CycleOnline.com.au's latest take on the grand prix season.
The fly-away sector of this year’s MotoGP World Championship begins this weekend with the Japanese grand prix at Motegi, marking the first race in three consecutive weekends outside of Europe for the series.
It is regarded as one of the most intense times of the year for teams, especially logistically. Not only will crews be away from their regular bases for near a full month straight, they also need to ensure the parts allocation and those types of things are all in shape.
For the top of the MotoGP teams with major budgets it’s all accounted for and definitely manageable of course, however the smaller the operation, the more difficult it becomes – especially once you factor in the lower Moto2 and Moto3 teams. A few untimely crashes or mechanicals and it can be an extremely challenging few weeks.
As for the riders, they need to remain focused throughout the time away and continue training in a consistent manner, while also maintaining their regular dieting routines. Easier said than done when you’re experiencing a variety of cultures and trends.
“The triple-header always marks a demanding period in the season because there are three races in a row in different time zones and different conditions, so we must handle them calmly and with the same mindset we have kept throughout this season,” said current MotoGP leader Marc Marquez, who has the chance to clinch his third premier class crown in Japan.
And same goes for official MotoGP tyre supplier Michelin: “Motegi signals the start of three very intense weeks where we will travel to Japan, Australia and Malaysia,” explained Piero Taramasso, manager of Michelin’s two-wheel motorsport group.
“All three of these races bring their own individual challenges, but also a huge logistical task. We will need to have over 4000 tyres available for the three races, so to make this happen we have had to send some by sea and the rest will be air-freighted to each venue in readiness for the races.”
So, as you can see, there are lots of aspects to be accounted for at these ‘overseas’ races, which will make for one of the most entertaining times of the season for us watching from home or at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix next weekend. It’s a great time of year!