Cycle News

Cycle News 2024 Issue 10 March 12

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 169 of 169

VOLUME 61 ISSUE 10 MARCH 12, 2024 P169 dangerous, athletic, and techni- cally far more interesting hasn't been enough. F1's latest attention-grab- bing trick is a prime example: prominent team boss Christian Horner, already well-known as a canny attention-grabber, is mired in scandal. Allegations of sexual impropriety with a female member of the Red Bull team and attendant shenanigans of white-wash investigations and lurid counterclaims commanded newspaper headlines and con - tinued to do so for weeks. That the opening round in glitz-ghastly Bahrain was an incredibly dull race didn't mat- ter. F1 hogged all the clickbait anyway. How does MotoGP compete? Well, a pit-lane sex scandal is long overdue. No misplaced dick pics or bullying of junior female staff, please. Too tacky. Rather, something luridly amus- ing. Genderfluidity can generate headlines galore, though one must tread very carefully. It is a sensitive area, and this para- graph is not meant to be either mischievous or frivolous. Physical punch-ups between deadly rivals would be good value. Rossi and Max Biaggi squared up once, but the PR machine swung into action to minimize the fall-out. Similarly, a serious verbal spat between Lo- renzo and Pedrosa was defused by no less than the (erstwhile) King of Spain. Bad mistake. Jorge Martin generally looks ready to start something at the drop of a hat. He shouldn't be stopped. Drug smuggling has already been tried (former 500 champ Marco Lucchinelli was jailed for a spell. Likewise, Juan Garriga and the Paul Bird MotoGP team didn't last much past a gun-and- drugs border bust of one of their truckies. But no one not directly involved really cared. Likewise, money laundering. Don't even ask. Of course, a giant ego person- ality can make all the difference. But the likes of Barry Sheene and Valentino Rossi come along but seldom, and there don't seem to be any more on the horizon at present. Not even the genius of Marc Marquez has captured the imagination, and to be fair, he is an entirely person- able entity. Then there's the video-binging factor. Netflix's "Drive to Sur- vive" was a massive boost in attracting new fans to F1. Ama- zon's "MotoGP Unlimited" failed dismally to achieve the same, not because it was intrinsi- cally less interesting but at least partly because over-enthusiastic quick-clip editing overcame the essential subtitles required because of a predominance of Spanish dialogue in the pit boxes. Maybe a lift is coming by hanging on to F1's skirts. There are already rumors that F1 owners Liberty Media are sniffing around to buy a control - ling interest in Dorna, although anti-monopoly regulations might get in the way. But was it coincidental that Pramac Ducati chose to hold their team launch at Bahrain on the eve of the opening F1 race, with support from connections inside the car series? Then again, cozying up to FI simply reinforces the poor-rela - tion status. Here's a better idea. Let's keep MotoGP as it is, with a core of fans who don't need big Netflix series to keep them interested, because the racing is so darned good anyway. It may be just a niche. But it's our niche. CN AND NEVER MIND THE HUMANITY WHEN ALL YOU CAN SEE OF AN F1 DRIVER IS THE TOP OF HIS HELMET, WHEREAS THE ATHLETIC PROWESS OF A MOTOGP RIDER IS A MAJOR PART OF THE ENTERPRISE.

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