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.
How I ride: Jack Miller
Ducati’s latest Aussie MotoGP star follows in the wheel tracks of Troy Bayliss and Casey Stoner. This is how he rides and this is how he will surely soon score his first dry-weather MotoGP podium
You rode your rookie MotoGP season in 2015, so was it difficult in 2016 switching from factory electronics to control software and from Bridgestones to Michelins?
Electronics-wise, not really, because I didn’t have factory electronics, I had the open software which was literally the worst crap you could imagine. The wheelie control didn’t work at all, but at least it taught me how to handle the raw power of a MotoGP bike. It was a good experience because I learned how to manage the bike in my rookie season. That year I had Nicky [Hayden] and Eugene [Laverty] on the same bikes, so it was great to have those guys to gauge myself against and I beat them in the championship.
I’m happy I had the Bridgestone experience, especially with the Honda, because you were going into corners with 30deg of lean angle and the back wheel wasn’t even on the ground. But that did teach me some bad habits and put me in the wrong direction when the Michelins arrived.
The Bridgestone rear was good for me because it taught me to pick up the bike because it had no real grip on the edge of the tyre, so you had to pick up the bike. It was like a light switch – you’d spin it on the edge of the tyre to finish the corner and as soon as you picked up the bike you’d get drive. With the Michelin rear you don’t have that. You’ve got to pick up the bike without creating that first initial spin.
How do you pick up the bike quickly – body weight, footpeg or what?
I see a lot of the young kids trying to get their elbow on the ground and stuff like that, which I was never too fussed about. When I say I’ve got a different style I know it’s not the prettiest style. I look at other guys and I think, shit, I wish I could look like that on a bike! But I’m not here for beauty, I’m here for what works for me. Of course, I’m always trying to see what the other guys are doing and trying to work it out.
What’s the most critical part of the corner for you?
For me, it’s more about being patient during corner entry, not trying to make up time there, because the rear Michelin is so much better. So it’s all about getting the bike as calm as possible into the corner, so you’ve got it ready to really fire it out of the turn, using that rear grip to your advantage for the lap time.
You use the rear brake a lot, right?
I used it a lot more with the Honda – for wheelies, for turning, for stopping, the whole thing. If you think of somewhere like Turn Three at Sepang: the moment you exit Turn Two you’re on the rear brake to stop the wheelie, then you’re on the brake to make the bike turn through Turn Three, where you’re on the rear brake the whole way through the corner.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.