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.
Do MotoGP greats need to prove themselves on different bikes?
There’s a theory going around that top MotoGP riders, such as Marc Márquez, must prove themselves by winning titles with different brands. And it’s nonsense...
Marc Márquez’s current HRC contract expires on December 31, 2020. That’s 600 days away. And yet journalists are already hammering away at their keyboards, wondering aloud which brand of motorcycle he will race in 2021: will he stay at Honda or will he go somewhere else? Of course, it’s all guesswork, because no one has a clue what Márquez will do.
A lot of the speculation about the world champion’s future eddies and flows around that fashionable racing untruth: that top riders must win races and titles on different brands of bike to gold-plate their legend.
This is nonsense. It’s not about the bike you’re riding, it’s about how you’re riding. If you’re riding well, you’re riding well. Simple as that.
Many of the greatest riders in history stayed loyal to one brand: Mick Doohan, ‘King’ Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and so on. Does the fact that they didn’t switch manufacturers lessen their talent or their achievements? Of course not.
Winning on different motorcycles is an accomplishment, but it doesn’t make you a better rider. Adapting from one bike to another is just one talent in the huge array of skills possessed by fast racers. And anyway, all top riders have already proved their ability to adapt, by graduating from one category to another.
It’s also worth noting that it can be even more challenging to switch from one tyre brand to another, but no one gets excited about who’s won titles with different tyre companies.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.