MotoGP: Smith calls for open class reform

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Bradley Smith is calling for reform of MotoGP’s open class system to give satellite bikes a chance of being competitive in normal dry conditions.

The British rider claims it’s increasingly unlikely under current rules that a satellite machine can compete with factory bikes.

The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider has instead suggested that MotoGP revisits the system that they used in the past that saw the lower-specification machinery favoured with an advantage elsewhere, like the softer tyres available to the open machinery last season.

“It would be interesting to see something that gives the factories less of an advantage, to keep everyone in the race and to keep it interesting. There are championships that penalise success, and maybe that’s what we should look at.

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“We’ve got four or five guys who run at the front of our championship that look untouchable, then ten guys behind them that could all give them a run for their money on a good day. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t win nine world championships without having something special – but on their best day, each of the guys behind should be able to give the front group a for their money – and what a race that could be!”

Smith’s comments come after a difficult first half to the season for him, struggling, as is teammate Pol Espargaro, without the huge levels of support the factory teams have in understanding MotoGP’s new control electronics.

“I always try and blame myself as much as I can, but when you know you’re doing everything you can and nothing has improved with the bike.

“With the level of competition in MotoGP now, the factories are pushing themselves as much as they can, even with the resources they have. I understand that, but it doesn’t help my frustration. When you feel like you’re giving your max and it feels like you’re being left to make up the numbers it’s frustrating.

“There are a lot of guys in my situation; Pol, Eugene Laverty, Scott and Danilo at Pramac Ducati. Cal and Jack have won some races, and that kind of kicks me in the shin, but they took a gamble, and it paid off for them.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer