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GP Week : Issue 36
>>GPWEEKOPINION The pressure of history Michael Scott MotoGP editor I’VE always felt it my job as a columnist to seek out the weak points of racing and expose them, and to speak out when I think things are being done wrongly. There has been ample opportunity for this during 2008. Doubtless inspired by the lead set in F1, where ever- tighter technical regulations seek to improve the spectacle at the cost of development, MotoGP chiefs led by Dorna have been rule-meddling as well. The columnist’s other privilege is to be able to change his mind at the drop of a hat – or at least at some change of circumstances. Sadly, there has been less of that during 2008. The new regulations to replace the 250 two-strokes are cynical (production- engine “prototypes”indeed!) and misguided … if the aim really is to reduce costs. If on the other hand it is simply to suppress the smaller classes and boost the importance of MotoGP, then it’s a different matter. And even more cynical. But there is a tide of history Sutton Motorsport Images photographer James Moy involved here. Two-strokes are out of favour, and may never come back. You could argue the same is true with the single tyre rule – the pressure of history, I mean. As with F1, control tyres are becoming more and more normal practice in various forms of motorsport. But the excuses used to propel MotoGP in the same direction were spurious in the extreme. Dorna even said that the riders had asked for it on safety grounds. They hadn’t. Or only a few of them, anyway. Or is this view itself too cynical, and too hide-bound? Change is always difficult to stomach, and it’s generally easier to say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And furthermore its easy to argue that if MotoGP is broken, it’s only because of previous meddling. The 990s were no more welcome an innovation than any other, but in retrospect they made for some really great racing. And then they dumped them. The true test of the effect of these changes will only be clear with time (and if they work brilliantly, I of course reserve the right to change my mind). But the measure of how they work will not only be in the crowd-pleasing potential, but in the effects of that. Because the biggest problem in MotoGP racing at present is a continuing lack of sponsorship support. And that dates from long before the economic downturn. If the TV spectacle is significantly improved, and as long as Rossi hangs around to lend his star quality for enough longer, then this situation could be reversed. That would be success indeed. Anyone who wishes racing well, and I count myself in this number, could ask for nothing more. 23 opinion