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.

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Marc Marquez 2013 U.S. Grand Prix Photos

Photos: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved

  • William Roberts

    Technically he skipped part of the track to his gain so should be made move back behind. But its abit of excitement in motogp so how bad

  • Actually, Rossi didn’t invent the Corkscrew pass. Alex Zanardi invented it in a CART race may years before.

  • Not exactly Rossi vs Stoner but remind it some how.
    2008 race was one for a life time!

  • L2C

    Those photos seem to back up my opinion of the matter. But, OK, enough is enough. Despite this questionable circumstance, congrats to both riders for a good race.

  • SuperMike

    There was a lot more dirt there when Rossi did it in ’08.

  • Dave zzrMD


    I had the same thought. I guess it might just be as a result of weather conditions? Or maybe the race coordinators try to keep it cleaner these days for safety’s sake? Anyone have some insight into the regular track conditions on the inside of the corkscrew?

  • sigsegv

    It is funny that Marquez praticised it in both free practice runs and even while checking out the track on a moped…

  • Gutterslob

    Perhaps Marquez realized early on that there was no dirt there like in previous years. Taking that bit extra outside the rumble strips isn’t considered “cutting a corner”, as far as I can tell, but he just made sure by doing it in both FP sessions. Nobody from race control asked any questions, so he deemed it legal and saved it for crucial moments in the race.

  • TexusTim

    You could say Rossi was “guarding ” the inside line closer than a hooker on a hot street corner on saturday night….

  • Norm G.

    re: “we will refer to the pass as just one of racing’s most epic moments in recent memory.”

    you may substitute the words PREMEDITATED, MANUFACTURED, or SCRIPTED everywhere the word EPIC occurs in the above sentence. your choice.

  • Daniel Croft

    Firstly, MM was ahead before they ran off the track. Secondly, VR went off himself because he couldn’t make the corner. There’s no way either should have been penalized for that pass.

    As to the comparisons between MM’s pass on VR and VR’s pass on CS, totally, totally different. In 2008, VR went inside CS at the first part of the corkscrew and then completed the pass off the track on the second part of the corkscrew. CS made the corner and didn’t run off track. He nearly ran off track when VR ran wide and pushed him at the bottom of the corkscrew. VR came from the inside at the top, was too hot to make the corner, made the pass off track and pushed CS wide at the bottom. MM was ahead of VR on the outside at the top of the corkscrew and was pushed wide by VR but neither made the corner.

    The fact is that it was a racing incident and even though it irritated me (and still does) that VR got no heat from most people for the 2008 pass, that was a racing incident too. It should have been handled on the track because VR knew he made the pass by running off track, he should have conceded the place. CS & VR’s relationship was never, ever any good and that certainly played a part in their incident as well.

    I’m glad race direction didn’t take action in this case but I think that the 2008 was a bit of a different story. Would have ruined a great race if they’d taken action in 2008 but I think there was certainly more of a case for a penalty then than now.

  • Norm G.

    re: “Great racing and great entertainment, that is what we have been missing in MotoGP, but it is starting to come back.”

    yes, due in no small part to behind the scenes machinations.

    ok unwitting soles let’s gather round and dance for the puppet master… OH YES, DANCE…!

  • trojanhorse

    It’s a fact that Marquez practiced the maneuver several times, and another fact that that portion was mysteriously swept clear of a lot of dirt as compared to ’08 – I can’t help but agree with Norm that there was some degree of “MM if you see the opportunity to do that during the race we wouldn’t be upset, wink wink nudge nudge” from Dorna beforehand.

    I’m no conspiracy theorist but there’s a lot of money in this sport and it’s really interesting how MM is entering just as VR is finishing his career. We already know they dropped the rookie rule for the new golden boy, what else are they doing to give him a slight advantage and support the story they want?

    MM is undeniably talented, a phenomenon even. But in a sport of millimeters, perhaps, just perhaps, certain riders are “helped” to achieve their potential/fill their role for the show. I wonder even if something like this could have been a factor in Stoner’s retirement, maybe he saw it and didn’t want to play the role he felt like he was being set up for…..

  • mechelaar

    At this point I would just like to know how far off the track do you have to be for it to be considered skipping the corner? I’m not bitching because it really makes for fun racing(everyone can just go every willy nilly way they want), but just to be clear, how far away from the curb do you actually have to be for it to be considered an unfair move? Also, it looks like they are taking the corkscrew and making it into one of those pneumatic wine bottle openers… You know, the straight needle kind… Maybe we should rename that corner? ;-)

  • JW

    The greatest show on earth..


  • JW

    I thought CS was on a Ducati in 08 when Rossi corked him, so what’s up with this.?

    “, 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.”

    Can someone clear this up?

  • mechelaar

    Livio was with Ducati in 2008 and moved to honda to pave the way for Stoner’s move there…

  • David

    Obviously the new corkscrew racing line will be straight between the two gratings. Cutting the corner out completely.

    I would say the Championship is pretty much over now. All MM has to do is manage the points until the end now.

    With his talent….no problemo

  • BBQdog

    The nice thing is also Rossi doesn’t seem to have to hold back in order not to take points from Lorenzo.
    Only 20 points to go ….

  • BenFaster

    My impression was that he was waiting for the proper time to spring that move. Its questionable because he cut the corner , no doubt. They should think about that corner and maybe either smooth it out completely , ( where it would be an obvious foul to cut through) or put the sand back and make it a hazard to cut through. Right now, its really not much risk. It was fun to watch but I’m surprised more didn’t do it. Saw him in Texas, he’s great for the sport – nice to see V.R. embracing his talent. I was also glad to see Nicky show them they fired the wrong guy! Sad, but in big corporate life, no good dead goes unpunished. My next bike with not be a Ducati; they lost my business with that deal. MotoGP has been really great this year!

  • Grimey Benson

    You can always count on NormG to come from left field with the crack rock induced theory.

  • I bet Lorentho is all snuggled up with his Max Biaggi fan pillow wondering what the hell is going on right now.

    The curse of dissing il doctore the sports golden cow – boyeeiiiiii

  • L2C

    My bit of tinfoil-hattery was Crutchlow’s mysterious inability to get pass Lorenzo. That was so weird to me that the official explanations seem like a coverup. But really, I don’t believe that Crutchlow was under team orders or playing a scripted part. It just seemed like he was. He was vastly outperformed by his rivals this weekend.

  • Pretty obvious that Rossi, like most of the other riders in Moto GP, are now afraid of Markey. If he had just used his brakes properly, instead of trying to drive Marquez wide, he would have been able to hold him off through that corner just by maintaining his line. That’s not exactly a great passing zone unless you’re a lunatic.

    The fact is Marquez was head and shoulders above the rest in this race. He didn’t get the greatest start, yet he chased everyone down, and put what is fast becoming his signature moves on them, and there was nothing they could do. Seldom does a rider have the skill to match that kind of aggression, Marquez is certainly the exception to that rule.

    All things being equal when it comes to the bike and its performance, he can beat anyone in leathers today.

    Mark Marquez is the best rider in the world right now, period.

  • Those who doubt me… suck c__k by choice :)

  • I Cameron

    People complaining about the racing in anyway this year are forgetting what took place in the last two years (boring racing and unlikeable champions). This year could end up being the first step back in the direction of what Moto GP was like pre world recession.

    Rossi is back in the mix, more prototype bikes are on the way, three US races (I know we will lose one), five or six people battling every race for the podium, etc.

    It looks like everything has bottomed out and is heading back up. The only negative trend is the American presence in the three championships (which I admit, is a huge negative).

    As far as the corkscrew move being scripted, that is the dumbest comment I have read on this site.

  • “Marquez is the best rider in the world right now, period.”

    I agree with this, Aaron. I also think that Marc is going to prove to be a huge inspiration to Rossi in the coming weeks/months. Rossi loves a hard race and Marquez is only too happy to spar with him gloves off. The two will push each other’s “must try even harder” buttons repeatedly and elevate their respective games far beyond what they’d do without each other on the grid.

    As always, YMMV.

  • JW

    I watched the post race press interviews. What I like about Rossi is he is being a good sport about all this. I wonder how JL would have taken all this. Rossi is a class act and says he will have another day with MM but that today was not the day. I still think VR will have his day in the octagon with MM and as he said, when I do this back to you, you cannot say anything. So, there will be more to this story as the season heats up.

    I am a fan of the sport and not any one particular rider.

  • “I wonder how JL would have taken all this.”

    I suspect there would have been some finger-wagging. His approach to racing is very different than Vale’s these days.

  • Hotline Miami

    “you may substitute the words PREMEDITATED, MANUFACTURED, or SCRIPTED everywhere the word EPIC occurs in the above sentence. your choice.”

    NormG, are you moronically insinuating that MotoGP is scripted? I bet you are one of those people that think the moon landing is fake as well.

  • Phil

    Technically he skipped the track and should have got a ride through.

  • “Technically he skipped the track and should have got a ride through.”

    Technically, so did Rossi. Both riders had both wheels inside the kerb.

  • @ trojanhorse – you sure do sound like a conspiract theorist .. Wow / Stoner retirement gets thrown into the mix .. Ha Ha .. Well maybe you’re on Dorna’s side afterall..


  • Faust

    Is the suggestion by some that the corkscrew was cleaned of debris specifically to allow MM to do this? That’s absurd. Google pics of the corkscrew over the years and you’ll see that the area in question is normally that clean for all manner of events. The suggestion that GP is scripted is ridiculous. Are Lorenzo and Pedrosa violently high siding on purpose to add drama? Yeah right. I’m sure MM crashed and had a head injury with double vision in Moto2 just because someone behind the scenes really wanted Bradl to win that year too. Conspiracy theories are not just stupid, they are sickening. If you truly believe that it’s all scripted, why even watch it? I’m sure Yamaha and Ducati would be cool with participating in a rigged series that allows Honda to win, and not say anything about it…..yeah, that sounds reasonable.

  • Mike

    I have photos from a track day in October 2012 and some from June 2013 and that area is cleaner than in the MotoGP photos above. Rossi’s pass definitely had more dirt in the corner when he passed on the same part of the track so kudos to him for keeping it together.

    Marquez is an awesome rider but it remains to be seen if he has the whole package that makes Rossi one of the greatest of all time. I hope so since Rossi will not be there forever. The biggest looser is Pedrosa thinking that this year would be his year with Stoner out of the picture and Marquez in his rookie “learning year”- ooops!

    As far as Lorenzo is concerned it is pretty hard to find a rider that will charge to the end no matter what is going on in the race as he never gives up and it has paid off for him several times so far. You have to love his determination and drive.

  • Outofyourmind

    That pass he did on Rossi wasn’t legal at all!! The only reason they let it pass is because they let the 1st illegal pass Rossi did on Stoner on 2008. Both of these guys should have got a ride thru penalty. Rossi in 2008 and Marquez in 2013

  • phil

    Exactly. Marcez gained from the pass off the track.

  • Phil