Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why MotoGP has gone soft

Frame flex is the black art of MotoGP chassis design. Here’s why chassis are getting softer, not stronger, despite ever-increasing speeds and horsepower

Study this photo of the front end of a Repsol Honda RC213V, particularly the upper triple clamp. Notice how the underside (between the two HRC logos on the left and right) has been scalloped out, so that much of the triple clamp can only be a few millimetres thick.

What does this tell us? That Honda, like everyone else, is making its MotoGP chassis softer and softer.

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Steve English Blog: Four Paddocks In Four Weeks - A Month Of Contrasts

There's a lot to like in this paddock…

Over the last four weeks I've been working in the WorldSBK, British Superbike, CEV and MotoGP paddocks. There's a lot of differences between them but there's a lot of similarities too.

"You'll love it at [insert circuit x, series y], they're a great bunch of people." It's a common refrain when you say you'll be leaving familiar confines and heading to another series. There's always something to take from any series. Since I started working as a journalist, I've worked in pretty much every two- and four-wheeled paddock in the world. Initially I was combining holidays or work trips with races. Pretty quickly I was combining race weekends with work trips...

Trying to get a foothold in the industry, I was lucky to already be working as a 'travelling salesman'. At the time I was a telecoms engineer offering training courses around the world, and luckily for me, most of the customers for my product happened to be in countries holding major races! There's no way I could have managed to go to Daytona for the 500 and then Sebring for the 12 Hours if it wasn't for my job. It's amazing what you can justify to the accounts department when there's a bucket list event to be ticked off!

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Just how fab is Fabio?

They called him the next Marc Márquez and at Jerez he took an important record from the world champion, so is the Frenchman the most exciting rider to hit MotoGP since 2013?

Fabio Quartararo is the fourth stellar rookie to arrive in MotoGP since Marc Márquez won the championship in his rookie 2013 season. But the 20-year-old Frenchman is different from Márquez, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco.

The other three raced and won in 125s or Moto3, raced and won in Moto2 and were quickly promoted to MotoGP. Quartararo’s road to MotoGP was somewhat different. It started well, but later went so badly awry that he might never have made into the class of kings.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Ducati’s double-barrelled MotoGP strategy

How Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci are working together to give Ducati the edge in wheel-to-wheel battles. And why this new strategy might add fuel to the aerodynamics fire

Team-mates have always been a big deal in motorcycle racing. Or team-hates, as some people call them.

The old saying goes that your team-mate is the first guy you have to beat because he’s the only rider on the grid with the exact same equipment. So, if he beats you, you’re in as much trouble as your ongoing contract negotiations.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How I ride: Álex Rins

Three days before he rode to his first MotoGP victory at COTA we sat down with Álex Rins to find out how he extracts the maximum from Suzuki’s GSX-RR

Would you say you are a very smooth rider?

Yes.

Does this come from you working out that this is now the best way to ride a MotoGP bike or does it come naturally?

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Steve English Blog: BSB vs WorldSBK - What's The Difference Between You And Me?

When people talk about the differences between BSB and WorldSBK the biggest talking point is the relative competitiveness of both. What are the biggest factors?

I’m a self confessed addict. There’s nothing better than sitting down on a Sunday to watch racing. It doesn’t matter what it is. Cars or bikes I’ll be sitting down to watch it. My earliest memories are of sitting down and watching Formula 1 and from when I started to watch World Superbikes and 500GP in the 90’s I was fully hooked.

Missing school on a Friday and watching practice sessions wasn’t a regular occurrence but it did happen on far too many occasions to be purely coincidental. I can still remember being a schoolboy and seeing British and American Superbike stars wild card, take pole positions and race wins. It was a magical time for Superbike racing when it was the biggest game in town in the UK and Ireland.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The man who mistook his aero device for a hat

MotoGP’s aero war is raging, with Aprilia the latest to fit a swingarm device, so what’s next for the rules? Should aero stay or should it go?

These words you are reading are not part of a MotoGP article, they are the opening sentences of the first chapter of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Questions And Answers

After one chilled and one deep-frozen WorldSBK outing since the last column we still have red-hot Bolognese as the only meal available in the WorldSBK race-winning restaurant.

It may have a liberal sprinkling of Manchego cheese on top, in the form of the super-fast and utterly faultless Alvaro Bautista, but so far the winning recipe in WorldSBK has been mostly about a game-changing machine and the people who make it sing at castrato engine frequencies all the way to 2019 perfection.

Proof that a well-set-up Ducati Panigale V4R is peerless right now came in two ways in Assen; an event so cold that even well-padded people known for their polo-shirts-with-everything-attire had to fiddle with zips on puffa jackets on their way out of the media centre.

Firstly, when the Aruba.it Ducati team decided to try to give Bautista more of a potential advantage for the future, their attempts to take his bike setting into a potentially more golden point on the compass met with disaster. In any direction of change, it seemed. Disaster was their rider’s word, not mine.

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber April Prize Draw: Win A Set Of Repsol Honda Bluetooth Earbuds

It's Subscriber Raffle time again, and another prize is on offer for MotoMatters.com site supporters. This month's prize is a set of Repsol Honda bluetooth earbuds, given to us at this year's launch of the Repsol Honda team, to commemorate 25 years of the partnership between Honda and Repsol. The charging box containing the earbuds has the Repsol Honda team logo on it, and a 25 years logo on the reverse. 

April subscriber draw prize: a set of Repsol Honda bluetooth earbuds

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How I ride: Jack Miller

Ducati’s latest Aussie MotoGP star follows in the wheel tracks of Troy Bayliss and Casey Stoner. This is how he rides and this is how he will surely soon score his first dry-weather MotoGP podium

You rode your rookie MotoGP season in 2015, so was it difficult in 2016 switching from factory electronics to control software and from Bridgestones to Michelins?

Electronics-wise, not really, because I didn’t have factory electronics, I had the open software which was literally the worst crap you could imagine. The wheelie control didn’t work at all, but at least it taught me how to handle the raw power of a MotoGP bike. It was a good experience because I learned how to manage the bike in my rookie season. That year I had Nicky [Hayden] and Eugene [Laverty] on the same bikes, so it was great to have those guys to gauge myself against and I beat them in the championship.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Is Márquez unstoppable?

Marc Márquez scored his biggest dry MotoGP win at the Argentine Grand Prix while Valentino Rossi saved his tyres to take second, which is where Cal Crutchlow should’ve finished...

Another MotoGP race, another row about the rules.

In Qatar the argument focused on the guidelines relating to aerodynamic fitments. In Argentina the aggravation concerned Cal Crutchlow’s jump-start, which resulted in a ride-through penalty that probably cost the Briton a second-place finish.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP: an American renaissance?

MotoAmerica’s Wayne Rainey is working to make the USA a global racing force again

Empires come and go: the Greek, the Roman, the Portuguese, the British... It’s the same in sport, especially sports linked to industry and technology.

America’s grand prix empire reigned from 1978 to 2000: 14 500cc world titles in 23 years, then only one since. And nothing before, either.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoE: is it safe?

After last week’s blaze, what can MotoE learn from the hugely successful Formula E championship?

Last Thursday the entire MotoE grid was consumed by an inferno at Jerez. Riders and bikes were at the track preparing for what was supposed to be the first round of the electric-powered championship at May’s Spanish Grand Prix. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

Electric vehicles do cause some concerns, due to the risk of electrocution and fire. Isle of Man TT marshals are equipped with special insulated rubber gloves to marshal the TT Zero race, the world’s first high-profile EV bike race. And at last year’s TT a Zero bike caught fire in the paddock and blazed for 24 hours.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Will Ducati and Dovi be axed from Qatar MotoGP results?

The FIM will soon make its decision about Ducati’s alleged aero device, but there is only one sensible way out of this mess

MotoGP’s Court of Appeal will sit at the end of this week to decide the fate of Ducati’s alleged swingarm aerodynamics device and the 25 points that Andrea Dovizioso scored in Qatar.

What is MotoGP’s court of appeal and how will it come to its decision, which will be announced before next week’s Argentine Grand Prix?

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Are We Done Already?

We have never seen anything quite like the arrival of Alvaro Bautista and his big red rocket of a Ducati Panigale V4R in WorldSBK history. Well, we kinda have, in the form of Doug Polen on that year’s ballistic desmo missile back in 1991. Just not quite as dominantly in only two rounds, as Polen won five from six, after a retirement in race two at Donington.

Whatever the comparison, ex-GP runner Bautista has entered WorldSBK at Star Trek levels of spacetime continuums by winning the first six races of the 2019 season, his first ever races in WorldSBK. The fact that there are three races per meeting now, not two, only slightly detracts from the glorious arrival of the new class act - stage left, right and centre.

Really, can you pick holes in the fabric of Ducati’s Alvaro effort so far?

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