Guest Blog - Mat Oxley: 2013 MotoGP season review (Part 1) 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.

2013 MotoGP season review (Part 1)

This is going to sound corny as hell – I believe the biggest winners of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship were the fans. MotoGP had had a dark few years of tedious racing, working itself into a technical tangle, just like Formula 1.

A combination of engineering changes and 250-derived riding styles had developed beautifully balanced bikes, which, when ridden by inch-perfect ex-250 riders, could do the same lap times from lights-out to chequered flag. Valentino Rossi’s former crew chief Jeremy Burgess referred to these races as “procession races”, and he was right (as he usually is).

The biggest change in 2013

So what was the difference in 2013? Just one man: history-maker Marc Márquez. The other big winner of the year was rarely less than spellbinding throughout the 18-race series.

Anyone who doesn’t get worked up watching Márquez fight his RCV to the death every other weekend is missing something. By being prepared (and, more importantly, able) to ride every corner at the absolute limit, Márquez is unmissable entertainment and has left the others wondering how to keep up.

Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa have all admitted that the young rookie has moved riding technique onward. For years, they’ve been winning races by riding their bikes as smoothly as possible, then suddenly someone comes along who gets more out of his motorcycle, asking so much from it that it’s constantly trying to break free from his grip. Márquez blew the status quo to smithereens.

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

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Enjoyed that, a good summary.

I too think that Bradley will be an improver next year; he's made a good start.

HRC did not win the title in 2007, Ducati did. Perhaps he meant 2006?

Yamaha did not finally provide Jorge and Vale with 'slipper clutches' during the 2013, they have had those for ages. Perhaps he meant Seamless Gearboxes?

Thanks Matt, agreed that Marquez was the gift and we were the recipient.
HELP PLZ: What do you folks think the BEST RACES OF 2013 in all classes and series' were?
There is a group of us that gets together in Portland, Oregon USA every other week in the off season and watches races. What were the "don't miss" races from your perspective? We caught all of MotoGP and WSBK during the season. Now we have a TON of WSS, Superstock, Moto2 and 3, and BSB stuff to pick out of.

Motoshrink, here's my suggested ones to watch from your 2013 collection of as yet unseen races
BSB - Silverstone, Assen, Brands Hatch
WSS - Assen, Silverstone, Istanbul Park


"Anyone who doesn’t get worked up watching Márquez fight his RCV to the death every other weekend is missing something. By being prepared (and, more importantly, able) to ride every corner at the absolute limit, Márquez is unmissable entertainment and has left the others wondering how to keep up."

The fact is a lot have titles have been decided early by injury in recent years. This year Jorge snapping his collarbone twice actually kept the title more interesting as he'd have been hard to stop otherwise. I love watching Marquez ride but fully fit Stoner was just as prepared and able to ride over the limit and just as fun to watch, especially on the wayward Ducati. If there's one area where I think Marquez has an edge it's his phenomenal trail braking, he brakes harder and deeper into the corner than any rider I've seen which gives him an edge in battles. This is the hallmark of the latest generation of Moto2 riders who have learnt to consistently back the bike into the apex without slipper clutches or fancy electronics just to avoid being passed by 5 other guys into the turn. Pol Espargaro is a top exponent of drift braking as well but Lorenzo showed that it's still not necessarily the fastest way around the track by winning so many races.

It's hard not to get starry eyed when someone as fast and risky as MM93 has a season like he just had. Oxley's blogs about MM93 have been nothing short of hero worship all year... I think it's easy to discount though how lucky Marc was in 2013 not to lose races through injury as others did, given how often, and how hard Marc crashed in practice, inc the fastest ever MotoGP crash. Marc is a genuine phenomenon but as has already been said, Casey rode the RCV in a similar way, slithering around under him, drifting+smoking up the rear, riding on the limit everywhere and not prepared to take 2nd. So it's not like Marc is unique in this, but as a Rookie ,it was a spectacular performance.

Can Marc's luck hold next year ? I hope so. I find myself more and more a Lorenzo fan than ever though, after 2013. More wins than Marquez, Gracious in the championship defeat, and unbelievably gutsy and brave while injured, he took it to Marc until the very last race, was wiley as a Fox, and chased down his lead like a man posessed - but more importantly, took a leaf from Marquez's book about being a bit more willing to fight and make riding a contact sport. I think in that respect, that is where Marquez' contribution to the championship is the most noticeable - he's shown the top guys how they will need to fight to beat him - and I think Lorenzo at least, showed in the latter half of the season he was willing to fight fire with fire. Next year, marquez will not be such an unknown quantity, and Lorenzo will be ready to fight that way from Qatar.

for 2013 that Mr Oxley is. Marquez was great but no more so than Stoner so the on track action wasn't a helluva lot different to recent years. Although I must admit it's very refreshing to see a guy who actually seems to enjoy racing bikes rather than just winning standing on the podium.

Pedrosa will be worried but Lorenzo is far from "wondering how to keep up" as he knows that on any given day he can foot it with Marquez.

As for the closeness of the competion, we only have Phillip Island to thank for that. Unlike Freddie's fantastic year I'm left a little confused on how to feel about the 2013 result: for Marquez to crash so many times unscathed vs Lorenzo I'm not convinced the best rider won. Don't get me wrong, I fully acknowledge Marquez' talent but just think he got away some things he really had no right to escape.

Bottom line, if you turned off the commentary and didn't know that Marquez was a very young rookie then the actual on track action was pretty predictable, with Ducati disappointingly irrelevant......again.

Just for the record, how many times did Marc instigate contact with another rider in 2013? I remember the Lorenzo incident, and the contact with Dani's swingarm. When else?

in practice or qualifying he hit Pedrosa to make his intentions clear and remind the rest of us that we can have "racing incidents" in sessions when no one else is racing.

So, total, Marc ran into another rider in 2013 in total fewer times than Lorenzo hit Pedrosa in the last race alone, or the number of times Dovi and Nicky bashed into each other on a typical weekend.

His style may be wild (and Mat is right, watching Marc ride is hold-your-breath-every corner stuff), but it seems to me that Marquez might be one of the cleaner riders out there in terms of "fighting."

It seems to me that the contact is being left to those who aren't as fast as Marc.

Yes some errors in the article, but I think Max Oxley was just so thrilled about how the year went that he typed a little too fast. Hardly anyone seriously thought Marquez was going to come in and win, (at some points dominate), the championship like he did. Marquez and Stoner have similar styles that look like they are over the edge, but both of them feel like they are just pushing the envelope that they control.

The fact that Marquez is a ROOKIE doing all this with Lorenzo and others pulling every trick in the book to shake him up mentally, (which is a HUGE part of maintaining an edge on competition), does deserve praise. I am with Oxley on the excitement. Stoner and Marquez are part of a select few riders that I can watch riding with no one around them, and still be entertained by their style. Lorenzo, never has been my favorite rider, but this year he made me respect him with his focus and drive. Unmatched. But he did say this when comparing Stoner and Marquez.

"Maybe Casey at Phillip Island is faster, or in some little moments [would be] faster than Marc, but Marc never gives up."

Marquez never had to ride a difficult bike. He's yet to be tested on anything other than a top notch bike. I anxiously await the day.

We've seen what happens to some GP "heros' when they are put on anything other than first class bikes. Makes you wonder how much talent is hidden way back in the field on less than stellar bikes.