Editor's Blog

Guest Blog - Mat Oxley: 2013 MotoGP season review (Part 1)

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.


2013 MotoGP season review (Part 1)

This is going to sound corny as hell – I believe the biggest winners of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship were the fans. MotoGP had had a dark few years of tedious racing, working itself into a technical tangle, just like Formula 1.

A combination of engineering changes and 250-derived riding styles had developed beautifully balanced bikes, which, when ridden by inch-perfect ex-250 riders, could do the same lap times from lights-out to chequered flag. Valentino Rossi’s former crew chief Jeremy Burgess referred to these races as “procession races”, and he was right (as he usually is).

The biggest change in 2013

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: A changing of the guard 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.


A changing of the guard in MotoGP

That was quite a weekend in all kinds of ways. But most of all it was a changing of the guard. As Marc Márquez rode his victory lap at Valencia, cheered all the way by the frenzied Spanish crowd, Valentino Rossi rode back to his pit for the last time to be greeted by Jeremy Burgess. When JB and VR started working together at Jerez in December 1999, kid genius Márquez was six years old and had just started motocross.

You can imagine the atmosphere in both pits was somewhat different: complete joy at Repsol Honda, sad goodbyes on one side of the Yamaha garage, the inexorable rise of the young warrior and the gradual, inevitable demise of an old warhorse.

A history of success

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley:What might happen in MotoGP at Valencia

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.


What might happen in MotoGP at Valencia

Who remembers the last time the MotoGP World Championship went down to the wire? Of course you do, it was Valencia 2006, the last hurrah of the 990s and the greatest day of the MotoGP era so far. Valentino Rossi went into the race as sure-fire title favourite, eight points ahead of Nicky Hayden, who had lost the series lead at the previous race when team-mate Dani Pedrosa took him out.

We all know what happened at Valencia that day: Hayden barged past Rossi on the way into the first corner and set off after the Ducatis, while Rossi got stuck in the pack and slid off at a 50mph hairpin. He rejoined the race but it was already game over.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: A grand farce at Phillip Island

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.


A grand farce at Phillip Island

Embarrassing. No other word for it, really. Well, apart from incompetence on the grandest scale. Pretty much everyone involved in the upper echelons of MotoGP was responsible for Sunday’s travesty of a race: Bridgestone, Dorna, the FIM, the Grand Prix Permanent Bureau, the Grand Prix Commission, IRTA, Race Direction, safety officer Franco Uncini and safety advisor Loris Capirossi. They all failed in their duty of care to the riders, putting them in all kinds of danger because they hadn’t done their jobs properly.

We all make mistakes, but this was several dozen well-paid, experienced professionals failing to spot a disaster in the making.

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.

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