By John Burns
If you had to restrict yourself to one word to describe Neil Spalding‘s epic MotoGP opus, that word could be “dense.” The level of technological detail is over the top, charting all the changes of every points-scoring motorcycle since the prototype four-strokes first appeared in 2002. If you ever wanted to be a fly on the partition inside MotoGP, this is about as close as you’ll get, as Neil’s been an insider in top-level racing since well before MotoGP began.
Before that, he and Alan Cathcart persuaded the World Superbike people to run the European Supermono series in the early ’90s, where they campaigned a Ducati Supermono or two (get a sample of Neil’s excellent writing style here) in an effort to carry on the finest Cook Neilson Racer Road tradition that inspired him. Before that, Neil even ran a Yamaha SRX-6. After that, he ran a British Supersport team and now supports himself manufacturing Sigma racing clutches. Basically the man’s spent his entire life involved in motorcycle racing.
Over that time, he established enough bona fides that all the teams let him loose with his camera and notebook, and the book provides more detail on the changes each bike’s gone through since inception than most of us can process; the mechanical detail borders on obsessive-compulsive. At the same time, the humans involved play a huge role, and riders and other big players also come in for a fair bit of analyzing as well.
Rather than packing all the factory teams into a year-by-year breakdown like the also excellent Motocourse, Spalding’s chosen to give each manufacturer its own chapter in which he charts the changes …read more