220mph MotoGP bikes not dangerously fast, say Rossi and Stoner

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 16 August 2011 11:14

Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner reckon the predicted top speeds of close to 220mph from the new generation 1000cc bikes won’t make MotoGP too dangerous.

Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo said he anticipates top speeds on fast tracks with long straights like Qatar, Mugello and Catalunya could hit 350kph (217mph) after he got his first ride on Yamaha’s new 1000cc MotoGP bike in Brno yesterday.

The reason the old 990cc four-strokes were abolished in favour of the current 800cc bikes in 2007 was because of fears that top speeds had reached dangerous levels and too many bikes were reaching the perimeter fencing at some tracks.

But the smaller capacity 800s hardly improved safety, not least because corner speeds were so much higher where most crashes occur in racing.

MCN asked nine-times world champion Rossi for his opinion on the potential top speeds of the 1000s in 2012 in the Czech Republic yesterday (Monday).

Rossi is well placed to judge how fast the new bikes might go on super fast tracks after he tested Ducati’s new GP12 at Mugello earlier this season.

He told MCN: "It is f*****g fast. When I try the bike in Mugello, when I arrived at the end of the straight I was laughing. It is very fast but I think it is ok. Maybe we are close to the limit at 350 but it doesn’t change very much. What changes more is the acceleration from the corners."

Current MotoGP world championship leader Stoner has also played down the risks of MotoGP bikes running at well in excess of 210mph.

The highest official speed in MotoGP was at Mugello in 2009 when Dani Pedrosa’s 800cc RC212V machine hit a phenomenal 349.288kph (217.03mph). The fastest ever 990cc speed was an unofficial 215.86mph set by Loris Capirossi for Ducati during winter testing at Catalunya in 2004.

Aussie Stoner, who topped the timesheets in Brno yesterday, said: "Why is high speed too much? This was the theory in the past that there was too much speed and it was too dangerous. That’s not the truth. With 800s in fact it is more dangerous to arrive in the wall than with a 1000. You have to brake earlier with the higher speed and I think it is definitely not more dangerous. We should be able to arrive at 350kph. We’ve progressed from where we were with the 990s but with the new fuel regulations maybe this is a little bit more difficult. But feeling the way the power is we should arrive at 350kph and maybe more. This would be interesting."