MotoGP - The Beauty of Progression?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Progression is a Beautiful Thing.
Think about it for a minute. Think about where we would be if all the Japanese manufacturers got together in 1983 and decided motorcycles are plenty good, let’s just keep making them like this. Not that I’m not a fan of the Suzuki GS1100 (that was the first motorcycle my father ever took me for a ride on), but think if that was all we had? No R1s. No GSX-Rs. No CBRs. No four-stroke monster 450cc MX bikes. No KTM 950 Adventurers. Technology and progression are wonderful things. And where does a lot of said advancement come from? Racing. Especially in the sportbike world. In fact, nearly all of it comes from racing.
Yamaha's all-new R1 - Direct descendant of Rossi’s M1.
Take the new Yamaha R1
I just rode in Australia for example. The hot news is the crossplane crankshaft pulled directly from Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha M1. Heck, Rossi has only had the crank for 4 yours now, and we the people can run to the dealership and go buy it. After riding that R1 (read the full story here
) I can tell you Yamaha is onto something. The throttle response and drivability of that bike on corner exit, plus the resulting chassis mated to it truly are awesome.
So when racing organizations start implementing rules for control tires and spec ECUs it really gets my blood going. How much technology do you think the latest Chevy gets from Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR – which by the way still uses a 25-year-old engine, in a spec body that makes all the cars look the same. I actually think there is more new technology in the stock Chevy than the Gordon's NASCAR. And don’t get me wrong, solely as an entertainment entity, I see the appeal in NASCAR - and at the right racetrack even enjoy watching a few laps on TV. But it’s not doing anything to progress the automobile world. And we sure don’t want MotoGP to turn into NASBIKE, now do we?
They say all these spec tire rules, etc. are to promote closer racing, right? Well, let’s go back to NASCAR again. While the top-10 may be tighter at the finish, it’s still the same 5-6 guys at the front every weekend (barring some pit-stop incident). Fast guys will always be fast guys, it doesn’t matter if every single machine is identical. There will always be a winner and there will always be a lose. That's just the facts of life.
All these rules are start of the so called “slippery slope” people. In fact, I'm not a big fan of rules in general, but that's a whole different blog...
Rossi on the M1, Technology from this has already made its way to the dealership floors.
Thus, my new saying is: “No progression leads to more recession!” Say that a few times in your head and I think you will agree. We need MotoGP and all the crazy computers and Traction Control and anything else those clever Japanese and Italians can come up with. So, when GPs comes to the U.S., make sure you are there supporting it, and when more rules come about be sure to write us or your favorite website or publication telling them your opinion. We'll post every last one of them.
Long live technology. (Well, until maybe someday the bikes are doing the ride for us, as I do actually like being in control somewhat. But we’ll tackle that bridge if we ever get close to it.) For now, embrace change!