The internet was awash with keyboard warriors suggesting Marc Marquez was the latest in a long list of riders to get outpsyched by Rossi following yesterday’s sensational MotoGP race in Argentina that saw Valentino Rossi recover from a sluggish start to take a sensational race win after brushing aside Marquez.
Rossi gave a riding masterclass as he cut through the field, carefully managing his extra-hard rear as Marquez charged to the front early on, putting his softer rear to good effect and building up a four-second cushion.
However, with 12 laps to go, Rossi tyre choice started to turn into Rossi’s favour, and on the penultimate lap he had cut the deficit enough to make a move, although he was instantly re-passed by Marquez. Rossi made his next move under braking for Turn 5 at the end of the back straight, the pair making contact when Marquez instantly tried to cut back under Rossi at the apex. But the real drama was on the exit, when their lines again crossed and Marquez was thrown down the track after clipping the rear of Rossi’s Yamaha.
Social media went into meltdown, with many ‘experts’ suggesting Rossi had got under the skin of his rival and that Marquez was the latest in a long line of riders to succumb to Rossi’s mind games – Biaggi, Gibernau, Stoner, Lorenzo et al.
The Reality couldn’t be more different. Marquez is a ‘win it or bin it’ type of rider, and was simply trying all he could to race for the win on tyres that were well past their best. The fact that he was able to keep Rossi behind him for so long is proof of his talent, while the fact that he was still prepared to have a go when he was clearly on inferior rubber is testament of his fierce determination to win.
Marquez said himself of the incident: “It’s a shame what happened, because we were having a good race! It was interesting, because our tyre choice was different from Valentino’s as I felt we were not as competitive the harder compound. The strategy was working out well for us – it’s just a pity about the last two laps. When I saw that he was closing in on me, I decided to conserve the tyres a little. On the final laps I went back to riding in the low 1’39s to check that the tyres were still in good shape, and knew that we would be fighting to the end. When he caught me, we fought for a few corners and unfortunately we touched and I crashed. I’ve always said that he’s my idol and my reference, so you always learn things from him. Now we have to think about Jerez and begin to recover points.”
Rossi, however, thought that the incident was the result of a mistake by #93. He said: “It’s a great victory, we made the right decision and started with the extra hard tyre. When I saw Marc start with the red one I knew that he would try to push at the beginning. I made a great start but on the first corner Iannone pushed me on the outside. Step by step I came back, and when I arrived in second Marc had a little more than four seconds lead. I knew the race was long, so I knew he could have some difficulty. Catching him lap by lap, I could see him far away but coming closer and closer, it was a great taste! I overtook him in braking, but he is a rider who is all or nothing, he touched me in the corner, then he touched me again as I was accelerating, I think he made a mistake and he crashed. It’s a shame because it could have been a great fight on the last lap. In three races we have demonstrated we can be competitive everywhere and fight for the championship.”