Editor's Blog: Happy Holidays, Looking To 2020, And A Confession

As the holiday season approaches, it's time for me to take a break. MotoMatters.com will be shutting down for between Christmas and New Year, and returning again in 2020. But before I do take a much-needed break, I have a few things to say (some of which will explain why the break is much needed...).

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who reads MotoMatters.com. Even after 14 years, it is still remarkable to me that so many people read and enjoy the website. It is still hard for me to think of it as anything more than me posting my ramblings from my spare room.

A special thank you to everyone who has supported MotoMatters.com financially, those who have donated money and especially the MotoMatters.com subscribers. Site Supporters are the lifeblood of the website, and numbers have almost doubled this year, putting us on a much more sound financial footing. That has allowed me to attract more talent, and pay them properly to write for the website. The aim is very much to expand on this for 2020 and beyond. There are some people I hope to persuade for next year.

On that note, a very special note of thanks to the writers who have contributed to the website. To the utterly brilliant Zara Daniela, whose keenly-observed practice and race reports serve both as an excellent record of what happened, as well as a source of great wit and entertainment. To Jared Earle, for his summaries of WorldSBK practice and races, which help me keep close track of what is going on in WorldSBK when I can't watch the races.

To Steve English, for the fascinating and outstanding features he has provided through the year. To Cormac Ryan Meenan, for providing stunning photographs for the season. To Tom Morsellino, for his beautifully observed technical photographs, and to Peter Bom for his incisive explanations of those photos (and for helping me seem smarter than I am throughout the year). And to a host of others who have helped me in all sorts of ways throughout the season, or been interviewed, or helped me set up interviews, or tipped me off about something I didn't know.

Failings and shortcomings

Though the contributions from others have been superb, I can't shake the feeling that I have not done as well as I should have this year. I think I got caught off guard at Qatar, by the furore surrounding Ducati's so-called tire cooler, the aerodynamic wing under the swingarm. I chose to focus on that, rather than on writing a report of the race, and never really got caught up again. After that, I found it hard to choose between writing more of a race report, and exploring and analyzing the events of the race, and trying to explain why things happened.

That caused me to lose my way, a little, to lose my sense of direction. Only towards the end of the year did I start to find my feet again, and get back to what I believe is the core objective of MotoMatters.com: trying to understand and explain why motorcycle racing is where it is, how and why it is changing, and where it is heading in the future.

So for most of 2019, I felt adrift, loose from my moorings. I spent too much time prevaricating about what I should be writing about, rather than just writing about the things that mattered. Throughout my time running the site, I have always felt that I have failed my readers: I learn far more over the course of a weekend than I have time to physically sit down and write about, and so each summary feels like I have left out far too much, and only written about a handful of the things which matter. That, I suppose, is the essences of editing a publication: there is not enough time to relate everything, so you have to make decisions about what is important, and make sure you cover that as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

Always improve

The good thing about failure is that it gives you an opportunity to learn. I leave 2019 determined to do a much better job next year, based on what I learned over the course of the season. What that boils down to is having more of a plan, focusing on the crucial events of each weekend, and trying to summarize what I missed in the days following a race. For example, I didn't give Moto2 half the coverage it deserved this year. I hope to do better in 2020.

One reason for focusing more on Moto2 next year is simply because it will matter more. 2020 promises to be a crucial year, not least because of just how frenzied the round of contracts is going to be for 2021. Some riders will swap factories, some will stay put, some will retire, or be forced out, and fresh blood will flood into MotoGP. Talks will start between Dorna, IRTA, and the teams for the next five-year contract from 2022 onward, and a new set of rules will be forged for the same period.

Those new rules will be written while the MSMA, the association of manufacturers in MotoGP, is functionally moribund, the splits between rival manufacturers leaving them to abandon the organization. And so without unified opposition, Dorna will get to dictate the direction of MotoGP. Judging by how close the racing has been in recent years, that is no bad thing.

Then there's the racing itself. So many questions to be answered: Can Marc Márquez repeat his historic 2019 season? Will Fabio Quartararo start winning races and upset Márquez' plans? Will the Yamaha be competitive enough for Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi to take the fight to the world champion? Will the Ducati finally turn the corners? Will Joan Mir beat his teammate Alex Rins? Will KTM and Aprilia make real progress and turn MotoGP into a fair six-way fight?

To a brighter and better 2020

There will be a lot to write about. And I hope to be more focused, and better able to pick and choose what matters. Next year, I hope to do better.

And I hope to make some other improvements to the site as well. I hope to have a new site design – simpler, cleaner, faster – at some point during 2020. I intend to make subscriptions a little easier, and offer more options to subscribe.

So thanks again to everyone for reading, and especially to those who have supported the site this year, and throughout the years. It is hugely appreciated. If you want to help the site do better, please consider taking out a subscription if you haven't already, or make a donation, either via Paypal or to the site's GoFundme.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, whatever and however you celebrate, may you find joy, warmth, and love. Best wishes for 2020, a year which promises to be a fascinating season of racing, and thank you all once again.

David Emmett


Gathering the background information for the articles on MotoMatters.com is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed any of the articles on the site this year, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page. You can find out more about subscribing to MotoMatters.com here.

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Comments

Whatever it was, I hardly noticed anything except the extraordinary depth and insightfulness that has characterised this site from the outset (or, when I noticed it). I started off worried that you were 'doing a Rossi' on us (you are that good).

Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year to you, David, and your colleagues, and families. And to all readers.

From the other side of the world.We used to have to wait for magazines to carry pictures etc  and so it is that i have very many motocourse annuals.

In NZ now we get full tv coverage of every race including practises.I beleive that we can get the race results easily now,what i like is the reasons ,whys and wherefores.I wish you would do your calendars again.

As it is now only 1 hour before xmas may i wish you all the best for the holiday season,and hope you enjoy the writing next year.I know i will enjoy reading it.

Rather than waste money on a Sky subscription here in New Zealand to get a whole lot of stuff I have no interest in, I'd rather put my money into (a) MotoGP for the joy of watching the best doing their best, and (b) Motomatters to learn why and how they do it.

As an unadventurous and cautious rider for many years, I marvel at the whole spectacle. The insights and backgrounders of David and Zara complement perfectly the knowledge and information the commentary team and Simon Crafar provide. Then the cream on top of perceptive, witty, and sometimes downright hilarious commentary from Motoshrink, Jinx and so many others make it money well spent.

Why else would a Kiwi at the start of a glorious antipodean summer be looking forward to the return of winter?

Thanks again for an outstanding 2019, a blessed Christmas to all, and a great 2020.

RobB

 

Many motogp fans in Taiwan(Asia) also read your article and hope you enjoy the writing next year. Merry Christmas !

I'm not a journalist so I can't really know what the life is like. But I think everything in life is about perspective and how you choose to judge situations, be it consciously or subconsciously.

In my world of work, which is probably the sameas most companies, in that failure is not a word that often appears. Even if a project or piece of work has been a failure it is spun in a positive way as an oportunity for improvment. Initially your inner cynic might disregard it as management speak but I've learned from North American friends in sport and work the importance of positive reinforcement. Something we Brits are terrible at. 

Don't be preoccupied by thoughts of failure, just look ahead to all you want to achieve net year. We're all still here, and 10 years after I first came accross this site it is still my main source of MotoGP news, as it probably is for most of the readers here.

Cheers and Merry Christmas.

Appreciate all you do. The technical explanations, the 'behind the curtain' insights into MotoGP / teams / riders, and your educated opinions are why I subscribe.

We may not agree on everything (and I'm still sad about the twitter block), but that's part of the fun. Passionate discourse about the only sport that matters makes some of the more mundane tasks of life easier to face.

If you're looking for an interesting read over the holiday break, may I suggest 'How to Fly a Horse' by Kevin Ashton? I think you'll find his exposition of creativity and failure inspiring, considering your goals for 2020. 

Have a wonderful holiday, and thanks again. Looking forward to 2020 and beyond!

One of my favorite things to do is read your take on what happened the day after a MotoGP race. Keep up the good work.

... I can't even imagine how it will be when you succeed. Thank you, David, and thanks to all the team involved in making this the best bikes related website in the World.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the staff and to all the readers.

I echo the sentiments of others, happy to go where you take us. 

Personally I love the focus on particular items, especially the detailed responses from us plebs. 

Onwards and upwards and enjoy your break.

Btw, just saw Santa and there is some different bracing on the sleigh and Prancer's harness seemed to be a different material? Thoughts?

David, even the best racers blow the first turn now and again. Thing is, if you messed it up in Qatar, we didn't notice. I love  how the race round up evolved in 2019. And i am deeply appreciative of your dedication. I literally have no idea where i would go to get my motogp fix (i know where i wouldn't go). Thank you for all you and your team do for us

First, Merry Christmas and happy 2020. We are glad to learn you are hoping to expand and that your subscriptions are well up. That gives us confidence you will stay with us and not go back to the career you left. Regarding your self critique, you have a broad range of readers. I happen to be in the camp the favors race reports and the various dynamics happening in the paddock. My fave report is your race round-up posted early in the week following the races. I admit I am not terribly interested in technical details but I am glad you post them because I can get what I want out of it by skimming. In fact I liked the 'tire-cooler' exploration at Qatar. I miss your direct race reports but have gotten used to your writers and understand why you allocate the work. I wouldn't get your round-up articles if you didn't! Thanks again! -Best

David, you may think you lost your way in 19, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree, so much so, I've just now become a new supporter.

You and your regular scribes have produced 'the go to site' for all things MotoGP and WSBK.

Furthermore, the contributions from those that post regularly in the comments section are informative, considered and, on occasion, hilarious (in a good way).

Seasons Greetings and I hope to add to the discussions in 2020

Paul

Thank you Motoshrink. Always enjoy reading your comments and looking forward to full access in 2020.

Welcome Paul. Looks as though you like speedway as well as MotoGp.

I also like speedway. Last meeting I went to was in the Midlands, saw the Liecester Lions. Can't remember the other team of the top of my head. It was a good evening of sideways action, some Aussies racing.

Looking forward to reading your comments.

Happy new year.

I guess like most people, i very rarely pay for anything i see on the net but i'm glad i do with this site and if this year was poor then i can't wait 'till next year. If you thought you got bogged down with certain situations i certainly didn't notice. Please keep up the good work and fingers crossed your subscriptions increase so you can bring in even more people with their slant on things (hopefully more technical insights)    

Thank you David. I enjoyed your work immensely in 2019. It was nice to meet you at Assen. One of the highlights of my year.

Increasing the contributors writing for the site sounds good. Will give you more time as the editor in chief, rather than a scribbler.

All the other writers do very good work, so I'm confident any new people on the team will also be A grade.

Zara Daniela is brilliant you say, I agree. Jared E & Steve E did great work this year as usual. Cormac, Tom & Peter Bom also increased the wonderfulness of motomatters.

The increase in site subscribers proves you are providing what we want. When I vote with my wallet you know I really mean it.

I like what is written on the site & the forum. You are making progress. If you did feel as if you had lost your way, that was not apparent to me.

The future of gran Prix motorcycle racing will hold our attention, we do live in interesting times. Dorna versus the MSMA & IRTA continues.

When you say that motomatters is shutting down I hope you are taking a break & the website will still be running. The community will still be reading all kinds of stuff here. I hope to post some comments, maybe a short report from Wanganui & a couple of rounds of the NZSBK.

Your forum inspired me to get back on track. I've done six track days this year, thanks for the increased motivation.

Running a small business is tough, but it gives us the freedom to do what we love. Hang in there David. I love your work, sometimes motomatters is the highlight of my day.

15 years! Has it really been that long? I don't remember exactly when I discovered this site, but it was some time in the mid-aughts. It was some years before I created an account here, and I only recently became a site supporter, I am ashamed to say. I've attempted to atone for that somewhat with a donation just now. 'Tis the season, and all that.

I'll join the chorus of voices saying that I think you have nothing for which to apologise to us, your devoted readers. I'll admit that there were a few times I visited the site in the days after a race weekend and was disappointed that your report wasn't posted yet, but I staved off my hunger by watching rider interviews and reading short-form race reports. It didn't spoil my appetite for the main course when it was ready!

I do think it's great that you have such capacity for self-reflection, especially in public. That is brave and refreshing, especially in this day and age. This world would be a much better place if we all did that.

Please do take a much-deserved holiday break. It will be over all too soon. I look forward to reading whatever you write next year, whenever it becomes available. Your work deepens my understanding and appreciation of the sport.

Is that only the really excellent operators ever seriously reflect on their own performance! While there is an almost necessary streak of perfectionism in most motorcyclists, I think you might want to reassess your performance assessment against this feedback.

In my view MM is the best sports coverage of anything, anywhere, in any medium. We have an expert friend in the paddock and whole bunch of friends we have never met, adding great comments. There have been so many stories this year I am sure we all feel that we don't know what thread to follow next - and the crazy last few weeks with Iannone, Zarco and Lorenzo just underline that it was a year that frequently exceeded track limits in terms of what could possibly happen. 

So most of all, to David and the MM community: THANKS and HAVE A GREAT XMAS/NEW YEAR AND HOLIDAY. 

Merry Christmas to Davis and all the other contributors - including those of the comments section which is often as interesting a read as the actual article. I think you've done a great job all year, the late or sometimes non-appearing roundups only made me appreciate how much I value them. 

It was fantastic to meet David and Apical at Assen this year, hope to do something similar in 2020.  Enjoy a safe and happy holiday season everyone.

Thanks it was good to meet you & David too. Sorry I wasted your time due to the breakdown in communication.

Merry Christmas & all the best for the new year.

A great many, many thanks, Mr.Emmett for a great work all year long. Like others, I watch closely your posts for in depth articles. I sure wish to have the opportunity to shake your hand some day, somewhere. Best wishes to you and your family, dont worry we will be there waiting for your stories in 2020. Best wishes to all your readers everywhere!!!!

Many thanks to you Mr. Emmett.  Your insight, passion and reporting makes me enjoy the sport I love so much more.  for many years, I was a track day rider, but your race weekend round ups are a significant reason I graduated from track days to club racer.  The excitment you put into words was something I needed to experience first hand.  

thank you so much for doing what you do so well, and increasing our collective enjoyment of motorcycle racing. 
MP
 

In the desert bowl of the portion of Australia that is my home...I get to travel the world and enter the paddock n pits of MotoGP with the help of moto matters and (after a bit of a warm up) simon crafar. I don't really have a mechanism to thank simon...but I can and do thank David a d all the motomatters team for their fantastic writing. As my title suggests...for me it's mandated that I sit and devour.

I agree with most of the comments - David's insight, analysis etc are all what makes this the best MotoGP source in the world.

HOWEVER.  I have lost count of how many times David has ended a roundup with a promise of more to follow, only for that to never happen.  Or how many times he promised: I will publish notes on Mondays, with the full roundup to follow by Wednesday.  Only for it to not happen.  Once or twice he make an excuse (heatlh - you can't agrue with that).  Mostly, nothing.

For me the final straw was the fact that, to this day, the 2019 German MotoGP roundup has not been published. There was no time pressure - it was before the summer break.  To me the roundups are the thing that made me subscribe - everything else is icing on the cake. 

There is (or at least should be, IMHO) a difference between a free amateur blog and a professional, paid for service. When it is free, be grateful for whatever you get.  When you pay, there is an implied contract.

So, David, I applaud you "confession", and look forward to a resumption of professional service.  As soon as I see it, I will renew my subscription.

 

enjoying someone getting torched, deserved or not, is one of the worst aspects of our online lives. Please, let's not allow it to infect MM.

By David's own definition (at the time), the Subsrciber's Notes were quick thoughts, to be followed a few days later by the detailed round up.

Your link is to the former.  I was aware of that. Thanks anyway.

 

David, I'm a subscriber to MotoMatters, LinuxWeeklyNews and ArsTechnica only.
Yep, you're that good :-)

Thank you David.               

You've created some great content this year and I have enjoyed it.  It's time to renew my subscription and I look forward to another great year.

My member page says I've been a member for "8 years 7 months" and a subscriber since 2012.

You hold yourself to a high standard which I respect. Know that the people who appreciate your work understand that you're human and therefore cannot be perfect.

Just do the best you can, David, I appreciate your effort and will continue to be a happy member and subscriber.

Thank you and I wish you and your family a happy new year.

I don't understand all the mea culpa-ing -- this is the best site on the internets. I'm not saying don't improve, I'm saying you needn't apologize for doing a fantastic job that no one, literally, could honestly have a problem with. David, give yourself a break, man, you are running an awesome site in the greatest era of motorcycle racing. And your comment section alone would be the second best site on the internet. Enjoy your break, you've earned it ten times over. Thank you and Happy Everything!

The best, but not good enough?.... How does that work?

Everyone is entitled to a free ride here, and I took a lot in the early years, but it might be a good New Years resolution to decide that paying for a service is what makes it professional. Professional does not mean fault, defect, or error-free. If you do not, the proper approach might be to click away and adopt a sterile, professional site elsewhere. David's character and seeking out new stories is what defines his professionalism for me, not some arbitrary deadline. None of his 'misses' were that important when set against the hits. You pays your money and takes your choices.

I discovered and fell in love with MotoGP in 2010. This is a niche sport, at least in the US, so not having anyone to enjoy it with left me craving content and discussion. That's when I stumbled onto this site. How much time I've spent watching motorcycle racing on the other side of the planet and then reading/learning more about it on this site over the last decade is incalculable. Thank you David for all that you do. You're as much a professional as the brave riders you cover and your thoughts & opinions are valued emmensley. Cheers to 2020  

Cheers David and Co. 2019 was kind of a weird year in a number of ways. There has been SO MUCH to cover in our sport. The technical/bike stuff, perpetual silly season. Yamaha particularly, the new kids and lovely display from Petronas. The riders at Ducati. Aero. A bunch of tracks in development. FP looking like Q. Will Rossi retire? KTM has been a river of change. The Test teams are super interesting, Dani in particular. So forth, much continues to be going on.

2017 was my favorite as a fan of the races on track. The streak of fresh race winners most notably, really exciting. 2018 was great too. This year had wide and varied focus.

Yeah, looked like you had an adjustment/transition early in the season. Even Marc blows a corner here and there. Only the mediocre are always at their best. We all have a front row seat to our "bloopers," and we get to view the highlight reel of other people. If you move the "save" button back up by the bottom of commenting, I will forgive any and all sins. HAH...

I have been REALLY impressed with you work this year David. Over and over. Qualitatively different. Innovative choices re what to cover, and how. Almost no fluff, promotion, trite content, or bias. Your questions in pressers are often my favorite, spot on. I look here daily, and find myself saying "wow David!" aloud regularly.

Agreed re this place being the center of the MotoGP experience. Also that friends here are appreciated. Steve and Neil are great too. Zara is a gem (who the heck are you? Where did we get you from? Curious!).
:)

Money well spent. Enjoy Winter break and time relaxing with the wife. I am nursing injured ribs from a scooter accident yesterday (ever notice how many riders get hurt on pit bikes?!), nice to pop in here yet again for a visit. It has made MotoGP much more thoroughly enjoyable. No other site is in 2nd place. But unlike w Marc, I am quite happy with that.

Cheers everyone!

Just kidding! No complaints at all, only apprecialtion from this subscriber. Great job and keep it up. Between you and Neil Spaulding, my mind has been opened up exponentially about just how complex permier class motorcycle racing really is. The more I learn the more interesting it gets - thank you sir.

Thanks David and all of your contributors.

Yours is the only site for which I pay to subscribe !!!
Many of us did notice that there were promised followup reports that didn't happen, but as a person who finds it difficult to reconcile not achieving my promises while struggling with too many urgent priorities, I understand that sometimes you can't get there. ...besides the content on the site is well worth paying for as it is.
Here's to a Happy New Year !

2020 

-new website  

-moto2 section 

-more consitant round ups . 

ah hint...  love the satuday round ups . sometimes just better then the  monday round ups 

bring it  on  david 

 

I have enjoyed Motomatters for a number of years but for me, the interesting insights presented by David have not yet been balanced by sufficient immediacy to convince me to become a paying subscriber.

David, sometimes I think you over-indulge a desire to produce Shakespearean prose and wax lyrical to a theme, at the expense of being a timely and succinct source of news about MotoGP. But then I think, well shit, who else out there is doing what you're doing, in quite the same way you're doing it? If you can make a go of it in this niche, then why not.  I wish you every success in 2020. 

I was a bit worried you were going to tell us you were shutting the site down and taking a full time gig with Dorna! 

As a long time follower and subscriber I would be lost without the insight and analysis you and your team deliver to us all season long. I pay to watch the races on the MotoGP website (being Canadian we get zero coverage and the US feeds are too chopped up with NASCAR commercials!), but never go to any other page on that site beyond the "no spoiler" page as it's all mindless fluff. 

Keep up the amazing work, which includes moderating the comments — another key reason why this site and its community is so amazing. 
As for the redesign, keep it simple!  Get rid of the black background and fine tune the responsive settings for smaller phone screens. This site's beauty is the writing, so please don't "design" that out!!!

Here's to an amazing 2020 season!!!

You're too critical David - I subscribe because you're the only place on the entire interweb that is clearly doing it for the passion of the sport.  As the MotoGP website becomes more and more for the "short of attention span" and as a few of the other key ones become obscured with banners and popups, you and your contributors remain an oasis for those passionate about the sport, learned of it's intracacies, and looking to learn more.

Keep up the good work David.  When my subscription is about to expire I'll be renewing for sure.

Yes as others have said, thanks. Your site has also helped create the paddock pass podcast, which i'm a super fan. My desktop backgrounds are all rotating photos of Cormac's photos.  

I understand why the user calvin had some criticism, but from my seat here I still don't think it's valid.  Professional vs. amatuer. Well, MM.com to me is still somewhere in between and that's what I like about it. David and the PPP guys and gals have a vibe that makes it seem like they are your friends hanging out in your living room. I think around the time at the German Grand Prix David had some personal emergencies or something that took precedence. And that's fine, because this site feels somehow more like a family/friends vs. a business.  

Although since I'm really a "don't bother them" sort of person, and can easily get flustered and tongue-tied among people I consider celebrities. With David and the Motomatters crew, I feel as if I've been privileged to sit in (maybe a row back) on an engaging discussion amongst people who really have the inside scoop on what's happening in MotoGP.

Keep up the great work, David and the Motomatters crew, you are all appreciated!

You ok? I recall you were in Batemans bay? Bloody awful goings on, hope you're well.

^ Me too.
I think he scooted over to New Zealand when he got smoked out. How are you and yours, Ape?
HUG

I am fine Breganzane & Motoshrink

The fires are a big worry. The three Italian motorcycles have been moved. Important documents and photos loaded up & shifted out.

The family is down at the coast, as safe as can be in the current situation.

Number one son, an experienced volunteer firefighter has decided to stay and defend our house.

I'm in New Zealand, track day today at Manfield. First round of NZSBK next weekend at Ruapuna just out of Christchurch.

Thanks for your concern Motoshrink and Breganzane, fingers crossed we should be OK. 

Thank you for this heart on sleeve piece David! Know that your writings are always much appreciated always insightful and always great.

It took me weeks to get to read it... Too much traveling and stuff. I look forward to all your great work in 2020 and all the knowledgeable and sometime very funny (hi Jinx!) posts from the readers.

When I think of your accomplishments I'm reminded of a motto : Love the life you live. Live the life you love. 

A great 2020 to you all 

Cheers