‘Unsafe’ ride-height device? “That sounds like Honda moaning to get it banned…"

Pol Espargaro contests ride-height devices have made bikes too unstable at the Sachsenring, but Jack Miller suspects Honda is simply trying to get it banned

Pol Espargaro - Repsol Honda.jpg


Ducati’s Jack Miller has reacted with cynicism that Honda could be attempting to get the controversial but now broadly utilised ride-height devices banned because it cannot use them as effectively as its rivals.

The technological quirk, also referred to as the ‘hole-shot device’ was pioneered by Ducati initially with the aim of improving starts off the line by engaging a button on the warm-up that lowered the rear, thus reducing the likelihood of wheelies.

However, since the device is only deactivated when the brakes are applied, Ducati were able to use it out of bends and onto long straights for the same principle. Other teams - with the exception of Suzuki - have since applied their own versions, though Ducati’s arguably remains the most effective on the grid.

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While there have been some murmurings of concerns about the device enabling higher top speeds as a result, others have pointed to it creating an instability under braking on more undulating circuits, such as the Sachsenring, host for this weekend’s German MotoGP.

Pointing to Turn 1 in particular, where some riders have been struggling to get bikes stopped on the crest before the track falls away into the downhill right-hander, Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro - who suffered a catalogue of accidents this season - suspects the ride height device is the reason behind several crashes there this weekend.

"I think one of the reasons is for sure the [ride-height] device, the rear device," he said. "We use it during the lap, which means it goes down on the last corner and it needs to come up in the first corner.

"In Ducati I have no idea, in the other ones, it should deactivate mechanically when you put [braking] pressure on the front. As soon as the front forks are going down, the rear is coming up with the same force. So the position of the rear is instead of being attached to the ground, it is just coming up. Sure, this is not helping for the rear.

"In our case, for sure it's making the bike more unstable, which is not safe."

"Honda is trying to get it banned so it doesn't have to develop it"

However, Espargaro’s concerns have been met with cynicism from Miller, who suspects ‘sour grapes’ from Honda because it has been left napping when it comes to developing its own version and cannot make its device work as successfully as its rivals.

"Pol and Taka have been down [at Turn 1 today] so quite clearly the Honda device is no good. Our one seems to work pretty good. Have I had a crash because of the holeshot device? No..

"That sounds like Honda moaning about something again, trying to get it banned so they don’t have to develop it.

"No issues for me, in fact it seems to work better because as I come over the hill I have more weight on the rear and I can brake harder and keep the rear on the ground."

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