Graham Hoskins is the man behind Motorbike Diaries, in which he and good friend Danny John-Jules go on amazing motorbike journeys, which are televised on Extreme Sports.   Later this year, he and Danny will be heading to West Africa to record another series, see motorbikediaries.co.uk for more information… In between these amazing trips, Graham’s taken some time out to write about MotoGP and Formula 1, certainly makes for a good read…

  • Rookies can excel because of their skills, even if they have not got the best metal between their legs
  • There’s more overtakes in a race than Englishmen fantasising about Duchess’ Sister
  • Side by side racing that’s as mad as a piranha pizza
  • Race lead that can swap all the way to the last corner
  • Racers with more character than the Hair Bear Bunch – and just as much hair
  • A top competitor who didn’t move to avoid the dreaded tax – he had to avoid his adoring fans wouldn’t give him the space to swing a beetle at home
Photo: MotoGP

You would love to think this is F1. Well hang me upside down and whip me with a knee slider, it’s just not. However, it is still the pinnacle of non-production motorbike racing, just as F1 is for 4 wheels.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a massive fan of F1 and have been since the days of monotone meister, Nigel Mansell. I sat up through the night to watch Damon Hill win for Williams many moons ago and have watched several Japanese GPs since by the light of the very same celestial body. I still watch pretty much every race, but a racing series where the pinnacle of excitement is currently been manufactured by using quick wearing tyres, is looking over the edge of the
slippery slope.

I don’t think I’m being fussy wanting to see more racing, not just more overtaking moneuvres. I don’t necessarily want to see just overtakes. I want to see side-by-side battles round corners and chicanes. I want to see the lead change three times in one lap. Whilst I’m on the ‘want’ rant, I want to see it as a reflection of driver skills which can and should change track by track, depending on how well it suits the skills of the individuals, not because it’s artificially created by different wear rates on tyres. Sadly, the thing that has ‘created’ the most overtaking and ‘racing’ in recent years, also makes it very difficult to follow the race and surely that is what it is about? Watching differing race strategies is one thing but when you spend three quarters of the race waiting for the pit stop phases to be over so you can see who is most likely to win, that slippery slope looks a step closer.

Despite the more ‘exciting’ racing, have all the changes really made any difference to the outcome? We’re still seeing the same results as we expected.

To be fair, I don’t know what the answer is. My cynical side says the F1 supremos are too afraid to make the big changes – they’re happy to fabricate just enough race excitement to keep the fans and TV stations parting with money, despite the view over the abyss. I’m still tuning in every fortnight so what do I know? Maybe they’ve got it right!