They say that truth is stranger than fiction. The more pressing question is how to distinguish between the two. Narratives are easily created – it is my stock in trade, and the trade which every sports writer plies – but where does stringing together a collection of related facts move from being a factual reconstruction into the realms of invented fantasy? When different individuals view the same facts and draw radically opposite conclusions, are we to believe that one is delusional and the other is sane and objective? Most of all, how much value should we attach to the opinions of each side? Do we change our opinion of the facts based on our sympathy or antipathy for the messenger?
That is the confusion which the final round of MotoGP has thrust the world of Grand Prix racing into. What should have been a celebration of the greatest season of racing in the premier class in recent years, and possibly ever, was rendered farcical, as two competing interpretations of a single set of facts clashed, exploded, then dragged the series down into the abyss. Bitterness, anger, suspicion, fear, all of these overshadowed some astonishing performances, by both winners and losers. Looked at impartially, the Valencia round of MotoGP was a great day of fantastic racing. But who now can look at it impartially?
The day started well, with a thrilling battle in Moto3, with an outcome that did justice to all concerned. Miguel Oliveira won his third race in a row with a brilliant and masterful performance, shaking off the attentions of Jorge Navarro, Romano Fenati, Efren Vazquez and Niccolo Antonelli in a race-long battle, never letting the lead out of his grasp for long. After a dismal qualifying, which saw him start from eighteenth on the grid, Danny Kent finally rode the safe, solid race he needed to wrap the title up, becoming the first British Grand Prix champion since Barry Sheene in 1977. That is a very long time indeed.
Getting it done
All weekend long, Kent had professed he was not nervous. On Sunday, the celebratory championship jersey – well, more of a vest really – wrapped firmly over his leathers, Kent admitted he had been putting on a front. We knew it, and he knew that we knew it, but we kept up the fiction, as it was easier to do that than to keep asking the same, pointless question. Kent's crew chief Peter Bom had expressed his exasperation on Saturday night, he and the team having turned his bike upside down in search of the right feeling for Kent. A long swing arm, a short swing arm, up at the back, up at the front, stiff shock, soft shock, nothing could please Kent. In the end, they had gone for something neutral, but the key set up change was to Kent's mind. After the morning warm up, Kent had told his team manager Stefan Kiefer that he was ready to do what needed to be done. He did exactly that.
Kent's journey has been a long one, ranging from Aprilia Superteens to Red Bull Rookies, from Moto3 to Moto2 and back again. Kent lost two titles by just a single point, and many feared history might repeat itself. That it did not is down in large part to the Kiefer team, and especially to crew chief Peter Bom. The pair are very close, sharing a hotel room at every round, sometimes continuing their discussions on bike set up from garage to hospitality to hotel, sometimes just shooting the breeze about the most random of subjects.
You've got to have faith
Most importantly, Kent has absolute faith in what Bom is doing for him, and Bom has faith in the talent of Kent, and the ability to convince Kent of the Englishman's own talent. It is not Bom's first title, having won Moto2 with Stefan Bradl, and World Supersport with Chris Vermeulen, and that experience stood them in good stead. Bom and Kiefer proved the value of a good and competent team, sadly surprisingly rare, even at this level of racing.
Kent may have deprived Oliveira of the Moto3 title, but the Portuguese rider put himself on the map this year with the Red Bull KTM team. Once KTM brought the new chassis, Oliveira's performance went through the roof, coinciding with the slide of Kent in the second half of the year. Together, the two men utterly dominated the Moto3 class, Kent owning the first half of the season, Oliveira the second. The two men move up to Moto2 with Kiefer for 2016, and will make a very strong pairing.
The Moto2 race itself was a close-run affair, the race cut short then restarted after a massive crash caused it to be red-flagged. Tito Rabat took the win in his return to racing, saying farewell to his Marc VDS Moto2 team with a victory, and paving the way to walk in the other side of the garage on a MotoGP bike on Tuesday, when he moves up to the premier class. Alex Rins secured second, though it looked like he might actually grab the win, before he got distracted by his second place in the championship. Rins has been a phenomenal rookie in Moto2, following in the footsteps and on the bike of Maverick Viñales. MotoGP factories are already making discrete (and not so discrete) enquiries about Rins' availability for 2017, once the Spaniard has served his time in Moto2.
All is not what it seems
Then came the MotoGP race, and as at Phillip Island and Sepang, a tense and thrilling battle was ruined by the events which surrounded the race afterwards. Whether you regard the events post-race as a valid complaint against an obviously rigged result, or the wild ramblings of a man desperate to apportion blame to anyone but himself for his own failure depends entirely on your perspective. There are facts which are beyond dispute, and facts which are open to interpretation, but on one thing, everyone can agree. The aftermath has besmirched what has been undoubtedly the greatest season of premier class racing in recent years. Once again, there are no winners here, and that is very sad indeed.
The facts beyond dispute? That Jorge Lorenzo did what Valentino Rossi feared he would, and took off at the front. That track temperatures were round about where they were yesterday, high enough to cause problems for the hardest option front tire as the race went on, especially for the Hondas. That Valentino Rossi rode the race of his life, making surgical passes left, right and center, quickly working his way forward to fourth. That Marc Márquez had the pace to follow Lorenzo for all of the race, though he had to ride at the limit to do so. That Dani Pedrosa was first dropped by the leaders, then came back again, launching an attack on the penultimate lap on Márquez. That Márquez struck straight back when Pedrosa ran wide, but never attempted a pass on Lorenzo.
All of these facts then leave room for interpretation. Why did Márquez never attack Lorenzo? The Repsol Honda rider says he was biding his time to attack, as he has done so often this year. He was waiting for either the last or the penultimate lap to take a shot at Lorenzo, but Pedrosa upset his plan, he said. Rossi, on the other hand, claims Márquez played "bodyguard" to Lorenzo, riding on tail and protecting his back, not passing Lorenzo, but passing Pedrosa straight back once he was passed by his teammate.
Just the facts...
Márquez says he was right on the limit trying to follow Lorenzo, and points to the gap between the two which yoyoed constantly, Márquez pushing hard to close up on Lorenzo, but only really faster than the Spaniard in the second sector, Turn 6 being the only real option for a pass. Rossi points to the race of Pedrosa, who first dropped back, then upped the pace to close up on Márquez again, to try a final pass. If Pedrosa could catch Márquez again, then clearly the Honda was capable of being faster, Rossi's thesis runs.
Márquez said he went for the win, but was simply incapable of beating an unleashed Lorenzo. Rossi says Márquez was protecting Lorenzo's back, and ensuring that the Spanish Movistar Yamaha rider would win the title, rather than Valentino Rossi.
Which version of events represents the truth? Deciphering that is extremely difficult, as both versions of events share the same two key characteristics: they are plausible, and they are entirely unfalsifiable. There is a chain of events we can follow, and each individual part of the claim can be dissected, but even then the picture which emerges is still open to interpretation. So it comes down to Occam's razor, and the simplest explanation being the most likely one.
Firstly, was Marc Márquez really on the limit, or was he easily faster, as Valentino Rossi would claim after the race? What we do know is that both Lorenzo and Márquez were eleven seconds quicker than in 2013, the last time there was a dry race at Valencia. Though the circuit has been resurfaced since then, the race times of both Márquez and Lorenzo are not hanging about.
On the outside looking in
Can you judge from the outside how hard a rider is trying? Certainly, Márquez looked to be going fast enough through Turn 13, both wheels sliding through the corner. But was that at the limit? I turned to a disinterested party for an opinion, in this case, Andrea Dovizioso, who happened to speak to us after Valentino Rossi had made his accusations of foul play. "It's true, for us is normal to see Marc fighting a lot in the battle. So to see that, it was quite strange. But only the riders know exactly the problems they have in the bike. So I don't know if he was on the limit, over the limit, or he was controlling the race," Dovizioso said.
Is it possible for one MotoGP rider to see when another MotoGP rider is on the limit? "Normally yes," Dovizioso replied, "but you can't know every detail the riders can have. Especially when you ride a different bike." You can make general judgments, Dovizioso implied, but each bike is different, and the precise limits of the bike and where it struggles is not immediately visible. "This is my experience, because I rode already three bikes, and until you try a bike, you can't know every detail of it. Especially the difference from the morning to the afternoon. The conditions always change. So yes, the riders can normally understand and analyze the situation, but it's easy to not see everything." How accurately could another rider judge it? As accurately as 95%? "Maybe less," Dovizioso said. "If you race in your career just one bike, it's less. If you have different experience, you can know more about that, but the rules change, the bikes change, so I can't speak about Honda, it was a long time ago."
The one point which Rossi did press home in his attack on Márquez was that it was unusual for the Spaniard not to ever attempt to pass the rider in front. "For me, if you check the races of Marc Marquez in the last two years you know he always tries to overtake and minimum on the last lap," Rossi said. "So the question is why Marc Marquez never tried to overtake Jorge Lorenzo and never tried to make one attempt on the last lap?"
Márquez' explanation was simple. "I don’t know about Dani, but I was struggling with the front, especially in the beginning," Márquez said. "Then in the end, in the last six laps, I see that the victory was possible, but when Dani overtake me we lose this half second, it was impossible to catch Jorge again." Márquez said that his plan had been to try to pass in the final lap, but his attack had been preempted by Pedrosa, the exchange between the two Repsol Hondas putting too much gap between them and the Movistar Yamaha of Lorenzo.
Horses for courses
Why had Márquez not attacked Lorenzo earlier? At the last race, Márquez had passed Rossi and been passed back nine times in a single lap, but at Valencia, Márquez had not attempted a single pass. In part, that was down to tactics, Márquez following the same strategy he had used at both Indianapolis and Assen, following the rider in front without challenging for most of the race, only launching an attack in the final laps – or in the case of Assen, in the final corner – of the race. In part, it was down to the nature of the bikes and the track, one anonymous MotoGP rider ascribing the passes between Rossi and Márquez to the different nature of the Honda and the Yamaha, Márquez striking where the Honda was stronger, Rossi hitting back in the area where the Yamaha was better.
Then, of course, there was the fact that the two races were held under very different circumstances. At Sepang, Márquez was racing against a rider who had publicly attacked and humiliated him in the press conference on Thursday, and his blood lust was up. Márquez had received a private dressing down from Race Direction for those actions, and been told not to take unnecessary risks around riders racing for the championship. A suitably chastened Márquez was racing at Valencia against a rider who was looking to win a title, and was never quite close enough to make a clean and safe pass. The Spaniard was only occasionally close enough, but it was never possible to do so cleanly, and without a major risk of crashing.
The biggest problem Márquez had was the difference in acceleration out of the final corner. The Hondas have been complaining of a lack of acceleration all year, the rear tire spinning too much to provide good forward drive. The Yamahas have fantastic mechanical grip, getting drive out of the final corner to launch themselves down the straight with enough advantage to easily hold off the Hondas in the braking zone into Turn 1. Turn 6 was the only place where Márquez had the pace to pass Lorenzo, but he could never do it safely in previous laps, and had Pedrosa to deal with on the last couple of laps.
Santa's little helper?
Did Márquez really decide the title in favor of Lorenzo? That seems an odd accusation for two men who have little love lost between them. Lorenzo regards Márquez as the Spanish usurper, the man who stole the popularity which by rights belongs to him. Márquez regards Lorenzo with the same disdain he has for all of his rivals, as an obstacle to victory and to championship glory. Márquez revels in attacking and beating Lorenzo, especially given Lorenzo's public complaints about Márquez' riding. There is nothing Márquez likes more than to beat Lorenzo in a close battle, after the comments which Lorenzo has repeatedly made about how dangerous a rider Márquez is.
The strangest aspect of Rossi's attack on Márquez is that he appeared to be shifting the responsibility for winning the title from the Italian's own shoulders onto the man he had so publicly attacked. Despite Rossi's brilliant early laps – and they were truly things of beauty, passes executed with surgical and ruthless precision – his race pace was simply not up to that of the front three. Lorenzo and Márquez ran laps of between 1'31.5 and 1'31.9 just about all race long. Pedrosa ran laps of 1'31.7, lost ground as he slowed up with an overheating front tire to clock a string of 1'31.9s and 1'32s, before upping the pace again and hitting a 1'31.5 to catch the leaders.
Rossi, meanwhile, was running consistent 1'32.1 and 1'32.2. Fast enough for fourth, but nowhere near good enough for the win. Even if Rossi had started from the front row of the grid, and not had to fight his way forward through the pack (a battle which was over shortly after one third distance), he did not have the pace to beat Lorenzo, nor even the pace to beat the two Hondas. Rossi finished where his race pace dictated, regardless of where he had started. That race pace was roughly in line with what he had shown during practice, a couple of tenths short of the pace of the leaders.
If you ain't got the speed ...
By placing the onus on the Hondas to beat Lorenzo, he is deflecting responsibility of his own failure to do so. All throughout the year, every rider in the paddock bar one has said that the championship has basically been between Jorge Lorenzo, who is the faster of the two, and Valentino Rossi, who has been more consistent and smarter. The faster rider may not always win, but over a full season of eighteen races, having the speed helps.
Even in the races where Rossi has accused Márquez of helping Lorenzo, his accusations do not bear close scrutiny. In Australia, Rossi accused Márquez of holding him and Andrea Iannone up in order to allow Lorenzo to get a gap, which only Márquez could bridge. Yet Márquez finished ahead of Lorenzo, taking five points from the Spaniard, and Iannone finished in front of Rossi, taking three points from the Italian. At Sepang, Rossi was not fast enough to catch Lorenzo after he forced Márquez wide, lapping slower than his teammate. If he had not been suckered into battling with Márquez – clearly Márquez' plan, as revenge for Rossi's humiliation of him in the press conference – then Rossi would have finished either third or fourth, again losing points to Lorenzo. And if Rossi had truly been faster than Márquez, he would have quickly disposed of the Spaniard and gone on to chase Lorenzo. But Rossi wasn't quicker than Márquez, and got sucked into a battle he had nothing to gain from and no point fighting.
Jorge Lorenzo made his feelings about the entire affair clear in the press conference after the race. "I think I clearly deserve this world title," Lorenzo said. "If you see the statistics compared to our rival, we beat him in everything: in victories, in pole positions, in fast laps, in laps leading the race, in laps leading the practice, and everything. Only in podiums, and in the consistency, he beat us." If Rossi could point to events that worked against him, so could Lorenzo: a loose helmet lining at Qatar, bronchitis at Austin, tire troubles at Argentina, visor fogging at Silverstone, and a stupid mistake at Misano. If Lorenzo had not got suckered in trying to follow Scott Redding at Misano on slicks fresh out of the pits, the Spaniard finishes in second or third, Rossi then finishing in sixth. In that case, Lorenzo heads into Valencia with either a 14 or 11 point lead. Either way, the task goes from being difficult to being impossible, with or without help from the two Repsol Hondas.
While the above may be open to interpretation, There are a couple more indisputable facts about the 2015 championship which bear consideration. The first is that this has been one of the most thrilling and keenly contested championships in years, the title only being decided in Valencia. The second is that Yamaha built a fantastic bike in the YZR-M1, arguably the best racing motorcycle ever to see the light of day. The 2015 M1 kept all of the strengths of last year's bike, while the combination of chassis revisions, electronics and the fully seamless gearbox removed the bike's weaknesses.
The third is that both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo deserved the title, both riding better than they have ever done in their careers. What Rossi has done at the age of 36, and after spending so long in the doldrums at Ducati and afterwards, is truly remarkable. To be able to summon up the self-discipline and desire to push his body and his riding skills to try to beat younger men than he, men who grew up watching Rossi, copying him, learning his tricks and trying to improve upon them, is a feat that puts Rossi on a level beyond anything seen in history.
For Jorge Lorenzo, in 2015 he came back stronger than he has ever been in his career, having learned from his mistakes of last year, and inventing new ways to ride around problems whenever he encountered them. Lorenzo may have a strong preference for the Bridgestone tires with more edge grip, but he never had to search for the perfect set up, being quick on the bike despite the setting he had in it, and more consistent when Ramon Forcada fixed the problems he had.
Poisoning the well
Most of all, though, Rossi's decision to attack Marc Márquez so publicly has thoroughly destroyed the credibility of the series, and detracts both from the value of Jorge Lorenzo's championship and his own performance in 2015. By attacking Márquez, Rossi is admitting that he did not have the championship in his own hands, and needed help from other riders to win it. Why he thought those riders would want help him after he launched such blistering attack on them is something of a mystery.
The timing and method of Rossi's attack was itself interesting. Firstly, he spoke to Italian television to make his complaint, his preferred way of speaking directly to the Italian people, a method he used on occasion to try to persuade Ducati to make the changes that were needed if the bike was to be competitive. Then, in his customary media debrief, where he explains to the press how his race went, he broke the habit of every debrief I have ever been in with him, speaking first in Italian (and live on TV) before switching to English. That was curious indeed, but it allowed him to make the accusations in his native language first, the language he is far more comfortable with and in which he can be more precise. He then repeated the same claims in English, and though his English is excellent, it was clear that he was still thinking in Italian.
The most informative vignette was on Italian television, when Carmelo Ezpeleta came along to congratulate him on a great season. Rossi made a very public show of saying to Ezpeleta "I told you so! Didn't I tell you on Thursday this would happen?" Rossi had apparently been to see Ezpeleta on Thursday, to warn him of a "Spanish plot" against him. The most intriguing words followed, an almost throwaway line. "I will see you in my motorhome later," Rossi said. For a MotoGP rider to be summoning the CEO of Dorna, the man who runs the series, to his motorhome, is a sign that the balance of power is out of kilter. Carmelo Ezpeleta should be summoning riders to his office at his own convenience. He should not be at the beck and call of riders, for them to summon him as they please.
After his bitter attack on Márquez, Rossi then did not show up at the FIM Gala Award Ceremony, the official prize giving ceremony for the 2015 championship. That is a snub not just of Dorna, who organize the series, but of the FIM, the international federation under whose auspices MotoGP is run. It is a further sign, if any were needed, that Valentino Rossi has taken this loss exceptionally badly, and is in no mood to be gracious in defeat. He believes that someone else is to blame, and he is not afraid to call them out for it.
Bigger than the sport?
There is a grave danger to Rossi's strategy, one that hurts both the championship and himself. Rossi's attack undermines not just the credibility of this year's championship, but of every championship in the future. If fans believe this year's title was fixed, they are more likely to regard next year's championship as fixed as well. Accusing other riders of foul play is opening a Pandora's box of conspiracy and paranoia that will not be tamed, and will grow wildly out of control. If fans stop watching because they believe that MotoGP is not fair, fewer fans will watch to see Rossi enjoy success in the future.
Is MotoGP rigged? If it was, then it would be rigged for maximum financial gain, and that would mean that Valentino Rossi would win every championship. Rossi remains the giant of the sport, the man who is bigger than the series, the rider who sells the championship to casual fans and brings an international appeal to motorcycle racing. If Dorna had their way, they would not choose to have Jorge Lorenzo – clearly the fastest man this year, and arguably one of the fastest riders ever to walk the earth, but not a lovable or even likable character in the slightest – win the championship. Instead, they would have their big ticket riders, Valentino Rossi and Marc Márquez win the title.
Does Marc Márquez want a Spanish champion? He certainly does, but only if that Spanish rider is called Marc Márquez. Motorcycle racers are deeply egotistical, and care only about their own achievements. Marc Márquez helping Jorge Lorenzo to beat Valentino Rossi makes as much sense as Max Biaggi helping Rossi beat Sete Gibernau. There is a logic there, but it is an entirely abstract logic which bears no relation to the human reality of the situation.
The truth is out there
Can we believe what we saw on Sunday? The facts speak for themselves, but we should be careful not to read things into them which may or may not be there. Did Marc Márquez really let Jorge Lorenzo win? Whether he did or not, we will never know, and speculating about it is particularly pointless. Did Marc Márquez cost Valentino Rossi his tenth world title? This we can be a little more certain of: blaming Márquez is as valid as blaming Andrea Iannone for Phillip Island, or Rossi himself for a misjudgment at Misano where he stayed out too long, or Andrea Dovizioso for being faster at Austin, or Iannone at Mugello, or Pedrosa at Aragon. All of those riders interfered with the championship, just as all the riders who let Rossi past at Valencia interfered with the championship. It is an entirely simplistic and narrow view of what a MotoGP championship is.
There were eighteen races this season, and points were handed out at each race, each race was run under its own specific circumstances, and there were surprises, oddities and weirdness every race weekend. The point of a motorcycle championship over so many races is to even out the rough patches, to average out the performances, so that the rider who has performed best over the course of the season receives the title. In 2015, that was Jorge Lorenzo, by one of the slimmest margins in a very long time. Valentino Rossi fought like a lion, and comported himself with great dignity as a racer, all the way to the end. But from Sepang onwards, that dignity disappeared, and Rossi looked like an old racer searching for excuses.
That tarnishes the image of a rider who has a legitimate claim to be regarded as the greatest of all time. More importantly, that tarnishes the image of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, and MotoGP in particular. That is a very bad thing indeed, as Grand Prix racing will continue long after Valentino Rossi retires. Sometimes, an athlete is bigger than the sport he competes in. But that sport has to ensure that it is not crushed under the weight of that athlete's reputation when they leave.
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Actually there are winners!
Lorenzo prevailed. True, he was the architect of his own mistakes (san marino) but the season is more than one race.
He made a solid comeback from a low point and took the title, I'm not sure what is so taboo about someone (anyone) with a soapbox actually telling it how it is.
Rossi was under the radar right up until Sepang when he made his accusations and buried his chances. What he's done is change the racing forever, including new rules - which will unfortunately be introduced later. Not content with that he's continued on, using the status he holds with the media to continue to go on his emotional rampage littered with collateral damage but in the end the faster rider was gaining the momentum to overhaul a 'safe' lead.
Yes there are a lot of losers but there's always a winner. Despite his 'dorky' and somewhat contrived style and emotional displays, Jorge Lorenzo overhauled a season long deficit to win the championship in an unmatched display of domination.
It might be more interesting or newsworthy to think otherwise but it ain't the true story.
correct me if im wrong.
Didnt marc wait until the last lap at assen to make the move on rossi? So really his statement could be true. Dani made the lunge on him giving lorenzo the breathing room so marc couldnt make the attempt he was planning on the last lap. I dont know if thats all fact or not but we are all going to see what we want any way arent we.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
And had Marquez been within
And had Marquez been within the points to win the championship, I have no doubt that he would have made a last-corner lunge at Lorenzo in that situation even after the attempt by Dani created the small gap.
All I can say is that true champions never complain, they persevere and either win, or know in silence that they did all they could. True champions never lose their composure.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
Not at Assen, there were one
Not at Assen, there were one or two attempts before hand. It gave us the great move where Rossi went underneath and wide at the double right hander and then rode round the outside.
My views on Marquez's race don't mean I think he stopped Rossi from winning the title. Who is to say if Marquez did actually try a pass then Pedrosa could of also taken Lorenzo who could then of got one of them back on the last lap/corner to win the title.
It feels to me like Marquez didn't even try. Strategy wise he knew he could try into turn 6 and less so the final turn. He sat on the rear wheel and only showed any racing intent when Pedrosa went past.
It's getting to a point where if you have one point of view you are credited with having every view from that side of the argument. I don't think there was a fix, I do think Marquez was screwing with Rossi in Sepang. We won't know Rossi's speed and if he could of rode away from Marquez because he chucked his bike into Rossi's line every time Rossi went past, hence the frustration.
With hindsight they should of suspended the penalty and just let us all have the great battle to end the season. We aren't talking a T-bone at Sepang, it was Rossi running Marquez to the edge of the track and Marquez riding into his side as usual. Two bad decisions that had much higher stakes for one of the riders.
If we continue to put stock in internet trolls there is no point in having forums, having TV presenters or even an official website. There are idiots for every fan group in the world. Rossi has more because he is a superstar and of the greatest of all time. There are Lorenzo and Marquez fans who are just as bad.
They should be ignored in favour of giving attention to people who use the platforms for respectful discussions. It's the price of the internet these days and everyone seems to of forgotten that. Those people who make outlandish claims and horrible remarks are doing it on many other subjects too.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
Rossi did not lead Assen flag to flag
At the Assen race this year, Rossi crossed the line in first place for laps 1-19, then Marquez was in first for laps 20-23, then Rossi was back in first for laps 24-26. I got this information in roughly 30 seconds from motogp.com; not sure why everyone is insisting that Assen is an example of Marquez waiting until the last lap to challenge for the lead.
To me, Dani is the hero from Valencia. He was actually trying for the win and Marquez shut him down, letting Lorenzo escape. Marquez's actions on Dani proved beyond a doubt that a) Marquez had the speed to pass Lorenzo and b) he was riding to ensure Lorenzo's win.
I think Rossi's ride from the back was some of the most exciting racing of the year and the race ended exactly as I had predicted. Rossi completely called it and there's nothing anyone can do now.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
Indy as well
Marc did the same thing at Indy. Followed for 24 laps, never showing Jorge a wheel once, only passing for the win with three laps remaining.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
Correction for wrongness
Marc passed Vale with 7 laps to go. Vale passed him back with 3 laps remaining. Marc counter-attacked immediately but Vale held the lead with a better drive out of the corner.
THEN Marc attempted his
collisionpass on the last lap.
In reply to correct me if im wrong. by mrmakrus
But from his pit board
But from his pit board couldn't he see that Dani was coming? Wouldn't that have been the signal to go for first before losing out to second?
"Most of all, though, Rossi's decision to attack Marc Márquez so publicly has thoroughly destroyed the credibility of the series..."
No, I don't think so. I have watched Rossi since he rode 125's. I admired him then, and still admire his riding skill. I had suspected the outcome of the series from abt Motegi onwards and mentioned to friends that, although Lorenzo was clearly the faster rider, I would be disappointed if Rossi got right through to the last race then lost the series. It just did not seem fair.
However, his outburst at Sepang disillusioned me. Rather than destroying the credibility of the series he has destroyed his own credibility. I suspect many other fans will feel the same.
Hopefully he can get over this and return next year with a clear mind.
That about sums it up.
In reply to I'd say by johnjaundice
I am missing the most important stakeholders´ view in this: if we look at what it is - a business - we would have to ask "cui bono" also for the situation we are in.
Would you agree that if Honda would not be able to win the championship, it would be a far better marketing coup for Yamaha if Rossi wins - something Honda would not want to happen then?
BTW: Posting this from the track in Jerez and even the spanish say that something was foul around Marquez´ behaviour - I do not want to sit in his sponsor negotiations...
Brilliant roundup of such a complex and emotive situation, possibly your best yet!
I'm glad Lorenzo won, I don't particularly like him and he may or may not have been cut a small amount of slack at the end, but he rode fast and hard and clean all year. The same can't be said of his rival.
Once again, I'm greatly looking forward to the post-Rossi era, there's just too much of a circus act surrounding him.
In reply to Wow. by breganzane
He'll prolly be a part of the
He'll prolly be a part of the series until he passes.
Can a GP rider tell if another rider is on the limit?...
Well, a certain architect of many, many gp wins from Gardner, Doohan and Rossi once made a comment that indicates observations from both himself and multi-time champion Valentino Rossi aren't worth tuppence when it comes to outside observation.
That famous 80 second fix never did come to fruition, along with any form of win or serious contention after 2 full years of the most embarrassing and money wasting exercise in recent gp history.
This why motomatters.com matters
Fair, balanced and eloquent opinions written and expressed clearly and with no intoxicating bias.
I agree with you. There is nothing more to add except some personal concerns.
I'm also very worried in how FIM and Dorna will salavage the sitution. Thay have the winter to rebuild the series and remind people it's about racing first and foremost. But they have to destroy some myths, difuse some bombs and build some bridges.
For example, Lorenzo doesn't have to be loved, but he should at least be respected. His results speak for himself and his stats place him among all time greats, despite racing against three of the greatest ever (VR, CS, MM) and others with titles and remarkable careers. So how can he be booed in his own country after winning the race and title? Something is very very wrong. MotoGP can not become hostage of a single rider's success and popularity.
Dorna and FIM clearly have to reach out to someone. It will be a tragedy of horrific proportions if 2016 is a world wide tour of booing and disrespecting the winners.
In reply to This why motomatters.com matters by clx
Why even MM fans booed the final laps
I was at the race sat in the stand over the pits. During the last few laps when MM appeared to be aborting opportunities to overtake the Spanish fans (even those wearing MM and JL colours) were booing as clearly they were not seeing the racing we had all come (and paid a lot of money) to see. I was amazed. I assumed that a fan in MM colours would be loyal no matter what. One even ripped his shirt off and threw it in disgust. Not nice to hear boos at a final race of MotoGP, but I actually took some faith in the fact that motor racing fans are exactly that -- they want to see racing first and foremost and no matter how partisan they are for a given rider, when a rider appears to be holding back and ruining the spectacle then enough is enough.
In Phillip Island I thought Marc was just playing games, almost as if he was enjoying making a battle with Iannone and Rossi for entertainment -- as evident by the fact when he had enough of that he easily overtook JL as well -- I'm not sure it was premeditated against VR. The biggest mistake Rossi made IMO was to verbally attack MM, that set the stall for the next races and MM was going to make sure he didn't win the title, which is exactly what we saw happen in Valencia. VR would have done better to make light of what happened in Phillip Island -- keep your friends close and your enemies closer...
JL deserves the title as much as VR based on results during the year, but not in those circumstances on final race day, it is a hollow victory when you know deep down you won the title with a little help from the most unlikeliest of sources. Everyone appears to have lost this year. Dani came out with the most dignity. JL's comments in trying to get VR disqualified was another serious low point.
Who knows what would have happened even if MM had made a move? We will never know. But the fans were RIGHT to boo each aborted overtake in the final stages, true racing fans don't ever want to see that again.
Extremely well said.
To me, the biggest disappointment is the 'fans'. I have never before read such a pile of one-eyed, blinkered hatred from all sides.
If I was a rider and that was my fanbase, I wouldn't want them.
The stuff being said about MM/Lorenzo at the moment is particularly disgusting.
In reply to Good analysis by Russki_Bear
What a great read, Thankyou.
Have to echo the thoughts of Russki_Bear. Like my Mum says, "if you got nothing constructive/helpful to say about something/someone, then say nothing".
Duel of the Fates
David, this was an excellent article that examined all of the relevant facts. I particularly enjoyed your questioning of Marc throughout the weekend to try and get inside the clever youngster's brain.
I am not sure if Rossi is taking this defeat hard, or that he sincerely believes there was a plot against him. Rossi has been beaten before by Lorenzo, Marquez, Stoner and a few others. He has never reacted in such a way. Could it be a result of him losing faith in his own speed? Perhaps. Are we then witnessing the fall of the greatest champion in the history of MotoGP? The possibility remains.
The other interpretation of these events is concisely summed up by Neil Hodgson at BTSport:
(source: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1075451149133707 )
"The most aggressive rider I've ever seen ride a motorcycle is Marc Marquez. How many overtaking maneuvers did he make on Jorge Lorenzo? Zilch. The only aggressive overtaking maneuver he made was on his teammate. Unbelievable. I feel like he rode like he was totally protecting Jorge Lorenzo [...]"
The full clip is worth listening to. To backup this claim, is none other than Jorge Lorenzo himself at the Movistar press conference:
(source: http://www.crash.net/motogp/news/225017/1/marquez-pedrosa-no-spanish-ti… ):
From the article:
Lorenzo appeared to suggest that Marquez and Pedrosa had helped him at Valencia by not attempting to make a pass during the championship finale, telling the Movistar MotoGP channel: “They knew what I had in play. The fact they are Spaniards like me helped me.
“That helped me because for sure in another kind of race they would have tried to overtake, which they didn't this time.
“If Valentino had been in my position and with Italians behind they would have done exactly the same. The title had to be for Spain.”
Lorenzo later appeared to backtrack, stating that he 'could not see the race from the outside' and adding that he had gained more insight into the race from Marquez and Pedrosa's explanation over why they were unable to challenge for the win. "
A shadow will forever linger over this championship, this much is certain. But as the season came to a close, Rossi's allegations accumulated evidence, while Marquez's defences became ever more suspect.
If we examine this other possibility, the inverse of the fall of the great man, we will see another equally likely scenario.
Marc Marquez has never faced the level of adversity he's encountered this year in MotoGP. I personally asked him in Indiannapolis if this year was important to him, and if he would continue fighting in the hope of lifting the trophy. His answer was an emphatic yes, and it was clear from his tone and his determination that he believed every word of it: he could become champion, just as he had since stepping into MotoGP.
But his belief in his raw talent, and his mad do-or-die gamble to win every race or crash trying, took its toll. He crashed seven times, two of which could charitably be attributed to Rossi. The other five were of his own making, and his alone. Perhaps, just as we accuse Rossi of shifting blame, Marc did the same much earlier? Incapable of believing that he would crash out of 7 races, he blamed Rossi for putting him in a situation where he had to go all in every race. And this insidious thought had its roots in Argentina.
And so we come full circle, to the mirror inverse of the broken old champion making excuses for his declining talent: the young, arrogant, petulant hotshot who believes he is invincible, and that the world championship belongs to him from the moment he steps into the arena. That he can do no wrong, and is entitled to victory year after year for simply being who he is. And that this year his divinely ordained destiny was corrupted by a washed up old man employing trickery and sleight of hand.
Yes indeed, two faces to a coin. We've met and seen countless athletes who fit into these shoes. Oftentimes it is the same athlete at different times in his life. It is the vicious cycle of sport, that irrational desire to constantly prove against all odds that one is chosen above others, a true hero chosen by the gods.
Whatever the truth, none of the men involved are innocent. There is no victim here. Only two men at different stages in their heroic journey, destined to savagely test their wills against one another till one triumphs.
This is far from over.
In reply to Duel of the Fates by rsciandphi
Excellent point you make re the psychological mindset of the riders (though very subjective). I've never looked at it from MM's perspective with him cast, perhaps in his mind, as the current iteration of VR's Nastro Azzuri #46 Honda was to Biaggi, Gibernau et al (the infamous Mosquito).
What does this singular mindset say about Grand Prix Championship racing ? That despite the machines, it all boils down to the mental contest between the top riders and the finely judged determination to win, almost at all costs.
In reply to Duel of the Fates by rsciandphi
Great post! Regarding
Regarding Marquez, I would add that he is entitled to support whomever he wants. I do not believe these riders are completely neutral when it comes to who they want to win the WC, if they have no chance themselves. And I do believe Lorenzo was the lesser of the two evils in Marquez's mind (IMO). Rossi saw the writing on walls in Australia and decided to push Marquez to either back off or show his hands. Marquez did the latter.
Thank you David for pointing out that Rossi had his faith in his own hands. All he had to do is beat Lorenzo just one time in the last 3 races.
In reply to Duel of the Fates by rsciandphi
Sorry to go off topic but what is Toseland doing with that top-knot! Will he be growing a beard and going to full 'hipster' next? Someone needs to have a word.
Sorry, had to be said.
In reply to Oh no! by swiftnick
Some things just need to be said!
They must think he brings lady viewers, cuz he's a terrible commentator. He has no opinion really and it changes with who ever is talking. I can get past that I guess, but the man bun is the last straw!!!! haha
In reply to Duel of the Fates by rsciandphi
Definitely not over. Matter of fact, in about 7hrs the test begins & motogp.com are live streaming the entire test for both days. New tyres, new bikes, control electronics- lots coming up.
Yes. Thanks, David. Well put.
I hoped Rossi would pull this one out, but Lorenzo deserves his title. His responses after the race showed him to be a real human and perhaps garnered some new supporters. Rossi, on the other hand, broke his own typically well-polished media savvy, making himself seem like a petulant child in the process. I look forward to getting back to racing, not name-calling, next year
Sounds like Rossi did himself
Sounds like Rossi did himself no favors by making the claims that he did, especially after all that when down in Sepang. Such a shame; I was hoping he'd win but blaming other for his failure does not do justice to himself or anyone else.
Bravo, Mr. Emmett,
bravo! Thank you for seeing right through the madness, and writing so eloquently about it. As one of my racing buds says, Pulitzer-worthy.
Just realised that the
Just realised that the RedBull KTM have gone to Valencia for the last 3 seasons (of only 4), with a chance at the title, and not had it work out in their favour once.
The Michelin Test that follows this GP, are the times going to be public?
Looking forward to Rins vs Zacro next year, hopefully Rins can make it a good fight, that was the sad part Vinales going to Suzuki, Vinales vs Zarco could have made for an interesting season in Moto2.
Brilliant Summary of 2015
Excellent article which should be the forward in the "2015 MotoGP Review" if such a book is ever published.
I am in no way a Lorenzo fan, finding him oscillating back and forth between "dignified champion" and "childish brat" all in a span of minutes. However, the fact is he *was* the fastest man in MotoGP this year and very much deserves the title. He has been crowned the champion and the best course of action he could/should take is to take the high road and say as little as possible.
As for Valentino, his performance this year was also truly remarkable and while I was so very disappointed that he let himself "lose control" in Sepang, I believe he felt he had no other choice (i.e. I submit that if Marquez had not gone down and even chose to work with Rossi to catch Lor/Ped, they likely would have failed and Rossi may have even ended up 4th behind Marquez leaving only a 4 point gap for Lorenzo to overcome in Valencia; Rossi then qualifies 4th, starts on the 2nd row and finishes 4th, maybe 3rd but Lorenzo still wins the title).
While I see the potential for fans to cry foul that races are "fixed" even before they are run, I believe this will only provide fodder for off-season discussion(s) and I am already intrigued to see what happens in 2016 and its myriad of rule changes.
David, your coverage of the season and especially these last 4 races has added much to my enjoyment even when I do not necessarily agree with you but always I respect your insights.
I just submitted and "end of year" donation - and encourage others to do so as well to keep Mr. Emmett able to do what he does best.
2016 - Here we go!!!
David, they should let you write the History Books. Thank you for trading in facts, data, and informed opinions. I still feel that there is a little something to Rossi's accusations, but Caesar is starting to think he's a god. Let us hope MotoGP doesn't get knifed for it.
I love Rossi for what he does and how he does it, but I hope he comes back with an apology after a few weeks by the pool at home. This business about implying Lorenzo didn't deserve the Championship is bullshit.*
(*I recall something on Twitter about him saying this, in Italian, earlier today. I hope I'm wrong.)
I really enjoyed this article. As said before, it really does sum this craziness up.
2016, i'll be watching. Already waiting for the Tuesday Michelin test.
A few points
I'm generally in camp Rossi, though I do think he made a pivotal mistake in airing his views publicly. I also think you've done an admirable job with this column, David. That said, there are a few points with which I'd quibble:
1) Rossi's lap times. Clearly, he wasn't going to be able to run the leaders' pace while working his way through 20-odd other riders. And when he arrived at P4, it was clear that no amount of effort was going to close the 11+ second gap to the leaders. At that point, his championship chances were entirely out of his hands. All he needed to do was hold P4. Upping the pace would only have increased his risk of crashing out. That being the case, I don't really see his lap times as necessarily reflective of his true capabilities during the race.
2) Marquez and his motivation: You say that racers "care only about their own achievements." I think that's too strong a statement. Imagine, for a moment, that you're Mark Marquez, and (as has been reported) you're really, really angry with Rossi over the incidents in Argentina and Assen. In fact, you might even hold him responsible for depriving you of a title shot. Is it really so far-fetched that you might want to exact a bit of revenge? Especially when, for reasons your column explicates, it's very, very difficult for an onlooker to prove any actual wrongdoing? People--especially young, intense people--do things like this all the time, even when it's not logical.
3) Rossi's accusations: One point that I think deserved inclusion. Perhaps you didn't see this, but for reasons I can't quite fathom, Lorenzo made a statement to the media in which he essentially acknowledged that the Hondas took it easy on him during the race, out of Spanish solidarity.
As an aside: another bit of info I've only seen mentioned one other place, and admittedly haven't verified myself...but an eagle-eyed reader at another site pointed out that, during the battle at Philip Island, Marquez' pit board was keeping him apprised of VR's position even when the latter wasn't directly behind him. That's a bit odd, isn't it?
In the end, I think the folks who consider the idea that Marquez was messing with Rossi ridiculous are being a bit naive.
4) As I think you yourself said a week or so again, this all seems very important right now, but it'll blow over. MotoGP will survive. Seriously diehard partisans aside, most people won't generalize from this one incident and reach the conclusion that the sport is rigged. Next year we'll start it all over again, every man for himself, and for most this will be an old, bad memory. Or just forgotten.
In reply to A few points by Chuck75
What about the Ducatis not putting up a fight?
I know VR fans are complaining about the Hondas not passing Jorge and the Spanish conspiracy but it was pretty clear that the Ducati weren't too keen to hold up VR. Petrucci even lost a place trying to move over for him.
In 2010 Motegi Rossi was interfering with Jorge's race even though he wasn't in the championship, no one did bat an eye then, why accusing Marquez now?
In 2006 everyone's saying how Hayden didn't deserve it since he won less races than Rossi, looking at this year same acquisition can be made towards Rossi.
In reply to A few points by Chuck75
Marquez' pit board at Phillip
Marquez' pit board at Phillip Island showing VR position: you can see it by yourself, as i did, on youtube. In Valencia, instead, they kept signalling "Pedro" in third place.
In reply to A few points by Chuck75
Point #2: Since MM won in
Point #2: Since MM won in Philip Island saving Rossi 5 points, your angle on MM exacting revenge from previous incidents is false. In Malaysia, I agreed with the article ,MM was angry by Rossi's accusation and acted it out in the race.
I thought you said...
...I wouldn't like this? Outstanding. More thoughtful and sober analysis of a situation that has descended into chaos. Thank you, David, for a season of superb commentary. YOU are a credit to this sport.
Congratulations to Lorenzo on a championship well-earned. Sorry to see the old man overshadow a brilliant season by losing the plot toward the end. Learn from your mistakes, gentlemen - move on to race another day.
I for one am relieved that it's over. Time to get back to life.
In reply to I thought you said... by nonlpb
+1. All that is missing from David's work
Would be the old smell of two-Stroke exhaust or maybe some freshly burned race gas to accmpany each article. Week in and week out your team's work puts us at the track, behind the scenes and even into a pilot's mind. Very thankful for your passion and dedication and thank you cor sharing it with all of us.
I am pleased that your paid subscriptions are seemingly on the rise. It is well deserved (and short-sighted of non-paying readers (get your wallets out -we need David to stick around!)
Thanks again, David (Jared, Mat and photoGP)
Racing and 'negative' interference
Not really wanting to flog a dead horse but there is a huge difference between racing for your best position/time and purposely creating a negative interference. You've said that you think VR was "suckered" into fighting with MM at Sepang. So MM forewent his race to battle with VR knowing that a battle would naturally slow them down somewhat?
So if VR was suckered into the battle, do you mean that MM tricked VR or that VR tricked himself? Not that I can really see how he was suckered into a battle. In those circumstances you can't trick someone into a battle but you can force them. MM would have had to have been riding slower than his potential, aside from following and riding slower than his own potential VR had no option. If he had not battled with MM, as some suggest he should have, then he would have been suckered into following MM into 4th unsure if AD was able to catch them up. He was, however, suckered into questioning MM by running him wide and slowing him down. Similarly the only person to sucker JL into following SR was JL himself. To even say he suckered himself is a push, did he have a sudden thought that SR followed him into the pits to swap tyres? It was just a brain fart. A loose lining and fogging visor from a helmet manufacturer that is not considered to produce high quality products, an illness and a stupid mistake don't really offer comparison to being purposely slowed by another rider although the stupid mistake could be compared to VR's inability to qualify well.
I am a Rossi 'fan' but I don't see myself as wearing those yellow tinted glasses that anyone who offers any form of defence for VR is accused of wearing. Meh, maybe I do but I thought DP rode great races in Aragon, Motegi etc, same as AI in PI etc etc etc. I generally agree with your article but we arrive with differing conclusions. I don't believe that DP and AI etc negatively interfered with the WC when running their own races. That is all part of a WC. Riding a slower time than you are able so that you can battle with one person for whatever reason is just wrong. It's wrong for the people that employ you, it's wrong for the people that sponsor you and it's wrong for the fans that watch and have devoted hours of their time and money into following the WC.
From my own armchair perspective, on tracks which allow for heavy braking into slower corners, MM seemed somewhat placid today. He said his 1st qualifying lap at Sepang was at 98% due to JL following. It appeared that he was at 98% for 99.999% of the race today reaching 100% when Dani overtook him.
What I have been surprised about in the past fortnight is the number of people who have the John Terry attitude when it comes to having or speaking your opinion. "If you haven't raced you can't have an opinion". "If you haven't raced a motoGP bike you can't have an opinion". "If you haven't challanged for a MotoGP title you can't have an opinion". The best however is the "I can quote someone who has the same belief as I do therefore you are a blinkered, yellow glasses wearing idiot".
Has VR poisoned the well or simply covered it in shit? Did Rossi need to go public with his thoughts? I'm glad he did - I think. Whilst he could have handled it better and has, as things stand, created a world of shit, let's not forget that from shit grow roses.
For his non appearance at the Gala I look forward to finding out his reasons.
Thanks David, that's your best work yet in a year in which your standard has been even higher than usual. It must have been hard to write with the furious storm of commentary crashing around your ears!
I don't think the controversy will hurt the series; everyone I know can't wait for the 2016 season to start now! But if Rossi doesn't retreat from this display of hubris he's going to exit the sport - whenever that may occur - a lesser person than we would all prefer to remember.
Thank you David for another excellent write up as usual. You have turned me into a site supporter midway this season, and I plan to keep it up for the foreseeable future.
I've only been following MotoGP since 2011, and this is the only bike racing series I follow. Like many people, I am left with an unpleasant feeling about how this championship ended. I hope next season will be better and cleaner.
One thing is certain, next year I plan to split my time following bike racing between MotoGP and WSBK. I would love to see Nicky win a championship there to become the only rider to win both MotoGP and WSBK championships. I feel sorry that his departure as well as many other riders' achievements were overshadowed by the events in the last three races.
In the meantime, I look forward to your continued coverage of the sport, beginning with the off-season testing. Michelin have big shoes to fill, and I'm curious to see how much, or little, next year's changes will level the playing field.
Wait for 24 hours to pass
So far, all the comments on your very good piece are rational, mature, reasonable, sane and accurate. I guess all the nutters are still asleep, playing video games, or busy typing with one hand or something. I'll check back after the article has been up for 24 hours. Sadly, I know what I will likely see: the same idiotic fanaticism that has poisoned this whole beautiful thing since Mr. Rossi apparently lost the plot in Malaysia. I'll stop here because it is all just too upsetting, but I will finish by saying: these unbelievable events and subsequent ramifications are at the end of the day attributable to what can be nothing other than purely narcissistic reasoning from the one-time ambassador of the sport, who became deluded and began believing himself to be bigger than the entirety of it. In just two race weekends he has managed to throw it virtually all away - including title number 10. Sad.
But Jorge deserved it after consummately kicking his teammate's ass. That is one very strong and very fast champion. Well done.
P.S. And, no, this is not all done, nor is Mr. Marquez, who is going to come out of this much stronger than he already is at just 22 years young. Thanks Vale.
That phrase, so abused by Nick Harris, and so much deserved for this piece of analytic journalism.
Any attempt to align emotion with reality is so often monumentally flawed. In this case, I believe David has hit the target so accurately, he should be at the VERY LEAST awarded by Dorna with 'journalist of the year', and 'Journalist Laureate' status.
Dorna - are you listening? Your fluff reports are for 10-year-old intellects; grace your audience with reports fit for intelligent human beings. Make David your 'in-depth' reporter if you wish - he provides a dimension to motoGP that is not matched elsewhere.
I have personally left mtm forums - along with others - as they have become infested with partisans incapable of maintaining the ethos of 'intelligent debate'. However, I remain faithful that this is the BEST site for balanced and intelligent editorial comment on motoGP on the planet, and this piece by David cements that position.
A chapeau, David.
I tried to reach a different opinion, but for me the Occam's Razor conclusion boiled down to... What my eyes saw at Sepang + Valencia was most probably what really happened. So I wind up believing my eyes rather than other, more logical conclusions. Relentless attacks on Rossi at Sepang. And the complete opposite against Lorenzo at Valencia. Shame on Marquez. Shame on Rossi. Even some shame on Lorenzo. Regardless, Jorge deserves his title. Both 99 and 46 raced like lions.
Also, after 50 years of following just about all forms of motorsport (and some years on-track myself), I have to say this... Don't dwell on the fallout from the nastiness. That part will soon recede into the background, and Jorge's championship will remain, and will stand without tarnish. This stuff (or similar) has happened countless times. Prost v Senna. Michael Fucking Schumacher v Alonso Et Al. Andretti v Unser, which wound up in court! Spencer v Roberts 1983 in Sweden, reportedly as dirty as any move ever. Even Harvick and Kenseth just the last few weeks in the USA. All these heated moments of passion for winning gain a perspective over time. And the sport goes on, undiminished. That will happen here too, I am pretty sure.
Great write up..
Thanks for the round up, David. I do not have anything more to add, that sums it up well from all the angles.
We will never know whether Rossi's accusations that started from Phillip Island carry weight or not. If they do, he is super intelligent and if they do not, he is just an aged warrior crying foul after seeing victory slip out of his hands. Great but bitter season in the end!
I just hope MM and JL and possibly more riders develop the human side in addition to talent to graduate to true champions of the sport.
Jorge said this post race:
Jorge said this post race:
“The hardest part of the race was to see Pedrosa get very close. I thought I would run the risk of ending up third and lost the Championship, but in the end, they surely realized that there was a lot at stake for me, maybe in another type of race they could risk more and pass me. Instead they were very good because the title would remain in Spain (…) I always try to be honest, the truth is that I did a race in which I gave my best always, however sincerely today the Honda, it was very difficult to always keep the concentration and stand in front of them. They are Spanish like me and knew what was at stake, so I benefited because maybe without that little help, maybe considering that Valentino did a great race comeback from last to fourth place, he could win the Championship. So this title is mine, it is ours, but also of Spain.”
Rossi lap times, well he started in the rear and passed everyone along the way. His lap times could equally be explained. Burning up tires getting to the front. Riding conservatively to assure his 4th position when he could see the leaders are too far gone.
Respectfully, I cannot dismiss Rossi's claims as easily and a disappointment to read that as I saw the Twitter feeds on here saying something opposite earlier in the day. I know what I saw in the last three races and something is rotten in Denmark. I also don't think he is moving the responsibility to other riders, not at all. I'm only almost twenty years into watching but I have never seen another rider from a competing mfr. do this and I remember, quite vividly, all of Marquez's shenanigans not only in the premier class, but most notably in Moto2. Discounting and/or writing off Valentino Rossi seems to be a reoccurring theme around here so I will say no more.
Best holiday wishes to everyone for the coming (off) season.
I am gutted and angry with vale
As a follower of Vale, (not a fanboy) I am sad about the end of this championship and Vale's behavior after this race... But to believe its just Vale's doing is a bit stretching, yes he dug his grave but I believe he dug a grave where Marc had put a tomb stone already(which is what I believe, but don't have any facts to back it up)...
I believe if Vale had made a step with his setting and found those couple of tenth's regularly in qualifying and race day this championship would have been over by PI... Yes it is Vale to be blamed for not coping up with speed but not his antics of the track...
I hope vale comes out fighting in 2016 and keeps everything on track, he is more than capable of beating Jlo, Marc and Dani come 2016, but he needs to find the couple of tenth's frequently in qualifying and match the pace which is set up-front and not go out finding it on race day...
Hope to see Vale fighting in 2016, but to be realistic he may just win 2 or probably 3 races next year and retire with his name slightly tarnished...
Sad but true...
Cheers Vale still your fan...
time to move on
Firstly thank you very much for a rigorous and clinical post mortem on the 2015 competition, it's really important to have everything laid out in plain view when there is so much smoke and mirrors around.
When a thing becomes as complex as motogp at this level, overlaid as it is with runaway egos and fueled by sponsorship and mass followings you have a recipe for confusion and disarray.
I totally agree that the championship went to the right man, and that he deserves it. This is racing, not a reality TV show where the crowd decide who wins irrespective of merit.
We will never know if Rossi could have made up for his lack of speed and won it by tactical racing and skillful harrying of Lorenzo out of his ferocious ability to focus in the last three rounds. But if he had done that, as long as he stayed within the rules, HE would have desrved the win just as much as Lorenzo. Because as Rossi has said in the past 'this is racing'
However I remain convinced that Marquez is, shall we say, being mischievous. I feel that Marquez's eye is on the bigger prize - Rossi's place in the history books as GOAT, and this is one less championship he has to tick off to get there.
He has the talent to pull this off, certainly the motivation, and if it quacks like a duck etc etc.
I understand Rossi's frustration after everything he has done to bring himself back from the dead at his age only to be deliberately thwarted as he sees it by a smooth operator. But he really should stop now before he does himself irreparable damage.
He really only has two choices: give up or carry on, and he has already chosen the latter, so next season he has to try again.
It is important for his own well-being, having clearly stated his views, followed by a determined dummy-throwing period, that he quickly recovers his self composure, does a more thorough job of denouncing his more vitriolic followers, and does his job next year.
He has raised the question in people's minds, and Marquez will trip himself up eventually I have no doubt. But if Rossi had been faster than Lorenzo this year Marquez never have got the chance to play his games.
And if he can't be faster than everyone next year, it is, at last, time to quit.
The sport will go on, much diminished, but thats the way it is.
I'm sorry but
Sorry guys but I don't see it this way. I'm OK with Rossi losing the championship to an occasionally faster rider, but that isn't telling the whole story either. Marquez was interfering with the championship with interests beyond the normal (trying to win), even Race Direction recognized this for Sepang. Rossi lost the championship in the last round after penalties and such, it is humane that he moves himself out of the blame equation. The fact that he hadn't the same pace with the front three is insignificant. He had nothing to gain by going faster and everything to lose in the case of a crash.
In general and apart from the first couple of laps, Lorenzo isn't faster than Rossi, I'm sorry this theory collides with the facts.
Not Quite On Point - No Racing between VR and JL
While some of what was written in spot on, its clear that your as unsatisfied an angry as the rest of us. Most of the articles anger seems directed at VR calling out MM. I'm not buying MM being free of any part in this mess. While parts of the race were exciting, the outcome was decided on Thursday. You also forget Pedrosa, who true to form and character, had courage and determination, and showed us what racing at the front is all about. Pedrosa is the true champion of 2015. JL and VR both rode great races, made no mistakes and yet they never really raced against each other - that is the worst part. Bottom line is that MM took VR out of the final - 9 passes on one lap at Sepang? In your face and reckless - thats MM. Other aggressive riding? How about Assen, a completely uncontrolled contact by MM into VR - penalty free. How convenient that MM gets a private talking to not do this again one race too late at Valencia and that forgives him for not going for the win? I think these last moments of anger at Valencia were simply delayed reactions and hope the Clash at Sepang would not ruin the final - which unfortunately it clearly did. Hollow victory and not an honourable race between the two best riders - in fact they were effectively prevented from racing against each other. At least everyone walks away and next year we will all be back at it again and starting at 0 points - and all riders can have a real interest in competition. The only thing I can feel really good about is Pedrosa. Perdrosa for President!
I want to believe
I agree with all you say on the perception of events - when Rossi said what he said during Sepang's pre-race press conference I guess most people probably thought "where does this come from", and 2.5 weeks later most people are convinced that Rossi's interpretation is fact.
What I don't agree with is the race lap time analysis and the conclusion Rossi would have ended up 4th anyhow. In fact to me this is also a case of seeing what one wants to see. Yes he was running 32's, but by the time he got to 4th and had an open track, he was well out of contention for 3rd. Those low 32's were enough to open a safe gap behind him so if he could have gone faster, there was no point in going to the absolute limit anymore. Not to mention any extra tire wear during his charge to 4th.
Let's not try to use the facts of his lap times as proof for the interpretation that he finished where he would have if starting from the front. There is no way of knowing what would have happened, and sadly so.
Great ride Lorenzo, great ride Rossi. Only 1 can be first where this season deserved 2 winners.
As always a great analysis
Also true what you say about what Rossi is risking here....
undermining the credibility of the championship.
Sad to see such behavior
Two additional items
your comments are very useful to get a fair analysis of what happened and to become factual rather than “fanatic”.
Watching MoptoGp during a race like Valencia, makes you hope things to happen which might be fully unrealistic.
But I would like to add two items to your analysis which came into my mind reading this morning a Swiss newspaper
- Jorge should have said: “of course Mark and Dani did not attack or pass me. It was for respect of my title chances and for Spain”
- VR on the others hand, besides the words mentioned in your article (which in my opinion is simply a low-level complaint from somebody who does not take defeat well), passed a very serious warning (at least in my opinion). To summarize: it has always been part of moto racing to fight aggressively for a better position/result. Marc Marquez though introduced the new concept of fighting hard to damage somebody (not necessarily to get personal advantages)
None of the above is forbidden. So it is legal! If this will be the trend of the future Moto racing, I believe the sport will lose immediately in popularity.
I personally do NOT want to see Spain vs. Italy or UK against US or Australia vs. Germany. I want to see (possibly fair) but also crude/hard racing to get the best possible results from each racer. I want to see Honda / Suzuki/ Yamaha / Ducati to race against each other to show the best possible technology.
Finally, I detected this season a very big attitude/behavioral change from the Marquez I admired in 2013-14. I hope it is not true, but I kind of felt the “negative influence” of L.Suppo on his (still) young character. I don’t know exactly why, but every time I hear Mr.Suppo speaking I feel he is not the best “couch” to a young rider. At least he is not the one I would choose for my son……
In reply to Two additional items by hockeydoky
Mr. Livio Suppo is the Repsol
Mr. Livio Suppo is the Repsol Honda Team Principal, not Marquez's coach. Marquez's manager/coach is Emilio Alzamora, who is the one that many are saying has a negative influence even having pushed Alberto Puig out of the team. Alzamora is the same guy that supposedly went to talk to Rossi before Sepang telling Rossi that Marquez is angry at him over Argentina and Assen. What is a rider's manager doing talking to a rival on another team?
Not a fan
I am not a fan of any particular rider (well, I tend to root for the underdogs) but have a great admiration for the riding skills of all riders. I just love watching Moto GP. Formula One is just so boring these days.
For me Lorenzo is right when he says "I deserve the title". He was faster and won more races and above all, in the end he had the points to prove it.
Sad to hear that VR thinks that JL is not a worthy champion but everybody deserves a second chance and so does VR. He has given so much to the sport and it will be interesting to see what he can do next year.
In reply to Not a fan by omnibike
What Rossi said
Didn't Rossi say "on the track he's a deserving champion but not off the track." His point about it being tainted has to do with his opinion of the role Marquez played in deciding it.
A worthy champion
A worthy champion does Jorge make, congratulations to him and his team.
My opinion is that Rossi's behavior is disgraceful, whilst he is/was the media master his post race comments infer cheating and corruption on a larger scale, all the while diminishing the integrity of his rivals with direct accusations not just once but three times now. Talk about a sore loser, his manipulation of the press has backfired big time in my view, but we at least catch a larger than life view of the monster within.
Time for the man to leave the stage. he's simply 'become too big for his boots'
As great a motorcycle racer Rossi is he is no longer fast enough and he knows it, sucked into his own legend the desperation to have the tenth title knows no bounds, what with interrogating Pedrosa and Iannone after beating him.........how dare they! geez it must hurt bad.
Watching the race I was hoping Marc didn't bin it, looked pretty on the limit to me, I don't think I could cope with another year of 'Goat' bloat had Rossi come through.
Congratulations to Danny Kent also, narrowly missed the last great choke, geez I hope he gets his head around that in the future.
Awesome ride by Miguel oliveira, they'd have made him president if he won the title!
Absolutely brilliant !
Thks for all the great work you're doing for people who can't live as close as you from the MotoGP world!
I think everything Rossi said
I think everything Rossi said is true and that's racing. I'm not sure why he actually said it out loud except perhaps the pressure got to him. It's even more strange to have a rider speak his mind in this day and age of corporate souls and deleting comments we don't like.
Marc is crashing into people all day and in fact Rossi put him in the ground early in the season when he was tired of it and it was nudge nudge wink wink that time ;) I still use that glorious image as my desktop.
I'm not a Rossi fan, but I'll forever hold that Rossi ran him wide because Marc was rubbing his paint off at a point in the season when he should have been more of a gentleman. Marc crashed into him late in the turn instead of yielding to the large amount of track that was there for him. Rossi did a demo; watch this guy will crash right into me... and he did and then Rossi got the penalty and such fun was had by all.
Rossi is not tarnished in my mind. He's the same man he always has been. If I was him I would have sat the race out and let race direction race if they want to pick winners. Boohoo for me and Vale.
Racers have been rubbing bars and having fist fights in the parking lot since they invented gasoline - regardless of how many cameras we try to stick up their ass (literally..) and how many sponsors hand them white list content and energy drink pacifiers.
I've had just about enough of the BT sports crew. I would rather turn the sound off than listen to Keith pull things out of his ass for 40 minutes like ROSSI KICKED HIS BRAKE LEVER WHAT A SAD DAY FOR MOTORSPORTS and Jules repeat the same nonsense 1000 times until its true. Are we allowed to dislike commentators or is that a harm to our wonderful sport to admit such things? I can never tell these days :)
Oh well, such was MotoGP 2015. It could have been one of the great fights, but it was decided off the track by race direction after much consultation with you know who.
I'm just a trite caveman, but I'm a legit fan of this and only this sport for many years. I'm sad, even though I picked Lorenzo to win going in.
See you all next year. May you all enjoy your winter.
it doesn't really matter
I agree with Dovizioso that it looked strange but we can't really know. Dovi always says it like it is and is an upright fellow much like Hayden. I will also add that I don't think it really matters if Marquez was trying to help Lorenzo to spite Rossi. It seems like racers are helping each other all the time as long as they think it will help themselves in some way or at least won't hurt their interest. Heck Rossi and Iannone are always following each other around in practices. Marquez was towing Ducatis to get them in between (speculative and not this race), teamates trying and slow people up to help their teammate win. Petrucci went wide to let Rossi by, no? So what. It sucks but it happens and Rossi just needed to be strong enough and fast enough to ride around the obstacle if it was indeed "real". I understand he feels bad, but I hope he takes a new perspective and lets go of it, and then focuses on upping his game for next season. He certainly proved he is competitive still. It was a fun season overall. Congrats to Lorenzo on an excellent season- mr. robot.
Thank you David
Thank you David for cutting through the noise that has cast a shadow over this amazing season. Keep on doing what you're doing!
I had hoped that Rossi would have found a way to tone down the rhetoric after Valencia. His accusations do nothing to help him, his team, other riders, and the sport in general. Perhaps he really does believe that he is bigger than the sport, but that kind of an attitude can only hurt his racing going forward.
Congratulations to Lorenzo for his amazing season and his much deserved championship win. I look forward to what the future has in store for him, Marquez, Pedrosa, Ianonne, Espargaro, Smith, and others.
Race direction undermined the championship
Everyone has their own view. Mine is that it was race direction that undermined the championship, by deciding that an unusual but blocking pass should be punished (no one I've discussed this with can precisely describe what element of the pass was irresponsible and dangerous; just eventually just fall back to claiming that it was obvious the pass wasn't normal, Marquez fell, ergo Rossi should be punished).
Views can differ on whether it was justified, but it is a clear fact the 2015 MotoGP championship was decided in an office at Sepang rather than on the track at Valencia, and on a controversial interpretation of a racing incident which punished a rider who had passed another rider.
That decision has robbed Lorenzo of a clear go at the 2015 championship. Obviously, Rossi feels robbed (not all will agree). It has damaged the reputations of at least 1 rider in the eyes of many fans, or 2 riders to some.
It has been an awful end to what should have been one of the best championships in over a decade, because of at least one terrible decision. Compounded and made worse several times over in its aftermath by others.
In reply to Race direction undermined the championship by paulj
No, Rossi undermined it and continues to do so
>>no one I've discussed this with can precisely describe what element of the pass was irresponsible and dangerous
He was fined for that move because he was no longer racing during a race. When you sit up and look back 3 times to adjust your trajectory in order to get in someone's way that is pretty much a clear cut case of not racing while on the racetrack. That is dangerous riding. Someone fell because of it. To deny that indicates a pretty serious case of yellow tinting. Look at Jack Miller's moves last year at PI against Alex Marquez. They were nearly as extreme as Rossi's but Miller kept looking ahead and seemed to be concerned about actually going through the corner. Rossi's sitting up and looking back indicated that he was less concerned with going through the corner as much as getting in Marquez's way.
>>Views can differ on whether it was justified, but it is a clear fact the 2015 MotoGP championship was decided in an office at Sepang rather than on the track at Valencia, and on a controversial interpretation of a racing incident which punished a rider who had passed another rider.
Its funny that when consequences are assigned to actions and people don't like them, the blame is put not on the actions that demanded consequences, but on the consequences themselves. Nicky (as usual) had a clear perspective on this:
“I wish they could have just docked him the points, and let him start on the front row, and let the best man win, but we have a Safety Commission, and we asked them to do it this way, to follow a protocol. We wanted this penalty points system, and now we got it. It would be nicer to do something in the race, you hate for the championship to be decided for something like that, but Race Direction have got a job to do. They can't make special cases. If they would just sit back and do nothing, they would lose all credibility. They can't see what happened, and say, oh no, it was a racing incident, we didn't see it. I just wish it had been a couple of points so it's him and Lorenzo starting one-two tomorrow and may the best man win, but the riders also have to respect Race Direction.”
>> and on a controversial interpretation of a racing incident
You are one of the very few who think of the interpretation as controversial.
>>It has been an awful end to what should have been one of the best championships in over a decade
The entire situation was brought about by Rossi after PI. His Sepang press conference came out of left field. We were all in awe of the stunning race they had just done. Before that nobody had said a word about Marquez manipulating the race and I don't buy the line that Rossi is so smart and knows so much about racing that he can tell what other people are doing. He famously said something like he didn't know the Ducati's limits because it didn't seem like Stoner was trying hard. We all know how that worked out. Now he is judging Marquez'15 as if he was Marquez'14. If it was last year I would agree but think the 6 DNFs have finally tempered him a bit and he has learned not to go for 100% when the bike can only give 99%. If you were looking you could see his tires starting to slide a bit as he closed on Lorenzo, then he backed off and did not slide, then he closed and started to slide again. Yes, he was not as aggressive as earlier in the year or last year but isn't that part of the process of becoming a more mature rider?
I was also impressed by Lorenzo's lines. With his flowing style he sometimes finds it hard to keep the door closed on turn entry and that's where people usually make their passes on him. This race he was inch perfect and didn't leave any openings for Marquez to pry open. Marquez did press him all race long, never more than .5 back, but did not do any lunges because there were no openings. Which is just how he said he'd act before the race.
In reply to No, Rossi undermined it and continues to do so by thecosman
Well you have your view
Just on a point of fact, there was a small but clear time gap between Rossi looking at Marquez and Marquez turning into Rossi, by which stage Rossi is looking ahead and is back on the throttle (judging from front suspection movement). So it's not clear to me that the look contributed in any way.
Regardless, that's irrelevant as that's not what Webb says he penalised Rossi for. Rossi was penalised for pushing Marquez wide. Which seems a decision inconsistent with racing, to me. Getting in the way of others racers, getting to a point on the track before others and blocking them from using it fully is part of racing to me.
Anyway, it doesn't matter. It's done. I would have been very happy to see any of the aliens win the championship, as long as it was by racing - even if hard racing. Blame who you want, but we presumably can agree we have been denied that.
I'll won't really be happy again seeing Marquez win. However, mostly I blame race direction.
In reply to No, Rossi undermined it and continues to do so by thecosman
Race direction would have been within its rights if Rossi and Marquez were fighting for the championship. The stewards would have been forced to penalize Rossi, perhaps exclude his result to protect the integrity of the contest.
But we know that Rossi and Marquez weren't fighting for the championship, though Marquez didn't seem aware of the fact. Marc was irrelevant to the championship. The extent of his influence was his ability to occupy space between Rossi and Lorenzo, which doesn't generally entice a rider to put his health at risk. But Marc wanted to tilt at windmills. He had to defend his honor after PI or something.
Marquez battled with Rossi and Rossi sent him down the road, which was as predictable as the sun rising in the east. For reasons no one can determine, race direction was offended by the unfettered display of competitive motorcycle racing. As a fan, I can't remember Rossi being so gracious in the heat of battle. Punting a competitor towards a nice big piece of asphalt runoff? Has he gone soft? If Stoner had been treated so graciously, perhaps he wouldn't have retired.
Based upon race direction's indifference to Rossi's endangerment of other competitors in the past, Dorna should have awarded Rossi with extra championship points after Malaysia for his display of grandfatherly charity. I'm joking, of course, but mockery is the only thing race direction deserves. They blundered badly, and now the sport is unnecessarily mired in controversy and conspiracy theory.
In reply to Nope by phoenix1
One thing though:
Slowing down and pushing a rider to the edge of the track is not racing.
Whatever Rossi did in the past, he could pull it off as racing.
As stated before: at this level, it is not a matter of fair play. It is a matter of getting away with whatever you want to throw up. Rossi is a master at this, but this time he didn't get away with it.
In reply to Nope by phoenix1
>>Race direction would have been within its rights if Rossi and Marquez were fighting for the championship.
I like how you are telling RD what their rights are. I'm pretty sure they know their rights and responsibilities a lot more accurately than you. Rules are rules and are to be applied equally to all. RD acted within them and nobody really had a problem with the penalty but some, not all, Rossi supporters. RD's call has been upheld by every official to be involved, even implicitly by the CAS by denying the stay. To somehow construct a narrative that everybody in the sport is against Rossi and he is somehow being treated unfairly is to live in a completely alternate reality.
>>But we know that Rossi and Marquez weren't fighting for the championship, though Marquez didn't seem aware of the fact.
Marquez was racing for position on race day, something each competitor is expected to do 18 times a year. Only Rossi expects special treatment that he does not give to others, or for others to treat him differently than he does them, eg. querying Pedrosa about his fighting back at Aragon. And for Rossi to expect kid gloves treatment from Marquez after his press outbursts, that's plain silly. I don't recall Rossi ever taking it easy on anyone, much less after being provoked.
What it really all boils down to is that Rossi and some of his supporters can't fathom that his 10th title was not as important to everyone else on the grid as it was to him. The salt in the wound was that Rossi had no hope to compete with Lorenzo on pace so he had to look for alternate ways ahead. Not a situation he is used to and it backfired in his face.
In reply to yup by thecosman
If it makes you feel better, I wanted Lorenzo to win, but not by deus ex machina. I pay Hollywood scriptwriters for those types of endings, not Dorna.
Race direction spent time and political capital installing a resolution protocol and a system of penalty points to curtail rider indiscretion. In it's third year, after a revision in 2014, the penalty points system has decided the 2015 championship when a tussle occurred between the championship leader and a statistically eliminated competitor. No one is impressed.
Dorna should be thankful that the rider's championship was decided by members of the same team. Who knows what would have transpired, if the championship was between a Repsol Honda rider and a Movistar Yamaha rider.
In reply to Race Direction by phoenix1
Consequences naturally follow actions
>>If it makes you feel better, I wanted Lorenzo to win, but not by deus ex machina.
Who you wanted to win does not matter, that you wanted different rule enforcement because of who it was and the situation they were in does.
>>In it's third year, after a revision in 2014, the penalty points system has decided the 2015 championship when a tussle occurred between the championship leader and a statistically eliminated competitor. No one is impressed.
The penalty points system is not meant to impress anyone. Its there to put a consistent penalty structure on the riders. As far as deciding the 2015 title, this year as always that is decided by the riders' cumulative behavior. If a rider exhibits behavior that is deserving of a penalty, its the behavior that caused the penalty and in fact the more critical a penalty would be for a title shot the more important it is that that penalty is applied fairly and equally. I quoted Nicky before and here it is again on exactly this topic:
"I wish they could have just docked him the points, and let him start on the front row, and let the best man win, but we have a Safety Commission, and we asked them to do it this way, to follow a protocol. We wanted this penalty points system, and now we got it. It would be nicer to do something in the race, you hate for the championship to be decided for something like that, but Race Direction have got a job to do. They can't make special cases. If they would just sit back and do nothing, they would lose all credibility. They can't see what happened, and say, oh no, it was a racing incident, we didn't see it. I just wish it had been a couple of points so it's him and Lorenzo starting one-two tomorrow and may the best man win, but the riders also have to respect Race Direction.”
Do Race Direction do a good job in general?
“I think they do a real good job in general. I have a lot of respect for those guys. They're in a tough spot, because they can't make everybody happy, but I think [Mike] Webb, and the others, they're very professional and they should set a good example for other organisations. Good luck with that job, I wouldn't want it! I hope they get paid good, because who'd want to go around penalising world champions? But even that Moto3 qualifying and stuff, I'm glad it's not me, but they've got to be doing something. It's a job where you're not going to please everybody. Mike Webb [race director] needs a bodyguard any time he goes to Italy.”
>>Who knows what would have transpired, if the championship was between a Repsol Honda rider and a Movistar Yamaha rider.
Why would that have made any difference except for each contender having a wingman to 'interfere' with his opponents.
In reply to Race Direction by phoenix1
Why shouldn't the penalty have been given and enforced?
Rossi rode in a manner contrary to the rules and was justifiably penalised. Not making a decision on a penalty during the race due to the potential affect on the championship a hasty decision could have lead to was a good call. The penalty system allows them to do that.
But not to penalise Rossi at all because of the championship would have been a ridiculous decision. It would give carte blanche to any rider challenging a tight championship to start punting people off, and in addition for riders go after anyone they claim is trying to annoy them.
In reply to Why shouldn't the penalty have been given and enforced? by 2ndclasscitizen
I don't watch for the penalties
We don't watch to see race direction hand out penalties. At the most important event between Lorenzo and Rossi, race direction moved Rossi to the back of the grid because he punted an irrelevant rider who was tilting at windmills in Malaysia. Penalties are a necessary evil, not something to be haphazardly enforced at the most important round of the season.
There is no excuse, no system, and no judicial appeal to fairness that makes Dorna's actions acceptable. It was poor sportsmanship, bad business, and horrendous entertainment.
If I were the Valencia organizers, or the government that paid the sanctioning fee, I'd be reviewing my legal options.
bitter, bitter fall
I am glad this season is over. I will not remember it fondly. Some races, many races, yes, but this bitter, bitter fall has turned me off, at least for the time being.
You were up all night writing this, David. I checked at 4 AM and there was nothing, but you finally posted sometime around 5, I guess. Thanks for that. You covered it all and I really can't disagree with any single point. I used to be, along with my Spanish colleagues and a few Itaiians, the last to leave the Media Center. I am glad I don't have to do that anymore, but I am glad you do because...well, somebody has to do it and I have never read a more complete analysis of such a complicated situation so close to the actual occurrences.
I have scrolled the Italian and Spanish postings, listened to the soundbites. It is very ugly and not so nuanced out there.
I rather fondly hoped that once it had been made abundantly clear that there was no deliberate kick from Rossi's boot in Sepang (that I have had confirmed for me by TV technicians from three MotoGP broadcasters) and after Vito and Carmelo had pleaded with the riders to cool the rhetoric, that we might see a seemly final race.
There is no question that Marc, had he been fighting Jorge for the title, would have taken at least a lunge at Jorge. Our own TV director was in my headsets saying that Marc would pass Jorge with a lap to go and that Jorge would not resist. Both Angel (Nieto) and I working the race for Tele5 were certain that if and when Marc struck, Jorge would remain passive as long as Dani was at a safe distance. That looked probable until the leaders slowed slighlty just as Dani found the late pace to put on a charge.
The Marquez narrative that he was waiting to make a last lap move but that that plan was ruined when Dani came on the scene is plausible.
The delicate way that Marc treated Jorge in this race is exactly according to the unwritten rules of GP sportsmanship. When the title is on the line between others, you ride your race but with caution and respect when you are dealing with the contenders.
Had we not seen the knock-down, drag-out brawl between Marc and Vale in Sepang, we could say that Marc, with no option to the title himself, was showing respect to the Unwritten Riders' Code. And had he not been called out for a public shaming on Thursday in Sepang perhaps he would have been a bit less ruthless in fighting for third right from the start as if it were a matter of life and death in the Malaysian G.P.
Or perhaps Rossi saw it all coming and wanted to call attention to his plight.
I believe Marc believes that Rossi knocked him off with intention in Argentina and that the run through the gravel was a ready ploy in Assen. If you are Marc and you believe that, you might take the strategy that Vale believes Marc did take as of Australia. Only Vale knows whether Marc, if he does believe these things, is right or even partially right.
We often try and brush away unpleasantness in this sport by just saying "That's racing."
And, at the end of the day (and the dawn of the next) that's about the most conclusive thing we can say.
That is racing in its most bitter, most hateful, least heroic guise.
I believe that Kenny Roberts would have liked to have shot Freddie Spencer after the 1983 Imola Grand Prix because of the last-lap and invisible (no TV at the corner, no fans and no revealing photos) clash (without contact) at the penultimate corner of the last lap of the G.P. of Sweden, the race before the Imola final), but instead he agreed to take part in a photo session with Freddie seated in a throne and "King Kenny" placing a crown on his head.
What we saw over the final part of what would have been a great seasons is the polar opposite of Imola 1983. Thanks to Roberts deciding not to go to the motorhome for his gun, Imola was a class act.
But, in all fairness, Roberts could be magnanimous because the guy who beat him was the guy he was racing for the title. Whether that pass at Anderstorp was irresponsable, as Kenny claimed (and still does) or the end result of careful planning over the final laps as Freddie tells it, it is easier to accept defeat when the person who beats you is your direct rival.
After that 1983 season Roberts quit. Rossi plans to race on, so the situation is different. Kenny was done with it. It was over. He will tell you to this day, if he knows you and feels like talking about it, what he really thinks. And Freddie will too, but it ended at Imola with a symbolic crowning of the new king.
For Rossi this is not over so don't expect any friendly photos.
This was not the Race of the Century and not The Best Season on All Time. Damn it!
In reply to bitter, bitter fall by Dennis Noyes
I love the fact that you post in here. I'm sure there is some sort of journalistic etiquette and other elements of personal characteristics that would prevent a 'gentleman' from posting in someone else's column, or allowing another 'gentleman' to post in your own column, but you two are above that kind of white noise and your perspectives and views are fantastic to have here.
I guess that is the difference between real 'gentlemen' and the many other people, including a couple of the riders, that let passions cloud what SHOULD have been The Best Season of All Time. To me, it actually was the best season I have seen in my mind, surrounded by a bunch of white noise.
I have been a huge Rossi fan, but his inability to beat Jorge down the stretch when he should have (Phillip Island and Sepang), and in doing so he could have avoided any 'interference' from Marquez, along with the situations David pointed out (Pedrosa at Aragon and Iannone at PI, etc), combined with Jorge doing what he had to down the stretch, means that Jorge deserved it. I am happy for Jorge, and disappointed in Rossi, but not for his inability to beat Jorge.
I will not be paying any attention to further white noise regarding this season and just remember the spectacular riding we saw all season, especially from Iannone (my choice for rider of the year), Jorge, Valentino, Smith, Viñalez, Marquez, Petrucci...all of them, not to mention the packages that Ducati and Suzuki brought into the mix. From that lens, it was indeed The Best Season of All Time, and I'm excited about next season already!!
Anyway, thanks for posting in here!! You and David are Awesome!
In reply to Awesome by marc1111
Rider of the year
Iannone has been doing great but so has Pedrosa.........Both racing wounded. Iannone with his shoulder problems and Pedrosa first suffering armpump and then his outstanding recovery after surgery. My vote goes to Pedrosa.
In reply to bitter, bitter fall by Dennis Noyes
You are a valuable contribution to David's already wonderful site. Please keep chiming in!
In reply to bitter, bitter fall by Dennis Noyes
Facts and estimations
I absolutely agree with this opinion.
No matter what the thinking and reasoning behind it was, to my eyes it is undeniable that Marquez did not fight as he could have.
David makes a case out of facts against subjective estimations but I think that some of his facts are in reality estimations themselves. There is nothing "factual" from a spectator's point of view that can tell you if a rider was able to launch a pass, apart from the distance of a rider to the one right in front. There's no way, especially for riders who always seem to be sliding around a lot, like Marquez to tell if they are on the limit or not. However, other methods do indeed exist in assessing their behaviour.
I have studied physics, and one of the greatest impressions that this scientific discipline has imprinted into me is the way that nuclear physicists have found to delve into a realm where our senses are absolutely useless. Nuclear physics has given us many gifts (and much terror) however with nothing ever having been produced as an irrefutable piece of immediately perceptible evidence regarding what really is an atom, what really is a neutron, a proton or an electron. Nobody can look into an atom and actually see how it is. Nobody can see the "cloud of probability" that is an electron orbit, and nobody can really see a proton in much the same way that a spectator cannot really see how much "on the limit" a rider is. However, the ingenuity of the academic community has been such that always, between the realm of the invisible (and initially speculative) and our own, tangible world there is a process that creates a connection. An experiment. An experiment in nuclear physics is a set of devices performing various actions, aimed to produce something tangible and countable in our world that relates directly to something in the realm of the microscopically invisible and intangible. One of the main tools of those processes is statistics. If you have a radioactive isotope, its number of fission events per time unit is random, however on any given time unit, and given a specimen of enough atoms, what you get is pretty much a steady stream of fission events. Then one can produce a set of data that tells us how radioactive a particular isotope is. What seems random, on a large scale becomes not-so-random, and statistics has been created to help explain this transition.
If I create a parallelism between this way of thinking and apply it to trying to explain the result of Valencia's race then there is absolutely no doubt that that race was not normal from Marquez's perspective.
I really can't say anything about Sepang or Philip Island on that matter - these races were a total chaos full of passes and action. But Valencia.... There is the most ruthless and aggressive rider the sport has ever seen, shadowing the man at the front, oftentimes right on top of his wheel... but never attempting a pass. If this was the result of just a handful of turns, or even a whole lap, the statistic equivalent would be too small for any safe assumptions, and I would have said "maybe, just maybe he didn't find the chance". But throughout a whole race... it can't be. If it's radioactive then it must eventually produce a fission event... if not, it's just not radioactive. It simply doesn't want to fission. And of course, to top that off comes the evidence of Pedrosa. This rider , at the moment he passed Marquez had a higher pace than the both of Marquez and Lorenzo.... yet suddenly Marquez discovered he suddenly was not on the limit and immediately counterattacked? He passed a guy faster than Lorenzo only to claim afterwards that he was unable to pass Lorenzo due to being on the limit? This can't stand even on pillars of granite.
To my eyes it is more than obvious. It is blatant. Yes, I like Rossi more than the rest but this doesn't make a blind supporter out of me, and certainly not a "fan". I think that Rossi was wrong on his PI and Sepang allegations. And I think that he provoked his fate by launching blame attack against Marquez. And he did so even more with the fateful "go wide" move at Sepang. But what happened in Valencia was absolutely clearly an attempt by Marquez to protect Lorenzo's championship. Justifiable? Right? Wrong? Sportsmanlike? All these are subjective. The only real facts here are that Marquez, the most aggressive rider ever to have scraped his knees on the tarmac of the World Championship racetracks shadowed Lorenzo throughout a whole race without ever launching an attack. This is the only fact we really have.
So far, in general I have found myself to be sharing David's view on all this mess. However, and although this may be too bold a statement, I think that David's position on the Valencia race in particular, essentially acquitting Marquez of any blame due to "inconclusive data" has more to do with an utter desire to distance himself from the booeing onslaught that the sport is currently receiving mostly from Rossi fans rather than to really create an objective assessment of it. I'm sorry if this is offending, (I hope not) but this is my true opinion on the matter.
In reply to Facts and estimations by Jack_Mordino
I have to say that (minus the highly scientific content), this is pretty much exactly what I thought.
Marquez couldn't pass Lorenzo because he was too fast, yet as soon as a rider who is even faster passes him, he can suddenly find just enough extra pace to get past him, but not then attack Lorenzo?
I may have been born at night - but it wasn't last night
In reply to bitter, bitter fall by Dennis Noyes
This is so good it should be
This is so good it should be added to the article.
Race to win...
Rossi has only really said one thing since PI - that he simply hopes every rider will simply race to maximize their own results. Repeated this on Sepang Saturday and why he never took issue with Iannone at PI or DP at Aragon.
I am not a JL fan, and have loved watching both MM and VR over their careers. I find it extremely hard to believe that MM really raced the last 3 races this season to maximize his own results. Not playing in the spirit of the game isn't illegal and typically not even provable, but it did take away from this truly being settled on the track as it should have been, and that's on MM in my book. I do believe that JL would have won this fair and square on the track had that really happened. But it didn't. And that's a pity.
In reply to Race to win... by mailanandkrishnan
Not racing to win the last 3?
He didn't do a very good job at Phillip Island then. And I'd say he couldn't have tried much harder at Sepang, but nobody had Pedrosa's pace that day. I think MM would have left Rossi behind in a few laps, as good a reason as any for Rossi to have pulled such a desperate stunt. At Valencia MM tried the same tactic he employed on Rossi at Assen, the only problem was Dani's late charge made him defend right when he needed to attack, and Lorenzo was just too strong on the exits leading to the tighter turns. Marquez would have had to come from a long way back and he was already over riding the front. All of these circumstances are normal and understandable, but for a Rossi supporter its somehow more plausible that MM has shelved his insatiable desire to win in favour of a totally uncertain attempt to help his biggest rival win the title, because he doesn't like Rossi. Really?
In reply to Not racing to win the last 3? by Machine
Simple and concise
Agree with Machine 100 percent as that is exactly how I saw it.
no more heroes?
Well written David. I haven't seen the post-race interviews, switched off immediately Lorenzo crossed the finish line as I couldn't bear the thought of seeing another of his self-aggrandising, smug celebrations. At least VR did them tongue in cheek.
However, it sounds like VR has sounded off again, which is incredibly disappointing and I will struggle to root for him next year if a more likeable character is in the frame. If it's between him, JL and MM, he'll still have my vote because the other two are just plain dislikable, but I doubt I'll care as much as I did this year.
Valentino showed such class (in front of the cameras anyway) up until Sepang, never talked it up, acknowledged that it was as close as it gets and could go either way. From Sepang onwards he's talked liked a bad loser, which is marginally more unpalatable in my book to a bad winner.
It doesn't matter whether MM played shotgun. Valentino should have done what heroes do, suck it up, cry in private, smile in public.
I'm sure this message will never be published, like some since Sepang, despite the fact that there was no insult in them.
I'm ok with that.
I'v never bought any yellow stickers, I've always been irritated by the stupid yellow army, I hate how Stoner has been judged by them during all these years, same for Lorenzo.
The truth is that, like every one else David, you express your opinion, not facts.
Your opinion can be resumed (with lot less talent than you of course):
- PI was a "real" victory for Marquez, no game in it (which I still agree with)
- Rossi insulted Marquez, and insulted the sport in the press conference (I can agree on the 1st, not the 2nd)
- Marquez didn't slow down in Sepang, he just fought for his position (like Rossi/Stoner 2008). I deeply disagree with this opinion.
- Marquez did his best in Valencia, it was just too risky. Once again, deeply disagree.
So with these opinions, your conclusion put naturally the responsibility of the fiasco into Rossi's hands. I respect that.
But is it possible to have another opinion, without being designed as a stupid yellow hysteric fan ?
Is it possible to consider that what Marquez did in Sepang and Valencia, despite being insulted, is despicable, unacceptable and that the guy is a shame for the sport ?
That the guy, in sort of perv way, decided to ruin Rossi's chances (yes Rossi was not faster in Sepang, he was slower and that's the problem, why fight with a slower guy ?) and discredit Lorenzo's title (or try to) ?
Is it possible to think all that and still consider that:
- Lorenzo deserves the title: faster, strong, fair play on the track
- Rossi did big mistake in Sepang by provoking Marquez ... and of course, he deserved penalty for his ugly move.
- Rossi should shut his mouth now
Is it ?
By the way, you probably don't care, but even if i deeply disagree with your analysis of this end of the season, even if i find the censure too hard here since some weeks, i still will continue to come here and I thank you for what you've done all season long.
Now ... Michelin !
I was one paragraph into this when I realised I needed to put my money where my mouth was, and become a contributor. Been here for years, back in the day I was 'The Phantom' and still remember David complimenting me on apologising to a fellow member who I'd over-reacted to. That was 2007 or so? Not sure. I'm not getting any younger :) Anyway, I'm off to sort my payment out, then will come back to read this.
Two problems in the theory
Two things...In 2013 the pace was irrelevant to this years', cause as you all remembered in 2013 Lorenzo slowed up the race...So there is no point in comparing these two. Plus the thing that you are writing about riders taking points from other riders throughout the season. Well, actually it's not the same when you are fighting for something bigger (like Dovizioso did in the early races of the year) to when you are not in contention of something big as a motogp title. It's strange that you exclude timing out of the equation! I am not saying they shouldn't race with all their heart, but still you don't interfere in a dangerous way with somebody who's chasing a title in the last races.
P.S David, i've been a supporter in the past and i've been admiring your journalistic work for quite a long time. Although i just registered, consider me one of your very first readers.
If Rossi would be enough fast, never would find those problems
If Rossi would be enough fast, never would find those problems. It is so simple, you can put tons of excuses, but if you go faster than others, you will win.
Superior analysis. There's an interesting way to test Valentino's claims. Marc brings a suit for the defamations uttered prior to Sepang and after Valencia, and Valentino has to prove his case.
On second thought, perhaps not, I suspect you are looking forward to a quiet, normal life after the shenanigans of the last month.........:-)
Disappointed all round
There are a number of different issues here and it saddens me that people cannot seem to separate them out (many journalists included). I am sorry to say that I also disagree with some (not all) of your points David as I love the balanced and considered style of your journalism and this is my preferred site.
Firstly, who deserved to win the championship? Any unbiased fan would say BOTH Rossi and Lorenzo deserved to win it, and congratulations to Lorenzo for doing so.
Secondly, did Marquez interfere with the championship result? Again any unbiased fan would say that whether it was provoked and deserved by Rossi or not, he absolutely did. The ferocious unnecessary battle with Rossi in the early laps at Sepang and his complete lack of any attempt to overtake Lorenzo or show him his wheel at Valencia, plus his immediate re-overtake of Pedrosa which denied both of them the win despite alleged team rules for a 1-2 is enough evidence of that. In any other sport that would be called match fixing. Not saying Lorenzo didn't deserve to win and he may well have won anyway but I think anyone who has watched MotoGP before and followed Marquez's style would say he did not appear to race for the best result he could (even Dovi in his politically careful answers to your questions suggests the same).
Thirdly, should Rossi have won it on track? Well yes and no. Clearly if he had won more races he would be champion. However, Kent finished down the order, managing his position to win the championship and relying on others higher up the order. I disagree with your analysis that Rossi should have cleared Marquez in Sepang if he was that quick. Clearly both Rossi and Marquez were disrupting each others' rhythm and neither was able to put in their best lap times ergo neither could pull away from the other. We know Rossi can run a better pace if he can keep with the leaders and use their tow for a while. Marquez prevented him doing that. At Valencia Rossi had used his tyres differently working through to fourth then with a likely unsurmountable 11 second gap why push to the limit? Rossi knows he is not the fastest any more and has approached the championship by trying to get the results he needs when he needs them. That doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it (unless you are also arguing that Hayden didn't deserve his championship).
Fourthly, is Rossi bringing the sport into disrepute? Well again Sepang press conference I believe was poor judgement. Attacking Pedrosa yesterday I believe was poor judgement (I am confident he would have tried to overtake Lorenzo). Suggesting a conspiracy I believe is going too far (beyond simply Marquez did not want him to win the championship). BUT we all saw the difference in Marquez Sepang vs. Valencia so he is entitled to comment on this and I believe Marquez's behaviour the last two races is at least as disgraceful as people claim Rossi's has been. The time for Rossi admitting his own failings this season will come once emotions settle I am sure.
I hope this can all be buried next season and we see a clean championship...
In reply to Disappointed all round by Dr GP
Did he attack pedrosa?
Maybe it was part of a statement I missed. Didn't he just use Dani's pace at the end as a comparison to Marquez' and not a direct attack on Dani? I believe Dani would have gone for first. He had done nothing all year to suggest otherwise.
In reply to Disappointed all round by Dr GP
Rossi never attack Pedrosa .
Rossi never attack Pedrosa .
Good but no cigar
Best covering of the points I have seen in print, but you, like many commentators are not listening to what Rossi was actually saying.
He was never complaining that Lorenzo won, he was complaining that Marquez wasn't racing to the best of his ability.
I saw the race too, and around half way through the last lap I realised there was no chance Marquez was going to do a last corner lunge. I felt disappointed 3 corners from the end. Marquez is the guy who has pulled off some insane overtakes in the last two years - yet here, with nothing to lose, he's commuting to 2016.
While its important to not be biased, its just as easy to be biased against what is so damn obvious. Marquez was able to influence the last three races in a way that the fans were able to see.
When races are fixed, it tends to be something that happens in private. In the pits, a little less octane, a little more air in the tyres. A brown envelope left in a hotel reception. There is an air of deniability.
Its that which is missing with the last few races!
Good for the goose, but collusion against the gander?
So many aspects of the later half of this season are hypocritical in the argument VR brings to this:
MM battling with VR @ PI, Malaysia: bad, interfered with my race, collusion going on
MM beating LJ @ PI: no mention of that
AI beating VR @ PI: this is fine, normal
DP beating VR @ Aragon: fine
MM waiting until last lap to make move @ Assen, Indy: fine
MM waiting toward end of the race @ Valencia: collusion
MM running wide @ Malaysia and JL going through: collusion, embarrassment to the sport
Petrucci going via the car park to let VR through @ Valencia: no mention
MM backing off to keep front tyre in check to push late @ PI: collusion
DP backing off to keep front tyre in check to push late @ Valencia: fine, fact he could then catch them must show they were sand-bagging (albeit at a faster pace than VR).
I'm really looking forward towards 2016 championship.
MM & VR are forming the sort of relationship that will ensure race weekends are 'must-watch' affair. Every overtake between them will be [over] analysed for meaning/aggressiveness. Every PR will have hidden and not so hidden meanings.
MotoGP 2016 will be a drama as well as a motorsport championship.
-Mark Neale [Dir. of Fast, Faster, Fastest] will be licking his lips.
I thought Honda wanted a 1-2 finish, find me a another race where Marquez was that close all race and never attempted a pass ,and when pedrosa came flying up on them I can tell you how every race I've ever watched ended that played out in this way.
As far as I'm concerned it was more then a little suspicious.
I thought Honda wanted a 1-2 finish, find me a another race where Marquez was that close all race and never attempted a pass ,and when pedrosa came flying up on them I can tell you how every race I've ever watched ended that played out in this way.
As far as I'm concerned it was more then a little suspicious.
In reply to Hrc by Bepscam
Not a 'normal' race though...
I don't think you can look at Marc's races in isolation - the events of the last few weeks have changed his behaviour at each subsequent race.
He fights with championship contender Rossi at Sepang and that's wrong. He doesn't fight with championship contender Lorenzo at Valencia and that's wrong. Valentino and his fans can't have it both ways. He got a lot of hassle for Sepang so he did what most people expected of him at Valencia.
Personally, I'm frustrated at the overwhelming positive bias towards anything that benefits Valentino. He cracked under pressure and can't take it on the chin. Dragging Dani and HRC into his theories in disgraceful.
Great article david
Hi, this is my first post, and im only just following your blog since this year, because myself is new to motogp itself (start to watched it in 2012 and becoming a fans of Marc Marquez)
But in this race, during the first part of the race i do believe that marc will make a last lap attack on jorge, but on the latter part of the race where he still not make a move on jorge and especially when dani came he passed back so aggressively, my mind said that he is helping jorge on this race. So yeah i kinda disappointed with marc. Because in Pi i do believed that its only on rossis mind that he deliberately slow the pace, so when the sepang incident came, i think its just because he got angry because vale accusations (but im not saying its right for marc to provoke vale).
In the end, we will never know who rights and who wrong, because its not against the rule when a rider decided not to pass a rider the same with when a rider decided to let another rider pass. But these last races just make one of the most exciting championship battle, to become the most tragic championship battle, why i said tragic because we just lost, we just lost the respect between another rider, we lost the sportmanship, and our heart left in wander with "if" and "but" and never gonna accept the result of this championsip
Marquez explanation is false in itself. Waiting for the last lap to make the pass only makes sense if you know you have something in reserve, if you are already at the limit, the waiting adds the unpredictable complication of worn tires. Also everyone know that Lorenzo does his best running at the front and struggles a little on battling (he has said so himself), so, if you want to defeat him, getting in front of him to upset his rhythm is the best strategy, even if you can’t run away from him afterwards.
Also, at PI Marquez proved that he is capable of producing an amazing last lap on worn troublesome tires. Nothing special about his last lap on Valencia or the one before. He didn’t even tried. Nothing says he had to but I think it was not correct of him.
If we are going to reprimand Rossi about what he said on Sepang, what he did on Sepang or saidn after Valencia, why do we not hold Marquez to the same moral and ethical standards (e.g.: it’s ok for him to lose his temper on a race on Sunday and ride to the very limit of safe for something that was said on Thursday)? Are we not been a little Rossi centric?
Reality Distortion Field
It is amazing the interpretations of what has happened on the racetrack can be so disparate. I first noticed it at Assen when some people were calling Rossi a cheat. In that instance it begs the question, what was Rossi supposed to do? Maybe get off the gas and crash in the gravel. Now I know that this has been done to death but I would like the opportunity to present my interpretation.
At Phillip Island Lorenzo was not fast, he was barely in front of the other three. Rossi ran seven laps faster than Lorenzo's best lap. That is a huge statistic. You cannot simply explain that away. Only on one lap for the entire year could Rossi do a better lap than Lorenzo when Lorenzo won the race (Le Mans). I believe absolutely that Rossi could have beaten Lorenzo at Phillip Island, a track where he has always been very fast. However, Rossi needed at least 2 laps to make a break from the speed of Iannone's Ducati, and while Marquez was in the mix it was never going to happen. Marquez said he slowed to cool his tyre. It does not matter if it was true or not. It only matters if he believed it. The other point is why dog fight if you are just cooling your tire? Well that is the DNA of the scorpion, as I seem to recall David so eloquently put it. So in my hypothesis Marquez spoils Rossi's chance to beat Lorenzo. Rossi had to capitalize at the tracks where he felt he could beat Lorenzo and one of his best chances went out the window. Did Marquez do it deliberately? I don't think so. I think his ego is so great that he sees himself as an icon. "I put on a great battle", "I passed Rossi at the corkscrew", "I passed at the legendary Assen chicane to win the race on the last lap" (except it failed and Marquez revealed how he had planned this 'show' during practice as part of his defense). I see the episode at Phillip Island in the "I put on a great battle" category. And here is the key point, Rossi analysed the data from Phillip Island and believes absolutely that he could have run Lorenzo down. This is the one fact, the foundation, on which he built his personal attack on Marquez.
From Sepang onwards I concur 100% with David's view of everything that occurred.
In reply to Reality Distortion Field by Painless
+1 VR saw the PI data and
VR saw the PI data and said to himself, 'damn i could have....' Then concluded the reason he didn't was MM. Then, he leapt to the further conclusion that collusion must have been the reason. To personalise it further with questions about MM's idolization (?) of VR in his younger years and questionng the authenticity of whether MM had VR's poster seemed like an unforced error on his part. From there onwards, everything was a reaction.
This is racing
Hi and thanks for all your work. I read every article you write and really appreciate your efforts.
I like your last article and respect your opinion. I also disagree with some of your statements (mainly that Rossi's pace was not up with the first 3 as this is not a fact since he couldn't reach them in any realistic way and didn't need to take any crazy risk for gaining better positions) but as a Rossi fan I agree with you: Lorenzo is a worthy and very fast champion. Congratulations to him.
My post is about racing and the idea that riders might help each other. This is nothing new, with the clearest example that comes to my mind being Phillip Island 1990 with the Capirossi vs Spaan fight (where the Italian won with the help of fellow riders Gresini, Casanova and Romboni).
Lorenzo has clearly stated after the latest race in Valencia that during the race he was afraid that Pedrosa could overtake him with his pace and that Marquez has been good with him. He also felt that the two Spanish riders didn't try to attack because they share the same nationality (source: http://www.marca.com/2015/11/08/motor/mundial_motos/gp-valencia/1446991…).
Is this a scandal? Well, I personally don't think so. Is this good for the sport? Not sure but not important. Personal opinions don't matter for the history books. Lorenzo will be remembered as the 2015 world champion. But why can't we also say that Marquez has not ridden as normal during the last two races? It seems like a taboo to comment on the young Spanish rider.
As per Rossi press conference, let's take for what it is: it's his point of view. If you are one of his fan, you'll probably agree with him and read the events with his eyes. If not, don't agree, move on and go with whatever opinion you feel like. As Marquez expressed his point of view very clearly after Argentina and Assen (never admitting his mistakes and blaming Rossi for his DNFs), I believe Valentino is entitled of sharing his opinion. Same goes for Lorenzo and his behaviours on the podium and post-race interviews right after the Sepang race. This is racing.
In the Future
Just want to say what a great piece this article is. I first have to say that I'm a fan of all 4 "aliens", so for me this year has been awesome, with twists & turns in the plot at each GP. The highlight for me being the Australian GP, which possible could only be eclipsed by the 1990 Australian GP, a 4 way battle between Gardner, Doohan, Rainey & Schwantz. To say that the 2015 #AussGP was tainted in any way, for me is impossible to accept, just fantastic racing by 4 incredibly talented riders. These last 4 races has had me on the edge of my chair, with nothing else being on my mind. Does MotoGP have a future? You bet it has, for as long as we have 2 or more humans together there will always be competition. There was life after all our previous heroes, as there will be after Rossi steps down. We have been privileged to watch Rossi go from a new kid on the block, to a become a master of his craft. Has he stayed too long? hard to say, as Greg Hancock took his 3rd speedway tittle last year at aged 45. Did he play hardball over those years to win tittles? I'll let you be the judge. But this whole "mess" reminds me of something I read in the 70's after a controversial round of the World MX Championship. A rider competeing for the "Crown of World Champion" who had taken out his closest competitor, was quoted as saying "In a few years from now nobody will remember "how" I won the World Championship, only that I was the World Champion!! Roll on 2016 . Can't wait ;)
Oil on troubled waters
Good effort David!
But as much as I admire your attempt to pour salve on the wounds opened at the end of this season your version of Occam's Razor is slightly different to mine. The old adage "if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it's probably a duck" equally applies:
Marquez' behaviour in this race adds much credence to Rossi's allegations. If you just flew in from Mars and you viewed the race in isolation, knowing nothing about Marquez or the previous shenanigans it would be an obvious assumption to say Marquez was on the limit. BUT, none of us have been holidaying on Mars, we know Marquez style and never say die attitude (he crashed how many times this season proving that?) not to mention the way he battled Rossi last round. So to play follow the leader, with wheels in line (we all know that's NOT Marquez style), only upping the ante when Pedrosa show up has me seeing/hearing ducks: something is not right.
He had a pitboard telling him that Pedro was arriving at a great rate of knots, so he KNEW things were about to get complicated.....yet he chose to wait and defend 2nd rather than attack for 1st? Knowing that Lorenzo could not risk a battle? In front of his home fans? It just beggars belief given his history and normal attitude.
They say we eat with our eyes. So I'm left trying to swallow something my eyes are telling me is a little bit "off". Yes, my appetite is for the most part sated because the fastest guy won, but Marquez actions have left something sticking in my throat.
Not that Rossi is blameless for that sour taste. At near walking pace the Sepang incident was bizarre rather than dangerous, and he may well be right in his allegations (that lil' duck just keeps quacking away in the background), but he needed to grit his teeth, hold his tongue and let OTHERS arrive at the conclusion unaided. He's done himself no favours.
Same for Lorenzo, I'm afraid. He needed to rise above but instead he stepped enthusiastically into the mire.
So I'm left in the unusual position of warming to Pedro. Post-Puig he seems to have blossomed as a man in his own right. As a peripheral figure in the drama's that have unfolded it may have been easier for him to maintain a healthy perspective but he is one of the few to emerge from this season with his reputation enhanced rather than sullied. Here's hoping the little guy has a bumper 2016.
Bottom line: we saw both the best and worst of our heroes this season, not just riders but team and race management also. Throw in the about face from Honda/Yamaha shown towards Ducati the moment they looked threatening and it's all a bit farcical. I'll be watching how things unfold with the change in tyres next season but the "sport is soap opera" analogy has never rung more true so the importance I attach to the results will be muted accordingly.
I don't think we will see any false smiles and sugary platitudes in the pre race press conferences any more, not such a bad thing to dispense with the PR bullshit, that is unless the riders are gagged by their teams.
I will be watching the post race test in Valencia with interest too - who will cope best with the spec software and Michelins? Who will come into 2016 fighting hardest? Will Rossi have "the knife between the teeth" all season? Can Lorenzo retain his title, something he's never managed. Will Marquez go all out to destroy the opposition and reclaim "His" title, or will a fit Pedrosa prove his equal in the Repsol team next year? Maybe the Suzuki or Ducati will love the Michelins and Maverick or Andrea (1 or both) runs away at the start of the year until HRC and Yamaha sort their bikes to the new spec tyre.
Who knows, but it will be a long silly season and both Yamaha and HRC garages will be filled with tension all year long in 2016. I just hope the ugly end to 2015 can be left in the past.
Excellent article, David! I would love to read such an article in an Italian newspaper but here in Italy everybody is speaking about " biscotto " ( biscuit ) that means " some kind of a secret agreement between the spanish riders".
Good write up (as ever!)
There's no denying that JL was the fastest rider this year, overall.
But one small point, as ever with JL, he doesn't seem to know what's a good thing to say....
“The fact that they knew what I was going for and that they are Spanish has helped me and in another race they may have tried everything to overtake. Dani did well because he could have tried a crazy overtake. We are Spanish and the title remains in Spain. If it had been in Italy and with two Italians behind Rossi then it would have been the same.”
Now of course this DOES NOT amount to any sort of pact/deal/soul selling or anything beyond I'm sure glad that MM respected what I was fighting for
But of course, this is a "bit" of a silly thing to say (crash.net are reporting that JL has back peddled from this) against the backdrop of the past 2 weeks.
I've nothing really to add (and what's a fan's opinion even worth anyway?)
Both JL and VR rode the race they had to do on Sunday. Neither had an easy race, nor a race free of risk...
Neither made a mistake.
Therefore (as expected) the title was going to be decided by the race day performances of those NOT involved in the title.
And that folks, is how conspiracy theories start, wild accusations take flight and fanboys put the fanatical (and the boy [I mean as is child] for that matter) into situations.
Congratulations to JL, but FWIW smile more, speak less :)
In reply to Good write up (as ever!) by Adzman808
Did Marquez sandbag at
Did Marquez sandbag at Phillip Island? No, I don't think so.
Did Marquez battle hard with Rossi out of spite at Sepang? Yes, I think so.
Did Marquez decide not to pass Lorenzo at Valencia? Yes, I think so.
Do racers help each other during races? Yes, it happens quite a lot actually but nobody wants to admit it or talk about it.
Have riders from one country helped out another fellow countryman even though he was on a rival team? Yes, it has happened before. At the final race for the 1990 125cc championship, 3 Italians did their best to block Dutchman Hans Spaan to prevent him from overcoming his 2 point deficit and taking the championship from Italian Loris Capriossi. In a fit of rage, Spaan tried to punch one of the the Italians:
But here's the thing: After all the words & accusations thrown at Marquez by Rossi, and if he already believed Marquez was spiteful and playing games, then what did Rossi expect Marquez to do? Rossi is naïve to think that Marquez would decide to help him after all that has transpired. Rossi definitely poked the wasp's nest with a rather sharp stick. Should have left well enough alone and just focused on getting past him.
The problem is that for Rossi fans, his word is law. There is no; maybe Marc did ride as fast as he could. There is only Rossi's word that he didnt.
Rossi's millions of fans will not be convinced, and already Lorenzo and Marc are being assaulted on social media, on reddit, on television and in blog posts.
Rossi apparently would rather destroy his sport than be professional and sportsmanlike.
I think it is horrible for Lorenzo, he was on the ground crying after the race, he could not believe he had done it. And now his teammate is turning all his fans against him.
In reply to Brilliant writeup by Foxton01
Yes I'm a Rossi fan but...
it was not me to thank openly the Honda pilots after the race, but Lorenzo itself during an interview with IT SKY commentator. #99 said that his tires were gone and and that #MM didn't overtake it because he was spanish. the Championships - he added - was his, theirs and Spanish.
After this words by #99 how can we excluded that #MM didn't want to help the other Spanish raider against #VR46?
Lorenzo deserve to win the Championship as well as Valentino, a more fair battle in the last three GPs would have granted the best to win. That didn't happen
thank you so much
thanks so much for this write up. I'm Italian and needed it so badly.
I hope Valentino reads it ;)
Lorenzo gets to keep a championship winning bike as part of his contract. So does that mean only three bikes get wheeled along to Tech3 or do they knock him one up out of a spare chassis?
Anyway, regardless of who said what, the guy with the most wins takes the championship - that's the natural order of things & as it should be.
After an amazing comeback from career threatening injury, being the considered diplomat and gentleman in the midst of all the stress and back bitting I'll be routing for Dani Pedrosa to be 2016 WC.
Let's look toward to testing, will the 16 spec desmo answer all questions, will Honda fix the engine, will Bradley fly on his new bike now he's an equal for the first time?
Can't wait for tomorrow !
brilliant finale and write up
I just want to remember the riding skill of ALL the riders,
JL99 for his sheer speed,forget his character,
MM93 for his fighting riding,maybe he has a safer riding style after Valencia,
VR46,for his brilliant passing ,and a well deserved 4th
thanks to DE for his insight,and writings all season,
the main book at the end of the year is Motocourse,the above article should be
inserted at the end of the Moto GP review
now looking forward to tuesday and wednesday to see how the new tyres and ECU
will affect the bikes
Can you read too much into this?
I don't know the relationship between these two, but it seems unhealthy the way this short conversation goes.
Another great write-up. You've finally forced me to become a site supporter!
Not a fan of JL or VR, so I found this informed, impartial and above all logical analysis refreshing. It made for cathartic reading. I'm now ready to move on from what has up until recently been a great season, even if some are not.
Your summation has been as memorable and satisfying to read as the championship has been tight. Bravo and long may it continue......
Dorna deserved what they cooked up...
No question MotoGP is tarnished. And it wasn't Rossi that did the tarnishing. He spoke his mind after PI and why not? Then MM's tactics at Sepang were absolute baloney. After watching that, I think any motor racer would complain loudly. Nah, the championship was fixed by that final race penalty. Probably inadvertently, but still fixed. Had Rossi not been penalized the result would have been different. Marquez deserved to be run wide at Sepang. He's run up the inside of competitors and stood them up plenty of times. I've never heard of a penalty being imposed for running somebody wide in any form of motor racing.
Changing of the Guard ?
It would seem that Rossi's time at the top of MotoGP is coming to an end and he is becoming painfully aware of this. Sadly, rather than managing this transition with a degree of dignity while maintaining his competitiveness, Valentino seems to have adopted a "well if I can't have it, then no one will" attitude.
For someone who is constantly referred to as GOAT, displaying the behaviour of a sore loser begs the question whether the title is truly appropriate. I understand his grief at having come so close to his goal yet still missing out, but the conspiracy theories make him appear desperate. Undoubtedly many will take this as the gospel truth and see Marquez as the villian. It is obvious that he has a keen sense for how much weight his words carry (as demonstrated by his exchange with Ezpeleta).
However, the claims he is making constitute an abuse of his own fandom. By manipulating opinion of his rivals, Rossi is engaged in actions just as unethical as any of the charges he levels at Marquez. It is worrying to think that he is probably fully aware of the potentially damaging consequences to the sport of all this manufactured intrigue.
In any case, I still found the race exciting to watch and had the fullest impression that none involved had left anything on the table. In the end the fastest racer won... as it should be.
In reply to Changing of the Guard ? by postman_rob
Just like the Italians helping Capirossi was no conspiracy either!
In reply to Changing of the Guard ? by postman_rob
The idea is that the most
The idea is that the most experienced, longest-tenured rider in MotoGP, winner of 9 championships (I know, I know), a man who weathered the storm of seeing his best friend in the paddock lose his life directly off his front wheel and continued to race and win and race again, the idea that this man is going completely off the chain and concoct this seemingly fantastic story of collusion and conspiracy in order to win another of what he has 6 already, the idea is that this is the thing that is going to break him? Why is this the expert consensus, that Rossi is seeing things that are not there? Why is the conclusion that they can't see it, so it must not be there?
It's easier to explain away the events of the past three races as Rossi's paranoia, it's less detrimental to the sport and the championship to think of it as such. Then it's just someone cracking under the strain of trying to win a championship, that what he sees is not really there, that what he says happened did not really happen that way. It's easier to say that Rossi is crazy, than it is to lend credence to what he says. Because what he says is ugly.
I, too, am glad this season is over.
that when Ono shadowed Kent in the Moto3 race, the unanimous view was that the former was taking unnecessary risks and should have backed off more. MM shadowing JL was interpreted as being passive and looking after the latter. Spaniards looking after one another, yet Petrucci almost rode off to a different country to let Rossi by. According to Rossi, MM should have let him past in Sepang but then should have fought like a lunatic in Valencia. Since conspiracy theories abound, one wonders whether Rossi may have decided post PI that he had already lost the championship and was looking to lay the blame on external factors. Hence the soap opera that unfolded in Sepang.
Rossi - Ezpeleta
This relationship dynamic needs more explanation/investigation.
So Rossi speaks with Ezpeleta [presumably offline] about other racers tactics and how that might be damaging for his championship aspirations?
He [VR, a racer] summons him [the boss] to his [VR's] motorhome/office.
Ezpeleta barely looked VR in the eyes during that interaction, in my industry (and background) that says a lot of where the power is. What else do they discuss, what else does VR give direction on?
-Wow, someone has gone well beyond just a racer in a series.
If VR had won the championship we wouldn't have seen this interaction, but if I had VR's collusion hat on and somehow found out about the discussion they had could I then start to question about all those other racers 'doing everything they could to avoid interfering with VR's race'?
Nothing about the politics of this play out well.
Well done David
I'm more suspicious of MM than you but you certainly write a great article as ever. And I agree with your view post Sepang, three riders showing a bad side.
Both JL or VR throroughly deserved to win the title, one for being fast, the other for being consistent.
The reset button is pressed in 2016.
I'm glad VR decided not to walk way, there are going to be four very fast guys again next year, all with something to prove and certainly at 1st all going for it. Can VR step it up yet another notch against these fast rivals, tall order.
Nice article & pretty much sums it up. One thing 'The fans' seem to be missing is the fact that VR 'Could have' won the title, not 'Would have' won it. Yesterday he just wasn't quick enough, he was beaten before he got the penalty. I don't believe all this JL/MM bosom buddy crap, they are two Spaniards that is all. If the boot was on the other foot & VR was up front and they were able i'm sure Dovi & Iannone would run some sort of interference, the Italian public & press would expect no less.
The way I see it with five Spanish & three Italians on the eight works machines what has happened here is unfortunately the taste of things to come every year it is close at the end of the season, No way on earth MM was ever going to risk taking out JL as whether he likes him or not he doesn't want the bad press & possible loss of sponsorship if he had JL off or even if he had run him wide as then Dani would also have been past and the championship would be lost. Do I think he could have gone past? Personally yes as saying Dani catching him by surprise before he made his attack is total rubbish, at one point Dani was over 2secs back and took 3-4 laps to catch them, so not looking at his pit board for 3-4 laps? I don't think so. He knew he was coming and coming fast!
Just to add to this MM is what 22/23yrs old and must believe he can become the goat, To do that he must first beat the current goat so why let him take 10 titles when 9 is going to be hard enough to beat?
Not the first time shenanigans have won a championship and won't be the last, especially with the works riders being as they are.
Nicely written article...
... but I think you're terribly naïve regarding Marquez's intentions, and I think your 'facts' are given with very little context.
I will simply leave it that I agree to disagree, but I am hopeful that Marc gets what he deserves... What's that Marc? Valencia 2016? You have to beat Jorge who is on Pole who has Valentino sat behind him? Good luck fella, enjoy the 1:33's and 9 dive bomb passes on you each lap.
I would like to add, congratulations to Jorge who rode a sublime 2nd half of the year, one of the all time greats in MotoGP. Both he and Rossi were well worth the title.
Pedrosa acted like a champion
I can only say how much I'm impressed with the way Pedrosa handled all the stuff that's going on the last few rounds of this championship. He acted like a champion. Stayed out of all these accusation and did what he had to do, Race as hard as he could.
I am not a specific fan of one driver, but I might consider Pedrosa!
A fine summation and...
... analysis of the season ender David. However I find it frankly ridiculous that we consider Marc didn't ride the most conservative race of his career on purpose, all whilst a mere 3/10ths from the lead.
I don't know why any of us should be surprised that his performance yesterday was generally intentional:
- We all know from Argentina onward Marc had began to fume over Rossi's competitiveness
- Assen only magnified the situation
- Chad Reed's account of the deadly-serious Rossi/Marquez confrontation at The Ranch shows there was real animosity building/coming from the Marquez camp
- Marc's on-track reaction in Sepang to Rossi's comments are plain as day
- And now here we are post-Valencia, and Marc literally never chose the inside line once, that I can recall.
I write this, not necessarily in defense of Rossi, but that to dispute Marquez is riding with intention and passive aggressive intentions is just silly. We're grown ups and should know better.
A slightly random addition
If I printed off 3 sheets of paper, each showing MM's results from the 13, 14 and 15 seasons
And took them back in time to 2012, deleted the years from the headers and showed them to the other riders, and asked
"here are the results that MM will score in the next 3 seasons, put them into what you think is the correct chronological order"
I THINK most would order them:
2015 as 2013 (lots of wins, lots of crashes, 3rd overall)
2013 as 2014 (wins, podiums, seals the title but only at the end)
2014 as 2015 (unstoppable, served his apprenticeship and now owns the class)
I'm not reading anything into this, but it's a weird set of stats and makes me wonder what 2016 will bring for him!
Obviously next year brings the unknown of Michelin... but the top guys are the top guys, the top teams are the top teams... Unless, like 2007, a rider/team combination is well placed to find a big jump in performance, then I think the champion will most likely be one of the current top 4
(If there is a surprise package next year, then it could easily be Ducati or perhaps Suzuki)
Thank You Valentino
for showing the world that Marquez is not unbeatable, no one is. 14 and 15 was mighty impressive, and, again you've shown the way to those kids.
Its because of your effort that someone could be crowned champion, either than Marquez, this year.
As a fan, just wanted to thank you, because no one mentioned this ( at least i did'nt read it anywhere).
Hope the frustration goes away fast, we want a 2016 just as strong!! Thanks.
Regardless of what I think of
Regardless of what I think of the race, I think Rossi after the race would have done better to shut up, shake Jorge's hand and go get pissed with his mates...
If I had been Marc, after PI I would have thought, "wtf, i give him 5 points and i get this crap!" Then in Sepang, "if you want to play, let's play!" And in Valencia, "Now you've really pissed me off!". Also called a self fulfilling prophecy.
Now on to 2016, which if you think about it is made of the number 26 wrapped around the number 01... Yes, it ill be Dani's year, it is written in the stars.
World Championship or Spain vs. Italy ?
I believe everything has been said on this race and the two before that and David did an excellent job of summarizing all of that in his articles. As he says it's mostly a question of faith/trust now.
I'd like to speak about the elephant in the room since there seems to be an unwritten rule in MotoGP (another one) never to mention it.
Out of the top 12 riders in the 2015 MotoGP season, 6 are Spaniards, 4 Italians and 2 Brits.
The two most dominant factory teams, which won 14 out of the last 15 championships, are Japanese manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha) with big Spanish sponsors (Repsol, Movistar) and 3 out of the 4 current riders in these two teams are Spaniards. Valentino Rossi being the only non-Spanish rider and also happening to be 36 years old...
After that, we have the all Italian Ducati team and the all Spanish Suzuki team.
Over the last 5 Motogp seasons, 4 out of the 5 champions were spaniards.
Out of the 18 races on the 2016 motogp season, 4 venues will be held in Spain. The only other country with more than one race is Italy/RSM with 2 races. in 2015, there was also the US with 2 races (3 races in 2013).
Not to mention that the MotoGP promoter Dornasport is based in Spain, headed by a Spaniard, and that the intermediate and junior classes are stuffed with Spaniards and to a lesser extent Italians.
The FIM awards ceremony was held in Valencia after the race and was held in both English and Spanish language.
These figures illustrate that Spaniards have more and more influence over this sport and, if Italy largely remains the second sphere of influence, they are slowly losing out to Spain.
So, regardless of facts, I think it was only a matter of time before an Italian rider was going to accuse Spanish riders of colluding, and that the newspapers of both sides of the Mediterranean Sea would root for their country's rider
I believe Dorna are harvesting what they have sown. I think they should massively invest to make sure that their world championships stays a world championship. I know they are trying notably in Asia.
They need to try broader and harder, or their championship will turn into a Spain vs Italy football game.
Assen post race
Personally, I think the whole thing stinks. The only people who come out looking good are Pedrosa and David. There is just one thing that has bothered me and that now seems to give some credence to Rossi's view. I remember watching the Assen post-race interviews and Marquez said something that at the time I thought was odd. However, in retrospect, it seems ominous. A visibly disturbed Marquez said 'Now I know what I have to do.' Go back and see it in context and I'd be curious to know if you read it the same way I do.
Rossi lost his mind or, "The title had to be for Spain."
Maybe there's a great deal of merit behind Rossi's claims. At Sepang, I was pretty sure he had (at least slightly) flipped his lid and then the words he chose after Valencia really drove it home - and made me quite sad for him.
But then we come across this chilling bit of truth - After the final race Lorenzo said the following regarding Marquez and Pedrosa to the Movistar MotoGP channel:
“They knew what I had in play. The fact they are Spaniards like me helped me. That helped me because for sure in another kind of race they would have tried to overtake, which they didn't this time. If Valentino had been in my position and with Italians behind they would have done exactly the same. The title had to be for Spain.”
While it seemed like Rossi was espousing a theory that was absolutely absurd, maybe he was right all along.
All bad things must come to an end
Thanks for an excellent analysis. Great read. Totally agree.
Lorenzo did that all year long, have the best start and lead from start to finish. Suddenly people say that Marquez and Pedrosa could have passed him at will but did not in order to help him win the championship. Come on...
I still consider Rossi to be the greatest of all time, but my appreciation of him as a person goes down by the day. After all this, he may end up having done more damage to himself and to his business than anything else.
Lets forget all the bullshit and look forward to 2016 !
In reply to All bad things must come to an end by MotoJP
Excellent Analysis As Always
I was convinced from the get go that Marquez would do his classic watch, then pounce we'd seen before as you note in your analysis. My wife came into the room and I told her. Marquez will win. He will go after Lorenzo beginning about 3 laps to go. Maybe a lap later.
All weekend he and later Pedrosa were carrying the front wheels of their Honda's aloft and turned to one side as they accelerated out of that last turn down the straight. A thing I used to notice of Casey Stoner when things were comfortable on the bike for him. If he was doing that in practice he was going to win.
I was pretty sure that Pedrosa had been dropped for good then at five or so to go he began taking a bit here and there out. Soon Pedrosa was taking larger and larger chunks of time out and I began thinking Maybe, just maybe he and Marc would battle Lorenzo and we'd see some of that dazzling last few laps slicing and dicing.
It looked to me to come too late. Marc wasted time fighting back past Pedrosa and the gap to Lorenzo was too great.
That is all I saw. I watched the podium celebrations, then went on to the next race in the stream.
I saw and heard none of the after-race stuff.
For me the season is over, and it is tarnished. A champion is tarnished. But, it was still a very good season and the fastest man on the fastest machine won the day and championships. That was good to see.
I'm left wondering where that half second Marc had on second when he came into MotoGP went. If Honda find that for him next year should be an epic battle between Lorenzo and Marquez with Pedrosa there if either miss a beat.
I think Rossi has finished himself, himself with this road he has taken.
The new season is begun. Time to consider that.
Thanks for all the wonderful reporting and analysis over the 2015 season. I'm looking forward to another interesting season with new tires and bikes and rules.
Humiliation of Rossi more important than the win for MM?
I think MM went onto that Valencia race seeking revenge and wanting to make sure that Rossi did not come away as world champion - he would rather gift the win to another spaniard and someone not on a yamaha.
So the race progresses and Marquez is second to JL with Pedrosa a fair distance behind. This results in a JL win and humiliation for VR. Why go for the win and give points to VR especially if Pedrosa then ends up with a last lap dash to get by JL and gift VR the run.
Rossi was powerless to do anything about the final outcome stuck back in fourth and was reliant on MM to win the race with DP coming in second. MM wasn't going to give anything to VR and so a good second place got the desired result. DP getting speedy at the end jeopardised this.
VR goes off the scale again and the off-season is a long time to dwell on what could have been. He should have kept his mouth shut and lessened any further damage to his already tarnished reputation.
Perhaps this is all supposition - but the smiling assassin MM should not be underestimated and he has clearly got under VR's skin and time is not on Vale's side......
The thing that gets me...
Many are quick to discount Spanish helping Spanish because that's not what motorcycle racers do...yet we've also seen the example of Italians helping Capirossi to his 125cc championship.
So which is it...how can the accusations sound absurd when there is precedence staring us in the face? Where the Italians back then not real racers?
I mean, based on the logic and platitudes used recently, how could they be...
Pattern of Behavior
Ive been a MM Fanboy since he entered racing at the 125 level. Ive defended his 'moves' in 125/M2 & MGP & given him a semi-pass while most were crucifying him. So, my opinion is hard for me. The Argentina crash was MM's fault & I was surprised at his laying blame at Rossi. Assen 'loss' wasnt Rossi's fault....RD made that decision & I was surprised (again) that he would blame Rossi. Now, looking back at the last 3 races, I have to say that MM was playing games & not ridding at 100%. What do I base this on? Let me expound.
PI: super race, but....as they crossed the line for the final lap, w/Jorge having a .7 lead, the race was over. It was just a matter of who was gonna fill out the podium, but MM made up that .7 in 1/2 lap, passed Jorge and was pulling away at the line, setting the fastest lap of the race (I believe). I didnt think anything of it at the time....
Sepang: after Rossi's outburst (very disappointing) & MM tactics (bear w/me), I rewatched PI.
SUNDAY: IMHO MM was just following Jorge... PERIOD!
MM's 'Pattern of Behavior', since entering the World level has been, has been WIN! He doesnt care if he's following JC himself, or Lucifer. The one thing you can bank on is that he WILL make a move! Yet, his 'PoB' changed the last 3 races. Yes, he won at PI, but....making up .7 in 1/2 lap on Jorge, who makes about 2 mistakes while leading every 4 years, is a huge stretch unless you are sandbagging. If MM had been following Rossi sunday, would he.....your damn right he would of! Am I upset at Jorge winning the WC? No. He's a spoiled whinning brat (please hire a PR person to tell you when to keep ur mouth shut!), but the fastest guy all year. Rossi: Im just sorry that he's stooped to this level. What Im disappointed at is MM behavior.....in fact Im stunned. I didnt think Id ever see MM hang back and not attempt to win. Can you see Doohan racing that way? And yes, I'll get over it.
What it takes to get to "The Top"
Great Olympians, studies have shown, are not down-to-earth, reasonable people. They are masters of self-deceit, convincing themselves that the world is against them, and/or that they are the greatest.
To get to The Top, one does not need to be kind, rational, or selfless. To get to The Top, one needs to be selfish, defensive, resentful. That is what makes a champion- need, insecurity, wrath.
The mind of a champion requires special fuels. Referencing an earlier piece on this site, when was the last time any of the Aliens heard the word, "no?"
Such a life does not a reasonable man make.
Lorenzo is faster today, and Rossi is still competing, so don't expect him to cool off and see reason, that's not who he is, nor what makes a champion.
But now I think that Rossi was right
At the beginning I was dubious, after Sepang a little less (even Lorenzo's father said that Rossi was right and Marquez was playing against the unwritten rules), and after Valencia and Lorenzo's statement I am certain (and I think that Occam would agree with me). So, reconsidering the whole story: I think that Rossi decided to outspeak because he considered that it was the only possibility to prevent Marquez from playing dirt. And I think that, if Marquez did not stop, there must have been something that went beyond a pilots' feud. A pilot 22 years old is not going to jeopardize his image for the rest of his career just for the fun of hit, and his behaviour is a risk also for his firm which is supposed to intervene and refrain him. Marquez owns everything to Honda, who bet everything on him (and his brother), and undoubtedly he would listen to his master's voice.
But Honda did not do it, and I can only find a reason: Mr. Nakamoto was more than totally aware of what was going on and he agreed with it, and perhaps it was he who inspired it. Honda, who dominates the circus and even makes the rules (it was Honda who decided that a rooky could run a factory bike at his first year in motogp just the first year of Marquez in motogp), never forgave Rossi for abandoning her and go to an inferior bike and win, and Nakamoto did not want to see it happen a second time. You do not believe me? I think that Occam would.
The best season of the
The best season of the century, despite the Italian opera that came with it.
Congratulations to Lorenzo on an outstanding come back and rock solid performances.
I'm starting to realize that with the depth of talent in the gp field, post-VR era will be just as interesting.
I just renewed my motogp subscription, so bring on 2016!
I am a M.Márquez fan. What that so young guy brought with him at several levels of bike racing is something I longed for a long time: Peerless class, new racing lines, imposing his will on the machine and I admit it, ..some very brave but also somewhat reckless attitude to prove his point. It's also similar to what Stoner brought just before him but, alas, Casey became too early on somewhat tired of the "circus cinema" and left. I loved C.Stoner!
M.Márquez now climbed all the steps and he seems to be there, at the top, for quite a long time.
As for V.Rossi, I struggled a long time to join the chorus about him. Superior he was, even magnificent, no question, and for long years but his antics -and especially the never ending crazy media frenzy about him- before and post the races never won my vote. In fact, it annihilated any possibility of it. I had been definitely more convinced by the way M.Doohan behaved. Some described him -before and after the races- as contained, others as icy or too severe but I found it appropriate for the exceptional champion he was (He still is the number One in my head).
I felt the Sepang incident as a punch in my face, was stunned and not willing to believe what I just saw. After countless rewind of that fight with M.Márquez and reading everything I could find about the subject, I was happy and relieved (as each time) when I finally found David Emmet's comments on this site.
Here was some calm if sad perspective about what happened.
And then came Valencia. I was a little disappointed first not to see M.Márquez taking the lead and straightaway feared what could happen next. Lap after lap, I thought he was preparing a move, maybe for the last lap or worse, the last corner, and the more I saw him right behind J.Lorenzo, the more I dreaded what was coming next. I desperately sought: "Please, don't do that, man, please! You are the best, I know it.. Please! let him go..".
V.Rossi made a splendid, nearly perfect race but didn't find the pace to shorten the gap with the 3 leaders, more than 10 seconds. He has made his point tough, in my view: The only ones left in front of him were those with whom he could have battled with and maybe defeated if ...Sepang had not existed 2 weeks earlier.
And now, with a dozen laps remaining, I just prayed. I prayed all the Motorcycling Gods either to make J.Lorenzo crash -safely- on his own, trying to pull more distance with M.Márquez, or to instill some reason in Marc's mind: "Let that guy -J.Lorenzo- win! Relax! the way you are riding, right there, is ample proof that you are the best.. Let him go and grab this 2015 title.. He deserves it, you don't.. You already made some brave but silly moves this year.. You will shine -again- in the next yearS.. Be smart. Cool man! Cool!..."
When D.Pedrosa closed on both leaders in the final laps, fear in me just went up another notch. What sort of massacre were we going to witness now?
What if two or the three of them went down? What if M.Márquez was to be seen as the culprit of that final fiasco?
Márquez answered the God's exhortations (and mine) halfway: First, he retaliated at once when DP passed him and he retook his place. But then, facing the mountain to climb in order to catch J.Lorenzo, he decided to take some rest ..and prepare for 2016.
I genuinely think that, at 22 years old, the "brat champion" is gaining more and more wisdom and craftsmanship.
Why do so many people refuse to accept the possibility that M.Márquez is still growing up and learning?
He is evolving, becoming more mature. Is that so unbelievable?
Does he have to remain forever "the guy who will do ANYTHING to be the 1st"?
I am already wishing to be in March 2016 and meeting again all those Motorcycling champions, V.Rossi included, all of these racers (in MotoGP but also in Moto2 and Moto3).
That will be something! Cheers!
Before that, congratulations to D.Emmet for this Valencia 2015 Round Up. It's of the utmost quality, clear, objective and makes (most of) us think a little bit more deeply about motorcycle racing and about sport, in general.
MotoGp analysis by David
Another great article David .
The one thing no one has appeared to do is ask Emilio Alzamora about his alleged comments to Vale which he has never replied to which would seems to be likely that he was the instigator to all that went on since why haven't Dorna /Fim brought him in to either confirm or deny he spoke to Valentino about
IMHO if they had they would've defused what has now ruined a great season for many many fans & riders .
Well done, and nice round up this time. VR dig his own hole when desperation took over him, and he never got out of it. One of the biggest displays of how to lose a championship that i ever saw.
Well done Krop. Can't wait
Well done Krop. Can't wait for next year.
I agree with most of your comments and I don't think we will ever know for sure until Danny gives his unhindered version one day.
But to move our sport forward from these allegations I cannot help but wonder what the result of the race would have been if all pit board and track side information regarding other riders positions was held from the racers until the race was over. That way you would get a true race without the tactics and collaborations. I appreciate the teams may not agree but it would be better for the fans at final rounds. Much in the same way that final rounds in football are all held simultaneously to prevent staged games. Because sadly, I feel Valencia was a staged event and after following motorcycle racing for fifty plus years I do not want my sport to go down this route.
Italian in Spain
horrible manipulation from the media here where I live (Spain) and in my country (Italy). That's one of the worst things...censor, manipulated half truth sentences etc. Ok, let's get over it...
I am Italian, I appreciate Rossi but I have never been a real "fan".
In this situation....I think the big picture is what counts.
Maybe honda should really disclose the telemetry (as they said thay would have done after the race in Valencia, let's not forget what Suppo stated). Mr. Nakamoto said "you can read a kick in the telemetry"...then show us the whole thing, as you can read much more from it.
But not just Sepang....because this all started in Australia, in Rossi's head. Then if you have a clean consciousness and you said you will show it, just do it......because the the timing sheets are sort of suspicious in Philips Island.
No need to talk about MQZ in Valencia in my opinion, as it was really way too evident to discuss about it.
I just can get over a question....let's say Rossi was right and MQZ started to "stop him" in Australia....what should have Rossi done?
Shut up and let Marc do his thing?
On the other hand...MQZ always said I am "always going at 100%".
In this case, wouldn't it be normal to go as fast as he could to prove Rossi was wrong?
I am sorry but, at least in the last 2 races, IMHO he absolutely did not.
This last question raises me a lot of side questions on Marquez sincerity and integrity.
If he can lie so openly when JLO said "they helped me" and the images are so clear, I can't trust him on anything else anymore...
The only thing I know is that thanks to the f****ng media it is becoming a national thing here and in Italy.
In Spain they attack me because I am Italian, in Italy they say "because you live in Spain, you don't stand for Rossi enough".
All I know is that I like bikes, and the philosophy of "closed the helmet I go 100%" is lost and gone.
Conspiracy? Not according to JL
Typically well articulated and persuasive post by David.
However, he may not be aware of the following interview of Lorenzo with Movistar tv after the race, where he (unbelievably) acknowledges and thanks his wingman:
'In a bizarre twist, Lorenzo appeared to support Rossi's claim in an interview with Movistar MotoGP channel
Whilst denying that "any pact" existed between him and Marquez he intimated that his compatriots had helped him win the title by not passing him.
"They knew what I had in play," Lorenzo said.
"The fact they are Spaniards like me helped me.
"That helped me because for sure in another kind of race they would have tried to overtake which they didn't this time."
He added: "If Valentino had been in my position and with Italians behind they would have done exactly the same.
"The title had to be for Spain."'
Great day for Spain, not so much for MotoGP.
For the life of me I haven't
For the life of me I haven't been able to figure out why corporate honda would let marquez behave like he does. Finally decided on the following:
1) Mm has enough clout within honda to do what he wants
2) the $100,000,000 yamaha is losing because Rossi didn't win will probably, mostly go to honda
Sports define winners
The beauty of true sport is that it defines a winner by the rules and practice of that sport. The best performance wins and so we have a winner in MotoGP this season, Jorge Lorenzo. None of the rest matters in the least. Far from being tarnished MotoGP has shined thoughout the season and the only thing tarnished now is Rossi's legacy. Ironically, he has done what no one else could do in this regard.
A great anaysis but
Saying about Jorge, "....but not a lovable or even likable character in the slightest...."
Is your opinion. Many, including myself, find him an interesting, intelligent and straight-talking person, who is somewhat unusual but nonetheless likable.
a little mystery left
Right after the Spanish national anthem finished playing, Lorenzo seems to having a conversation with somebody on the grounds, his face doesn't seem amused. And then right at the start of the champagne spraying, he ran to the podium exit and seem to be going somewhere before the officials stopped him and lead him back to the podium. He returned without the champagne.
I haven't been able to find anything about this anywhere, so maybe someone here knows what actually happened?