MotoGP is the premium class of 2 wheel racing. The motorcycles used in MotoGP are purpose-built, purebred racing bikes – ‘prototypes’ – which are not available for sell by the general public and cannot be legally ridden on public roads. The technical regulations to which Grand Prix teams must follow when they build their bikes for MotoGP competition provide a simple guide to the type of machinery the riders use.
MotoGP bikes are produced to win races and to showcase the design and technological capabilities of their manufacturers. The machines are therefore constructed from expensive, hardwearing and extremely light materials such as titanium and reinforced carbon fibre and benefit from the sort of advanced technology (carbon disk brakes, engine management systems, traction control) many of which does not feature on regular road bikes.
We all know that riders come in every week to race on Sunday for an hour or so then go home with their champagne but behind the scene there are many things what they do many of us don’t know. All riders have to undergo some of the toughest physical training and tests to take part in a race and this training depends on the climatic conditions, track conditions, the stress level exhibited in the race and much more. Today I will try to get you all into it some of it.
Usually the ‘new’ season starts for them when the ‘old’ season ends, so around December when the next year calendar is published they all start their pre-season preparation from December & continues with it until the season starts at the tail end of March or as for 2013 in April. During this time they usually work on their fitness level as with limited testing they don’t get too much time to practice on MotoGP bikes. Physical endurance is created through intensive cardio-vascular training: usually running or swimming, although some riders prefer cycling or even roller-blading! But the unusual loadings experienced by neck and chest muscles cannot be easily replicated by normal gym equipment, so many drivers use specially designed ‘rigs’ that enable them to specifically develop the muscles they will need to withstand high speed cornering forces.
During the time they have races (April-November) they race for about 18 weekends around 14 different countries. During this time they usually do a lot training to increase the strength & volume of their muscles. This type of training differ from riders to riders,as riders who are light in mass needs more intensity of work then riders who are well build. The MotoGP race is very physically demanding, not only it involves danger of crash which you need to survive but the amount of stamina you need comes nothing close to game like football or basketball.
MotoGP riders are very sensitive on the type of food they eat, In terms of nutrition, most MotoGP riders control their diets in much the same way as track and field athletes, carefully regulating the amount of carbohydrate and protein they absorb. During race weekends most riders will be seen eating pasta or other carbohydrate-rich foods to provide energy and give the all-important stamina for the race itself. It is also vitally important that riders take in large amounts of water before the race, even if they do not feel thirsty.
Failure to do so could bring on dehydration through sweating – not surprising given that the physical endurance required riding in a 250 BHP bike for an hour at top speed is not dissimilar to that required to run a marathon. Throughout a race a rider can lose up to 2 KG of body liquid due to the heat of the race & off course the weather. So they are always kept hydrated as usually you will see before a race starts they all have especially made liquid (isotonic mix-which is a mixture of water containing salt & vitals minerals) in their hand drinking them as any tiredness & cramps can be fatal during a race
Besides all there each rider are asked to take in 8-10 hour sleep during a race weekend to avoid tiredness, even many riders takes a small nap just hours before the start of a race just to freshen up their mind.
Now lets talk about the type of protective clothes they wear during a race. Race leathers provide the first line of defence for competitors in MotoGP when they suffer the occasional crashes and slides that all riders go through. With corner speeds quicker than ever and lean angles becoming increasingly acute the importance of a good set of leathers cannot be underestimated. The most common way a rider comes off his MotoGP bike is to lose control of the front or rear tyre when leaning into a corner.
This usually results in the rider sliding along the asphalt and onto the gravel at the side of the racetrack, The MotoGP leather suits are mainly made of kangaroo leather, which is more resistant, more flexible and weighs less than cow hide. The leathers have to provide strong resistance and protection from abrasion and impact in particularly vulnerable areas such as the back, elbows and knees – whilst also giving the riders the elasticity they need when utilizing their lightening quick reflexes.
Of course the riders’ leathers also have to work perfectly in tandem with the helmets to stabilize the head, so the ‘humped’ back protectors the race outfits carry fit snugly against the helmets allowing air to glide over them aerodynamically when the riders are in the customary hunched riding position. When stood upright and off their racing machinery the back hump built into the back of the leathers can clearly be seen, but they are also fairly flexible to allow movement and bending of the back – in the right direction. They also have specially designed boots, gloves and knee sliders which are also essential for safety. The entire mass of the leathers usually sum up around 3kg.
It’s unthinkable that a MotoGP rider would be seen on track without the most essential of safety items – a good crash helmet. MotoGP helmets, along with the riders’ boots, leathers, gloves and reinforced chest and spinal protection pads, are developed to the highest safety standards with the latest technology. In a sport where the participants reach speeds of more than 340 km/h, and crashes are a regular occurrence, reliable protective headgear is of paramount importance for all World Championship competitors.
Racing helmets have the same basic structure as retail helmets and the specific differences depend on the needs of the rider concerned in terms of comfort, shape and size. Also, the internal accessories required may differ, often depending on weather conditions For the helmet manufacturers, the MotoGP World Championship – with its global media exposure to millions of fans – is a great way to market their helmets, whilst the data they gather from the riders helps them to improve the products they make available to the public. Most riders have at least four helmets with them at each event, with one being rain specific and modified to prevent ‘fogging’ or ‘misting’ and replacements always being required should the main helmet become damaged. They are made of carbon composite material.
Thats all from me about motogp. We all know that its a dream to think about motogp in Bangladesh. My purpose of this writing is serve to the Bikers of Bangladesh about the high speed Riding. Hope this article about MotoGp will help the bikers to ride technically in high speed.
-By Wasif Anowar