Editor's Blog: 10 Years Of Uncertainty

Ten years ago today, on the 1st October 2008, I left the safe confines of employment to strike out on my own. MotoMatters.com went from being something I did in my spare time, to being my main endeavor. It has been quite a ride.

I suppose I could have expected something of a rough ride. I had handed in my notice in August, as the site I started two years previously went from strength to strength, the audience growing monthly. Then, on 15th September 2008, the financial services giant Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial crisis and taking the economy of much of the world down with it.

It was too late. I had made my bed, now I had to lie in it. I chose the path of pursuing a dream, of trying to make a living from writing, and writing about motorcycle racing. Giving up immediately after I started might have been the financially more sensible solution, but sensible has never really been my strong suit.

The first years were hard, though I supplemented my income with some freelance work in IT. But I had help and advice from some of the best in the business. I was encouraged by kind words from venerable Italian journalist Paolo Scalera. Dennis Noyes gave me more help than I ever deserved, advising me, sometimes picking my brain, sometimes giving me information and insights to help me understand. If I have learned anything about journalism, I learned most of it from him.

Chris Jonnum, then at the excellent but now sadly shuttered Road Racer X magazine, gave me my first shot at getting an article in print, a feature on Josh Hayes at the first ever round of World Superbikes at the Portimao circuit. The faith that he showed in me made me feel like a journalist, and made me believe that surviving was possible.

And I have survived. In my third year of independence, I dropped the IT work, and lived solely from the income I generated as a journalist. I had some income from advertising on the website, and some from writing articles for Dutch and Belgian magazines, as well as providing services to other websites.

It took me a while to figure out what worked on the site. At first, I was just covering races, and providing occasional bits of news and analysis. Then at Valencia, in 2010, while too tired to figure out what to write about Valentino Rossi's debut on the Ducati, I just combined a bunch of observations and notes into a single narrative story. The roundup was born, and I realized that this was what readers wanted: the most salient and important things of a MotoGP weekend, collected into one place.

Those roundups proved popular, and were easy to write at first. In 2011, MotoGP was a lot more manageable. There were three riders capable of winning every weekend, a fourth capable of winning on occasion, and a couple more riders worth taking notice of. And of course, there was Valentino Rossi on the Ducati.

The politics of the sport were interesting, as a massive transformation was underway, with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta using the CRT bikes as a blunt instrument with which to beat the factories into submission. But the racing was predictable, which made the writing easier.

Things are tougher now, for all the right reasons. Spec electronics, Michelin tires, and a performance balancing system through concessions have made the racing closer than it has ever been, and more exciting than it has ever been. But that means there are more competitors that matter, and much, much more to write about. I always leave every weekend disappointed at all the stuff I didn't get to write about, and feeling I have done a poor job. That feeling has only gotten worse over the years. If the racing gets boring again (which heaven forfend), it might get a little easier again.

From the very start, Scott Jones became a major part of the website, his photos becoming one of the main attractions of MotoMatters. He was with me almost from the beginning, starting as a spectator shooting through fences. We got Scott credentials for Qatar, where he started creating iconic images which have defined MotoGP and inspired others. Scott's eagle eye spotted and captured the glowing disc brakes at Qatar, and Casey Stoner's insane lean angles in Barcelona, and Marc Márquez getting both wheels off the ground through Laguna Seca's terrifying Turn 1.

Money has always been tight, and there were setbacks. At some point, either through an internal misconfiguration or some external skulduggery, a sudden and improbable rise in the number of ad clicks (approximately 20x the usual number) led to Google excluding MotoMatters from Google Ads. That increased my skepticism towards the idea of online advertising (see below), and made me realize the fragility of my situation. I needed to find a more sustainable way to run the site.

As usual, my remarkable wife came through with the idea which would transform the way I thought about the website, and help shift it in the direction it has taken. It was my wife who came up with the idea of offering subscriptions to readers, as a way to allow them to help support the website.

She came up with this excellent idea after my unfortunate and expensive experience at Le Mans in 2010, when my motorcycle broke down while trying to leave the circuit. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from readers. Not only did they send me kind words, they also sent me cold, hard cash, of the sort which helped get both me and my motorcycle home again. If readers were willing to help me in adversity, my wife correctly reasoned, why would they not want to support the site in normal circumstances? 

At first, subscribers got little more than a smug sense of satisfaction, and larger versions of Scott Jones' outstanding photographs. But in recent years – again, at the suggestion of my wife – subscribers have started to get their money's worth. Exclusive interviews, in-depth analysis of the time-consuming variety, hi-res photographs from the immensely talented CormacGP, and now the amazing technical photos of Tom Morsellino with expert commentary from world-championship winning crew chief Peter Bom.

The number of subscribers continues to grow, and that has allowed me to enlist the help of others. Steve English and Jared Earle provide outstanding coverage of WorldSBK, while Zara Daniela and Mike Lewis supply superb race and practice recaps for MotoGP.

The aim is to continue to expand the site, though in terms of quality rather than quantity. There are some fantastic writers I would love to be able to get to write exclusive material for the site. The more subscribers we have, the more quality content we have on the site.

Becoming better known and more established has opened up new opportunities. This year, I was asked to take on a role as pit lane reporter for the Dutch-language broadcast of MotoGP for Eurosport. It has been an informative, if rather stressful experience. I massively underestimated the intensity of working in pit lane, and the physical fitness required to keep patrolling pit lane looking for things to pick up on. But I have learned a lot as well: talking to mechanics, watching what teams do, watching the body language of riders, seeing qualifying tactics unfold before your eyes. With less access to TV footage of the action on track, there are some things you miss the first time around in pit lane. But there are plenty of other details which you would not otherwise have noticed.

The lessons

What have I learned in 10 years of dedicating myself full time to running a website covering MotoGP and World Superbikes? Firstly, that sales and marketing are probably the most important skill you can have in running a business. Secondly, that sales and marketing are the two skills which I most sorely lack. Running a website takes money, and generating money is hard.

More importantly, I have learned that motorcycle racing is a complicated and difficult pursuit. Attention to detail is key, and the teams and riders which get this right do best. Having a plan and being prepared for any contingency are crucial. But examining every single area for possible gains – even areas which seem self-evident – can provide small gains which make the difference between winning and losing.

My admiration for everyone involved knows no bounds. The riders are truly extraordinary individuals, their absolute focus on peak performance making them a fascinating study. But mechanics, crew chiefs, team managers, factory bosses, offer insight and a perspective which adds a richness and depth to the sport which I had not realized.

Then there are the people whose tales you will not often hear. The truck drivers. The hospitality workers. The cooks. The team coordinators. The security guards. The TV crews, especially the camera men and women who spend all their time in the sun and the rain, the heat and the cold, capturing the images we love. The army of assistants and technical staff who lay hundreds of kilometers of cables before every race, then pull them all back up again on a Sunday night. There are more, far more than you can realize, even when you spend every weekend in the paddock.

There are the friends I have met along the way, good people who make every weekend fun. MotoGP may seem all glamour, but after nights and nights of five hours sleep, the humor and camaraderie make it all that little bit easier.

Was it worth it, these ten years of financial hardship, of uncertainty, of wondering whether the invoices you sent will be paid, so you can pay off the debts you have made? Was it worth spending so much time away from home, of having less time to go riding motorcycles, which is why I started writing about motorcycle racing in the first place?

Of course it was. I'm still here, aren't I? Here's to the next ten years. Hopefully.

The pitfalls of online advertising:

Online advertising generates a veritable tsunami of numbers, which advertisers believe (because they are told) measure something useful. The truth is, though, they don't. Clicks, impressions, engagement, none of these actually measure genuine reader interest in the products on display. Advertising sellers (especially advertising resellers and aggregators) game the metrics, which have made online advertising into a nightmare for readers. Popups obscure articles, not because they are trying to attract the reader's attention, but because they want the reader to click on them. Advertisers are paid a premium for clicks, and are not judged on whether the click was from genuine interest, or because an irritated reader could not find the 'close' button on the ad.

This is why more and more users are installing ad blockers. And this is why online advertising is unsustainable in its current form. My dream is to have MotoMatters.com free of all advertising save a few, select companies selling products which are directly relevant to the readers of the site.

Gathering the background information for detailed articles such as these is an expensive and time-consuming operation. If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting MotoMatters.com. You can help by either taking out a subscription, by making a donation, or by contributing via our GoFundMe page.


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After finding this site 6 years ago, i have become a militant supporter trying to convert the uneducated. I hang out awaiting my fix after each day of on track action.

Re the amount of stuff you miss now everything is so tight, maybe a mid week odds and ends roundup? 

Keep up the good work :D 

And thanks to all the other people that make the roundups/forum so insightful


I discovered you about 6 years ago and I'm glad I did. For me, this place is first (and usually only) call on MotoGP (with the exception of athletics, not interested in any other sports), and I enjoy your links to Mat Oxley at Motorsport. My time is limited, so I want to see the best I can.

I quite enjoy the comments as well, they are (usually) much better the the wind-up schoolboy stuff you find elsewhere (we all know who they are).

I'm a freelancer in (construction management), and I know things can be variable and tough. Nevertheless I'm expecting a good invoice to be paid next week, and I'll certainly be making my usual donation! Good journalism is not zero-cost, so I'd urge everyone else who enjoys this site to chip in (I ask in case you're too shy)!

Keep up the good work David!!

Thanks a lot Mister Emmett. I love your work & I am happy to pay for it. 

Greetings from Thailand. Who will be representing Motomatters at Buriram this weekend ?

I have been following your work from the beginning. You are one of the best in the biz and we have all reaped the benefits of your hard work. Cheers

I remember when this site was motogpmatters, that's how long I've been enjoying your work. I'm a woodturner and money is always tight. When I think of going back to a 9 to 5 job, I often think of you and your commitment to your dream. You inspire me to keep doing what I love. I just need a husband who is as supportive as your wife! (If you know of anyone, send them my way!) Thank you for following your dream. It gives other people courage to do the same. 

Thanks David for giving us the history of MotoMatters, I only discovered you about 5 years ago so was unaware of much of your journey. Wish you all the best for the next ten years - happy to be a Supporter as you have added immeasurably to my enjoyment of the sport.

If my phone would let me log in to the forum I could check how long it is since I first registered.

Some years I've been enjoying great reporting & intelligent debate on motorcycle racing.

Scroll down, down, down.

As someone who has been using the Internet since it was invented by Al Gore (rec.motorcycles anyone?) I was very resistant to paying for content. Then I realized how often I read MM ... and how much I have spent on print magazines since the 1960’s. The decision to subscribe was easy. Congratulations, David, on reaching this milestone, and thanks for the best MotoGP and WSB coverage and insight. 

It has always been a pleasure to read your analysis and articles from the weekends racing and I too  enjoy your links to Mat Oxley at Motorsport and when I first saw Dennis Noyes join in some of the discussions I knew I had the right site for my information and the pictures of Scott Jones are the cream on the pudding

The site is great, and I always enjoy reading the race recaps and round ups, and the subscriber features are well worth the money. You've got a great team helping out too.

I take my hat off to you, it was a brave and worthwhile move to go freelance. I suspect an anniversary tiramisu is not on the menu this evening ;) 

I got into the sport around 2013, after getting my first motorcycle and seeing Casey Stoner drift. Somehow in my research of the sport I got to your "The Problem With the Ducati Desmosedici" article. I think that was around the time Kevin Ash passed away, which left me mourning and in search of similarly candid, technical, entertaining motorcycle journalism, which I was happy to find here. Now, despite the racing beign so incredible, for me the race weekend is not complete without your round up. So thanks and keep up the good work. Your site is proof that quality still matters (and pays- hopefully enough!) in journalism.

I think I can write, and I’ve had the odd stuff published and wrote the odd PR for the odd team. Not so oddly, I don’t now have to look any further for what is the pinnacle of weekly online reporting. I very much admire Michael Scott, bought every Mototcourse since ‘76 and even plan my evenings around reading such content (ladies, form an orderly queue: somewhere else...). I now occasionally do that here and what your writing has attracted is a superb line up of subscribers that make the intercourse so satisfying (not that kind of intercourse-see above). 

I keep hoping I’ll bump into you around the GPs I attend, but TBH, if you’re doing your job properly, you’ll not have time. Having lived almost a full life in the motorcycle trade there’s not too many people I consider inspiring, David, you are indeed one of them. Thank You.

MotoMatters is 100% hands down the best source of MotoGP news on the planet!

Every morning of a GP weekend, starting with Friday while I'm at work, I look forward to reading the news, lap times, and your stellar analysis and roundups on the happenings in the MotoGP world!

Thank you for your hard work and amazing insights. I feel like I wouldn't enjoy the GP circus as much as I do without you.

So very glad you did David.

I can't overrepresent how great this site is, and what it means to me. Ones love for motorcycle racing can blossom here. It was horrible to have to quit racing life following a crash and head injury, and the Motomatters community was what became the go-to center of it. I like how you develop community with other good folks involved in MotoGP that we can share in. Your head and heart are firmly in the right place. The relentless effort involved is impressive.

I am learning and sharing in so much here. It keeps getting better. Super happy you are doing the Alien journo work, and supporting the site feels good.


Congrats.  And you learned from the best.  Dennis Noyes is the standard at which I judge all motorcycle journalists.  His insight, I'm still baffled by, 20 years later.  I'd still love to read his modern take on NASA, Rich Boys racing, Marketing, and Crazy.  Insight into the factories back in Japan, still remains hidden fruit.  

Compared to many things I spend a few quid on each year, my motomatters subscription is a bargain. Some great interviews and insights, not to mention the fantastic images.

Continue to listen to your wife!

From one of your Canadian fans please accept a massive THANK YOU!!!!!!!! I don’t know how many years I’ve been addicted to your site (I know it was when it was motogpmatters.com) but it doesn’t matter. Your analysis and insights, plus the commentary of all the other followers is what makes this site such a gem. So interesting to read about the reality of banner ads. Thanks for being so up front about them. 

As as an aside, who else do you follow or read about our mutual passion?

I still go to this site every day to check on the news and the quality of it has also got my wife to subscribe. Well done David on an excellent undertaking and here's looking forward to the next ten years and more.


I only discovered motomatters a few years ago, and finally--and belatedly--signed up as a subsciber this year. The reporting is great, but, as you note, the round-ups are what I most look forward to. 

I am a mainstream U.S. sports fan (Celtics! Warriors!), who also follows more obscure (at least in the states) sports such as surfing and motorcycle road racing. But the two greatest sporting events I have ever attended were motogp: Laguna 1988, and Mugello 2017. Thank you for keeping me plugged in!

Also, you inspire interesting and informed comments. The nastiness and grudges of other sites are rare, and there is often genuine insight. I read them all. Thanks again David.

You have created an oasis and we should all be thankful. I have never enjoyed MotoGP so much and the site (and its members) are a big part of the whole experience to me.

May the site keep going on strong.


Your site has given me a lifeline to my favourite sport. I feel guilty that over the past few years that I have not become a site supporter but due to my circumstances I have not been able to afford it. Your insights into this sport are always superb and poignant please keep it up and I hope you find funding to carry on long into the future.

PS I also love the wonderful friendly contributors to your comments section who add to your commentary and that it doesn't descend into petty insults unlike so many other sites.

Congratulations for 10 years of hard work but especially for a job well done. I would like very much to shake your hand some days to say Thank You in person.

I signed up just so I can post this comment. :)

Wow how time flies! I think i started reading your blog when you first started out. I initially get my fix reading about motogp from Crash.net. But a poster called 'caferacer' kept pitching about your site. I was curious and I searched your site and started reading and I found your writing was so much better than the ones I had been reading. From then on, your site will be the first I go to, and only after then, I will read other sites like Crash and Soup. The comments section in your site was also very refreshing and enlightening. Not too many trolls and a lot of intelligent discussions.  I loved every bit of the years spent reading your writeups, and will continue to do so.

Keep up the good work David. Loved Scott's pics too. I even made them into slideshow on my computer screen.

I became a site supporters some years ago. And I've been quite vocal in some posts about the importance of supporting your work. 

In many ways I'm a dynosaur, I really really hate to read on a screen, I'm old school, I love to hold the paper in my hands, and leaf through the pages, and go to a café on week-ends with tons of magazines... but not one day goes by without me checking Motomatters, and reading with almost religious attention every single line, and every single post.

Thank you, David, for having had the courage of taking up the difficult challenge of creating this unique website. And for making its content so informative and a great read! 

So I take this opportunity to reiterate to all readers here who have not yet subscribed : please do think about supporting David's work!  Think of the enjoyment you get on Mondays (well sometimes it's Tuesday... :) ) when you read the round up! How you were waiting for it. How you learn a few things you did not know, or you look at things with a new perspective, and you understand certain processes, or technical datas, ... And if you are tight with money (I am ! and most people are...) think of it as a very little effort for a huge, unique reward. It's worth it. And we want to keep it going... We want David to be able to work, and do his job and deliver top quality reporting and analysis in the best possible conditions. I rest my case.

thank you David!

and cheers to all posters (and hopefully new subscribers)

ps: no! I don't get a percentage on new subscribers! :)





I am another who goes back to the days of Motogpmatters and has recently overcome a reluctance to pay for content.  My time is limited, but your efforts deliver all the news and views I need   . Having Matt Oxley on board is a happy bonus, and the subscription content would be value at twice the price.  

I know it only adds to the workload but you've given us a place to share, feedback and contribute to our passions as well. 

I once read a book some time ago where the author oddly left every other page blank and wrote in the preface if you are unhappy with what I've written or have somthing to add I've left you exactly as much space as I have used to write your own.

This strikes me the case here too, which is particulary impressive that through all your hardships along the way you've hosted all of what we've had to say as well.  Webspace is not free, I've tried my best to make every byte count, as proudly do the vast majority on here.

Thank you for giving us this space to grow, and congrats on your achivememt. Truly inspirational.

We’ve been together 8 years 2 months and it’s not a day too long. Colleague subscribers have already said how much Motomatters means to us, the admiration and gratitude we feel for what the Editor and team have achieved and how the website has become an integral to our enjoyment and appreciation of this great sport. It’s striking how many of these tributes are from colleagues who from memory haven’t previously commented, such is the desire to express our support. Also striking is the appreciation we have for the contributions of colleague subscribers. That’s in no small part due to the tone and linguistic standard set by our Editor. I thank him and I thank you all. 

Hi David,

Can we expect a piece on Ana Carrasco in the near future? It would be great to read more about our first female World Champion.


I've been reading since 2014-ish, been a subscriber since '15, and I've juste re-subscribed. Your articles are really insightful, great work M. Emmet!

Been a Reader from Wayyy Back !

But Awesome to read your story as told from your own PoV - Thanks for this insight.

I very much appreciate this site's presence & would sorely miss it !!!

Keep up the Good Work David & Co. - Long may your website continue :)

Cheers to You & to All the Fellow Journo's Contributions/Articles & the People who Support you !!!

Kind Regards,

I am a relatively new subscriber and couldn't be happier to be here. I found you through a web search about a year ago when I was desperate for well written, insightful coverage of motorcycle racing. It seems the written word has fallen out of favor on MotoGP dotcom and elsewhere for "all the videos all the time". It's as if people don't read anymore!

So THANK YOU for all you do. I know it must be a ton of work. And yes, as one of my colleagues said above, it feels good to subscribe. Proof that your wife has great insight. Congratulations to you both.

Congrats and thank you for sticking with it through thick & thin. The fourth paragraph is telling as at the point before I found you, Dennis was the only MGP 'scribe I would bother reading anymore. 

David -

I found this site only a few years ago and soon became a subscriber. Great articles and insights abound; you’re right that I look forward to the Race day summaries - these are always interesting, especially to learn about things happening that we can’t see from a broadcast, or while attending a race.

I check the site daily, always interested to see what’s new, and enjoy the articles written by Steve & Zara as well. Here’s to many more years of success!

I continue to be mindboggled by how in-depth the analysis is, and how fast it appears.

Thanks for all the hard work, and congratulations, Mr Emmett!

I recall seeing your site for the first time linked from Superbikeplanet.com for an article I can’t recall, I added it to my favorites that day and have never looked back. Keep up the great work sir, it is appreciated by intelligent fans.

Thanks for your write ups, I was put on to your website by a friend on a forum and regularily check for more content as you write the kind of in depth stuff that interests the likes of me.

Having recently taken the plunge into self employment I know the stress of not knowing how much a month will bring, I can only imagine how the cost of traveling to each location adds to that stress! Once my finances balance out I plan to become a site supporter myself, in the mean time I'll make do with the low fat option.

Some suggestions going forward, if I google "motogp news" or similar and then click across to the "news" on the google tab so I can see all story headlines direct I don't ever see your site come up. Not sure if there is an easy way to fix this but that may help you get more people on to the site. Not sure if anyone else looks for news in this way but I'm picking that I'm not unique in doing this. Thanks again for the articles.

Years ago I found your site courtesy of Pole Position Travel - you spoke once at a Saturday evening event they hosted at a race (I forget which one, maybe Sachsenring?).  Since then, I run into you occasionally.  Parking bikes inside the circuit at Mugello. Walking on the street downtown in Jerez. Most recently just after the MotoGP race in the paddock at Misano a few weeks ago.  Though you are probably tired, busy (and have no idea who I am) you are always willing to engage and have a chat and share insight about a race, a rider.

I am fortunate that I get to go to a few races each year and look forward to more catch ups.  Please keep up the good work (including the podcasts!).  If we bump into each other, beer is on me at Mugello 2019.

It seems I'ven been reading your blog forever and is really the only one I read as my time is limited.  I am grateful to have found my way to Scott Jones as I have really enjoyed is photos and have been lucky enough to get a few signed personalize images.  

The race roundups are a favorite as well as your Twitter feed. 

Thanks for all you do David and looking forward to more.

Hi David

Would it be possible to have a follow-up article or mutterings to the Race Round-ups ?

Maybe mid-way between the races or the end of the week after the race ?

As this would capture any post-race related developments & also since there is so much happening in all 3 classes...

Maybe you can have an extra layer of Subscription for this extra article / effort?

I am sure there are others on here that also would welcome this extra access ...

Thanks for all the great content again.


Please thank your wife for her behind the scenes sacrafices to make all of this possible too.  A great spouse who can plant ideas that bear fruit for yourself and us avid readers makes her an unsung hero.  Thanks for mentioning her in your retrospective.

and restating, this is my go-to site for MotoGP news. I used to go to Crash and SuperbikePlanet, but as I find my enthusiasm for AMA racing dwindling, now there are no others. I also listen to the Paddock Pass podcast to further my fix.

I've also had the good fortune to meet Dennis Noyes on several occasions at Willow Springs, and found him very personable and kind. I'm glad he mentored you, if I may use that word.

Never heard the full story before, and you made a very brave step into a new world. So glad you stuck it out, with the help of your terrific wife! I honestly don't know when you find the time to eat and sleep. Here's to another 10, and may the MotoMatters family continue to prosper.

This is a late comment, but I just wanted to echo the above sentiments of appreciation for your work. I quickly checked my registration date and it appears I’ve been along for pretty much the whole ride and I’d like to thank you for the great work you’ve done over the years, often in adverse conditions (or in Le Mans. Screw Le Mans). Like most of the people checking your site regularly, I’m very happy you chose this path and made your passion for racing into a full-time occupation. We all profit from that, deserving or not.

Having been down the path of trying to carve out our own niche of online MotoGP coverage many years ago (and failing along the way quite a lot), I do empathise with your struggles to support yourself with this work alone. I couldn’t hack it without financial support and eventually gave up six years into it, but it was still a joy for the time it lasted and I hugely appreciated you being so welcoming in the paddock, sharing knowledge and accepting newbies on the block without prejudice. I wished, wished, wished so much that there were more observers of the sport (or, indeed, people) like you, who use the voice they have wisely and reflect often. But while I keep waiting for the tide to change and a new generation to fully grab hold, I’m glad to know you’re still a beacon of good, layered and in-depth analysis in the sea of unnecessary clickbait hyperbole and drama. Thanks and Congratulations! Here’s to at least 10 more years. :)

Not sure how long I've been reading MM - it was MotoGPMatters when I discovered it, and my username was The Phantom back then. 2009 or so? I remember getting into a mild stoush with a fellow reader over something or other, and I realised that I hadn't read the conversation correctly so I apologised to the person in question, and you commented to thank me for apologising and keeping the standard high. I really appreciated that, and like everyone else here I've continued on to appreciate the amazing level of analysis that your site offers, from you, Jared, Mike, Zara and everyone else who contributes.

I tell everyone who will listen that this is the place to come if you're passionate about motorcycle racing.