Part 1 – The Factory of Champions: let’s slow down the assembly line


Motorcycles have never been and never will be a safe sport. But this can be said of other non-motorized human activities. What matters, however, is that everything is always done to minimize the risks. And from this point of view in two- and four-wheel motorsport, a lot has been done.

In the past year, however, motorcycle racing has been in the spotlight for three fatal accidents. with a dynamic almost identical to that of the young riders: the Swiss Jason Dupasquier, 19, at Mugello during Moto3, 14-year-old Spaniard Hugo Millan in Aragon in the CEV ‘European Talent’, and finally Dean Berta Vinales, 15, in the ES300 in Jerez, during the weekend of the Superbike World Championship.

The young age of the runners made it even more difficult to endure three tragedies in a short period of time. This is something that made us reflect, in addition to a stricter application of the rules to avoid borderline racing behavior, on the need for this race, which is always more advanced in the search for young talents. All this to fuel the MotoGP furnace.

In fact, while in the past each category had its own equal dignity, live off his own champions – an example for all: the 13 times world champion Angel Nieto, champion of the minor categories – now it seems that only by competing between heavyweights can this be achieved.

It’s wrong, of course, but “escaping” – what can we call it anything else? – from Moto3 to Moto2 to arrive more and more quickly in MotoGP has meant the creation of numerous nursery championships aimed at “fueling” the Moto3 and allowing it, each year, to train “champions” to pass in front of the managers of the best categories.

Dorna has professionalized the bike, but the image is not everything

The impetus for this new way of conceiving the competition bike obviously comes from Dorna, the company that manages the MotoGP, World Superbike and CEV world championship, which has become a kind of Junior World Championship thanks to the FIM. In practice, the entire global supply chain is in the hands of the Spanish company.

It is to him that we owe the professionalization of motorcycle racing, which in reality has changed a lot since his arrival: at that time people came to motorcycles out of passion, and keeping newcomers at a “low” level were the champions of the category, but today they get there to make it a racing profession. Preferably very profitable. And since the image takes precedence over the results, the “runners” are all perfect, each with their own nickname, favorite number, advertising graphics, etc. This even before they have proven themselves.

To this is added that the various nursery championships are not contested on unknown circuits, but in most cases included in world events. This is something that cannot fail to make many aspiring champions believe that they have already “arrived”.

Too much attention promotes immeasurable growth of ego and aggression

This promotes ego growth and stimulates aggressive behavior, because “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

And time, much more than in the past, passes quickly!

After 20 years, you are already almost at the limit, to be able to take new steps forward. There is no time! There is no time! This seems to be the categorical imperative of forging talented young people who aspire to MotoGP, almost as if it is the only outlet!

The reasoning that invalidates the whole “assembly line” of the road to MotoGP is that it always takes new faces, new characters, new stories, to attract fans, when it is exactly the opposite: fans love and applaud the serial winner, as the eternal finalist, rather than the underdog.

In this, motor racing, with its many categories, is very different: F1 is certainly a flagship, but not the only outlet. It allows for less exasperated careers doomed to the highest category, and if you don’t participate, it’s not seen as a failure.

The mission of the Viegas FIM is to slow down the assembly line

In this direction, a lot, really a lot of work now awaits Jorge Viegas’ FIM, himself a former private rider who should be familiar with all of this, and whose task is to promote the sport of two-wheelers in its entirety, and not just as a precursor of MotoGP.

While it is true that Dorna acts out of interest, and that in some cases her private interest coincides with that of motorcycle racing, one has to reason that this is not always the case.

The task of the FIM does not stop there: it must professionalize, from the minor categories, the judges called upon to control the behavior of the young riders. This is to prevent bad habits from higher categories being taken as an example by young athletes in the training phase of their career.

Uncini and inevitable accidents: intervening on the conditions that made them more frequent

It may be true what Franco Uncini said, that a certain type of motorcycle accident is inevitable, but where it is necessary to intervene, it is on the conditions which made them less possible, but far too frequent: an excessive number of starters, incorrect behavior which is not stigmatized and also (why not?), an excessive equalization performance bike (this also created to promote the show).

It is simply not true that with bikes of equivalent performance, the growth of champions is fostered: talent and commitment always emerge. You have to have the courage to slow down the assembly line of champions, this way we will not only have Spaniards and Italians on the starting grid.

And now, let’s see HERE what are the transition categories.


About Todd Wurtsbach

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