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Thread: Improving Dying Road Racing

  1. #1
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    Improving Dying Road Racing

    I submit that road racing, whether AMA, Superbike or Moto GP is becoming increasingly boring and of less interest even to those who ride, let alone the rest of the world. Moto GP is on and I'm typing this because there isn't enough real racing to keep me interested. All the interesting racing these days is in Moto2 or 3 and we all know why those series are that way.

    Reluctantly, I have reached the conclusion that this sport at the highest level needs to be about BOTH the riders and brand loyalty as NASCAR has achieved, not about EITHER the brand (MotoGP) or the rider (eg Moto2) as it is presently.
    And it needs to achieve uniform rules across continents- AMA included..

    For starters in GP and "top" series
    1) Get rid of the claimer bikes now and forever. They're not even on screen and so far behind they ought to start a separate "race".
    2) Get rid of non-competitive riders whose competitive fires are gone or skills are toast. Hayden isn 't going to see another podium without everyone in front crashing and DePuniet's crashes are getting too close in number to his actual finishes. I don't care if every rider comes from Italy and Spain..Former multiple champion winners get exemptions only as long as their competitive fires burn hard as Rossi's still do...
    3) Dump electronic aids as much as possible. There is little difference in riding style in GP compared to Moto3, for example. Also, we're now seeing crashes precipitated by the electronics as riders push their boundaries and discover even repeatable electronics are made non-repeatable to a small extent by track variation.
    4) Set "racing contibution" rules for brands to be present on track. This would effectively ban BMW from AMA and put any brand that doesn't want to pay on notice that their attempt to freeload isn't welcome. Keep the barrier low enough to encourage doing something..
    5) Establish a serious engine program to equalize motors. Never though I'd say that as years ago racing improved street motors. But these days, we can make so much power so easily we really don't need power improvements for street bikes. It has worked well for NASCAR and even F1 is doing a better job of it than bike racing..
    6) Try paying some attention to audience development through TV marketing rather than going for greed for last few short term $. Superbike is on some TV channel no one has ever heard of and for sure has only a minimal US audience this year. GP and AMA run so few races each year its pathetic...
    7) Get commentators who have recently competed and know the racers personally to liven it up. Heck, I could replace the current guys watching the and talking about the tape and that's not saying much..
    8) Consider combining series and increasing frequency to improve series interest. There is little reason to have Superbike and GP separate any more unless the goal is to create a home for over the hill GP riders...

    I don't know who won today- wasn't paying attention.

    I hate NASCAR for some of its rules that create only the appearance of racing (eg green/white/checker, restrictor plates, TV related rules) but much of what they do has worked well.
    F-1 machines are amazing to watch up close and even their relaitvely modest rule changes have improved the actual competition.
    Anyone for pit stops in bike racing and races 2 or 3 tires long?? Does anyone believe fuel or engine number restrictions are really helping.??

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    I would like to see better coverage of all motorsports. I'm afraid it would interfere with all the reality TV shows OM
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  3. #3
    Interesting thread. I love NASCAR and love racing. Nothing is perfect but NASCAR has its act together.

    Motorcycle racing although possibly better than NASCAR with mostly left-turn style of racing will never move forward in this country and the reason is simple: this country has no interest in motorcycles period. The motorcycle industry in America is no more than a blip on the radar. In addition, Sprint Cup cars are extremely colorful and make for attractive eye candy while doing those left-turns and touching bumpers at 200 mph is pretty darn cool to most folks. With motorcycle racing you can barely see them as they go around the track and I am convinced that is part of the issue given the importance of the visual today.

    Last but probably not least is the corporate image or lack thereof. NASCAR relies on sponsorship to survive. The vast majority of the drivers out there make a pretty good corporate mouthpiece. Clean cut and proper fitting hats with brims pointing forward. Teams such as Hendrick, Gibbs and Michael Waltrip make as good a corporate image as you could possibly want. Motorcycle racers on the other hand are frequently the type of person corporations do not want representing them. Many look to be dressed out of the 'hood.

    If you want to appeal to America you need to fit the mold unless you're some type of rock star, reality TV star or a woman without a job such as Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. Although society elevates these people to incredible heights they are at best human garbage and these type of people, or people who look similar will probably never forward the cause of growth in the world of professional motorcycle racing. I used to love motorcycle racing but got hooked on NASCAR many years ago and don't pay any attention to the bike-side any longer.

    Bike week at Daytona has turned into nothing but parties and vendors selling direct to the customer. The racing has all but been forgotten about. NASCAR by having a repeatable schedule with frequency, by ensuring the cars remain competitive with each other, by offering up substantial racing action, and yea the left-turns get old by 3/4 of the way through the race sometimes, get's their product on TV to the masses, and at the end of the day that's what it is all about.

  4. #4
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    MotoGP and WSB have become so close in lap times that a merger, with some median rules but still loosely production-based, would increase field size and provide better competition. I'd hate to see prototype bikes disappear but the cost is clearly prohibitive for all but the biggest manufacturers (Honda and Yamaha - who else is competitive?)

    Motorcycle road racing in the US is always going to be a tough sell. Unlike Europe, where grands prix are mostly held within a few hundred miles of each other, the US is 3,000 miles wide. Only the most dedicated fans on the East Coast are going to get to Laguna Seca or Austin, TX and only small numbers of Californians will make a race in Indianapolis. Those of us on the East Coast have nothing, except AMA racing (don't get me started on that!)

    So I'd keep Moto2 and Moto3 as they are (great racing but, sadly, little brand identification) and make a MotoGP/WSB premiere class. I believe the same financial interests own both those series already?

    And have all bikes clearly labeled by brand. If you watch any racing you already know what brand Lorenzo and Marquez are riding, but why not have the manufacturers' names on the machines? One of the things that makes NASCAR work is the fierce brand loyalty of the fans, even though the cars are 99% the same under the paint (don't get me started on that!)

    Just my $.02.

    pete
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  5. #5
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    Nicely thought out ideas, Racer7.

    I can agree with most of them but I'll only touch on a few.

    1. Losing the electronic aids would severely reduce the costs of competing.
    2. Dumbing down the racing, like NASCAR, does not interest me in the least.
    3. WSBK racing is about to be greatly changed by the adoption of rules dictating fewer changes and standardized components (no more one-off forks, etc.) which should reduce some costs.
    4. As far as commentators and coverage are concerned, I subscribe to MotoGP and watch all practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions. The commentators are excellent - but it costs 99 Euros a year.
    5. I believe attendance in Austin was more than acceptable and I know that Laguna last year was excellent so apparently the product is well-liked.
    6. AMA is another story unto itself. They've been trying to run it like a NASCAR event for a number of years and look where its got them. No spectators and, worse, no competitors.
    7. Equalizing engine performance is a route in which none of the manufacturers would be interested. Yamaha, Honda and Ducati are pretty darn close right now, anyway.
    8. CRT bikes in MotoGP should be eliminated starting the next race.
    9. Omega Man is right.

  6. #6
    One Man Wolfpack Kent Niederhofer's Avatar
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    Moto Racing

    Issue number 1 above could be addressed by only allowing those electronic rider aids that are found on their homologated production equivalent bikes. I actually find motorcycle racing WSBK, MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 far more interesting than NASCAR where 40 cars that are identical below the sheet metal go around an oval for two hours and (hopefully) crash to create some excitement. Just my 0.02 Pfennig.

    Kent

  7. #7
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Such a good thread...so many topics...absolutely no time to explore till latter this week.

    Did you all see this tidbit?
    motogp.com: Dorna CEO explains the future of MotoGP

    I am late for a very important date.

    What are these reality shows Omega Man speaks of? Is a channel showing true racing?

    Ciao

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Niederhofer View Post
    Issue number 1 above could be addressed by only allowing those electronic rider aids that are found on their homologated production equivalent bikes. I actually find motorcycle racing WSBK, MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 far more interesting than NASCAR where 40 cars that are identical below the sheet metal go around an oval for two hours and (hopefully) crash to create some excitement. Just my 0.02 Pfennig.

    Kent
    Have you checked out the electronics package on a Ducati 1199 Panigale R? Significant intervention on a street bike, although I believe a lot of it is for homologation reasons.

  9. #9
    NASCAR dumbed down...? In what respect? I'm not sure 7-post's and CNC machines and engineering degrees equal dumbed down. Despite lacking the electronics found within some series, which I happen to think is a good thing, NASCAR is actually a very sophisticated sport. And, although going in circles might be considered boring it's actual beneficial to race spectators as they typically can see all or most of the track. My favorite sport is actually desert racing but as a spectator sport it totally sucks. For racing to be successful it must bring in a mass audience. If you can't pull that off you're going nowhere. Given the spectator count NASCAR does a pretty good job.

    As to crashing... real race fans don't want nor need to see crashes. Crashes kill people sometimes and that is not want I'm there for. I want to see passing and bumpers touching and trading paint. Open wheel cars just don't seem to have the same level of excitement most of the time due to their inability to pass all too often. The level of electronics makes me wonder who or what is actually controlling the car. IMO I want it to clearly be the driver as opposed to the latest and trickest electronic gizmo. Maybe old fashioned?

    Despite some of the negative comments NASCAR attracts I doubt many of us could go out and drive one of those cars at over 200 mph. They do take skill and lots of it despite turning left most of the time.

  10. #10
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mika View Post
    Such a good thread...so many topics...absolutely no time to explore till latter this week.
    Not so good IMHO as most of this appears complaining for the purpose of complaining.

    I watched MotoGP at Austin and at no time did the CRT bikes detract from the show. In fact they were field fillers in the sense that without them there would have been massive gaps in the action waiting 2-3 minutes for packs of 10 to come around. It's "bonus" racing in a sense, as there are two separate races in one, perhaps similar to sports cars where nobody complains about it.

    At no time did "electronics" detract from anything and it's incredibly disingenuous to criticize them. This because of safety concerns is likely the one thing that will prevent motorcycling from disappearing altogether. It's not for nothing that all BMW are now ABS equipped. They'll all be traction control equipped quite soon, too. Marquez' electronics-controlled airbag suit saved him, didn't it? Too much anti-technology associated with USA racing and manufacturing and the USA is wallowing in crap like Harleys and Jeeps as a result. No thanks.

    To state GP2 or 3 is better racing is like saying the minor leagues are better baseball and is simply ridiculous. Racing is about the guys that have made it to the top and it's pretty normal that some might be hanging on. These series are for the most part spec racing and almost as pathetic as a result as Indycar. Again, anti-technology is of no interest. Somebody's not paying attention if he thinks NASCAR more "generic" and low tech than Indycar and an all one engine bike racing series is similar. Gee, why not put them on 883s? I might concede spec racing might be a good way to identify upcoming talent, but it will never be top level racing. And beware of those "good ol boy" accents-- think of them as "stealth."

    My biggest problem with MotoGP is the difficulty identifying which driver is which as they go by. Sitting in stands numbers are invisible and teammates seem to wear pretty similar leathers and helmets. Requiring fans to be "nerds" that know all the subtleties is not a good approach.
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    .............

    At no time did "electronics" detract from anything and it's incredibly disingenuous to criticize them. This because of safety concerns is likely the one thing that will prevent motorcycling from disappearing altogether. It's not for nothing that all BMW are now ABS equipped. They'll all be traction control equipped quite soon, too. Marquez' electronics-controlled airbag suit saved him, didn't it? Too much anti-technology associated with USA racing and manufacturing and the USA is wallowing in crap like Harleys and Jeeps as a result. No thanks............
    Having safety-related electronics built into street vehicles is logical. However, calling for driver skill to adjust his/her brake bias in a Cup car is just that, an important driver skill. I imagine today's electronics could replace the driver in this particular example but I do believe it is one of the factors in successful Cup racing.

    You could also build automatic jacks into a Cup car thereby immediately getting all 4 wheels in the air. IMO forcing a crew member to handle the jack makes things far more interesting. There are various examples of this nature. Helps to put human skill and/or mistakes into the mix and makes for better racing IMO. YMMV.

  12. #12
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    A pit stop post then back to racing to work.

    Good thread comment was targeted at the topic, content quality remains an open topic.

    There are many moving parts in what makes for good racing. One that is too often overlooked is the track. MC racing at the premier levels of any class is done on tracks intended for cage racing. They are overly wide etc to try and allow cages to get around each other. The result for MC racing is speed rather than skill too often spreads the field out resulting in little wheel to wheel racing.

    CRT bikes have not hindered racing or been the huge safety concern. I do think MotoGP has botched the system. I thought they were heading in the direction of Moto3 developing riders, Moto2 a chassis designer class with one engine intended to refine racing chassis and hone rider skills at a higher speed with MotoGP ending up along the lines of F1 with custom chassis developed by teams and the manufacturers being engine suppliers based on a homologation rule. I still think the concept has potential but has not been packaged well in real racing.

    This pit stop is taking too long.

  13. #13
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    Woo boy, a thread that finally gets my attention

    At first blush i will add my two cents;

    NAPCAR , yep that's right; I call it like I see it. We used to be huge fans , went to races when we could, taped all the others back in the day, waited for all the latest racing news.
    Now it has become so over exposed it's almost worse the American Chopper
    Do we really care how long DW can yammer on with Larry Mac about stuff that neither can explain clearly ?
    Boogity Boogity , jeesh how lame.

    Does anyone really care who Danica is keeping company with ?
    What does this have to do with racing ???????

    I'll stop here, and reload for my take on the AMA how they have systematically destroyed any chance for motorcycle racing in this country to become popular, then I'll speak up about Moto GP ( hint, the only interesting thing in Moto GP today is in Moto 3).

    You asked, now be prepared for my take.

    Doug

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by 40427 View Post
    Woo boy, a thread that finally gets my attention

    At first blush i will add my two cents;

    NAPCAR , yep that's right; I call it like I see it. We used to be huge fans , went to races when we could, taped all the others back in the day, waited for all the latest racing news.
    Now it has become so over exposed it's almost worse the American Chopper
    Do we really care how long DW can yammer on with Larry Mac about stuff that neither can explain clearly ?
    Boogity Boogity , jeesh how lame.

    Does anyone really care who Danica is keeping company with ?
    What does this have to do with racing ???????

    I'll stop here, and reload for my take on the AMA how they have systematically destroyed any chance for motorcycle racing in this country to become popular, then I'll speak up about Moto GP ( hint, the only interesting thing in Moto GP today is in Moto 3).

    You asked, now be prepared for my take.

    Doug
    I don't know how much blame is fair to heap on AMA. This country has no interest in motorcycles. Heck, even the vast majority of motorcyclists don't ride their bikes every day. Too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy. You name it the excuses spew forth. America is not a motorcycle nation. I doubt it will ever be. As average fuel mileage increases on cars I just don't see America adopting use of the motorcycle. Most male riders won't even consider commuting on their bike; how many females do you think will commute? I can tell you for fact the answer to that question is darn near zero. Nope, as exciting as motorcycle racing can be it has no future to speak of in the USA.

  15. #15
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    As a charter life member of the AMA and former racer /tuner ,
    I admit I have an axe to grind with them and the way they; administer/support/dictate /control/races and the racers.

    Their own internal mess is something out of a soap opera.

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