Marc Marquez has proclaimed many times that Valentino Rossi has been an example for him and that he has learned many things from the Italian. And I don’t say this ironically in connection with the incidents between both at the Argentina GP this season, nor with the trick Rossi pulled in the chicane on the final lap in Assen. Reviewing the controversial actions between Valentino and Marc throughout their seasons in the GPs, we have found that yes, that Marquez has not only learned from Rossi, but many of his controversial actions can be traced to those of Valentino a few years ago … we see the same maneuvers in similar situations. Let’s take a look.
Jerez’ last corner
Remember the Jerez round in 2005? Of course you do, because who can forget the face of Sete Gibernau after the final corner of the last lap of the race when Rossi forced Sete out of his way, who then ran off the track and lost a race that was his. It was a grueling maneuver that clearly would have merited a red card (a football metaphor, if you will). But nothing happened. It was understood as ‘that’s racing’ and left alone… Let’s travel a little forward in time to the Jerez GP of 2013. Jorge Lorenzo approaches the final braking point of the race, with Marc Márquez a few meters behind. The distance seems large enough to not expect a move from Marc… but no … Marquez brakes late and essentially repeats Rossi’s maneuver of eight years earlier. The RCV uses the impact against Lorenzo’s bike to slow down and stay on the asphalt. Lorenzo runs off the track … and nothing happens. The precedent had been set that this kind of move was OK.
At the Corckscrew
Laguna Seca, 2008, USGP. Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner staged a thrilling duel, which led to Rossi at one point having to shortcut the dip in the Corkscrew to pass the Ducati. Returning to the tarmac, Valentino made another “get over there” move on Stoner, taking a line that would put him in first position. Everyone, except maybe but Stoner, probably understood Rossi’s move as incredible race craft. Again, everything was considered within the rules… Laguna Seca 2013, Marquez’s first year in MotoGP. Marc not only demonstrates Rossi’s well-studied move from five years earlier, but also perfects it, studying before the GP. Paradoxically, his ‘victim’ would be the father of the idea, Rossi himself. At a moment during the battle when both of them approached the Corkscrew in parallel, it was impossible to pass…unless the shortcut was used as an addition to the asphalt. That is exactly what Marquez did to beat Valentino. Again, there was nothing to complain about, as a precedent had already been set.
“The non written rule”
2010, the Japanese GP in Motegi. Jorge Lorenzo is tussling for the MotoGP title with Dani Pedrosa. Despite having no hand in the title game, Valentino Rossi fights aggressively with his teammate. To Jorge’s surprise and outrage, both are on the brink of crashing multiple times. Lorenzo finally cedes third place to Rossi, who passed the finish line a half second ahead of Jorge. The Spanish rider’s outrage was epic. When he complained about excessive aggression when not having any chance for the championship, Valentino said: “I’ve told Yamaha that was what was expected of me. What if stayed behind him? If that’s what was expected of me, I would have stayed home.” Despite the passage of time, the heads of Yamaha still remember the situation as the tensest moment the team has ever experienced between Lorenzo and Rossi… Sepang 2015, just over one week ago: Marc Márquez enters into a tough hand-to-hand battle with Valentino Rossi, who is racing for the title against his teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, while Marc has no hand in the game…we know how it ends: with Marc on the ground and Rossi standing behind the unwritten law that says a rider with no chance for the title must respect those who are fighting for it, and not to put them at risk. Paradoxically, like at Laguna Seca in 2013, Rossi was the victim of his own medicine.
Is Marc an remarkable student of Rossi or not? Do you agree that Valentino Rossi probably we see himself when he looks at Marc Marquez?… OK, yes, that’s right, the ‘curriculum’ of Marc is missing maneuvers like those of Rossi in Argentina and the Netherlands, both judged to be perfectly legal, but let’s give him time to ‘learn’ those of this season.