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.
Climbing Mount Everest
MotoGP now has fewer rider controls, so once again we’re seeing riders getting all acrobatic. That’s why Marc Márquez was a sight to behold at COTA
That was quite a weekend and this is quite a photograph. It reminds me of the old days – Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and the rest – climbing all over their flighty 500 two-strokes, trying to get those deadly missiles-on-wheels pointed vaguely in the right direction.
It is Marc Márquez, playing the outer limits during COTA qualifying, climbing all over his Repsol Honda RC213V like Sherpa Tenzing used to climb all over Mount Everest.
When we talk about riders racing Grand Prix bikes, we usually talk about the corners because racing around racetracks is mostly about corners. The straights are just the bits connecting the corners, where racers can relax for a moment, loosen their grip on the handlebars and give their brain a chance to catch up and get ready for what’s coming next.
In fact it’s not like that at all. As you can see, there’s nothing easy about riding in a straight line when you’ve got a quarter of a thousand horsepower beneath you. And there’s no such thing as a moment’s rest on a MotoGP bike.
When I first saw this photo – shot by Márquez's photographer Alejandro Ceresuela – I presumed it was taken at one of COTA’s numerous direction changes, with Márquez accelerating out of a left-hander, crawling over the front of the bike to keep the front wheel down so he’s got the grip and turning he will need to flick into the next right-hander.
But no. This is Márquez working like crazy to fire his RC213V out of COTA’s final corner, hauling himself over the fuel tank to keep the front down, standing on the footpegs to reduce wheelspin and generally trying to keep the bike on the straight and narrow as he heads towards the finish line.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.