MotoGP: John Surtees blasts electronic rider aids

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British MotoGP legend John Surtees believes huge advances in electronic rider aids currently dominating the premier class spells grave danger for modern era world championship racing.

Surtees, who was at the Shanghai MotoGP last weekend to unveil the new Chinese-backed Maxtra 125GP machine, warned the increasing influence of electronics is spiralling out of control.

Surtees said: “I think it’s a very dangerous period for motorcycling in that, 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 an entertainment and 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.”

Several riders including Valentino Rossi have bemoaned the advent of electronics since MotoGP ditched the two-stroke 500cc format in 2002 for 990cc four-strokes.

And Surtees believes that Dorna should act to restrict electronic aids like traction control before rider input becomes less pivotal.

Surtees added: “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, as someone told me, you just wind it open and let the electronics do all the work. That’s, well, a little frightening.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt