MotoGP

MotoGP Mishaps: The Dangers of Wet Races

Rory Harris

By Rory Harris

December 8, 2014

One or two different circumstances can easily throw off an entire race. No one knows this quite as well as a MotoGP™ rider.

The Misano Grand Prix Example

And in the past, nothing quite throws off a race like a torrential downpour. Nothing like good ole’ mother nature to mix up the well-oiled machine that is MotoGP™ racing! 


Moto-Experiences-MotoGP-VIP-Village-2014-Moto-2-2-1Take, for instance, the MotoGP™ Misano 2014: riders were crashing left and right. Why? Consistent showers had changed all the variables riders rely on when racing.

The outpour of rain made it difficult for riders of all MotoGP™ classes to keep it together. The MotoGP™ Misano Grand Prix resulted in a grand total of 62 crashes, spanning all three moto racing classes.

Although most just assumed the wet track was the sole reason for the crashes, there were several other factors to the alarming amount of crashes. First and foremost, though, the track was soaked.

The surface the track was created from was not suitable for the amount of rain it endured. The rubber from tires left on the track made braking while racing, which is custom in races, dangerous. Another element contributing to the issue was the tire provider. Bridgestone had started riders are on the harder of the two wet tire choices.

This ended up being a poor choice for the riders. The long-standing tire provider for the moto bikes typically only brings x amount of tires for weather conditions; for example, maybe just a few soft and a few hard tires for wet races.

Moto-Experiences-MotoGP-VIP-Village-2014-Grand-Prix-of-Qatar

Another element causing the disastrous results of the MotoGP™ Misano Grand Prix was the lack of grip on the track. The tires were not able to dig into the track; instead, they were gliding across asphalt which had almost a polished feel.

Weather conditions have long been a fault line for the world of moto racing.And Misano is just one example of many when weather leaves a serious ijmpact on track conditions. 

Strategy for Wet Races

When going forward and considering the vast influence weather can have on a track, there are several elements to think about:

  1. Providers should be sure to bring enough soft and hard tires for any weather condition which may occur. 
  2. Host venues need to ensure its circuit is not too slick. Obviously, this is not a quick fix. MotoGP™ riders, though, need tracks which can grip their tires rather than allow the tires to glide on the asphalt. 
  3. Riders also need to be able to make quick, smart decisions about hwen conditions call for a pit chance to switch out their dry tires for wet ones.

Wet vs. Dry Races 

For example, the MotoGP™ race at Aragon began as a dry race.However, as the day progressed, it started to rain and the race quickly became a wet race. Repsol Honda’s reigning king, Marc Marquez, experienced the dangers of the weather when racing first hand.

Marquez chose to forego the bike switch other riders were performing in the pit lane and ended up crashing on the slick track.The consistently impressive rider, however, was able to restart his bike and follow suit of other riders who had already made the switch. Because of his crash, though, his position in the race was greatly hindered. 

Presumably, few riders wish for a wet race, but there are some who see a slick track as an opportunity  to jump ahead of champions who may struggle in the conditions. 
catalunya_recap3

Regardless, Marquez’ mistake once again brought the dangers of wet races to light. His example reminded all MotoGP™ loyals that any rider, even the trophy-holding champions, can struggle when wet conditions come into play. 

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