migno and Jorge Martin. Only two of them have been won by non-KTM riders: Maverick Viñales (FTR Honda–2012) and Jorge Martin (Honda–2018)
Previously… in MotoGP
At the French GP, Marc Marquez gave Honda their 300th premier class win. Yamaha are their closest rival with 227 victories.
In France, Marc Marquez took his 120th Grand Prix podium, one less than Phil Read who is in sixth place on the list of riders with most podium finishes.
Cal Crutchlow finished in ninth place at Le Mans, becoming the first British rider to reach the milestone of 100-point scoring races in the premier class.
Andrea Dovizioso’s second place in France was the 95th time he has been on the podium in Grand Prix racing, equalling five-time World Champion Mick Doohan.
The win by Marc Marquez at the French GP was the 47th since he stepped up to the MotoGP class in 2013, equalling his teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Since the opening Grand Prix in Qatar, 26 different riders have stood on the podium across all classes. Only Marc Marquez has finished on the podium more than three times in the opening five Grand Prix of the season.
Since the opening race in Qatar, there have been 11 different winners across all three classes for the first time since 2016 (11 different winners in all classes).
Marc and Alex Marquez won on the same day for the third time in their Grand Prix career along with Catalunya and Assen back in 2014, and for the first time with Alex competing in Moto2.
This is the second time there were three Ducati riders within the top four across the line of a MotoGP race, with the first time Turkey back in 2007.
MotoGP Facts and Stats
Following Le Mans, Marc Marquez leads the MotoGP World Championship with 95 points, equalling last year at this stage of the season. This is the highest score for a rider leading the Championship after the opening five races since 2015 when Valentino Rossi (102 points) led Jorge Lorenzo.
Marc Marquez’ win at Le Mans is the eighth successive win for a Spanish rider in the premier class at the track.
Andrea Dovizioso’s second place in France was the 95th time he was on the podium in Grand Prix racing, equalling five-time World Champion Mick Doohan who is in 12th place on the list of riders with most podium finishes. In addition, it was Andrea Dovizioso’s 54th podium finish in the premier class, equalling Randy Mamola and four less than Max Biaggi, who is in 10th place on the list of riders with most podium finishes in the class.
Danilo Petrucci was on the podium for the seventh time in his Grand Prix career, equalling Andrea Iannone and Jorge Lorenzo in fourth place on the list of Ducati riders with most podium finishes in MotoGP behind Casey Stoner (42), Andrea Dovizioso (32) and Loris Capirossi (23).
Eight different riders have already been on the podium after the opening five races of the season, one less than at this stage of the 2018 season. Jack Miller crossed the line in fourth place as the third Ducati rider in France, which is the second time there have been three Ducati riders within the top four since the introduction of the MotoGP class in 2002; the other being Turkey in 2007 with Casey Stoner winning the race, Loris Capirossi in third and Alex Barros in fourth.
Jack Miller is now leading the Independent Team riders’ classification with 42 points ahead of Cal Crutchlow, who is tied with Franco Morbidelli on 34 points.
Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all the classes at Mugello, with a total of nine victories; one each in 125cc and 250cc classes to add to his seven successive MotoGP wins (2 x Honda and 5 x Yamaha), the last of which came in 2008. Neither of the two Yamaha factory riders have won at least one of the five opening races for the second successive year. The last time the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team did not have a win in any of the first five races of the year in two successive seasons was in 2002 and 2003. Following the French GP, Yamaha have scored 78 points in the Constructor’s World Championship classification, which is the lowest points accumulated after the opening five races by Yamaha since 2006 when the Japanese manufacturer had 69 points after the French GP.
Cal Crutchlow finished in ninth place at Le Mans, becoming the first British rider to reach the milestone of 100 point-scoring races in the premier class. With Takaaki Nakagami crashing out of the race in France, only six riders have scored points in all four of the MotoGP races in 2019: Danilo Petrucci, Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Johann Zarco and Pol Espargaro.
Premier Class Wins and Titles
Premier Class Wins
Premier Class Titles
Andrea Iannone qualified on pole in 2015 at Mugello riding a Ducati–his first pole in the MotoGP class. This was the first time that an Italian rider on an Italian bike had qualified on pole for a premier class Grand Prix in Italy since Giacomo Agostini was on pole for the 500cc GP at the Nations GP in Imola back in 1972.
With his 12th-place finish at Le Mans, Aleix Espargaro scored his 993rd point since the beginning of his career. In Mugello, he will be aiming to reach the milestone of 1000 points.
At the Italian GP, wildcard Michele Pirro is scheduled to make the 100th start of his Grand Prix career. The only one of the four rookies in the MotoGP class this year to have previously won in any of the smaller classes in Mugello is Miguel Oliveira, who won in Moto3 back in 2015–the first of his 12 GP wins so far–and in Moto2 last year.
Fabio Quartararo finished in eighth place in Le Mans behind his teammate Franco Morbidelli, setting the fastest lap of the race for the second time this year along with Qatar. He is still leading the fight for Rookie of the Year with 25 points followed by Francesco Bagnaia (9 points), Joan Mir (8) and Miguel Oliveira (8).
Marc Marquez closes in on Phil Read
The win by Marc Marquez at the French GP was the 120th time he was on the podium in his Grand Prix career, one less than Phil Read. Only five riders have been on the podium on more occasions than Read in Grand Prix racing
On this day…
At the Italian GP back in 2002, Ducati revealed the Desmosedici, their MotoGP bike to compete in the premier class from the 2003 season on.
In 1954, at the French GP held in Reims, Pierre Monneret won the 500cc race to become the first of the three French riders to have won in the premier class so far.
Ten years ago, at the Italian GP, Casey Stoner won from Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, which was the first win for a Ducati rider in the premier class at Mugello.
At the same GP, Mattia Pasini won his second race in the intermediate category from Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista.
In 1998, Alex Criville won the French GP held at Le Castellet, from Mick Doohan and Carlos Checa, to become the first Spanish rider to lead the premier class standings.
At the 2008 Italian GP, Marco Simoncelli won his first race in the intermediate category following a spectacular collision with Hector Barbera on the straight. This was the first win for a Gilera rider in the class.
At the 2013 Italian GP, Johann Zarco finished third in the Moto2 race behind Scott Redding and Nico Terol for his first podium finish in the class.
Andrea Dovizioso scheduled for 300th Grand Prix start
At the Italian Grand Prix, Andrea Dovizioso is scheduled to become the third rider in the history of Grand Prix racing to make 300 Grand Prix starts, including 299 successive races. Below are a collection of statistics relating to Doviziozo’s Grand Prix career.
Andrea Dovizioso has taken part in 32.3% of the 928 Grand Prix events staged since the start of the World Championship series back in 1949.
Andrea Dovizioso has the fifth longest winning career of all time, tied with Jorge Lorenzo: it’s 14 years 326 days between his first win in the 125cc class in South Africa in 2004 and his latest MotoGP win in Qatar earlier this year.
Andrea Dovizioso has finished in a point-scoring position 259 times.
2019 is his 18th year as a full-time GP rider. Valentino Rossi holds the record with 24 seasons so far.
During his career, Dovizioso has competed at 28 different Grand Prix circuits. Of these 28 circuits, he has taken at least one GP win at 16 of them.
The circuit at which Dovizioso has had most GP wins is Donington, where he has won three times. He has won GP races on four different motorcycles: 125cc Honda, 250cc Honda, 800cc Honda (RC212V) and 990cc Ducati.
The circuit at which Dovizioso has made most GP starts is Mugello, where he has appeared 18 times since his first Grand Prix appearance at the Italian GP back in 2001.
He is still in sixth place on the list of the youngest riders to win the lightweight World Championship at the age of 18 years 201 days.
Dovizioso, who is equal with Mick Doohan with 95 podium finishes, needs just five more top three finishes to become just the 10th rider in GP history to reach the milestone of 100 podium finishes.
Dovizioso is in third place in the following table of all riders who have made more than 250 Grand Prix starts since the beginning of the World Championship Grand Prix racing 70 years ago:
We contacted several state transport departments for their technical advice.
They say these lights are controlled by an inductor loop cut into the pavement.
It creates an electro-magnetic field and detects ferromagnetic metals such as iron, cobalt, nickel, steel and manganese.
Some people erroneously believe these rectangles are actually scales that detract the weight of vehicles and therefore don’t pick up light motorcycles!
For the best possible detection of the metal in your motorcycle, you should position your bike longitudinally right above one of the cut lines.
If there are two rectangles cut into the pavement, line up over the centre line for the best effect.
Be aware that lining up over a side cut line next to a running lane exposes you to the danger of being rear-ended by an errant driver straying out of their lane.
It has also been suggested that if you deploy your side stand directly over a cut line it will help trigger the lights.
We tried it and it doesn’t seem to work, but it may depend on the metal composition of your sidestand. Some modern motorcycles have non-ferromagnetic alloy sidestands to save weight.
The transport departments tell us the the sensitivity of the loops is set to detect all vehicles.
However, sensitivity is a delicate balancing act: too low and it won’t pick up a motorcycle or bicycle; too high and it will pick up false readings for cars in adjacent lanes.
If you believe the sensitivity is set too low at a set of lights, you can contact the relevant department in your state or local council area and ask for it to be increased.
Green Light Trigger
But what about this $US30 Green Light Trigger which is basically two powerful neodymium or rare-earth magnets?
The science suggests they could work because the inductor loop creates a magnetic effect which should detect other magnets: either attracting or repelling.
I tried it out on my Triumph Street Scrambler and a Kawasaki Versys 1000 test bike which do not trigger a set of lights near my home in western Brisbane.
The Green Light Trigger made no difference.
Believing the sensitivity is just too low, I tried another set of lights where my bike does trigger green.
Instead of using my motorcycle which I know is detected, I placed two of the Green Light Trigger magnets directly on the cut lines. They failed to trigger the lights.
I gave the device to a friend who has complained about lights near his house which don’t detect his bike and he says it worked.
However, RACQ technical officer Steve Spalding is sceptical, believing that the lights may simply have changed as part of the scheduled traffic pattern.
RACQ Principal Traffic and Safety Engineer Gregory Miszkowycz says if your motorcycle is detected, it won’t necessarily speed up the light change process.
“It just registers a demand for that movement in the traffic controller,” he says.
“If all movements at the intersection have a vehicle waiting, the traffic controller will move through its usual pattern or phases of traffic movements at the intersection.
“There may be three to four movement phases at a typical intersection as all the different movements receive their turn before it returns to the first phase again, which is one complete cycle, usually 60-100 seconds in total.
“Some intersections at certain times of the day will ‘skip’ certain phases where there are no waiting vehicles. This improves the efficiency of the intersection and reduces delays for motorists by not wasting green time.
“In essence, this speeds up the light change, but only because the traffic controller has skipped other unnecessary phases.
“There are other intricacies of vehicle detection, like terminating a right turn movement as soon as the queue has gone. It is all to squeeze the most out of the intersections and minimise lost time.”
Mugello offers potential for breakthrough Lorenzo result
Spaniard’s feeling progressing with Repsol Honda RC213V.
This weekend’s sixth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship at Mugello could serve as the venue that Jorge Lorenzo experiences a breakthrough result with Repsol Honda, having claimed six victories at the Italian circuit.
The Spaniard has finished outside of the top two in the premier class just twice in his career at Mugello, and with recent improvements in form aboard the RC213V, there’s potential on offer for the number 99 to make headlines on Sunday.
A key to Lorenzo’s recent enhanced feeling with the Honda is switching to the standard RC213V seat, which he reverted to for Le Mans’ fifth round.
“We made good progress in Le Mans with the setting of the bike and were able to be much closer to the front,” said Lorenzo. “I’ve had similar success in the past in Mugello as to Le Mans, so I am hopefully of continuing to improve our position. The Repsol Honda Team has been working very hard and I am sure soon I will be able to achieve some results to thank them.”
Yet to finish inside the top 10 this season, Lorenzo sits 14th in the championship standings. Teammate and reigning world champion Marc Marquez currently tops the points rankings.