Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Cal joins the Pommie pantheon 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.

Cal joins the Pommie pantheon

Cal Crutchlow dominated at the greatest MotoGP track of them all. What a shame that some fans spoiled a great day by cheering Marquez’s crash

Cal Crutchlow’s second MotoGP victory was even better than his first, mainly because every rider knows a dry win counts for more than a wet win. He now stands alongside Leslie Graham, Geoff Duke, John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Phil Read and Barry Sheene as the only Britons to have scored two premier-class victories in one season. In other words, he’s in the Pommie pantheon.

Once again Crutchlow showed aggression and intelligence – he was one of the few to choose Michelin’s hard-option front slick and understood that whenever the sun disappeared behind the clouds the track temperature dropped, so he had to push harder (but not too hard) to keep the tyre hot enough to grip the track.

Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro chose the same front and both fell, proving the tyre had riders walking the narrowest of lines. Managing tyre temperature is a big part of MotoGP and Crutchlow did it perfectly. He beat the best in the world by over four seconds, which is proper domination during an era of close finishes. Even nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi couldn’t match the winner’s pace during his inspired comeback from 15th on the grid.

Sunday’s race was poignant because it marked the fifth anniversary of Marco Simoncelli’s fatal accident and the 56th birthday of three-time 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey, who was paralysed from the chest down when he crashed out of the San Marino GP at Misano in September 1993.

For these reasons (and also many more) it was sickening to witness a minority of Phillip Island spectators celebrating a rider crashing to earth at 80mph, like a bunch of neanderthals punching the air at a Donald Trump rally.

Or perhaps those celebrating Marc Marquez’s accident were marking the first anniversary of the supposed plot to rob Valentino Rossi of the 2015 MotoGP crown.

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


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Fans will quit cheering when their rival (riders they don't root for, foes) goes down as soon as riders reach out their arms and shake hands, in graciousness, as they get passed.  IE, it will never happen. 

Wanna see some evidence of reality?  Jack Miller and Nicky Hayden in the PI race.  This is motorcycle racing. 

I'm sure those who do not like Valentino Rossi had frowns on their face, and there was no fist pumping, when he went down @ Motegi, or Assen while leading.  On the forums, and the comments sections of websites, both instances were pure delite to those detractors.  All is fair in love and war.

I’ve raced (little r), run track days, and worked the corners; therefore, I am a fan of anybody that can swing leg of a motorcycle and ride it to its limit and beyond.

The special ones are at the top of Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP, as well as WSBK, WSS and the various national series.

I’m even a fan of the club level races, who race on their own dime and have to go to work the next day. 

Marc's crash was benign. A simple lowside. The fans were probably more interested in the fact that Cal or Valentino now had a better chance to win. If Marc had been in a more serious incident, I doubt that you would have seen the same reaction. Quit being a drama queen in search of a controversy.

Marc's accident was legitimately scary. The bike got tossed in the air and landed very close to his feet. It could just as easily have landed on top of him.

Lowside/Highside only tells you how the rider lost control... what happens after losing control is very variable. You could have a highside with a soft landing and come out unhurt and you can have a lowside and get your limbs stuck somewhere and get hurt in the resultant tumbles.

It _could_ have been serious but it wasn't and it was obvious for everyone but en elderly commentator.
If my aunt had balls.....

I'm no fan of cheering when the other guy go down, but realize that it happens all the time.
The name of the rider is not an important factor.

In fact this article is more fuel to the Rossi vs Marquez fight than the cheering it self.
That's business as usual, complaining about it is not.

The Phillip Island MotoGP race attracts a type of spectator who can more accurately be described as an 'event fan' rather than a 'motorcycle racing fan'. They're the ones trying to do burn-outs in old piece of crap Falcons and Holdens, and generally lowering the tone of the place. And, it seems, carrying on like morons when riders other than Rossi - probably one of the few riders they can actually name - crash out.

The WSB round is a lot more fun for the true fans for this reason - only true fans go to the WSB round.

So true.  I'll still go for rides down to the GP because the run is through some of Aus's best motorcycling roads (from Sydney - dirt and/or tar) but for the GP would watch the race from the rental house as others go to the event (buying a Staturday only ticket is an option).  I find it too crowded and too hard to get around, get food, get out of there etc.

But WSB is a great event.  Less crowds, the ability to ride your bike from viewing point to viewing point around the track at any time and so starting at, say Siberia for the first few corners then heading to the embankment at turn 11/12 for the last half.  And then there's Afterburners, the PI track day the next day before heading back home on the great roads.

Edited.  Political filter applied.

"like a bunch of neanderthals punching the air at a <Susan G. Komen walk for the cure> rally." 

I think this comparison is way over the top... I mean, what did Neanderthals ever do to be put on the same level as <good samaritans trying to end breast cancer> ?


As much as i totally agree on despising moronic cheering when a rider crashes I'm puzzled as to why instead of focusing on this moronic behaviour you then use the rest of the article to talk about the "plot" against VR reporting that no one in the whole paddock believes it.....
Really?! Can you name a few besides Honda people? Because from what I heard many in the paddock ( besides VR entourage) were convinced that MM messed and interfered with VR in Sepang (FGS! Even Mike Webb said it !) And as many if not more were puzzled, to say the least, at MM behaviour in Valencia.... I know it's an old story..... but you brought it up Mat....
I won't go into it but I would really love to hear all these comments and names. Unless you asked the wrong question: nobody believes there was a conspiracy. But most think that MM messed with VR in an unsporting way
In this sad story the thing that will never stop to amaze me is that all those who from a high stand of self-righteousness condemn VR behaviour, find it normal acceptable even moral! that because VR said those words to MM, then MM had the right to just mess with him on the track. They admit it, they find it the reasonable response and at the same time they deny it ever happened. Schizofrenia? Or just as blindsided as their yellow counterparts?

"that because VR said those words to MM"

That's a polite way to sugar-coat all the belligerence Rossi spewed at MM after PI, the race that MM won against JL on the last lap no less.

Remember the "I would like to go back and see his room and really see if there are any posters of me there, because I don't think Marc was really a fan of mine growing up".

That's really pathetic... and Mat's comparison to Trump fits perfectly. Trump can't accept that he's going to lose, so the "system is rigged".

Rossi couldn't accept that he wss losing the championship, so the system must have been rigged.

It'd be laughable if it wasn't so cryable.

Here's how I see it, The way mm rode in:
PI - plot? No. Unsporting? No
Sepang - plot? No. Unsporting? Yes
Valencia plot? No, Unsporting? No

The same applies to the way Rossi rode in those races in my opinion.
Just because 3 of the world best riders decided to act like spoiled bratty kids at times during the end of last years championship doesn't mean they was a grand conspiracy.
Unfortunately some sections of fans take things way overboard and become an embarrassment to the sport.

...use the Trump metaphor, let me say that you adopt his campaign manager tactics.... : Instead of answering to my point you go back to attacking VR. I just said I don't understand how the same people who condemn VR, find it perfectly normal that MM responded to words with unsportsmanlike acts on the track. As we are still on this Trump metaphor well, the Supreme Court has spent years and filled volumes with defining the very difference between words and actions, a concept I assume non-Trump supporters should be able to comprehend.

Fair enough.   Let's consider your question slightly differently, and this is why I get so pissed off when I think of how Rossi acted after PI:  

Given Marc Marquez's propensity and history of being a "hot head", was it wise or un-wise for his championship for Rossi to start spouting off half-baked theories and insulting Marc Marquez in public?

You see... as a fan of the sport, including Rossi, I wanted the champhionship to be decided on the track.   Instead, Rossi goes and creates a situation where there didn't need to be.   

Does anyone disagree that Rossi killed his own championship last year with off the track antics?

In this context,  it doesn't matter if MM was justified in reacting the way he did in Sepang or not.   Rossi poked the tiger.   And to what end?   What exactly was he expecting to happen?   MM wasn't even in the title hunt, he was immaterial.

No, the bottom line is Rossi ruined his chances because Lorenzo was getting faster and faster,  and Rossi wasn't,  and like any top-class racer was looking for complicated reasons rather than the simplest and most likely.

But jeez,  why did he drag it out in public?   Honestly,  if he really did feel Marquez was messing with him, why not confront in private where it's much less likely to blow up in his face?



He did confront him! That same night in PI and that's when Alzamora told him that MM held a grudge since Argentina. If he had doubts before, he came out of that confrontation with almost certainties. But still you don't address my point: why people find normal and sportmanlike an act of retaliation on track from a guy out of the championship not even fighting for a win. And honestly the storytelling about Lorenzo getting faster by the day should stop: in PI he was by far the slowest of the four (and this fact should tell you a lot) and in Sepang.....well, thanks to the actions of a very great mature racer we'll never know.

Rossi out of contention for championship, but fighting Lorenzo (on his way to become WC) tooth and nail. How was that any different?

In 2010 Lorenzo could have ceeded his position in the race with virtually no damage damage to his runaway championship lead whilst Rossi was still fighting for 2/3/4 position in the championship with the race winner and also had the guy 5th in the championship being 2nd in the race.

To clarify I make that statement as the accusations are that Marquez baulked Rossi at PI and Sepang and since no-one has ever accused Rossi of riding at Motegi to slow Lorenzo down so that 5th placed Edwards could catch up or so that Dovi and Stoner could extend their lead in 1st and 2nd.    

It could, however, be used as a comparison for any of those who had a go at Iannone for his PI race.  Anyone who lines up on the grid is entitled to race whoever at whichever track to achieve their best position.  It doesn't matter if the person they are fighting is in line for the title, if it's the first race of the season or the last.

and then I'll rest my case : what pisses me off the most (besides the events themselves, on which I have a strong point of view ) is that basically everyone defending MM is no better than the yellow blinded fans. I mean : on which planet it is ok to admit that yes MM interfered with and messed up VR race in Sepang ( given the nature of paint swapping that took place in those  laps  i think "messing " doesn't even start to depict the viciousness of what went on) but it's absolutely acceptable because VR should have shut up ? what's the message you're promoting here ? If you feel insulted, do not discuss it, do not dismiss it by saying the guy is a lunatic, do not prove your worth winning... NO! just go and mess the other guy's race. How can you possibly condone that and not lower yourself to the same level of the "yellow fans" that you so much despise?  How can you say you love the sport when its true nature was denied there and then in front of millions? I'm fed up of hearing VR got what he deserved and people cheering about it, because that specific statement is an insult to the nature of the sport. and is as moronic as morons cheering when MM falls. Nothwithstanding that MM falling is always his own doing, VR losing it in Sepang was someone else's doing.

My opinion is that I certainly dont believe MM interfered with Vale, he simply raced him harder which he is full well entitled to do and I certainly dont blame him given the circumstances, I too would have made every single effort to make sure he did not beat me in that race if he had to insult me in public, including whatever hard passes it takes, not my problem if he was fighting for a championship and why should it be MM's problem... There was no bumps up until Rossi kicked him off if my memory serves me correct, just a lot of passing which in turn slows the pace of both riders, not MM supposedly interfering, he was fighting for podium positions, Rossi could have chosen to sit behind him and make his overtake on the last lap OR he could have somehow made the pass stick and if he was fast enough pull away from Marquez but he attacked MM just as hard and straight away.. There is many theoretical ways that Rossi could have done much better in that race but the simple fact is he fought too.

As for VR, he didnt lose the championship at Sepang, he lost it at a few places. Aragon he should have beaten Pedro for 4 points, PI he should have beat Ianonne for another 3 points but the fact is he didnt and not only that Lorenzo had a DNF in the season and still beat him to the title. Regardless the best man won the season.

If Marquez stepped over the line in Sepang and didn't display the best gentlemanly behavior on track before Rossi decided to hit the self-destruct button in that now-famous corner,  then no, his behavior is not defensible.   It also wasn't illegal or dangerous.   The most MM is guilty of is breaking the unspoken rule that riders out of a championship don't interfere with riders who are... in Sepang.   His behavior wasn't good though, you're right... in Sepang.

Valencia is hard to call because both Pedrosa and Marquez were in difficult situations in that Lorenzo was running a similar pace as them and forcing a win at a risk of taking him out... in Spain, that's a big risk for little to no reward.

I still believe and always will if Rossi kept his opinions inside the paddock, the last two races would have ended very differently, with a much closer Valencia race.    Rossi took a gamble with his strategy and lost, plain and simple.

"... was it wise or un-wise for his championship for Rossi ..."

"Rossi goes and creates a situation where there didn't need to be."

It's astounding to me that you use this tripe to make excuses for MM's actions in Sepang (for which there is nearly universal agreement that MM was WAY out of line). How can you even BEGIN to compare some unpleasant words to messing with someone during a race?!? The more you make excuses for him, the more MM is gonna act like a spoiled brat.

You missed the point.    I never made excuses for MM behavior in Sepang.

The point is MM's reaction was foreseeable given his tempermant and past and Rossi's public statements after PI.

I don't recall which broadcast it was (probably Eurosport) or which session, but one of the broadcasters said prior to the start of Sepang race (paraphrasing)  "well if MM wasn't going to be gunning for Rossi before,  he is now".   

Again... Rossi made a bad choice in how/where/when to air his grievances.   He would have done much better to vent at Marquez in private, and perhaps in public after the season was over.

Again... his strategy backfired on him and where did it get him... the back of the grid in Valencia.

And finally... nothing MM did was illegal or dangerous... it was unsportsmanlike, and limited to Sepang (in my opinion).

Rossi really tied his own noose.

You just insulted Trump supporters. Don't make me leave this forum.  I had to cut Jensen Beeler loose after he said we should stop using after-market exhaust so we track day enthusiasts could save the planet. He also showed his ignorance about hurricanes.

I agree. I try to keep this as free as possible of politics (which can be hard, as politics affects all of life). But we carry Mat Oxley's columns, and he occasionally touches upon them. I hope we can discuss MotoGP without reference to Trump or Clinton supporters, or Leavers or Remainers. 

So if everyone can stick to motorcycle racing, that would be good. If they can't, I shall disable comments on this article.

I'm not sure if you're serious here or being ironic.  Not because of the insulting of Trump supporters but the other comment.  You piqued my interest about the other article having never heard of this Jensen Beeler.  

His article is fairly well reasoned and far more nuanced than 'we should stop using aftermarket exhausts so ... we could save the planet'.  Whether you agree with his overall assessment (and most of us are likely to have some disagreement) it does weigh up plenty of points that are hard to unilaterally dismiss.  But I was more concerned that you're willing to shut yourself off from potential opinions simply because the writer may potentially disagree with your preset opinions especially since I expect you have agreed with most of his other articles until this point in time.

But then I realised you're being ironic when you finished with "He also showed his ignorance about hurricanes." as his comment "...that hurricanes are caused by high barometric pressure, not gay marriage..." is clearly not a serious attempt to explain the science of hurricanes (although high barometric pressure is required) but is an oft reused quote from the TV show 'NewsRoom'.  Or do you actually think they're caused by gay marriage?  ...I guess it's possible but only after a whirlwind romance....  In which case whatever Barry Metric pressure they might get up to in the privacy of their own home is no concern of mine.

This is your ball and your game thus you can control what gets posted. 

I just lost a tremendous amount of respect for you for allowing that garbage on your site and for Mat for being a small minded fool. 

If i want to hear about liberalism i can watch my daughters shows or an american football game or anything else for that matter.

Please email me to confirm that you have removed me as a Site Supporter. I will not tolerate you ruining a sport i love with that crap. You have acted like a real coward.

I know it's none of my business but from a fellow supporter to.another i took the liberty to respond to you. In this instance I don't see why and how David is ruining the sport.... Mat's blog has been featured here for a long time and it's all open for discussion. All the more because you love the sport share your opinion. Add your voice to keep the discussion balanced. As for the politics... well there was very little of it on the comments here and it was rather benign....

I'm not sure which garbage you refer to (which specific comments, unless they've been edited since), but I can't see how David's a coward for allowing it.

Respect for your passion, but i'll be renewing my site support.


As author of some of the god-awful comments I feel personally responsible.   Really,  I should have put some trigger warnings in for some of the more sensitive members.

Here I was thinking this was going to be a good article about former British riders, or how Cal has risen to his current level or how racing has changed over the years or how hard it is for a satellite team to win at PI. But this article turned out to be a disaster. Dear Mat, there are a bunch of other things one could talk about after Rossi/Marquez falls in a race. Namingly the ones I stated above. We racing fans want to read on such stuff. Whatever happened last year is past us. It's high time journalists let it go. Kindly refrain from talking about it everytime you talk about a crash involving Rossi/Marquez. Please, let racing be racing.

So will I, best site anywhere and if it occasionally takes a wander into the long grass then I'm sure David will fix it-as he just did! Remember, it was the author of this thread that mentioned Trumpton-crikey as a Brit fed up with the wall to wall coverage we have to suffer of this over-long, over-expensive feeding frenzy I should have been ranting but it was all in the context of the thread! MSS 58 think again, don't cut your nose off to spite your face-imagine having to suffer FB & Bitter without this!!!




Haha, that expression is just brilliant, and so apt, you never quite know what you'll stub your toe on around here!

As for the political comments?  I'm of the belief we do not and should not try to live in a bubble, our sport does not exist in some sort of 4th dimension divorced from the outside world, we live in a constant state of interaction however uncomfortable it may be at times.

Sport has always been affected by politics, be it from within or without, and isn't politics the ultimate sport?  Doesn't Trump portray himself as a "winner"?

Have at it Mat!  I don't always agree with everything you say but you usually make me think, which is no mean feat according to my long suffering wife.  And isn't that why we're here?  To think, to question, to learn?  It would be a pretty sad individual who only seeks out websites he/she is in complete agreeance with. But I do agree with you on one thing: the relative importance of riding 'round and 'round in circles on motorised bicycles....some folks could really do with renewing their pespective.  As cool as the show and bikes are it's all just small beans compared to most of the crap happening in the world today, but you'd never know it from some of the comments.

The ol' VR vs MM debate/debacle?  I have my opinion but all I'm saying is: good people do bad things and bad people do good things, judging people (especially people you've never met) on one or two cherry picked events is just foolish.

Finally I couldn't help having a bit of a chuckle at someone who seems to be from the land that holds free speech so dear telling a journalist what they can and cannot write about.

considering the latest posts I guess your Sepang Motogp Preview will be written with extra-careful pondering ? laugh or, maybe, you'll just keep the comments section closed? laugh and no politics of course !

Couple of things before I begin:

I've played football (american) and rugby all of my life as well as being a track day rider for many years so I've seen my fair share of hits, concussions and even careers ending in front of my eyes. 

I mention that because on Twitter Mat was mentioning that most of the people commenting him on his article had never been on a motorcycle so I figured it would make for a good preface. 

That being said, my opinion is that we all have our favorite riders, we follow certain guys and we probably don't like a few and couldn't care less about some others and I feel that whenever I'm watching a race I will root for the guy that I like so if to the guy that's in front of him runs wide, has a mechanical failure or crashes my IMMEDIATE reaction will obviously be to cheer because my rider has just gained a spot. 

That does not mean that I want the guy in front of him to crash, break his neck and die, I just think it's a natural reaction to express some emotion for something that has 'helped' your guy go up in the standings. 

I even shared the example of Lawrence Taylor when he injured Joe Theismann and ended with his career. As a fan of the sport, you see your team get a sack, you celebrate but then when you see there's an injury you quiet down. It is why you'll see most teams take a knee as the player is getting treatment. 

You never wish harm to someone else but I just think that everyones initial reaction would be to cheer. Now if you cheer while a guy is being carted out then you're definitively an idiot and perhaps those are the 'fans' that Mat was referring to in his article. 

In the end, everyone is entitled to their opinion and we're gracious enough that David gives us all knuckleheads a space where we can vent our opinions but you can shoot the messenger for sharing the latest article of one of the greatest MotoGP writers, that's just silly. 

But then again, maybe I'm just crazy...

And the crying shame is that we're at the tail end of one of the best seasons we've had for decades, yet most commentators (including Mat) are fixating on a puerile spat from last year that's best forgotten. Honestly, in the great pantheon of motorcycle racing history, it will have no significance whatsoever. The year when we had 8 winners (and counting), 3 of which took place on satellites, 2 by the same satellite rider - now that's worth talking about. Does it herald a sea change or is it just a freak season? Has the gap closed enough such that we should expect more of this in years to come? How does this compare to the last time this was possible?

Plenty to write about there, rather than reprising a fairly mediocre soap opera.

Great article and a great win by Cal but I hardly think it qualifies him for inclusion in the "Pommie Panthion", (temple of the gods).  The other riders you name were all world GP champions and four of them (which ones :) were among the greatest champions of all time. Cal is a great rider, great bloke and a great family man, but with two GP victories and no premier class world championships, he's hardly a premier class god.......well not yet anyway.

I usually enjoy Mat's articles because they are reasonable. But this time I get the impression he gets a bit overdramatic over the fact that some very very few fans cheered over the crash of Marc Marquez. Watching the MotoGP-race again you can clearly see that the vast majority of australians were not cheering but looked scared and were shocked when Marc Marquez crashed. I refuse to believe australian race fans are such fools. Please check the MotoGP-Fullrace-Video at 32:44 min and really analyze the facial expressions and gestures of the fans. Maybe Mat talks about something else which we couldn't see on the video. But these images clearly support my argument.

The VR wannabe jumping up takes much of the eyes focus on the first clips of the crash and crowd reaction, even when trying to ignore him, but as Felix has mentioned above, and from what I can see in the video after replaying it a few times, about two people in that shot cheered but most were open mouthed in shock, as I was when the camera first panned to the bike tumbling.  No matter how innocuous the fall that bike was close.  When the crash is later replayed from another view most of those who cheered only appeared to do so once the bike and Marc had stopped, and were looking at the track cheering those who were still racing rather than Marc's crash. However, he didn't take long to get up, his reaction was quite amusing and Rossi was coming into view for the first time since taking 3rd, now 2nd, so I can imagine there was a bunch of emotions flying around in a matter of seconds.  

When given the opportunity to write an article about Cal's achievement, and after headlining the article for such an event, to devote 90% of it to sensationalising something out of nothing is poor form and seems to be a constant process with some.  Write a provocative article designed for maximising comments, demonise those who voice opposing views, tweet about how sick and tired they are of the subject and how people should move on, before repeating the process ad infinitum.

It's to be expected that the events of last year will be referenced in articles about the races at the same tracks and such, but is there a need to drone on about who did what, who said this and who believes what?  

This is still the most decent forums from the few I read. I'm aghast to read that some people on the are invariably suggesting Rossi to retire so that his "yellow brigade" can go away! wow, wishing for the retirement of the most influential racers of all time is similar to cheering a rider's crash. I hope this isn't the case here if I've read and understood all posts correctly.

The problem with people who aren't really a fan of Rossi or who proclaim just to be the "fan of the sport" is similar to certain Rossi fans. The former hate the idea of the GOAT for Rossi and many of them go on to ridicule, highlight and prove that Rossi is an ass (something what the infamous "yellow tinted brigade" has been accused of repeatedly). Some or many people are just the same no matter who or what you support, but I guess that to some people it's in fashion to just hate on Rossi. However, Rossi has ridden (and performed) like a GOAT in 18 of these 20 years. Of course, everything is arguable.

While I would like to understand Mat's frustration regarding the crash-cheering and that Rossi vs Marquez argument is forever, I believe he reignited this with the worst incident possible something even most Rossi fans would like to get over with. And I for one still believe that the cheering has been misunderstood, even I saw people cheering Cal or Vale to go on instead of directly cheering that Marquez had fallen. This is my version.

Secondly, Mat's article completely overshadows the achievement of Cal and that's a pity. Maybe he'll write one for him separately! The person who should have been given all the due attention was sidelined by lesser important people (the crash-cheering crowd).

Cal's great win I believe, which it certainly was. I would have preferred seeing Mat focus on the the race, Lorenzo's dismal performance, Rossi's sublime chase to 2nd. Hell! Marquez' career was near terminated at this circuit some time back with near loss of eyesight post crash back then.

All and every backer is biased to a greater or lesser extent pertinent to manufacturer and rider and how they manifest it trackside is irrelevant... Mat, as a journo went a step too far with this post. Sort of a mainstream media post.