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 I ride: Cal Crutchlow
Five days before the first race of 2019, Britain’s most successful rider since Barry Sheene tells us his secrets
This interview was conducted last season, before Crutchlow had his monster crash at Phillip Island, but everything still holds true…
MotoGP is three seasons into its technical new regulations, so how has your technique changed?
The biggest change for me was coming from Superbikes to MotoGP, but within that the biggest thing was the tyres, going from Pirelli to Bridgestones, which were so not what I was used to, you can’t even imagine. I still think I have a superbike style, the way I hang off the bike. I don’t put my elbow on the ground, which is the new MotoGP style. You see some idiots sticking out their elbow in the middle of the corner to get it on the floor, [Marc] Márquez style. There’s absolutely no need, it’s just because Marc does it. It’s ridiculous to watch.
We all set up our bikes to our riding styles – we set the brake lever to our style, the handlebars to our style and so on. But it’s very difficult to change the style you use to ride the bike. Sure, you change your style during a race: you start picking up the bike more on the exit when the grip goes and you start braking in a different way when the fuel load goes down – we know what lap we can start braking with more angle.
But as for your actual style, when I look at photos of me 15 years ago I look the same as I do now. Honestly, I’ve tried to change. For years I’ve tried to learn to brake with my two biggest fingers, but I can’t do it, it never happens. I still brake with my outer three fingers and I keep the index finger on the handlebar to start opening the throttle.
Some of the guys hang off a lot more because the bikes have changed so much. Randy Mamola always says that your head is like a stone: it’s the heaviest part of your body, especially with a helmet, so if you move your head out it helps drag the bike around the corner. Remember Colin Edwards? He used to stick his head out miles but he never moved off the bike. Marc hardly moves his head at all, because he moves his body so much.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.