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.
MotoGP’s thrilling unpredictability explained
This year MotoGP is more unpredictable than ever, which is great for fans. Here’s why
This may turn out to be the best season of Grand Prix racing ever. It is already the closest-ever contest for the premier-class world title: after nine of 18 races the top four are closer on points than they were after the season-opening race in March. Championship leader Marc Márquez and the fourth-placed Valentino Rossi are separated by just 10 points, with Maverick Viñales and Andrea Dovizioso in between. This has never happened in the previous 68 seasons of Grand Prix competition.
The racing has mostly been good, too. There have already been five different winners and last time out in Germany the reigning world champion aboard the latest factory weapon spent much of the race fighting with a rookie using a two-year-old chassis.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta had died and gone to heaven at the Sachsenring. Right there, before his very eyes, was the culmination of a life’s work: an indie rider hassling a factory rider, lap after lap after lap.
Ezpeleta has spent years writing a more egalitarian MotoGP rulebook, with the aim of creating closer racing that will have more people turning on their televisions, which increases revenues and boosts Dorna’s profits.
There’s no doubt that his efforts have paid off. But the rulebook doesn’t account for MotoGP’s current thrilling unpredictability, which is what’s turning on so many fans this year. More than ever before, none of us has a clue who’s going to win next Sunday’s race, let alone the championship. And the riders and teams are as much in the dark as we are.
So what’s going on? Here’s a nine-time world champion to explain.
“We have a very different feeling from one track to the other with the tyres,” said Rossi in Germany. “It’s the great surprise of this year, because last year the situation was more constant. This is very difficult to manage because you never know what to expect.”
This unpredictability is nirvana for fans but not so much for riders and teams, who aren’t so much unhappy with this year’s Michelins as confused by them.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.