Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Into the Lorenzo zone

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.


Into the Lorenzo zone

It’s not easy finding out much about a rider in the 15-minute interview slots that are the norm in MotoGP now. Unless something interesting happens.

On one of the first occasions I interviewed Jorge Lorenzo, our brief time together was blighted by a malfunctioning automatic door. We were sat right by the door in the lounge area of Yamaha’s hospitality truck, with team staff coming and going as we chatted.

At first the door obediently swooshed open and shut like we were on the Starship Enterprise, but then it developed a fault, and each time it jammed Lorenzo became more infuriated, until I was certain I could see steam coming out of his ears.

And all this while we discussed his interest in finding inner peace through meditation, specifically through sophrology, which devotees use to improve concentration and motivation via mental and muscle relaxation.

As you will have gathered from the door incident and from the occasional tantrums he throws inside his helmet, Lorenzo has good reasons to have such interests. He is one of those riders who always simmers on the inside, like a volcano about to erupt. There have been plenty like that, including five-time 500 world champion Mick Doohan, who mastered the extraordinarily difficult trick of containing that energy until he could put it to better use aboard a motorcycle.

Doohan never meditated in the strict meaning of the word (he was as likely to take up meditation as he was vegetarianism) but he found his own way of achieving a degree of focus that allowed him to perform to 99.99 per cent of his ability each time he exited the pitlane. Very, very few sportsmen get close to that consistency of peak performance.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Comments

Interesting the talk about meditation. The mental side is a HUGE part of winning. Good read.

But is this overlooking a run of tracks where the softer of the available compounds were able to work to his liking, or is it truly that he is "in the zone?"
I would love to have been a fly on the wall in Kenny Roberts' motorhome when he was offering insight/advice to JL who was reported be dejected at the time. I am sure they were talking at a level I could not fathom, ne re mind put into practice, but would have been awesome to hear the insight.

Don't be TOO sure about that. There are a ton of great qualities in KR but insight and articulation aren't amongst them.
"So try harder than as hard as you can, but it should feel easy - you know? You have to go faster every time. Give it the hot sauce."
Racing isn't chess.
;)

is perhaps the single most ignorant comment I have ever read on the website.

Kenny Roberts is arguably the most cerebral & articulate racer in the history of the sport & his strategic approach revolutionized the sport. The fact that almost ALL world class racers at one time or another "studied" at his camp is testament to his brilliance.

No, motorcycle racing is not chess. Chess is a silly board game played with 2 people sitting on their fat asses, not against 23 opponents & crews @ 220mph in case you weren't aware.

It's popular knowledge that Kenny does a lot of yelling and taunting at his camp. I've never heard his instruction referred as cerebral and articulate. But maybe his racing was different.

Have you talked w him or heard him speak? It is funny, he is a country flat track bumpkin. Anything but articulate. That isn't bad. I worked with Keith Code and he helped me immensely. That was cerebral and articulate. Not better mind you.

KR is a doer, not a talker. Perhaps he just seemed thinky and such relative to Sheene, which was easy to do.

You may have rubbed shoulders with the man, but spending a few minutes in his company does not mean you have the true measure of him.
Three GP world championships as a rider and three more as a team owner, not to mention all the AMA success, means he did something right. And how about the World Series that forced the European promoters and track owners to start dealing with the Grand Prix riders as professionals and human beings? Etc. etc.
I'm certain that there is a side to Kenny Roberts that can be called cerebral and articulate, it's just not his public persona. You can't possibly accomplish what he has by being just a "country flat track bumpkin".
Whatever was said in that motorhome seems to have helped Jorge Lorenzo, as he is currently on a tear.

Always nice wordsmithing from Oxley, but not sure it tells us anything we didn't already know. Lorenzo (like Pedrosa) runs best in clear air, racing only himself. Most of the fans however, turn up to watch racers who race other racers.
I can absolutely marvel at his metronomic skill, but entertainment ... not so much.
Secondly, as we have seen, zen is a fickle mistress. Lots of races left to run.

..remind yourself of the last few year's of racing. You will find at least half a dozen last lap melees with GL pulling some moves that are pretty hard. I've seen at least two races in person where he raced like that (Silverstone 2013 springs to mind) The guy can race hard and close, he is not how Pedrosa has been for most of his career.

These last few races he has disappeared into the distance and not needed a last lap melee, but he can certainly ride like that with the best of them if he needs to.

Right but for me, Lorenzo's masterpiece is Valencia 2013 when the title was on the table in the final race with Marquez.
Slow down the pace ... with riders like that, with bikes like that ... it was crazy.
If only Rossi at this time had a little more pace (I precise Im a Rossi fan) ...

Or Brno 2012, even if he loses, but some "smooth like a japan knife" overtakes were amazing.

Like almost everybody, I prefer Marquez and of course the King Rossi, because at least I can show some parts of race to me wife (who doesn't give a ... about motorcycle) :)
However, as a bad and amateur pilot, who loves to be 0.1 s regular around a track, and loves to perfectionate, with my (big) limits, little by little, lap after lap, like a music ... Lorenzo is a monster, he has the best lines in my opinion.

But the season is long, it would be an unforgivable mistake to bury (like we all did) the yellow man :))

the most dangerous ,most aggressive audacious moves ever made by jorge, even if marc wasn't riding for the championship he couldn't have fought with him. Fearless....

Lorenzo, coming from 250s had a reputation for being overly aggressive. He was way more "racey" back in the day getting into many fierce battles, bumping into riders and making ambitious passes. He was even banned for a race for bumping into riders too much. So, know that he's not incapable of engaging in a dogfight that most viewers crave for. But also know that getting into scraps is not the fastest way to go around a racetrack. Racers themselves go to a racetrack to win, not to entertain. Entertainment is a usual by-product.

All focus last season was on MM93 and his great season, and the first half of the JL99's season was well off by his standards (hence he 'only' finished 3rd overall) - it was very easy to miss that in the second half of the 2014 championship (i.e. the final 9 races) that JL99 was the top point scorer. So in effect JL99 entered the 2015 season in a good run of form and whilst he didn't hit the ground running in the opening 3 races he still scored some useful points via two 4ths (26 points) and one 5th (11points), now he's in the zone and has bagged a further 75 points via his 3 wins on the bounce and who knows how long this form will run for...