Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why are MotoGP V4s faster than inline-4s?

Ducati and Honda have ruled MotoGP’s top-speed charts for years and are the dominant race winners. Here’s why

V4-powered MotoGP bikes have won 44 of the last 50 MotoGP races, a victory rate of 88 per cent, and topped the speed charts at 47 of the last 50 races, a success rate of 94 per cent.

How can this dominance be explained? Is it simply the fact that V4 engines make more horsepower? And if they do make more power, how do they do that?

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Brad Binder: KTM’s next big thing

Brad Binder is that rarest of things – a rookie factory MotoGP rider. The 24-year-old South African tells us where he’s from, why he didn’t win the 2019 Moto2 title and what he expects from his first year in the premier class

Not many riders get to be factory riders in their rookie MotoGP season. Usually this only happens to the greats, like Marc Márquez and Maverick Viñales.

This year 2016 Moto3 world champion and 2019 Moto2 runner-up Brad Binder rides an RC16 for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. The youngster has an aggressive, manhandling riding technique, which should work well with the hard-to-handle RC16.

A lot of people expected you to win the 2019 Moto2 title. What went wrong?

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The day MotoGP nearly died

The late 1980s and early 1990s was the age of superheroes in 500cc GPs, but at the same time the premier class nearly became extinct

I did an office clear-out during the festive season and found a pile of old stories that I’d printed on rolls of perforated computer paper and faxed to editors. Yep, that old.

Among the papers was something I’d written in 1990, when the premier 500cc class was on the brink of oblivion. At April’s US GP there were just 14 starters and at June’s Yugoslav GP there were only nine finishers.

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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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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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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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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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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How Yamaha is digging itself out of the doldrums and reviving Valentino Rossi

After four years of struggle, Yamaha is closing the gap on its rivals. Its new MotoGP project leader Takahiro Sumi tells us how

Yamaha only won two races during 2019 but, inch by inch, the factory began to close the gap on Honda and Ducati.

The reasons were a better engine, improved electronics and less messing around with chassis set-up, especially so that Maverick Viñales could focus more on his riding. The arrival of remarkable rookie Fabio Quartararo also helped, by putting the proverbial rocket under Viñales and Valentino Rossi.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why did MotoGP’s crash rate drop by almost a third in 2019?

No surprise that Johann Zarco was MotoGP’s biggest crasher last season. The revelation of the 2019 crash report is that the accident rate tumbled by 27 per cent

Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of MotoGP’s annual crash report. Not because I’m ghoulish, but because the crash statistics tell you more than just who’s crashed the most.

The numbers can indicate more than pain and suffering – they can tell you who is having the roughest time with their motorcycle and what’s happening with general development of bikes, tyres and riding technique.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - ‘I tell Cal that with a Honda MotoGP bike you have to fight and that’s why we pay you!’

Everyone knows Honda’s RC213V is no armchair ride. But why? Best man to ask is Takeo Yokoyama, HRC’s technical manager who works with Marc Márquez, Cal Crutchlow and now Alex Márquez

What engineering concepts went into building the 2019 RC213V which dominated last season in the hands of Marc Márquez but sometimes made life difficult for Cal Crutchlow and Jorge Lorenzo? And what kind of a bike is Honda building for the 2020 MotoGP championship?

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Tyred And Commotional

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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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Should Rossi retire?

The nine-time world champ just had his worst season outside of his Ducati years. Many people think it’s time for Valentino Rossi to say goodbye to MotoGP. But why should he?

Ten years ago, when Valentino Rossi was already the old man of the MotoGP grid, he was worried about keen youngsters like Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner coming to get him.

“They are like sharks circling around me,” he told journalists during the 2009 Mugello GP. “If I am not strong, I know that they will eat me in one bite. They look at me with a little bit of blood flowing and maybe they think, ‘okay, now is the time’.”

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - ‘Marc is causing a lot of problems for everyone!’: Ducati's MotoGP challenge for 2020

On the eve of MotoGP’s Valencia finale Davide Tardozzi discusses Ducati’s 2019 season and the main problems the factory faces

Andrea Dovizioso has finished second in the MotoGP riders' championship for the past three years, while Ducati is fighting to be runner-up in the MotoGP constructors' championship for the second consecutive year; currently just one point in front of Yamaha. We asked factory team manager and former World Superbike rider Davide Tardozzi about what the Bolognese are doing to beat the Japanese in 2020.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Lorenzo's battle back from injury - against his subconscious

What’s wrong with Jorge Lorenzo? Has he lost it or is he merely waiting till his back is fully fixed? And why HRC’s plans for its 2020 RC213V should give cause for optimism

The MotoGP paddock and fans around the world are agog with talk of Jorge Lorenzo. What’s up with the three-times MotoGP world champion? Has he lost it? Why doesn’t he retire? Why hasn’t he been sacked? Why don’t they put Johann Zarco on his bikes?

It must be said that the three-times MotoGP king is in a hole. A very deep hole. At Phillip Island two weeks ago he finished more than a minute (one minute!) behind winning team-mate Marc Márquez.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How will Johann Zarco go on the Honda as he returns to MotoGP?

The Frenchman is on his way to Phillip Island with his brand-new Alpinestars LCR Honda leathers. So is this judgement day for Johann Zarco?

Johann Zarco expected to watch MotoGP’s final few races from the comfort of his sofa in the south of France. Now, thanks to Takaaki Nakagami’s troublesome right shoulder injury – sustained at Assen when he got sideswiped by Valentino Rossi – he will spend the last three races sat somewhat less comfortably on the Japanese rider’s 2018-spec LCR Honda.

Before we wonder how Zarco will fare on the RC213V, we should ask why this is necessary. Why is Nakagami going under the knife when the 2019 championship isn’t over?

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