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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Commentary on MotoGP: Not the Best Anymore?

By Bernard
July 27, 2007

Chaz Davies, former 125/250 rider, given a Formula Extreme ride and recently slotted on the Pramac d'Antin Ducati for the just concluded USGP.

Kurtis Roberts, contested in 125 class, rode the Proton for KR Racing, a splash in AMAs, and recently named "human speed bump" by Valentino Rossi.

Miguel Duhamel, one of the winningest AMA riders in Honda history dropped out of the USGP because he couldn't "hang".

Roger Lee Hayden given a wild-card ride on the ZX-RR is in AMA Superbike and currently #1 in the standing in AMA Supersport, finished 10th.

Fabrizio, Bayliss and other riders given a one-off ride or temporary ride in MotoGP. When did MotoGP become so accessible to riders in different "lesser" classes? Isn't MotoGP the "Top Gun" of motorcycle racing? The class of racing reserved for the top 1% of riders in the world?

With all the recent influx of riders and watching the 800cc races, I am starting to wonder if MotoGP is the top gun of racing anymore. With many riders stepping up from MotoGP 250cc like Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, we are seeing the doors open up for riders like Jorge Lorenzo. As posted earlier today, AMA Superbike reigning champion, Ben Spies, is now slotted for a factory GP ride. Not that any of these names equates a lack of talent. There's plenty of talent there. But here's what I am thinking:

I remember the days when the 500cc GP bikes were wicked, flicking riders off because of the surging power delivery of those two-strokes. Those bikes were difficult to master and a beast that was hard to tame. Not any rider could come up the ranks and master those 500cc GP bikes. It took the most talented, adaptable riders to even get the bike from start to finish, much less a win. Names like Doohan, Schwantz, these are names of legends.

Then, with technology and the need to assert its dominance as the world's pinnacle of motorcycle racing, in came the 990cc bikes. Without the aid of traction control and all of the numbers of computer trickery, these bikes weren't the uncontrollable beasts like the 500s, but they were equally hard to ride. They'd demolish tires and trying to put the enormous amount of power to the ground required a smooth, carefully manipulated throttle hand.

The vicious high-sides of the 500s became spectacular rear wheel spins on corner exit. Speeds were incredibly high and so was the action. The rider who could control this 990cc beast had to be smart, talented and adaptable, able to ride the bike when it stuck, and keep it on two when the tires went off and began to slide.

Those were days when Valentino Rossi dominated and everyone else was a pretender. Not that they weren't talented, but they didn't have the skill set of the top 1% of riders. One blip in the way of Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden mars the otherwise Rossi dominated 990 generation.

Fast-forward to today, with a myriad of technological gadgets and tidbits. We have the 800cc bikes. Roger Lee Hayden said he overlayed his computer data with the other Kawasaki riders and the difference was that the practiced GP riders got on the throttle and got on it hard. He then said, "Do that on any other bike [that doesn't have such intrusive traction control] and the results aren't the same."

Colin Edwards has been quoted to say that it's harder to ride his R1 streetbike than his M1 racebike. Nicky Hayden has said that he enjoyed the "old days" when you could hang the rear out and the power was more difficult to control because it proved to everyone what kind of rider you were...

The best of the best. The "top gun" of motorcycle riders.

Now, the bikes are so "easy to ride" that speed-bumps like Kurtis Roberts can plop his enormous body on a GP bike and run in a race with a great like Valentino Rossi. It makes it much easier for 250cc riders like Pedrosa and Stoner to come up and adapt SO quickly; Dani demonstrating last year how rare it is for a rookie to go so fast on a "GP" bike.

So, is MotoGP not the best anymore?

I take a glance over to the other World motorcycle competition, WSBK. The riding out there is so ragged, so raw, so edgy. It looks and feels fast, tough, hard. The bikes are tossed, muscled and forced into corners. The racing, in short, is EXCITING! Come back to MotoGP and it seems the races are watered down, proper, graceful... almost ballet-ish. In fact, that's what it is: MotoGP is like ballet as WSBK is like football.

I guess my question is: Since when was it so easy for riders from "lesser" classes to come into GP level racing and do better than those who have been in it for years? It shouldn't be so easy. A 250 racer shouldn't be able to handle, control and manipulate a GP bike so easily, so quickly. What happened to growing pains?

Rossi and Hayden have said they'd like to see less computer control in the current bikes because they say it "helps riders go fast too easily." Whereas a talent like Stoner is a proponent of it (obviously) admitting that it helps you stay on the bike when you make a goof. But isn't that the indicator that you aren't as good as you think you are?!?

Shouldn't you have to learn the hard way instead of just pinning the throttle and letting the computers save you and keep you on two? The extensive intrusion of computer trickery has saved tires, but I say, ultimately, has diluted the talent allowing "speed bumps" like Kurtis Roberts and short learning curves from 250 riders succeed too early.

MotoGP isn't the best anymore, in my opinion. Some of the riders are quite special, but it's no longer an closed grid where the cream rises to the top. It's an open grid where just about anyone can win a GP race. And if you just so happen to have the best tire and the best bike on the grid... Well, you win many more.

Last thought... The current 800 races have allowed me to appreciate THAT MUCH more the talent of Valentino Rossi, (the underappreciated) Marco Melandri and yes, Nicky Hayden, who despite the limitations of their machines, can operate them at such a high level and at or near their maximum.

If I want to watch state-of-the-art technology, I'll watch MotoGP. If I want to watch exciting motorcycle racing, at or near its purist, give me WSBK any day.

Bernard
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 06:05 PM
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That was an interesting read. I agree with him quite a bit. But you know that's why they have WSBK and motogp. They are two different animals. I do agree that the technology is evening the playing field quite a bit. I love watching the cutting edge technology and reading about it but it is also watering down the racing. I think they should have stayed with the 990's to be honest. I think it takes more talent to ride them and that's when the real riders (Rossi, Hayden, etc) showed they are the best. I like traction control and wheelie control because this eventually will be brought to production bikes. If this stuff wasn't allowed in motogp it would take a lot longer to show up on production bikes. motogp brings technology to bikes we can buy but is also getting to the point where the racing isn't as exciting as the 500's.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jbreen1 View Post
That was an interesting read. I agree with him quite a bit. But you know that's why they have WSBK and motogp. They are two different animals. I do agree that the technology is evening the playing field quite a bit. I love watching the cutting edge technology and reading about it but it is also watering down the racing. I think they should have stayed with the 990's to be honest. I think it takes more talent to ride them and that's when the real riders (Rossi, Hayden, etc) showed they are the best. I like traction control and wheelie control because this eventually will be brought to production bikes. If this stuff wasn't allowed in motogp it would take a lot longer to show up on production bikes. motogp brings technology to bikes we can buy but is also getting to the point where the racing isn't as exciting as the 500's.
I am going to have to totaly agree with SOOP on this one and totally disagree with u breen. Soop hit the nail on the head and there has been much discussion on what technology is doing to the sport. Hopefully dorna will listen to past legends and current stars about how things need to change for the better. This technology business is taking away from the sport. Soop is exactly right GP has been more like a ballet.

Although some technology is good to trickel down to the public, traction control and wheelie control is not something I want on my street bike. I don't know why anyone else would. I want to be able to wheelie my bike when I want to and slide the rear tire when I want as well, but maybe that's just me. I would get more satisfaction knowing that it was me that was in total control of the bike and I was making it do what I wanted it to do when I put that perfect lap or race together and not some computer there to aid me in doing that.

Last edited by unclepaulie; 07-26-2007 at 10:49 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 11:04 PM
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the guys in the GP still have to be incredible riders...

think anout when rossi stepped up from 250 to 990 machines , instant success, all the guys like pedrosa and stoner are freaks... they where miles ahead of the others on 250s as well.

its like this , i could get in and F1 car these days and drive ive around a track and possiblbly not even crash... but never would i be able to drive it fast , no where near the tail end pilots .. the difference between the old tech and the new is subitles.. lets see how rossi goes on mike hailwoods old beast... drum brakes and twin cylinders... the get more and more surgical every year!!!! and it is tough, really tough to rider them... as for a rider the class of bayliss , steppin up..????
he stepped down to WSBK after doing nutting in GP for a couple of seasons , then won the wsb and came back to win a GP on a ducati , which had the formula just right at the end of the season... still loving watching the racing , and think maybe the switch to one tire supplier might be an answer to closeing the gap between manufactures and riders????
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-26-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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amen wsb anyday over gp
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 01:00 AM
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ive been saying for awhile that i like the 250s more than motogp. but i agree. ide watch wsbk also. all season long ive been saying that the motogp races arent as exciting as they used to be.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclepaulie View Post
I am going to have to totaly agree with SOOP on this one and totally disagree with u breen. Soop hit the nail on the head and there has been much discussion on what technology is doing to the sport. Hopefully dorna will listen to past legends and current stars about how things need to change for the better. This technology business is taking away from the sport. Soop is exactly right GP has been more like a ballet.

Although some technology is good to trickel down to the public, traction control and wheelie control is not something I want on my street bike. I don't know why anyone else would. I want to be able to wheelie my bike when I want to and slide the rear tire when I want as well, but maybe that's just me. I would get more satisfaction knowing that it was me that was in total control of the bike and I was making it do what I wanted it to do when I put that perfect lap or race together and not some computer there to aid me in doing that.
Well of course there are going to be people on either side of this debate. But motogp is a lot bigger than motogp. Those machines affect production bikes a great deal. And with the traction control it would be adjustable. You could either have it on or off...just like a car. I think it's starting to be a necessity with the 160+ hp bikes out there nowadays. It's just getting ridiculous and more and more people are wrecking because they can't handle the power. I think traction control would make street riding more enjoyable as well as save a lot of lives. and if you don't like it then you can simply turn it off. I don't know if I'd personally like it or not, but I think as a whole it would be a great thing for the motorcycling community and make bikes safer.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 10:37 AM
 
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Bringing in of the american riders (RL Hayden, Miguel) was more for publicity than anything else. Sure RL Hayden gave a good showing, but I highly doubt he would give the same showing at a track such as Mugello or Saschenring, something outside of his comfort level of track knowledge.

I see nothing on par or equal with all of the electronics in the GP bikes. The races are never close, and when they are it's usaully two people fighting it out. The GP support classes are exciting for about the first 15 minutes, after that the feild thins out. This is no different than any other racing division out there. AMA has 20+ second gaps, WSBK will have 7-8 second gaps etc etc.

The days of the 2 stroke were amazing. It was more exciting to watch they talent ride them, knowing at any minute the rider could piss the machine off and it would send them sailing (look at the crash videos floating around, most of them are of the 2 smoke era). I hate traction control, launch conrtol, wheelie control. I want to see a human being handle all 250 + HP of a GP machine with the electronics connected from his cranium to his writs. I hate TC in AMA. It gives the factory boys a larger gap from our privateers.

But the bottom line is the Moto GP race is the BEST bikes with the BEST riders. Prove yourself the best in your division and you will land a GP bike. Give the manufacturers the abbility to make the bike go faster and they will.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-27-2007, 10:59 AM
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well said wolf
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-01-2007, 09:41 AM
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no matter how much tech a bike or car has, a human with a brain has to make it hit its marks, and the faster its going the harder this is. there's a difference between easier and easy.



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