SofaRacer Speaks - Of Homer’s Odyssey, Donald Rumsfeld and Valentino Rossi

The Losail Circuit in Qatar is the largest floodlit sporting venue on the planet. The lighting system includes over 1000 structures, 3 million kilos of concrete, and 500 kilometres of wire. The system would power 3000 homes. Three and a half thousand separate light sources produce 450 million lumens of light. On Sunday the 7th of April, those 450 million lumens will bathe one man. Valentino Rossi.

There are others of course, every bit as worthy of the spotlight as Rossi. But people watched Muhammad Ali fights to see Ali, not the guy who was going to beat him. The focus of every spectator at the circuit and every television viewer globally will be on Rossi because, like Ali, the story is utterly compelling.

MotoGP has somehow (more by happy accident than design) contrived to take its staid feature race, replete with little overtaking, few wheelies and certainly no burnouts in these days of limited engine availability, and serve up a season that has the hallmarks of a potential classic.

How we got here is how we got here. A guy retired, another walked away from his team, a bike was uncompetitive, a rookie rule was dropped, a potential champion became injury free, and an angry young man matured into a two-time world champion.

As the cards fell, the deals were done and the seats filled, what emerged was a script which even the most sniffy nosed Hollywood Producer would regard as having too many plot lines and far too much intrigue for any small town mid west audience to follow.

Fortunately this is MotoGP, not Hollywood. Whilst it may be regrettable to some that the series remains Euro centric, the fact is that 2013 may just serve up cinéma vérité of the highest order, with a plot to match the best of Greek mythology.

Valentino Rossi, playing the part of Odysseus returning home battle weary from his travails in the Bolognian wars to reassert his rightful place as King of Ithaca, will take the starring role in the feature presentation.

But this is motorsport, not a movie. It will serve up a happy ending for someone, but just because the audience are rooting for their hero it doesn’t mean they’re going to get the ending they want.

So what are the chances?

One in four. No, make that one in three. Wait. ‘Marquez’. One in four.

Will it be Valentino Rossi? Perhaps.

The perceived wisdom and accumulated knowledge of the MotoGP paddock states that whilst Rossi will be competitive and undoubtedly pick up podiums and the odd win, he won’t challenge for the championship. The reasons: his main competitors, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, have grown in the last two years. Both are better, faster, more consistent and mature than they were before. The current bikes require to be ridden with a level of precision at odds with Rossi’s late braking, dive for the apex, sort it out on the exit style. Put simply, the paddock reckons he’ll expend so much energy, both mental and physical, just keeping up with the metronomically fast pace of the other two that his season will consist of coat tail hanging with the odd bit of luck here and there. This could be true.

Paddock wisdom is good, but holds sway only to the end of the pit lane. After that, a race breaks out. There can be no better illustration of the vicissitudes of a season of world championship Grand Prix motorcycle racing than that given by former U.S Secretary of Defense (sic), Donald Rumsfeld (on, admittedly, another topic);

“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know”.

The known knowns are the factory teams of Honda and Yamaha. They possess the fastest, best handling, most technologically advanced machines on the grid. Each will field two. Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi will ride for Yamaha, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez for Honda. One of these four men will be the 2013 MotoGP world champion. Any other scenario is firmly back in the land of our Hollywood producer with the constantly streaming nose and oddly unquenchable thirst.

The known unknowns are that during an 18 race season, stuff happens. In 2012, Jorge Lorenzo unexpectedly met Alvaro Bautista at a turn one apex. He ended up in the gravel, race over, engine blown. At Misano, desperately trying to make up lost time after an altercation with, of all things, a tyre warmer, Dani Pedrosa met a similar fate. These incidents are, however, part and parcel of motorsport. Only the very fortunate make it through a full season without something interrupting a perfect score of finishes. It always happens to someone, it could happen to anyone. Known unknowns.

The unknown unknowns. The thing about the unexpected is its unpredictability, due to the very nature of its unexpectedness. Before a wheel was turned in the 2012 season it was difficult to see anyone other than Casey Stoner winning the title. Lorenzo had a shot, a good one, for sure, but it was Casey’s to lose. The Honda was magnificent and Stoner’s riding imperious. The title was his unless something completely unexpected happened. It did. Chatter. Then a new tyre was introduced, further hampering the Honda. Then, an unforced error from the kind of rider who rarely makes unforced errors resulted in a broken ankle and his championship challenge being over. An unknown unknown.

So where does this leave our returning King?

It leaves him fighting for his crown with not only the current King but also the Crown Prince and the Young Pretender.

The current King has grown in stature since Odysseus departed. No longer a youth, he has matured, learned well and now bestrides his empire exuding the steely confidence of one who knows he is fit to reign.

The Crown Prince has suffered the slings, arrows, and indeed the stuck throttles of battle. His standing in the Royal Court is at an all time high, but he knows he must seize the crown now if it is not to skip a generation.

No mere child or upstart, the Young Pretender has proven himself in battle time and again. He fears no one, for he has never experienced the emotion. His speed, determination, and panache in victory remind Odysseus of his younger self. As well it might, for the Young Pretender has a ruthless streak.

Each of the four protagonists must defeat not only his main foe, but the one on each flank as well, at the same time. Consistency wins championships. In the race for the 2013 MotoGP crown, this will be truer than ever.

At each race there are three podium positions. Ergo, at each race one of the four contenders will be not be on the podium. Satellite riders will take podiums, possibly wins, during the season. At these races, two, conceivably three of the four contenders will be off the podium. Who fails to make the podium, and when, will play a big part. All four contenders will not finish every race. Who, where and crucially, when, this occurs will also have its say in the final outcome. Known unknowns.

Of the four, three have a point to prove. Lorenzo, that he can have Rossi as his team mate and not blink an eye. Pedrosa, that he can be world champion. Rossi, that those who dared question him were wrong. Marquez has no point to prove, merely a destiny to fulfil. And a train of thought which simply does not understand the concept of waiting for a year.

On paper, there are two favourites and two underdogs. But MotoGP races on bitumen, not paper. In the cold light of a race day sunrise there are four riders between which it would be difficult to squeeze a cigarette paper. Each has the both the ability and the equipment under him to take victory on any given day.

Valentino Rossi has a one in four chance of becoming world champion in 2013. No more, no less. Given recent travails, it’s difficult to imagine that he won’t grab those odds tightly with both hands. To win, he will need to shorten them.

Homer’s epic poem ‘The Odyssey’ was written sometime in the 8th century BC. Its hero, Odysseus, returns home not only to reclaim his rightful place as King of Ithaca, but also to be reunited with his one true love. Renowned as a brave and brilliant warrior, Odysseus was given the epithet ‘mētis’ due to his intelligence, adaptability and most of all, his cunning.

Remind you of anyone?

Qatar. April 7th. Bike number 46.

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Thanks, I enjoyed it very much.
Even with new writers, motomatters is still the motorcycle website where to find articles you wouldn't find anywhere else.
What about the Iliad? Maybe the golden era when he was undefeated going at war against the likes of Biaggi, Gibernau, Barros, Capirex (he should have been king as his nickname suggests, damn Gibernau), Melandri, Hayden?
And then the aliens came over, eventually leading to the Odyssey.

Brilliant and fun demonstration that motorcycling journalism can be thrilling, interesting, educated and a joy to read.

Merci David, merci Sofaracer !

On the tail of each will be a protagonist.
The hardest protagonist, mentally and physically will overcome.

At the front will be Lorenzo and Pedrosa; taken down by Rossi and Marquez.

But that will leave Marquez on Rossi. The Young Pretender will prevail.

Valencia. 10 November 2013. Bike 93.

ps. the joker in the pack. Bautista. Wind him up, let him go.

I completely agree that Bautista could be the wildcard early in the season. Of those outside the top 4, he has been the one to show flashes of brilliance, first on the Suzuki and last year on a sub-standard Honda. And he earned the podium in 2012, not Bradl. Bautista lacks consistency and sometimes discipline, but now he and Bradl have factory "support", which means they are a big podium threat along with Crutchlow.

Crutchlow is perhaps the fastest of those outside the top 4, but an unknown for him is the pace of his satellite bike, which he says will have no new parts for the first 4 races! Ouch!

So to me, I would be hesitant to put any money on the final podium position. If I had to bet, it would be in this order for the first 3 or 4 races.....Rossi, Marquez, Crutchlow, Bautista, Bradl.

After that, the questions remain....will Marquez be uninjured after 4 races? If so, he will be a real threat. How quickly will Rossi as the old dog pick up the new tricks and gain pace? Will Yamaha give Crutchlow a better bike? Bautista vs Bradl will be a season-long cat fight!

And let's not forget Ducati. Sure they will be slow, but the inter-team battle between Nicky, Dovi and Spies will be drama and entertainment. Can't wait!!!

I like the guy and I wish him well. But honestly I've been underwhelmed by his performance on the Honda. Like everyone else i thought he was over riding that suzuki and would be at the pointy end on a decent bike, ie. the honda, but the results didnt ever really seem to meet my expectations for him.
I even started to wonder that if one of the big 4 (riders that is, not manufacturers) had been on the suzuki back in the day, maybe they would have snagged a few wins and podiums a season, possibly not pulled out of GP, maybe the bike wasn't so bad after all....

Yeah, I've wondered that. Now that we have a tier 1 rider unencumbered by contracts it would be interesting if Suzuki could entice Stoner back to do some testing. Ideally I'd love to see him test ALL the bikes and tell us what he thinks of them, but I'd settle for just lap times. I'll go out on a limb and say it'd be an interesting day for him, and would probably be useful for the teams. Some more than others, but I'd bet there would be some surprises in there. Maybe some embarrassment too, but on the part of the riders or teams?

For me it is not the return of Rossi to competitive machinery that interests me, it is how adaptable Marquez is to the big boy bike.

I never fel that Rossi forgot how to ride, I did feel that he just simply (like 99% of the riders) could not come to grips with the Ducati. He is now back on a Yamaha, and the question is can he maintain the grueling pace of Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Personally I think it will come down to set up, as I don't believe there is anything between the three.

Watching Marquez, much like watching Lorenzo grow up, will be the highlight for me. I do not care who wins the title, I do not care about the off track "drama", I just care about watching the best riders in the world fight it out on the best bikes on the planet. I believe Marquez has the talent to win races, the question will become does he have the fortitude to win over a long grueling season with arguably the most talented line up the grid has seen in many years.

I wish Stoner had not retired simply because watching the super talent of five riders outweighs watching four.

I hate to break it to you but this is not a Valentino Rossi race, it is a MotoGP race. Many people have watched it before he came on the scene and will continue to watch it after he leaves. From the tone of your article you get the feeling that the entire circus will pack up and close down when he throws in the towel.


Isn't it ironic that you've had just 46 votes for your comment Chris! :)

Yeah, it's not about VR race but a MotoGP race, but you gotta give the kid some credit for entertaining us such a long time. And this season indeed should be one of his most important seasons as well.

Yes not all of us are Rossi fanboys, although he is one of the reasons I got back into watching Moto GP. I think it will be hard for him to reach the podium this year, but one never knows


Although I agree with what you are saying, there is no denying the revenue machine that is the Rossi brand. Politics may have kept that machine going a little bit longer, but such is life.

DORNA seems content on trying to keep the good vs evil approach to it's marketing, which if you browse other forums, it is usually Rossi = good, anyone who beats him = evil. This plays into the marketing hands, and it doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon (well, at least for the next two seasons). Marquez is already (for a lack of better word) "hated" because of the perceived special treatment he has been given.

There is always going to be the next big thing, just like in all sports. Be it Marquez, or Lorenzo, or some prodigy that no one has heard of yet. Fans keep the sport turning, and when the Rossi fans cling onto the next big thing, it's going to continue to recycle itself over and over. The advent on the internet and social media has a lot to do with it compared to times past.

Thanks for a well written article, though from my personal perspective I diverge massively on two points:

1) Rossi doesn't have a "one in four chance". The race isn't based on the roll of a 4 sided dice, it's based on the skill of the riders, their bikes, and the knowns and unknowns well stated in the article. Based on many factors including age, recent test lap times, confidence levels, how the bike handles compared to a rider's style, etc., I'd say Rossi's chances are much less than 1 in 4. He's likely one of the 4 best, but I highly doubt there's a "one in four chance" he's the best. That's a pretty massive distinction.

2) Maybe in my little cocoon in the middle of Canada, where the snow is still falling this morning and our bikes are waiting another month or two to see pavement, and where local MotoGP coverage is approximately nil, we don't have a fair perspective on the Rossi hype. I've got nothing against the guy and readily acknowledge him as a massive talent, but I'm far more excited to see how Lorenzo and Pedrosa will do in Qatar. Rossi has been a complete non-factor for 2 seasons and accordingly isn't near as much a part of my consciousness until I read articles like this.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but surly I'm not alone (?).

I have been rooting for Lorenzo since 2009. For me, the return of Rossi is a long awaited treat. A very big deal in fact.

Equal equipment. No injuries. Toe-to-toe. Señor Zen vs Dr. Crafty. Finally. Have at it boys.

you're not alone.. i am excited about rossi back on the yamaha too, one of the highlights and lots of hope for the 2013 season, but he is not and will not be my most important focus come qatar day, unless something unexpected happens and he wins the very first race or something.. my primary focus is how lorenzo vs pedrosa unfolds (with the hope of lorenzo getting it).. i am much more excited on wanting him to win the races and the'd be exciting to watch rossi mix it up but i am far more interested in who wins the race, which boils down to those 2 riders most likely.

and SquidPuppet - totally the same thing for me too mate.. the most important reason why i am eager to see rossi race with the yamaha is the whole 99 vs 46 side of's obvious rossi will do very well on the yamaha, nothing so new and exciting about it..but, for me, it all hangs on how lorenzo and rossi do it with each other and compared to each other.

cant wait enough. man the days are f***ing slow.

For me as well, MotoGP without near-100 percent focus on Rossi is a better MotoGP and to be honest I enjoyed the last two seasons immensely for that reason. To continue with the Greek analogy of the article, let us remember the Olympian gods came to power by overthrowing the Titans who ruled before them... in the end, Rossi's eventual demise will not mean the end of the world - merely a change of guard.

Great article. It's the reason I click to MotoMatters multiple times a day.

I think there's one caveat we have to watch out for in 2013. Marquez is fast. Very fast. But he's young and brimming with confidence. He, like most rookies are going to have their offs in the heat of battle. Given his speed, Marquez is going to spend most of his time diving in the inside of the top three (or around the outside, as he likes) and when he does have an off, it will be amongst the guys battling for the title. I hope that he doesn't take one of the other riders out, but there is that possibility. For me, that's one of the known unknowns. Sitting out a race or two can have any one of the top four out of contention.

Entertaining read and SofaRacer has it about right. Given relative experience at top level and factory backing availed to them,2013 should be all about one of three. The one in four scenario sees Marquez within the last quarter of a foresome scenario.
Don Rumsfeldt spoke about 'shock and awe' ad nauseum back then. That is the Marquez unknown. Will the laser guided bomb hit and miss with consistent collateral damage or be the rapier sharp racer he replaced ?
I prefer to believe the latter scenario.
One thing's for sure. They are all out there to win race by race,but pre-season testing does suggest its a 3 + 1 race for the 2013 title.

HELP! I can't seem to get rid of all the sweet, sticky, shapeless yellow fluff that has mysteriously appeared on my monitor. ;)

(Personally, I think the trials and tribulations of people like Earl Hayden or Colin Stoner are far more 'compelling' than Rossi's so-called 'saga.')

Love the comparison to the Greeks, fits perfectly.

One interjection on something that was not mentioned, certainly not a critique but simply an addition: Who will get "Barbera'ed" and by whom?

Going to be a fantastic season, I can't wait for it to start. I only hope that it can remain injury free. Last year could have been even better had Stoner remained unhurt, the year before it was Dani with the collarbone. We have lost out a bit due to injuries, but it's still most excellent. Will this damn winter never end?

Can't wait to ride from Peoria to Austin with many friends!! Austin is a great town, with much to do and see. If you are in town and have the chance, see "The Story of Texas" at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum just north of the Capitol building. Every man I have taken to see it when we went down to Austin in the winter to ride MX and get away from the local winter hell has said the same thing when exiting the theater. "That's it, I'm selling everything and moving to Texas". It really is that good.

Texas is not a state, it's a state of mind. Austin is redneck and yet cosmopolitan, not things that normally live juxtaposed and still play nice. It's also the "Live Music Capital of the World", ok, that's self proclaimed, but tour 6th St and you'll have a hard time disagreeing. Austin is also more liberal than the rest of the state, the slogan found on bumper stickers is "Keep Austin Weird". Go to Luckenbach and soak up the ambience, ride 1431 NW out of town into Hill Country and have a slice of pie at Marble Fall's Blue Bonnet Cafe. It's spring and you might time it right and see a world covered with blue bonnets (Texas state flower) and Indian paintbrushes. Texas is a fantastic place and Austin is the best of Texas, see it if you can.

... where they STOP serving alcohol at 2 AM?!!!

I was thoroughly underwhelmed the first time there, but it's fine for what it is, a small town. Can't make it to this years race, but I plan on being at the second edition in 2014.

Fear the Jackalope!

However,the facts and the pre-season test times are like circumstantial and DNA evidence at any crime scene. SofaRacer has it about right though.The Yamaha outfit sucks in terms of morality. Any fool and his dog knows that the 2nd factory MI should have been saddled up with Cruthlow or Dovi as designated rider in the interest of performance based employment. Clearly reward for performance lower down the pecking field does not apply. Its all about selling tickets and the show these days. How difficult and costly can it be for them to give Cal full factory support in light of Ducati's and Honda's support for Bradl,Bautista(Showa)...Iannone and Spies ? HRC were oft labelled T-Rex's of the sport,top of said food chain,but as long as you were loyal the T-Rex mama's they nurtured you. Yamaha clearly don't give a hoot. Then again,why should they?
They have George in the saddle. Of course and granted. Ducati opted for Dovi rather than Calvin.
The big issue is arguably the spectacle. Do we want to see 4 potential podium candidates week in and week out ? Looks like we've got it for yet another season and 1000cc has changed nothing other than to fill the grid with quasi prototypes and sundry mixed up winner's circles. Top CRT etc. What next ? Top paddock scooter.

From my understanding it was the marketing department in a boardroom decision to bring Rossi back, not that of the race department. If you are implying that Crutchlow would be more competitive than Rossi I have to disagree. There is nothing past or present to state that he would be. Had Stoner decided to stay, It very well could have been Pedrosa taking the second seat at Yamaha with Rossi being left out to dry. Either scenrio, a highly talented rider would have been left without a competitve ride. I'm certain Dovi has already proven that even with the "best bike on the grid" he still couldn't match the pace of the front runners. Giving everyone a factory ride still wouldn't change the results at the front.

I find jabs at the CRT's tiresome, with history proving that even in the two stroke hay-days there were teams that were just as far off the pace as CRT's today. IIRC that article was even linked on this site.

We are in the state of affairs we are in because the economy took a dump and the tabacco money is non existent. I am thankful that Yamaha, Honda and Ducati are at least still putting the techno-marvel machines on the grid, instead of dropping an F bomb and going home.

will indeed shine on the 4 aliens. There will be shadows following them at Qatar; maybe #27 will haunt 3 of them for the whole season, time will tell.
Times are all it is down to; Jorge has shown his consistency in testing. He will win barring any unknowns, although we all know it already; MM will take out a few of these guys and could affect the championship because of his ambition outweighing his talent.
The only unknown really is who will emerge as the next best, in the 6 way battle for forth as 2nd and3rd is between VR & DP. No one else will see these 4 guys for dust, and that's not just in the desert opener.

Very well written. Enjoyed it immensely.
And your plea for teeny-bopper marketing notwithstanding,
I hope you never find yourself writing about who has the
best haircut, or the trendiest jeans, or the most followers on twitter.

If Casey hadn't retired and if Marco were still with us, then 2013 would be an unbelievable season. Let's hope this year will provide race-long and season-long battles. I found the fight between RdP and Aleix Espagaro to be the first CRT champion to be just as intriguing as the struggle between Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

But what I really wanted to say is that I still miss #58 and think that to have seen him and #93 attack the old guard of MotoGP on equal machinery would have been special.

Loved it - perked me up no end.

I wouldn't put too much weight of expectation on the shoulders of the old King. He said after the first test he wasn't in shape to do a race simulation, admitting couln't do 10 laps at a time in his (then) state of fitness. (Henny Ray Abrams, RIP).

This surprised me somewhat.

"The focus of every spectator at the circuit and every television viewer globally will be on Rossi "

Sorry, not this one.

I like Rossi enough, but my focus is going to be on the other three. Particularly on Marc Marquez.

Don't get me wrong, I anticipate Rossi will have something to say about how every race turns out, but as to him being the reason I watch or even someone I will be following, no. Not this year.

I have no doubt his determination meter is turned up to 11 to rid himself of the taint of two wasted years at Ducati, but to me, his is a secondary plotline in the main saga that is - Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez.

Unless there are some strong team orders, I can see Marquez being the one to put the fox among the hens.

The other potential podium sitters are going to be the happy recipients of problems affecting the top 4 - no amount of canny riding is going to head any of them on the top kit.

Bautista seems to have a problem with urgency, Bradl is a nice guy and a cracking rider, but without the killer instinct to get it done and Cal is the new jester, but will only have a few speaking lines.

Bring on April - I've had it with speculation! :)

I dont know if Rossi has a full 25% chance of winning, Gorge won on the number two Yamaha bike, but he was ascending to the thrown not descending from it when he did so, I'd like the 'old king to have his day' though. He has not had a good couple of years.

In fact, its only the number two Honda rider that seems to win titles. I'm only going off memory, so I could be completely wrong.

I'd dearly love to see the Duke give the Japanese Samuari's a run for their money.... But in Sepang they only improved at the same rate as the Japanese, not good enough I'm afraid, I'd love to see some real big gains in the next few weeks... it'd be so good for the sport.

Wow that's surprising.
Very well written, thank you for interesting parallel and MM for hosting it (this website is getting better every year!)

Now let's hope that the races will live up to the expectations, we are all looking forward some epic battles (I personally would like to see Cal in the mix and I greatly miss SuperSic).

And then it started to ain and all bets are off??? The weather could be the greatest leveller in the whole series

Oh man, Sofaracer has stars in his eyes, 46 of them to be exact.

I'm going to be far more interested in watching Marquez in race mode against the big boys, than Rossi going around again.

I'll lay a fiver that MM beats Rossi first time out :)

re: "...but as long as you were loyal the T-Rex mama's they nurtured you."
Forgetting about a former World Champ who was thrown under the bus for a rider who has yet to win a WC?
And as for Yamaha, they seemed to have loyalty until a certain manager came along. Can we forget so soon about the Lin Jarvis/Ben Spies debacle?
In today's racing world, there ain't no "loyalty" at the top of the game.
And as for 46, I stopped being a fan when he T-boned Sete Gibernau at Jerez.
Now that Stoner is gone, I'll put my money on Pedrosa continuing his form from last year and making good on the expectation.

By the same token, I guess you are referring to Nicky and Ben respectively.
Sad but true. I don't like it any more than you do. My guess is that the technicians and engineers pour over the data sheets,submit their reports and the human resources crowd do likewise re attendance/resultants/media hits etc and the top management analyse/assess potential return. The kleptocrats then 'axe' or prompt an 'axing' accordingly.
Now if Nick had won more than 1 race outside of the US on the Factory HRC bike and had Ben won more than 1 race on the all conquering M1 I might be convinced you have a point.
Nick has lead a charmed life re factory support for a decade. Ben has had a rough ride. Funny old bone. They both won otherside in GP at Assen on factory bikes. Funny old bone#2. They face off on the same bike this year.
The kleptocratic GP game current needs Rossi. It desperately needs Marquez to shine. George and Dani provide the stable platform and the idiotic rules re tyre wars,rev limits,fuel limits,ECU,transponders,camera deadweight and sundry crap sees the likes of Stoner gone fishing

I also lost much respect for #46 post the Jerez event back then viz a viz Gibernau.
That was also consolidated years back when he smashed Marco Melandri's ankle from behind.Then emphasising to Lorenzo under the bridge in Motegi 2010 that he was perfectly willing to run him into the wall in the interests of ??? Yamaha's and Lorenzo's extremely well deserved title. ...Well...
I'm not going to get caught up in it emotionally. Should he and Marquez get into it and Marquez gives him the beans, I hope race direction grant Marquez the same leniency they gave Rossi over the past several seasons.

I'm in the same boat as you guys, when push comes to shove Rossi has a history of just punting people off circuit and getting away with it (the exception being his superb move on Lorenzo at Catalunya). I fully expect Jorge and Dani to set the pace, but Rossi will be right there and there WILL be fireworks. The wildcard is Marquez, who will be just as happy to shove a bike where conventional wisdom says there is no room. I am just trying to imagine the howling of the "putrid yellow hordes" (RIP MotoGPNews) if Marquez takes out Rossi when he's in a position to win... Should make for an interesting year, but I do hope they can all get through the season without injury.

Lorenzo&Pedrosa Vs Marquez&Rossi.

Risk aversion/orthodoxy Vs spontaneity/improvisation.

No matter who will prevail I will nevertheless enjoy the antagonism between the two ways of racing.

I think we are all in for a memorable season.

May the best man win!

It's going to be hard to find things of interest this season (including Rossi), unless you really like Spanish guys and frozen tech and parade laps, I guess.

We all must remember that Rossi never shows what he is fully capable of during testing/practice/qualifying. Rossi has only 59 Pole Positions throughout his career with 105 Grand Prix wins. Lorenzo on the other hand has 51 Pole's and only 44 Grand Prix victories. Rossi knows how to show up for the race and win from anywhere on the grid. Marquez is going to have a first year similar to Lorenzo's first year which will be full of high sides and inconsistencies. Pedrosa will most likely get injured again.

I respect all opinions, but frankly I do hope you are so wrong on your last senetence.

this article has tickled my fancy so i joined up.

the article and following posts have been informative and interesting. seems like on this site you guys put some thought into it so THANKYOU.

Marquez is out for the title ''13, seems to me its whatever it takes and thats the winning way. I f Dani stays fit and injury free his confidence after first race win could be deadly beautiful, it is a known unknown im sure.
In good faith i have put 1k on Dani to win the title this year. For Dani no injury = race wins and i really do believe he can do it(hrc demand it).

Im just not convinced yet about Vale. I want to see him do well for lots different reasons including doing a lot for the sport of motocycling.

QTR cannot come quick enough.

99 .... Defending a title is one of the hardest things an athlete will ever do.
He needs no luck, nothing is left to chance. He is a man at one with his machine.

Marquez for my mind may just do the job. we'll know for sure in the not too distant future.

Whatever way the 2013 motogp season is looming as a ball tearer... i'm just a bit excited

That was a fun read. Thanks. Been gone awhile but back now. I think the fastest man early is the fellow who was fastest at the end of last season. That would be Pedrosa, and I am pulling for him to finally win the crown. But from the top deck over T1 at Indy the last two seasons, I saw two riders who appeard to have a remarkably similar style in getting through an apex on the fastest line; Casey Stoner and Marky Marq. If he can do it again in MotoGP, HRC should have their best season in a very long time.