Thursday, January 19, 2006

Essence of MotoGP

With a deafening scream and brilliantly controlled slide to the outside edge of the corner a rear tire is about to be relegated to a graveyard of liquefied race rubber. The tire, now veiled in a halo of blue-white smoke with edges rimmed in signs of spent traction, is becoming a carcass of bluing blisters. The sounds of this display are not that of an angel’s harp, but instead a beautiful siren’s wail accompanied by a sweet odor as 990cc’s of air and racing fuel explodes violently at a rate well in excess of 16,000 revolutions per minute.

Simultaneously, while still leaned at a steep angle as it exits the preceding bend, the front tire is reaching toward the sky; it is urged into action by the rear’s sudden desire to lead into the next corner. We are witnessing a delicate balance of weight distribution, acceleration and the effect that an engine producing 220 horsepower at the rear tire has when it is powering a vehicle that weighs only 138 kilograms. Evident of the gross application of horsepower available at the helm, the rider is fighting to keep the bike under him, under control. With a brilliant balance of delicate touch and application of force, there isn’t a single muscle in his body that isn’t being used to coerce the motorcycle from doing exactly what it shouldn’t. Somehow, despite every form of protest from the bike, that is exactly what is happening.

This is the most elegant dance you may ever witness; this is MotoGP.


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