MotoGP: Fear and Loathing at the Sachsenring

Daniel ZylberkanCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2009

MONTEREY, CA - JULY 5:  Valentino Rossi of Italy rides the #46 Fiat Yamaha leads Casey Stoner during the Moto GP Red Bull U. S. Grand Prix at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 5, 2009 in Monterey, California.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Formula One Racing has had a season of conflict so far this year. It's been unsteady, unpredictable, and entertaining, but only off the track.

The racing itself hasn't been so entertaining, even though Webber, Vettel, and Red Bull boys have made it more interesting over the last two Grand Prix.

So as I set my DVR to record the MotoGP race, I felt conflicted.

I'm a huge Formula One fan. I identify myself as being one of the only five people that care about Formula One in the U.S., so I felt like a traitor watching MotoGP, Formula One's main competition for the racing enthusiast TV viewer.

But I sat in my chair, pressed play on the DVR remote, and the racing started. 

My mind changed—I quickly forgot the familiar monotony of Formula One. The predictable races; the usual parade of heavy cars holding up lighter ones because overtaking is nearly impossible; KERS acting as a hindrance to good racing and showing the true ineptitude of the FIA and Formula One's leadership.

So MotoGP has dominating drivers and teams, but somehow, the top three teams are so close together, that racing is still unpredictable. Lorenzo, Rossi, Stoner, Dovizio and Pedrosa all have legitimate chances of winning any given week.

Sports and racing in particular can be distilled into one thing of paramount importance: drama. MotoGP is chock-full of it, unlike Formula One, in which the most dramatic parts of a race weekend are qualifying and the pitstops.

On Sunday, I saw something during a race which I forgot existed—overtaking. The motorcycles could actually get by each other on the track.It actually showed me how good MotoGP riders are to pull of some of those moves.

Formula One drivers make it seem too easy, thus making the race boring. Nobody wants to watch a parade at 150 MPH.

MotoGP is more accessible and relatable than Formula One. There are lots of motorcycles in cities all over the world that look like the motorcycles on a MotoGP race track. A Formula One car is more like a fighter jet than a regular road car (thanks to Mike for that analogy).

So a Renault is only a "Renault" in Formula One terms, it has nothing in common with that Clio or Megane in your driveway.

Formula One should take a page from MotoGP. Make racing closer, more unpredictable, more dramatic, and more accessible.

How to do that is a matter for another article, but Formula One obviously isn't as good as it could be, while MotoGP is having one of the best seasons in its history.