Great article. I’d like to add a technical detail or two I don’t see anyone talking about anywhere.
What’s the data? Lorenzo got over 2 seconds ahead of Rossi and Marquez after only 5 laps, a huge gap, in an impossibly short time. How’s that for “sandbagging?” Compare these lap times with Rossi’s qualifying times where he beat Jorge Lorenzo and you can see that doesn’t make much sense.
Let’s look at how this happened, who is faster, and why couldn’t Rossi just get away from Marquez: When you are Rossi, ridding for your record breaking 10th grand prix title, you have a lot to loose so you must ride as fast as possible yet with extreme caution. When you are not in title contention, why not take extraordinary risks, and while you’re at it, put other riders at risk and scare the dickens out of them? This is Marc Marquez’s style which went to an extreme in that fateful battle in Malaysia slamming into the side of Rossi and constantly putting him in jeopardy with risky maneuvers. This is the basis for the “unwritten rules” around not doing exactly this that so many racers have been talking about. Marquez’s tactics are indeed classless and rotten.
The unwritten rule: “Do not ‘battle’ with a racer in title contention when you are not.” This “battling” is making unnecessary passes early in the race that lead to nothing except slowing everyone down.
Two reasons Marquez could slow Rossi down, and why passing slows down a racer while “battling.”
When riding alone, in qualifying, you can make the fastest vectors that are possible on the track using the entire lane to your advantage riding in “Qualifying Lines.” When racing, you must switch to a different tactic using “racing lines” which are strategically defending against someone coming up the inside of a turn, passing you, and sending you wide which may ruin your entry into the next turn, forcing you to hit the brakes. When someone is right behind you attempting to pass, racers switch into “defensive lines.” Qualifying lines are the fastest, racing lines tend to be a little slower, and during a battle, “defensive lines” along with very aggressive “attacking lines” tend to be quite a bit slower. THIS is how Marquez slowed down Rossi and let Jorge get a half a lap ahead of them both at the beginning of the race.
If Marquez had intended to win the race, this was the stupidest strategy possible. This kind of battling only makes sense in the last few laps, which is why it is so easy to call BULLSHIT on most of what Marc Marquez is arguing about the races at Philip Island and Sepang, Malaysia. Furthermore accusations are that after some passes, Marquez purposely slowed further and rode defensive lines forcing Rossi to take bigger risks to get by him or watch Lorenzo ride into the sunset.
With nothing left to loose in the 2015 season, Marquez could afford to take extraordinary risks passing Rossi which is why Rossi couldn’t simply get away from Marquez.
Final detail. Is Rossi slowest? I don’t think so, but his bike has demonstrated such by getting passed on the straights by his teammate with the same M1 Yamaha, all the Hondas, and Iannone’s Ducati. Rossi however has the largest pallet of raw talent and developed skill sets on the 2015 grid and can handle any situation in any weather which is exactly why he has accumulated the most points to date even though he is on the slowest motorcycle of the top riders. This has absolutely nothing to do with luck, which is how Jorge Lorenzo expresses his victim-mentality.
Unanswered questions: How in the world can the CAS possibly justify carrying out Rossi’s punishment BEFORE they have deliberated and decided on his case? If Rossi is found innocent or at least Marquez is also guilty, Rossi will have already suffered an unjustified sentence of unrepairable damage to his chances of a 10th world title. This is insanity, or conspiracy IMHO. Godspeed Sunday Valentino Rossi.