Editor's Blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Inside the Rossi/Lorenzo garage

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.


Inside the Rossi/Lorenzo garage

Here is photographic evidence of how nasty things are getting inside the Movistar Yamaha pit as the Rossi/Lorenzo title fight approaches its heart-pumping climax.

Above we see Rossi crew members Gary Coleman (left) and Alex Briggs (right) mugging Jorge Lorenzo mechanic Ian Gilpin in the paddock – the Northern Irishman never stood a chance against the Aussie pair.

It’s just as bad in the pits where the two opposing crews giving each other the dead-eye across the garage and plan their next act of sabotage or their piece snippet of misinformation…

No, I can’t keep this up. Let’s forget the tabloid fantasy and cut to reality…

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Motegi Mysteries

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.


Motegi mysteries

The world of MotoGP holds thousands of mysteries, many of which are way beyond my ken. But there is something that has bothered me for the last couple of seasons, with ne’er a reasonable explanation offered by anyone in the paddock: why does everyone gift the racetrack to Jorge Lorenzo at the start of qualifying?

You could set your watch by Lorenzo’s first QP exit: off he goes, ahead of everyone and chased by no-one, with the racetrack all to himself, just the way he likes it.

How does this happen? Why do his rivals let him do exactly what he wants? Why do none of them accelerate out of pitlane sucking up his exhaust fumes, using him to lower their own lap times, perhaps even learning something, perhaps even showing him a wheel to upset his equilibrium? His rivals should do anything and everything to ruffle his self-styled Buddhist calm because winning isn’t merely about being faster, it’s also about being cleverer.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Rossi needs 'stuff' to happen

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.


Rossi needs 'stuff' to happen

Cue the Jaws theme tune, because Jorge Lorenzo is coming to get Valentino Rossi. The Spaniard took a nine-point chunk out of Rossi’s championship lead at Aragon, at which rate he will lead the championship at Phillip Island, with all to play for in the final two races at Sepang and Valencia.

Rossi always knew this moment was coming; indeed he’s been there before. Way back in June 2009 he likened Lorenzo and Casey Stoner to sharks, circling around him in the water, ready for the kill.

“They look at me with some blood flowing and they think, ‘Okay, now is the time’,” he said. “If I am not strong, they will eat me in one bite.”

Six and a bit seasons later he is in exactly the same position. So what will it take to repulse Lorenzo’s latest attack?

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Will Yamaha choose its champion?

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.


Will Yamaha choose its champion?

If you were the main man at the Yamaha Motor Company, who would you want to win this year’s MotoGP world championship? Before making your choice, you need to consider that Yamaha’s main reason for being in MotoGP is to market its motorcycle and scooter products around the world.

There’s only one answer, isn’t there? Which is why the conspiracy theorists are already muttering in the shadows, suggesting that a Valentino Rossi victory could be worth an extra 100 or maybe 200 million to Yamaha. So I ask them, 200 million what? Euros, dollars, yen? They don’t say, they just nod sagely. And they are probably right, up to a point.

If we humour the conspiracy theorists for a moment, we have to ask this question: would Yamaha consider taking sides in the Rossi versus Jorge Lorenzo duel? Would it, could it, should it?

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Rossi and the silver screen

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.


Rossi and the silver screen

The church bells in Tavullia rang out on Sunday afternoon, as they always do when the town’s local hero wins a Grand Prix. I only know this because I watched the new MotoGP documentary Hitting the Apex last week.

The film’s advertised stars are Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Márquez and Marco Simoncelli, but (in my mind at least), its greatest stars are Tavullia’s priests, Don Cesare Stefani and Don Giuseppe Signoretti.

The pair sit in their church (called, oh the irony, the Church of San Lorenzo the Martyr), remembering the last Saturday of June 2013, when they rang the bells to celebrate the Assen victory that marked Rossi’s return to the top step after two miserable seasons that were surely the beginning of his inevitable decline into retirement.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Remembering the past at Brno

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.


Remembering the past at Brno

At Brno I asked Dorna if they would arrange a minute’s silence on the MotoGP grid to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which claimed the lives of 55 million people and changed the lives of hundreds of millions forever. Indeed, it changed the entire world forever. We all live with the ongoing effects of what happened back then – just ask anyone who lives in Brno and knows what happened there during the war.

Carmelo Ezpeleta considered my request and turned it down, even after I had pointed out that during the weekend of the 1997 Czech Grand Prix he happily arranged a minute’s silence on the grid to mark the occasion of the death of Princess Diana.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - When no-one knew who Honda was

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.


When no-one knew who Honda was

When Marc Márquez swept to Honda’s 700th Grand Prix victory on Sunday he did so at the head of the factory Repsol Honda team, probably the biggest outfit in the paddock, with every member trained and drilled to deal with every eventuality.

It is a somewhat different set-up to the brave little crew that turned up for the company’s first world championship race, the Isle of Man TT in June 1959.

Editor's Blog: Putting Suzuka Back On The Map

Once upon a time, the Suzuka 8 Hour race was a big deal. A very big deal. It was the race the Japanese factories sent their very best riders to compete in, the event often being written into the contracts of the top Grand Prix and World Superbike riders as part of their factory deals. The list of big names to win the race is impressive. Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Daryl Beattie, Aaron Slight, Doug Polen, Scott Russell, Noriyuki Haga, Colin Edwards, Daijiro Kato, Alex Barros, Shinichi Itoh, Tohru Ukawa, Taddy Okada. And of course Valentino Rossi. There, they faced the very best of the Japanese Superbike riders, as well as the regulars from the World Endurance Championship, of which it forms a part.

It may have been an honor to have been asked to do the race, but the GP riders were far from keen. Held in July, the race fell right in the middle of the Grand Prix season. Racing in the event meant multiple flights to Japan for testing and practice, then the grueling race itself in the oppressive heat and humidity of a Japanese summer. It meant doing the equivalent of four Grand Prix in the space of eight hours, then rushing home to get ready for the next race. The best case scenario meant they started the next Grand Prix event tired and aching from Suzuka. The worst case was a crash and an injury that either kept them off the bike or left them riding hurt. The only benefit was that it kept the factories happy, and marginally increased a rider's chances of extending his contract with the manufacturer for a following season.

Gradually, the race fell out of favor, and more and more riders had clauses added to their contract specifically excluding them from being forced to race at Suzuka. Mick Doohan was one of the early absentees. Valentino Rossi did it twice, won it the second time around, and swore never to race at the event again. It was simply too demanding for a rider chancing a championship. In the early years of this century, the race languished in relative obscurity. The name of the event still echoed in the collective memory of race fans, but it passed without much comment. Except in Japan, where it remained the pinnacle of the JSB season, and the battleground for the Japanese manufacturers.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How tyres could decide the 2015 MotoGP title

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.


How tyres could decide the 2015 MotoGP title

Let’s do some maths: nine races gone and nine to go, so it’s halfway time when we get to examine the past with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and pretend we’ve got even the slightest clue about what’s going to happen next.

If we take Sunday’s German GP and extrapolate that result all the way to Valencia, Marc Márquez will record a famous comeback world-title victory. However, if Márquez, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo each win three of the remaining nine races, while recording podium finishes in the other six, then Rossi will most likely make history with a 10th world title, 18 years after his first. The possibilities are endless, of course, though it might be fun if someone fed the data into a supercomputer. Please be my guest…

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era

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.


Welcome to MotoGP’s controlled electronics era

When the future looks uncertain, some people like to take refuge in the past, which goes some way to explaining the success of events like last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, which is largely about old motor sport metal.

The metal is all important because, unlike most sports, motor racing has a hugely tangible history: gawping at the goal posts used at the 1938 FA Cup final is never going to be as much fun as examining the supercharged DKW that won the 1938 Lightweight TT.

Among those paying homage to the past at Goodwood was Valentino Rossi. The (currently uncrowned) king of MotoGP jetted in from Saturday’s Dutch TT, still giddy on the taste of his 111th Grand Prix victory, to take part in celebrations marking Yamaha’s 60th anniversary.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Blue on blue

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.


Blue on blue

Forty years ago this Saturday Jaws was released in cinemas. The film’s theme tune still reverberates in people’s minds: a spooky riff synonymous with approaching danger.

Over the past four races Jorge Lorenzo has bitten shark-sized chunks out of Valentino Rossi; 28 points, to be exact. With seven rounds done and 11 to go, he is just one point adrift of his team-mate and poised for the kill. Or is he? Perhaps Lorenzo’s momentum is unstoppable or perhaps Rossi can rally himself.

Of course, the nine-time champ has been here before. Way back in 2009 he likened Lorenzo and the other new kids on the block to sharks. “If I am not strong, I know they will eat me in one bite,” he said. “They look at me with a little bit of blood flowing and maybe they think, OK, now is the time.”

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.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Planes, trains, autocycles…

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.


Planes, trains, autocycles…

Whatever you are doing, drop it right now and plan your visit to the Italian Grand Prix because there may never be another MotoGP race like it.

Ride your bike, jump on a ferry, book a flight, buy a train ticket, strap a tent to the back of that rusting C90 in the back of the garage, share a car, hire a minibus, or hitch, or crawl the whole way, like a pilgrim, backwards.

Valentino Rossi is leading the 2015 MotoGP world championship, riding the crest of a wave, aiming to achieve what will be a hugely historical – not just in motorcycle racing but across all sports – 10th world title, 18 years after his first.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Roll on 2016!

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.


Roll on 2016!

That was prime Jorge Lorenzo: grab the holeshot, then lay down the law, so there’s no gunfight at the end. Perhaps there would’ve been a shootout in the final laps if Marc Márquez hadn’t been handicapped by his finger injury and Valentino Rossi hadn’t been spooked by a few front-end scares, but that’s all ifs and buts.

Jerez was the first procession of a so-far dazzling season which will surely give us more great races, but I’m already looking forward to 2016.

We have had four seasons of classes-within-a-class MotoGP racing. Next year MotoGP will be back to where it should be: everyone working to the same technical rules, a level race track, no excuses, let’s go racing.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Márquez vs Rossi: the best tight fight ever?

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 Rossi: the best tight fight ever?

Valentino Rossi has been through them all. He’s the ancient prize fighter who has taken out Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and the rest. His premier-class duels go so far back into racing history – all the way back to 2000 – that they cross generations. The same time span of 16 years would’ve had John Surtees taking on Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood comparing genius with Freddie Spencer, Kenny Roberts doing battle with his own son, Wayne Rainey having a go with Casey Stoner and Mick Doohan with Marc Márquez. Hard to believe, but do the maths; it’s true.

The first racer who caused Rossi a real problem was Stoner – finally here was someone who had the sheer talent to beat the old master. Now there’s Marc Márquez.

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