It was certainly fast and extremely dangerous on that main straight at Mugello. The West Honda Pons duo of Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi were timed at well over 300kph as they fought through the torrential rain that poured across the Italian tarmac and the spray that filled every millimetre of their sodden visors, as they raced towards that historic winning double.

Just how could the two riders see what was in front of them and how did they know their positions in the race which was run in two parts. Surely it was impossible for them to read their pit boards through the waves of water that engulfed their 200bhp NSR Honda machines.

That afternoon in the Tuscan rain certainly gave credence to the idea of linking the riders and their pits through a radio system. After all, it's an integral part of Formula One car racing and so why should it not work in MotoGP.

Drivers receive instructions from the pits and also give back information, but would it be the same for MotoGP riders at the height of an explosive 40-minute grand prix where, unlike an F1 race, tyre changes and fuel stops are not an integral part of a Grand Prix that can last nearly two hours.

Tests have been made over the years between riders and their teams. Further experiments are planned in the next couple of weeks in Barcelona by a current MotoGP500 team but quite honestly the jury is still out.

Sito Pons, the team owner of West Honda Pons and former 250cc World Champion is the perfect person to weigh-up the pro's and cons of radio contact both from the saddle of a machine and from pit lane.

In the midst of the Mugello battle a quick word to his two riders confirming they were leading on overall time and telling them how many laps were left would have fitted into the strategy of any team boss. Twelve years ago as he battled with the likes Reinhold Roth, Jacque Cornu and Carlos Cardus for the World 250cc title, Sito would not have been so happy for any interruption, especially from a voice in his helmet, to the intense level of concentration required to win grand prix motorcycle race.

''As a rider it could put you in a very difficult situation and I would want to know who was going to talk to me and that they would have to be quick, concise and clear,'' explained Sito. ''You have to concentrate so hard while racing and you may just not be ready to listen at the moment you are being spoken to. It would be very important that the person in the pits knows exactly when to speak to the rider.''

''It's obviously very different in Formula One when the driver needs to know about fuel and tyre stops and what to adjust in the car when the telemetry is checked back in the pits but that does not happen in MotoGP."

Contrary to popular belief Formula One drivers and team managers do not have long conversations over the radio during practice, qualifying or the race. Drivers, like riders, do not want their concentration disturbed and just short basic information is relayed between the car and pit lane about the timing of stops and the state of the car from the telemetry back in the pits.

Tactics play such a massive part in the outcome of a Formula One race this flow of information is vital. Also despite the sophistication of the system the high pitched scream of a Formula One engine is a notable opponent for anybody wanting to talk above it. MotoGP could well face the same problem next year with the return of the four-strokes next season.

The same flow of information may not be necessary in a MotoGP race but a link to the pits could prove vital in the same situation as Mugello where the race times from both legs where added together to find the ultimate winner and the reading of pit board information was very difficult and dangerous for riders in the rain and spray.

''It could be useful to try in a race situation, especially to tell a rider where he's positioned and who is coming up fast behind him,'' concedes Sito Pons. ''You are concentrating so hard that sometimes you don't look at the board and sometimes it's very difficult to read like it was at Mugello. There may be occasions when a rider wants to talk to the pits and he would be able to pick his time far better than someone in the pits wanting to talk to him.''

However, Sito Pons thinks it's in qualifying and practice that a radio link may prove the most useful to both rider and team.

''I can see it being a real advantage in qualifying being able to tell your rider who is trying to follow him and what the other riders times are. I think it's important that the tests on the radio link continue but we will have to wait and see if the teams will ever use them,'' concluded the former 250cc World Champion.

The interruption of the race in Mugello because of the rain once again produced plenty of discussion about the introduction of pit stops in MotoGP allowing the riders to change tyres.

The changing of tyres on a grand prix motorcycle is at the moment far more complicated than on a Formula One car. Also many people feel once the outcome of grand prix races is decided on the speed and timing of pit stops the actual business of racing and ultimately overtaking your opponents is lost forever.

It's another controversial subject that may have plenty of airing in the next couple of months as the European summer continues to pour moisture on race tracks, at around 14.00 on every other Sunday afternoon. However it seems unlikely that radio links between riders and the pits will become a permanent feature of MotoGP unless pits stops are introduced and that particular decision is still a long way off.

Nevertheless, the Yamaha D'Antin team have confirmed that they will test a rider to pits radio system in a Barcelona test after this Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix.



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