by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : 13-Oct-2009
BrINg BACK ThE T HE seed was planted by Dorna’s suggestion: 1000cc production-based engines to boost MotoGP grid numbers. It was nurtured by a small but growing body of enthusiasm, driven by increasing disillusionment with the current generation of 800cc MotoGP bikes. And the steep €700,000 expected asking price of lease engines – the manufacturers’ alternative plan – has been another bit of encouragement to those hoping the notion might grow into a return to ‘full-size’ MotoGP engines. Now Rossi has again stated his views, in a conversation with an Italian colleague. The 800s are, he said, “the worst thing that ever happened to racing”. Nobody imagines that the rule ushering in the smaller engines will ever be rescinded, bringing back the previous generation of booming 990cc monsters – full litre-bikes. But the notion of rather humbler litre bikes has taken root. Anything, say most of the riders, would be better than the current bikes: living as they do in a high- powered and high-rev but low- torque world. With sophisticated electronics ironing out their faults, they are made to be ridden on a knife- edge. Processions such as that at the Portuguese GP are all too frequently the result. Rossi is by nature conservative, and at first resisted the switch from the two-stroke 500s to what he saw as the lumbering new big four-strokes of 2002. He now names the Honda 990 of 2003 as the best bike he has ever ridden. “ The 500 was a different experience ... very different. But the last Honda four-stroke was a great, great bike. Also the 2005 Yamaha M1 was very good. “But I prefer 100 percent the 990 compared to 800. It is a different way to ride; you have to use different lines and have to use the throttle a lot more carefully. The 990 was similar to the 500 two-stroke, the 800 is more similar to 250,” he explained to me. As a result, lap times had become closer, but the racing more predictable. “Now there is less for the rider to invent. It is all the setting of the bike, the suspension and all the electronic assistance. It is possible to make a mathematical calculation: if you ride well, you ride to a certain point; if you ride very well you get just past this point. In the past, if you were very fantastic, then you could make more difference. “Now the races are – boom, boom, boom, every lap very close. In the past, there was more waiting for the other guys, trying to save the tyres ... so m aybe for that reason we had more fights.” The reason for the original choice of engine size of 990cc was to avoid any confusion with 1000cc street bikes, and to be sure of defeating any lingering 500 two-strokes. The change to 800cc came after five years: in the same cycle the next change is due for 2012. Few want to wait that long before solving the problem of the 800s. What is wrong with the smaller bikes? Electronics and more Multiple MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is heading calls to ditch the 800s Moto GP FEATURE >> 29