Wayne’s World: Combine MotoGP And WSBK

| June 13, 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.GREAT WEATHER FOR DUCKS

It’s been 25 long years since I won in the pouring rain at Silverstone, and it’s good to see that nothing’s changed. As we saw from last night’s British MotoGP, the UK is still a very wet and very cold place to ride a motorcycle. I’m told the sun does come out sometimes, but I suspect that’s just wishful thinking. Seriously though, a great result from Casey Stoner who managed to match his race number with his 27th MotoGP victory. With the conditions the way they were, I thought he may have decided to play it safe and just ride for points further down the field.

But clearly, his confidence level and understanding of the bike is at an all-time high. His dominant success in the rain can be explained by one simple equation: fantastic rider + amazing dirt track skills + revolutionary motorcycle = crushing victory. No one can match him at the moment – certainly not Jorge Lorenzo, who surprised me greatly with his early exit. It looks like he just lost a bit of weight off the rear and that was enough to trigger a big highside. He’s very lucky he wasn’t injured. Of that whole second group, I thought Dovizioso put in his best ride of the year so far. He acted like a high-speed roadblock for Stoner, frustrating Lorenzo and later Marco Simoncelli into big mistakes.

Speaking of which, the crash prone antics of the hard-charging Italian are starting to wear a little thin. Marco just doesn’t seem to get it. He had a podium in the bag and just had to take it a bit easier. Instead the red mist descended and he found himself on the ground yet again. The guy is an amazing talent and I really want to see him winning, but he just seems incapable of learning from past mistakes. He needs to take a cold shower before he really hurts himself.NEW WORLD ORDER

Has the time finally come to combine MotoGP and World Superbikes into one series? I know it sounds crazy, but let’s think about it for a minute. Like it or not, the world economy remains in a fragile state and motorcycle sales and manufacturer profits are down significantly. As a result, companies are finding it much harder to justify the millions required to fund race departments. Added to this is the issue of sponsorship, which is much harder to come by as many companies look to tighten their belts. These are all facts of life that aren’t likely to change any time soon. Then there’s the state of the current MotoGP grid – just 15 or so bikes, and sometimes less if riders are injured. Over in Supers, grid numbers are certainly higher, but most of the field look like they belong in a BSB race or at a track day rather than on the world stage.

Why not consolidate the best parts of both shows and create a super series, with MotoGP bikes and the very best Superbikes doing battle with each other? Yes, to an extent it would be a two-tier competition, but I think it’s a far better option than the introduction of CRT bikes in MotoGP next year. Can you imagine TV commentators trying to explain those complex rules to viewers? It’s going to be extremely confusing for most people and I think it’s fair to say that these entries won’t add much to the show.

The Supers, however, could provide a great championship race within a race, as the very best talent from that class would ensure amazing action right through the field. Maybe a different coloured number plate system could be used to identify the two different classes, the way it used to be in the 1980s. The other major advantage of a single series would be the appeal to sponsors. No longer having to choose between one or the other, they could put all their eggs in the one basket. This would all help strengthen top-flight motorcycle racing as a global entertainment spectacle and ensure its health long into the future.

Now, I know there’s no chance of this happening any time soon, but one day it simply may have to. If anyone else out there has any ideas of how to boost grid numbers and increase the popularity of motorcycle racing’s premier classes, I’d love to hear from you via Twitter@TheWayneGardner.


Wayne Gardner