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It's The Electronics, Stupid
by staff
Friday, November 18, 2011

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta continued his frontal assault on the MSMA this week by telling Motosprint magazine that MotoGP is broken due to the expense created by competition among major manufacturers to build prototype racing machines in the premier class.

And Ezpeleta thinks the only solution is the Claiming Rule Teams formula, which he is pimping harder than a local floozie to sailors on shore leave.

"It's clear by now that the way the bikes are built doesn't work anymore," Ezpeleta said. "It's not suited to the world's economic situation anymore. If we carry on this way, with the teams lacking the budget to have the bike leased, in 2013 we'll only have two Hondas on the grid! This sport is not supposed to go this way.

"I've decided I won't help anymore, from a financial point of view, any team that gets MotoGP bikes leased. Dorna will only help teams that use CRTs. If we get to the situation where three constructors field six bikes in total, we'll carry on supporting and helping financially only the CRT teams. This way we'll manage to have the other 16 bikes we need."

There's a better way. A smarter way. And proof is sitting right in the pay video section of motogp.com or on the few race videos that Dorna hasn't pulled from YouTube.

Take a look at some of the classic races from 2005 or 2006, the last two years of the 990cc era of MotoGP. Riders made mistakes. Rear tires slid and smoked. Riders had to control lurid wheelies on corner exit. Braking distances were longer.

It was a great era during which riders had more control of their machines than during the 800cc era from 2007-11, when electronics became as vital to a fast bike as a powerful engine and stable chassis.

Trim the electronics, and the premier class will be saved. It's really that simple. Shrinking the black boxes and putting more control into the hands and feet of the riders will trim the expense of development of sophisticated electronic systems AND improve the racing drastically.

Sure, the MSMA won't like the idea of stripping electronics from the bikes, as the manfacturers claim the technology trickles down to road bikes. But Ezpeleta already is taking square aim at the MSMA with the CRT formula. So isn't a pure prototype with fewer electronics preferable to the factories than a thinly veiled, dumbed-down, production-based formula?

Dorna and fans with selective memories like to claim the 1000cc formula next season will revive the great tire-sliding duels of the 500cc and 990cc eras. But the riders know that's bunk. Yes, the engines will be bigger, the braking zones will be longer, and the straightaway speeds will be higher on a 1000cc than an 800cc. But the invisible helping hands of traction control, launch control and wheelie control still will make 1000cc premier-class machines resemble more slot cars than thoroughbred machines dancing with the devil on the precipice of disaster.

American Colin Edwards II recalled last year that his 990cc Yamaha factory bike had around eight to 10 electronic settings. He said his 800cc Tech 3 Yamaha satellite bike in 2010 had around 40 electronic settings.

While the little black boxes provide a challenge for the engineers and a money pit for the factories' checkbooks, how have electronics improved the show? How have they inspired the paying public? Many riders from Casey Stoner to Nicky Hayden have disparaged traction control and the power of electronics in MotoGP.

The problem with MotoGP is electronics, not economics, stupid.

ENDS

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