A more level MotoGP field is going into Misano this 2016
I would like to take a personal moment and thank the club members for their recruiting efforts as our club has now reached over 300 members, making ours one of the largest clubs in Southern California. Thanks to everyone!! We are developing our Facebook and Twitter feeds so we can reach more you more easily… and so we can shorten our email newsletters.
I have never been happier to eat my own words. With Jack Miller’s win as well as the wins by the long-shot underdogs, Crutchlow and Iannone… one would have to admit that Dorna and MotoGP’s plans to level the playing field are working. We know what they have done.. mandatory shared electronic management (ECU’s) and new unfamiliar tires shared by all i.e an end to tire concessions for non-winning teams… regardless of the reasoning behind those changes, they seem to be helping. Why else would the results see so many different winners … I’d say with exception of the Ducati win… which was an offset, a fluke because the Spielberg Ring is more of a “Drag” race than a “Road” race, the wins by the underdogs prove that the new regulations are working.. so while the Ducati is performing better under Iannone’s reign than it has since the Stoner era. their race win in Spielberg will not mean as much as their next win, which could easily come this season.
I’m not the only one saying it so it is hardly news… a consensus from everyone.. from Top riders like Rossi down to commentators like Julian Ryder and Keith Huewen, everyone is towing the upbeat line… the variety of winners is being hailed as a great improvement for the sport. Matt Brit had called it a “Golden Era” with seven different winners everyone seems to feel like it is a great time for the sport.
This change means something else as well.. something people are not talking about. It is important to point out that what has been the rule for the better part of the last 16 years; to quote Casey Stoner, “To win Championships you need to win races.” is not going to be the rule in the future. If the trend continues, and the field continues to level, it would be easy to imagine a Champion from a satellite team a champion who may not have won many races, if any at all. Rather a champion who was simply a consistent podium placer. If there are different winners in each race it will be the person with the most podiums who will seize the championship. Not since Nicky Hayden has a champion only won a single race and still won the championship. The new regulations may make that the new norm.
The question for now is how will that affect the rest of this season… it is clearly a mystery, but the remaining 6 circuits have traditionally been tracks that have been dominated by one of the two top factories. I believe that will be the case for the rest of the year. Some might ask.. Will the Honda and Yamaha be able to dominate the last rounds? It will depend on the performance of the underdogs… Misano is a true road racing track.. no very long straights, lots of shorts and turns and as Marc Marquez has said, “it’s much smaller and tighter..”. Suzuki will have lost its cold weather advantage, and the Ducati’s horsepower advantage will be neutralized by the track layout. With those underdogs ruled out, the last best hope for a surprise we will be Cal Crutchlow. Dani Pedrosa has not had a win this year and he has been creeping back into the competition so anyone that would rule out Dani would be foolish. Having said that, of course, the smart money would still be on one of the leaders, Rossi at home, Jorge with the great record at Misano and Marquez who as always refuses to take it safe and just go for a top 5 finish is fully capable to score a win. We will see..
Regardless of who wins the leveling of the playing field should mean that the racing will be close.. we hope to see close battles for positions, podium and otherwise. What we do not want to see is one rider taking out another rider. We want to see overtaking and passing, but overtaking cleanly, we want to see riders ride hard but not reckless or irresponsible. The sport is far too dangerous to accept recklessness and irresponsible riding as a norm of the sport.