Cycle News

Cycle News 2014 Issue 10 March 11 2014

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

Issue link: http://cyclenews.uberflip.com/i/275014

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A s the jaded editor of a mo- torcycle publication and website who has seen more motorcycle races in his life than some people have had hot meals, MotoGP is confusing the hell out of me. In fact, I'm having a hard time explaining what's go- ing on to my friends who look to me as someone who knows. Or should know. Now when I'm try- ing to tell them what it all means, I'm not sure whose eyes are more glazed over – theirs or mine. Thanks, Dorna. It sure seems like only yester- day when Grand Prix racing was simple. It was the best riders in the world on the baddest motor- cycles the factories could pro- duce. Racing against each oth- er. It was good stuff. Go figure. If you wanted a bunch of rules that restricted what you could or couldn't do to your motorcycles, you raced Superbikes. I'm going back a bit here, but when MotoGP was 500cc GP the rules were fairly simple: the motorcycles had to be 500cc or less, they had to have four cylinders or less and they had six-speed transmissions. That I could explain. It basically meant you could focus on Wayne Rainey vs. Kev- in Schwantz. Eddie Lawson vs. Freddie Spencer. Kenny Rob- erts vs. Barry Sheene. Throw in a few arguments about what tires would be better and away you went. And if the Yamaha was bet- ter at the start of the season, it didn't mean the Suzuki/Honda wouldn't be better by the end, etc. Things changed as crew chiefs/engineers actually engi- neered mid-season. Now it's "Factory" class, "Open" class… "Factory 2?" Now it's fuel restrictions, ECUs, software… sealed engines with no in-season development. And the tires are all made by a sin- gle manufacturer and they have stripes painted on the sidewalls so you know who is using what (which actually is a pretty good idea in a series with too many bad ones.). My father Kel won six World Championships as a crew chief in an era when that still meant something. If he applied for the job now, they'd likely choose the pimple-faced kid at the Apple store instead. But when I get frustrated about MotoGP, I give the old man a call to talk about something other than family, projects around the house I need him to help with, what movies he's seen lately, etc. Misery loves company and it's al- ways nice to chat with someone who is at least as equally frus- trated about things as you. So I gave dad a call this morning to pick his brain on MotoGP – since together we can usually fix most anything (actually, he fixes, I just hand him tools and make him tea). I got him fired up and let him loose with a simple request for him to remind me of what sort of controls they had on fuel use "back in the day." "I'd calculate how much fuel the bikes used per liter during practice, calculate how much they'd need for the race, then add a liter or two to be on the safe side," he said. I couldn't resist taking it one step further. And what about this new Open class, Factory class…? "Anyone who doesn't go to the Open class now is crazy," he said. "What happens if you show up at the first race and your bike is slow – you're done for the year. How stupid is that? This is racing. If our engines weren't any good, we'd get new ones halfway through the season. Look, the problem now is they have this idea of making everything equal. It will never be equal… the top three or four guys will always be better. So let them fight it out. And let the guys behind them fight it out. The bottom line is Honda wants to beat Yamaha, Yamaha wants to beat Honda and Ducati wants to beat both of them. That's the way it's always going to be. But right now it's racing with your hands tied behind your back. "The problem now is that they shouldn't be racing 1000cc mo- torcycles because no one can ride them without the computer controlling everything. So the computer controls it all and the only way to slow them down is with fuel restrictions, etc." BY PAUL CARRUTHERS CN III CARRUTHERS SAYS A S#%T FIGHT P114

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