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.
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Why do you think you’ve had more immediate success in MotoGP than you had in Moto2 and Moto3?
I think that to be fast in this category you don’t only need a good bike. You need a good bike and good people around you: good mechanics, a good crew chief, everyone must be a family. Also the Yamaha suits my riding style – it’s the bike that needs to be ridden really smoothly. I remember Jorge Lorenzo rode the Yamaha really smoothly and that’s why he won a lot of races. I think I’m quite a smooth rider, that’s why it’s all going well.
When you came into Moto3 in 2015 some people said you were the next Marc Márquez, but then you had some difficult times. Looking back, do you have any idea what went wrong?
Yes, now I have a clearer idea of what I’m doing. When people compared me to Márquez I was only 16. I think the pressure got too much, it was too stressful. Then I broke an ankle and missed six races, then the next year I was with Leopard and had a really tough season. Those tough years gave me a lot of experience – they were really bad for results, but so good for my experience. Every good moment I had when I was at Leopard was a big success, because 95 per cent of that time was negative. This has taught me that you can also learn from negative moments and take small positives from them. This year the whole the team is really happy. I’m enjoying myself a lot and they’re enjoying themselves a lot – it’s good to have a good atmosphere in the box.
When did you first feel really comfortable on the M1, because the track is always cold at the first tests at Valencia?
At the Sepang tests [in February] I started to feel a little better, the bike started to feel more like my bike. Then as soon as we arrived for the tests in Qatar we made a big step on the first day, which gave me a lot of confidence to ride the bike at the limit. We finished those three days second overall. That’s where we really started to feel the good potential of the Yamaha and my potential on a MotoGP bike.
What was the big step?
The braking points. At Sepang the braking points were really bad for me. During the last few hours of that test I was thinking only about braking every time I exited from the box, but we didn’t improve. Suddenly in Qatar, without even thinking about the braking points, we improved. For me, that was the biggest step we’ve made this year.
Your riding technique is smooth, so where do you make time?
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.