Wayne’s World: The Weight Issue

| April 11, 2011


Former 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner will be offering his GP insights on a regular basis to cyclenews.com readers… and we’re happy to have him. For more from the Wollongong Wonder, visit his website at www.waynegardnerapproved.com.au.A WEIGHTY ISSUE

I received a question via Twitter during last week’s Spanish MotoGP regarding my thoughts on a combined minimum weight limit in the premier class. I think it’s a good idea. It’s worked really well in 125s and could also have significant benefits when we switch to 1000cc capacity next year. It’s a great way of ensuring competitive racing and I think it’s something Dorna should definitely look at. The idea of a combined minimum weight limit is that a rider and bike combination must meet a certain pre-determined weight. If they’re under this limit, ballast must be added to the machine to make up the shortfall.

This way, no rider gains an advantage from being physically smaller than another. Yes, it might seem unfair to small riders, but MotoGP should be all about creating the best show possible. Anyway, while someone like Dani Pedrosa may find a heavier bike more difficult to manhandle in the later stages of a race, there could also be an upside. Because ballast can be placed anywhere on the bike, added weight could theoretically be used to improve things like front or rear-end grip. But even if a weight limit is introduced, you can bet that the best riders will still be the ones out the front fighting for victory.

The other thing about a combined minimum weight limit is that it’ll also keep manufacturer costs down. If a minimum limit is introduced, it’ll mean that factories stand to gain no advantage whatsoever by using the latest, lightest, most expensive, state-of-the-art materials available. It just won’t be necessary, so they might as well use cheaper materials such as aluminium. This alone will drastically reduce the cost of designing, building and developing a modern MotoGP racer. This in turn will also lead to the likelihood of larger grids, which is something that’s greatly needed at present.


Well, it’s finally time to get Team Gardner’s 2011 racing campaign underway. To start the ball rolling, Remy and I leave for Barcelona this Saturday for testing and the first round of the Spanish CMV championship at Parcmotor the following weekend. I can’t believe it’s finally time to go. How fast is this year going already? Anyway, this will be the first of eight trips to Spain this year, so it’ll be good to get it out of the way and acquaint Rem with what the rest of the season will entail. He’s raring to go. So am I, even if I am a bit nervous.

We won’t be going in totally cold, though. This Wednesday we head down to Marulan Training Centre for a day of practice. It’s been a few months since Remy and Luca have thrown their legs over a road racer, so this outing will be a great way of getting them used to it all again. On the same weekend Remy races in Spain, Luca will be at Mac Park in South Australia with my good friend and engine-building ace Tony Hatton for the first round of the MRRDA junior championship. Luca’s in good hands – he never wants to listen to dad, anyway. Amazingly, I’ll soon be in the situation where both my kids will be racing on opposite sides of the world at virtually the same time. It’s something that will make me very proud, not to mention tired.

Truth be told, I’ve never been busier – even when I was actually doing the racing myself. Between trying to get sponsors for the boys, preparing their road and dirt bikes and driving all over the countryside to organise everything that needs to be organised, there’s not been much time left for anything else. As you can probably imagine, getting ready for Luca and Remy to race in different locations simultaneously has been a huge logistical exercise. It’s like owning two racing teams and there’s a huge amount of behind-the-scenes effort that goes in. To give you an example, I’ve just spent the last three-days in the garage preparing bikes. In fact, I’m thinking of moving a bed and fridge in there to save time.

Making things even more fun is my house renovations, which have now been going on for 12 months. What was I thinking there? Never again, let me tell you. But it gets better. We have to move out in three-weeks so the job can be finished. Want a tip? Don’t live in your house while you renovate it. Live in a tent if you have to. Or a tree. It’ll be worth it. Anyway, it’s certainly going to be a challenging and stressful year. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it. Right now I just want the racing to start. I know that some great adventures and hopefully some great results will make everything worthwhile.

Wayne Gardner