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.
Márquez vs Hailwood – the percentages
After Marc Márquez’s 13th win of the year at Valencia last month I tweeted that el fenómeno had broken Mick Doohan’s 12-wins-in-a-year record.
Not long after, Casey Stoner came right back, with a good-natured tweet reminding me that Doohan had won his 12 victories in a 15-race season, while Márquez had won 13 out of 18.
“Sorry Mat,” he wrote. “But I think we both know Mick’s record still stands ;) He had about three to four fewer races when he was around.” (NB: Stoner haters – this wasn’t a moan, that was a smiley face and a wink there.)
Stoner’s point is valid. I’m no mathematician (in fact I’m borderline innumerate), but Doohan had a higher percentage win rate in 1997 than Marquez in 2014, 80 per cent against 72 per cent. So, looking at it that way, Doohan is the more successful rider.
But there have been better, on a percentage basis. When I replied to Stoner, telling him that two riders – John Surtees and Giacomo Agostini – have ridden an entire championship season without getting beaten he was bowled over. “I didn’t even know that mate, that’s bloody impressive!!”
These two legends will never, ever be beaten. In 1959 Surtees won seven out of seven races and in 1968 Agostini won all ten races. They are GP racing’s only ’100 per centers’ and they won’t ever be beaten, not even by today’s riders who like to tell us that they’re going out there to give it 120 per cent.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.