Here's an interesting series of traction control reports from the point of view of various racers in various series, including AMA, WSBK, and even Rossi's views from MotoGP, lifted from here: http://www.r1-forum.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=165525 A Moment With Mat: Traction Control Mat Mladin There has been a bit going on lately in regards to traction control. Can somebody please tell me why we shouldn't be using traction control? The whole idea of racing in the first place is to develop tomorrow's street bikes for the consumer. Does it matter if the privateers can't afford it? No. The factories spend tens of millions of dollars in a whole host of nations racing. If we do not test the newest technologies on the racetrack, trust me you guys on the street will never see it. The manufacturers are not into selling hundreds of thousands of motorcycles with un-proven technology. Would anybody out there like to go and pick up a new GSXR 1000 from your dealer and have them tell you, "We are testing a new traction control system on your bike. Can you please go down the road there to that fourth gear right hander, lay it on its side at a buck fifty and just grab a big handful of gas, oh and don't feel like a guinea pig because the other fifty thousand Gixers that Suzuki sell are the same". Your reply to this is something like, "um, um, yeh, um, but have guys like Spies, Yates and Mladin done any testing on this stuff at the track, I mean Suzuki pays them a whole load of money to be the test pilots". To which the answer to that is. "Well they are not allowed to use it in racing because the privateers can't afford it, even though in production form it will only add twenty nine dollars to the price of your new bike". You get my drift. The fact of the matter is that traction control would make our racing safer and your new street bikes a bunch safer. The fact that an organizing body can ban traction control because of a few privateers who, traction control or not will never be in the race is crazy. It is your bikes that are being held back by this ridiculous rule. The same person isn't telling everybody that to get the good race gas that the factory guys' use is costing them? But if we all used pump gas that it would only run one hundred bucks for the weekend. Superbike is for the factories to show their stuff, not worry about the privateers. Change the support class rule so it forces the factories out of it and put a salary cap on the amount allowed to be paid to the riders that ride the support classes. Make the support classes just that, support classes and give the privateers somewhere to show their stuff. What is happening? I have heard that a fair amount over the past six weeks. I will tell anybody that wants to listen. I am getting my ass kicked. Pretty simple really. Now I could make up some excuses like I have a sore finger, the dog ate my notes from last year, you know the ones that tell me how to ride or just plain say I am getting smoked. There are no excuses. As a team we are being beat by a better rider/team combo. Together they have lifted their game and are doing a tremendous job. The good thing for us is that at Infineon I learned a couple of things from the kid and put a bit of it to work at the Miller test, with good results. I seen a couple of things at Fontana and confirmed it at Infineon, a few areas where Ben is stronger than me. I love the challenge. I have been happier this year getting beat than last year winning so many races. Of course the bank account doesn't look as good but the motivation to get better has lifted up to new heights in the past weeks and I look forward to the up coming races. I have always enjoyed doing things with people that are better than me at whatever it is we are doing. When I used to play a bit of golf, I enjoyed mostly playing with Jason Pridmore because I knew that I had to be completely at my best just to keep him in sight on the scorecard. The last couple of years Marty (Craggill) and I played a lot of Squash. It was some of the best fun for me as I hadn't played for years and Marty put some hurt on me for quite a while. The challenge of getting to his level was the most fun. In the end we had some epic games, to the point of me collapsing on the court with a stuffed back. It must have been a sight for the people working there to watch Marty essentially carrying me out of there and to the doctors. When I was six or seven years old I used to race motocross with the eleven and twelve year olds at my local club. Being in the fight was much more fun than putting a trophy on the mantle for winning an easy race. At Infineon I was asked why I am doing wheelies after finishing second and why am I smiling more than ever? I was reminded that I have won races before and almost looked unhappy at the end. 'Because it has been fun getting my ass kicked,' is the honest answer. The challenge ahead is steep and I look forward to seeing if I can do it. I have the best job in the world; I wake every morning to breath the fresh air. Somehow I think I've got it good. Ride smart and stay safe Traction (Out Of) Control Mission: Control Traction Control has been the buzzword in AMA Superbike for a couple of seasons, but the TC debate has gone to full boil in 2006. Anyone with ears and eyes can see certain factory Superbikes smoking the tire out of a corner, then emitting an audible "rat-a-tat-tat" in the next corner. And it's been witness in more than Superbike, too. It's often rumored in the paddock these days that one factory-supported "Superstock" team was told to leave their electronics gadgets at home after a race earlier this season. Repeat: a factory-supported Superstock team. Whether you are for it or against it, the traction control issue in the AMA needs to be resolved. The current situation has resulted in a certain amount of chaos in the paddock. SuperbikePlanet.com spoke with AMA Technical Manager Kevin Crowther at Infineon. We asked Crowther where things were with the Traction Control situation right now. "As you know, there are several different philosophies as to what Traction Control is. We don't allow front-wheel speed sensors," said Crowther of the AMA's ban on independent Traction Control systems. "There are some different philosophies about engine management systems and what goes on there on the engine side of the house when things spin up." It is the "black boxes"--the engine management systems--where all the dandy work is going on. And, since AMA rules only ban dedicated Traction Control systems and front-wheel speed sensors, that is the exact gray area that the factory teams seem to be trying to exploit. "Unfortunately, we have the same problem that World Superbike and everyone else has, and that is, there's no real way to police what goes on inside the boxes," said Crowther. "Our rules allow them to change things (in certain classes). You hear different things with motorcycles...is that Traction Control? Is that engine management? Is that acceleration management? Everyone can debate that all day long. "The electronics of motorcycles and motorcycle racing have become much more refined over the past few years, and MotoGP lap-time breakthroughs have often been the result of electronics. There are several companies like Motec and Magneti-Marelli who are aligned with the MotoGP teams, and they offer third-party engine management systems with what could be termed "Traction Control capabilities" for sale. And aftermarket data-logging instruments (one of the key ingredients of Traction Control) are allowed in both Superbike and Formula Xtreme. The bottom line is that advanced electronics are not much of a black art anymore. Crowther continues: "Technology is moving forward so quickly. The rental cars everyone is driving this weekend have Traction Control. We're probably not that far off from an OEM bike coming with some type of (advanced) Traction Control engine management. The R6 has fly-by-wire, and that type of stuff. But again, it's the AMA's highest priority. My feelings when I took this job...we need to come up with an answer. Whether we allow it or not allow it, we can't stick our heads in the sand. Hopefully, within a couple of races, we'll have a policy and move forward." At Infineon, there was a meeting held in which Traction Control was discussed among AMA personnel and the teams. 'Soup has spoken with several in attendance, and a wide variety of opinions were offered by those in attendance. Some want a strict ban, and others want it wide-open for all classes. Some want a middle ground where advanced electronics are allowed in some classes (like Superbike and FX), but not others (Supersport and Superstock). Crowther said the problem is deciding on a rule that can actually be enforced. "I wish there was an easy answer. That's the only problem. I wish there was a definitive way for us to say 'we won't allow it and here's how we'll troubleshoot it.' In Formula One years ago, they hired a crew of 10 guys and put them in a semi, with the sole purpose of finding the driver enhancements. They spent a year and couldn't find anything." What of the Superbike Commission meeting to be held in Italy in early June? Will that affect things? "I don't know if it will shape what we decide to do with Traction Control," said Crowther. "I understand that the meeting is to come to a united front, with Japan and World Superbike and the others, to come up with an overall package so the manufacturers won't have to make 15 different race kits for each series, they can make one. As far as Traction Control, I don't know if we will adapt to what they say. I don't know. We'll have to wait and see what happens," he said. Crowther confirmed that a rumored rulebook update is, indeed, in the works. "It's not so much of revamping the classes. I don't want anyone to think that is what we are talking about with that. (The changes) would be more of a common-sense thing and get rid of the gray areas. We've already issued some bulletins this year on a few things. Overall, I think everyone can agree we need an organization of the rulebook."