MotoGP’s overtaking crisis: Top riders speak out after dull Misano GP!

The recent San Marino Grand Prix at Misano has reignited the debate about MotoGP’s lack of overtaking and diminished on-track spectacle. Leading riders voiced their concerns after observing the same top four in both the sprint and the main grand prix races, with Jorge Martin at the helm followed by Marco Bezzecchi, Francesco Bagnaia, and the wildcard Dani Pedrosa.

A stark statistic from the weekend was that the top three riders witnessed only a single overtaking move. This occurred when VR46’s Bezzecchi outpaced Bagnaia for second, a move that took advantage of the factory Ducati rider’s wide turn during the sprint.

Such uniformity in racing has not gone unnoticed, and many riders are laying the blame on advanced aerodynamic development, ride height tools, and contentious tyre pressure regulations. Marc Marquez, a racer with a history of vocalizing concerns regarding the current regulations, commented on the situation. Reminiscing about his intense 2019 duel with Fabio Quartararo which involved six lead changes, Marquez said, “If it’s a big circuit with long straights, then overtaking is feasible with slipstreams. But in circuits like this, overtaking becomes an extreme sport or simply impossible.”

Aerodynamics play a significant role, and as Marquez added, since it’s the rule until 2027, riders have little choice but to adapt. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, despite a disappointing 12th place finish at Misano, echoed similar sentiments. According to him, the tight layout of tracks like Misano combined with advanced electronics and aerodynamics on modern bikes makes overtaking nearly impossible. Espargaro pointed out the need for larger tracks to accommodate the downforce and swift turning capabilities of current MotoGP bikes.

However, Pramac’s Jorge Martin, who triumphed at Misano, held a slightly different view. He emphasized the importance of qualifying well on tighter tracks and pointed out that when races are as rapid as they were, it makes overtaking more challenging. In Martin’s words, while Misano isn’t the ideal track for overtaking, riders have to strategize and excel in qualifying to secure strong positions.

The ongoing debate over the state of overtaking in MotoGP is a clear indication that changes might be necessary. Whether it’s a revisit of the rules or a redesign of the tracks, fans and riders alike are longing for the thrilling spectacles that made MotoGP a beloved sport.