Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - How Magic Marc walks the line

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.


How Magic Marc walks the line

Eighty-five riders raced at rain-lashed San Marino GP on Sunday, and there were 80 crashes. How does Márquez stay on, let alone win, in such conditions?

It was difficult to watch Sunday’s race without imagining a kind of Gollum conversation taking place inside Marc Márquez’s head between his risk-taking self and his risk-averse self (if he has such a thing).

However tiny Márquez’s risk-averse self might be, it was in charge for most of the 28 laps. He wisely decided to let Jorge Lorenzo go about his business and then just as wisely decided to stay behind Danilo Petrucci, allowing the Italian to set the pace. All this while his risk-taking inner beast was surely fighting to get out…

“Let me out!”

“No! Twenty points is better than none!”

“Let me out and let me at him! Twenty-five points is better than 20!”

This must have continued for at least half the race, because while Márquez knew he could not win the title on Sunday he certainly knew he could lose it. If he had crashed out he would be going to Aragón 29 points behind Andrea Dovizioso.

Nevertheless, Márquez’s inner beast did eventually get its way. The transformation was instant: the body language changed, his Repsol Honda started dancing around a bit more and Petrucci’s advantage shrank. Márquez had done the sums and he had decided it was worth walking the line for those five extra points.

It’s the kind of nerve-wracking situation in which most championship hopefuls find themselves: looking for that uncomfortable middle ground between risking too much and crashing out and risking too little and scoring too few points.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Total votes: 7
Total votes: 6

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Comments

Yes, and...

Do not get me wrong. Marc deserves every praise re his skill, talent, courage, and style. But have we ever seen an older more seasoned rider that pushed it this far over the limit for such a long time? I stay concerned that he not roll so many dice so hard against the floor. He has already had 2-3 REALLY big potentially career ending crashes. I want to see him on two wheels for a long time. Don't slow down, just settle in a touch. Deepen the conversation.

That said, yes he slid the front a bit last weekend and stepped out the rear a bit far on some exits, but I only saw one that was too far. Again. I flippin love it too! Then shake the head a bit.

He is exploring the limit from four perspectives instead of one or two, if that makes sense. VERY dynamic. Yet still, physics and statistics have the last word in the conversation.

Total votes: 6

If he pushed Petrucci early on there was a good chance Danielo would have fallen off trying to get his first win, and then only 5 points in it over Dovi for Marc, by bushwhacking Danielo he was done and dusted before anyone even realised it had happened and Dovi sucks up the nine points; planned or fortuitous, who knows, but will count a whole heap come Valencia 

Total votes: 6