Monday, November 29, 2010

Looking Down the Road at the 2012 MotoGP Rules Changes


The 1st Son of The King, Kenny Roberts, Jr. was the last American born-and-bred 500CC World Champion before the rules changes of 2002 saw the four stroke era ushered in and morphing the long-standing series into the MotoGP World Championship. KRJR won four races, podiumed nine times, and only suffered one DNF in 16 events during the 2000 season to also win Suzuki's last crown in the top level road racing series in the world. By contrast, the bike above that wore the #1 in the last year of the two stroke era in the premier class, finished a dismal 11th in the championship, and only made one podium on the year. It was what this writer still considers the start of a slide that continues to this day of Suzuki's trials and tribulations in the premier series.
For the first five of those years in the 'new' MotoGP World Championship, we saw the 1000-era and the uber development of electronics into the series. The series
then 'down graded' to the 800-era, where the electronics all but took the control of the bikes out of the riders' hands (so to speak) and all but turned the racing into a processional parade lap in many races. MotoGP and Dorna are hoping with the new, broader-based formula for competitors in the ultra-elite series that this will help fill in the grids and invite more participation, and also make for closer racing.

One of the best sites to keep up on MotoGP racing, if not THE best site, is David Emmett's Moto He runs a very informative and detail-filled site that helps to keep mere mortals like you and me up to date on the inner workings of the MotoGP World Championship, as well as his super coverage of the World Superbike Championship. During the course of the normal racing season David (as well as his great photographer Scott Jones) keep us informed on the happenings on and off the track, whether it be testing notes, rider and/or factory updates or full-blown 'you are there' race weekend coverage.

Unless you are a full-blown techno geek or motor-builder extraordinaire (of which I am neither-but that's another subject altogether!), then understanding rules packages for different racing series can sometimes be like trying to decipher Chinese arithmetic. And many times just as frustrating. And with MotoGP getting ready to go into the last year of the 800-era, the rules changes planned for 2012 and beyond is somewhere close to 'WTF?' in trying to understand just what shape the series is taking for the future. Not that any step might not be the correct one with the processional races that have seemed to develop due to current electronic aides at hand with the multi-million dollar bikes.

David does a great job of shining light on the subject and exactly how the new rules break down in one of his latest pieces, and although I'm not ready to go out and try to help develop a new up and coming MotoGP entry, I at least have a better understanding of what Dorna and MotoGP have in mind to help build (and fill the grids) for the future of world championship racing.

You can check out his great column on the upcoming changes (and maybe you won't have to scratch your head so much after doing so, either) right here:

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