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Who peaked when?

By Peter McLaren

A quick look at when each rider set their fastest race laps were distributed during the 2004 MotoGP season contains some interesting figures.

The lower picture (click to enlarge) shows the full list of fastest lap data which Crash.net has compiled from all fourteen dry races of last season - meaning that Jerez and Mugello were not included. Only dry races were used since rain pace can be as much dictated by the weather as the rider/machine.

The values are all in percent, so 50 means that a rider set their fastest lap halfway through a race, 100 means it was set on the last lap of the race etc. Only riders that were classified as finishing a particular race were included for that race.

Where a rider didn't finish #### appears instead of a percentage. Lapped riders had their percentage calculated over the number of laps they completed by the finish, rather than the intended full race distance.

A summary of the results, ranked firstly by rider and then by circuit, can be seen below:


Average location of fastest race lap in 2004 - by rider:

1. Norick Abe Yamaha (M) 49% (10)
2. Sete Gibernau Honda (M) 45.9% (12)
3. Michel Fabrizio Harris WCM (D) 45.5% (6)
4. Shinya Nakano Kawasaki (B) 40.2% (12)
5. Max Biaggi Honda (M) 42.0% (12)
6. Alex Barros Honda (M) 37.4% (11)
7. Loris Capirossi Ducati (M) 37.3% (11)
8. Neil Hodgson Ducati (M) 34.1% (11)
9. Troy Bayliss Ducati (M) 33.4% (7)
10. Shane Byrne Aprilia (M) 32.8% (6)
11. Colin Edwards Honda (M) 32.7% (13)
12. Makoto Tamada Honda (B) 32.1% (13)
13. Ruben Xaus Ducati (M) 31.4% (11)
14. Chris Burns Harris WCM (D) 31.1% (4)
15. Valentino Rossi Yamaha (M) 30.7% (12)
16. John Hopkins Suzuki (B) 30.0% (9)
17. Nicky Hayden Honda (M) 26.0% (10)
18. Alex Hofmann Kawasaki (B) 25.7% (11)
19. Jeremy McWilliams Aprilia (M) 24.0% (12)
20. Kenny Roberts Suzuki (B) 23.0% (9)
21. Kurtis Roberts Proton KR (D) 21.8% (2)
22. Carlos Checa Yamaha (M) 19.9% (12)
23. Nobuatsu Aoki Proton KR (D) 19.2% (11)
24. Marco Melandri Yamaha (M) 17.6% (7)
25. James Ellison Harris WCM (D) 14.2% (5)

Key:
M = Michelin, B = Bridgestone, D = Dunlop.
(10) = Number of races finished (14 max).


Average location of fastest race lap in 2004 - by circuit:

1. Qatar – 57.4%
2. Welkom – 46.9%
3. Assen – 46.4%
4. Le Mans – 41.8%
5. Sachsenring – 34.4%
6. Donington Park – 32.4%
7. Sepang – 32.2%
8. Phillip Island – 29.6%
9. Valencia – 27.1%
10. Brno – 28.7%
11. Catalunya – 22.3%
12. Estoril – 19.7%
13. Motegi – 18.7%
14. Rio – 14.6%


Main points:

* The last rider to peak, on average, during a 2004 GP was Tech 3 Yamaha's Norick Abe, who would set his best race lap at 49% race distance.

* The earliest rider to peak was Harris WCM's James Ellison, at an average of 14.2% race distance.

* The race track which saw the earliest fastest laps was Rio, where the riders set their best lap at an average of 14.6% race distance. Motegi was next with 18.7%.

* The race track which saw the latest average fastest laps was Qatar, where the riders set their best lap at an average of 57.4% race distance, perhaps indicating that the tyre companies took a conservative approach to the new dessert venue.

* The only rider to set his fastest lap on the last lap of a race was Max Biaggi at Welkom (while he was chasing Valentino Rossi for victory).

* The earliest fastest race lap seen last season was set by Rossi at the French Grand Prix, in which he peaked at just 7.1% distance.



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