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.
Márquez is the man with no off switch
The Spaniard has won all three titles in MotoGP’s new era of make-it-up-as-you-go-along riding technique. Next comes MotoGP’s Senna/Prost moment
No motorcycle racer is unbeatable. Mick Doohan ruled the 1990s with an iron fist, dominating five consecutive 500cc world championships and leaving everyone waking up on Sunday mornings wondering who would finish second. Then, in a millisecond, his reign was over when he momentarily strayed onto a damp white line at Jerez in May 1999.
Marc Márquez isn’t unbeatable. Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and others have already proved that. But, right now, he is about as invincible as it gets.
His psyche is like a fortress and his talent is like a troop of ridiculously brave elite cavalry that sallies forth, laying waste to anyone who comes close. If you’ll excuse the analogy, he is a 21st century El Cid, the famous 11th century Spanish warrior who conquered Valencia in the 1090s and was mostly loved by his subjects.
Márquez didn’t conquer Valencia last weekend. His trophy cabinet may have ended 2018 full of silverware but he ended the season with a face full of gravel, the victim of the biblical downpour that turned the last race of GP racing’s 70th season into a demolition derby.
The whole weekend was miserable – a gloomy end to a dazzling season – and Márquez could have been forgiven for taking things easy. He had already won the riders' world title, helped Honda win the constructors’ world title and needed only to cruise around to claim a few points to give Repsol Honda the teams crown. Especially considering his super-weak left shoulder, which he had already dislocated on numerous occasions, most recently when it popped out while celebrating with Scott Redding at Motegi.
But Márquez has no off switch – no cruise control – like all the true greats. As soon as they contemplate easing off a bit, shifting down a gear, maybe looking at the view, they are finished.
This is why I think the truly momentous moments of Márquez’s sixth season in MotoGP weren’t his race wins at COTA, Jerez, Le Mans, Assen, Sachsenring, Aragón, Buriram, Motegi and Sepang, but his qualifying crashes at Misano and Valencia.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.