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.
In MotoGP, all the world championship’s a stage
The news that Andrea Iannone will manage Romano Fenati had the paddock agog at Misano. So what to expect from MotoGP’s latest soap opera?
To slightly misquote William Shakespeare: “all the world championship’s a stage”.
Or to directly quote Jeremy Burgess, the occasionally cantankerous crew chief to Valentino Rossi and Mick Doohan: “I get pissed off that the people making the rules are quite happy to put on a pantomime or soap opera at two o’clock every other Sunday.”
This was JB talking some years ago when MotoGP went through its post-global-economic-meltdown spasm: CRT bikes, Open bikes, reduced practice time and so on. The category has moved on since then, creating the tightest grid in history, but there’s no doubt there’s always an element of soap opera in racing because wherever there are people, there’s soap.
Indeed, you could argue that many of the 20 million MotoGP fans who turn on their TVs every other Sunday want to see a soap opera as much as they want to see a motorcycle race.
Social media will back me up on this. When a top MotoGP star takes to Instagram to show himself lounging on the beach with his girlfriend, the post gets a thousand times more likes than a photo of his bike’s new carbon-fibre swingarm. Because people are more interesting than machines.
Which is why the news that Andrea Iannone is soon to be Romano Fenati’s manager was what everyone was talking about at Misano, proving that in reality all the world championship really is a stage.
If we were to imagine for a moment that MotoGP was notorious British soap-opera EastEnders, which characters would Iannone and Fenati inhabit? Probably Phil Mitchell and Danny Dyer – an old geezer teaching a younger geezer how to get into all kinds of trouble, all over the place, all of the time.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.