If MotoGP’s manufacturers represented at Jerez didn’t sit in ivory towers on Thursday evening trying to puzzle out just how a man on a green road bike - who wasn’t good enough for a place in their series - had comprehensively smoked them in testing, then they need to have a word with themselves.
Jonathan Rea was only a tenth of a second slower than the fastest of the assembled elite on Wednesday and on Thursday he was the fastest of the lot. OK, so Hector Barbera - top of the Wednesday tree - reported all sorts of problems on Thursday stopping him from performing but fact is that Rea on his ZX-10RR, which you can buy for €300,000 with a cheque payable to Guim Roda Retirement Castle, was faster than the assembled multi-million dollar unobtanium-constructed MotoGP bikes.
And it wasn’t just Rea. Kawasaki team-mate Tom Sykes - who hasn’t even properly got to grips with his 2017-spec bike - was also doing a job on the MotoGP men, as was Chaz Davies. There was a lot of wah-wah about the Michelins not performing well in the cold conditions. Cobblers. The elite riders on their elite machinery and their elite teams - which stack up to hundreds of millions - should always lap considerably faster than Superbikes, otherwise what’s the point?
There will, of course, be those who have submersed themselves so deeply in the technicalities of racing - usually to the detriment of their personal hygiene - who will write this opinion off as rubbish. ‘All the technical details must be taken into consideration blah, blah’ while adjusting their elbow patches and trying to peel yesterday’s hospitality breakfast out of their beards.
Bollocks. The average man in his chair and in the stands knows nor cares what type of flangeangle connects to the tootrod in which particular engine. He cares what colour it is, what it sounds like, how fast it goes and who is riding it. This was demonstrated at Motorcycle Live in a conversation between two men dressed, respectively, in JG Speedfit Kawasaki and Be Wiser Ducati merchandise:
‘Is that a Superstock bike or a Superbike’
‘What’s the difference?’
’Superbikes are faster’
Laptime comparisons will be drawn. ‘Ha, ha, Miller’ it will be said. ‘Blah blah, lapped two seconds faster on his MotoGP bike than wossname did on his Superbike at wherever park.’ Yes, he did, well done. But it cost $1.7m more to achieve that two-second advantage. Ridiculous. That’s more than the Lowes twins spend on moisturiser in a year.
What conclusions can be drawn from this:
1) Rea, Sykes and Davies are racing in the wrong championship
2) MotoGP has been so dumbed down by regulations, it is no longer a prototype series. Rather, it’s a load of control-supply cash cows with an engine (controlled, obviously) bolted to them
3) MotoGP manufacturers are wasting millions on developing bikes that are not actually anything like as good as they should be for what is being spent
4) As a testbed for road bike development, MotoGP is now defunct. It is an ex-parrot…
5) Something will have to give, and it will be WorldSBK. Unless Valentino decides…
Below is a race run comparison by Jeremy McWilliams between Rea’s simulation and Rossi’s race performance at Jerez. It would have put Rea on the MotoGP podium: