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.
Rossi needs 'stuff' to happen
Cue the Jaws theme tune, because Jorge Lorenzo is coming to get Valentino Rossi. The Spaniard took a nine-point chunk out of Rossi’s championship lead at Aragon, at which rate he will lead the championship at Phillip Island, with all to play for in the final two races at Sepang and Valencia.
Rossi always knew this moment was coming; indeed he’s been there before. Way back in June 2009 he likened Lorenzo and Casey Stoner to sharks, circling around him in the water, ready for the kill.
“They look at me with some blood flowing and they think, ‘Okay, now is the time’,” he said. “If I am not strong, they will eat me in one bite.”
Six and a bit seasons later he is in exactly the same position. So what will it take to repulse Lorenzo’s latest attack?
Rossi is the master of reinvention and the king of circumstances, so all is not lost. His efforts to find those few tenths a lap he needs are never-ending.
“Now we arrive at the important moment of the championship,” he said at the weekend. “I am always working on my riding style, my position on the bike, the way I use the brakes and everything – all this is in a great state of evolution in MotoGP at the moment. Jorge and Marc [Márquez] always raise the level, so it’s important to stay at that level and to not fall behind, otherwise it’s difficult to recover.”
Following Márquez’s early exit from Sunday’s race, Rossi is now focused entirely on Lorenzo, and he doesn’t like what he sees. “In the last races Jorge has made another step. The change in his riding skills is not a lot; it’s his motivation and his concentration that is different – he has arrived at a level of concentration that is close to 100 per cent, so he’s always strong and fast.
“It’s also the work he does on his settings, so he can stay close to the top in practice and qualifying. Now I need to work on my speed and on my settings to be strong in every practice so I can start from the front, then after that we will see what happens in the races. It’s going to be very hard… We are worried, for sure.”
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.