David Emmett's blog

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.

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Holiday Reading: On Track Off Road Magazine

With the holidays coming up and no racing on, most people will have a little more time on their hands to do a bit of reading. If you are looking to read about motorcycle content across all disciplines with a focus on racing, then On Track Off Road magazine is the best possible way to pass the time. I have been proud to write a column for Adam Wheeler's magazine for the past four and a half years, adding my bit of MotoGP insight. You can find me alongside such fantastic writers as Neil Morrison, currently the best writer on MotoGP, stellar WorldSBK photographer Graeme Brown, WorldSBK guru Steve English, AMA specialist Steve Matthes, and Adam Wheeler, a man who has forgotten more about MXGP than I will ever learn.

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber Summer Prize Draw: Suzuki Swag And A Marquez Championship T-Shirt Up For Grabs

As we missed out a couple of months over the summer, we will be giving away prizes to two of our loyal subscribers this month. We have a selection of Suzuki swag, including a cap, bag, wallet, and keychain, and a Marc Marquez championship t-shirt, commemorating his 2016 MotoGP title.

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Editorial Note: Drama Causing A Brief Delay

The drama over this weekend - Jorge Lorenzo's flirtation with Ducati, and now Johann Zarco's precipitous split from KTM - together with travel plans post-race have caused a few logistical issues with producing the Subscriber Notes for the Austrian round of MotoGP. 

The first part of the subscriber notes should be online some time this evening, with the second part to follow on Tuesday. Apologies, especially to subscribers, for the delay. 

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber May Prize Draw: Win A Signed Ducati Cap

It's time to be handing out rewards to our loyal site supporters again, for helping to keep the site running and thriving. This month's raffle prize is some memorabilia from last year: a Ducati Corse cap signed by Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber April Prize Draw: Win A Set Of Repsol Honda Bluetooth Earbuds

It's Subscriber Raffle time again, and another prize is on offer for MotoMatters.com site supporters. This month's prize is a set of Repsol Honda bluetooth earbuds, given to us at this year's launch of the Repsol Honda team, to commemorate 25 years of the partnership between Honda and Repsol. The charging box containing the earbuds has the Repsol Honda team logo on it, and a 25 years logo on the reverse. 

April subscriber draw prize: a set of Repsol Honda bluetooth earbuds

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber March Prize Draw: Win A Triumph Moto2 Launch T-Shirt

It is subscriber prize draw time again! With the 2019 season about to start, and the dawn of a new era in Moto2, with a new engine supplier and new electronics making their debut, we have a fitting prize for the month of March. 

The winner of the subscriber draw this month will win a Triumph T-shirt and Moto2 goodie bag, from the launch of Triumph's Moto2 program in June 2017. The prize consists of a T-shirt, wristband, and case, in a Triumph-branded bag.

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Editor's Blog: Valentino Rossi, MotoGP's First Rockstar, At 40

I do not make a habit of marking the birthdays of motorcycle racers, but Valentino Rossi's 40th is worthy of an exception to my self-imposed rule. His 40th birthday is clearly a milestone, though any birthday can hardly be regarded as an achievement. To reach his 40th birthday, all Rossi had to do was keep living.

But of course, the fuss being made of Valentino Rossi's 40th birthday is not because of the age he has reached. It is because he reaches the age of 40 a few months after having finished third in the 2018 MotoGP championship, racking up five podiums and a pole position along the way. It is because the media, his fans, and Rossi himself regard that as a disappointing season.

It is because he enters his 24th season of Grand Prix racing, and his 20th in the premier class, the first year of a two-year contract which will see him racing until the age of 41 at least. It is because he is one of the leading favorites to wrestle the MotoGP crown from reigning champion Marc Márquez (15 years younger), along with Jorge Lorenzo (9 years younger), Andrea Dovizioso (8 years younger), Maverick Viñales (16 years younger).

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Editor's Blog: Size And Sensitivity, Or Why Dani Pedrosa Is A Test Rider

The start of the new year has released riders from their previous contracts, and freed them to talk. For some, though, the new year also places new restrictions upon them. So in a fascinating interview with the Spanish sports daily Marca, Dani Pedrosa is forced to refuse to talk about his role testing for KTM. "I'm not allowed to say anything about this, but I can say that I love the work I am doing with KTM, because for me, the challenges never stop."

One of the more interesting things Pedrosa does talk about is the reason he left Honda. That had nothing to do with the tension which had existed between himself and team boss Alberto Puig, Pedrosa said. In fact, the decision not to keep Pedrosa on as a test rider came from higher up in Honda.

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber January Prize Draw: Win A Honda RC213V-S Press Pack & Marc VDS Calendar

There are many benefits to supporting MotoMatters.com with a subscription: access to our exclusive interviews and background articles, full-size photographs by our ace snappers such as CormacGP and Scott Jones, and perfect marriage of full-sized technical close-ups by Tom Morsellino with explanation by Peter Bom.

From this year, there is another benefit: all of our paying subscribers will be entered into our prize draw, where they can win a range of MotoGP-related goodies. The draws will be held once a month, with winners drawn at random from among active subscribers.

To kick things off, we have two grand prizes for subscribers. First prize is an exclusive object indeed: the media pack handed out at the official launch of Honda's RC213V-S street bike at the Barcelona round of MotoGP in 2015.

Honda RC213V-S press pack cover

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Editor's Blog: What I Got Wrong In 2018

The start of the year is traditionally a chance to look ahead, and make predictions for what is to come. But as an old Danish proverb, sometimes ascribed to the brilliant Danish physicist Niels Bohr, says, it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. To demonstrate just how hard, we will kick off the year taking a look back at predictions I made last year, and what I got wrong.

I started last year with an article in which I made three predictions for the 2018 season:

1. Marc Márquez wins more on his way to title number seven

He's going to win a lot of races in 2018 – my best guess would be eight or nine of the nineteen – and the way you win championships is by winning races.

This one, I got right. Marc Márquez did indeed go on to win the 2018 MotoGP championship by a comfortable margin, wrapping up the title at Motegi, in front of Honda's biggest bosses. And – more by luck than judgment – my guess for how many races Márquez would win was right on the money, the Repsol Honda rider racking up a total of 9 victories last year.

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Editor's Blog: Happy Holidays, A Million Thanks, And See You In January

MotoMatters.com is taking a break for the holiday season. This will be the last post on the site until the New Year, circumstances willing. It has been a long year, with 19 rounds of MotoGP and 13 rounds of WorldSBK to cover, and it is time to recharge our batteries for what should be an outstanding 2019 season.

So let me first of all say thank you to all our readers for following the site, but most especially to our Site Supporters, the subscribers who make it possible to run the site and pay for us to actually attend races - my personal schedule included 14 MotoGP races, 3 MotoGP and 1 Moto2 test, plus a couple of sundry events - and to pay our contributors who add such amazing value to the site. The growth in the number of subscribers has allowed us to add such features as the beautiful action photos by CormacGP, or the tech porn of Tom's Tech Treasures, close up technical photos by Tom Morsellino with detailed explanations of what we are looking at by world championship-winning crew chief Peter Bom.

If we can replicate this growth in 2019, we will be able to even more great features. We have already signed up WorldSBK guru Gordon Ritchie to a monthly column, and have our sights on yet more world-class writers for next year. So if you love what we are doing, and what to help us make MotoMatters.com better, the best thing you can do is support us financially. You can make a donation via the website or directly via Paypal. You can support us via our GofundMe page. Or best of all, you can become a Site Supporter by taking out a subscription. In addition to the extra content we offer to subscribers, we will also be regularly giving away a variety of MotoGP-related goodies to subscribers, including signed caps, exclusive items such as the RCV213-S launch media pack, and more.

Thanks are also due to all of our contributors, especially MotoGP reporters Zara Daniela and Mike Lewis, WorldSBK reporter Jared Earle, WorldSBK writer Steve English, technical guru Peter Bom, and photographers CormacGP, Tom Morsellino, and Andrew Gosling. A special word of thanks to everyone who has helped us all year by patiently answering my stupid questions and supporting us with advice and information.

And thanks once again to you, our readers. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever you choose to celebrate. A happy New Year, and may 2019 bring you good health, great happiness, and above all, a season of fabulous motorcycle racing!

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer Talks About Motegi, And On His New Role With The FIM Stewards

MotoMatters.com, in association with Motor Sport Magazine, is proud to feature the rider insights of 1983 and 1985 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer. After every MotoGP race, Fast Freddie will share what he saw and learned from the race.

After Marc Marquez wrapped up the 2018 MotoGP title at Motegi, Freddie Spencer takes a look back at the race. But before he starts on that, he has a few words to say on the fact that he will be the Chair of the FIM Panel of Stewards from next year.

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Editor's Blog: 10 Years Of Uncertainty

Ten years ago today, on the 1st October 2008, I left the safe confines of employment to strike out on my own. MotoMatters.com went from being something I did in my spare time, to being my main endeavor. It has been quite a ride.

I suppose I could have expected something of a rough ride. I had handed in my notice in August, as the site I started two years previously went from strength to strength, the audience growing monthly. Then, on 15th September 2008, the financial services giant Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial crisis and taking the economy of much of the world down with it.

It was too late. I had made my bed, now I had to lie in it. I chose the path of pursuing a dream, of trying to make a living from writing, and writing about motorcycle racing. Giving up immediately after I started might have been the financially more sensible solution, but sensible has never really been my strong suit.

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Guest Video Blog: Freddie Spencer Talks About Misano, Fenati, And Rider Feuds

MotoMatters.com, in association with Motor Sport Magazine, is proud to feature the rider insights of 1983 and 1985 500cc world champion Freddie Spencer. After every MotoGP race, Fast Freddie will share what he saw and learned from the race.

In the latest episode of Freddie Spencer's Motor Sport Magazine video blog, the former world champion turns his attention to the events of Misano. Spencer first discusses his time racing at the circuit, a track which was very different in his time. He talks about what he learned racing there, but more importantly, what he learned about motorcycle racing as a team sport.

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