Just like Valentino Rossi’s move on Casey Stoner in 2008, we will be talking about Marc Marquez getting past Rossi through the dirt of the Laguna Seca Corkscrew for some time to come.
With some retrospect, Marquez’s move on Rossi might be the defining moment for where the young Spaniard replaced the veteran Italian as MotoGP’s darling, but until that passing of the torch has been solidified with more duration, we will refer to the pass as just one of racing’s most epic moments in recent memory.
Getting ahead of Rossi at the top of the hill, before the drop and entry into The Corkscrew, Marquez found himself much deeper into the turn than he had expected, and much closer to Rossi than he would like, who himself had over-shot the entry.
Left with little elsewhere to go, the Repsol Honda rider replayed one of the circuit’s most famous moments, ironically on the very man who originally invented the controversial maneuver, and crossed the rumble strips to finish the pass.
Saying later in the press conference that he “would pay Valentino the copyright” to the extreme inside move at Laguna’s most famous set of turns, Marquez viewed the maneuver as a racing incident when asked about it, and to his credit, so did Rossi.
A sharp contrast to the controversy from the Rossi-on-Stoner edition, the two riders joked about the pass in parc ferme, the press conference, and well into Sunday evening / Monday morning.
Both Rossi and Marquez voiced encouragement for the day’s big event, saying the rules should be flexible to the conditions, circuit, and passion of the riders — not to mention the spectacle of the show for the fans.
As well, the lack of action from Race Direction will certainly send a signal to the riders that all is fair at Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Even Livio Suppo had few negative things to say, as Rossi called out the Repsol Honda boss in the post-race press conference for his harsh words in 2008, when HRC rider Casey Stoner was on the receiving end of the dodgy Corkscrew move.
“So, you and Stoner broke my balls for two or three years about that overtake because I cut the corner,” said Rossi. “So what do you say today, he has to be disqualified eh?”
“Thank you for the question and thank you to Marc – because after a few years we pay you back!” retorted Suppo with a Cheshire Cat grin — gaining laughter from the assembled press and Rossi himself.
The 2013 MotoGP season has brought excitement back to the beleaguered Championship, and the youthful energy of Marc Marquez seems not only to be energizing the on-track action with his riding spectacle, but off the race course the young Spaniard is winning the hearts and minds with his perma-smile. The young Spaniard has even helped coax back the playful attitude in The Doctor himself.
Great racing and great entertainment, that is what we have been missing in MotoGP, but it is starting to come back. Before Marquez entered the premier class, many were talking about him as the next Rossi.
The comparison was for his riding talent, but the 20-year-old is proving himself to be just as much the showman — most importantly in his own unique way.
Time will define Marquez, as well as Sunday’s race; but until then, we’ll just bask in the moment a bit longer. Photos of Marc Marquez pulling a Rossi on Valentino Rossi are below.
Photos: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved