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.
How Magic Marc walks the line
Eighty-five riders raced at rain-lashed San Marino GP on Sunday, and there were 80 crashes. How does Márquez stay on, let alone win, in such conditions?
It was difficult to watch Sunday’s race without imagining a kind of Gollum conversation taking place inside Marc Márquez’s head between his risk-taking self and his risk-averse self (if he has such a thing).
However tiny Márquez’s risk-averse self might be, it was in charge for most of the 28 laps. He wisely decided to let Jorge Lorenzo go about his business and then just as wisely decided to stay behind Danilo Petrucci, allowing the Italian to set the pace. All this while his risk-taking inner beast was surely fighting to get out…
“Let me out!”
“No! Twenty points is better than none!”
“Let me out and let me at him! Twenty-five points is better than 20!”
This must have continued for at least half the race, because while Márquez knew he could not win the title on Sunday he certainly knew he could lose it. If he had crashed out he would be going to Aragón 29 points behind Andrea Dovizioso.
Nevertheless, Márquez’s inner beast did eventually get its way. The transformation was instant: the body language changed, his Repsol Honda started dancing around a bit more and Petrucci’s advantage shrank. Márquez had done the sums and he had decided it was worth walking the line for those five extra points.
It’s the kind of nerve-wracking situation in which most championship hopefuls find themselves: looking for that uncomfortable middle ground between risking too much and crashing out and risking too little and scoring too few points.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.