In Moto2 and Moto 3, the total minimum weight allowed by the rules accounts for the motorcycle, rider and protective clothing. In MotoGP, only the bike is weighed to ensure it meets the minimum of 352.7 pounds.
That places larger riders at a disadvantage, said Jerry Burgess, legendary crew chief for seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Rossi is one of the biggest riders in the premier class, weighing in at 148 pounds. Compare that to the Lilliputian, 112-pound frame of Dani Pedrosa, and Burgess has a point.
"It is obvious that you need at a given mass of a certain amount of energy to accelerate it," Burgess said to German media. "And you have to slow down again."
So the end result has been the incredible shrinking rider. The late Marco Simoncelli was pushing 160 pounds, a monolith in today's MotoGP. Just look at pictures of Nick Hayden as a rookie in 2003 and today, and it's easy to see he probably has lost 20 to 25 pounds to compete with jockey-size rivals.
And those with a differing opinion suggest that Rossi sure looked competitive in 2008--on an 800. What's changed?