Rossi vs Lorenzo data war remembered as two Ducatis vie for title

Team-mates accessing each other’s technical data as title rivals was once a hot MotoGP topic for Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo and Rossi, Australian MotoGP
Lorenzo and Rossi, Australian MotoGP

A visible separation, in the form of a wall between the two sides of the factory Yamaha garage, had been officially triggered by a different tyre supplier for 2008 rookie Lorenzo and then five-time MotoGP champion Rossi.

But the wall remained in place even after the 2009 single tyre rule and the separation then escalated to include a block on data sharing during a grand prix weekend, at Rossi's request, for the 2010 campaign.

"In consideration of the fact that the two riders are the main rivals for the championship, we have decided to respect this competition internally and to respect their own ways to race and to approach the competition, so during the weekend the two teams [sides] will be much more independent," Yamaha team manager Davide Brivio explained at the start of the season. "Not much information can be exchanged between the two teams."

"Each team [Rossi and Lorenzo] has their own data. You can't see the other team's data," confirmed Yamaha team director Masahiko Nakajima. "Only Yamaha engineers can see all the data and then feed it back to both riders."

Rossi's leg-breaking accident at Mugello ended his 2010 championship challenge early, while Lorenzo went on to take the first of his three MotoGP titles. The Yamaha data-sharing ban then disappeared when The Doctor left for Ducati at the end of the season.

After returning to Yamaha, Rossi and Lorenzo fought directly for the title again in 2015, when Lorenzo suggested sharing data was now helping Rossi more than him, although accepted all M1 riders ultimately benefitted.

Fast forward to 2023 and MotoGP now has another title fight involving riders on the same bikes - albeit not actual team-mates - in the form of factory Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia and Pramac’s Jorge Martin.

Ducati's open data policy between its eight riders is seen as an overall strength, with each having the chance to learn from the others. But as the title fight nears its climax, Martin admits he would prefer not to share.

“I think Ducati’s strategy is really good because other riders can arrive at a really good level," he said.

"But from my side, I think that, yeah, I would prefer not to see data so the others cannot see my data.

“Because for sure, sometimes it helps me a little bit, but it’s maybe 10%. The rest I do on my own.

"So I feel like I arrive so fast to the limit and then the others are catching up.

“But it's fair and when we signed with Ducati we already knew [about this open data policy], so it is what it is.”

Reigning champion Bagnaia goes into the final two rounds with a 14-point lead over Martin, but it was fellow Ducati riders Alex Marquez (Sprint) and Enea Bastianini (GP) who took the race victories last time out at Sepang.

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