Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The million-euro gamble

How much does it cost to get into Grand Prix racing? If you need to ask, you probably can’t afford it

I assume Jack Miller’s post-Assen party is just about over now and that he’s back down the gym, pumping iron like a good lad.

Miller, like many other Aussie battlers before him, has the knack of burning the candle at both ends: working hard and playing hard. And you may have noticed that whenever he has a good day at work he likes to thank his parents for what they’ve done for him.

Guest Blog: Kenny Noyes, One Year On - A Tale of Fortitude & Determination

Today, we have a very special guest blog, for a remarkable young man. A year ago today, on 5th July 2015, Spanish Superbike champion and former Moto2 racer Kenny Noyes crashed his Palmeto Kawasaki ZX-10R during warm up for a round of the FIM CEV Spanish Superbike championship. The bike hit a wall and rebounded into Kenny, striking him on the head. The impact caused severe head trauma, and Kenny was flown to a nearby hospital, where he received treatment. 

Since then, Kenny has worked tirelessly on his recovery, with the support of his family. He has made incredible progress for someone with such a severe injury, with the racer's fixation on the goal: to race again sometime. His story is one of hope for anyone who suffers a severe injury, and proves that with the right support and the right attitude, you can do much more than anyone might reasonably expect.

That Kenny should make such a recovery is less of a surprise to me. I first met Kenny through his father, Dennis Noyes, who at the time was commentating on MotoGP for Spanish TV. Dennis was unfailingly kind and helpful to me in the early part of my career, and so when Kenny got a ride in the Moto2 championship, I wrote press releases for him for a while. I got to know Kenny reasonably well over the years, seeing at close hand the highs and lows which motorcycle racing can bring.

The overwhelming impression I got from Kenny was of a racer's determination. Even in the darkest moments, when he was left with impossible mountains to climb, Kenny kept a firm belief in himself and his abilities. If he just tried hard enough, he knew he could achieve much more than anyone expected. That dedication and optimism, a trait shared by his family, is what helped Kenny get where he is today.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - A Jackass joins the Aussie pantheon!

Jack Miller’s win was hugely popular and richly deserved, but do MotoGP’s interrupted-race regulations need rewriting?

As I wrote last week, stuff happens at Assen.

Jack Miller’s win was a fairy-tale: a young man who rides it like he stole it and made the next-to-impossible happen at a tricky track in tricky conditions. Since last year the 21-year-old Aussie has often been criticised for riding over his head – “I do get a little too excited sometimes” – but his ride on Sunday was inch-perfect at a slippery track with conditions changing on every lap and at every corner.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Assen: where stuff happens

MotoGP’s most historic venue has a habit of dramatically affecting the title chase, but never more so than in 1992

The Dutch TT (it’s the only non-Manx motorcycle race licenced to use the Tourist Trophy moniker) has a long habit of throwing a spanner in the works of ambitious racers.

Just ask reigning MotoGP champ Jorge Lorenzo. Assen helped derail both his previous title defences – in 2011 he was taken out by Marco Simoncelli and in 2013 he fell in practice and broke a collarbone. Hopefully he’s not the superstitious kind who believes that bad luck comes in threes.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Next: the Rossi Museum!

It had to happen: VR is building his own museum in Italy

Knock down the Leaning Tower of Pisa and turn the Grand Canal into a car park, because Italy will soon have a tourist attraction to eclipse them all: Il Museo Rossi.

Work is already well advanced outside Tavullia (where else?) to create a museum that will house all manner of artefacts to trace Rossi’s career all the way from minimoto to MotoGP.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - What will be Salom’s legacy?

Hopefully the creation of some kind of system that delivers the right kind of run-off for both MotoGP and Formula 1

Sadly, it is a reality of racing that safety improvements are sometimes only made after a rider gets killed or badly hurt.

So what will be the legacy of Luis Salom’s untimely death?

Editor's Blog: On Motorcycle Racing, Danger, and Death

"MOTORSPORTS CAN BE DANGEROUS" it says on the back of my media pass, the hard card I wear around my neck and which gives me access to the paddock and the media center. It says the same thing everywhere around the circuit: on rider passes, on the back of tickets, on signs which hang on fences around the circuit.

You see it so much that it becomes a cliché, and like all clichés it quickly loses its meaning. Until reality intervenes, and reminds us that behind every cliché lies a deep truth.

Friday brought a stark reminder. During the afternoon session of free practice for the Moto2 class, Luis Salom exited Turn 11 and got on the gas towards Turn 12. Just before the turn, traveling at around 170 km/h, the riders caress the front brake to help the bike turn through the fast right hander of Turn 12, an engineer told me. At that point, Salom lost control of his bike, fell off, and he and his bike headed towards the air fence which protects the wall there. They slid across a patch of tarmac put in to help the cars if they run straight on at that corner, and Salom's bike hit the air fence and wall, careened off the wall and into Salom, fatally injuring him.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The Isle of Man TT…

… a wild, crazy anachronism in an even wilder, crazier world

On Saturday afternoon when Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and the rest are about to qualify for the Catalan GP, there’ll be another gang of racers hurtling their superbikes down leafy country lanes on a small island off the English coast.

Some fans of the Isle of Man TT have a habit of calling the world’s top MotoGP riders pampered prima donnas. They’re obviously not. They may be much better paid, but when the engines start up and the visors click down, they go out to risk it all.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Could 2017 be Rossi’s year?

The 2016 season has only just started, but 2017 is already looking good for VR

So silly season is over. And it’s not even June. Now that all the major title players (with one exception) have inked their contracts for next year, it seems like the right time to write a 2017 preview. In May 2016.

Next year MotoGP’s balance of power will shift more dramatically than it has done since the arrival of Marc Marquez four years ago. What this means is that 2017 could be Valentino Rossi’s best shot at the title since his 2010 effort went west at Mugello; though obviously I’m not suggesting he’s already out of the 2016 hunt.

Jorge Lorenzo’s move to Ducati is the biggest factor in the 2017 scenario. Lorenzo’s sweet, neutral riding technique goes together with the sweet, neutral handling of Yamaha’s M1 like fish goes with chips, so it’s a huge deal that the reigning champion and current championship leader won’t be riding the bike that has brought him so much success.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP’s dark side: the twits and the trolls

Valentino Rossi talks about rider bullying on social media: “it’s very bad”

Technology is usually amoral – it can be used for good or for ill. Nuclear fission can be used to power the world, or to destroy it. The internet can be used to spread love, or hate.

In the world of MotoGP, social media is being used for too much of the latter. I regularly receive tweets, also addressed to the two riders in question, wishing them dead or in wheelchairs. You don’t need me to name the riders.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Predicting the unpredictable

Looking back at Le Mans and forward to the greatest race of the year

Was Jorge Lorenzo’s runaway victory at Le Mans the sign of many more to come or just the latest twist of a new technical era in which the only thing worth predicting is the unpredictability of the racing?

Who knows, except the man himself and crew chief Ramon Forcada. But what is a known-known is that while fans love watching racing when they don’t know what’s going to happen, the factories and riders hate dealing with curve balls from the left field. They spend many millions and work endless hours to know what’s what – all the way from suspension clicks to software algorithms – and during the Bridgestone era they pretty much knew what was what. Right now, at the dawn of a new Michelin era, most of them don’t. Great for us; not so great for them.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP tyre disasters: a history

MotoGP is going through a tough time with tyres, but how long has this been going on?

It is Michelin’s home MotoGP round this weekend; in theory a time for celebration, even though the French company hasn’t had the easiest of returns to a class of racing that it ruled almost continuously from 1974 to 2006.

First came Scott Redding’s delaminating tyre in Argentina; which had Michelin hurriedly deploying stiffer rear casings that had riders battling wheelspin in sixth gear at a dry and sunny Jerez.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Rossi’s secret

He’s old and he’s fat

I’m joking, of course, but not entirely

Valentino Rossi’s 113th Grand Prix victory was historic and much more. It was the success that brought him to within ten wins of Giacomo Agostini’s record of 122 victories, which for many decades was presumed forever impregnable. Hard to believe, but his 87th premier-class win was also the first time in 17 seasons in the big class that Rossi had led from pole position and from start to finish.

Rossi won his first Grand Prix in August 1996, three months after his first decent GP result, a fourth-place finish, just metres shy of the podium, at Jerez, funnily enough. After that race sidekick Uccio Salucci said, “that’s when I thought, hmm, maybe it’s possible that something good comes out of this, not just one victory or one podium, maybe something more…”

To attempt to fully understand the enormity of Rossi’s unique career it’s worth rewinding to 1996 to remind ourselves what else was going on in the world at the time.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Dorna: un favor, por favor

Here’s a special MotoGP request ahead of this weekend’s Jerez GP

I’m often a bit mean about Dorna, because they’re the people in charge of MotoGP, so they’re in the firing line. But they are big enough to take it. I fully realise that much of the time they do great work, but I’m only a journalist, so, as Pavarotti once said, “when a journalist write about the positive he write fives lines; when he write about the negative he become a poet”.

Dorna’s greatest act over the past year or so has been to admit that MotoGP is too expensive to survive entirely on outside sponsorship, so it has wisely and kindly decided to underwrite the poorer end of the grid for the foreseeable future. This is in stark contrast to Formula 1 and top-level football, where those in charge only seem to care about the headline teams.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why did Lorenzo do it?

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.

Why did Lorenzo do it?

Why Rossi’s failure on the Ducati could be Lorenzo’s biggest reason for going there

Anyone who tells you they know why Jorge Lorenzo quit the manufacturer that’s won five of the past 10 MotoGP titles for a brand that hasn’t got close to winning the championship for the past eight years, is making it up.

But let’s take a look at the possible reasons behind the defection.


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