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.
Minor and major miracles at Arágon
Márquez’s win, Rossi’s Lazarus-style comeback and the performance of Aprilia and KTM made Arágon a special MotoGP weekend
Motorcycle racing is all about winning: at every race you get one winner and 20 or 30 losers.
However, every now and again you look down the finishing order and there are major and minor miracles everywhere. Sunday’s Arágon Grand Prix was like that.
Firstly, to finish first, first you must finish. So congratulations to MotoGP’s king risk-taker Marc Márquez, who won at Arágon to become Honda’s second most successful rider premier-class rider after Mighty Mick Doohan.
Usually Márquez flies around anti-clockwise circuits so fast that he leaves everyone scratching their heads, wondering how he can turn left so quickly. But Sunday wasn’t quite like that. There was only one warm and dry practice session – the 30-minute FP4 – so tyre choice for the race was a roll of a dice.
Márquez nearly fell on numerous occasions during the 23 laps, admitting afterwards that he had “a few scary moments,” which for you and I would be like getting caught in the shower with Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Later, Valentino Rossi admitted that the championship already belongs to Márquez.
Rossi’s weekend was a Lazarus-style comeback of biblical proportions. The Italian isn’t the first rider to hobble onto his motorcycle three weeks after breaking a tibia and fibula. It’s been done many times by riders whose determination blanks out the pain, but none of them has been able to hide the fear of further injury in some dark recess of their brain to the extent that it has zero effect on their ability to ride as fast as they always do
In qualifying, when riders risk 100 per cent at every corner to get near to the front of the grid, Rossi ended up third quickest. Riders up and down pitlane shook their heads in disbelief.
Yamaha engineers reckon that a rider places about 110 kilos through a footpeg when he flicks the bike from side to side at high speed. There are a lot of fast direction changes at Arágon, so how did Rossi manage to force so much load through his broken leg? There is little point speculating, because our range of experience is so far removed from his, that whatever we think of his achievement has no relevance. All we need say is this: the man isn’t normal.
The victory of Márquez and the heroics of Rossi overshadowed two other minor miracles at Arágon.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.