Cycle News

Cycle News 2020 Issue 37 September 15

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 136 of 139

P136 CN III IN THE PADDOCK BY MICHAEL SCOTT S o it goes. When the old order changeth, it chan- geth properly. It took a snapped bone to dislodge Marc Marquez from domination. But it took their own missteps (com- pounded by cost-cutting rules that hamstrung development) to unsettle the dominant Honda and Yamaha and open the doors to KTM and Suzuki. This is as Dorna intended, and KTM's progress has been a massive endorsement to the concession-team system. With extra testing and engines, and the freedom to do what they like with engine design (along with engineering prowess and copious Red Bull backing), the Austrian company has become fully competitive in four years. Two wins, by the way, mean they have now lost concession status, and freedom for extra testing is over, although the engine-development freeze only takes effect next season. But GP racing's two biggest guns have inadvertently helped out, with their own missteps, in turn compounded by rules preventing them from correcting their errors. For some years now, Honda's deviations, often the conse- quence of restless over-ambi- tion, have been masked by the ability of Marquez to overcome them. His genius talent and cat-like reflexes allowed him to exploit the bike's strengths while ignoring its weaknesses. Others have found the RCV a real handful—take Cal Crutchlow, who is brave enough to keep try- ing to repeat his occasional suc- cesses, but too often crashes out, victim of the RCV's notori- ously queasy front end. Or even more trenchantly Jorge Lorenzo, the master craftsman who was driven into premature retirement by the Repsol Honda's mean streak. Currently, the loss of Marc has left Honda uncomfortably ex- posed. Crutchlow is riding hurt, the other 2020 bike is in the hands of rookie Alex Marquez, STATE OF MOTOGP ENGINES

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