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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > 338 > MOTOGP IS GO!!!


The 2017 season is now only a distant memory, but there is light at the end of the long, cold, wintery tunnel that is the MotoGP off-season. And it’s a pretty dazzling one at that…

Yes, last year may have been a corker of a GP season, but we’re sure that the fireworks, plot twists and generous flow of unsavoury gesticulations are set to continue at an even more ferocious pace. Or at least we bloody hope so. With the curtain raiser Qatar a mere whisker away, we’ve been doing our homework and studying all the new bits of tech, bikes, riders and teams that are set to hit our screens in 2018, to try and work out who’s going to be straddling podiums… and who’ll end up holding the wooden spoon. And believe us; it’s not as black-and-white as you might think.

On face value, 2018 has all the ingredients to be another vintage season. The changes that Dorna has implemented over the last few seasons with the aim of cutting costs on one hand, but more importantly levelling the playing field on the other, have done just that. The gap in performance across the manufacturers and teams from the front of the grid to the back continues to shrink apace. At the recent Sepang test an astonishing 13 riders were split by 0.8 seconds around a circuit where times can get notoriously stretched. To give this figure some context, at the 2016 Sepang pre-season test only two rides were within 0.8 seconds at the top. These are the sort of numbers that a well-known, supposed pinnacle of motorsport (coughs entirely unsarcastically) four-wheeled series can only dream of. Plus our heroes actually know what slipstreaming and overtaking is. As one of James Hunt’s former race mechanics so eloquently put it to me at last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed: “They’re all too f***ing soft these days. Bike racers; those boys are the last of the gladiators.” And who are we to disagree?

Aside from the shortening gaps, performance wise, most of the grid is out of contract at the end of the season. This always adds an extra, and hardly needed, element of jeopardy and singing for your supper (dinner and tea are available in other parts of the country) to proceedings. The lucky ones get to choose their next move and tread their own path. The rest? Well, their destiny lies in the hands of the MotoGP kingmakers treading the corridors of power behind the scenes. All they can do is try and brake later and fire it out of the corners earlier than the rider in front of them.

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About Fast Bikes

In this month's issue of Fast Bikes ... - 2018 Yamaha R1M ridden tech it to the max - ZX-9R: Bargain Bullet tested living with a £2K Kwacker - Best of British Triumph's speed triple RS - Win bike transport to Toulouse worth £600 - MOTOGR is go! Season preview - SX appeal Kawasaki's Supercharged sensation - How to clean your leathers - Challenge your limits - Run your bike in - Buy used ZX-10R
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