The MotoGP riders, 75% of them world champions in some category, have reached the conclusion, given the enormous sophistication and technology with which their motorcycles are equipped, all of them official from the firms Honda, Yamaha, Ducati, Aprilia , KTM and GasGas, which the vast majority of their chances of finishing on the podium or in the top-5 of each grand prix focus on perform a great ‘quali’ and, above all, play it, take risks, in the first two or three laps of each race, be it the sprint test on Saturday or the GP on Sunday. “Once those laps are over,” says Maverick Viñales (Aprilia), “if you’re not in the leading group, your chances of overtaking and being on the podium are almost zero.”
Four Grand Prix, eight races have been held, and the World Cup has already suffered losses as important, as prestigious, as high-level as Marc Márquez, the eight-time world champion; Enea Bastianini, one of the revelations of last year; Pol Espargaró, the champion who returned to KTM-GasGas to strengthen his team and Dr. Miguel Oliveira, winner of several Grand Prix and reinforcement of Aprilia. All for spectacular accidents in the first few laps of several of those races, at ‘sprint’ and without ‘sprint’.
impossible to overtake
The riders on the MotoGP grid have acknowledged to El Periódico, from the Prensa Ibérica group, that their motorcycles are so perfect, so sophisticated, so modern, so perfect, so efficient, that they lack one of the most important qualities in racing: they do not allow flashy overtaking. There are, they say, two fundamental reasons. One, the front tire overheats when they are behind a rival and, two, the aerodynamics work in favor of stability, but against the show by preventing overtaking.
“You play 75% of the podium in the ‘quali’ on Saturday and the other 25% at the start and in the first two laps”
“You play 75% of the podium in qualifying on Saturday at noon and the other 25% at the start and the first two or, at most, three laps, then, if you’re far from the front, if you’re in the middle of the pack, forget it, you can’t finish in the top five anymore”, commented Maverick Viñales (Aprilia), until now one one of the most regular riders in this start of the World Cup.
‘MVK’, a teammate of the veteran and brilliant Aleix Espargaró in the official Aprilia team, tells of his experience at the Jerez GP. “My motorcycle, after two laps, could not be riddenbecause the front tire overheated. There is no choice but to qualify well or play it hard at the start. And, of course, that desire to get into the front group as soon as possible makes you a much more aggressive driver than normal and, yes, that attitude may lead to more errors and crashes. But, I insist, if you stay in the ‘little train’ behind, the race is over for you, the front wheels get hot, the bike doesn’t turn. A disaster and even you can fall alone. If someone aspires to win, he must come out ahead, there is no other ”.
When the eldest of the Espargarós is asked if he also believes that the first three laps of the race are vital, he answers forcefully: “What if they are vital? They are everything, everything. The first three laps are 85% of the race. If you are much superior, as ‘Pecco’ has been in some races, or you have the DNA of the KTM, which can speed up the braking a lot going into the corners, you can overtake, but I, who this year have been faster in several races, have not been able to overtake. The same thing happens to Fabio with the Yamaha”.
“We are all very close and the start is dangerous because the first laps are run at a frenetic pace”
“Well yes, I also think that it is very, very, very difficult to overtake and, therefore, yes, the first two or three laps become the only moment to try to get to the top”, says Jorge Martín (Ducati), who He usually always sneaks between the first two rows as he always qualifies very well in the final Q2 as he is one of the fastest MotoGP riders in a single lap. “I say that the start and the first two laps are the ideal moment because, sometimes, you catch someone clueless, or that they have gone wrong. Everything is much closer but, yes, everything becomes a real danger. We are all very close, the bikes are very similar and the pace, from the moment the light goes out, is frantic”.