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.

This time series leader Marc Márquez has an extra five points to play with. So if Jorge Lorenzo wins at Valencia, Márquez ‘only’ needs to finish fourth to make history as the youngest-ever winner of the premier-class.

For someone who has never finished a MotoGP race off the podium, a fourth-place finish would seem like a mere formality. But Motegi’s Moto3 race – in which title leader Luis Salom was knocked down on the very first lap – reminded us (even if most of us didn’t need reminding) that there’s no such thing as a mere formality in bike racing.

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

Comments

Snore.. Mat Oxleys blog has

Snore.. Mat Oxleys blog has served just one purpose this year. To show us how well we are served by our host here at Motomatters.

Total votes: 62

Snore?

Oxley is refreshing. We can't drink the same Kool Aid and consider ourselves well-informed.

Total votes: 45

Have you no manners?

I know it's the internet and all but still.

Total votes: 67

What? So its impolite to

What? So its impolite to compare David Emmett's hard work & consistent engagement in depth with what we are normally served up from the usual players. Isn't that why we are all here? Are we not looking for something more than the usual column fillers seen either in print or on the web.

I stand by my statement. Oxley's blog has not been of the standard set by David.

Total votes: 49

Team orders unnecessary.

Lorenzo would be foolish to do anything other than what he's done. Getting out front and being the hare has been his best policy this season as he can take the lines he likes for his best pace. He's known that if he's in a fight with a couple Repsol's they can totally screw up his rhythm and get into and out of corners faster & tighter given the same lines. Looking at the back side of a RCV is not a good position for Lorenzo & the M1 right now. It will be tough enough for him to try and win the race let alone try and engineer a melee behind him that will put him on top. All he can do is get out front and win the race & hope #46 can put the pieces together to cause some trouble.
On the other side they are in a better situation other than points. Both Marc & Dani are in race winning form. Unless a situation like Motegi happens where neither bike could be set up completely and has trouble with the tires it's likely that one or both of those Hondas will be fighting for podium positions with little chance of anyone behind interfering. Come what may if Marc's side of the garage plays smart they don't have to rely on Dani to follow non existent team orders but to simply pursue his own interest which is to win the race. If it gets dicey up front for Marc he can let Dani by to fight with Lorenzo while he backs off to a safe distance for 3rd & match point. There's only one way Marc does not win the title at Valencia and that is if he experiences a major mechanical issue or does something very foolish. I'm sure team 93 are going to play this one as boringly safe as possible.

Total votes: 41

Wishful thinking?

Do we still believe that 46 can make himself relevant in the race and cause trouble for the Hondas while helping his teammate? Using Dean Adms words, can he "muster" his old self? I surely hope so but Motegi was not a good showing. I also wonder if 35 can find his first half of the season mojo and help JLs cause. After reading this month's Roadracing World, i am doubtful this can happen given Cal's down on top speed since his ducati announcement and has the 11th fastest bike. Wonder if Yamaha will put the spite aside and turn up Cal's volume to help out up front.
That all said, i am rooting for MM. i think JL is a warrior after what he did this year and generally consider him to be an amazing competitor and rider, but i just cannot get behind him and root him on for some reason.

Total votes: 41

I don't think that

team order are going to be an issue. Having almost caused Honda to lose one world championship seven years ago (and still being remembered for that boneheaded move - which will probably be his biggest single mark on the sport unless he finally wins a championship), and knowing he has been eliminated from contention, Pedrosa knows what the team orders are and they don't have to be spoken.

Marquez is to win the championship, and all his efforts are to be channeled into that one thought. Support Marquez. Do whatever is necessary to ensure that Marquez will finish at least fourth without having to take any risks on his own. Repsol Honda is to win the championship in the person of Marquez, and any thoughts Dani Pedrosa has on the matter don't count. Unless they ensure that Marquez wins.

Yeah, nice boring team orders. Universally loathed in any form of motorsport by the audience who wants a hard-fought bloodbath in every race. Well, for this one race, the audience doesn't matter. Winning the championship matters, to two riders, and to two factories. And if the audience is bored to death in the process, tough shit. We can worry about entertainment next spring.

And I'm wondering how much along the same lines is being mentioned to those other Honda riders out there . . . . . . . Woe be the Honda rider who finishes ahead of Marquez next Sunday.

Total votes: 37

Marc's Been Here Before

When Marc won his 125 WC, the title went down to Valencia. Marc was dominant all year and managed to win races under insane circumstances, but when it came down to Valencia he kept his head and didn't get involved in the mess. Marc rode an uncharacteristic but intelligent race that gave him the WC. If I'm Lorenzo, all I would do during every press conference, is talk about how I have won the most races this season on an inferior bike. While it's great to win a WC, everyone wants to win a championship by having the most wins. It's kind of like a boxer winning a fight with a KO. Nobody wants to leave a fight to the judges. If Marc wins at Valencia he and Lorenzo will be tied at 7 wins a piece. Here's to hoping Marc wants to win with a KO and we get to see a epic battle between two greats!

Total votes: 46

Wrong title

Damn Autocomplete. Sorry, wrong article title, corrected now.

Total votes: 30

The rain in Spain falling mainly on the

track is the only scenario which has much realistic chance of having Marquez finish worse than 4th. That way non aliens like Rossi, Hayden and Crutchlow can make life much more difficult for Marc. They would all be pushing hard for their last chance of a podium in 2013, where Marc would have to be especially careful not to throw it all away. That could be very fun to watch. Pedrosa is a real ace up HRCs sleeve in this situation though.

Total votes: 34

given the knives appear

to be out for Dani to not be on a Honda in 2015 why should he listen to team orders? He won't be given any priority next year regardless of where MM finishes in Valencia. So long as he doesn't knock MM off then let him race for the win if he can I say. You have to wonder though what Puig would do if DP and MM do clash, man that guy appears to be able to not only distort the facts but also apparently to create new truths.
Huge credit to MM if he does win this year but even bigger credit to JL if he does. Both of them would be worthy and which ever way it goes I hope it's not going to be a controversial "oh he only won the WC because of...."
Very troubling in terms of Yam for 2014 given they are already running out of fuel, close to using more than 5 engines and still don't get off the corner like the Honda. JL would look good on a Honda eh?

Total votes: 34

postponing a foregone conclusion

IF Lorenzo is able to snatch the championship from Marquez, it will keep the fans waiting another year to see if Marquez is the next heir to the 'they only come along every 15 years or so' crown. Should keep the conversations lively until the start of next season.

Total votes: 24

playin it safe

is not an option. 4th place may seem as formality, but we've seen likes of Vitali Petrov decide a championship due to Mr. Alonso playin a safe bet. MM certanly can not relax. He should go out all guns blazing, and if the race turns out to be a 3 way affair, then he can ease of a bit. But if Rossi is close, there will allso be a present danger of satelite riders. They will be extra motivated. Alvaro and Cal just might be on an all out attack.

Total votes: 30

Rise of the teammates

The best scenario for me is to see Lorenzo and pedrosa escape at the front fighting for first position, and MM play it, which in turn allows Rossi to stay close enough to make a heoric attempt to pass him on the last lap.
Now, that would be some suspence and excitement.

Total votes: 30

Marc

will still be crown Champ...

Total votes: 27

You never can tell

Well, frankly anything could happen, then there are the things that are more likely to happen...

That's why we watch it.

Credit to all of the players for making a much more entertaining season than we've had for a while.

Total votes: 28

Done Deal unless DNF...

MM93, JL99, and DP26 will all be at the front as usual. Marc just wants to finish on the podium. Let Dani fight with Jorge for the win. Dani will either finish 1st or 3rd if weather conditions are ideal. Like Dani said, the battle is between JL and MM. Dani will stay out of their way. Who won the most races, the most poles, the fastest laps... won't matter! People will remember who won the title most! Every other drama filled event will be just for us keyboard riders to talk about and argue over! Marc will do what he must to get the title... even he said so himself... the title is the target... nothing else!

Total votes: 32

friend or foe?

I would hazard to guess that secretly, Rossi would rather MM win the title vs. JL. If so, I wonder how that influences his involvement in the race should he be with the 3 regulars at the front. In a world of tenths and hundredths of seconds, even the slightest personal preference could have an impact....whether conscious or subconscious.

Total votes: 29

Dani

Dani can help himself & HRC by doing ONE thing: winning the race! If his bike is perfect, he'll give Jorge a run, but ..... He's never really demostrated his ability to go 'hammer & tongs' against Jorge and come out on top. The race will be interesting.

Snd then there's M3!

Total votes: 33

No Hondas

Will get between MM and 4th, or even 3rd. It would be the worst career/contract move you could make for any team or rider. Remember Fabrizio and Haga - Fabrizio has been going backwards ever since.
I doubt Rossi is feeling anything other than 'disappointed' after Assen and is more concerned about Rossification of the M1 than what JL is doing with his trophy cabinet.
I don't feel that strongly either way - I would be pleased for JL if he won and not surprised if MM took it. A wet race could be fun - Hayden and Crutchlow plus perhaps Dovi and Bautista could all drive each other to excel and leave MM with a conundrum if JL, Pedrosa, and Rossi are in the mix. That's when mistakes/good fun could occur......

Total votes: 33

Good point

Hadn't thought of a wet race. I don't seem to remember that MM is a particularly good wet racer (can't think of any in Moto2 or Moto3 where he did well), unlike say Dovi or Hayden, or even Rossi.

Lorenzo is certainly very good in the wet, although he 'binned' at Silverstone a couple of years ago.

Total votes: 31

Guile

Young George needs to force an error, even a crashing one from Marquez. He is perfectly capable and bugger any 2 point penalty. Marc needs to be aware of it and probaby is. Now, a wet race will be great actually. Are Bridgestone up for it come seasons end wet or dry? Believe you me,tyres will decide Ricardo Tormo come next weekend and the title..
Anyway the outcome,I like it. Down to the wire. I fancy Marc though to wobble around for a 4th spot and let George do his damndest. Pit Board saying #3 OK a la 2006 circa Nick. I will chuck my shekles down,nickle,dime and bitcoin.George will not embarrass himself as his current team mate did circa 2006. Crikey! That one was prime for the picking. Blew it big time and pundits blamed Stoner for holding him up!!! HUH? Fire it up !!!
Hell, a wet race and weekend and Nick may do a Bayliss 2006. We wait and see and then I can chill out until what?
Look forward to about 4 months in the tropics.

Total votes: 33

Valencia is an interesting

Valencia is an interesting track. MotoGP hasn't been on the resurfaced track in dry conditions yet. Last year's goofy spectacle started on a mixed wet/dry track that was drying out, riders starting from pit lane, and a bunch of pit stops to get from rains onto slicks.
Know who is strong here? Pedrosa! Could be interesting.

Total votes: 29

Forcing Errors

Yes, well I avoided that one, but yes you may be right Pit Bull - JL has stated that riders should be rewarded for 'entertaining the crowd', so who knows what his inner Senna, I mean self, might be thinking.......

Total votes: 29

Yeah. Maybe Lorenzo can get

Yeah. Maybe Lorenzo can get some advice on how to win a championship from the MotoGP safety rep Capirossi. "OK, you go spearing into a corner and you T-bone your opponent as hard as possible ..."

It would be "entertainment," no?

Total votes: 36

Marc

has to finish 4th if JL is leading.
If he's sat on his backside in some gravel; has a bout of the Spies; does something silly that gets him a time penalty; or runs out of fuel, etc. he will not be champ.
Roll those dice!

Total votes: 37

Poor old Ben Spies

"has a bout of the Spies"
You know it's bad when your name is used to describe a WTF moment.
Creative!

Total votes: 32

Lets recreate 2006

and put WSBK Champ Tom Sykes on an Avintia FTR Kawasaki. Its a tight track and narrow racing line IIRC.

Dez

Total votes: 33

The number 2 riders have a job to do.........

Rossi take out Marquez OR Pedrosa takes Lorenzo out.....

Total votes: 32

What might happen in MotoGP at Valencia

What about tiebreakers? I'm under the impression that Lorenzo would hold the first tiebreaker--most season wins--which would mean that MM needs to finish at least third if Lorenzo wins? Am I wrong about this? Seems like a significant difference for Marquez if, by playing it safe, he still needs to finish on the podium, all of which assumes Lorenzo wins. If Lorenzo fails to win, Marquez' job is a lot easier. Someone please clarify.

Total votes: 30

OK mrbrual, I'll try...

As I understand it:

MM93- 318pts. vs JL99- 305pts

1= 25
2= 20
3= 16
4= 13

So, if JL wins he will be on 330 pts for the season, if MM is fourth he will be on a total of 331.

I hope this is clear....and correct!

Total votes: 37

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

GTranslate