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GP Week : Issue 106
GPWEEK OPINION >> timing is every thing one-two-fivesforever. not. properly controlled by rev limiters, control ECUs and tyres even maybe a control engine, will make for brilliant close racing, a la Moto2. Not much change there, then. But it does all illustrate how difficult it has been for Dorna to accomplish a goal that was in place even before the Spanish company took over in the early 1990s – to reduce the significance of the lesser classes to emphasise the big one. In this way, bike GP racing could cast off its multi-class roots and aim towards the Formula One model: one champion, making it more accessible and comprehensible to the public at large. Thus the confusion of the 1960s could be forgotten – when the 500 class was always a foregone conclusion (Giacomo Agostini/MV Agusta), and the increasingly spectacular battle between the emerging Japanese factories was fought in the 250 and 350 classes. The redundant 350s and the tiddler 50/80cc class were dumped in 1982 and 1989 respectively, with plenty of opposition from traditionalists. And from the Latin countries: the remaining 125s especially were of more importance to many riders and fans in Spain and Italy than the 500s. The replacement of 250s with Moto2 was another step in the same direction: exciting racing, but quite clearly at a lower level than the big class, thanks to control production engines. The 125s have in turn been moving the same way: they are not quite control engines, but effectively so, with all the front men on clone Aprilia/Derbi motors now since the withdrawal of KTM at the end of 2009, and no factory teams. Making them four-stroke 250s won’t make too much difference in that respect. But the only way to achieve the goal of total MotoGP supremacy would be to strip the smaller classes of World Championship status (some would say the control engines have already done that). And somehow stop the racing being so much more entertaining than in the big class. Tough call. when released into the wild. The Hulk could be the same. But with the exception of Lotus – he doesn’t seem to be on the radar at Renault or Force India – there are no attractive seats. DTM anyone? It would be a real shame if that happens, because Frank’s not kidding when he says he could be champ some day, provided he’s with the right team. How’s this for an idea: Join Ferrari as third driver (like Felipe Massa did in 2003 between Sauber stints) and absorb information, then race as dutiful number two to Alonso in 2012 and, once the Spaniard retires as a quadruple champion, have his own shot at the history books. His manager, Willi Weber, knows his way around Maranello. It’s important he doesn’t miss the boat. Or – in my case – plane. Bloody daylight saving time ... 21