Luca Marini Wants A Minimum Weight Rule Change
VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini is one of the tallest riders at an awesome 184 cm. This also makes him one of the heaviest by consequence at 69 kg. When compared to his team-mate Marco Bezzecchi, who weighs just 61 kg, the difference is telling.
The MotoGP currently has a mandated minimum weight limit for motorcycles. That figure is 157 kg and excludes the rider from its calculation.
There is an obvious disparity here since both Moto2 and Moto3 have a minimum weight limit that includes both the rider and the bike. For Moto2, the limit stands at a combined 217 kg while Moto3 has a limit of 152 kg.
Luca Marini ended his second full season in MotoGP in 12th position in the championship with 120 points. He has been pursuing the argument for most of this year that the weight rule puts naturally heavy racers at a disadvantage.
What is the Exact Disadvantage?
Marini does admit that he cannot state the exact disadvantage of being a heavier racer in MotoGP. He is however emphatic in stating that heavier riders drag the rear end harder due to their weight. This leads to losing out across the entire distance of a Grand Prix.
"For sure, we also have data that tells you when you have more weight you use the tyres more because we have a lot of [electronics] control, we have a lot of power," Marini told Autosport at the Valencia season finale.
Marini further said that acceleration is not a problem, even if one is 10 kilos heavier. However to make the same acceleration one needs to use more tyres. Thus a rider needs to use more energy and more force in the process.
"So, the problem is this, because you arrive at the end of the race with fewer tires and it's difficult to make overtakes at the end, which is the most important phase of the race.
"It's critical and it's there that you make the results. So, every time the key to the race is to arrive at the end with the rear tyre in the best way especially. Some races more, some races less. So, you need to think a little bit more when you are like this. Having the minimum weight is something that is fair…" Marini states that nobody wants the minimum weight to be so high. Racers just want something that can level the differences a bit more. Thus, he says that this will "give everybody the same possibility to fight for victory and not start with a disadvantage."
Marini Is Not The Sole Advocate
Moreover, this problem is not isolated to Marini. In recent times, Danilo Petrucci too felt he was at a disadvantage due to his height and weight. Furthermore, Marini thinks he simply cannot get any lighter without losing the physical strength needed to manage a MotoGP bike.
Back when Petrucci rode with Pramac in 2017, he stated that his need to lose more weight led to him being unable to ride the bike at his optimum level.
Thus, Marini strongly believes that a combined weight limit would benefit smaller riders as well.
He said, "We need to change it now because this is the right moment and in all the other categories, there is a minimum weight, in all the other sports there is a minimum weight". Thus, Marini fails to understand why the rule doesn't apply to MotoGP as of now. All the other circuits already have the rule in place.
Marini adds, "You can try to not eat anything, but to ride a MotoGP bike you need to be 100% prepared."
Thus, Marini says that one gains 4% of performance when one becomes a kilo less. However, he loses 10 laps of the race as he is unable to complete the race.
"So, it's impossible to go lower than this. I think for the smaller riders it's good to put more weight on because everybody now is trying to be lower on the weight to make better acceleration to not use the tyre.
However, if there's a minimum weight rule, everyone can push themselves a little harder in the gym. This way, they can have more strength and stamina during the race.
"So, it's not a disadvantage for them because they can put more weight on their body and not put weight on the bike."