December 2019

Editor's Blog: Happy Holidays, Looking To 2020, And A Confession

As the holiday season approaches, it's time for me to take a break. MotoMatters.com will be shutting down for between Christmas and New Year, and returning again in 2020. But before I do take a much-needed break, I have a few things to say (some of which will explain why the break is much needed...).

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who reads MotoMatters.com. Even after 14 years, it is still remarkable to me that so many people read and enjoy the website. It is still hard for me to think of it as anything more than me posting my ramblings from my spare room.

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Cormac Shoots Testing: Photos From The Valencia Post-Race MotoGP Test


This was the last ever Valencia test, for a lot of reasons. Riders and teams hate it. Photographers love it, for the light. Here's Dani Pedrosa in the setting sun


Valentino Rossi with a shiny new frame on his M1. Yamaha have changed the way they work, and the progress is starting to show

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Holiday Reading: On Track Off Road Magazine

With the holidays coming up and no racing on, most people will have a little more time on their hands to do a bit of reading. If you are looking to read about motorcycle content across all disciplines with a focus on racing, then On Track Off Road magazine is the best possible way to pass the time. I have been proud to write a column for Adam Wheeler's magazine for the past four and a half years, adding my bit of MotoGP insight. You can find me alongside such fantastic writers as Neil Morrison, currently the best writer on MotoGP, stellar WorldSBK photographer Graeme Brown, WorldSBK guru Steve English, AMA specialist Steve Matthes, and Adam Wheeler, a man who has forgotten more about MXGP than I will ever learn.

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The Coming Storm: How MotoGP's Silly Season Will Play Out

As the MotoGP field prepares to spend the holiday season at home with friends and family – or in Andrea Iannone's case, with his lawyers – the impending pressure of MotoGP Silly Season will be pushed to the back of their collective minds. But with the contracts of the entire MotoGP grid plus the leading Moto2 riders up at the end of the 2020 season, that state of quietude will not last long. Silly Season has been temporarily suspended for holiday season, but it will soon burst forth in a frenzy of speculation, rumor, and signings.

So how will the Silly Season for the 2021 MotoGP grid play out? Given the number of changes likely, it will be a complex jigsaw puzzle indeed, with a few key players at the heart of the process. And as a confounding factor, teams and factories will want to avoid the current tangle they find themselves in. The era of the entire grid being on two-year contracts is as good as over.

There are a number of reasons for no longer automatically offering two-year deals to everyone on the grid. Neither the team managers nor the rider managers I spoke to over the course of 2019 were thrilled at the prospect of another contract cycle like we have seen for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. And the way the year has played out has given them plenty of reasons to avoid the same mistakes for 2021.

Fear of commitment

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Calendar Grills

As one more championship in WorldSBK has now run its enormously unexpected final course, the off-season gives us time for both reflection and plotting a path forward.

OK, that’s the reflection over, what about 2020 and beyond?

The WorldSBK series does not quite restart its new season preparations just two days after the old season, as it does in MotoGP. In those terms it took a bit over two weeks to get WorldSBK bedded in again, but most teams are already getting into 2020 mode after two days of tests at Motorland Aragon.

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Jorge Lorenzo To Return To MotoGP Paddock In 2020

Jorge Lorenzo's announcement at Valencia that he would be retiring at the end of the 2019 MotoGP season came as a shock to the paddock. In the immediate aftermath, attention focused on who would take his place in the Repsol Honda Team, speculation reaching a crescendo when HRC announced they had signed Alex Marquez to ride alongside brother Marc in the factory squad.

With MotoGP testing out of the way, and Jorge Lorenzo returned home to Switzerland after his hard-earned extended vacation in Bali, Indonesia, talk has now turned to Jorge Lorenzo's future. The Spaniard himself has already told Austrian TV that he expects to be back in the MotoGP paddock in 2020.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Bladder strategy on the superbike grid: Jonathan Rea

Riders discuss race, tyre and electronics tactics, but bladder strategy? Five-time World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea explains all in Mat Oxley's favourite 2019* interview

The Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall is almost certainly the grandest edifice in the world of motor sport.

The vast building – a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace – is peak British Empire, built in 1911 on the site of the country’s old War Office. Early Isle of Man TT races were organised here, amidst uniformed butlers, silverware and fine brandies.

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Andrea Iannone Provisionally Suspended For Steroid Use

Andrea Iannone has been provisionally suspended from all racing activity for violating the FIM's antidoping code. A urine sample taken from Iannone at the Malaysian round of MotoGP at Sepang was found to contain traces of anabolic steroids. Once the findings of the sample, analyzed by a WADA-accredited laboratory, were reported, Iannone was handed a provisional suspension in line with the FIM antidoping code.

Iannone can appeal the result, and request that the B sample (the second sample taken at the same time) is analyzed. He can also appeal to the CDI (International Disciplinary Court) for his suspension to be lifted, but to do that, he would have to be able to provide evidence that the samples he provided had been contaminated in some way, or that he had taken the banned substances accidentally (something which is very difficult for anabolic steroids).

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 125: The 2019 Season In Review

The latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast sees Steve English, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett get together to take a look back at the 2019 season in both MotoGP and WorldSBK. We kick off the show with the three of us each running down our top five riders of the year, David and Neil looking at MotoGP, Steve giving his top five from WorldSBK.

We move on to talk about our highlights of the season. We each pick the best moment of the year, something which stuck in our minds from the 2019 season, and we also discuss what was the best event of the year, and why.

Steve decides to have a bit of fun, asking us all what our best Christmas gift was, and what our families expect us to be arrested for one day. And we finish off as usual with the winners and losers of the year.

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Crunching The Numbers: Rider Of The Decade 2010-2019

Who is the greatest MotoGP rider of the past decade? Followers of the sport will all have their own answers to this question, based on their own criteria. One way of trying to answer the question objectively is by using numbers to quantify performance. Sure, the numbers may overlook certain factors. But going over the numbers from 180 races held over the space of 10 years helps eliminate outliers, and separate the signal from the noise.

To qualify for consideration, you have to win races. The 180 races held between 2010 and 2019 have seen 13 different winners: Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez, Jack Miller, Dani Pedrosa, Danilo Petrucci, Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, and Maverick Viñales. Of that group, Iannone, Miller, Petrucci, and Spies have all won only a single race, ruling them out of contention. Alex Rins has won two races, but the Suzuki rider has only been active for three seasons, meaning he made little impact over the full decade.

That left eight riders who have won multiple races this decade: Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Márquez, Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner, and Viñales. Of those eight, Andrea Dovizioso is the only rider to have started in all 180 races (he actually started 181 races, but the 2011 race in Sepang was red-flagged after Marco Simoncelli's tragic death, and would have started in Silverstone last year, had the race not been canceled due to the weather). Two other riders have started every MotoGP race held while they were in the class: Marc Márquez has competed in all 127 races held since 2013, and Maverick Viñales has started all 91 races held since 2015.

Clear Victor

Whichever way you run the numbers, one rider stands head and shoulders above the rest.

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