The Perplexing Challenges of Downforce and Tyre Pressure in Modern MotoGP Racing
As the 2023 racing season continues, riders are facing an unprecedented challenge in their attempts to outmaneuver each other on the track. The problem lies with the increased downforce generated by modern MotoGP bikes, which is making it much more difficult for riders to follow closely behind each other.
To make matters worse, a controversial new front tire pressure rule has also been introduced this year. This rule requires all riders to maintain a specific psi level in their front tires during races. However, this can lead to sharp increases in pressure due to heat buildup while following another rider closely.
Many of the top riders have expressed frustration at these challenges and how they’re impacting their ability to race competitively against one another. For example, Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia Racing recently commented that “MotoGP now…it’s boring.” He went on to explain that everything is about qualifying and getting a good start because being able to ride with fresh air around you makes your bike faster and easier to control.
This puts even greater emphasis on qualifying well since seven out of fourteen races so far have been won from the front row. Starting further back can be incredibly challenging despite having strong pace as it’s difficult when you’re not able to take advantage of clear airflow around your bike.
Espargaro Struggles Despite Strong Pace
In Saturday’s sprint at the German Grand Prix, Espargaro started from tenth place but was only able move up one position during the race. In fact, only one rider managed finish in the top six after starting outside of first or second rows.
Espargaro attributes his struggles partly due yellow flags coming up during his final two flying laps in qualifying. On top of that, he also had issues with what he called “the worst launch control of the grid,” which made it difficult for him to get a good start.
Despite these setbacks, Espargaro remains optimistic about his prospects for the rest of the season and is determined to overcome these challenges. He noted that even though the pace was not bad during this race, starting from so far back is incredibly difficult and frustrating when you’re trying to make your way through such a competitive field.