The holeshot is one of the trendiest devices of modern-day MotoGP, the manufacturers having invested with conviction in recent years.
The system that the prototypes use was originally designed to help the riders at the start, the pressing of a button causing the rear suspension to be compressed for a lower bike off the line.
Over time the holeshot has evolved, allowing riders to use it also during the race, particularly out of the turns to improve acceleration. And that’s not all, as during winter testing at Qatar, some manufacturers, Honda included, introduced a system that also lowers the front suspension.
"It’s become hard to pass"
This is a classic example of the way technology is evolving in this sport and there is some criticism. Not least from Marc Marquez, who has his doubts about the device.
“I’ve never used it. They’ve explained how it works at the front and rear, and we will use it, because everyone does and I have to get used to it. I don’t think it makes sense to have a holeshot on these bikes”, said the Spaniard at Portimão, as he returned from injury. “We didn’t have the holeshot two years ago and the TV spectacle was the same. Now everyone uses it, and so we will too of course, the factories are investing a lot so that we can all have this device. But for me it’s an extra that doesn’t improve the show and makes it harder to pass. My initial view is that I don’t like it”.
Something Marc returned to after the Jerez race. “It’s true that we’re all very close in MotoGP now. You can finish maybe ten seconds from first and find you’re tenth. At Jerez I finished 10 seconds back and was ninth, so on average we’re talking one second per bike”.
The eight-time champion continues with his analysis: “Yes, it’s true that it’s increasingly hard to pass, because everyone’s very fast. Also, with these holeshot systems, I can see it’s much harder to pass, because you’re faster on the straight, and then immediately find yourself braking, it’s all so tight. And this affects passing, as you’re forced to pass at more difficult, or even impossible, points. This isn’t good for the show”, concludes the Repsol Honda rider.
An opinion not to be underestimated, and one that could, at least in part, explain the difficulties riders have in making up ground when they start further back on the grid. A situation that is reminiscent of Formula 1, where the result achieved in qualifying has a really significant bearing on the economics of the race.
The technological level continues to rise, but it’s not necessarily the case that the spectacle increases at an equal rate.
Translated by Heather Watson