Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Lorenzo vs Márquez

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Lorenzo vs Márquez

There’s been so much written about bump and grind in MotoGP that I hardly dare add to it. But here goes anyway.

During Thursday afternoon’s pre-event media conference at Sepang, Jorge Lorenzo let loose with a sarcastic appraisal of the one point penalty imposed on wild-man Marc Márquez for his Aragon indiscretion – when his RCV no more than kissed Dani Pedrosa’s, leading to the latter’s downfall.

In fact the reigning world champ was quite funny, but his sarcasm was lost on most of the attendant media, possibly because sarcasm is a bit of an English thing and there aren’t many Poms in the MotoGP media.

Photographer's Blog: The First In Flight Story

Most images from a race weekend are tossed for one reason or another. Either they are flawed somehow (out of focus, part of subject cut off, etc.) or they are simply uninteresting and not worth showing on PHOTO.GP. There are often many of these boring shots, because sometimes I'll notice a section of track where riders occasionally do something cool. So I may photograph many bikes coming through that section in case the magic happens, and find later when viewing the images on the computer that nothing at all happened the entire time, so I toss the whole batch. But if this strategy pays off with even one really good image, then it was worth the time and effort (and is a good example of the kind of thing we can do in digital photography that would've been prohibitively expensive on film).

Of the small percentage of images that become contenders for display to fans and customers, only a small percentage of those make it into the Portfolio collection on PHOTO.GP. To make it there, the image has to have something special about it that sets it apart. 

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Márquez and Pedrosa clash at Aragon

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Márquez and Pedrosa clash at Aragon

“I didn’t see the touch, but I think Marc should be penalised for two or three seasons!” That was Valentino Rossi’s take on the latest Márquez controversy on Sunday.

Personally, I think the nine-time champ is being a bit harsh on the kid. I think Márquez should be handed another two-point penalty. This, in addition to the two points he got for not respecting yellow flags during Silverstone warm-up, will take him to four points. And that would mean he must start the next race from the back of the grid.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Rossi’s wooden spoon

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Rossi’s wooden spoon

Valentino Rossi had his best race weekend in almost three years at Misano. For the first time since the last few races of 2010 he was on the pace every day, declaring that his YZR-M1 had never felt better.

On Friday afternoon he spent half the session chasing Marc Márquez, matching him pretty much yard for yard, lap after lap. Afterwards he was buzzing from the experience of riding with the youngster and not watching him disappear into the distance. “I enjoyed that a lot,” he beamed. “Marc’s style is very, very funny – a great show!”

Photographer's Blog: Interview with Sergi Sendra, Part 2

At the second MotoGP round in Austin, I spoke to Sergi Sendra, Director of Dorna Sports TV Production, about what goes on behind the scenes when bringing MotoGP to TV audiences around the world. Mr. Sendra graciously found more time for MotoMatters at Laguna Seca, so that we could ask him about the popular slow motion shots, among other things. You may want to read the first part of this interview, here, before continuing on to the conclusion of the interview below.

MotoMatters: Now that we have some idea about the complexity of the TV production, I’d like to know how you manage the logistics of getting everything from race to race. For example, last weekend we were in Germany, and now we’re at Laguna Seca, so in a couple of days you had to get everything packed up, flown across an ocean, and then set up again.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: The best news from Silverstone

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


The best news from MotoGP Silverstone

It was very nearly all good news at Silverstone…

A properly thrilling MotoGP race, reminiscent of the glory days of the 1990s, thanks mostly to Marc Márquez for shaking things up and spurring Jorge Lorenzo to ever greater heights.

motogp race The best news from MotoGP Silverstone

A stunning win from Scott Redding – a kid from a tough background “trying to make something of my life”.

Warm summer sunshine, great crowd and no one too badly hurt in any of the crashes, including that idiotic pile-up at the end of Moto2 warm-up, the kind of accident that can leave people in a very bad way. The guilty party Dani Rivas suffered a fractured shoulder, while one of his victims, Steven Odendaal suffered a fractured ankle.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Ducati’s winning secret

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Ducati’s winning secret

It’s going to be a weird weekend for Cal Crutchlow. He will be contesting the Indianapolis GP for Monster Yamaha but I suspect that journalists at his daily media debriefs will only be interested in asking him questions about the bike he’ll be riding next year.

If this was Formula 1, his team PR would probably commence each debrief with the words, “Please, ladies and gentleman, we’d appreciate it if you only asked questions relating to Cal’s performance on track this weekend. Thank you for your understanding…”

Or maybe MotoGP has already stooped to these levels and journalists will be told to do just that at Indy. I hope not. Crutchlow always likes to speak his mind and it will be a sad day if he does get muzzled. In fact I’d like to see anyone try to put a sock in his mouth because, like most top racers, he doesn’t respond very well to being told what to do.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Collarbone injuries in MotoGP

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Collarbone injuries in MotoGP

They say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. If you’re a motorcycle racer, you need to add collarbones to that list.

Bike racers break collarbones, simple as that. Wrists too, because when you jump off a motorcycle at speed it’s usually a hand or shoulder that take the brunt of the impact.

The clavicle – to give the bone its anatomical title – is the strut that joins the shoulder blade to the sternum, so it’s just asking for trouble whenever you land on a shoulder or an outstretched arm.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Losing focus in MotoGP

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Losing focus in MotoGP

I interviewed Sito Pons at the Sachsenring, chatting about his times winning 250 World Championships in the late 1980s. He told me that when he was training – running or whatever – he only ever had two rivals in his sights.

“When I trained, in my head there were only two riders: Toni Mang and Carlos Lavado,” said Pons, who won the 1988 and 1989 250 titles and now owns Pol Espargaró’s Moto2 team “They were my focus, no one else, because they were fastest and most consistent riders, so I knew if I could beat them, then I could be world champion.”

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: The Honda/Yamaha pendulum

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


The Honda/Yamaha pendulum

Amid all the Assen drama it was easy to forget about the forlorn figure of Dani Pedrosa, slumped in his pit, wondering what might have been.

If all things had been equal, victory should have belonged to the Spaniard. Instead he finished a distant fourth, just one place ahead of the remarkable Jorge Lorenzo. So instead of stretching his advantage over his main title rival by 14 points, he gained just two points on him.

Pedrosa may still lean on points but his season has gone awry since his back-to-back wins at Jerez and Le Mans, because for one reason or another he hasn’t been able to get the best out of the Bridgestones. At the three races since Le Mans – Mugello, Catalunya and Assen – he has cited tyre issues for his inability to challenge for victory.

Editor's Blog: Truth, Lies, And Useful Idiots

In 1952, Doris Lessing, a Nobel prize-winning author, was one of a group of writers and prominent intellectuals who visited the Soviet Union, then in the iron grip of Joseph Stalin, one of history's greatest criminals and murderers. She was introduced to the political leaders of the country, and escorted around the nation by the Russian secret police. Lessing, along with the others on the trip, returned home to write gushing praise of the Soviet Union, describing it as 'a land of hope.'

In her later years, Lessing wrote a damning condemnation of her own naivety during the visit. "I was taken around and shown things as a ‘useful idiot’... that’s what my role was. I can’t understand why I was so gullible." She had seen only what had been shown to her, believed what her guides - all of whom worked for the secret police - told her, and accepted the testimony of the workers she spoke to, workers who had been carefully selected and briefed to project the right message, or sufficiently intimidated to not let any of the real truth slip.

A 'useful idiot' is exactly how I feel all too often working in the MotoGP paddock. With no formal training in journalism, and only my gut instinct to follow, it is hard to sift out the underlying facts from the fiction being projected all around me. Most of motorcycle racing journalism - in fact, most of sports journalism - relies almost entirely on the word of others. A journalist will speak to a rider, or a team manager, or an engineer, or a press officer, and write a news story based on what they have just been told. If they are a good journalist, they will try and verify what they have been told by checking with other sources. If they want to sell newspapers, they will write what suits them, and checking be damned.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: When will Valentino Rossi win again?

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 from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


When will Valentino Rossi win again?

It’s the question you get asked half a dozen times a race weekend, usually by expectant Rossi fans, hoping for a positive answer: when is Valentino going to win a race?

The answer is obvious: I don’t know. But when you follow that with an offhand remark, suggesting that maybe he won’t win another MotoGP race, their faces collapse into gloom.

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.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Pneumatic-valve Aprilia for MotoGP?

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 will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.


The race to arm MotoGP’s private teams with higher-performance CRT bikes is gathering pace. Last summer Honda announced that they will sell a lower-cost version of their RC213V and then two months ago Yamaha confirmed that they will lease YZR-M1 engines from 2014. At Le Mans the whisper going round the paddock was that Aprilia are working on a pneumatic-valve spring cylinder head for their RSV4 CRT engine, which could be ready by September.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Marc Márquez: talent and aggression

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 will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.


It’s not often these days that one is moved to thank those in charge, but MotoGP’s Race Direction need a big thank you for their unanimous decision not to sanction Marc Márquez for his last-corner move on Jorge Lorenzo at Jerez.

If they had dragged him into their office and punished him, I think I might have given up on motorcycle racing and got into something different. I note that the BBC’s MotoGP show was preceded by a gardening programme. If tough overtaking manoeuvres are to be banned in MotoGP then gardening might make a pleasant alternative for Sunday afternoon entertainment.

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