24 September 2010
125: Marquez explains wet weather riding
Marc Marquez reveals the changes made for riding in the wet.
Few will be surprised if rain makes an appearance at some stage during the forthcoming flyaway races in Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
Whilst MotoGP and Moto2 have had a completely dry race season so far, the 125cc class has already had two races declared as 'wet', at Sachsenring and Brno (although both were on drying tracks).
Title contender Marc Marquez won the first of those events, and finished seventh with a recently dislocated shoulder in the other. Here he explains some secrets to wet weather riding, starting with the engine.
"An oilier carburetion than usual is added to achieve a less abrupt and aggressive throttle response than normal, due to the fact that it is easier for the rear wheel to slide in the wet," said Marquez. "Also, to achieve the optimum temperature for running the engine – which is 60 ºC - a close eye is kept on the radiator.”
In low temperatures, a basic but very effective method is used to influence engine temperature. “The mechanics use duct tape to cover the radiator air inlet and avoid the engine getting too cold," he said.
A further trick is to allow the rider to regulate the temperature himself without having to do a pit stop, “one of the tapes is fixed with a pulley, fixed onto the front-wheel shock absorber, which I can pull while running”.
In terms of suspension, a softening of the reactions of his Derbi RSA are sought, configuring “the softest adjustments which allow the bike to be most flexible. The tyres are a softer-option too which allows better grip at a lower running temperature [60ºC instead of the 80 ºC or 100 ºC which they reach in the dry], without wearing so much as when the asphalt is much hotter.”
The tyres used are also grooved to allow the water to clear and help generate heat in the rubber.
Changes are also made with respect to clothing and protection gear.
"The helmet visor, for example, instead of being dark to prevent the sun dazzling the rider, is completely transparent to improve visibility in rainy conditions," said the Spaniard.
Also, the inside has a demister, a second layer of plastic to stop the humidity steaming up and obscuring the rider's vision. The visor also has a rubber outer layer which stops water from getting inside the helmet.
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