Mike Scott Column - Dec 2007

Are control tyres the start of a slippery slope for MotoGP?

Posted: 14 December 2007
by Mike Scott

Visordown Motorcycle News

Quite probably, reckons Mike Scott, the GP paddock pitbull

Control tyres for MotoGP? “Only a proposal,” smiles Dorna chief Carmelo Ezpeleta reassuringly, but everyone is sure this Draconian move is already a done deal with the blessing of Bernie Ecclestone, and with Bridgestone (already sole suppliers to Formula One) already producing the new bike tyres that will be needed the day after the Valencia GP. That’s when the 2008 season officially starts, and the riders switch to their new bikes, teams and tyres.

The reason for this abasement, this besmirching of the ivory tower, this slavish following of World Superbike (and Formula One) is simple: a knee-jerk response to falling mid-season TV ratings after a series of processional races. Most especially after Rossi crashed out in Germany, and whenever Pedrosa failed to shine, which was quite often. Seems TV viewers didn’t really care to watch new boy genius Stoner running away with it.

With the Ozzie and his Bridgestones on top, Rossi and Pedrosa led the chorus of complaints, saying the new restricted-number tyre rules were “unfair”. Curiously, the same riders had never thought it “unfair” in preceding years, when their specially made Saturday-night Michelins were winning almost every race. (And do the customers think it “unfair” when they buy fantastic high-grip mixed-compound road tyres, developed directly from racing?)

Honda also took up the “unfair” cry, followed – weasel-faced and equivocal as ever – by Yamaha. Dorna’s response was to “propose” the new tyre rule. The schedule, however, and the mechanism for voting on the proposal, suggests that it’s only a formality, just awaiting the rubber stamps.

If it all seems a bit hasty, and a bit ungrateful to Michelin and indeed Dunlop after years of support, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. Introducing control tyres to the supposed pinnacle of racing is just the first cut.

For what will happen if (for example) the Ducati still proves too fast? Then they’ll have to start cutting back on the clever fuel-management electronics that help it to be so. And what when, even on the same tyres, riders still find it hard to overtake, on the picky one-line 800s? Then they’ll ban traction control. Progress will stop, and only “the show” will matter a damn.

Once rule-makers start limiting the engineers in order to artificially improve the show, then they remove the reason for the engineers to be interested. As well as the discerning amongst the spectators. But if the TV masses really do want to see every race so close as to end in a near dead heat, the backward slide into motorcycle music-hall is unstoppable. The TV screens will be packed with jostling machines, giving equal TV time to every sponsor. Everybody will be equally successful, and equally famous. And fans of real bike racing will be watching World Speedway instead – it may be simple, but at least it’s honest.

So here is the progressive programme for the descent towards the lowest common denominator, to be applied stage by stage, until all bikes and riders set identical lap times. World Championship Racing in the People’s Paradise of Papsville – is it a coincidence that Dorna’s Dear Leader Ezpeleta increasingly resembles an Oriental dictator?

1. Ban traction control and electronic data-gathering
2. Replace fuel injection with control carburettors (Amal Monobloc)
3. Riders to wear diving weight belts, for equality (Honda riders will have specially-shaped weights pushed up their bottoms, for mass centralisation. In Pedrosa’s case, it will then be next to his head.)
4. Ban slick tyres
5. Reintroduce three-speed hand gear change and foot clutch
6. Ban automatic oiling: riders hand-pump to total-loss engines
7. Ban metallic or synthetic drive chains – control leather drive belts (Alpinestars and Dainese will compete to be sole supplier)
8. Ban pneumatic tyres

But we do have a convincing new World Champion. Casey Stoner’s “dreams-come-true-if-you-work-hard-enough” story could come straight out of Disney. Plucky but poor family leaves Australia to live like gypsies while their teenage son goes racing; he rises from the dust of many crashes to oust the glamorous European Prince Rossi.

Ducati gave him the horsepower, Bridgestone the grip, Stoner supplied not only bounding talent but a quite unexpected maturity. He was still only 21 (just) when he wrapped up the title with three races to spare. As well as the biggest winner, he was the only rider to score points in every single race. You’d better believe this is the start of something big. How long to topple Rossi completely? One more year, before he spirals off into playboy hell in some gilded tax haven? Or will it go the other way? Will Rossi turn it all round, and reassert his authority, so he can truly claim the stature of an all-time giant?

That’s what makes it interesting. Hate to say it, but control tyres will make it a fairer, too.


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Discuss this story

read the article and if it wasnt full of vulgar derogatory statements about people you know nothig about other than what you read in the media, which interestingly enough is the driving force you blame partly in this article it may have been intersting. You appear to be a bit , no a real tit with little or nothing of any value to say merely dribbling off at the mouth.


Posted: 29/06/2008 at 17:39

Who are you again?

Posted: 29/06/2008 at 18:49

2007 so last year

Posted: 29/06/2008 at 18:53

Big Nige

I didnt think I had the need to introduce myself. So i wont. Also the fact that this site asks you to comment and forces you to post via a forum is poor to say the least.

But from what I gather you are also probably either just a general tit that laps up what this twat will say or have some bizarre belief in the ownership and hierachy on the internet. 

Oh doofle9, point taken I didnt read the date just the article and was taken aback by the derogatory comments on danny pedrosa even though the author obviously had little or no knowledge past what he had read in the media and heresay.


Posted: 29/06/2008 at 20:46

My guess is that the author is considerably better placed and has a better knowledge of the sport than you ever will.

.


Posted: 29/06/2008 at 22:00

rojer wrote (see)

Big Nige

I didnt think I had the need to introduce myself. So i wont. Also the fact that this site asks you to comment and forces you to post via a forum is poor to say the least.

But from what I gather you are also probably either just a general tit that laps up what this twat will say or have some bizarre belief in the ownership and hierachy on the internet. 

Oh doofle9, point taken I didnt read the date just the article and was taken aback by the derogatory comments on danny pedrosa even though the author obviously had little or no knowledge past what he had read in the media and heresay.

You have serious anger & social interaction issues my friend, you really do.


Posted: 30/06/2008 at 02:35

rojer wrote (see)

Oh doofle9, point taken I didnt read the date just the article and was taken aback by the derogatory comments on danny pedrosa even though the author obviously had little or no knowledge past what he had read in the media and heresay.


You sir must be Pedrobot himself - and I hearby claim a Soapy tenner .


Posted: 30/06/2008 at 15:36

Talkback: Mike Scott Column - Dec 2007



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