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.
On your marks, get set, test!
This is your early season wake-up call. Yes, in case you didn’t already know it, 2015 MotoGP testing began earlier today at Sepang. While I and many of you shivered over our porridge in Europe, Marc Márquez and the rest were turning sweaty laps in Malaysia’s tropical heat.
All the factories are there. This is the way it is nowadays, with the top teams almost always testing side by side to save costs. Money is saved, but secrecy is lost: riders can watch and learn from their rivals and engineers can spy on other machines while dissecting their lap times and split times to the nth degree. There are no secrets anymore.
It didn’t used to be like this. Back in the day, riders and teams would disappear on hush-hush private tests – we’re off to the beach, honest – to grind out endless laps, hunting out those elusive few tenths.
Alex Briggs, mechanic to Valentino Rossi and former spannerman to Mick Doohan, is one of many who misses those days.
“We used to go solo testing with Mick,” recalls Briggs. “We’d get a new set of cylinders from HRC and off we’d go for a few days testing somewhere. We’d get everything spot on and we’d turn up at the next race and ambush our rivals – whammo! You don’t get to do that anymore.”
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.