Apologies to our loyal subscribers, but logistics and a few other reasons mean that the Subscriber notes for the Austin MotoGP round will not be ready on Tuesay morning. Hopefully, they should be posted Tuesday evening.
David Emmett's blog
As some of you might have noticed, updates to the site have been less frequent over the past week. This is in part because, with MotoGP on a five-week hiatus, there is not much going on in the world of Grand Prix motorcycling, other than a lot of managers frantically texting Lin Jarvis and Johan Stigefelt about the vacant Yamahas for 2022. But it is too early for anything to come of that.
The other reason for posting to be a little slow on the site is also because I need a break too. It has been a very long, hard 12 months: first, the insanely compressed 2020 MotoGP season, with 13 races in 18 weeks, and barely a moment to catch your breath. Then I traveled to the UK to help my mother and brother care for my severely ill father. And after he died, I have had to balance the care for my grieving mother - nearly 57 years is a long time to spend together, and the loss of that love has left a gaping hole in her life - with covering the start of a fascinating 2021 MotoGP season.
In the early hours of January 12th, 2021, Dave Emmett, my father, died of complications caused by dementia and multiple myeloma at the age of 83. He was a warm, generous, immensely kind human. He hated the inactivity age and his disease forced upon him. It left him frustrated and unhappy. So death came as a relief to him.
I post this not to solicit sympathy, but as an explanation and an apology for the lack of updates to the site. My brother Peter and I have been caring for my father and my mother off and on for the past 3 months, up until his death. My mother, still sprightly and healthy, needs help sorting out my father's estate and the thousand other things which you don't realize that the death of a loved one involves.
It has been an intense 2020 for everyone in motorcycle racing. Fourteen races in eighteen weeks felt like rushing headlong into an infinite void at warp speed, with never a spare moment to catch your breath.
Add to that the wildest, weirdest, most topsy-turvy season in recent memory, and there was too much to write about and nowhere near enough time to cover it all. In a normal race season, I feel like there is a lot of stuff I can't cover during a race weekend. This season, despite seeming like I was engaged in a writing marathon, and covered a huge amount of ground, it still felt like I barely scratched the surface.
While all this was going on, there were bigger things going on in the background. My elderly parents were going through a health crisis which required attention and assistance. Fortunately, they have great friends and neighbors to help, and my brother, who is truly the best of us, was able to fly in from the US to provide care on the ground.
Apologies to all MotoMatters.com subscribers. Due to a range of factors (not least sheer exhaustion) the subscriber notes for the Portimão round of MotoGP are late. I hope to have them finished on Tuesday. Further updates will follow during the week, as well as a short note on plans for the winter.
Again, my apologies. But it has been the toughest season MotoGP has faced, in terms of work schedule, and it has taken its toll.
MotoGP riders use the rear rake more than ever – Quartararo is one of the best at loading the rear tyre so he can get more stopping power from the rear of the bike
The four main controls on a MotoGP bike – throttle, clutch, front brake and rear brake – are tools that can be used for jobs other than those originally intended. The throttle can be used to steer the bike, the clutch can be used for traction control (at least before electronics took that job) and so on.
The busiest tool of them all is the rear brake, which riders use to stop the bike, to steer the bike and to reduce wheelies. In other words, before the corner, through the corner and out of the corner.
It has been a strange time. Not just for the MotoMatters.com website, or for motorcycle racing, but for the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold, in many ways. Most of them bad.
In March, the world ground to a halt in an attempt to deal with the pandemic. Three months later, things are slowly stirring into motion again. The pandemic has been largely contained in Europe, and the authorities have deemed it safe for sports, including MotoGP, to start up again. On July 19th, MotoGP returns at Jerez, followed two weeks later by WorldSBK.
These have been strange times. The outbreak of the SARS-CoV2 virus and subsequent global COVID-19 pandemic has been a roller coaster, turning the world on its head as countries around the world do their best to contain the outbreak.
Four months ago, it seemed like a distant problem that would barely affect us. Three months ago it looked like a serious problem which might affect racing at some point. Two months ago, as the pandemic grew, the scale of the impact was starting to become clear.
Normally this morning, you would be reading a story here which would seem plausible but surprising, and wondering if it was true. I, in turn, would be wondering how long it would take for readers to cotton on that the story was just an April Fool's gag.
But not this year. As I sat trying to think up a story which was just about credible, I was overtaken by a feeling of sadness. There is not going to be any racing any time soon, and anything I might concoct might end up giving someone false hope, and make the wait for racing even more unbearable than it has been so far.
With the COVID-19 outbreak having paralyzed racing for the next month, at the very least, I thought it might be useful to provide an update on what you can expect from MotoMatters.com until we start racing again.
The short version is that there will be plenty of content coming on the site over the next few weeks, but that I will be taking weekends off. We will be publishing articles and photo galleries throughout the week, but no new content will be added to the site on Saturdays and Sundays, unless some dramatic development happens during the weekend.
The Sepang MotoGP test ended a week ago, and we have already published a bunch of articles on what we saw at the test. But now it's time to open up the floor to you, our subscribers. Do you have any questions about what went down at the Sepang test, or what we learned? Want to know about a particular rider or bike?
As the holiday season approaches, it's time for me to take a break. MotoMatters.com will be shutting down for between Christmas and New Year, and returning again in 2020. But before I do take a much-needed break, I have a few things to say (some of which will explain why the break is much needed...).
First and foremost, thank you to everyone who reads MotoMatters.com. Even after 14 years, it is still remarkable to me that so many people read and enjoy the website. It is still hard for me to think of it as anything more than me posting my ramblings from my spare room.
With the holidays coming up and no racing on, most people will have a little more time on their hands to do a bit of reading. If you are looking to read about motorcycle content across all disciplines with a focus on racing, then On Track Off Road magazine is the best possible way to pass the time. I have been proud to write a column for Adam Wheeler's magazine for the past four and a half years, adding my bit of MotoGP insight. You can find me alongside such fantastic writers as Neil Morrison, currently the best writer on MotoGP, stellar WorldSBK photographer Graeme Brown, WorldSBK guru Steve English, AMA specialist Steve Matthes, and Adam Wheeler, a man who has forgotten more about MXGP than I will ever learn.
The drama over this weekend - Jorge Lorenzo's flirtation with Ducati, and now Johann Zarco's precipitous split from KTM - together with travel plans post-race have caused a few logistical issues with producing the Subscriber Notes for the Austrian round of MotoGP.
The first part of the subscriber notes should be online some time this evening, with the second part to follow on Tuesday. Apologies, especially to subscribers, for the delay.