Courtesy of Sharon Cox
Simon Crafar has wealth of experience, knowledge and down-right know-how on racing environment within SBK, WSBK and MotoGP Series. Having carved successful career competing in Europe for over a decade, Crafar knows more than most what change in dynamics on and off the track point to what lies ahead.
Straight up, racing in the world’s premier MotoGP class is tight as ever. Take MotoGP Qualifying results at Round 5 last weekend at Red Bull Ring- 5 tenths of a second separated top 12. Astounding. Question is: how do Teams, Brands and riders adjust to change in race dynamics given tip by Dorna to close gap of racing.
Simon: ‘Yes, teams have always looked for ways to win whether it be technically or through riders. The thing that has changed recently is how evenly matched it is now. This has placed more importance on qualifying’.
‘Many have the pace to win but if they can’t find how to do something extra special in qualifying, risking their bodies extra to do so, they are buried in the pack the first laps, the front group gets away, they can’t make up the time because it’s so even and they don’t achieve the result they have the potential to’.
Already 2020 MotoGP has seen 3 different winners across 4 Rounds, making variables of close racing, changes in circuits, tyre management, weather and what happens on race-day all impact Team and riders response on and off the track over the course of race weekends.
Which begs the question- what lies ahead for potential Moto3 and Moto2 riders whose performance is pushed to edge their career skywards racing under MotoGP manufacturer pits in the near future.
Simon: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a depth of talent like there is in Moto2 right now. It’s crazy. The guys on the 8th and 9th row have the potential to be race winners if things go their way for a weekend’.
‘So, to choose one that’s suitable to move up to the big class they need to win, but also I think they need to show they don’t fold under pressure and crash. This means if the bike tyres or set up isn’t good enough to win- bring it home fighting in the best place possible, don’t leave it on the gravel. Of course this happens sometimes but the next time they need to show they have learnt from it’.
‘Then, there is an amazing line up of talent in Moto 3 just itching to move up to Moto 2. I’ll repeat, I can’t remember ever seeing such depth of talent in riders ever’.
‘That is going to make it even harder to get from WSBK to MotoGP. Maybe one will do it, but that’s all I can really imagine. Yes the right passport will probably help that happen (if he comes from a country MotoGP goes to and MotoGP has nobody from there already)’.
‘If not, they need to be faster and cheaper to have even a chance. Nothing new, it’s how the world works’.
Suffice to say, Moto3 has 3 different winners over 5 Rounds with top 7 separated within one second in Race. Moto2 has placed 4 different winners on top step of podium over 5 Rounds along with total of 9 riders making their way onto podium.
If factors contributing to levelling of racing on grid across all 3 classes are confirmed in lap time stats, equal emphasis must be placed on the rise and success of KTM in pulling off ‘Brad Binder’ to take first ever win both for the Austrian manufacturer and himself as rookie in MotoGP 2020 season.
Does this win rattle other Brands? Or, was the writing on the wall that the ‘Ready to Race’ Brand whose accumulative success across number of Motorsport disciplines was going to achieve MotoGP victory at some point in time?
Simon: ‘Lol, yes it has. I don’t mean to say ‘I told you so’ but anyone who follows the coverage MotoGP gives would have heard me saying that ‘in 2020 I think KTM will achieve their best results in history so far’.
‘I’m not saying I’m clever, it was obvious for all in the paddock to see that the 2020 bike is a huge improvement and that all the KTM mechanics and riders are happy with it for the first time ever. It’s easy to then work out results are on the way. Also, I’m a big Binder fan 😊’.
‘Yes, KTM have now got themselves to a level that all riders would consider riding for them. Impressive’.
All of which adds to what has to be described as the only constant is change in the world of MotoGP.
MotoGP this weekend Grand Prix of Styria, Red Bull Ring, Austria.