500cc world champion and official MotoGP Legend Kevin Schwantz feels electronics have been the biggest influence on grand prix racing since his glory days in the late '80s and early '90s.

"It's a lot closer at the front now. Back in the days of 500, the spread was quite a lot," the Texan told the Official MotoGP website. "It seems like everybody has gotten that much better and the electronics have brought everybody closer in qualifying.

"Sometimes the races still get spread out, but these guys have got such a tough job to get every tenth in qualifying.

"On a 500 the riders tried to stay more centred on the motorcycle and now with the electronics it's how far off can you hang. The only time I ever dragged my elbow or butt was when I was crashing!"

A Suzuki rider throughout his career, Schwantz was famous for his battles with countryman Wayne Rainey, the precision of the Yamaha rider often in total contrast to Schwantz's 'all over the place' style.

"When I see the photos, [current Suzuki MotoGP rider] Alex [Rins] is always in a perfect position on the motorcycle and that was kind of what Wayne Rainey did," Schwantz said. "I was all over the place, I was adjusting my riding style lap-to-lap, let alone race-to-race or season-to-season.

"A bike that worked well in one place needed to be ridden a little bit different and I think the guys still have to adapt their style a bit now. The good riders are still able to compensate somewhat, but maybe a little more probably back in 500."

Schwantz added that the closely-matched machinery on the current grid means the best riders can usually find their way to the front.

"There's no doubt the depth of the field now, everybody is so close, but I think the cream still rises to the top, Rins, Marquez, Dovi, Rossi, Vinales are consistently at the front of the races even if they don’t qualify well," he said.

"If a 500 was bad, it was plain old bad, even the best rider in the world couldn't do much with it."

'I look like a giraffe'

Double 2019 MotoGP race winner Rins added: "I agree that the electronics help the riders to be more in a group now. It's difficult to open a gap because everything is so close."

But commenting on the current aggressive 'head down-and-elbows out' riding style, epitomised by reigning champion Marc Marquez, the Spaniard admitted he takes a different approach.

"Compared to Marc [Marquez], we have two very different riding styles, he has his head down and elbows up. I'm more like, one team member says, a giraffe, with my head up! I've always had this riding style.

"I remember in Moto3 a lot of people told me 'You look like you're going into the pits, then you do a fast lap'. I've tried to ride more with the head down and elbows up, but it doesn’t work very well for me."

 

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