Moto2 paddock rumors has it that the intermediary prototype class could put in place a minimum weight requirement that would combine both the weight of the motorcycle as well as the weight of the rider. If the rumor pans out to be truth, the move would benefit riders like Britain’s Scott Redding, whose size and weight have served as a hindrance in the tightly contested class.
With the Moto2 class comprised of machines that use nearly identical 600cc Honda engines, which have been said to produce between 130-140 rwhp, the racing results have been heavily influenced by rider skill, as well as subtler differences like chassis manufacturers. However, some in the Moto2 paddock believe some of the series’ results have been affected extraneous factors, most notably by rider dimensions, with taller and bigger riders at a disadvantage.
As such, Carmelo Ezpeleta is said to be considering a 220 kg (484 lbs) minimum combined weight rule, which would include the bike, rider, and the rider’s safety gear. If 220 kg is the magic number, Redding could see a gain on his fellow riders, though the British rider would surely still be at a disadvantage, with the current crop of Moto2 machines weighting 295 lbs or more.
Whether the criticism levied by Redding et al is valid or not is up to a bit of conjecture, but no one has been more vocal about the issue than Britain’s Scott Redding. The tall Englishman has been pushing for a combined minimum weight rule in Moto2 for the majority of the 2012 season, and now Redding and the Marc VDS Racing team may get their wish on the matter.
The issue has also been a favorite whipping boy for the British press, which has been anything but neutral on the issue, often attributing Redding’s results to his size and weight, and not his performance on the bike. At roughly 190 lbs in full-kit, Redding is one of the heaviest riders in the Moto2 class though, where he has to contend with riders nearly 40 lbs light than him, so there has to be some acknowledgment that there is definitely an advantage at play within the class, though the debate rages on as to whether it is an advantage that has affected podium spots, and also whether rider weight is even an issue that should be balanced via the rulebook.
When debating the merits of the case, it is important to note that such an imposition of a combined weight rule could lead to a new arms race in the Moto2 class, as chassis designers for larger riders could be pushed to find further weight savings to compensate for a heavier talent on board the motorcycle — and as we all know, there is an inverse relationship between bike weights and their corresponding price tags.
On the flip side though, allowing smaller riders, who are well-under the minimum combined weight, to gain a few pounds could help increase the safety of the sport, as GP motorcycle racing has become a sport occupied with wafer-thin jockey-esque riders, who seeming snap like twigs (one Dani Pedrosa comes to mind). By putting less emphasis on a rider’s weight, we may see healthier and more robust riders on the starting grid, which in the grooming classes for MotoGP, where riders tend to be of a younger age, the move can only be seen as a good thing for the sport.
It will be interesting to see if Moto2 gets this combined rider and bike minimum weight limit, which is already in place in the Moto3 class. However, what will be even more interesting is to see if this adds more fuel to the fire for a similar rule to be imposed in MotoGP — something that was of great issue when the class went to a smaller fuel allotment, and larger riders like the late Marco Simoncelli complained of having less power than smaller competitors because of fuel concerns.