Struggling to know what to get the MotoGP who thinks they know it all about the sport? Technical guru Neil Spalding’s new book, MotoGP Technology, is pretty much guaranteed to teach even the most dedicated race fans something they didn’t know about the sport’s deepest technical secrets.
The challenge when it comes to writing a technical book is being able to relate incredibly complex subjects to the reader in an understandable and entertaining manner. Get too techy and you end up with an educational text that could as well be written in Swahili for most readers, but keep it too light and you’re pretty much defeating the point of the book.
Thankfully this officially licenced MotoGP book has a really nice balance to it, being eminently readable at the beginning and only getting into the really geeky stuff towards the end of its 304 pages. Author Spalding, an engineer who has established himself as the sport’s preeminent technical commentators in recent years, takes the reader by the hand to help dig below the surface and explain what’s really going on beneath the shiny surface of the world’s most glamorous motorcycle racing series, helped by some fine editing from veteran MotoGP journalist Michael Scott.
The first half of the book is a manufacturer-by-manufacturer history lesson into the bikes that have graced the MotoGP scene since the introduction of the class in 2002, from the ever present Honda and Yamaha entrants to 2017 newcomers KTM.
That in itself is interesting enough, documenting the often subtle changes that mark the evolution of the machines from race-to-race, season-to-season, but it’s the second half of the book that really focuses on the why as much as the what, with detailed looks at what Spalding describes as ‘the fundamentals’.
These sections, dedicated to topics such as engine designs, valves, tyres, gearboxes and aerodynamics are a bit heavier going but really help the reader understand much more about what’s going on in the pit boxes, and back at the factories. The pages on electronics, in particular, are a real geek out that went over my head the first time I read it, but it is one of those books where sections can benefit from a reread to really help with the understanding.
Like the bikes, this book is a real evolution. First published in late 2006, MotoGP Technology has been reprinted many times, with a second edition in 2010 and now this comprehensively different third edition. That shows that there is a huge thirst for this kind of information. It’s also got my mouth watering for the inevitable fourth edition, as you can be sure that there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s taking place in secret R&D labs right now that not even the ever diligent Mr. Spalding has been able to extract from inscrutable development engineers and project managers. Yet.
Sure, this is not a book for everyone, but for those who are right into MotoGP or just fascinated by cutting edge technology, it is well worth an investment of £39.95. Go to: www.motogptechnology.com to order direct.