Or – How to make an Assen of it.
Today saw the 250th MotoGP race. Held at the Historic track of Assen in Holland where the Grand Prix (or various incarnations of it, MotoGP, GP500, Motorcycle Grand Prix) has taken place since 1949.
The race was declared a flag to flag (Which means that it’s wet at the start and there will be no intervention by race direction during the race itself) and started with a smattering of rain around the track and everyone using rain tyres.
Riders set off when the lights went out and settled into the race itself. As so often happens at Assen the heavens opened up and a shower of rain that resembled scenes written about in the bible began.
Then came the RED FLAGS. A red flag in racing means that the race is being stopped for some reason (rider down and needs medical assistance, bike is lying in the middle of the track on fire, etc etc etc…) and all riders should cease racing and return to the pits.
At this point in the race the positions were as follows…
In the old days there was a second race run on aggregate times. To explain…
Rider A has disappeared into the distance and has a ten second lead in Race #1 but is beaten in Race#2 by Rider B by 7 seconds, Rider A wins the aggregate race by 3 seconds.
Apparently not so simple for some so a while back the MotoGP bosses decided that instead of doing an aggregate race all of race #1 is ignored and a second race takes place. Grid Positions are decided by the position of the riders at the end of race #1 and any advantage they have gained is null and void.
Which, in my opinion, is utterly senseless. A rider who has struggled in the first part of the race could, potentially, go into the pits and change bike or his settings and win the second race despite being in last place in the first race. Put yourself into the position of someone who has battled in the rain and got to first position through hard work and skill gaining a 30 second lead over the guy behind you then had that lead voided through no fault of your own.
Now tell me you think a race on aggregate isn’t the way this weekends race should have been run…