Dani Pedrosa Explains How riders often give wrong feedback to engineers

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Dani Pedrosa explains how riders give wrong feedback to engineers. The KTM test rider gives a great example.

Since he retired in 2018, Dani Pedrosa has been signed to the testing team of the KTM MotoGP project.

With more and more time with the Austrians he has learned, that even though the rider is ultimately the one moving the bike around the track, he is often wrong in his feedback for the engineers.

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In an interview with SPEEDWEEK.com, the Spaniard describes how there are often too many details at play for the rider to be able to work out what the problem is just by feeling the bike. 

“The engineers try to understand the rider by translating the feeling into something they can see.”

“Sometimes this language is difficult to understand, sometimes not exact. If neither the rider knows or can express it exactly, nor the telemetry shows it exactly, sometimes it’s a bit complicated.”

The fact that the way of working is different with every engineering team is currently evident at KTM.

In the recent past, they have brought in some new engineers from Ducati and the Red Bull Racing F1 team.

Pedrosa explains that a lot has changed in the team since then: “They have a completely different organisational system.”

“Since last year these changes have been implemented in the race team, it was a transitional period in that sense.”

Now, with the arrival of the KTM newcomers, the team listens less to the rider’s feeling and more to the data collected on a test run. 

Riders Give Wrong Feedback

After all, a rider often comes back to the pits with the wrong impressions. Pedrosa explains the problem with a very concrete example.

“That happens a lot. For example, if you brake hard at the end of the straight and you feel that the front of the bike sinks deep while the rear wheel loses contact with the ground, you feel that the front suspension is much too soft, for sure.”

However, what the rider deduces from his feelings is not always the origin of the problem. “You come to the pits and tell your technicians.”

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“They then check the data, come back and tell you that you’re wrong and the problem is the exact opposite. ‘What do you mean opposite, my hands are almost touching the tarmac! I’m almost doing a somersault!'”

“Then the technicians adjust the fork softer and send you out on the track – and it works. Because the problem was that the spring was too hard, the fork stopped working at a certain point and the tire was compressed instead.”

“With a softer front fork, on the other hand, the entire suspension travel could be used and the bike worked as it should. And on the bike you would have bet on the opposite.”

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