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.
Rossi’s wooden spoon
Valentino Rossi had his best race weekend in almost three years at Misano. For the first time since the last few races of 2010 he was on the pace every day, declaring that his YZR-M1 had never felt better.
On Friday afternoon he spent half the session chasing Marc Márquez, matching him pretty much yard for yard, lap after lap. Afterwards he was buzzing from the experience of riding with the youngster and not watching him disappear into the distance. “I enjoyed that a lot,” he beamed. “Marc’s style is very, very funny – a great show!”
Things were looking up. Then on Saturday Rossi made the front row for the first time this year without any of his major rivals absent, having solved one of his biggest problems. “Usually I suffer more in qualifying, but this time I could push a lot with new tyres,” he said.
Yamaha’s new ‘seamless’ gearbox was helping in all kinds of ways. “The bike is more stable in acceleration so it’s less demanding, so you can be more consistent and more precise, with less effort,” he added. “The only difference in set-up is the electronics: you get less wheelie, so you need less wheelie control [which means more horsepower and more acceleration].”
In other words, the new gearbox delivers better handling, better steering, better acceleration and keeps the rider in better shape over race distance.
And yet Rossi still ended up fourth on Sunday. In racing there is no more hated result than fourth – and this was his fourth consecutive fourth place.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.