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.”
All racers need a focus and when they lose that focus, things can start to go wrong. After his first crash of the year at Catalunya, Jorge Lorenzo revealed that one of his focuses this year had been to do the whole season without crashing. An admirable goal, but possibly distracting from the only goal that matters, winning the world title? He crashed again at the next race at Assen and then again on Friday in Germany.
Lorenzo certainly seemed to have lost his normal focus during Friday practice at the Sachsenring. Instead of his usual manner of chipping away at things, always focusing on Sunday, he was a man on a mission, like he had something to prove, to show the world that he really is a superman. He was fastest on Friday morning and then roared out of the pits on Friday afternoon, once again with the hammer down.
His out-lap was nine seconds faster than anyone else’s and he was into the 1m 22s on his second lap, when most riders were at least two seconds slower. His last full lap kept him at the top of the times for most of the session and the first half of his fateful final lap was only 0.07 seconds slower than the fastest of the session. This was surely a momentary lapse of reason from the metronomic machine.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.