Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Is this the weirdest MotoGP season ever?

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.


Is this the weirdest MotoGP season ever?

Ten rounds done, four to go, and this is the worst-scoring world championship since 1952. So what’s going on and why is the racing so unprecedently unpredictable?

Surely, this is the weirdest MotoGP season ever.

I’ve been in the paddock for roughly half the 72 seasons since the world championships were born and I can’t remember a season like it.

It’s abnormal for several reasons.

First, this is only the fourth time the MotoGP world champion hasn’t been around to defend his title. The last time that happened was way back in 1961, after 500cc king John Surtees climbed off his MV Agusta and into a Lotus Formula 1 car.

Every year since then the reigning world champion has been racing, hoping to retain his crown. True, Marc Márquez lit up the season-opener at Jerez but he’s not scored a single point.

Second, this is the only season affected by a global pandemic.

Third, which is linked to my second point, this is the lowest-scoring MotoGP season since the dawn of the championship back in the 1950s. This is an astonishing achievement if that’s the word.

After 2020’s first ten races Joan Mir leads the championship on 121 points, which is less than half of the points up for grabs. The only time the championship has been won with less than 50 per cent was in 1952, when Gilera’s Umberto Masetti took the title, with 43.7 per cent of the available points.

Mir is currently on 48.4 per cent. Compare that to Márquez’s 88.4 per cent from last year, which makes you wonder if the reigning champ really could win the title with one arm tied behind his back

How is this even possible – that we are comparing 1950s MotoGP to 2020 MotoGP?

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

Source: 

Back to top

Comments

Love Mat's work, don't love Auto Sport Magazines snooping, have you seen what data they expect to take?

I'd gladly pay another level of subscription to have it hear on Motomatters website

 

Great work as alway

 

....'Marc might've won this WC with one arm tied behind his back'. IF Marc was healthy, he would've made a mockery of this year. Why? Who EXCELS in lousey/wet/dry/slippery/cold/etc conditions? It would have been more lopsided then last year. Guess he broke his arm on purpose to gives us an exciting race for the WC. 

I can't help but wonder if aside from MM93's alien ability on a bike, if his real hidden advantage was that he had completely psyched out all the other riders on the grid, to the extent they just raced for second? After he was out of action its almost like most of them woke up the next morning and realised they actually have a shot at winning a race. 

Will he have that advantage when he comes back or will it be all gloves off for those who are now in it to win?

I think the gap between Marquez and the rest is being slightly exaggerated in his absence. A couple of riders last year were starting to look like they could give him a good run for his money, Quarty for one and,  if memory serves, Rins. I felt we would see him seriously challenged within another year or two, not least because no champion can sustain that level forever and he's been up there a long time now. My hypothesis is that this is why he pushed so hard at Jerez, both in race 1 and in trying to come back too early, because he too felt that every point might matter.

Those up and coming riders haven't quite fulfilled their promise in this topsy turvy year, at least not consistently, but who's to say Marc would have been immune to the trials and tribulations that have affected just about every other rider this season? For me it's too much of a leap to think MM would have just sailed away into the sunset race after race. Either way, I think there's a good chance next year will be closer than the last two or three pre-covid and, if covid is still a major factor, it might even look a lot like this year.