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.
Hunting the Honda
As you read this, the wheels are probably still turning and the spanners still twirling at Valencia’s first off-season tests where the game is the same as it’s been for years: hunt the Honda.
We all know the RC213V is the best bike on the MotoGP grid right now (it’s won three riders’ titles and four constructors’ crowns over the last four years) and we all know why: because while Yamaha’s YZR-M1 carves the line of beauty – nicely arced all the way through the corner – the Honda is in and out, front tyre tucked on entry and a flurry of wheelspin (not too much, not too little) on the exit.
And not forgetting, of course, the most important item on the RCV part list: the fleshy and brave hi-tech computer that holds the handlebar grips. After all, it is only Marc Márquez who can ride the bike the way it needs to be ridden to fully exploit its genius design.
The Honda is short and wiry and fully wired up for 21st century race tracks. If MotoGP was still dominated by age-old venues like Phillip Island with grand, sweeping curves, the M1 would be a difficult motorcycle to beat. But tight turns and chicanes are the stuff of 21st century MotoGP tracks and through this kind of corner the Honda steals a metre or two on the Yamaha. Half a dozen turns like that per lap, multiplied by 25 laps, equals the Honda a hundred metres ahead at the chequered flag.
So what are Yamaha and the others going to do about it?
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.