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.
Failed records and new rules
Back in the heady days of Marlboro Team Roberts domination, King Kenny Roberts had a favourite saying, which he would shout at full volume during the team’s frequent and legendarily messy victory dinners. Full of wine, joy and relief, King Kenny’s voice would boom around the dining room: “Who got fourth?” In other words, who cares who got fourth when his crew had won the race?
Well, everyone at Brno knew who got fourth. During the top three press conference – Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi – one journalist was polite enough to apologise for asking so many questions about Marc Márquez who, for the first time in his short but uniquely wonderful MotoGP career, had ridden past the chequered flag and straight back into his pit, with no reason to stop in the parc fermé.
Journalists who had been ready to write him into the history books had to find something else to write about. But let’s pretend for a moment that he did win his 11th consecutive race, a feat only matched or bettered by three riders from the 1960s: John Surtees won 11 successive GPs during 1958, 1959 and 1960, Mike Hailwood won 12 on the trot in 1963 and 1964 and Giacomo Agostini went unbeaten at 20 races during 1968 and 1969; all of them riding mighty MV Agusta multis.
I have as much respect for racing history as anyone, but if Márquez had won his 11th successive race on Sunday, that statistic would have been a cornerstone in arguments suggesting that he’s the greatest of all time.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.