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.
MotoGP’s Dorna versus MSMA showdown on shapeshifters
Most factories want to get rid of so-called shapeshifters, but the current system doesn’t allow a ban. Yet. Here’s the latest on MotoGP’s politics of technology
MotoGP rights-holder Dorna is running out of patience with the MSMA as it tries to get a grip on controversial technologies like shapeshifters.
Shapeshifters adjust the geometry of motorcycles exiting corners to improve traction and reduce wheelies, which limit acceleration. Ducati introduced this tech a few years ago, dropping the rear of its Desmosedici via a complex mechanical/hydraulic/pneumatic system (because electronic adjustments are banned). All the other factories followed. This year Ducati has a front-end shapeshifter that further reduces wheelies
Dorna originally approached the MSMA – the Motorcycle Sports Manufacturers Association, which represents all six MotoGP factories, and controls MotoGP’s technical rules – before the start of the season. It is concerned that shapeshifter tech is too complex, too costly and is spoiling the racing.
Five of the manufacturers agree with Dorna, but one doesn’t. (I’ll leave you to guess which is which.) The MSMA operates on a unanimity voting system, so rules are only written or dismissed if all six manufacturers agree. So one factory can dominate the regulations, against the wishes of the other five, or indeed against the wishes of all MotoGP’s interested groups.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.