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The reason for Marquez’s “Elbow Down” is to detect the front sliding!


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No matter how unstable he is, he goes in and out the corner!

Marc Marquez (Repsol HONDA) won the 15th Thai Grand Prix of MotoGP. He won the title for the 6th time in the top class and 8th time in all classes. The battle of the end of the race against Fabio Quartararo (Petronas YAMAHA SRT) was a thing worth seeing, and it was also a season in which a new generation emerged, such as Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy YAMAHA MotoGP) and Álex Rins (Team SUZUKI Ecstar).

Among them, the strength of Marquez is outstanding. I watched the Thai GP on a TV broadcast. He tilted the machine while swinging out the rear wheels from the super-hard braking, where the rear tire seems to be completely floating, and cut off the corner with a lean angle deeper than anyone else. It didn’t matter for him even he overdoes it and the front tire starts to slide out. Among a lot of the genius riders of MotoGP, only Marquez can do the crazy riding that control the machine from any unstable state and put it on the riding line.

Ultra technique to push back front sliding by elbow

I tried to dig an article about his riding tech from a foreign news, and the secret of Marquez’s strength seems to be in the slide control of the front tire. If the front slips, it can only crash. This is a theory that every rider knows or has experienced. However, it seems that Marquez can control the front tire slide. It seems that even the rival MotoGP riders can’t quite understand why he can do such a thing.

Marquez’s riding technique is unique. I think that the Elbow Down, which slides the elbow against the road surface, is a technique probably Marquez has begun to use the first. The Elbow Down is often thought of as a way to detect the lean angle, but it’s not only that. The lean angle of the MotoGP machine is over 65 degrees, and it looks like falling down if looking at it in the video. If it comes to that angle, it is not possible to actually slide the waist greatly to the inner side like the previous hang-off, and even the knee can not be opened. Therefore, I thought Marquez had only a choice to use the elbow as a bank sensor, but in fact, Marquez says that the balance is corrected by pushing the road surface back with his elbows, when the front tire slides too much and cuts into.

In other words, it means that he is riding beyond the grip limit of the front tire. Whether he’s braking when entering the corner, or at the very end of a full banking, he can detect the grip performance of the front tires, that’s why he can do that.

Marquez can also slide the front slick tire by deliberately full locking the handlebars during cornering. By doing so, he seems to have mastered how to use the elbows while obtaining the grip feeling at each corner. I don’t think it’s a human work anymore.

The evolution of the tires delayed the biological clock

Of course, there is also a tangible elements evolution. The other day, when I was interviewing a tire manufacturer, we had a topic about tire grip performance, and it seems that tires are also evolving day by day to pursue higher performance of the machine.

What’s interesting was the story of “Slipping Area”, which seems to be a grip riding method, but in fact, the tires are always slipping. The rider can be relieved if the slipping amount is constant. Conversely, if the slipping amount will change suddenly, it’s scary.

The current tire is manufactured in such a way that the transient characteristic in the area of the slip is calm. It can also be said that it is suitable for human sensitivity, but the idea is to increase the time that something can be done for the rider by taking a long time to actually start slipping from the feeling that the ground pressure of the tire is reduced and it is likely to slip. In other words, it is an area that can be controlled. If becoming a Marquez-class rider, even a few split seconds, the time might be moving slowly on his biological clock. It is in the world of over 200km/h and the lean angle of 65 degrees.

Toughness that can always attack until the limit is also his advantage!

In fact, I often freeze my blood when I see Marquez’s front wheel suddenly moves inward during the race. Even in a situation that ”ordinary” MotoGP rider would fall down immediately, Marquez wouldn’t fall down. Even in a dangerous scene where the front tire suddenly moves inward and draws long black mark, we will accept that “Oh, because it is Marquez.” He always attacks until the limit and actively takes risks, that is why of course there are many falls during the season, even so, it can be said that it is his strength not to suffer a serious injury. His true rider-like personality that is always cheerful, aggressive, and mentally tough will bring luck.

Marquez already got the championship of this year, but Marquez is not a person who cuts the corners. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of art he is going to show this time.

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

Kentaro (Kenny) Sagawa

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Motorcycle Journalist
 Kenny become freelance journalist at the age of 32 after working at several IT and marketing companys. Working as a magazine editor, he is currently working as one of the most famous motorcycle journalist in Japan and activly working to diffuse "safety riding" through magazines and web media.
・Chief editor of "Webike Moto News".
・Principal of "Riding Academy Tokyo".
・Representative of "Moto Maniacs Co., Ltd."
・Traffic psychologist of "The Japan Association of Traffic Psychology".
・MFJ (Motorcycle Federation of Japan) certified instructor.

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