Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How I ride: Franco Morbidelli

The 2017 Moto2 world champion has spent the last 12 years working with Valentino Rossi, so how does Franco Morbidelli ride a MotoGP bike?

Franco Morbidelli became Valentino Rossi’s first protégé when he moved from Rome to Tavullia in 2008, at the age of 13. And when Rossi established the VR46 Riders Academy in 2013 he became its first member. In 2017 Morbidelli became the first VR46 rider to win a world title, in 2018 the first to race in MotoGP and last year the first to ride the same bike as Rossi. In other words, no one else has learned as much from Rossi.

Last year Morbidelli joined the new Petronas SIC Yamaha squad, alongside rookie Fabio Quartararo, and quickly found himself eclipsed by the rookie sensation. However, his results weren’t at all bad for a relative beginner riding a new bike.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Happy 24th MotoGP birthday to Valentino Rossi!

Valentino Rossi contested his first GP 24 years ago today, so we’re looking back at his first race and wondering when he will ride his last

Today is Valentino Rossi’s 24th grand prix birthday, marking the anniversary of his world championship debut on 31 March 1996.

On that day he finished sixth in his debut world-class outing, at Shah Alam, Malaysia’s first grand prix circuit. Winner of the 125cc race was countryman Stefano Perugini.

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Editor's Blog: April Fool's Day 2020 Is Canceled, Here's Something Better Instead

Normally this morning, you would be reading a story here which would seem plausible but surprising, and wondering if it was true. I, in turn, would be wondering how long it would take for readers to cotton on that the story was just an April Fool's gag.

But not this year. As I sat trying to think up a story which was just about credible, I was overtaken by a feeling of sadness. There is not going to be any racing any time soon, and anything I might concoct might end up giving someone false hope, and make the wait for racing even more unbearable than it has been so far.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why Ducati’s GP20 is the opposite of a smart phone

How Ducati’s free-thinking engineers have substituted MotoGP’s lower-tech spec electronics with an array of mechanical gadgets. Also, why holeshot devices should eventually be banned

A smart phone is a small box of electronics that replaces any number of physical and mechanical gadgets. It takes the place of a camera, a videorecorder, an alarm clock, a typewriter, a compass, a tape recorder, a radio and so on. The best smart phones are so clever that you’d need the back seat of your car to carry around all the bits and pieces they’ve made obsolete.

Ducati’s Desmosedici GP20 works very cleverly in the opposite direction. The machine features a number of mechanical gadgets that take the place of the little black boxes of tailormade electronics that Dorna regulated into history at the end of the 2015 MotoGP season.

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: End Of Daze

Gordon Ritchie has covered World Superbikes for over a quarter of a century, and is widely regarded as the world's leading journalist on the series. MotoMatters.com is delighted to be hosting a monthly blog by Ritchie. The full blog will be available each month for MotoMatters.com subscribers. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

With the racing world in turmoil due to the coronavirus outbreak (just like the rest of the world) we decided to publish this blog in full for all readers, rather than just for subscribers.

Poor old WorldSBK, it just cannot seem to catch a break, can it? After one of the most remarkable opening rounds in its 30-plus years of history, laden with close racing, human drama and an entirely positive outlook from both within and without the paddock, the post-Phillip Island WorldSBK posse was looking forward to another triple-header of high velocity brawls two weekends later, at Losail in Qatar. The MotoGP guys would even sweep the dustbowl track clear for us one week before, so everybody would be primed, ready and able to show the same kind of close formation action at another fast circuit so very soon after the classic opener in Australia.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why Márquez rules MotoGP’s Triple M era

The master of riding by the seat of your pants: Marc Márquez's special advantage in MotoGP

Since MotoGP’s Triple M Era began in March 2016, Marc Márquez has won all four world championships and 32 of the 73 races. This is not by chance.

The 27-year-old dominates for various reasons. Mostly because his talent (part nature, part nurture) is the strongest on the grid, so he gets the absolute maximum, and more, from his Honda RC213V.

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Editor's Blog - The Editorial Plan For The Duration Of The Coronavirus Outbreak

With the COVID-19 outbreak having paralyzed racing for the next month, at the very least, I thought it might be useful to provide an update on what you can expect from MotoMatters.com until we start racing again.

The short version is that there will be plenty of content coming on the site over the next few weeks, but that I will be taking weekends off. We will be publishing articles and photo galleries throughout the week, but no new content will be added to the site on Saturdays and Sundays, unless some dramatic development happens during the weekend.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Postcard from the Coronavirus Grand Prix

The Qatar GP has been MotoGP’s strangest weekend since 2004 – last weekend it got even weirder

The Qatar Grand Prix has always felt a bit unreal. The first time MotoGP visited in October 2004 the newly built track was a 20-minute drive out of Doha into the desert – the Arabian Gulf shimmering in the east, a few caravans of camels ambling along in the distance, but nothing else.

Nothing else at all. There we were, marooned in a sea of sand, watched over by at least a dozen spectators, wondering what the hell was going on.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - War, politics and coronavirus: When the real world catches up with MotoGP

The Qatar and Thai MotoGP Grands Prix have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak but this isn't the first time when MotoGP has been affected by world events

Motorcycle racing and other sports are bubbles – microcosms of life that allow competitors and fans to invest themselves in something wonderful but ultimately trivial.

When working in the paddock during a MotoGP weekend it’s possible to forget that the rest of the world exists. All that matters is who steps onto the box and pops the prosecco at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Hybridisation - Is A WorldSBK/EWC Link Up On The Cards?

In an effort to shoot WorldSBK back into the big time popularity it once inhabited, the long-time rights holders Dorna have not been shy in loading a variety of projectiles into the WorldSBK blunderbuss in an effort to hit a target that appears almost impossible to get the range of any more. WorldSBK is, after all, just too well camouflaged behind Dorna’s own impressively proportioned MotoGP force field.

So far we have had WorldSBK initiatives like partially reversed grids, races on both Saturday and Sunday, three race weekends, a ten-lap sprint race, different rev limits manufacturer-to-manufacturer, the culling of the entire Superstock 1000 and 600 development categories and the promotion of 300s to a full World Championship class. And now slick tyres in the 600 and 300 Supersport divisions for 2020. There will be other things too but there have been so many changes I have doubtless forgotten some of them, as I shake off the inevitable jetlag inherent in adjusting to Aussie time.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The story behind Ducati’s new MotoGP shapeshifter

Adjustable geometry is a bike racing holy grail – Ducati’s new shapeshifting device is the latest stab at achieving it, and probably more top speed as well

Gigi ‘Gadget’ Dall’Igna is up to his tricks again. Ducati’s chief engineer – the man who gave MotoGP wings, holeshot devices, wheel fairings, ‘swinglets’ and much more about which we’ll never know – has come up with a gadget that allows his riders to unleash the Desmosedici’s mighty engine harder than ever.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Are MotoGP bikes too easy to ride?

Some people think modern electronic control systems and ever-improving mechanical performance makes MotoGP bikes undemanding. They are wrong, says Mat Oxley, and here’s why

They call it progress. This year’s 1000cc MotoGP bikes make around 280 horsepower and are good for 220mph/355km/h. These machines are the pinnacle of 125 years of development of the internal-combustion engine and motorcycle chassis and electronics technology. In some ways they are easy to ride, but in other ways they are not.

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Sepang MotoGP Test Subscriber Q&A: Send Your Questions To Be Answered

The Sepang MotoGP test ended a week ago, and we have already published a bunch of articles on what we saw at the test. But now it's time to open up the floor to you, our subscribers. Do you have any questions about what went down at the Sepang test, or what we learned? Want to know about a particular rider or bike?

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Viñales: ‘We can win races, but…’

Top Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales believes the M1 will win MotoGP races this season but winning the title will be a very different matter

After several years running along at tick-over, Yamaha’s MotoGP project is picking up revs because factory bosses have realised they need to get serious if they are to beat Honda and Ducati, just like they did when they signed Valentino Rossi back in 2003.

Last week the factory team announced 2021/2022 contracts with Maverick Viñales and Fabio Quartararo, as well as a 2020 test-rider deal with its three-times MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP and the secret life of asphalt

MotoGP teams are starting to take a lot more interest in the track surface. Mat Oxley explains why - along with the reason some riders use kerbs for traction control

It’s an old racing truism that the most important part of a racing motorcycle is its tyres. Why? Because the tyres are the interface between motorcycle and race track, so whatever engineers do to the engine, chassis and electronics is for nothing if it can’t be transferred to the track.

And yet it’s an often overlooked fact that the tyres are only 50 per cent of this interface; the other half being the race track itself. This is why engineers and riders are starting to think a lot more about how increased knowledge of the track surface can help them go faster.

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