MotoGP Debrief – Argentina
Has MotoGP Become a Contact Sport ?
Former International Road Racer, MotoGP Engineer, Elite Trainer and Moto Journo Mark McVeigh shares his unique insight into the world of MotoGP.
Fans Enjoyed An Epic Clash Of Motogp Titans At The Termas De Río Hondo Circuit Ending In Dramatic Fashion With Marc Marquez Crashing Out.
A quick look back at the #ArgentinaGP.
In motorcycle racing there is a balance between aggression, safety and thus respect for your rival. A racers mantra is to do unto others, as there is no doubt they will do unto you.
Its clear Marc Marquez has yet to understand this equilibrium. Maybe its because the Spaniards pace has been such that none of his rivals can catch him to repay his close quarter antics.
However Marquez tasted some karma in Argentina.
The story begins with the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit and a new extra hard asymmetrical tire. A harder compound on the left shoulder that Bridgestone built to cope with the extremely abrasive track surface.
This extra hard tyre suited the Yamaha, a bike that favors high corner speed and requires more durability on the tyres edge to finish the race. No surprise then as Rossi came to the grid with the extra hard choice.
Its known that Honda riders stand the bike up earlier and don’t need so much edge grip, however Marquez too came to the line with the extra hard compound, only swapping to the hard compound on the starting grid.
Marquez quickly built up a 4 second gap, using the extra grip of his hard rear tyre to storm away at the start. Rossi’s start was not ideal as he bumped into Iannone’s Ducati winglets, knocking him back to 8th place at turn one. And so it began, Rossi clawing back Marquez advantage, picking off his rivals lap by lap.
Perfect theatre ensued with Rossi on the charge, making up 5 seconds in 13 laps and moving into second with 15 laps to go. Rossi set a PB with 7 laps to go and then a new lap record with 5 laps to go. The track temp was now 34 degrees and Marquez rear hard tyre was fading badly.
With 2 laps remaining, Rossi out braked Marquez for the first time. Both Márquez and Rossi’s style is to immediately repass when someone overtakes them. This interrupt’s their rival’s rhythm, momentum and more importantly confidence, so no surprise as Marquez immediately re passed Rossi.
Rossi had another go at the right hand turn 5 pulling off a text-book block pass, Marquez having to wait before turning.
However, Marquez tried to turn inside Rossi and blue smoke ensued as the first contact was made. Rossi glanced across at Marquez as they exited turn 5 and with over half a bike length in front Rossi turned to line up the lefthander at turn 6. Marquez was there and second contact was made with Marquez front wheel taken out by Rossi rear end.
Marquez crashed, his race over.
Rossi won, his 110th victory and the 50 k crowd erupted.
Three races into the 2015 season, Rossi now leads the championship with two wins and a third.
As usual, Rossi ticked all the boxes, endearing himself to the local fans even more by wearing a Maradona soccer shirt on the podium.
As with great rivalries and so much excitement at the front it was easy to forget the other riders. Dovi’s strong form continued as he added to his three runner up spots in 2015, continuing Ducati’s resurgence.
The LCR team has a good day too, with a well-deserved third for Crutchlow and Jack Miller the first open bike.
Back to that clash.
Race control, always walking the line between safety and the spectacle, called Marquez crash a racing incident.
Rossis said Marquez made a mistake. “Marc is a rider who always bet all or nothing.”
Marquez stated post race “I’ve always said that he’s my idol and my reference, so you always learn things from him.”
It’s the rider in front’s responsibility to be somewhat predictable and give racing room. Rossi was clearly leading, by over half a bike length, and took the normal racing line into turn 6.
It’s the rider behind’s responsibility to pass cleanly and safely. It was on Marquez to get past safely. Marquez’s made a mistake.
As we have seen before, Marquez can sometimes act like the other rider is simply not there, contact is made and Marquez miraculously continues unabated.
This time it simply didn’t work.
Its worth remembering amongst the excitement, that Rossi’s fun attitude has always hidden a ruthless and cunning prowess. Just ask Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau and perhaps to a lesser degree Lorenzo and Stoner.
Marquez has still to learn that sometimes you have to finish second and on the other side of the equation, the Italian GOAT has some talent for making an incident look like the other guys fault.
Did Rossi roll off the throttle a tad and baulk the youngster snapping at his heels?
Lucky for MotoGP fans both Rossi and Marquez love a battle. The press is already doing their job at Jerez, trying to stir up Rossi and Marquez, but both riders denying their fun and amicable relationship has changed.
However, everything has changed; Rossi believes he can win another MotoGP title.
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