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.
Why Márquez rules MotoGP’s Triple M era
The master of riding by the seat of your pants: Marc Márquez's special advantage in MotoGP
Since MotoGP’s Triple M Era began in March 2016, Marc Márquez has won all four world championships and 32 of the 73 races. This is not by chance.
The 27-year-old dominates for various reasons. Mostly because his talent (part nature, part nurture) is the strongest on the grid, so he gets the absolute maximum, and more, from his Honda RC213V.
Within this greater talent is a skill that gives Márquez a special advantage in the Michelin, Magneti Marelli era of spec tyres and spec electronics. This is his ability to adapt his riding technique to changing conditions, just as a chameleon adapts its colour to changing environments.
In the days of tailormade factory electronics and Bridgestone tyres, riders could rely on their bikes behaving as they expected at every racetrack and in all conditions.
That’s no longer the case. MotoGP’s spec electronics are relatively low tech and don’t self-adjust according to grip, bike balance and so on, so the rider must adjust himself.
It’s the same story with the current spec tyres. They have a narrow sweet spot – dependent on the asphalt, track temperature and track conditions – so when the tyres are outside that sweet spot the rider must find his own grip.
As one anonymous engineer told me recently. “The tyres change every week, so it’s a gamble: sometimes you hit the jackpot, others you lose the shirt off your back.” What Márquez does on Sunday afternoons is give his engineers their shirts back, often with his elbows.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.