Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 29 July 23

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CN III IN THE PADDOCK P118 BY MICHAEL SCOTT BREAKDOWN BRUNO B runo was busy at the Sachsenring. Bruno (according to a big nameplate behind the windshield) drove the breakdown truck, picking up broken motorcycles. Often as not, during the MotoGP sessions, he would have two bikes on the trailer at a time. The crashes that mattered at the little German track – knocking out Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa – happened elsewhere, but the vast majority were at Turn 11, nicknamed "the Waterfall," where paddock cognoscenti gather in numbers to watch. Because, being cognoscenti, they know they are going to see people fall off there, at high speed, and with some frequency. The thrill, for the riders as well as watchers, is the challenge. Getting away with it, big-time. It's one of those places where you can see easily who is trying hardest, who is bravest, and with ticktock frequency which of them will do a bit too much of one or the other. There were 61 crashes over the weekend, a disproportionate 20 of them in MotoGP, and six of those were at the Waterfall corner. Prompting cries for something to be done. Even louder were the cries to leave it alone. It is one of the most challenging and pulsequickening corners of the year, most especially because of the speed – in sixth gear. The crashes happen for a simple enough reason. At 2.3 miles, the Sachsenring is the shortest and by far the giddiest circuit of the year. In the corner of an industrial estate, it loops back and forth on itself before galloping up the hill at speed, and plunging down the Waterfall. Unusually it is an anti-clockwise track: so riders have to keep turning left. And how. There are 13 corners; the Waterfall is one of three rights, and comes after a spell of seven lefts, taken at increasing speed. By the time they get to the right-hand kink, that side of the tire has cooled right down. The other difficulty is the topography… the track falls away steeply. Just where you really need the front to hang on tight, the grip disappears. Time and again, the spectators gathered at the black spot see the same thing: the front wheel tucks under, if he has time the rider tries to save it, but this is very seldom successful. Then there's the bike somersaulting to destruction, and the rider spinning and bouncing like a handkerchief in a tumble dryer. Of course riders can stop short of disaster. Indeed, they always aim to do that. At the same time, they're also trying to beat one another. "If you tip-toe through there, you lose three tenths," observed Hayden, one of few not to pay the price there, at least this year. The enthusiasm of the in-paddock fans as much as the nature of the corner speaks volumes about motorcycle racing. Blood-

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