Rossi: The master of race craft

Many have tried and many have failed. Marc Marquez can add his name to the long list that have duelled with Valentino Rossi and fallen ill to the Doctor’s treatment.
The Italian will go down as one of the greatest in motorcycle racing history to swing his leg over two wheels, but it isn’t only for the titles he has won.

At the age of 36 Rossi continues to astonish and wherever the Italian goes controversy is never too far behind, a recurring theme throughout his illustrious career.

The Marquez/Rossi incident on Saturday has been called a number of things – sour grapes, cheating, reckless and stupid – to name but a few. Race control deemed it by their books as a ‘racing incident’ but it was more than that. It was race craft from Valentino – something he has been doing for years. Who could forget the incident with Sete Gibernau at Jerez in 2005 or the battle with Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in 2008?

Rossi is the best there ever has been and probably ever will be at the art of racing. Sounds obvious? But his thinking, his adaptations and the way he uses his experience to force the best possible result for his team and himself is second to none.

Like I said, many have tried and many have failed.

Rossi on Saturday saw Marquez pull alongside his Yamaha into the final chicane at Assen and knew full well if he broached the contact with the Honda the Italian could force himself wide and onto the gravel – ultimately handing himself the win.

It’s not cheating, it’s race craft.

The Spaniard was left to pick up the pieces as the grandstand rose to salute the nine-time World Champion as he wheelied across the line victorious to the delight of his adoring fans.

Marquez and Honda’s complaints fell on deaf ears after the dust had settled and even though I have no doubt that the Dutch circuit would have been burnt to the ground had the roles been reversed, the result was the correct one – no matter how adamant Marquez remains that he would have won.

The Spaniard is no stranger to race control himself having been questioned over his aggressive riding style in the past, but perhaps Marquez’ pride is what drives his moaning. This is a maneuver that the Spaniard himself I am sure would have been proud of and clearly the 22-year-old is disappointed he has fallen into the trap that many have done before him.

One thing we can be sure of is that Valentino is a master of motorbike race craft and no matter the challenger be it Gibernau, Stoner, Biaggi, Lorenzo or Marquez – there is only ever one winner.

Mr Marquez, the Doctor will see you now.

Joe Urquhart