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.
Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era
When the future looks uncertain, some people like to take refuge in the past, which goes some way to explaining the success of events like last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which is largely about old motor sport metal.
The metal is all important because, unlike most sports, motor racing has a hugely tangible history: gawping at the goal posts used at the 1938 FA Cup final is never going to be as much fun as examining the supercharged DKW that won the 1938 Lightweight TT.
Among those paying homage to the past at Goodwood was Valentino Rossi. The (currently uncrowned) king of MotoGP jetted in from Saturday’s Dutch TT, still giddy on the taste of his 111th Grand Prix victory, to take part in celebrations marking Yamaha’s 60th anniversary.
Unlike most racers, Rossi has always been interested in racing history. He knows plenty about the old days and goes misty eyed when he talks of the scary 500cc two-strokes he rode at the turn of the millennium and of the early days of MotoGP, before hi-tech electronics suppressed some of the skills he had laboriously and painfully learned.
Like most top MotoGP riders, Rossi would prefer fewer electronic controls, because he enjoys riding the bike himself and would rather use his skills to make the difference over rivals.
Next year, for better or worse, that’s exactly what he will get. Dorna’s new unified software, currently only used by Open bikes, commenced its takeover of the entire MotoGP grid at 00:00 hours this morning, when factory teams had their own software frozen, banning all development prior to the introduction of the control ECU at the first winter tests.
I’m like The Fast Show‘s Indecisive Dave when it comes to MotoGP’s unified software: when someone tells me it’s a great idea I nod vigorously, and when someone tells me it’s an appalling idea I stroke my chin and nod sagely.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.