Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Is Márquez unstoppable?

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.


Is Márquez unstoppable?

Marc Márquez scored his biggest dry MotoGP win at the Argentine Grand Prix while Valentino Rossi saved his tyres to take second, which is where Cal Crutchlow should’ve finished...

Another MotoGP race, another row about the rules.

In Qatar the argument focused on the guidelines relating to aerodynamic fitments. In Argentina the aggravation concerned Cal Crutchlow’s jump-start, which resulted in a ride-through penalty that probably cost the Briton a second-place finish.

During the race Crutchlow was the only rider to get within half a second a lap of runaway winner Marc Márquez. At the end of the race he was 31.4 seconds behind the Spaniard, when the cost of a ride-through is usually reckoned to be around 30sec.

MotoGP’s new chief steward Freddie Spencer – who rejected the aero protest in Qatar – copped a lot of flack for this decision. But the verdict and punishment were out of his hands, because the rules don’t give the stewards any possibility to use their judgement in such cases.

Any rider who anticipates the start will be required to carry out the ride through described under article 1.19.

The motorcycle must be stationary at the time the red lights are turned off. Anticipation of the start is defined by the motorcycle moving forward at the time the red lights are turned off.

In the case of a minor movement and subsequent stop whilst the red lights are on, the designated officials will be the sole judge of whether an advantage has been gained.

If Crutchlow had jumped the start five years ago it could’ve been a different story, because the 2014 MotoGP rules allowed race direction some leeway.

Any rider who anticipates the start will be required to carry out the ride through described under article 1.19.

Anticipation of the start is defined by the motorcycle moving forward when the red lights are on. The Race Direction will decide if a penalty will be imposed and must arrange for everyone to be informed of such penalty before the end of the fourth lap.

However, the rules were rewritten for 2015, following a number of incidents. Since then officials are only allowed to use their judgement if the rider makes a “subsequent stop” after a minor movement. Note the bold text.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Total votes: 50
Total votes: 54

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Comments

I realize that what i am about to say will come across as snark found on Crash. That said, please save me from the incessant group think originated by Cal that his legitimate jumpstart penalty resulted in him losing second. In all likeliness, his penalty saved him from yet another high-speed wreck. I am sure that if you did an analysis, you’d find Cal is 10xs more likely to crash out of a race as he is get on a podium. Period. 

Cal has you drinking his kool-aid. I don’t know how that guy puts a helmet on his head. He has a truly delusional view of himself. 

Total votes: 55

Crutchlow has always cultivated a 'me against the world,' persona. It's his mental suit of armour and it doesn't always do him any favours. I think it soured his relationship with Ducati and it's probably why he'll never get that Repsol Honda contract, but it's what allows him to get back on the bike and go for it every weekend.

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Regards jump start penalties it does look like a one size fits all solution is overly harsh. Perhaps making it a two level penalty would work better. For example if the front wheel moves at all it's a 1 second time penalty added to the rider's time, but if the front wheel crosses the white line of the grid position it's a ride through. Still a very black and white penalty system, but with a lower punishment should a rider get twitchy but not actually launch the bike before the lights go out.

Total votes: 24

In MotoGP 12 podiums x 10 = 120 supposed  race crashes

Hyperbole much?

Total votes: 37

it appears he has crashes out of only 37 races. While not a factor of 10, it is not a good ratio. Not much hyperbole after all. And he will never be a serious championship contender with an average of 4.6 per season. 

Total votes: 38

No dispute that he crashes way too much!

I got the podiums wrong though, missed the second places. He actually has 17 podiums.

So on average roughtly 17/140 chance of a podium, 37 (your number)/140 chance of crashing out trying to do so.

But at Argentina he was fast and the Honda is an improved bike this year so his numbers last weekend would be better than his career average. Still he found another way to lose.

Total votes: 25

Plus, Cal has been on what since Tech3 Yamaha and before 2018 Honda?
Two Gravel trap hounds. That he valiantly over-rode. The dude is bad ass.

* * * * *

Total votes: 43

Agree and disagree re Cal.
He jumped the start. True. The penalty for that, he received. Spencer did his job fine, and has estaished the tone. Cal lashed out after the race and was very angry. This does not look gracious. Preferable that he relax a bit. Agreed.

However, disagree (yet again) re a criticism of his person/character, as well as ability as a rider in this consideration. The guy has heaps of integrity and only ever expresses what he is experiencing. And what is he experiencing? The guy is a stallion. Fierce. Passionate. Charged. Firey. Driven. Relentless, hard working. How did he come back from that HUGE injury so quickly and well? With and for this. He is a tad wild, yes, and I think any removal of that would detract. I like it!

Very congenial and gregarious relationally. As likeable as I need in a racer. An "externalizer." Not strategic. Leave him be a bit if he is over the top sizzling. Out in the open meadow he will buck a bit, then settle down. He is firey, but a really good guy. And racer. He is near the front, and had pace to be in that podium group. The Honda is super strong now.

Is Marquez unstoppable? As things look extrapolated from the current snapshot, and without additional or unconventional factors? I think the long answer is NO.

Go Cal! Go Rins! Go Ducati! Keep it up Yamaha! Don't off yourself Zarco! Get it going again Bagnaia! Hooray for Motomatters! (HRC, just to make things more interesting, feel free to be visited by the Spies ghost in a race next time rather than a chain in practice).
;)

Total votes: 38

Thursday and still no roundup🙄

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  I thought the roundups were going to be exempt from pay for play.

Total votes: 16

"...a ride-through penalty that probably cost the Briton a second-place finish."  Still drinking the Kool-Aid of the unrecognized talent of the English riders eh Matt?  You should be on TV!  If Cal was as good as all you journos seem to think he is he would have won more races by now.  He seems to be in that limbo land where he's half way between a test rider and a factory rider.

As far as the jump start goes, he's right, Marc or Dovi would have got away with it.  His situation and talent is like that of any racer worth his salt, you always think you're better than you are.  As for you Matt you should have known, he put in a great ride considering his recent injuries but he's gone as far as he's going to go.

Total votes: 20

I very rarely comment Mat's blog. I finish reading it on motorsport and then see some comments and I'm so put off i almost forget why i was there in the first  place. . ;)

But with a title like this i cannot resist.... But first: funny that so far comments are about Cal. . I will wait for David's round up to express my opinion on him. 

So is Marquez unstoppable? Before answering, i decided to rewatch the race, a few laps with the helicopter view, silence no comments. The first lap : the accompanying sound should be Toccata e fuga, Bach. How on earth can that Honda be so much faster than the Ducati? I watch and i think yes Marquez is good. But that good? Have the others forgotten how to ride a bike? Is Marquez so superior that he makes the other look as if they never knew how to ride a bike nor race? Bach still playing in the background

Then i check the lapsheet. And time sheet. And surprise! He rode one second faster in the first lap but the times were so high that my only plausible explanation is that marquez was cruising and Dovi had given up even before trying. What i thought was a masterclass turned into the guy who had the perfect bike on a perfect day and a pack controlled by a mighty ducati who planned before even starting that a place on the podium was enough and with that goal in mind the only mission was to stop any bike behind... (and this is where i miss Cal) 

Besides the Argentinian  race even a child can see that this year's honda is almost perfect: it can match ducati power and speed on the straight and can be very agile in tricky corners. Right now only Ducati can take up the fight but I'm not sure that Dovi has it in him. 

Yes to win a championship you need  consistency but you also need some hutzpah. Dovi should have at least tried from the start (didn't genius dall'igna add a new improved element to facilitate the start?) to fire some power and stay with Marquez at least for a few laps. Shake a little bit the confidence. After all in the first laps they were  almost 2 seconds slower than the pace in practice! 

Back to : is marquez unstoppable? Yes this year he probably is. His great talent served by the best sorted out bike on the grid makes him unstoppable. 

Is he unstoppable in general? No. Dovi rossi lorenzo even cruthlow proved they can stop him. It's just a matter of a good bike and some hutzpah. 

 

Total votes: 35