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Lone Wolf and the idea of pitstops


I never thought I would even think this - let alone say it. But is there a case for introducing pit stops into MotoGP?

The season has started with a huge dollop of romance, bordering on the hysterical, for Valentino 'trust me I'm a doctor' Rossi. And his performance in Qatar was wonderfully uplifting and we dared to hope. Austin provided a reality check with our hero suffering front end problems not apparent with either Lorenzo or Crutchlow.


Never mind, we had boy wonder Marquez to salivate over. And as Keith Huewen forecast in BikeSport News he has the potential of a Spencer or a Stoner.

But we cannot hide the fact that as a race it was extremely boring. And however much we marvel at the kid, a 'battle" between he and his fellow-countryman and team-mate Pedrosa is never going to set the world alight. Lorenzo maybe, but if sparks are going to fly it needs Rossi to be given the box of matches.

But pit stops!! Desperation is the mother of invention so they say and who can be certain that the introduction of the CRT class or the leasing of bikes and/or engines will provide the excitement or uncertainty that television demands of the premier class. Right now there are only four riders from two manufacturers teams with any chance of winning the title. It is difficult to see next year being much different.

The case against pit stops is that they interrupt the flow of racing and nobody knows what is going on. The case for is that they make the outcome of a race less certain; they can enliven a dull contest; they provide action for the the TV audience, increasingly important these days; and races could be longer.

On the latter point it can certainly be argued that the main event lasting less than an hour is not value for money. World Superbikes and BSB have the answer with their two-leg formula which is why, perhaps, MotoGP has so far not considered this route. They should.

Radical action is required. Now.


How is motor cycle racing going to emerge from the battle for sports rights being fought out in the world of television. The domination of SKY is now being challenged by BT, desperate to get away from being just a phone company, by snatching football and rugby rights; giant American cable company Liberty has just bought Virgin; and, perhaps most interesting of all, another US broadcaster Discovery has just bought 20% of Eurosport with an option to buy a majority stake.

Eurosport, which claims to be THE motorcycle channel, was formerly wholly owned by French channel TF1 but never had the financial clout to compete with the big boys. Now it may have.


It is believed the BBC contract with MotoGP ends next year, the bidding could be interesting.


The BBC, which recently lost its exclusive Formula 1 deal to SKY, has a curiously ambivalent attitude to MotoGP. The Austin round was relegated to BBC3 because they were not prepared to schedule it on either of the two main channels on Sunday evening. But they seemed to make every effort at the season opener in Qatar to give it a good show including an over dinner interview with Cal Crutchlow conducted by Steve Parrish.

Stavros, comfortable in such surroundings, looked every inch the BBC man. Crutchlow, world championship contender, wore a woolly hat. It was a memorable interview.

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