Cycle News

Cycle News 2016 Issue 48 December 6

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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VOL. 53 ISSUE 48 DECEMBER 6, 2016 P111 tion from improved helmets and leathers, now equipped with air-bags, which will be compul- sory next year, and better pas- sive safety at circuits. Salom's injuries were down to a failure in passive safety at the Montmelo circuit outside Barcelona, a freak trajectory exposed a lack of run-off area, and he slid into his bike as it bounced back off the air-fence. Won't happen there again. Weather, of course, plays a part, seldom more so than at Phillip Island, topping the list this year with 90 crashes during the weekend, heading Motegi (84), Sachsenring (81) and Assen (79). In a way, Motegi was the most dangerous, because the other three all had some rain, and in the case of Assen such a lot of rain that the race had to be stopped. The safest? A tie between the Red Bull Ring and Mugello at just 34 apiece. Then there is the analysis cor- ner by corner. This is of special relevance to up-and-coming photographers trying to shoe- horn their way in. Snappers with lucrative contracts put seek-out spots where the lighting and an- gle of lean most clearly displays their paymaster-sponsor's logos: the ker-ching moment. The rest are to be found jostling for posi- tion and running their cameras non-stop at the crash-heavy corners. Good crash shots sell. So where should they as- semble? Phillip Island wins again. Turn four, to be specific, the right- hander that used to be called Honda Hairpin, where Marc Marquez had his only race-ter- minating crash of the year. Along with no less than 31 other riders, far and away the most crashed- at corner of the year. Next, tied on 20, come turn one at Argentina (where a per- sistent wet slick remained even after the track was elsewhere quite dry) and Motegi's turn nine, one before the far hairpin, which claimed Lorenzo and 19 others this year. After that, Museum at Le Mans and Sepang's turn nine each accounted for 17 victims. These were crashes from all three classes. Rather unsurpris- ingly, the most crash-prone class was Moto3, accounting for 38.6 percent with a grand total of 410. Moto2 is close behind at 364 (34.3 percent), and MotoGP a relatively modest 288 (27.1 percent). Corrected for the num- ber of entries, however: 21 for MotoGP against 32 for Moto3, there were pretty much as many per rider in the biggest class as in the smallest. As significantly, MotoGP's tally was the highest ever recorded for the class. In Moto2 there were more crashes from 2010- 2012, and again in 2014, the worst year being 2011, the sec- ond year of four-strokes, with a gravel-scattering 421. Likewise, Moto3, back in the 125 days of 2008, logged an epic 463. But who were the victims? Overall winner of this unenvi- able prize is the rider whose early Moto2 title challenge was completely undone by a series of seven zero-pointers in the last 10 races, during which he also claimed a win. Sam Lowes rode with spectacular style and deter- mination, but sadly tasted gravel no less than 30 times during the season. His compatriot Cal Crutchlow was top tumbler in the premier class, with 26 (one less than Moto3 maniac Gabriel Rodrigo), but explained to me at the final race: "I know I am a crasher, but it's how you bounce back that matters. If you're crashing but getting good results…" Jack Miller crashed once less often, with 25, but then he did miss five races over the year. Let it be noted that each of these MotoGP riders also won a race, and Crutchlow went on to win another one. Good bounce- back. And that third name on the MotoGP crash list belonged to Marc Marquez (17). Maybe there's something in the old adage: that a fast rider can learn how not to crash more easily than a slow rider can learn to be fast. CN

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