EMC Unlock Secrets of McGuinness Magic


On Wednesday, John McGuinness continued his remarkable success story at the Isle of Man TT with his 22nd win in the SES TT Zero Challenge but the secrets behind his success may soon be revealed. A data analytics competition from EMC has followed McGuinness around the Circuit Monteblanco with further analysis taking place at this week’s TT.

While testing at the Spanish circuit, McGuinness and his motorcycle were fitted with an array of sensors designed to capture over 700,000 rows of performance, biometric and mechanical data with parameters such as engine RPM, lean angle, G-force and even pulse and respiration being monitored.

The data collected was subsequently released to data scientists through an open competition on CrowdANALYTIX to try and discover the secrets to John’s success and of the 750 participants, only 28 were able to complete the challenge with two eventual winners.

Stefan Jol, the data analytics winner, chose to split up each segment of the circuit for analysis with the data identifying where McGuinness was strongest, enabling him to focus on the areas which needed improvement. The winner of the visualization piece, Charlotte Wickham of Oregon State University, was able to display the relative performance of different riders more apparent to non-data scientists, showing that McGuinness was braking later than the control subject and carrying more speed on the exit too.

More research has been taking place at this week’s Isle of Man TT and McGuinness has already been fascinated by the findings.

“I’ve been racing since I was 18 and I don’t really know why I’m so good at what I do.  I thought it was interesting to see just how both the speed and positioning in the corners made the difference, from the test in Spain.  I’m really looking forward to what can come out of the data from the TT and hope that some of information can be used to help make me an even better rider and the sport safer in the future.”

Jonathan Martin, CMO of EMC, is also intrigued by the research and believes it allows the public to gain a greater understanding of how top-class athletes operate.

“We were really excited to see how big data can provide revealing new insights about someone like John McGuinness, and have been thrilled with the interest shown in this project from the data science and motorcycling communities around the world. A project like this has never been undertaken before, and is already proving some interesting and significant observations. We are gaining a better understanding of what makes extreme athletes like John perform at such a superior level, but also through big data analytics we are gaining deep insights into how we can make the sport of motorcycle racing safer. We’re looking forward sharing this story with the world in the second half of 2015 through our documentary “The Math Behind The Morecambe Missile” which chronicles our journey with John and team.”

The documentary in question will be in Autumn 2015 and a trailer which was premiered at this week’s TT can be viewed here.