Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MM v MV: never the twain shall meet? 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.

MM v MV: never the twain shall meet?

The much-hyped Márquez/Viñales title fight is turning out to be the weirdest in GP history. Here’s why…

Remember all that preseason hype? This was going to be the year of a new duel, a new rivalry to follow Marc Márquez versus Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi versus Casey Stoner.

Márquez and Maverick Viñales were the new duellists, battling for the 2017 MotoGP title from start to finish.

In a way, they are. And in a way, they aren’t. The championship reached its halfway point in Germany on Sunday, with the two Spaniards at the top of the championship separated by just five points. But the pair hasn't stood on the podium together this year. Not once, in nine races. How weird is that?

And they’ve hardly been on track together – not once have they fought for victory. About the closest they’ve been all year was during qualifying on Saturday when they had a little coming-together (above). They had seen so little of each other recently that they took the opportunity to have a little wave at one another.

All this proves is that 2017 is the topsy-turviest championship in years, perhaps ever. And the man who best copes with the confusion will be the 69th premier-class world champion.

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


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If Marques's ability  on left hand turning tracks developed from dirt track, is there an opportunity for GP riders to improve by making/developing/riding reverse direction dirt tracks where they can turn right?

Others such as the missed Nicky Hayden were the same and I think Mick Doohan even had an assymetrical style that stemmed rom his early dirt track days.

Marquez does like turning left. These tracks he has excelled at also have tight twisty bits with lots of direction change and time on the edge of the tire.

This kid is really something special. He can do things consistently on a MotoGP bike that we have previously only glances of. I am not a particular fan, please don't pigeon hole me. He is still improving. So is the Honda - he arrived when the bike hit the unnerving spin-wheelie-skids.

Let us be thankful he didn't end up on the Yamaha and give us another era of one unmatched dominant rider. My preference would be to have him on the Ducati or Suzuki. Anyhoo, he will be remembered as a VERY rare talent indeed. He will look better and better over time. Simply even just his form/style and lines. Antithetical to say Lorenzo. Be real - if you ride sport bikes fast, do you ever even contemplate emulating Marquez? No. Why not? It just isn't possible. I emulate Lorenzo. And just laugh and admire MM93.

Vinales is going through his tempering. Here now he either births greatness, or does not. Many have almost done it. It doesn't last long to nearly do it. If he does it is a lonely experience. And begets a strange context in which to be for a while, one that you both love and resent.

We can contrast Rossi and Stoner re how they navigated life as a top rider. How I long to have been able to have discovered lactose intolerance nearer the onset and been a support to guide Casey through what he experienced off the bike.

I think Vinales will come through. These are kids really, face to face with their own stories about themselves and the world. Ideals. None are equipped for what they are to experience. On the bike they are alone in territory that they cannot be joined in any longer. Witness Pedrosa finally distancing from Alberto Puig (thank dear heavens we don't have to miss any more on track action watching him after every little thing Dani does eh?). Dani got faster and stronger when he became a man on his own trajectory. Marquez went through horrible disillusionment and suffering around the shite amongst he and Rossi that was so toxic. And a bike that wanted him in the gravel. What did he trancend and how?

Iannone now is tanking isn't he? Or is he bouncing off the bottom in order to find willingness and ability to tackle the bike he has as it is? It won't come to him, he has to go to it. Vinales, he too is in a development period in which something that does not serve him must becomes the very fuel that boosts him out into the great beyond. Sublimation. The.most beautiful of human capacities that only arises in challenging contexts.

MotoGP is amongst the greatest of them.

For the amateur racer or track day hack, the rider to emulate is Poor Old Johnny Rea - you can ride the same style he does on a supersport or superbike race replica, but just not as fast.  The one person who should really consider imitating Márquez's riding style is Morbidelli next year, for reasons too obvious to mention.

“I am here to race and this is what I want to do and the rest of it is just murder to me. Some people enjoy the media but I hate attention, I hate people talking about me. It’s really something I dislike, it’s difficult for me to handle. I’d really just prefer to be a little mouse in a corner, forgotten about.” - CS27

I get Stoner (but most people will not have empathy for how he feels) - would have needed more than lactose tolerance to stay in the sport. :(

Whether they race head to head or not, BT cameras would be trained on the back of someone's head or focused on people looking up. What is wrong with the coverage that they do that? In sorry for O/T but idk where to vent.

Turn twelve returned to its former glory, Hallelujah. Moving the grand stand shows how serious they are. Good to see.

No excuses now, Apical, must make maximum effort to get to Jerez for at least one race meeting, probably next year.

So many reasons to go to Barcelona, must catch the bike Gp.

oops wrong article never mind

In a season where all riders are experiencing difficulties with one thing or another (bikes, tyres, tracks, injury, confidence, consistency) Marquez has really shown his mettle. His talent is unbelievable, his work ethic truly admirable and his attitude spot on. Vinales has great talent too, but it just feels like he's miles behind in resilience and sheer grit. My money's on Marquez again, damn him!