MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Racing is mostly about self-interest. It can be no other way. And even though the cliché that says nice guys don’t win is incorrect, the nice guys who do succeed only do so by morphing into ruthless assassins the moment they start thinking about racing, let alone actually going racing.
But even in this most vicious of sports there are times when self-interest needs to be overruled for the general good.
A couple of months ago Nicky Hayden came up with a good idea. He realised there’s an inherent problem in the qualifying one/qualifying two format; that the two riders who top Q1 often can’t take any advantage of their promotion to Q2 because they’ve already used all their soft tyres. So what’s the point of even taking part in Q2? He therefore came up with a suggestion: that Q1-to-Q2 qualifiers should each be given an extra rear tyre.
Hayden’s suggestion makes perfect sense. If a rider has to spend an extra 15 minutes on track, he deserves an extra rear because MotoGP’s tyre allocation is super tight as it is. When the proposal was put before the Grand Prix Commission – the four-part body that governs MotoGP – Dorna, the FIM and teams’ association IRTA all agreed that Hayden’s idea should be written into the MotoGP regulations.
But the fourth component of the GPC – the Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers’ Association (currently Ducati, Honda and Yamaha) – rejected the proposal. So Q1-to-Q2 riders must continue the charade of taking part in Q2, despite the fact that they’ve invariably got very little chance of actually improving on their grid positions.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.