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.
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.
During last week’s Mugello Grand Prix, Marquez and Lorenzo collided at 210 miles an hour. The impact was big enough to rip off Marquez’s left elbow slider, but the youngster was unfazed and immediately launched into that jaw-dropping last lap.
Top TT riders may be jealous of MotoGP stars’ pay packets, but they’d never call them prima donnas. They’ve all ridden short circuits and fully comprehend that the riding techniques used by men like Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi are something else.
Twenty-three-time TT winner John McGuinness has shared a racetrack with Rossi. In 2000 he finished 13th in the British 500 GP at Donington; Rossi’s first premier-class victory. Both men share huge mutual respect.
But the TT is very different. A couple of months ago a few of us got to interview McGuinness. Preeminent TT photojournalist Stephen Davidson asked him if he still has any ambitions. “Yeah,” McGuinness replied. “Just to stay in one piece.” The words sent a chill right through me.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.