Valentino Rossi made a few comments last week about the “new style” of riders in MotoGP and the amount of contact between riders. He seems to believe that he has other option but to just “get used to it”. Then, yesterday, during in the Sepang Press Conference all of the riders seemed to think it was acceptable and no big deal. Where did this laissez-faire attitude suddenly come from? I am worried that there is something bigger going on here, it is almost like the riders are towing a line, pushing a sales pitch. Nonetheless, it seems clear that Johann Zarco’s pleasant disposition has afforded him greater leeway to make more reckless contact with riders than other rookies who have come in the past.
First. The riders attitudes toward excessive contact sounds like a sales or business pitch than genuine acceptance. Seems to me that Dorna has made their rounds, went to each pit box and instructed the riders to follow the company’s sales pitch. It seems to me that this blatant attempt to create “excitement” and increase viewership, is nothing more than another attempt by Dorna to increase revenue at the cost of safety. Dorna is actually saying that they are choosing to make MotoGP less safe despite all the warnings they have had over the last 4 years. Therefore we here in the last bastion of freedom, California, will tell the truth, the truth that no one seems to want to say or hear… that is that, motorcycle racing has always been exciting, we have been fans for years and the last season was no more or less exciting than any other year. The only ones saying that it is more exciting are those with a vested interest in saying so… Commentators, TV personalities and industry insiders who stand to increase their personal incomes through viewership, sponsorship and ticket sales.
As evidence to support by “first” statement, I suggest that all seasons are exciting I offer this example. If we compare this year to the 2014 Championship, we see it was no less exciting that the 2017 Championship. I choose 2014 because there were only two teams that won races Yamaha and Honda with riders or Marc, Dani, Rossi and Jorge and 20147 was a season that Marc Marquez dominated winning the first 9 races. So I ask was this season less exciting? At the time no one was saying that it was boring, or that anything had to been done to change MotoGP? Oppositely, we were told we were witnessing history in the making, and phrases like, “it is Amazing” and “Incredible” were commonplace. Fans of the sport always think it is exciting. Dorna’s decision to allow unsafe and reckless riding will fail to bring in loyal fans that will stay with the sport for a life time. It might bring in the curious lookie-lou for a short time, it might grab some attention on YouTube the way a big crash will draw the views of those drawn toward the morbid. It is my opinion that it is the wrong direction and hurts the sport over the long term.
Second. Contact is bad for the Championship. I am curious as to how it is possible that longtime fans and professionals in the sport, seem to think this is OK? What happens when a rider with nothing to lose dives into a turn to hot and takes out a Championship contender like Dovi? It would not be hard to imaging Zarco making a rash move to a tight line and taking out Marc or Dovi and ending their Championship challenge. What then? Will the media then say, “We told you so!” or “We warned you!”? Can no one remember when Dani was taken out by Simoncelli and ended up with a broken collarbone? Dani was robbed of a fair chance to win a championship and if contact and recklessness is going to be the new “norm”, then the greatest motorsport in the world will be lesser for it.
Three. Marco Simoncelli is the third reason. Am I the only person that can remember Jorge Lorenzo’s famous press conference statement? He stopped everyone from laughing and warned that this sport is dangerous. Lives will be lost. Why make it worse with recklessness? Do we want to lose more young talent? Do we want to teach the lower classmen that recklessness is acceptable? MotoGP is the premier class of the sport, shouldn’t that be filled with professionalism and integrity and the most rigid of rules? Controlling riders and limiting recklessness is an important aspect of the sport. It would be just as sensational to see riders get penalized for contact and start from the rear of the grid, as it would any other way, and it would still give the press lots to talk about.