Moto 2 Coming Up Number 1 For Entertainment
The new FIM approved Moto2 Championship may only be two races old, but already it has managed to create quite a stir in the motorsport sector.
Several journalists, insiders and fans, including myself were slightly sceptical and critical about some of the proposed changes to the quarter litre class for 2010, but I’m pleased to report that after two fascinating and exhilarating races I’ll gladly eat humble pie and say that Dorna have managed to formulate a Championship that should open up doors to a far greater array of motorcycle riders.
Formerly to compete successfully in the quarter litre class you needed an astronomical budget to purchase the best equipment from factories like Aprilia and Honda as young British contenders Eugene Laverty and Chaz Davies found out to their cost. This created a rather two tiered championship, where only the top teams with blue chip sponsors could afford to purchase the equipment needed to compete successfully for the championship, and these riders were often reserved for the talented Spanish or Italian riders who had wealthy connections.
Now with the new regulations, which overseas the use of a specification engine supplied by Honda and specification ECU, teams can instead spend their money on the important aspects of competing like rider budgets, chassis development and configuration and team personnel.
There have been a number of difficult potholes that series organisers Dorna have had to avoid since the inception of the new Championship. Firstly there was a challenge from the World Superbike and Supersport paddock, who claimed that they had been given exclusive access to run a production championship. Honda and Dorna has managed to dodge this bullet by claiming that the engines are in fact unique although many sources claim that they aren’t that far removed from Honda CBR600 engines.
It seems as though Paolo Flammini has a legitimate claim on against the new series with the number of competitors entering into the World Supersport series at a particularly low number. Another issue that the new Championship had to sidestep was the early telemetry that suggested that the new Moto2 bikes were slow in comparison to their World Supersport counterparts. However, all of that talk went out the window when 40 bikes roared down to turn 1 under the lights of Qatar at the start of April. It really was a wonderful sight and sound to behold.
It has also provided a platform for some unknown talent to shine on the brightest stage. Very few people will openly admit that they knew about Shoya Tomizawa before the opening race at Qatar and yet he has without doubt been the star performer in the class so far, outshining his more established former MotoGP counterparts of Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias. Obviously the Championship will continue to develop over the course of the season and it will be interesting to see if normal service is resumed when new riders are signed in 2011 or whether new blood will again be given a chance to shine.
Obviously there will be running rule changes throughout the inaugural season, already organisers are looking at strengthening the integrity of the crank cases after Tomizawa’s broken case caused a mass pile up in Jerez. When you have close racing as displayed in the opening two races the last thing you want is leaking fluids reducing traction for the mass melee behind.
What has been extremely refreshing to watch has been the sheer aggressive nature of the machines, far from being the smooth and controlled 250cc machines, which preceded them, the new 600cc beasts have been slipping and sliding around like the old 990cc MotoGP bikes and it makes for great television.
Moto2 has certainly proved to be a success in the entertainment stakes, will it still help to provide MotoGP with the mass talent pool of smooth and controlled riders? That remains to be seen. Will World Supersport fight back against the series or will Moto2 kill it off? These are all questions we will have to wait to find out. But if you haven’t watched a Moto2 race yet, then make sure you turn in this weekend to the race in France, it won’t disappoint.