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GP Week : Issue 56
>>Moto GPDONINGTON Champions slam traction control “When you’re at a really slippery track like this, in the wet, at full lean, knee on the ground, and you can just open the throttle … that’s not exactly real racing.” Nicky Hayden was yet again answering questions about traction control, after the ghastly misfiring noise of the anti-wheelspin software in operation was particularly noticeable out of the hairpin at Donington Park. “The feeling is strange, because you don’t have a lot of feeling,” he lamented. “I wish they’d put a cap on it.” Hayden was World Champion in 2006. His successors Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi agree absolutely. The engines sound terrible when they misfire like this. How do they feel to the rider, GPWEEK asked Rossi. “Terrible,” he said. “Less electronics would be better.” It fell to Stoner to be more practical. “I completely agree, but they won’t go back now. There are 70 to 80 percent less broken bones than before. They will put it as a safety issue, and it does save a lot of people a lot of pain. “You can’t live without it. It takes away a lot of the power, though you can still slide to a degree,” he said, before revealing how he has developed a technique to control the electronics by using the throttle. “If you just whack it open, it’ll save you, but it won’t get to the front row of the grid. So sometimes if it’s slippery I whack it open to get the grip going, then I roll off until I can feel the throttles manually again, on the twist-grip.” Traction control is a blessing, and a curse. Nobody wants to hear engines misfiring. But it doesn’t seem likely to go away. 9