NGM Forward In Preliminary Talks With Kawasaki For MotoGP Return?

The NGM Forward racing team were pioneers of the CRT concept. It was the NGM Forward team who were the first to present their plans to race the bikes presented as an alternative to the cripplingly expensive factory prototypes, launching their 2012 campaign with Colin Edwards at Misano in 2011. Edwards had an excruciating year aboard the Suter BMW, jumping ship to the Kawasaki-powered FTR for the 2013 season.

Now, Forward is preparing the ground for its 2014 campaign even earlier. In an interview with, NGM Forward boss Giovanni Cuzari revealed that the team is already in talks with several manufacturers for the season after this one. Cuzari said he had had a recent meeting with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta to discuss 2014, when major changes will take place in MotoGP, with the dropping of the CRT category and the introduction of a new division, between the MSMA entries and the non-MSMA entries. Cuzari told GPOne that he had discussed the projects proposed by Honda (production version of the RC213V) and Yamaha (leasing M1 engines for use in custom-built chassis), but he also said he had had contacts with both Suzuki and Kawasaki.

That Forward should be linked with Suzuki is no surprise: the Suzuki MotoGP project is proceeding apace, with the first appearance expected at Barcelona as part of a full testing program which will include five tests in Europe, according to MCN. Suzuki will have to work with an existing team on their return to MotoGP, and though the Aspar squad are the hot favorites for the spot, Suzuki has been in talks with a number of teams.

The news that Kawasaki is interested in making a return to MotoGP is more of a surprise. Cuzari told GPOne that he had already had talks with Kawasaki boss and engineer Ichiro Yoda. "I spoke to Ichiro Yoda, and they are interested," Cuzari said. That Kawasaki should approach Forward over a possible return is not surprising. The Forward team took over the Kawasaki project at the beginning of 2009, after Kawasaki had first announced it was pulling out of MotoGP, then agreed to stay on for one more year to avoid an eight-figure fine for breach of the contract it had signed with Dorna, which was set to run through the end of 2011. In 2009, Kawasaki and Forward ran under the Hayate banner, with Marco Melandri as a rider, even managing a podium at Le Mans that year. If Kawasaki were to return, Forward would be the obvious partner.

News that Kawasaki is showing interest in MotoGP is a positive sign that manufacturers other than the three competing - Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - are still interested in MotoGP. The problem they face is the same reason they left: the astronomical cost of competing in the sport, driven mainly by the switch from two strokes to four strokes, and the increasing focus on electronics as the basis for increasing performance. Whether the rule changes for 2014 will make MotoGP more affordable is debatable - the reduction in fuel consumption from 21 to 20 liters, and with software development remaining unregulated, costs will continue to skyrocket - and so much will come down to whether Yoda is capable of persuading the board to see either the R&D or the marketing benefits from participating.

For 2013, the NGM Forward will continue to participate under the CRT rules, with Colin Edwards and Claudio Corti racing FTR Kawasakis. Edwards has already spoken with great enthusiasm over the switch to the FTR chassis, which is slightly more flexible and provides more feedback than the Suter BMW machine he raced last year, but in an interview with, Edwards was damning on the new spec Magneti Marelli electronics. "We don't have the parameters we want to use," Edwards said. "The electronics we have are practically what we used to have 5 or 6 years ago, so we're having to try to invent ways of doing what we want and getting them to do what we need." Clearly, much work is still needed on the Magneti Marelli system.

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OK so maybe a dumb question, but the thought had just occurred to me, in the years of the CRT has anything ever actually been "claimed"?

Excitement and a sense that 'things really are going ok' in our sport arise in hearing that Suzuki is on the way (Depuniet/Spies 2014?) and a very possible Kawasaki re-entry here. This is great news! And as Aprillia has demonstrated very economically viable.
THEN the ever changing rule roulette arises that there will be FURTHER FUEL LIMITS? Aaargh!
Sincerely, whether you are in favor of this or not, can someone please articulate the short term and longer term vision around this for the sport and Dorna? I am frustrated and confused.
Electronics, fuel limits, # of engine limits, testing limits...are they REALLY lowering barriers to entry and costs in a significant way, without throwing up secondary barriers as well?

"We don't have the parameters we want to use. The electronics we have are practically what we used to have 5 or 6 years ago, so we're having to try to invent ways of doing what we want and getting them to do what we need."

Sounds ideal to me. Back to the old tyre smoking 990 days..where the rider twisting the throttle made the difference.

Surprised by Edwards' attitude..never had him down as rider aid man?

Smart move to limit costs & bring back the show..
Get the MSMA to sign up to 20 litres, five engines & a control ECU - freedom to write their own software of course - then limit sensors to 10 per bike.

Problem more geeks in pitlane gets my vote.

Colin's a racer and wants the best bike possible underneath him. Rider Aid, Farm Aid, Band Aid, whatever trims the lap times is good.

The more interesting part of his comment, to me, was the second part of that sentence: " ... we're having to try to invent ways of doing what we want and getting them to do what we need."

You can't undo knowledge.

Knowing what a bike with unrestricted electronics can do, CE's team now is trying to get the restricted electronics to get the bike to do those things.

You could go with a spec ECU and spec software. And Honda and Yamaha could respond by simply running an unrestricted test bike, figuring out what they want the bike to do, and then making the restricted version do that.

Example: right now, electronically controlled engine braking is key to stabilizing the bike on corner entry and helping it "pivot" at the turn-in. You could ban that function, and all the manus would do is use the unrestricted test bike to figure out how much engine braking is best and how to apply it - and then they'll dump s**tloads of money into a mechanical slipper clutch that will emulate that function.

You can't un-know something, and you can't ban research.

Slipper clutches have been around for years and if teams want to play around with ramp angles, spring rates & clutch pack clearance..fine. It's all mechanical.

You may not be able to un-invent something but you can limit electrickery via the amount and type of sensors available, thereby bringing the sport back to a situation where the rider and crew take more responsibility.

Limiting the amount of sensors and closed loop systems strikes me as the perfect way to do this. Check out BSB and new rules there..the racing has been great and is a lot cheaper now.

I realise Colins rant is about not being at the same level as his competitors but, I've heard him complain before about the level of intrusive electronics.

I'm sure he'd get over it if he knew that next year, all teams would effectively start at a similar level by having same much more basic electronic parameters, and it would be in his hands to close the gap to the faster bikes by using his riding ability rather than relying on his data technician.

To hell with the Factories using the series as an R&D facilty and dull racing. You can take the lap time and stick it where the Sun don't shine.

I want to see some good old-fashioned bar bashing, tyre smoking fun..and I know I'm not on my own.

"Check out BSB and new rules there..the racing has been great and is a lot cheaper now."

I cannot disagree more, based on what the team owners, riders and history say.

Is your own & you're entitled to it..but don't try and belittle a series you clearly don't follow or know much about because it don't fit in with your blue sky purist rant.

BSB has been fantastic and everyone, from paddock insiders to the fans who part with their hard earned, has been full of praise for the racing spectacle and MSVRs vision/bravery in going out on a limb to change what had become a damp squib with only a couple of bikes able to win because they had access to full blown electronics with big budgets..Ring a bell?

Need I remind you Camier won 19/26 races 2009 with the title wrapped up by just over halfway. Nobody turned up to watch the final rounds.

One or two top teams like Airwaves moaned before the rules became law, but that was because they knew they'd be losing their advantage..ding ding, another bell? We've not heard a peep recently because it's saving them money.

NOBODY has looked back after witnessing the close racing, despite a few whining about the shoot-out.

Electronics and limited fuel are killing the spectacle in GP and Dorna could do a lot worse than grow a spine like Palmers MSVR..taking a leaf out of his book.

No one is belittling anything. But there's a difference between myth and reality.

The team owners and bike builders I know over there who are winning races tell me that they're not spending less, they're just spending it differently. Spec electronics have cost many people on the grid in BSB MORE than they were spending before, not less - their words, not mine.

And weren't those full-on, unrestricted-electronics factory bikes that Hopkins and Hill were bashing away at each other on in 2011 in a final race where the title was decided by 0.006 seconds?

One snoozer of a season in 2009 doesn't mean the formula was broken. If that was the case, then World Superbike wouldn't have made it past the early 1990s or the "Ducati Cup" era, and 500cc racing wouldn't have survived Mick Doohan.

I'm not saying that spec electronics are a bad idea at the National level of Superbike racing. What I am saying is that racing always costs as much as you have to spend, and what you prevent a team from spending in one area is exactly what that team will spend in another area. In the case of BSB, it's translated into leading teams forging ties with Japanese factories to get parts that the rest of the field can't get.

Again, their words, not mine. This from Phil Dashey, Tyco Security V/P and the guy responsible for sponsorship of the TAS Racing squad in BSB:

"For 2012, like you see in Formula 1, I wanted us to be involved with a team that was under continual development, not just riders or settings but new parts, new ideas, new directions. The close link with Suzuki GB, Suzuki Japan and now Crescent WSB is invaluable to both Josh and Alastair. They have had the opportunity to test and race at World level before the BSB season started this year."

Maybe it's just me, but that don't sound cheap.

to you my old sausage but..

Conspicuous by it's absence is any reference to what the fans want?

Love you long time..

And you have touched on the reason I am happy I'm not the one who owns a series and has to make these decisions! Trying to find a middle ground between the wants of a wide range of fans, privateer teams, satellite teams, factory teams and institutional investors - yipes.

I suspect that real cost-cutting measures will have less to do with the bikes and more with operational expenses. BSB could teach MotoGP a thing or two on that front. I still can't believe MotoGP teams are going to an off-season test in Texas. Who came up with THAT idea, and who allowed it?

You know, I wanna throw out one other idea here that's been kicking around in the back of my head, and something you said crystallized it.

Why are we, as race fans, comfortable with teams/manus spending $$$$ on hard parts like $20,000 swingarms or six-figure gearboxes that have to be overhauled every night (Jesus!) but when it comes to electrons, we freak out? I don't remember anyone throwing a fit when 500cc bikes went to a big-bang format that made them much easier and safer to ride. How was that different than electronic rider aids?

My engine tuners HATE working on my carbureted bikes. It's so much simpler and cheaper to tune my FI bikes by tweaking the Power Commander.

What about electronics bugs us so much?

Agreed 100% Wosideg
AND with satellite bikes able to compete again ala Moviestar Honda days.
AND with factories returning to our beloved sport and able to compete.
I love my 600rr but am no fan of HRC's overreach, turn by turn NASA electronics, fuel limits, or engine allocations at this anemic level.

Fuel limits are a tool used by Ezpeleta and his management to control the engine outputs of the factory teams. This same strategy was used during the last turbo era in F1 when the engines became so ungodly powerful that it scared the FIA into limiting them. This led to the "economy run" style of racing which in turn led to the end of that turbo-charged formula.
Dorna is trying to make the CRT teams competitive with the factory teams and fuel limits are just one of the ways they are attempting to do this.

Thanks Nealio for illuminating the cost dealio. I have a poorly informed take that more fuel allows for a less expensive solution to getting more power, reverse to what you are articulating here. For instance, if Aprillia now had to only have 5 engines w 21L could they be where they are? Sure all those motors cost something, but could they even be in Motogp otherwise? I am thinking Kawi has done wonders in development of their ZX10 since leaving MotoGP. Quite a contrast w their MotoGP experience. Can/should/would Suzuki and Kawi return to face Honda and Yamaha with what I assume is an insurmountable electronics and horsepower hurdle? Is anyone else cringing at the idea of Suzuki running their own electronics again...that was just plain ugly to watch. Basic spec ECU for all teams really could be a panacea then? Sign me up too. And Aprillia, Suzuki, Kawasaki, BMW...? Honda would NOT leave the premier series ever unless the whole thing was languishing. Don't folks assume they have too much pride and self confidence for that, and have long benefitted from development racing?.

The fuel limits have been asked for by the manufacturers, the same as the engine limits (reduced from 6 to 5 this year). They say that they need an engineering challenge, and producing horsepower from limited fuel is the challenge they have chosen, and imposed upon themselves. There was opposition within Dorna to this fuel limit (they believe, rightly, that it kills the racing), but they had to accept these proposals from the MSMA.

Thanks David. This 'engineering challenge' concept is lost on me in terms of what dynamic it arises out of, and who should/could be making that sort of decision re class rules. Aaargh! I think I might be experiencing what Dorna is pushing back on but not perhaps enough, or perhaps not clearly/simply/sensibly enough. Honda's interests are just that, and must become in harmony w the interests of the SPORT and a more balanced mutuality. They are there to WIN, not cultivate a series in which they do not dominate.
Q: WITHIN Dorna are there competing forces re rule change strategies? Amongst manufacturers and teams? Within the manufacturers' organization? Other players?
Who is making sense? How did the spec tire rule get through? Yes, ironically perhaps Bstone not tailoring their tire to Ducati screwed the minor upstart player in the game, but it has worked out pretty well hasn't it?
Honda and Yamaha 'MUST' be allowed this 'ENGINEERING CHALLENGE?' Good lord, reminds me of an adolescent saying they have to keep their Ipod on cranked up in order to stay at the dinner table. Honda is NOT going to go hungry if there is a good meal every major manufacturer is enjoying! Sure, we might never get cousin Triumph in on things, but hey. The table is huge and the grub is great, spec ecu pizza and you can throw on any toppings you want. Sorry Honda but thus is a family meal. SIX MANUFACTURERS for 2014!!!

My thought is if Honda and Yamaha want the "engineering" challenge they could do it without having it built into the rules. They could easily say "while everyone else ran with 24L of fuel, we were able to race and win on only 20L". That is to say, they could make it a team/company mandate without affecting the other participants. The only reason they have to build it into the rules is so that everyone has to play on their playing field, the field where their money and engineering talent gives them the advantage. Honda wants to stack the deck, and Yamaha thinks they can beat Honda at their own game. And as a result the racing suffers.

The less fuel/engines you have, the more efficient the engine has to be, sounds great in principle, and will keep the green vote happy, but in practice it makes things a little difficult;

1. Once you get down to milli-litres of fuel, the electronics play an increasingly important role, customised programming is incredibly expensive - exit low budget competitors.
2. An ultra-light weight engine that produces huge horse power and must last many practices, qualifiers, and races, usually requires extensive experience to produce - keeps new entrants at the back for years e.g. Kawasaki etc uncompetitive for years.

Dorna's reaction;

Create a CRT class with multiple competitors using stock engines as a start point, not bad but they werent competitve enough regarding their on track performance. They should have given them enough leniency in the rules to produce a 250 horsepower engine from a stock motor. 1200ccs, 30 litres, extra tyres, standard ECU, 13 engines a year and the CR applied at $150k. This would've meant CRT bikes would be 'wheel spinning, wheel standing, power sliding, and ending the race with burn outs". At this point which bikes would the fans be watching? Colin Edwards anyone?

The fans want the bikes to be mean, difficult beasts that ONLY the best 20 riders in the world can handle.

I think we start a campaign called "DORNA TAKE THE GLOVES OFF!". Dorna needs to break the factory alliance and fast.

Dorna and MSMA announced that the final 2014 regulations will be announced in feb-march 2013 when they announced the draft regulations in September 2012. I hope they are close the announcing the final concrete 2014 regulations.

The best solution would be to let even new MSMA members to compete under the 24 liters, 12 engines and common ECU'S regualtions. If such a move is allowed then that will give new smaller manufacturers like Aprilia, BMW, Kawasaki, MV Augusta, etc to compete against Honda and Yamaha.

They can get their chassis and engine dialed in before making a proper factory team assault on the championship.

For sure it's nothing you can see anymore in the tip class. No power sliding or power wheelies (or any wheelies) these days. Motogp is like a diet soda. Taste ok and still makes me burn, just not as good as the real thing. But drink it enough and you get used to it.

Yes, Ben Spies showed us just having the right bike is not enough. But I also have to ask myself, is getting up at 5am to see MGP live worth it just to see, at best, a few close passes? The lower/support classes have always provided close race. I watched, pass tense, because they were a beast to control. Just staying on board was amazing.

The aspect of electronics that bugs me personally is the degree to which they are influencing the bike having over reached (corner by corner etc), and as barrier to entry for factories/teams. Dramatic upswing I suppose w 800cc, fuel limits, engine allocation.
Also the process by which Honda is domineering technical rules is chapping my hide.
Not a beef with electronics on the whole obviously, and when I raced it was cool to have someone plug a 'Yosh box' into my bike and reprogram mine. The power commander on my bike is great but it is just power optimization in general.
Makes Lorenzo's astronaut helmet a bit ironic, as the electronics were fit for a space shuttle more than a motorcycle. That is the misfire I am struggling with.

Interesting. I get the 'barrier to entry' idea, and the dominance by one manu is never good for any motorsport. Makes sense.

But I think that if you and I really don't have a problem with electronics on the whole, we might be in a minority of motorsport fans.

I don't really understand why race fans seems to dislike - so much - a cutting-edge technology that holds the promise of faster bikes at lower costs, once the technology starts to mature. Electronics can allow a wider range of vehicle configurations to compete equally (as each vehicle's use of the tires is optimized for its strengths) and as the various strategies start to become "commonplace," their costs will tumble. I've had one software programmer tell me that he no longer starts tuning the bike with TC, but works first on engine braking, because - and this is what I found fascinating - TC strategies had become so well-understood that it didn't take long to sort that part out.

I don't recall any large-scale objections to twin-spar frames, inverted forks, monoshocks, disc brakes, big-bang engines, radial tires, non-spoke wheels, etc. Each of those made the bikes safer and faster, and some of them gave riders with lesser "skills" the opportunity to close up on the leaders (see big-bang engines and disc brakes). Most of them were obscenely expensive when introducted, and some remain so - was it 60,000 Euros for a set of Brembos this year? Each of them was introduced by a factory, I think, and used in part to help dominate over the privateers and satellite teams who didn't have access to that technology.

We don't object to the Honda and Ducati gearboxes, which are way more expensive than any software system and require more maintenance. No one objects when a rider lands the exclusive use of the most valuable piece of software in GP history - Jerry Burgess. Can you imagine us saying that Jerry could only use half of the tricks he'd learned in three decades of racing, because when he uses all of his brain, his rider stinks up the show?

Is it because computers are for "nerds," and the idea of them playing such an important role in such a "manly" sport bothers us? Is it because we "get" compression ratios and lightened crankshafts, anti-wheelie algorithms go straight over our heads, and we don't like what we don't understand?

Dunno. It's bizarre to me. Just thinking out loud. And I suppose that motorcycle road racing fans who don't like the whole ones-and-zeros thing aren't alone. F1 has always struggled in the U.S., but give us a big metal box with a carbureted V8 and we'll burn half a month's paycheck to go watch. (And yes, I know Nascar is turning to FI - approximately 25 years after the last carbureted car was sold in the U.S.)

Great posts morbidelli... really well written with great perspective and info...

I think the reason the electronics are demonized are for a couple reasons:

1. It's an easy target for the blander racing we're seeing. Electronics are seen as the reason why the "show" has been numbed down. And while I believe this to be true to a point, it neglects, in my opinion, the riders... The current crop of riders at the front have evolved their riding styles for the perfect lap... consistently. Pull a gap and just punish any mistakes. It also neglects the control tires we have. etc. So electronics are to blame yes, but I think there's more to it.

2. The electronics do have an effect on the bike performance throughout the race. David wrote a great article a couple years ago analyzing Nicky Hayden's lap times throughout a specific race. I couldn't find the article, but basically it showed when the race started Nicky was running strong lap times worthy of a podium, but then the ECU said "nope, I don't think you'll have enough gas to get to the end of the race". It cut power to the bike, and Nicky's lap times went up. But then, if I remember correctly, at the end of the race it said "oops, never mind, you'll have enough gas" and gave the power back, and Nicky's lap times dropped again.

So while I agree with everything you said, electronics do have an impact. And if they are not set-up correctly or as efficient as the factory gurus are able to get them with their deeper resources, it does have a direct impact on the racing. The racer does not have the ability to use his skills and bravery to over-ride inferior equipment because the bike already took it away from him.

The ‘going’ is as expensive, if not more so, than the ‘racing’.
But keep it simple. Allowing the MSMA/Honda to dictate the rules is, as has been said here before, like the lunatics running the asylum. In any business, if you let anyone get dominant apart from the customer (Dorna/viewers) then you will start to lose something – in this case the ‘show’.
Ultimately, the series doesn’t need Honda. Just like the Kawasaki and Suzuki departures it would be shocking, but it can survive. Dorna and Honda need to remember that no-one is indispensable, except the people that pay the bills – ultimately, the fans. There will be several companies and teams who would soon take advantage of the void, and it would fill and be forgotten. But I don’t think that they would leave.
Hondas arrogance will impact their sales. Their involvement in everything from the TT , national racing etc. is the sort of commitment to performance motorcycles we all wish to see, but what was ‘PC’ years ago has changed in society, and many people wish to see a more even-handed, fair, and democratic approach by industrial businesses in everything from brolly girls, the teams, riders, and the racing. Winning is what counts, but you need to do it in a clean and fair way.
As said above, if they wish to go about their racing in a certain way, then let them. Just don’t allow them to dictate to everyone else.
Quiet diplomacy is the way forward, and I hope it is underway, but Dorna need to show that they are the bosses and the teams must play in a way that suits the entertainment, not some debateable techno-strategy. Leave fuel efficiency to the car business. Bikes will follow that when they need to. Bikes should be about sport and excitement.

are disliked by many (racers, teams, fans) for various reasons and some are business related (expense; barriers to success). The key one for the fans though is that it is seen as detracting from the spectacle and the entertainment. And, importantly, this is not subjective – it’s real.
The spectacle, because it stops bikes sliding around in a visible way, and the entertainment because the electronics hardly ever have an ‘off day’ as long as the sensors etc. are working. People are not as reliable and predictable as machinery, and this brings in unpredictable factors that ultimately make racing more exciting.
However, electronics are perhaps getting a lot of the blame that is also attributable to some of the hardware. Black magic circles are one of the main protagonists here, but seamless gearboxes, slipper clutches, and carbon brakes are all implicated. Put all this together and you have a machine that can reliably go around tracks quicker than most of us would believe in the right hands and, because the machine is so good, the rider element has become less influential. (Perhaps this was Rossi’s main beef with HRC – they wanted to sanitise the rider/machine that he was so good at influencing). Also, the optimum speed in these circumstances generally requires smoothness. Racers have always had exceptional skills here, but they could also adapt to changes such as weight distribution (reduced due to smaller fuel loads!) and tyre degradation. Now, with everyone on the same tyres (no strategy options there now) and closely similar technical packages, the opportunity to outperform is reduced, margins narrower, and overtaking opportunities limited to one or two per lap – provided that you have set it up perfectly the lap before.
Again, F1 has seen it and done something about it. Grooved tyres and dodgy compounds to reduce grip and enforce tyre management etc.
Dorna needs to discuss the right combination of technology constraints with the teams to enable the riders to matter more and increase overtaking. More fuel/cc’s, tyres with less grip or longevity, no carbon brakes (or simply state that the brakes used must apply to both wet and dry races – that might then drive technology that works for the road: great). Banning blippers and quickshifters might be a good idea too. Its done in technology terms and now detracts from the racing/rider skills.
Electronics – difficult, as the technology benefits to current and future road use are hard to ignore and there is no doubt that it has both practical and safety benefits/potential. I could say leave it to the car boys, but that dumbs-down bike racing and makes a prototype class appear superficial.
Perhaps make it that you can only use the electronics on a corner by corner basis at 50% of the tracks (the teams choose which ones they want at the beginning of the year in closed submissions so that it is more random). Then make it that teams not using corner by corner electronics get more points for the top 10 places. This will make optimum mechanical set up more important (not that perfection in everything isn’t already the aim) and make the electronics similar, as a compromise will be necessary for the best lap – but a team can choose different parts of the track to their competitors – again improving overtaking.
Award points for pit stops or overtakes (as long as it isn’t a dangerous move) or something to bring the lower runners/lower budget teams back into contention/respectability and make their points tally related to a share of Dorna’s income.
Because the above will make it difficult to run away with wins/podiums all year make the top three and especially the win worth more in points.
Lastly, factory teams don’t get any of Dorna’s money.

i say they start down an new devolopment path. they are so far down this one that no matter the rule it will be expensive and the wealthy will spend their way to victory as has always been the case. change tires and electronics still make up the difference. change electronics, there is still be trickery found either in the electronics they do have or in the mechanics. the wealthy will find a way and budgets will be spent. a fact seen in all the history of racing.

carbon frames and 3 cylinder turbos for all (or whatever)..... new starting point for all. the factories (honda/yamaha) are so far down the one they're on that its doubtful anyone will catch up.

or tires designed completely around CRT's

in watching old races it became clear to me that it was the mistakes that made the racing fun to watch and close. bikes are so developed and two tiers of riders, one of which dont make many but the margine for error is too slim. one mistake and the leader clears off. as on the limit as they are with the machines/computers even if all riders were on comparable bikes it would still be boring for casual fans.

need bikes that are hard to ride and nobody is going to forget what has already been

Great discussion all!
Something is still bugging me, and the top of the iceberg above water so clearly for our sport's ship to avoid (as best as I can fathom right now w my limited take):
This is the scourge. We don't need artificial booster seats for them, they are doing just fine evolving on their own. Do I add sugar to winemaking? No. The fruit is inherently holding goodness of process. Yes, there is port, but that is an outlayer.
Fuel limits, engine allocation

Very interesting.

I think, based on what a lot of you have said, that electronics is the most visible element of a change that has been progressing for a long time.

Bikes, tires, engines, etc., are becoming more reliable and more consistent. It was just bizarre to watch Lorenzo's motor blow up last year, or Sykes' engine in WSBK - and that's because it just happens so infrequently anymore. The brakes don't fade, the tires don't 'go off,' the engines don't break, the suspension works perfectly the whole race.

And when the bike works this well, riders don't make mistakes - or do so rarely. I think whoever pointed out the "rider mistake" element of good racing was spot-on.

I think rider aids mostly help the riders get closer - and stay closer - to an ultimate edge of performance that is defined by non-electronic factors; i.e., motor, chassis, tires, brakes.

Eliminating rider aids might make it harder for riders to stay as close to that edge. But it might also make for worse racing, as less-talented riders make more mistakes or are unable to walk that tightrope for an entire race distance.

And of course, making the bikes more unpredictable and harder to ride means more crashes - and I don't think that anyone who knows this sport, and the consequences of crashing, wants to see that.

F1 has temporarily "solved" its problem with pit stops and shit tires that are completely unpredictable for the first few races of the year - then the normal patterns re-emerge.

Failing that, all you can do is the other thing that F1 does on a regular basis - change the rules dramatically, hoping that Brawn or Sauber or Red Bull comes up with an interpretation or technique that no other team has, and it upsets the apple cart for a while.

One more thing about F1: When electronic driver aids were banned, teams scrambled to come up with other ways to do what the electronics used to do. The steering wheel of an F1 car is a maze of buttons that, when pushed in the correct order, dial up a series of mechanical settings that emulate what a lot of the driver aids used to do. I'd hate to see motorcycles follow that path.

"Bikes, tires, engines, etc., are becoming more reliable and more consistent. It was just bizarre to watch Lorenzo's motor blow up last year, or Sykes' engine in WSBK - and that's because it just happens so infrequently anymore. The brakes don't fade, the tires don't 'go off,' the engines don't break, the suspension works perfectly the whole race."- -unless you are Ben Spies

The grand in grand prix was lost years ago.How about getting rid of half of the bike,that alone will cut the cost in half. Unicyle gp anyone?