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

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.


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.

It was so refreshing to see young, humble, Jackass (his own words) shed a tear on the podium, sup his victory champagne (cava, in fact) from one of his boots, then get the entire post-podium press conference rolling around with laughter. It was just like the good ol’ days of Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey and the rest, when jokes, friendly abuse and not-so-friendly abuse were what happened.

When nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi crashed out of first place he handed the lead to twice MotoGP champ Marc Marquez, who immediately got a pit-board telling him that Miller was closing in on him, like something from the Jaws movie. Marquez grinned, “my first picture was Jack and Cal at Silverstone last year!” (When an over-excited Miller took out team-mate Crutchlow in the rain-lashed British GP.) To which Miller replied, quick as a flash, “You were lucky!”

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

Total votes: 132
Total votes: 111

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Comments

Finally some quality article again from Mat Oxley!!!He is right, too: Its a slap in the face that the first race was good for nothing.

Total votes: 128

I prefer the current non aggregated restart. To me it's a bit like a safety car in F1, everyone catches back up to each other and set off again from the positions they were in when it's safe to do so. Good luck for some riders bad luck for others. And I do prefer to watch a race where the on track position is the correct one.

Total votes: 149

First "race" was of course as you mention a qualifying session for the second race, but it was more. Just ask Hernandez. It was a gate through which you had to sucessfully pass (finish) before you could even start the race.

Total votes: 127

I have no problems with the way it was run.

Progressive grid based on first race, and then a run to the wire.

It's not like the teams didn't know the rules.  It's the rules they agreed to race under when they signed up for this season.  I think if you're going looking for justice in Motorsport, you're going to be a very disappointed person.  The end of last season being a case in point, where the rules were being synthesised as they went along, and it ended up being high farce.

Total votes: 127

I'm new to Motorcycle Racing as I started watching this season and riding 4 years ago.  There's nothing else on television that compares.  I'm certain F1 fans might disagree with me, or NFL, NBA, World Cup, .... fans (and I've watched all that and more) but day in and day out, I haven't seen anything like this sport (at each level) where real-time decision-making often determines a race outcome (or mishap.)  Watching the head (and eye) position of riders as they navigate courses has no equivalent except perhaps the momentary monitoring of a baseball coming at you (and that's an interval event, a pitch, and not a continuous flow of inputs, continuous corrections, lookahead, listen-behind, etc.)  

We in fandom can add (we have intelligent phones now) but as Matt stated, the commentators take care of basic and advanced math for us.  The passion riders, crews, owners, sponsors and fans exude is palpable.  In the case of the rain impacted Assen race, I would have preferred to had the 2 outcomes summed and the winners determined that way.  A 5-lap club style race...that would be something special.

Total votes: 124

It meant miller who qualified in 19th got to start from 6th (? Cant remember exactly) it also meant that if yonny hadnt gone off he would have got to start from pole which was a hell of a lot better than his original starting spot. I see what he is saying but a combined time is not without its flaws. The only way to make it all fair is to restart the race with the order it was stopped and then release the riders relative to the gap they had between the rider behind.

Total votes: 140

Can we agree that race one isnt done for nothing?

Yes its basically a new qualifying session but its still to maintain a grid position. Maybe give half points for each race. 

Total votes: 107

half points? I'd say pro rata to the number of laps ridden vs the total laps rounded down to the nearest round number? lol :o)

Total votes: 124

well, it's actually worse than qualy... seen a crashed rider (and not remounted) isn't allowed to rejoin!?

Any Red Flag, pacecar, ... situation is a pity in my opinion, but you can't nòt have it, on safety grounds. But having a race red flagged and restarted (for any reason), it interferes with its usual course. There will always be "ifs and buts". But in my opinion, not having it count for anything but the grid position for part two... is a bit of a waste. I think with the technology of today, it could easily be a cummulative ranking (lefthand of the screen the current part of the race, righthand the cummulated positions/splits?).

Total votes: 125

Of all the suggestions I like this the most. I hate half points, always looks silly on the score sheets.

Full points would be a great incentive and just reward for the huge risks involved.

Total votes: 124

This way is very easily managed wth todays technology for us but for the riders knowing when and how hard to push or having the ability to back off is where it gets tricky. Sure you could jam the info of imaginary gap to rider infront and rider behind on the pit board but in tricky conditions and with the rider possibly battling another rider or more not even for their current place it all could get a little much. It makes trying to win the race in the slowest possible way that bit harder, especially while trying to navigate through the bad weather.
I still think releasing each rider at the restart relative to the gap between bikes from race one is the only fair way. But then again im not phased if they leave it how it is either.

Total votes: 119

Even though the starting position for race 2 is derived from the first race, for the most part some hard earned leads are eliminated. I am not a fan of combined times because I think the head to head batteling aspect (which makes Motogp stand out above other motorsports) is lost. With todays technology, why not go back 1 lap, calculate the time intervals between riders & restart the riders one at a time with the same spacing as earned in the first race? Note this isnt much different to the staggered starts currently in use in TT racing. Yes there would need to be some provision for lapped riders etc (starting from the pits perhaps), but overall we would get to see a continuation of the original race including side by side battles as opposed to a shortened sprint.

Total votes: 112

...became worthless and riders risked themselves for nothing. It's part of the GP spectacle. I apply the same reasoning to qualifying. Only one lap actually counts to form the grid, but it doesn't mean the others were worthless risks taken by the riders. They all form the spectacle of a GP weekend and are a just reward for the investment fans and spectators make to follow/watch the sport.

Total votes: 128

Miller Motorsports Park, 2009 WSBK, 6 years ago was able to do aggregrate, its time MotoGP add that rule.

Total votes: 128

But the confusion was on the track not in the living rooms.

You end up with a mix of riders together on track.  One may be holding back and another desperate to get past.  There have been some shenanigans too.

The TV graphics keep everyone at home informed just fine.  The riders on track are the ones left to figure out what's going on and prefer a straight up race.

Total votes: 121

Whenever there's a red flag and a restart, it gets more exciting. When there's somewhere between a third and half the distance to be run in the restart. The field doesn't get as stretched out. There's more fighting for position, more urgency.
It almost makes me want them to run two sprint races instead of the one race each weekend.

Total votes: 120

By awarding full points for each 'race', everyone's a winner and no-one risks their neck for nothing.

In these extreme circumstances, the overall 'winner' can easily be decided on overall times. There's no need for yet more ridiculous screen graphics that often serve to confuse almost all.

Simply award full points for each race, and add-up the combined times to decide who won at the end of the day.

Different, but simple or simply different?

It's called 'imagination'. It'll never catch-on. 

Total votes: 140

If the first race was a waste, because it only determined starting positions for the restart, then you have to admit that qualifying is also a waste - for the same reason.  

If you start aggregating times then it's not a Grand Prix, it's a time trial.

Spectators want to see a spectacle.  Even if the TV audience can understand it, will the fans at the track understand?  Just like time penalties added retrospectively ruin a race, not knowing if the first over the line is the winner will also dampen the excitement.

Total votes: 122

Regardless of which senario is the better option,let`s give credit to young Jack,he fought his way up to 9th place at the red flag,so obviously was feeling comfortable with the track conditions,then rode like a true wet weather master to secure 1st place,done and dusted.Anyone that is still trying to secure points for their golden child rider`get over it`the best man on the day won pure and simple

Total votes: 125