Rossi: “Superbike Races More Entertaining Than Ours”
Written by: Dennis Noyes
He came to Jerez having already clinched his sixth title in the premier class, his first after a two-year dry spell. After finishing third, taking his 16th podium of the 180race season, Valentino Rossi, sat with a group of Latin journalists following the formal press conference and gave a frank evaluation of the current state of MotoGP racing:
“I sincerely believe today has been the most boring race of the year. Unfortunately each of us had his pace and instead of closing up we just got farther apart. It has been two years now since there has been a last-lap overtaking for the lead and that is worrying for our championship and for motorcycle racing. I can speak now that I am World Champion again, because if I had spoken out about this last year people would have said that I was saying this because I had lost. The difference is this year we whipped them all good. Look, I don’t know if the single tire rule is the correct answer to resolve this problem. Maybe there are other ways. I believe the electronics on our bikes are too sophisticated; development goes on and on and this means that the situation can get even worse. But it is evident that since the arrival of the 800cc bikes the races are more boring than with the 990s, although it is also true that this circuit (Valencia) does not contribute to close racing. I hope future circuits are not designed like this one."
Motorcycle racing has always been differentiated from F1 because it is more exciting, but lately…
"I don’t think that we are as boring yet as F1 and there is still a big difference, but the technology, the evolution of the tires, and the electronics…this certainly does not help the show. The bikes are always more perfect and you can always go faster, but the faster you can go the more likely you are to be riding alone."
But can you even race these bikes without electronics?
"These motors are made knowing that that these electronics are available so I believe that their power delivery would be too complicated to control. But I think it wouldn’t be a bad thing to take a step back and concentrate more on sweetening the power delivery even if this caused a loss of some power. But it seems that the engineers don’t want to even hear of that, so we’ll have to race with the bikes that they give us.
(Then, smiling he went on): "The race today was so boring that I almost fell off at Doohan corner to give some excitement!”
Have you ever ridden a Superbike in order to understand a bit if they are harder to ride or not?
“It was in an earlier time, but I rode a Superbike at the Suzuka 8 Hours twice, the factory VTR, and it really was too much! I had a lot of fun. You come out of corners with the bike sideways like the Beautiful Holy Mother! Even though it had less power than a 500 or a 990, it was really beautiful. If you watch the Superbike races today you see that they are clearly more entertaining than ours. I really like to watch Superbike a lot because they're battling and I love a good fight. But this is the F1 of motorcycle racing where they work more in new technology, and so it is normal that we have it like this. With the Superbikes you have to ride another way -- it doesn’t work to be smooth like here, what counts is control of the bike…courage!”
These are not new sentiments. Privately Rossi has said for some time that traction control is ruining MotoGP racing, but now that he has regained the title Carmelo Ezpeleta can expect to hear more frequent and more vocal criticisms of a championship that has not seen a single last-lap overtaking since the penultimate race of 2006 when Toni Elias gunned down both Kenny Roberts Junior and Valentino Rossi on the final lap to win the Portuguese Grand Prix.