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.
Cal joins the Pommie pantheon
Cal Crutchlow dominated at the greatest MotoGP track of them all. What a shame that some fans spoiled a great day by cheering Marquez’s crash
Cal Crutchlow’s second MotoGP victory was even better than his first, mainly because every rider knows a dry win counts for more than a wet win. He now stands alongside Leslie Graham, Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Barry Sheene as the only Britons to have scored two premier-class victories in one season. In other words, he’s in the Pommie pantheon.
Once again Crutchlow showed aggression and intelligence – he was one of the few to choose Michelin’s hard-option front slick and understood that whenever the sun disappeared behind the clouds the track temperature dropped, so he had to push harder (but not too hard) to keep the tyre hot enough to grip the track.
Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro chose the same front and both fell, proving the tyre had riders walking the narrowest of lines. Managing tyre temperature is a big part of MotoGP and Crutchlow did it perfectly. He beat the best in the world by over four seconds, which is proper domination during an era of close finishes. Even nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi couldn’t match the winner’s pace during his inspired comeback from 15th on the grid.
Sunday’s race was poignant because it marked the fifth anniversary of Marco Simoncelli’s fatal accident and the 56th birthday of three-time 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey, who was paralysed from the chest down when he crashed out of the San Marino GP at Misano in September 1993.
For these reasons (and also many more) it was sickening to witness a minority of Phillip Island spectators celebrating a rider crashing to earth at 80mph, like a bunch of neanderthals punching the air at a Donald Trump rally.
Or perhaps those celebrating Marc Marquez’s accident were marking the first anniversary of the supposed plot to rob Valentino Rossi of the 2015 MotoGP crown.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.