Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Marquez and Dunlop: on the same curve

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Marquez and Dunlop: on the same curve

Sunday was quite a day for motorcycle racing: MotoGP at Mugello, the world’s greatest purpose-built circuit, and the Superbike TT on the Mountain Course, the world’s greatest circuit carved out of ordinary roads.

Michael Dunlop was the man on the Island and Marc Márquez might’ve been the man at Mugello, if he hadn’t teetered over the brink once too often. Even so, to come back from three practice crashes – including the fastest-ever in GP history, after he lost the front at 210mph – to challenge for a podium was nothing short of magnificent.

I see similarities between the Ulsterman and the Spaniard. Márquez is the wild young man of MotoGP, just like Dunlop was only recently the wild young man of real roadracing. Son of Robert, nephew of Joey, Dunlop ruffled some feathers and bashed some fairings in his earlier years, just like Márquez now.

Dunlop is a solid rock of talent, hewn from real roadracing’s greatest dynasty. Over the years he has sculpted and burnished his skills into something that can win four TTs on three different types of motorcycle over four days. The 24-year-old is a real character who says exactly what he thinks and rarely fails to raise a laugh in an interview. As he said after his win in the first Supersport TT – his second victory in 24 hours: “It’s like Pringles – once you pop, you can’t stop”. He was probably speaking from experience in more ways than one – last winter Dunlop shed some of the excess pounds he had been carrying for the last few years. It’s all part of the process of honing himself into a leaner, meaner winning machine.

Just like Márquez in MotoGP, Dunlop looks like he may be moving things on in real roadracing. He has devastating speed and yet the lock-to-lock wildness of a few years ago has been replaced by breathtaking momentum through the corners. On Sunday, Monday and Wednesday he made everyone else on the Island look a little second rate. Current Island king John McGuinness broke his own lap record in the Superbike race, trying to make amends for being “a little lazy at the start” (and a penalty for speeding in the pit-lane), so there’s no doubt McPint has what it takes to stage a counter attack in Friday’s Senior TT, but he already knows he has come up against the toughest rival of his career.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

Comments

Is that the twang of a long bow being drawn I hear?

Wild, on the edge youth tamed by maturity & experience. Nothing new here. Ask Stoner, Lorenzo, Doohan, Sheene.... all the way back to to the dawn of racing.

Total votes: 52

Subject of the post

Going back to Mat Oxley's excellent piece, it begs the question why WSS/Moto2 and WSBK/MotoGP teams are not looking to get Michael Dunlop on a bike? True, road racing is a bit different, but clearly he has an abundance of talent for racing on two wheels. Am I missing something here?

Total votes: 56

The Dunlops

are a family apart. Many will know more about them than me, but from what I have seen/read they don't particularly have the budget to go racing in UK short track series and therefore have concentrated on what the family have always done well - the roads.
The current brothers are probably/were not the media/marketing dream that some riders represent nowadays, but they sure are intriguing, interesting, and likeable characters. Michael has changed a lot in the past couple of years and perhaps he has realised that to get the factory/national distributor sponsorship you have to give something.
Honda UK (Neil Tuxworth I suspect) has timed things pretty well - he has got Michael onto an endurance bike and supported him in road racing. His performance on the short tracks was impressive. If he makes it 5 at the TT today the racing world could be his oyster and he may make a move that in todays terms would be worthy of Hailwood or Surtees. He seems to love the roads, so unlikely to give it up, but quite a few short-circuit riders have made the transition in recent times and it would be nice to see him go the other way with equal success.

Total votes: 50

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