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We chat to Moto2 rider Celestino Vietti about the new MotoGP 24 game

And learn when he’d have used the rewind function in real life

Published: 21 May 2024

Racing bikes, as you might have noticed, isn’t like racing cars. There’s the worrying ease with which you’re separated from your machinery by the forces of physics. The fact that your only two contact patches with terra firma add up to approximately the size of a two-Euro coin. The very real risk of being blinded by fluorescent energy drink advertising and, maybe the most fundamental difference of them all, MotoGP racers don’t rack up the hours in simulator rigs.

Instead, as Moto2 Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Celestino Vietti tells us, they get some help learning their lines from the official MotoGP games.

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“Simulating the behaviour of a motorbike is certainly more difficult than a car,” says Cele, “especially because of the leaning element.

“The video game can hardly help with that, but playing it before going to the track can help you understand the characteristics of the circuit, especially if you have never raced on it, and how to approach each turn in the best possible way by studying the ideal trajectories to follow, and the correct braking points.”

That makes for a decent seal of authenticity for Milestone’s latest offering, MotoGP 24. And a nice badge of honour for anybody who masters its famously demanding controls. There are AI-assisted riding aids to help you get round the track, but to be really competitive here you need to master the feeling of braking independently with the front and rear discs, applying enough pressure to slow you down in time for the apex without locking a wheel and sliding your way towards a gravel enema.

And the interesting thing is, even though Cele and his contemporaries use the game to find their braking points on the real track, there’s no ‘right’ way to brake in this game. Trust us, we’ve asked.

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Milestone’s head of game design and associate creative director Andrea Basilio said: “To answer this question we went to the guys that actually made the physics. They decide how you brake, basically.

“They came back and said, ‘Everyone has a different technique.’”

Lead game designer Stefano Talarico elaborates: “The real answer is that there’s not a proper answer because every track is different, every corner is different and even perception on where to brake is personal in a way.”

That might be explained by the way MotoGP 24’s bike behaviour was created, using input from real MotoGP technicians, and riders from Moto2 and Moto3 like Cele, as Talarico informs us. Everyone has a slightly different technique and marker in reality, so it makes sense that the in-game bike behaviour accommodates for those different perspectives. If you’re still looking for a pro tip on when to hit the anchors though, consider the words of the great Kevin Schwantz: see God, then brake.

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While MotoGP 24 captures the best bits of a prototype bike’s behaviour, Vietti tells us there are aspects of racing these machines that it’s probably best the game doesn’t recreate.

“The chattering is something that is very difficult to replicate in a game,” says Vietti. “Even if it’s just vibrations, it affects the riding style a lot.

“You usually have to handle it with your body, so you move your weight in order to put more or less load on the front wheel, and also the way of braking changes. When you’re leaning at 60 degrees and feel the chattering, that’s a sensation that in a game you don’t feel with the same intensity.”

Probably for the best, Cele. Our stomachs get a bit queasy after a few laps when we use the first-person camera.

Conversely, one feature present in MotoGP 24 but unfortunately not in reality is the ‘rewind’ button, allowing you to spool back a few seconds and undo a costly error. Now this, Vietti agrees, would be handy.

“Surely if I had had the rewind in real life, it would have been great in some cases.

"Maybe I could have got more pole positions, because in qualifying you pay for all the small mistakes. But one moment I would have used it for sure was last year in India when at the first turn there was a big accident and I broke my pelvis. If I had had the rewind bottom I would have made sure to be in another part of the track.”

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