Even though they’ve been around for quite some time now, electronic rider aids in MotoGP are still something of a controversial subject. The younger lot of riders doesn’t seem to have a problem with these, while the old school contingent, by and large, tends to think all electronics are evil.
John Surtees, the only man ever to win world championships in motorcycling racing’s premier class as well as F1, recently spoke out against the use of electronics in racing. Speaking to MCN, the ex-world champ, now 74 years old, said that the increasing influence of electronics is spiraling out of control, and that advances in electronic rider aids spells grave danger for modern-era world championship racing.
‘I think it’s a very dangerous period for motorcycling. On one hand, you’ve got the manufacturers, who are all intent on carrying out research and development, which is what top grade motorsport should be for, which they can pass on to their customers to make their machines safer.
But on the other, we do have a requirement to bring that wonderful relationship which can exist between man and machine. There’s something very special about coming together and taking a machine to its limit and a little bit beyond it at times,’ said Surtees.
Earlier, top riders like Valentino Rossi, Kevin Schwantz and Kenny Roberts have spoken against the increasing influence of riders aids, saying that these make racing ‘boring,’ and that electronics evens out the field for everyone, leaving no advantage for genuinely talented riders, and negating the importance of rider input, which is what premier class racing should be all about.
‘It is something where I think there should be a reaching of an accord between manufacturers and promoters, relative to where research and development finishes and where the entertainment factor and the relationship between a machine and a rider is maintained.
‘There needs to be a compromise, because you can’t have a situation where you just wind it open and let the electronics do all the work. That’s, well, a little frightening,’ said Surtees.
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