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.
The grandfathers of Márquez’s RC213V
When octogenarian HRC mechanic Carlo Murelli turned up at Mugello, he brought memories of two of Honda’s greatest race bikes flooding back
During the Barcelona MotoGP weekend there was lots of talk about Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez and the HRC legacy. The coming together of the two Spaniards at Repsol Honda next year creates the strongest line-up in HRC history: the company has never put two riders on the grid with seven MotoGP world titles between them (and probably eight by the end of this season).
However, Lorenzo joined Honda too late to meet one of HRC’s first mechanics, who visited Mugello earlier this month – his first time at a Grand Prix since he stopped working in the paddock in the late 1980s.
Carlo Murelli is an 85-year-old Italian with a sparkle in his eye, a spring in his step and a hearing aid in each ear; the consequence of half a lifetime spent toiling in the pitlane and dyno rooms.
Murelli worked for Honda through a historic era: first on the company’s final 500cc four-stroke Grand Prix bike, the fabulously exotic NR500, then on its first two-stroke GP bike, the gorgeous NS500 triple.
The NS was the first machine produced by HRC, established in 1982, and won Honda’s long-awaited first 500cc world title the following year. The NR was Honda’s quixotic attempt to beat the two-stroke hordes that had taken over the 500 class in the 1970s.
Honda had always been a four-stroke company and wasn’t ready to go with the two-stroke flow, hence the NR500, designed by Shoichiro Irimajiri, the genius engineer who had created Honda’s similarly fabulous five-cylinder 125 and six-cylinder 250 of the 1960s.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.