The MotoGP season will begin in Qatar, March 10th and the official test session in Jerez gave us a glimpse of what all of the new bikes and smaller engines will mean, … faster bikes and lower lap times. In the pre season test, where Valentino Rossi ran the fastest lap followed by Pedrosa, Edwards and Hayden, the top riders were riding under the lap record. Rossi said his bike was already faster than last year’s and a good starting point. Starting point? So the massive expenditures necessary to completely reengineer bikes and engines to conform to the new rules intended to slow things down gave us very expensive and still faster race bikes. It’s not surprising, really, engineering at that level may be, as Arthur C. Clarke once said referring to advanced technology, “indistinguishable from magic.” Given time with a rule book, a computer and, of course, lots of money, the end result will always be fast. Evidently, the smaller engines make for faster transitions and higher turn speeds, an effect amplified by the ever smaller and lighter riders like flyweight Dani Pedrosa.
If slowing things down is the target, and that may or may not be a good thing, raising minimum weights of the motorcycle and rider combination would work to a degree. I haven’t examined the rules but motorcycles of a minimum weight without considering the combined weight just leads to smaller and lighter riders. Soon the combined effect of finding riders of sufficient skill and light weight will field a grid of six or seven who are truly competitive. Yikes! Having the ability to look among more normal sized humans we might have more potential riders and a bit more flexibility in engineering the motorcycle.
Whatever the case, the season is about to begin and how Hayden will do in defense of his title against Rossi looking to return plus all of the others who can win on any weekend means we should have an exciting series.