Editor's Blog

Photographer's Blog: Interview with Sergi Sendra, Director of Dorna Sports TV Production

 

One of the things that has often struck me as I move around the track at a MotoGP round is the amount of cable Dorna sets up to deliver their TV coverage. Many kilometres of cables run around the entire circuit, are spliced into a complex network of amplifiers, antennas, and cameras, and eventually lead back to Dorna’s TV center in the paddock. In Qatar I was chatting with Pol Bardolet, one of the Dorna staff who is part of the TV and video production department, and he kindly arranged for me to speak with Sergi Sendra, Director of Dorna Sports TV Production. In Austin we sat down for a few minutes on Friday so that I could ask him about how he and his team deliver TV coverage of 18 rounds of Grand Prix racing.

MotoMatters: Most if not all of our readers regularly watch MotoGP on television, but I don’t think many of them have any idea how complicated it is for you to set that up for each race then get it packed up and on to the next event. So, to start off can you tell me a little bit about how you do it?

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: elbows out, go for it

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 is a quarter of a century (ouch) since I visited my first United States Grand Prix in April 1988. That Laguna Seca event was historic because it was the first US GP since the 1965 races at Daytona. It was also historical because pit lane was nothing more than a row of flimsy tents, fluttering in the Monterey breeze, the timing sheets were cutely handwritten and the catering consisted of some nicely baked cakes, courtesy of a local women’s institute.

Behind the tents was a row of shipping containers, providing secure storage for team equipment. I seem to remember interviewing renowned tuner Erv Kanemoto while we were stood in the stifling heat in one of the containers. He may even have had a computer with him. Holy moly, a computer in the pitlane…

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: There’s no doubt: Rossi is a contender

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.


Qatar is a dry state so there’s no fun to be had with booze on the podium, but I bet the Yamaha crew more than made up for that when they got back to their hotel on Sunday night. Doha’s international hotels are the only places you can imbibe alcohol in the country, so their terrifyingly expensive bars are an unlikely mix of ex-pat financiers and oil/gas engineers and a few naughty locals. Throw in a rowdy bunch of racers and mechanics and you’ve a pretty weird scene.

I’ll also bet that Valentino Rossi stayed up longer than Jorge Lorenzo, if he could persuade the barman to keep popping the champagne corks. Rossi may be hurtling towards middle age but he still has his old rock and roll attitude, he’s never subscribed to Lorenzo’s beliefs in Spartan self-denial or quasi-Buddhism.

Vacancy Filled: Freelance MotoGP Race And Practice Summarizer For MotoMatters.com

This vacancy has now been filled. We are NOT currently hiring at the moment. Thanks to everyone for their applications.


 

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Crutchlow on top as MotoGP testing ends

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.


When someone once congratulated Eddie Lawson for being fastest in practice, the four-time 500 World Champion shrugged his shoulders and said “you don’t get points for practice”. He was right, of course, and it’s the same with testing: no points, no prize money, no nothing, save for a faint feeling of satisfaction.

Certainly, Cal Crutchlow must have left Jerez on Monday evening wearing a faint glimmer of a smile on his face after topping the final pre-season tests.

SofaRacer Speaks - An Open Letter To Michael Laverty

Dear Michael Laverty,

You are a thief.

In 2013, riding an Aprilia powered PBM CRT bike you will compete in the 18 round MotoGP world championship. Between the months of April and November you will travel the globe, racing against the best of the best on some of the most iconic circuits in the world.

You have stolen my dream. How very dare you.

I've had that dream for ages Michael. It's mine. I've thought about it, honed it, polished it, and set it in various scenarios over many, many years. The basic tenet involves being plucked from (relative) obscurity and offered the chance-in-a-lifetime ride in Grands Prix. Then being quicker than everyone expected, raising a few eyebrows and ruffling a few experienced MotoGP feathers in the process.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: John Surtees’ unique achievement

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.


In October 2011, just a few days before the end of the MotoGP season, I visited Giacomo Agostini at his home in Bergamo, Italy. Lunch was served (by the family butler and chef) and I asked him the question that had prompted the trip. Since the 1970s Ago has held the record for the number of motorcycle Grand Prix victories – a total of 122 wins across the 500 and 350 classes – and that record had never looked in danger until Valentino Rossi reached his century in 2009. But by the end of 2011 – Rossi’s disastrous first season with Ducati – It seemed once again that Ago’s record was safe.

How did he feel about that? Elated, surely?

SofaRacer Speaks - Of Homer’s Odyssey, Donald Rumsfeld and Valentino Rossi

The Losail Circuit in Qatar is the largest floodlit sporting venue on the planet. The lighting system includes over 1000 structures, 3 million kilos of concrete, and 500 kilometres of wire. The system would power 3000 homes. Three and a half thousand separate light sources produce 450 million lumens of light. On Sunday the 7th of April, those 450 million lumens will bathe one man. Valentino Rossi.

There are others of course, every bit as worthy of the spotlight as Rossi. But people watched Muhammad Ali fights to see Ali, not the guy who was going to beat him. The focus of every spectator at the circuit and every television viewer globally will be on Rossi because, like Ali, the story is utterly compelling.

MotoGP has somehow (more by happy accident than design) contrived to take its staid feature race, replete with little overtaking, few wheelies and certainly no burnouts in these days of limited engine availability, and serve up a season that has the hallmarks of a potential classic.

How we got here is how we got here. A guy retired, another walked away from his team, a bike was uncompetitive, a rookie rule was dropped, a potential champion became injury free, and an angry young man matured into a two-time world champion.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Bike racing’s long and winding road

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.


Sunday’s opening superbike round at Phillip Island was interesting in all kinds of ways, but what struck me was where the riders doing the winning had come from.

They certainly weren’t men steeped in the ways of four-stroke production racing from their earliest days. Factory Aprilia riders Eugene Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli – who won a race each on Sunday – did their World Championship apprenticeships on struggle-street in 250 GPs, battling against the odds on ancient machinery.

Photographer's Blog: Interview with Paolo Castelli of the Clinica Mobile

 

I first met Paolo Castelli and Giuseppe Triossi of Clinical Mobile on a flight from Frankfurt to Doha in 2010. Having identified each other as heading for the MotoGP race, we got to chatting, half in English and half in Italian, about the coming season. The two had  just treated Marco Simoncelli for his crash during testing just before the season opener. Since then I have made a point of stopping by the CM when possible to say hello, and for some time have wanted to interview them about their work. At Valencia I spoke to Paolo on the morning of the Moto2 test when things were quiet in the CM facility. 

MotoMatters: Can you please describe your role at Clinica Mobile and what kind of things you do on a daily basis?

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: CRT bikes - some perspective

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 question is: are CRT bikes too slow? It depends on your viewpoint. If you are Jorge Lorenzo, under pressure from Dani Pedrosa as you come upon a backmarker at a crucial corner, then, yes, they probably are too slow. But if you are able to stand back and look at CRT bikes from a historical perspective then, no, they are not too slow.

SofaRacer Speaks - Of Moto3, Shang-a-Lang and Demographics

MotoGP is missing a trick. As the 2013 season approaches there are two main topics of note, what are the rules going to be in the next two or three years and will Valentino Rossi's eventual, inevitable, retirement cause the series to implode?

Both of these questions are irrelevant. The fact is that in five, ten, fifteen years time there will be Grand Prix motorcycle racing. It will have its heroes, it will have its villains and it will have a load of middle-aged men harping on about how things ain't what they used to be. They'll moan about how these aren't 'proper' bikes and how you should have seen Kenny Roberts 'back in the day'. It will also have a rider of whom it will be said, "We'll never see his like again". Plus ça change.

Last season, it became the norm that the stand-out races of the day were in Moto3 and Moto2. Both were hard fought, both were exciting and both were won by clean-cut young men who fully deserved their moment of glory on the podium. Champagne was sprayed (or not) press conferences convened, reports written. The media pack then headed en masse for the airport, to chatter about chatter.

Which meant they missed something. On Sunday nights, the Internet was ablaze. With talk, comment, gossip, hearty congratulations to winners and heartfelt sympathies to losers. From a hitherto unnoticed and completely ignored MotoGP fan demographic.

Teenage girls.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: The madness of ‘King’ Kenny Roberts

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.


I’ve just been writing about King Kenny Roberts for an upcoming edition of Motor Sport magazine – the made-from-trees version – regaling readers with some of his top tales.

Roberts is a great storyteller: dry as dust one moment, cursing the next. There’s only one problem: there’s never enough room for all of his stories, so here are a couple of my favourite one-liners from the man.

Before I go any further I should add that that The King rates as one of my top three road racers of all time. I would also put Mike Hailwood in there and probably Valentino Rossi too, though what to do with Mick Doohan and Wayne Rainey? Okay, let’s make it the top five. I’ll let you argue about who’s first and who’s fifth.

Guest Blog - Mat Oxley: Ducati: it’s going to take time

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.


You can imagine the gasps of disbelief when Ducati unveiled its GP13 atop a mountain in the Dolomites last night: the bike is pretty much a GP12 with a new paintjob. How can that be? Surely the Ducati needs a total redesign more than any other motorcycle on the MotoGP grid?

That is indeed true – at the end of 2012 Ducati were no closer to the front than they had been at the start of 2011, when Valentino Rossi arrived to take over from Casey Stoner.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: An unforgettable duel

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 New Year is usually a time to look forward. But the past is an easier place to talk about than the future, so please forgive me for looking backward as I struggle into 2013, having rather overdone it on too many occasions during the past week or so.

This year it’s 20 years since one of the most thrilling, weird and anguished battles for the premier-class World Championship. The 1993 duel between Americans Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey will never be forgotten, and not only for good reasons.

Schwantz versus Rainey will always be one of ‘bike racing’s all-time greatest rivalries – much more real and much nastier than anything we’ve had in MotoGP. The pair hated each other from the moment their career paths collided in US Superbikes in 1986.

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