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MotoGP 20 - Setups Guide

Written by WOEaintME   /   May 6, 2020    


A guide to get started setting up your bike in MotoGP 20.

How to Get Starting Setting Up



Introduction



This guide is intended to assist you with creating your own setups. I do not simply recommend taking this setup and using it. If you've followed MotoGP for any length of time you will know that two riders can have very different styles while both still going very fast around a track (e.g., Stoner and Lorenzo would never have the same setup but both are multiple time world champions).

This guide is more geared towards those who don't have any idea what the various setup tweaks will do.

Throughout this guide I will be using the Aprilia RS-GP in Time Trial at Losail. Career bikes are quite different from the Time Trials so if you are using an Aprilia in career you may not be able to follow along 1:1 but this is more about the process as I already advised against simply using this setup.

In each section I provide a section summary before going into detail. Once you know the basic details the summary may prove to be enough for you on any subsequent visits to this guide.

  • Game Mode: Time Trial
  • Bike: Aprilia RS-GP
  • Circuit: Losail

Gear Ratio



Section Summary

  • Determine Final Drive and 6th Gear based on top speed.
  • Set 1st gear to allow a good launch with minimal wheelie.
  • Set the other gears so the tach light illuminates at the corresponding interval.
  • Test and tweak as necessary.

Gear ratios are the first thing I set and are important as they determine the speed that can be achieved in each gear. They also affect the acceleration of the bike. You don't want to have an unreachable top speed as that is wasted engine potential but at the same time you don't want to have a second gear that you never reach once you're off the starting line. Gears are there to keep you in the power band, which is generally the top third of the rev range. Proper gearing can also reduce the bike's tendency to wheelie or spin the wheel. Any power used to lift the front is not used to push the bike forward and is wasted.

Determine Final Drive and 6th Gear based on Top Speed

To start, I figure out my top speed on the longest straight and adjust my 6th gear and final drive so that I top out at (or just past) the braking marker at the end of the straight. I always start with Final Drive (10) and 6th Gear (10), which is the lowest top speed in 6th gear possible and the snappiest acceleration. At Losail, the speed is too low so I bump down Final Drive to (9), which is close, so I try (8), which is near perfect, though I'll hit the limiter if any lean is introduced on the straight (say to pass someone). So I set 6th Gear (0), which is borderline suitable depending on how wide I need to swing to pass. Since this is an Aprilia and I probably won't be passing anyone, I keep it for now, but moving down to Final Drive (7) and tweaking 6th gear could be an option depending on individual gear ratios.

Set 1st Gear to Allow a Good Launch with Minimal Wheelie

Next is 1st Gear. It is quite possible that you may never enter first after the start so our goal is to maximize acceleration without flipping the bike. We can use Anti-Wheelie to keep the shiny side up, however, it cuts power, which is not how we want to prevent our wheelie. Since Final Drive (8) is quite high I set 1st Gear (0) and then go on track and practice starts with TCS & AWS (0) with PWR (2). The bike wheelies ever so slightly and eventually will flip at around 100 km/hr. Contrast that with a 1st Gear (10) which flips the bike before 40 km/hr. But at 1st Gear (0) the bike bogs a bit down low. (10) is too high, (0) too low so we try (5) which gives the same result as (10), i.e., unusable. Continue splitting the difference between too high and too low until you find the sweet spot. Turns out the sweet spot is (0) as even at (1) the bike wheelies immediately. Though this can be managed with electronics, we don't want to cut power immediately, we want maximum drive off the line and to limit power later on when we have speed. 1 second off throttle while at 90 km/hr is better than 1 second off throttle at 30 km/hr.

Set the Other Gears so the Tach Light Illuminates at the Corresponding Interval

Now, we've got 1st Gear and 6th Gear sorted, that only leaves 2 through 5. 1st tops out around 150, 6th around 330, even spacing would give us the results below (assuming the tach light illuminates at the specified speed):

  • 1 - 150 (0)
  • 2 - 186 (3)
  • 3 - 222 (4)
  • 4 - 258 (3)
  • 5 - 294 (2)
  • 6 - 330 (0)
  • Final - (8)

All of the settings are below (5) which tells me that setting Final Drive (7) would likely have been the better option so I repeat the process and end up with the following:

  • 1 - 150 (3)
  • 2 - 186 (7)
  • 3 - 222 (8)
  • 4 - 258 (7)
  • 5 - 294 (5)
  • 6 - 330 (5)
  • Final - (7)

As can be seen, that puts us closer to the middle adjustment of each gear and gives us a better ability to fine tune further after personal preference testing.

Brake System



Section Summary

  • Bigger is Better, but...
  • Personal Preference is Best.
  • Technique: the Great Equalizer.

Brakes slow you down, pretty simple. Only problem is, you don't want to flip over the front. If you like to trail the brakes off into the corner then you also risk washing out or losing the front end. If you don't have precision control of the brakes a smaller (320 mm) brake is your friend. If you have good brake control though, the larger front (340 mm) provides more stopping power and will allow you to brake later.

For the rear, I would always recommend the larger (220 mm) over the smaller (200 mm) as you should really only be using the rear brake to supplement your straight line braking. If you're able to keep the rear on the ground then you will be able to use the rear brake and decrease your stopping distance. Just be cautious about using the rear brake while leaned. If you don't know what you're doing you can introduce a fair amount of rear wheel slide, especially if you're hard on the front brakes.

If you find the rear is sliding you probably don't have enough weight on the rear. Braking shifts weight forward and if the rear has little to no weight on it and you use the rear brake it will lock up and it will feel like the rear is on ice. There are setup adjustments that can be made to help this but technique also plays a part. Try it for yourself on a motorcycle on the street but don't blame me if you can't control the rear slide and dump your bike (or worse, regain rear traction mid slide and highside). Bikes with ABS need not test (but then, MotoGP bikes don't have ABS).

Suspension & Steering Adjustment



Section Summary

  • Test.
  • Tweak.
  • Repeat.

This is probably the most daunting part and it is very much about personal preference. Stability vs Agility and Oversteer vs Understeer are the terms you'll see in the menus. The most important thing, before making changes, is to do some laps. We've set the gearing and I have my preferred brakes chosen so now we hit the track at Losail with the Aprilia. I like to ride with TCS (0) and AWS (0). Any time they intervene they will slow you down. With a good setup, they should rarely need to intervene.

Take notice of how the bike responds and tweak the settings based on what the individual settings do. Ah, "But WTF does everything do in real-world terms other than making the bike more responsive but less stable?" you ask.

Compression

Is how fast the spring compresses. Low compression will lead to a spring that is quick to compress and make you stoppie prone under braking and wheelie prone on acceleration (try setting your fork compression to 0 and braking hard and then compare to compression 10). The bike obviously needs some compression in order to properly function but I try to set my front so that I can apply 80% brake on a 340 mm front without major rear wheel lift on the longest straight. For the rear, I set it up for exiting the slowest corner with the understanding that I may need to use caution on the starting line. At Losail on the Aprilia this results in starting values as listed:

  • Fork Compression (8)
  • Shock Absorber Compression (7)

Rebound

Is how aggressively the suspension returns to it's neutral position. If the bike is always oscillating, turn down the rebound. Of course, you want it to work some so don't turn it too low. Dave Moss discusses damping here and he knows a bit about suspension.



Basically, if the bike pogos too much for your liking, tweak the rebound. I personally don't find too big a difference in rebound once I get the compression set and therefore in our example I am running:

  • Fork Rebound (5)
  • Shock Absorber Rebound (5)

Preload

Preload determines ride height. Lower ride height settings lower the height and in turn give more grip. Lower front height to increase front grip and reduce understeer. Lower rear to increase rear grip and reduce oversteer. I like a little bit of oversteer and despise understeer so in our example I prefer to run the following:

  • Front Preload (3)
  • Rear Preload (6)

Spring Hardness

This setting determines how hard or soft the spring is. A harder spring will be more rigid and thus provide better movement but it will also cause greater instability as bumps are transferred more harshly. Like rebound, I don't feel too much when tweaking this setting and generally stay close to the middle, though your personal style and results may vary.

  • Front (5)
  • Rear (5)

Inclination & Trail

This determines the front geometry. Increasing these increases the wheelbase and makes the bike want to stay running true, whether that's upright or at the current lean. On the contrary, reducing these will make the bike tip into corners and change direction faster. Losail has 10 rights and 6 lefts and the only fast change in direction is the turn sequence of 7 through 10 so I opt to increase stability and arrive at the settings below:

  • Inclination (7)
  • Trail (7)

Tweak As Required

By the time you set everything you may find you need to go back and further tweak certain aspects as changing your trail may cause the bike to wheelie more (or less) and thus require further compression changes. In the end I settled on the following:

  • Fork Compression (8)
  • Shock Absorber Compression (7)

  • Fork Rebound (5)
  • Shock Absorber Rebound (5)

  • Front Preload (3)
  • Rear Preload (6)

  • Front (5)
  • Rear (5)

  • Inclination (7)
  • Trail (7)

ECU, Tires, and Testing



With everything set and tested with TCS (0) and AWS (0) you should need minimal electronics. In this example, with the Aprilia at Losail, I encountered a few wheelies so set AWS (1). I didn't have issues with TCS (0) but the stopwatch doesn't lie and TCS (2) proved to be the fastest for me personally. Adjust both the TCS and AWS to suit your style and what makes you fastest. Same for EBS. If you want to be off throttle and not lose speed then lower EBS. PWR is fuel. Qualify and run any development tests in PWR (2) (so that you can pass those silly tests) and adjust accordingly through the race depending on your desired lap times and fuel situation. PWR isn't really a setup thing as much as a race strategy tool and this is a setup guide.

Tires are temperature and style dependent and are arguably more race strategy than bike setup. If you trail the brakes off as you enter corners you'll likely be harder on the front. On the contrary, if you back it in and exit slideways (intentional mispelling) you may find your rears burning up quicker. In Time Trial, go with the softest.

Now for the time attack with this setup. I went on track after typing all this and ran a bunch of laps with my new setup and the stock setup. I set the ECU as required to set the quickest lap times and used soft tires.

If you've done Time Trials you know that a clean lap leaves no room for touching anything other than the track and curbs so getting consistent, fast, clean laps can be a challenge as a fast lap takes a lot of curb, sometimes too much to be considered clean. Nevertheless, my personal best is below:

  • My Setup: 1:51.303
  • No Setup: 1:52.170

At the time, my setup put me just outside the top 300 leaderboard times (I think it was 304). The top time was 1:45 so six seconds off the best ever recorded lap all while riding an Aprilia.

Conclusion



With this quick and very lightly optimized setup I am able to lap Losail 0.8 seconds quicker. Anecdotally, I was able to be more consistent on the new setup and felt more confident braking mid corner. Using the default setup I couldn't trail as much brake into certain corners and lost the front on occasion with the default setup (always trailing in to turn 6).

Of course, if you take my setup as is you may hate it. Tweak things to your liking and ride your ride. Jorge Lorenzo became a 5 time world champion by riding as smooth as silk. He led a then record 102 consecutive laps in 2015. Contrast that with Casey Stoner, a 2 time MotoGP champion who rode with the rear wheel better than anyone before or since. Stoner used throttle and rear brake in places other riders would never dare. Their styles were very different and I suspect so were their setups, but their results were quite similar. Build your setup to suit your style.

Written by WOEaintME.


Game:   MotoGP 20