Mat Oxley's blog

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Mighty Marc: life on the knife edge

How does Marquez ride the way he does – apparently always over the limit – and get away with it?

All of racing – if you are anywhere near the front – is a knife edge. And the closer you get to the front, the sharper that knife edge becomes. MotoGP is a razor edge, sharpened to the point where any normal person will bleed if they even dare touch the blade. MotoGP is not a forgiving environment, no matter how easy it looks through the lens of the television cameras. Despite all the smiles, the sponsor meet-and-greets, the armies of PR people marching this way and that, it is a mean, vicious and pitiless sport. Like cage fighting, but at 200 miles an hour.

I am not a great follower of Formula 1 car racing, but I was glad to find out a few weeks ago that Nigel Roebuck, doyen of F1 reporting over the past few decades, is a big fan of MotoGP. It reminds him of how F1 was many years ago: men putting themselves out there in a wild world of risk, walking the line, because that’s what excites them.

“I never miss watching a race,” he told me when we met at a Motor Sport magazine do a few weeks ago.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Jorge and Ducati: how will it go?

Yamaha may have refused to give Lorenzo full early release from his 2016 contract but there are other factors that will have much greater effect on his 2017 form

Who knows why Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha have had a falling-out – maybe we’ll find out when we get to Motegi, or maybe we won’t.

The factory’s decision to allow its three-time MotoGP champion to test with Ducati just once before the winter testing moratorium suggests that the two have had a squabble and this is Yamaha’s way of rapping his knuckles.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - ‘And so I flipped him the bird!’

MotoGP is suddenly all afroth about rudeness and lewdness; but does it really matter?

Next week the MotoGP circus heads to Japan, possibly the politest nation on earth, so this may be a good time to investigate MotoGP’s new penalties created to stop riders being rude to each other.

In fact, there’s no specific new rule that punishes riders for making obscene gestures, but there’s a catch-all in the disciplinary code of the MotoGP regulations.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP’s new golden era?

Don’t believe the hype – it’s not what you think

What an amazing season! The most thrilling and unpredictable in recent memory and eight different winners in eight consecutive races, something that’s never happened before in almost 70 years of premier-class racing. It seems like MotoGP is entering a new golden era, the like of which we’ve never seen.

All thanks to Dorna, of course, for forcing the manufacturers to lease fully competitive motorcycles to independent teams and telling them to junk their priceless, tailor-made electronics in place of Magneti Marelli’s same-for-all unified software. Suddenly it seems like pretty much everyone has a chance of winning a race because the machinery is so equal.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - A petrol-head soap opera?

After Misano, let’s hope the off-track chatter at Aragon doesn’t once again eclipse the on-track action

Right now the world’s MotoGP media is all agog, counting down the minutes and seconds to 17.00 hours on Thursday. The reason: a live edition of the latest episode of the MotoGP pantomime, a kind of petrol-head’s soap opera, during which Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be encouraged to say nasty things about each other by journalists hungry for Friday morning newspaper headlines, or Thursday afternoon clickbait.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Why Dani Boy made everyone look slow

Pedrosa has had major tyre struggles this year – finally it all came good at Misano

The first time I interviewed Dani Pedrosa, in 2002, I asked the 17-year-old (born in 1985) what kind of music he liked. 1980s pop music, he told me. Wow, I thought, his mentor Alberto Puig even tells him what music to listen to.

Therefore I’m not sure if Pedrosa has ever listened to the song That’s Entertainment sung by new-wave heroes The Jam. (The greatest band the world has ever known, in case you didn’t already know.)

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP has turned upside down

Britons winning MotoGP races, Suzuki beating Honda and Yamaha – what’s behind all these upsets?

What the hell is going on? The MotoGP World Championship seems to have shifted on its axis and nothing seems to be quite the same anymore.

There have been seven different winners in the last seven races (the first time that’s happened since GP racing started shortly after the Second World War), there have been four first-time winners (the first time that’s happened since 1982) and there have been four different winning manufacturers (for the first time in a decade), with Suzuki scoring its first dry-weather victory since 2000. It’s the same throughout the paddock: this year there have been 21 different race winners across three classes, that’s the greatest number since 1982, when there were five classes: 50cc, 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Is Marquez already champion?

Marc Marquez looks like he’s cruising to title number three, but is it really that simple?

MotoGP 2016 reaches two-thirds distance at Silverstone this weekend: round 12 of 18.

Marc Marquez goes into the race, which last year he failed to finish, holding a 53-point lead over Valentino Rossi. It would appear to be game over: even if Rossi or Jorge Lorenzo win the last seven races, Marquez can afford to finish second or third at every race and still take home the title.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Crutchlow: MotoGP’s brave heart

It’s taken him 98 races and 92 crashes but it’s all been worth it – Crutchlow has finally made it all the way to the top

Andrea Iannone one week, Cal Crutchlow the next; what a difference a week makes. It’s hard to think of two more different winners in the MotoGP paddock: Iannone, the tattooed, coiffured bad boy so in love with himself, and Crutchlow, the scruffy, amiable family man who would happily wrestle a grizzly bear if you gave him half the chance.

Crutchlow’s win at Brno was hugely popular within the paddock because he’s one of the good guys; usually joking, often a bit rude and always straight down the line. He says what he thinks and damn the consequences. Within the shiny MotoGP bubble, where pretence and smoke and mirrors dazzle way too many people, Crutchlow stands out like a greasy-haired rocker in a bunch of preening, perfumed mods. What you see is what you get.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Maniac by name…

…maniac by nature. What’s the beef with Austrian GP winner Andrea Iannone?

I like Andrea Iannone. There, I said it. I like him because he is MotoGP’s pantomime villain, a bit like Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

He fitted the role particularly well after he secured pole position on Saturday, strutting and pouting his way around parc fermé like he owned the place, which he kind of did.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Will MotoGP go radio gaga?

Some people want pit-to-rider radios introduced to MotoGP. Please, no… please, no…

So, Valentino Rossi wants to discuss the introduction of pit-to-rider radios in MotoGP’s Safety Commission.

This is weird, because radios are currently banned from MotoGP, partly for safety reasons, after various riders and teams tested the technology some years ago. Radios certainly won’t improve safety in any great way; they will merely be a tool that might have saved Rossi the woeful embarrassment of disregarding his pit-board in Germany a few weeks ago.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Sheene conquers the world – 40 years ago today

Barry Sheene’s first world title looked like a walkover but his title-winning weekend was anything but

This is the day. Forty years ago, during the afternoon of Sunday July 25, 1976, Barry Sheene rode over the finish line at Anderstorp, both hands aloft waving V-for-victory signs, to collect his first 500cc World Championship.

The Cockney whizz-kid had utterly dominated the 1976 season, winning five of the six races he contested and taking second place in the other. His final score of 87 points was 33 more than championship runner-up Tepi Lansivuori. In other words, it was a walkover.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Marquez’s greatest escape

Marc Marquez’s Houdini-like escape during Assen practice was one of the greatest saves in MotoGP history

Over the past three decades I’ve seen many amazing riders do many amazing things. All kinds of moments jump out, from before Kevin Schwantz to after Casey Stoner – way too many to go into now, but here are three.

It’s September 1985, the season-ending San Marino GP at Misano, way before anyone had even dreamed of traction control. Randy Mamola is chasing Ron Haslam during practice, both of them aboard Honda’s superbly rider-friendly NS500 triple. The American is accelerating out of a left-hander when his rear tyre smears sideways and then grips. Suddenly the bike isn’t so rider-friendly and flicks him skywards like an ejector seat. When Mamola re-enters orbit his head just about thumps the front mudguard and both his legs land to the right of the bike as he runs off the track. He is now skating through the grass with both feet, his hands hanging onto the handlebars for dear life, while he waits for the bike to slow, because he knows he will crash if he tries to use the front brake.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - The million-euro gamble

How much does it cost to get into Grand Prix racing? If you need to ask, you probably can’t afford it

I assume Jack Miller’s post-Assen party is just about over now and that he’s back down the gym, pumping iron like a good lad.

Miller, like many other Aussie battlers before him, has the knack of burning the candle at both ends: working hard and playing hard. And you may have noticed that whenever he has a good day at work he likes to thank his parents for what they’ve done for him.

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - A Jackass joins the Aussie pantheon!

Jack Miller’s win was hugely popular and richly deserved, but do MotoGP’s interrupted-race regulations need rewriting?

As I wrote last week, stuff happens at Assen.

Jack Miller’s win was a fairy-tale: a young man who rides it like he stole it and made the next-to-impossible happen at a tricky track in tricky conditions. Since last year the 21-year-old Aussie has often been criticised for riding over his head – “I do get a little too excited sometimes” – but his ride on Sunday was inch-perfect at a slippery track with conditions changing on every lap and at every corner.


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