MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Riders: behave yourselves!
MotoGP has got its work cut out dealing with Moto3 maniacs hunting for slipstreams and by riders in all classes who get greedy with the asphalt runoff
If MotoGP was a high school, Moto3 would be the class of misbehaving young bad boys and girls that sends its teachers home each evening sobbing into their hankies.
There is no naughtier class in MotoGP than Moto3. The smallest category causes head teacher more of a headache than the other two classes combined. That’s right, Race Direction spends more time policing Moto3 than it does MotoGP and Moto2.
Saturday is always the worst day of school for Moto3: it’s qualifying and the kids are not all right. Despite repeated warnings and punishments from head teacher, Moto3 riders continue to misbehave during qualifying.
Mostly, they ride too slowly in their efforts to go faster. This entails slowing down and looking over your shoulder, waiting for a fast rider on a fast lap, from whom you can gain the all-important draft, which means using him or her to cleave the air in two for you.
Some riders in Moto3 get their heads down and try to go fast alone during qualifying, but most believe that they’ll gain a vital hundredth or two with a slipstream.
And herein lies the problem. Moto3 provides the most thrilling racing of the day at most rounds of the championship. In fact, thrilling might not be the correct word. How about terrifying? I know I’m usually terrified when I’m watching half a dozen riders braking side by side and then pitching into a corner at 90mph, waiting for the inevitable. When the pile-up doesn’t happen I can’t help but rejoice in the miracle of the human brain and body that allows six riders to get through a corner with half a centimetre between each of them.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
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Why not have a superpole format with only 1 rider on track for their solo qualifying lap?
In reply to Superpole by Matt Warburton
Would be the simple answer. The potential for that format to take up twice the time of the current format is legit and for all the tv contracts and sponsers involved, they want a tight and timley schedule. I think the only way to put a lid on it for now is having penalties that actually hurt. A ten grid place penalty isn't that big of a problem when at many circuits you can go from 15th to the podium on the last lap if the pack is large enough. Instead make them start dead last for consecutive races, or dock them championship points, or fine the teams... or some combination of all them.
I honestly like single lap qualifying myself. It affords myself the fan, the chance to watch each and every racer at the limit and also see how they cope with that extra pressure. Of course they will always gripe (especially if it's autos) about unfair advantages, those that run later have better grip as there's been more rubber laid down or because of intermittent cloud cover the track temp changed etc. and hence the argument that it's better that everyone has "equal" track conditions with which to set their best time.
Whatever ends up happening, in the meantime I really wish the teams would make an effort to work more like one during qualifying and have their riders work together for the session, with one towing the other around and vice versa for alternating laps. It's not an uncommon occurance in other forms of racing.
In reply to Superpole by Matt Warburton
Given the size of the field in Moto3, have you considered how long that would take.....even with perfect runs and no problems ?
In Moto 3, slip streaming is far more prevalent than in Moto 2. Moto 2 has even tighter rules to ensure parity. Moto 3 is a lot like a bicycle race because the bikes lack power. 300cc twins might work better.