MotoGP Editorial: Bring Back The War

Michael Scott | September 17, 2013

Marc Marquez has demonstrated much this season. He proved something else at Silverstone: that when you are 20 years old, you bounce. He dislocated his collarbone in the morning, and came back the same afternoon, failing to win by inches.

This is very much the year of the collarbone, in the same way it is the year of the Spanish triumvirate. All three of them have now sustained some sort of clavicle injury: but Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa suffered for weeks thereafter, the former’s heroic post-surgery return at Assen notwithstanding. Anyway, he only finished fifth rather than battling for the win.

More important is to ask why they crashed. In Marquez’s case, it happened in morning warm-up, and he was one of five to go down in the 20-minute session. In fact he followed Cal Crutchlow so directly that his bike almost took out the marshals recovering the English rider’s Yamaha, earning the oft-punished Spaniard yet more sanction in the form of two penalty points for failing to spot the yellow flags.

It happened at Vale corner, where Michele Pirro had crashed his Ducati a few minutes earlier. In the same session, Nicky Hayden and Yonny Hernandez also fell.

All for more or less the same reason: hard Bridgestone tires on a cold track. Far from the first time this syndrome has been observed this year: Pedrosa’s collarbone cruncher in Germany was for the same reason, and there have been a large number of other victims.

Tires are almost always the weakest link in the rider’s chain of command (unless you’re Ben Spies, in which case almost anything could happen, including a frame breakage, or complete collapse of the rear suspension).

Even before the control tire era began in 2009, riders have always complained about tires. The words may be guarded for reasons of contract, but about the best you ever get is that the tires were “okay.”

Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor

Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.