Quite a few people have been asking me about the talented young riders that are moving up from 600’s to Superbikes or MotoGP bikes this season, so I thought I’d write down exactly how I believe it all works. Obviously its different for every rider, but what i am trying to put into words below is a process I believe all successful ‘big bike riders’ go through.
When a talented young rider moves up from a smaller capacity bike to the big horsepower monsters, the race results may vary, but the ‘apprenticeship’ a rider must endure is inevitably the same and people seem to forget this.
Simply put, riders that move to ‘big bikes’ must learn to have respect for such horsepower and grip and adapt their style to get the most from these two important tools. No matter how many times people warn them, and no matter how many times they say that they understand, they don’t. In my experience, to be fully understood, it has to be learned the hard way.
Young talent is usually cocksure and impatient and respect of big bikes does not exist in them. This is understandable as they have had great success until now riding with aggression and a lack of patience, and we have all enjoyed watching them. The extra talented young riders will be quick on a big bike straight away, maybe even extremely quick so they are up the front, and of course we will all be cheering them on for stirring up the sport. Others will work away cautiously building up speed and confidence. Either way, they all have to do their ‘apprenticeship’, which exist of the following;
Go like hell and try to get results.
Crash until it really, really hurts.
Get back on the bike hurting so bad your whole world is so shaken you wonder why you ride bikes.
With a new found respect for big bikes you look deep inside yourself to find the motivation to build up speed and confidence again.
If a good rider goes through all this without hurting himself to the point of no return, mentally and physically, and still has the determination to push himself back to the front, he will emerge a better all-round rider. Wiser, stronger and more consistent than before. Only then will the guys at the front of the championship, who have already done their ‘apprenticeship’ have reason to respect and worry about him.