MOTOGP management is taking away the ability of riders to make decisions about their safety and altering the format of races to ‘improve’ the spectacle of motorcycle racing for television.
The decisions fly in the face of the history of the sport and are, in my opinion, poor decisions.
It’s an old mantra of racing that you should race to the conditions – weather, ability, track, bike and equipment. But at Phillip Island the track was too good for the tyres, so a decision was made to do a bike change before lap ten – and when Marc Marquez hadn’t done so, he was black flagged and excluded from the race. Why isn’t it up to the rider to decide if his tyre is safe to ride on?
Why weren’t the CRT machines, which are much easier on tyres because they have less power, allowed to complete the race without a change, giving them a chance a victory?
I think the answer has less to do with safety and more to do with television. The powers that be didn’t want a CRT machine to win, they didn’t want a rider on a factory prototype to ride conservatively and come through to win the race.
It’s inarguable that we got an exciting race and a result which has closed up the championship race, exposed a youngster as inexperienced and able to make an error which cost him lots of points in Marquez not pulling in early enough, saw Lorenzo willing to be extra-aggressive in his riding as he fought to retain his title.
Shortened races (the Moto2 race was shortened as well), forced bike changes, disqualifications…it’s sad to see these things happening at the top level of the sport. The riders are awesome, putting it all on the line for the fans, for the title…but management is trying to take the sport out of Grand Prix and make it a show.
And when that happens we’ll have F1 on two wheels, which would ruin Grand Prix motorcycle racing.