Traction control? Engine management? Halve a kilometer of run-off? You've got to be joking. That time Grand Prix race motorcycles didn't have fancy electronics or anything to help the riders. They just went really, really fast This was the golden age of two-stroke Grand Prix racing, when macho colonials slugged it out on race motorcycle that were good for over 320km/h.
Even Valentino Rossi acknowledges the late 80s and early 90s as a special moment in motorcycle racing history. He grew up watching Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, John Kocinski, Mick Doohan and Wayne Garner on television as they bumped fairing and went spectacular down on the tarmac. So all Rossi wanted to do when he joined the premier class in 2000 was ride a 500cc like the old dogs, as he called them.
These were scary men, dragged up in the rough and tumble of dirt tracks, so different from today's riders, image-obsessed MotoGP stars with their dainty hairdos and personalized cartoon logos. Multi-million dollar sponsorship arrived at this time but the riders just took the millions and didn't give a damn, so you had Kocinski refusing to take part in a Marlboro Yamaha press conference until a journalist in the audience had stopped smoking. And yes Marlboro, the main Yamaha sponsor at that time was a cigarette company. Nobody told these guys what to do and they all operated on very short fuses.