2014 Misano MotoGP Sunday Round Up: The Legend Returns

It would be fair to say that Sunday at Misano turned into a perfect Italian fairy story. After being forced to sit through two renditions of the Spanish national anthem after the Moto3 and Moto2 races, the Italian fans were finally able to bellow along with Il Canto degli Italiani, or the Song of the Italians, at the end of the MotoGP race. Valentino Rossi took his eighty-first victory in MotoGP in front of a crowd awash with yellow #46 banners, at the track just a few miles from his home. It was Rossi's first victory since Assen last year, and his first victory at Misano since 2009.

But the happy ending to the fairy tale was Rossi's win was no fluke, and came with no asterisk attached. There were no riders out through injury, as there were at Assen in 2013. Rossi came to Misano determined to score a good result. His team worked perfectly to give him a competitive bike, improving an already strong set up. The Italian dominated practice, qualified on the front row, and got a strong start. He then chased down his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, beat up Marc Marquez, and drew the Repsol Honda rider into making a mistake.

This was the Valentino Rossi of old, the man that many (myself included) feared had disappeared. He had not. A shoulder injury, two years on the Ducati, and then a year to adapt to the Yamaha had merely left him working out how to go fast again, and get back to winning ways. That Rossi was prepared to suffer through the Ducati years, then put in the long, hard hours of work adapting his style to the new realities of MotoGP, changing his approach, learning new skills and putting them to use on track speaks of the hunger Rossi still has for success. Valentino Rossi is unquestionably one of the most talented riders ever to have swung his leg over a motorcycle. But he owed this victory to far more than his talent. Dedication, hard work, ambition, mental toughness: these were the keys to his win at Misano.

The win had been hanging in the air since Saturday. Rossi was quickest out of the gate in the dry, posting a blistering race simulation in FP4. Though he has yet to fully get to grips with the new qualifying format, Rossi still managed to get on the front row, crucial at a track which is as narrow as Misano. Rossi was clearly on a mission at Misano, but when he saw Marc Marquez was struggling, along with the other Hondas, it spurred him on further. Rossi's demeanor was like that of a shark smelling blood in the water. The Italian circled menacingly, waiting for the right moment to strike.

The moment came on lap 4, after Rossi had reeled Jorge Lorenzo in from his attempt to escape from the front. It was no clean kill, however, Lorenzo putting up a gritty fight when Rossi made his move at Turn 8. The pair swapped places through Quercia and Tramonto, Lorenzo finally running wide and letting both Rossi and then also Marc Marquez through.

Rossi and Marquez pushed clear of Lorenzo, Marquez harrying Rossi whenever he could. But Marquez looked on the every edge of control as he hounded the Italian, like a crash waiting to happen. When he went down, it seemed almost inevitable. He cut across the inside of Turn 4, touched the kerb and lost the front. "I go too much inside on the corner, touch the kerb inside. On that corner it is not possible and then I lose the front," Marquez said afterwards.

So was he pushed or did he jump? Marc Marquez believed he made a simple error, from wanting to win too much. "My mentality was always to fight for the victory at every race," Marquez said. "I didn't want to manage [my points] advantage with lower positions but manage it on the side of still taking some risks." It was clear that Marquez was riding at the limit throughout, though Marquez himself said he had only really been pushing for the first three or four laps. After that, he said, he 'cooled down' and just matched Rossi's pace. He didn't look to be riding within himself, the front pushing all the way around the track. Jorge Lorenzo's team manager and former racer Wilco Zeelenberg concurred, Marquez was pulling out all the stops to try to beat Rossi.

Had he been lured into a mistake? The most likely explanation is that Rossi was simply pushing as hard as he could, and that Marquez had been too eager to try to beat him. On Saturday, Marquez did not have the race pace to match the Yamahas, but they found something in the morning. Clearly, though, not enough.

To say that Rossi's win was popular with the crowd would be like suggesting that deserts have a tendency to be sandy. The maximum noise limit on a MotoGP bike is 130 dB/A, which is as loud as a jet taking off. For the first couple of laps after Rossi took the lead from Lorenzo, you could barely hear the bikes over the roar of the crowd. The hands on his special Misano helmet were to symbolically help him at the circuit; on Sunday, Rossi surfed a wave of noise around the circuit, grown men and women screaming like teenagers.

Those men and women in their thirties probably were teenagers when Rossi took his first win. This is the Movistar Yamaha's 15th season in the premier class, and his nineteenth in Grand Prix racing. To still be racing after such a long time is an achievement in itself. To be competitive at the very highest level is truly remarkable.

Behind Rossi's sympathetic smile is a razor-sharp will to win. That desire is what drives him forward, forcing him to put in the hours of training to be this good. His willingness and ability to change his style marks him out as special, to be able to still be competitive to the point of victory after so many years at the very highest level are a sign of true greatness.

Not just competitive, but improving even. After the race, Rossi said he was riding better than he ever had. "I think now I am the best Valentino of my career. I don't feel that I'm slower than when I won ten or eleven races in a season. The bigger problem is that my rivals are stronger. They are younger and are the next generation. They are more professional and more focused." Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa are all making their marks in the record books. To be able to beat them is the sign of a great rider.

For Jorge Lorenzo, a gamble on the harder front tire did not pay off. Lorenzo told the press conference that they had switched to the harder front based on data from last year, when he set the fastest lap of the race using that tire. With the championship out of reach, they could afford to take more risk and gamble, but the tire had not given him the grip he had been expecting. He had been fast on Saturday and during the warm up, and had been confident of getting his first win of the season. "I'm very happy to see that Yamahas are first and second, but for my part I am disappointed because I expected to fight for a win," Lorenzo said after the race. He had been unable to stay with his Movistar Yamaha teammate, however. "Valentino deserved the win," he said. Rossi had proved that Misano was the best chance of a Yamaha win this season. But Lorenzo had hoped that it would be him doing the winning, not Rossi.

Why were the Yamahas stronger at Misano than the Hondas? On paper, Misano looks much more like a Honda circuit, with hard braking zones followed by hard acceleration spots. But something about the combination of slippery surface and corner exits gave Yamaha an advantage in acceleration, something they do not have at many tracks. The Yamahas could get much better traction on corner exit, while the Hondas would start to spin the rear tire, killing drive out of corners.

A lack of rear drive was one problem for Dani Pedrosa, but he had more than just traction problems. When asked if he was struggling with grip at the front or the rear, Pedrosa's answer was simple: "both". The Repsol Honda rider had got a strong start, but got caught behind the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, as well as the Yamaha of Pol Espargaro. His pace was good, but it took him too long to get past the Ducatis, and by the time he did, he was out of touch with the leaders. Marquez crashing out put him back on the podium, but even so, he had to survive a very strong challenge from Andrea Dovizioso in the final laps.

That challenge from Dovizioso was remarkable. The Italian finished just five seconds off the winner, Rossi, the closest they have been for a very long time. Dovizioso's results are a sign of the increasing competitiveness of the Ducati, but his position at Misano was much more about the Italian's determination in front of his home crowd. Throughout the race, he saw a podium within his grasp, and that spurred him on to greater heights. He took more risks than normal, riding over the limit in the last ten laps especially, when he saw that he could catch Pedrosa. He was surprised to find that he still had enough physical energy to challenge in those last laps. Normally, riding with the intensity needed to be competitive on the Ducati sucks the energy out of him, but Dovizioso found new inspiration at Misano. He pushed harder during the last ten laps to close Pedrosa down and try to attack him for the final podium slot. He got close, but not close enough to try to make a pass.

It was an incredible ride by Dovizioso, sparked no doubt by riding at a track so close to his home, and in front of his friends and family. It is also a sign of how much progress Ducati have made this year, even throughout the season. The new upgrades brought have all been a small step forward, but together, they have created a much better package. With another step to come at Aragon in two weeks time, Dovizioso was cautious. He was not certain that the new parts would make the difference they were hoping for. The results at Silverstone and Misano had come from his riding, more than the bike, he said. "The last two races, I make something special."

Andrea Iannone – in reality the second factory Ducati rider, Cal Crutchlow having been left by the wayside by Ducati Corse – could not match the pace of Dovizioso, but still managed to come home in fifth. A lack of power meant he could not keep up the factory bike, but he was still closer to the front than he had been all year. The test which the Ducati riders had at Misano had helped a little, but the fact that track conditions were so very different from three weeks ago meant they had not had the benefit they may have wanted.

A Rossi win, and two Ducatis in the top five. It was a dream weekend for Italy, indeed, made even better by Enea Bastianini having another strong race in Moto3, along with Andrea Migno, who replaced Arthur Sissis at Mahindra. Rossi showed the Italian fans he can take the fight to the Spaniards, and take advantage when they falter, while the youngsters showed that there is a new generation coming through with the potential to be competitive once they reach the highest level. It was a happy crowd that flooded the track and the paddock after the MotoGP race at Misano.

But a victory for Rossi is not just a victory for Italy. Valentino Rossi transcends not just national loyalties, but the sport. In countries where MotoGP never features in sports programs, a win by Rossi warrants a couple of minutes on TV. In all honesty, after the first ten laps, all of the excitement had gone out of the race, and Rossi was just managing the gap. But it was Rossi managing the gap, and his fame and beloved status means that fans are willing to forgive him. It doesn't matter that much how he wins, only that he is capable of winning.

Spanish journalist Mela Chercoles has labeled Rossi as being "Patrimonio de la humanidad," the status given to Unesco World Heritage sites such as the city of Venice, or Stonehenge, or Yellowstone national park. It is an exaggeration, but only by a little. Valentino Rossi transcends the sport, and has done for many years. Living in a country where MotoGP is a niche sport, when people ask what I do, I tell them I write about motorcycle racing: "you know, the one with Valentino Rossi in." Their eyes light up as they recognize the name, and they invariably smile at the mention of the icon of motorcycle racing. The race at Misano showed exactly why Rossi reached that status in the first place.

The arguments may rage over who is the greatest of all time, and who had more talent, but when it comes to the motorcycle racer who had the biggest impact on the sport, and spread interest in the sport among the general public, Valentino Rossi has no peer. That's why a win for Rossi is a win for the sport.

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Quite possibly the best commentary I've ever read, concerning the greater significance of a victory like this, and all from a peerless reporter who never partakes in idle hyperbole.

Fantastic article, David. Really.

It is indeed good to see Valentino Rossi winning a race purely on merit with no assistance from adversity to other riders. I must admit that I began to lose respect for Rossi when he began throwing tantrums at Yamaha along with Jeremy Burgess when Lorenzo arrived at Yamaha. I completely lost my respect for him when he asked Yamaha to choose between him and Lorenzo and when Yamaha threw their might behind Jorge Lorenzo he went to Ducati and destroyed careers of the likes of Filippo Preziosi by pressuring the engineers to provide a winning bike pronto. Ducati destroyed his reputation as the greatest rider no doubt but in the end Rossi also successfully destroyed the reputation of Ducati as well. It was definitely MAD (mutually assured destruction). But being the wily person that he is he managed to crawl back to Yamaha and also looked grateful to Lorenzo for not blocking his return to the Yamaha factory team. Thus far he has remained humble and did all those positive and difficult that David Emmett has so clearly described. He still has it in him to be a great rider and if Misano is an indicator to even win races. I hope if his success continues, he does not become the Valentino Rossi of the old because then he really would not be worthy of respect.

Incidentally I was a mad fan of Valentino Rossi before he began his antics like pressuring Dorna into getting him Bridgestone tyres, putting up a wall between himself and Lorenzo and claiming that Lorenzo was getting results only because of the fact that he was getting Rossi's settings data (Burgess famously said all development is done in one half of the garage but the fruits of it are enjoyed by the whole garage). That is when I began to lose it for him. Now when he won I was kind of surprised about how happy I felt. I take it that despite all that thing about loss of respect, there is still an old Valentino Rossi lurking in me, waiting for him to go back to being a great rider. Funny thing this thing called fandom.

I totally agree with you - my history as a Rossi fan coincides almost exactly with yours.

Clearly however we are in the minority - we expect high standards of behaviour (not just riding) from our heroes. Perhaps we are also slightly more sceptical about gods returning (we do not pretend that Lorenzo did not choose the wrong tyre, that Marquez did not fall off, that Pedrosa did not have a bad day). Perhaps the Ducati finishing so close to the front was as much to do with a slow race that a fast Ducati?

I think it would be wonderful if Rossi could somehow defy the laws of nature and not get slower with age, but I fear it will not happen. I do not understand why espousing such a view is so unpopular.

I disagree with this post.

VR46 is a big champs, possibily one of the best ever and has a big Ego obviously. All big names have a big Ego, in one way or the other.

I agree, he tried to use his power against JL and that was a mistake, but he has lost a lot in that.

He went to Ducati, suffered two years with no results. He came back and stood behind JL in all sessions and races for a year, always working to regain his speed but very little or no success in 2013.

Still, never complained loudly, never cried, no accusations to Yamaha, no criticism to JL, just hard work. He actually managed to get in good terms with JL and always praised him in all his talks to the press, always showing positive attitude.

You have no idea how many times he was asked by Italian press if he was too slow, old, aged and he was always responding that he wanted to test himself, improve and keep enjoy driving.

Try to be # 1 for 12 years and then get #4 and see if that is easy to accept. Or look in the history of sports and look for examples.

To me what is truly remarkable about VR is that he managed to survive bad times and learn from other, younger drivers and get back to the top. He no longer is #1 but he can be #1 in some days and some tracks and, at 35 year of age, it is something.

Regarding Ducati, their problems were their fault. They destroyed so many drivers careers and wasted so much talent before and after VR was there, why give VR any special place in their (up to 2013) failures ?

How many crashes due to the chronic undeersteer and failure to turn the bike we have seen? They got more pressure when VR was there, oh yes, but what is that you expect when you hire VR ? Two years accepting to arrive 30 seconds or more behind the leader? Check if Cal is happy - and his bike is much better than the one that VR had, at least when driven by the two Andreas.

Thanks (also) to Gigi, things now look way better in Ducati.

First of all i would like to say that i was totally in tears 'HAPPY' :') when he made it through the last bend & popped his front wheel up to the chequered flag.... Man o man what a delight that was for my eyes.

Now about him being in ducati and the pressure he built on them, saying that made preziosi lose his job that is absolute BS, he didn't lose his job he is just relalocated from the ducati corse(Racing) to inside the factory(i forgot where though).

Obviously if u say(avasatish) that rossi's pressure made them take that call, ofcourse they did coz it was a legend, 9time world champion(no joke), more that 100 wins with different manufacturers, the man equaling & beating the older legends records saying that the bike(ducati) needs to be changed n this n that. What do u expect shut ur A** like they did & do nothing. Infact rossi did mention in one of the interviews that they were getting angry if he or jeremy mentioned that some/many things were bad in/on the bike.

Infact it was one of AUDI's decision too that they were doing radical changes to the team when they took over. Infact audi/ducati offered vale triple the amount of salary what he was paid not to leave. Yes he was rude back then when JL came in, Yes he has to carry that attitude bcoz he was a great race dominator back then.

Later he did admit he was wrong(which is brave) & sportsmanship he learned from his mistakes. he always admits his wrongs u need balls to do that on these pinnacle of motorcycle racing.

As riware says many ruined their careers coz of ducati, no dis-respect to them, but what they r doing now, should have been done ages ago.

Now beat it.

WE THE HAPPY ARMY OF VRl46, Here WE ARE CELEBRATING FOR VR :D :D :D :D...... We love him, always support him & believe in HIM always & always & always.

Forever untill he retires.

GO ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! VaLE

I don't think it was brave of him to admit he was wrong, it was more or less his only choice given that he was moving back to Yamaha. I would call it calculated. I also recall that just before the Ducati move (and JB started weighing into it as well which disappointed me), he was bagging the crap out of some other rider/team which was also, calculated. It just backfired a bit.

But, regardless, I was happy he won, and happy that he looked so quick. I have never not enjoyed watching Rossi riding at his best.

you obviously haven't seen Rossi's recent comments about whether it is bike or man (MM now and himself 10 years ago) and Biaggi. The old personality isn't far below the surface...

i have seen that. However, given it was not something loud and strong, just his opinion to the press.

Wanna compare it to JL protests about tyres ?

You can count me in your minority. I don't hate Rossi, and I give him full credit for the awesome rider he is, but I have great difficulty respecting him when he provides ample glimpse of what appears to be a ruthless nature just beneath the surface. I understand that this sport requires a degree of ruthlessness to beat down your opponents, but to be simple about it Rossi comes across as wonderful guy in front of the camera but a jerk as soon as the camera is turned off. Maybe that's too harsh; I'm sure Rossi, like all of us, is multifaceted, but the way he's handled his time at Yamaha with Jorge has in particular turned me off.

Of late he's been outwardly gracious and even self-effacing, and has said all the right things re: re-teaming with Jorge, but of course he hasn't been in the same position of power lately either. If he continues to do well on the track I hope he can still continue to be gracious at the same time - maybe my cautious applause for him will become more enthusiastic.

Avsatishchandra, I respect your view but do think this is a bit harsh. Ducati were in deep trouble long before Rossi arrived, they'd had Stoner all but telling the world how badly he was being treated, and had all but ruined the career of one of my all time favourites, Bayliss.

The Yamaha garage business was a strange one but look at it this way - Rossi is still here some 6 or 7 years later, still at the sharp end, with the same passion and desire to win and at least another 2 years on a top bike. (I bet he's even thinking about next year's championship title after yesterday). In 2007, when Jorge was being signed up, he was still at his very peak and while I can't read his mind I imagine he was probably thinking that he didn't need Yamaha to bring in a successor & competitor, he just needed a very good wing man, because in his mind he was going to be competing for the title for many years yet. Remember, he probably could have gone to F1 around that time but stayed in MotoGP because he foresaw a long future there, and at Yamaha in particular. So why would he help JL interfere with his chances? The first person to beat is always your team-mate. And it's not as though he was pinching stuff off Jorge but giving nothing back, it was no different to them racing for different teams. That must have been a pain in the backside for Yamaha but it had no more effect on us, the spectators, than if they were in different teams.

The tyres: well, Stoner clearly had a huge advantage in 07, it wasn't just down to riding skill.

MotoGP is a tough, rough sport, you don't get to be at the top by being a kind, gentle soul who wouldn't hurt a fly. But I've hardly ever seen the mature Vale be less than gracious in both defeat and victory. Yes, there have been occasions when he's been a bit of a wassock but the same is true of pretty much anyone else you care to name in the paddock, they've all thrown hissy fits in front of the camera in their day, even the nicest of the bunch, Nicky Hayden. They tend to do so less as they mature though, Rossi included.

What I most respect is that incredible - really incredible - commitment to winning, and his success in overcoming the barriers again and again and again. That is something very special.

Many of you have responded to my post and I am completely overwhelmed simply because I didn't believe that so many would even read my post. Now that this happened a couple of clarifications from my side. First and foremost the post was me just thinking rather loudly about the course of my relationship with Rossi (the rider) and me (the fan). I am not at all saying that what I felt of his manoeuvres should be agreed upon by all. It was just about how I felt all through and despite the loss of respect how I couldn't help but feel happy seeing him win and on the top step of the podium. The second thing that seems to have infuriated many of you is what I wrote about his time at Ducati. Obviously I have no first hand information about it. I based my argument about Filippo Preziosi on various accounts that I have read and an interview with him where he said (and I wanted to really avoid this because will bring up the name of Casey Stoner and all hell will then break loose. So please do not make this about Rossi vs Stoner, I will be grateful for that) he would like to see how Stoner would have fared on the second or third iteration of the reworked Ducati for Valentino Rossi (it seemed he was saying this in a bit of frustration). Also to those who have said that Stoner complained about Ducati, much of it was also had to do with the fact that Ducati tried to lure Jorge Lorenzo with a big pay packed when Stoner sat out a few races due to his illness.

In effect the point I am making is that there are perhaps many stories about who did what and why when it comes to Rossi and Ducati and no one can claim one version to be apodictic while the others are apocryphal. So please treat my original post as a soliloquy of a once very strong Rossi fan and not as an attempt to convince anyone about anything. I just shared my thoughts; I am not God so obviously many will disagree. I have no problem with that. And once again please do not make this about Stoner vs Rossi. I brought that interview into this post only to tell you all the source of my argument that all was not well between Preziosi and Rossi. Thank you all. Reading your posts was an amazing experience and it filled in a lot of spaces that were there in my understanding of things.


I think you nailed the issue here: discussing if Casey Stoner would have done better than VR with 2011/2012 Ducati is just misleading.

For the record I do believe Casey would have fared much better but the point imho is that Ducati (and in general any bike) needs to fit the average rider, not just one very talented rider.

There is plenty of evidence that nobody but Casey was able to bring Ducati to the limit until the recent days when things started to change. This has made Casey unique and left Ducati very weak when he left.

The sad point is that Ducati was not aware of that and kept looking for another rider that could drive the bike to the limit. Melandri always talks about those days when he was lagging behind Casey, he could not adapt his style to the bike and, in short summary, was told to talk to go see a shrink.

Not so sure how much Filippo Preziosi was to blame, he is a certainly bright and committed. To me it is more of a general problem about Ducati organizaiton in those days with not enough information exchange and cooperation between development and racing team.

I love the title! Like "Superman Returns" (y) you know watching the race yesterday was like the best of all the race this year, maybe even of all time. I feel blessed of being the witness from my own tv. The audiences, the emotions, even the circuit, the 5000 milestone, the celebration, just like watchinga movie. The victory lap was the one I've been waiting for, The road he's been through for the last a few years alone will make a great story to tell for my kids and yes the Legend Returns!

All I can say is thank you Vale, thanks for everything. I've been getting old, once-familiar pleasures becoming distant memories, youthful bliss fully turned into a dark current of age-induced caution...I really, really needed something like this to fall in love with life again, even if for a couple of days. I think I'll go out and run 10 miles just for the heck of it and try to figure out how greater minds work!

And thanks to David for yet another stunning multi-layered multi-viewed article.

Accurately said. On top of everything though, this thin, smiling, artist looking, teenager voiced Italian Is The Toughest Rider (or Bastard, as he would say) Ever. Period. Übrigens, I myself am a Stoner fan.

utterly fitting title.
I´m so gratefull that I lived long enough to wittness this race of a truly dedicated Valentino Rossi.
Awesome article, David.
Thanks to both of you:)

If Jesus Christ himself had made a second coming on the same day that Rossi won at Misano at age 35, JC would have found himself relegated to the minor headlines. This time a win without any ifs or buts, a win because he had great pace, and rode, as he likes to say of his rivals, 'like the devil'. And wasn't that fantastic to see ? Hell, yeah! I'm not even a fan and when he took it with that wheelie across the line - I laughed and could only applaud. A great day for motorcycle racing, no ifs, no buts.

Rossi`s race win yesterday will probably do more for the sport than most will give credit to.I was fortunate enough to be at Mugello (travelled from Australia) when Vale broke his leg on Saturday`s practice session,and subsequently witnessed thousands of deflated Italians leaving the circuit with very sad expressions on their faces.
The sport of motorcycling needs characters and flamboyance to survive,the big players will not finance anything that does not draw the crowds and sponsors.
Lets hope the remaining 5 rounds will bring the championship a thrilling conclusion.

The thing that has struck me about Rossi these past few years is that he is probably closer to his media personality than I thought he 'must' be.
His interview reactions in the immediate aftermath show what he says - he just loves racing and the life . Life in fact. He's not shy about having his Mum kiss his crash helmet; he likes cats and dogs. He acknowledges the contribution of his team (which goes far beyond the box) because he knows they matter, not because it's good PR; he's just good at it.
I consider myself not to be a 'fanboy' (or a 'hater'), to be objective about riders and teams but, like David and lots of others, I cannot help feeling really happy that this has happened.
Rossi himself has acknowledged that he didn't act well over Jorge's arrival and competition. If JC had arrived back yesterday we probably wouldn't have known. Rossi isn't JC, he's very human. But a good one. Exceptional even.
Forget being an alien. Just be a GOAT.
In a world which seems to have more problems than solutions this was a good news day. Some more would be more than welcome.

I watched half of the race on BT2 and half on another channel that had ads. At a point they were running split screens where you have an ad running and the race in a picture in picture frame. The spot was about some watches, not sure, endorsed by Marquez and the voice over was saying "where is he going now?"
At the same time they were showing the replay of him going down ... the involuntary juxtaposition came out ironic.

It's a shame that MM93 made the mistake because despite Rossi being stronger than anyone today I am sure he could have tried. He's in the same league of #46 and in the heat of the moment pull out that little extra to fight with a faster rider. Likely it was meant to be but we'd have enjoyed a clash of titans.

Hopefully the stars will align again for Vale and we'll see them overtaking each other.

But like Rossi said in an interview, come Aragon, everything resets to zero and you start again. The Yamahas had the pace and allowed him to fight wheel to wheel with Marquez, and say what you like about Rossi and Marquez, they're the two best dog-fighters in the business, the end. The fact that Rossi managed to get ahead, fight, and stay ahead pretty much ties up that loose end. But time stands still for no man, Rossi himself also acknowledges and recognizes that, so when MM has everything under him 100%, it's gonna be tough for the Yamahas unless their bikes are at the same level, at the very least. Marc is younger, his bike arguably has the edge, he hasn't had the fear of big crashes and injuries hammered into him, and the hunger to build a legacy will always be greater than the hunger to sustain it (which is the position Rossi is in - he's done it all, and is riding for the love of the sport now).

I am a Rossi fan. Always will be. Yesterday's race is one of the greats for me. But the next track most likely see Marquez come out swinging, so I'm trying to be realistic about what this victory really means.

One thing is certain, don't count on Jorge Lorenzo to make a good show, he can win only if he escapes. After Marc went down, the race was a real snoozer. Hats of to Valentino!

Honda and yamaha were equal on race day.

always knew it wasnt the magnificent MM. from the beginning it was the magnificent honda.
The honda was sorted and yam had to do alot of development.
And glad to see who came on top now the bikes were equal

Totally, you don't need marquez to win the honda, put the espargaros, stoner, lorenzo, rossi, honda will still win. Marq was choosen coz he's young, still lot years left and most importantly, repsol wants him not an australian... just my opinion.

Yeah, finally the truth comes out. Marquez is only slightly better than average and lucky for him he had the all-conquering Honda at his disposal for his 11 wins this season. (Rolls eyes)

I have said all season that the two bikes are probably more equal than we all thought. Pedrosa is super-fast when everything is right, and while he is 2nd in points, he hasn't been dominant at all.

In the pre-race coverage when the camera gets to Rossi's pit, he usually makes a silly face and waves to the viewers. Not yesterday. He even glanced at the monitor and knew it was live and on him. I remember thinking he's gonna win it or bin it yesterday. Glad he won...

I run VR fan site for Czech fans rossi-yamaha.cz, which was previously rossi-ducati.cz. You can easily imagine, with what I had to come through during all those last difficult years with Ducati and also last year. No only for that reason was yesterday such a special day for all his loyal fans. Article like and lots of great comments here makes it even better and more emotional.
Valentino is really special, even you cant agree with all he do always, but still, he is not only great rider, but also lets say "hero", you know what I mean.
Thanks David for another masterpiece!
Forza Vale!

Quantitatively, it looks like Rossi had a tenth or two on Marquez and Lorenzo - the old man is legitimately fast!

David, any further indication about Rossi's set-up changes? I was very surprised by Yamaha acceleration this weekend, as for the first part of the season the Honda could just motor away, making the Repsol-colored bikes very difficult to beat (sharp lines and big acceleration ruined the Yamaha's ability to decisively pass given their need for higher corner speed). I was also surprised by Rossi's ability to brake well (not QUITE to the Honda standard, but getting close) - even without the completely seamless downshift.

I wonder if Yamaha didn't make some significant changes, or if this track somehow just "matched" Yamaha in some weird way...although at the other Yamaha tracks, this of course hasn't been the case!

Least interesting race of the season for me, although it's nice to see Ducati improve every race. Hats off to Dovi and Iannone for sticking with it.

Why Crutchlow got that LCR ride I'll never know...

Just a little observation not mentioned so far - did anyone else think Marc was riding a bit too crazily yesterday, that he looked just the wrong side of out of control? While I'd have loved to see them race lap after lap I was starting to fear Marquez would take them both out, and it was a relief to see him (inevitably in my view) lose the front end. I honestly can't think of anyone else in 20 or 30 years of spectating who I've seen look that scary.

He did look lke he was pushing very hard. He always pushes like that but yesterday he was really grinding. You could almost feel the wreck coming, so it didn't really shock me when it finally happened.

But he has shown that he has the ability to bounce back from things like this. Aragon should be spectacular!

Around L5 I thought "MM is gonna toss it, he's riding ragged and impatient"

Running wide, making his now characteristic "going in so tight no way he's gonna save but he always seems to" tight entries even tighter. I think if MM would have settled down and just went to school behind Rossi it could have been a great last 4-5 laps. Great to see Vale reach deep and arrive at the top step. Cannot say VR isn't goal driven or wiling to work for it. Riders with less mental toughness would have retired in the face of this sort of fierce competition.

Great article, David, as usual.

Marquez to me always looks that way when he rides. I don't think he was pushing any harder than he normally does, just lost the front. It happens sometimes.

This really was what the series needed. A great run-up with weather and tire drama taking the first round of headlines, foreign rubber on the track that fundamentally changed everything we all thought we knew abut this circuit - and Vale's steely-eyed will and resolve to take something back. At his home track. It would be difficult to write a script like this. And I enjoyed every minute.

I think for Rossi the light bulb went off on Saturday when the Sun was finally out and everyone was free to push. He saw the Honda's struggling on that foreign rubber that was laid down on the track and I think it had a bigger effect on the Honda's than we all thought it would. Rear tires were spinning like mad and the bikes were sliding instead of the ususal traction scenario they thought they would have, which seemingly forced them to change their lines just a bit. Meanwhile, the Yamaha's didn't seem to be suffering as much and by the end of FP3 they had it. I think for the first time this year Rossi truly felt like he had the machine that could win. I believe that is why he rolled the dice and chose the softer front - I think he knew he had it.

But to watch him execute on it, to take the fight to his biggest rivals and beat them fair and square was a special thing to see. We went from 62 crashes across all three classes on Friday to some of the best racing collectively I have seen all year across all three classes. It was great to witness. I can only imagine what it was like to be there!

So let's see if this new-found momentum can be sustained at Aragon. Franky, I do not see why not! Even the prospect of it has me excited.

I'm sorry, but really? The best racing so far? People forget rather quickly it seems. There have been far better races in every class this season, especially in MotoGP where the race was over as soon as Marquez hit the deck. A MotoGP race is never boring in my book but this was certainly among the least exciting of this year. Nice to see Rossi and Yamaha get a win this season over Marquez but really, nothing special.

You're doing the sport a big discredit. What it needs is races like Qatar, Mugello and Barcelona.

Not the best racing but still very exciting to watch. Would he bin it? Was Jorge catching up? Were we really going to get such a longed for result. Granted you needed to want Rossi to win to get the most from it but for those who did it was an unmissable spectacle.

I may as we'll be driving the Rossi-fanboy-man crush- machine around town given all my silly stickers, but I thought I might have missed something and need to watch the race again. I was thrilled to watch him win again against healthy rivals, but I would not call it exciting. In fact, I feel bad because I was hoping for MM to have a soft low side while giving him the Italian Horns (it worked against Stoner at Laguna too!).

you start to ask: Is there still a mathematically chance for Vale to win this Championship this year?(seriously: is there?)

I hope so much that he is King again next year at least,when the Michelins will be brand new for everybody.
With Colin Edwards as a test mule, it could be that favours will play for VR46:)..just saying.

I´ve watched the race 5 times now already, but the biggest thrill is still when Vale enters the podium....what a blast!

No way. Marc has a healthy lead and there are only 5 races left. He only needs a couple of podiums (not wins) and to not crash out of a race and he has it. It's really just a matter of when. Probably Motegi.

No way. Marc has a healthy lead and there are only 5 races left.

Ok, but that doesn't answer the question asked, "Is there still a mathematical possibility of Rossi taking the championship?"

The answer to that question is absolutely yes.

Marquez is ahead of Rossi 75 points. If something were to happen to Marquez that he misses 3 races and Rossi wins those 3, they're tied. And there's still 2 races left.

Heck, even Lorenzo could win the championship if Marquez were out the rest of the season and he scored (at a minimum and depending on Rossi's and Pedrosa's results) 3 wins and 2 2nd places.

Now, is this likely to happen? Not at all. Is it mathematically possible? Certainly.

Some of, if not your best work David-a pleasure to read. Well done Sir.

A great day for Motogp, harking back to Rossis glory days. The man has an amazing ability to include everyone (except his rivals) in his experience of winning.

VR46 is a Living Legend and still racing! no one can take that from him, it's the ultimate prize a rider could ever dreamt of. not even sure Marquez would get that in the future. And that number 46 is going to go around in the world circuit only at our era, so enjoy, we are all the witness. Go Vale!

because jl vr mm all did the same times. wel untill mm fell.
normaly mm sits behind waiting and waiting for 18 laps saving fuel and tyres. on sunday he couldnt and had to push as yamaha always have to push but cant keep up. the honda was just to good. this race the bikes were fairly equal and mm couldnt just blast away and finaly had to fight from the beginning.
to bad the yam wasnt like this from the beginning of 2014.

and still behind the honda.

yamaha is corner speed.
honda is point and shoot.

Hondas acceleration is INSANE...and has been universally agreed upon that this is its main strength. Pedrosa especially and marquez could not utilize it this weekend. How else could vale outdrag MM I saw on tv on many corners and arrive in front. Almost impossible at other tracks in recent years yam/VR/JL always complaining about honda acceleration for years now. Although I think vale would have still won the race this weekend.

Actually I was thinking the same, on one of the straight line, rossi's bike appears faster than marc's honda. Has it been given some new parts? or is there any other reason we don't know like the invisable hands of dorna maybe? or something like some ppl believe what happened to marc during his moto2 that seems too fast to be true, maybe? :D

What was most satisfying to me was watching Rossi blow past Marquez on the throttle. Anyone who's actually been watching the races could not help but notice that the Hondas are no longer just whistling past the other bikes on the straights anymore, and haven't been doing so for several races now, nor are they firing into Turn One ahead of the pack at the start.

All the whining about the reduction in fuel capacity in MotoGP, all the insulting comments about Yamaha and how dumb they were to agree to the plan but did so because they groveled at Honda's feet, all of that went out the window at Misano. Turns out the rule change did exactly what the factories wanted it to do: Force their engineers to dig deeper, learn some new things, and make the bike work in the face of a new challenge.

From what we saw, on any given day, the Yamaha is the equal of the Honda now, and we may be back to a "Honda" track vs. "Yamaha" track situation again.

All of the Hondas (even the production Hondas) complained about drive grip. Rear was spinning when they opened the throttle, so they couldn't accelerate like they wanted to. The reason for that was probably the very poor state of Misano's surface. The Yamahas handled it better, for some reason.

Yamaha have done an awful lot of work over the past year to try to catch up with the Honda, and are close. Their bike needs the engine to be as smooth as possible if it is to carry corner speed, but it's not quite there yet. They have had to spend a lot of money trying to catch up with Honda. You also wonder just where Ducati would be if they were on 20 liters instead of 24.

I think the gap between the Hondas and the Yamahas was fairly small after the first couple of races, as witnessed by the fact that the satellite bikes are mixed up nicely. The gaps were mostly about rider, rather than bike.

I don't think you have to wonder much about where Ducati would be if it was held to the same rules as the other factories!

A friend of mine suggested that Ducati is in a fascinatingly untenable position: If Ducati fails to improve, sponsors leave. If Ducati improves too much, it loses some of the special favors Dorna has granted it for the sake of "spicing up" the racing. The fascinating part is what to do if you're Ducati ...

If i recall i guess it was between 10th & 8th laps, Just b4 Vale overtook JL99, MM passed rossi and VR did not let him get away. He passed MM immediately, Which was a real aggressive but a clean move, sumthing which i'd missed vale doing. WOW, Boom he just went past him

Loved it.

It was like, 'Now Take That Young fella'(VRl46 to MM93)........ BLASSSSSTTT FROM THE PAST ! ! ! Boooooooyaaaaaaaa :D :P ;) haaaaa haaa haaaa

Here's hoping that this speed and the development continues on the YAM which is really needed for the legend(46) & the fighter(99) and our boys challenge for the championship next year or the one after that.

It may be, mayyyyyyyyy be difficult but i wish VRl46 chases for the title in 2015/16.

Maybe it is what he wants, one more world title and he'll have '10' under his belt. And then Goodbye MotpGP :'( :'( :'( :'(........(Just IMO)

yes is probably like if winning the 10th in 2015, we'll see an early retirement announced after that. That would be good but sad.

Turn 2 of lap #1 it was clear something special was going on. There has been a change in MotoGP, lap#1 is ridden at 11 10ths like it is the last lap and the championship is on the line. THAT is great racing to watch!

The Hondas are unable to get power down on the shagged-out and inconsistent tarmac at Misano. The Yamaha's power deficit is masked, and will be back at Aragon.

Rossi...wow! Ducati/Gigi/Dovi wow! Television coverage missing a few battles mid pack as well as A Espargaro's superman to John Deer adventure, not-so-wow.

And Marquez? No more out of shape than usual, but clearly greedier and more chancey lines led to his curbskating. Still beautiful! Enjoyed it. Planning on re-watching this race until Marquez bites off too much candy cane stripes, WHAT A GEM!!!
Thanks David. You are Motojourno Alien Extraordinaire my friend!

I thought I had posted earlier, but I will do so again. An excellent write up David. Watching Valentino win like he did... in Italy! I, ALMOST, turned Italian. Could not have been a better win for him. I, (a Valentino Rossi fan), had felt like age, time, and a new generation had may have won out. Which is not at all odd when you look at all other sports. Time does have it's effect. But Valentino... is damn near MAGICAL in his determination and drive to make it happen. He won from the front. He outrode ALL his competitors on a level field. For those that feel Honda was in a bad way this race, ok, but what about beating Lorenzo, who has been showing GOOD speed lately.

Very impressive to see a man who is at an age where he has to crunch his face and focus with all his might to hear journalist when being asked questions during press conferences. Hopefully he can be up there more often with Marquez and Lorenzo. It would make for more tension in the races. Besides that, it gives alot of us older guys a boost when the most seasoned rider mixes it up with the current generation. :D