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.
Take two naked MotoGP riders… Ducati's curious 2003 photo shoot, starring Bayliss and Capirossi
They say you have to suffer for your art and that’s exactly what MotoGP's Ducati riders Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi did in 2003 when the dudes at Marlboro must’ve been smoking something else…
Since this is MotoGP’s back-to-work week, here’s something to cheer up the paddock as it drags its collective backside off the beach and heads for Brno.
What follows is also a reminder of MotoGP’s good old days of bulging sponsorship budgets: those fat summers before the global recession and cigarette-advertising ban.
When teams could use 10 engines a weekend if they damn well felt like it and hire a globally renowned photo artist to shoot their riders in incongruous situations, if only to serve them right for earning several squillion bucks a year.
In 2003, Marlboro’s Paris-based PR agency decided the time had come to mix high-performance motorcycles and riders with high art.
It hired French photographer Gérard Rancinan, a former war and sports photographer who turned to fine-art photography, shooting huge set pieces, like The Big Supper, his fast-food take on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
The so-called photographer provocateur’s task was to shoot the brand-new Marlboro Ducati MotoGP team in a way no MotoGP team had ever been shot, in a four-part series of set pieces, called Speed Art.
Scene one was Genesis, which starred the first Desmosedici and butt-naked Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss.
Also included were Ducati Corse boss Claudio Domenicali, his chief MotoGP technician Corrado Cecchinelli and crew chiefs Luca Gasbarro and Roberto Bonazzi.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.