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MotoGP’s lack of spectacle under fire again after “no show” Misano round

MotoGP’s lack of overtaking and on-track spectacle has once again come under fire from leading riders following the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Last weekend’s Misano round featured the exact same top four in both the sprint and the grand prix, with Jorge Martin leading Marco Bezzecchi, Francesco Bagnaia and wildcard Dani Pedrosa.

Across both races, there was one overtake between the top three, when VR46’s Bezzecchi passed Bagnaia for second – though his move in the sprint was a result of the factory Ducati rider running wide.

Insight: 10 things we learned from the MotoGP 2023 San Marino GP

This led to criticism from several riders over the lack of spectacle currently enveloping MotoGP, which has been blamed numerous times this season on increased aerodynamic development, ride height devices and the controversial tyre pressure rules.

Marc Marquez, who was involved in a last-lap dice with Fabio Quartararo in 2019 that saw six overtakes for the lead on that one tour, has long been critical of the current ruleset.

When asked after his seventh place finish in the grand prix whether Misano’s races were now the norm in MotoGP, Marquez responded: “Of course, but it’s not new. If it’s a big circuit with long straights, then with slipstreams it’s possible to overtake more.

“But in this circuit, it’s two things: you overtake like [Brad] Binder [in the sprint], where all the overtakes were on the limit, but were very good and was impressive to watch because it’s so difficult.

“So, you overtake in that way or it’s impossible to overtake. For example, last three laps, I was riding in 1m33.0s and [Luca] Marini was coming in 1m32s lows.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I just defended and it was impossible for him to overtake.

“So, in the end with the aerodynamics… it’s the rules until 2027, so we have to keep going. They allowed it in the rules, so everyone has to go in that way.”

Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, who struggled to 12th in the Misano grand prix after a poor opening lap, partly blamed the track's tight layout for the lack of overtaking but also noted that modern bikes are not suitable for such tracks anymore.

“I think it’s the layout,” Espargaro said. “This track is very, very small, like a karting [track], with a lot of grip. The way MotoGP is right now with a lot of good electronics, with wings, it’s almost impossible to overtake.

“I was riding behind Luca [Marini], he was riding super good. Alex [Marquez], [Johann] Zarco, the other riders [ahead] were a lot slower than us, but we couldn’t overtake them.

“In tracks like this it’s very difficult. There are circuits with no grip, circuits with a lot of grip, there are small circuits like this one.

“We have to race everywhere, but I don’t like these types of circuits because there is no show.

“It’s very boring, very small. But we have to race everywhere. It’s true with these types of bikes, you need bigger layouts.

“These bikes have a lot of downforce, really fast at turning, so in small tracks like this it’s impossible [to overtake].”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Pramac’s Martin, who did the double at Misano, didn’t share this view and instead felt in tighter tracks riders simply have to do better in qualifying to be able to score strong results.

“I think that this is a track where it’s difficult to overtake for sure,” Martin said.

“But there are places. But when you make the race so fast, like we [the top three] did, it’s so difficult because we are all in a line and I feel like it was 27 laps of pushing every corner.

“I feel like this is more difficult. For sure if we make the race slower, it would be easier to overtake.

“But for sure it’s not the best track for overtaking, but there are tracks where you have to play your cards and do better in qualifying to be in front.”

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