MotoGP has undergone a remarkable evolution in recent years. With the stability of the regulation, the bikes have become more and more competitive. This means that the differences are much smaller, but also that there are more and more drivers capable of winning.
Enea Bastianini beat factory Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia last weekend in an older spec (from 2021). According to motorcycle legend Giacomo Agostini, there is one milestone missing in MotoGP. “I don’t think there is that much of a problem with the show, but the public needs a point of reference,” Agostini said in exclusive statements to Motorsport.com during the Assen Classic GP.
“Bagnaia wins, Bastianini wins, a rookie can win. There are several drivers who are capable of winning, but they can also be 10th in the next race. So people wonder who is really good. It’s too random. But the battles are not wrong”.
“It is evident that today we have a lot of technology, and everyone has access to the same material. I don’t think there are 23 Maradona, 23 Verstappen or 23 Muhammed Ali on the grid. You see that everyone is in a second, and that It’s crazy.”
The pilot makes less and less of a difference, observes Agostini. “By having a lot of technology, the engine becomes very important. If a small detail is missing in the engine, the bike is not going to work, even if you are a great champion. For others, it is getting easier to move forward; it is. In my At that time, wrist control was very important, it was the pilot who was in charge. Now, the electronics take control immediately, and it no longer depends on the pilot. We have also seen that a lot of work has been done to get more and more power “.
Also, as the speed increases , the safety of the circuits comes into question. The Red Bull Ring in Austria, for example, has already been modified after the heavy accident in 2020, in which Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli were involved. “We improved the engine, we have 290 hp but then we put a chicane in the middle of a straight to take speed away. So why do we spend so much money looking for more power and speed, if we are going to put a chicane later?”
“In some circuits, the MotoGPs don’t even get to engage sixth gear. Many circuits are still the same as in my time. There is more security, more space, but the track is still the same. Before it was very beautiful. It is a complicated problem “.
The solution is simple, thinks Agostini. “We have to give more power to the riders. The show is not necessarily good because the engine has 300 hp. In my time we did not have 300 hp, but the show was good. Valentino Rossi did not have such powerful bikes in his career, but it attracted a lot of attention. You and I make the show, it’s about the people. Not because a bike is very fast. It doesn’t matter if you do the laps in 2.05 or 2.10. You want a duel. The 200,000 people in the stands are not sitting with him stopwatch. It’s important to see battles or else the pilots can’t put on a show.”
“If we reduce the power a bit, the engines also become less dangerous. The drivers have to brake hard to get a 160-kilogram engine to go from 300 kilometers per hour to a normal speed. But if you crash, the engine goes like a bullet. That’s very dangerous. If you reduce the power, you increase safety, the tire holds better. Who wins then? The best driver. That’s what we want.”
Sprint races are especially stressful for mechanics and teams
The MotoGP organization is facing declining viewing figures and less interest in grand prix following the withdrawal of Valentino Rossi. In recent weeks it has been announced that, starting next season, a sprint race will be held on Saturday afternoon of every weekend. Agostini does not believe that the sprint races are necessarily bad for the championship, but he does believe that the other categories will be affected.
“I don’t know,” says Agostini with a sigh, when asked about the arrival of sprint races. “Maybe it could become like Formula 1, but we already have three categories, with Moto3 and Moto2. That’s a lot. In my time, I also raced several races in 350cc and 500cc. But that was just the rider who did several races. It would also be feasible for a rider to race now in Moto2 and MotoGP. You can race in two displacements. It will not be difficult to prepare the bike for both Saturday and Sunday. Now it is the same bike that has to be prepared for both Saturday and Sunday races.
Agostini also raced in various categories at the time : “But it was a maximum of 24 races a year. Now there are 42, which is quite a lot. Not only for the drivers, but especially for the teams and the mechanics. We have to see what impact it has maybe it’s good.”
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