As an American who has as much interest in auto racing as he does motorcycle racing, I was more than a bit nervous as the threat of a single-tire-supplier rule loomed over the Fall of '07. Now that I read of the latest seemingly similar threat of a standardized ECU, I'm begging an inquiry into motive.
Valentino Rossi is complaining about the pervasiveness of electronic traction controls. I infer this is a complaint about Dani Pedrosa, since Casey Stoner claims to be using little or none of the stuff. Riding a bike nearly identical to Pedrosa's, Nicky Hayden began to find success after (reportedly) trimming the electronic controls way back. This implies that only certain riders are benefiting from a computerized nanny, and that all of them have the option of limiting its influence. Am I to believe that Rossi - who, when he was winning everything in sight, was as sideways as anyone - believes he was being trounced by Casey Stoner's tires and Dani Pedrosa's computer engineer? Has he just defined the limits of his abilities for all of us to see? Is he really that ashamed of his bike? Or is this some back-handed mind game he thinks will fool everyone next year? Either way, I consider it a fairly remarkable retreat from the greatness he once exuded.
Back to Mr. Ezpeleta... Why grant this complaint such credence? A standardized ECU makes the sport - by default - a spec series. Until we know what goal is being pursued, why is a spec ECU the suggested - or mandated - solution? It seems to be the equivalent of brain surgery with a sledge hammer.
Let me start 2008 by wishing all of MotoGPMatters.com's readers all the best in 2008. May 2008 find you happier, healthier, faster and safer than any year before.
The influence of electronics has been growing ever since the MotoGP class entered the four-stroke era. This has caused a great deal of concern among many fans and riders, as the bikes get easier to ride within 99% of their potential. To put an end to this, Carmelo Ezepeleta, the CEO of Dorna, has suggested that MotoGP could switch to a standard ECU, much as Formula 1 has done.
The FIM, the governing body of international motorcycle racing, today announced changes to the technical regulations for the MotoGP series. The changes are numerous, if mostly rather minor, and covered tires, seat units, and cylinder bores, together with a host of minor clean ups and clarifications.
Thanks to reader John Thomson, Canadian MotoGP fans will be able to watch the documentary on Nicky Hayden's 2006 and 2007 season, "The Kentucky Kid" over the holiday season. John e-mailed MTV Canada, and they wrote him back that "The Kentucky Kid" is scheduled to appear in the week of Christmas. So, in addition to the usual fare of movies about Santa, Canadians can relive a bit of the summer's excitement.
Exact broadcast schedules are not know yet, but should appear on MTV Canada's website in due course.
The FIM today unveiled the provisional entry list for the 2008 MotoGP season (PDF document), revealing a couple of important changes in the numbers riders will be running next season. The most important of these is of course the number to be carried by the world champion. Like Nicky Hayden before him, Casey Stoner's bike will bear the number 1 plate.
One of the specters currently haunting MotoGP is the question of when the series' biggest audience puller, Valentino Rossi, will retire. After losing the title now for two years in a row, speculation had been mounting that Rossi would leave MotoGP sooner rather than later, possibly as early as the end of the 2008 season.
On Tuesday, the final MotoGP test of the 2007 season will start at Jerez before the long winter test ban sets in. And the Spanish track will see some of the most significant pieces of the 2008 season puzzle make their debut, and giving MotoGP fans a first taste of what next year is likely to hold.