VALENTINO ROSSI AND MARC MARQUEZ : CATALAN IDOLS

Since 2010, we have witnessed a Power shift in MotoGP from the Italian superiority and dominance of the sport to the Spanish reign. With Spanish riders constantly challenging for victory and dominating the premier class since Jorge Lorenzo’s World Championship triumph in 2010. In this effect, 5 of 7 MotoGP™ World Titles have been won since that time and now and two Spaniards – Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez have shared the 5 World titles between then with the Mallorcan amassing an impressive 3.

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In 2012, Dani Pedrosa was the rider with the most wins in MotoGP winning 7 out of the 13 tracks on the Grand Prix Calendar and finished second to Lorenzo in the the World Standings.

The Catalan Grand Prix held each year at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is not just an ordinary Grand Prix, it is the Ultimate Spanish Grand Prix. If ever there was a race the Spainish Trio of Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa ever wanted to win by all costs, this was it – The Catalan Grand Prix, a dance of guts and brilliance before their Home crowd, a chance to Uphold a nation’s pride and further re-enact and sustain it’s reign over the sport in their arena.

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Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona had in previous years played host to either the beginning or peak of fiece rivalry in the History of MotoGP. The most easily remembered ones are: Valentino Rossi vs Max Biaggi podium fracas in 2001, Valentino Rossi vs Jorge Lorenzo epic hand-to-hand combat in 2009 in front of a packed out Spanish Spectators as always where Valentino Rossi eventually emerged victorious.

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Valentino Rossi sure did beat the Spaniards fair and square at their home Grand Prix – Yes, no doubt. Valentino Rossi might have won the race but Marc Marquez won our respect.

After the unfortunate MotoGP Sepang Clash between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez that led to Race Direction’s penalty on Rossi to rob him of a Well deserving 10th World Title, the MotoGP paddock and grid grew cold, boring and all pitiful. I have waited for a display of camaraderie and hatchet burial between both aggrieved riders Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez for a long time now since the beginning of the 2016 MotoGP a World Championship

It was truly unfortunate at Sepang in Malaysia in 2015 as My stand on the whole incident was and still remains that Rossi shouldn’t have uttered those comments he uttered during and after the MotoGP Sepang Press Conference as those formed part of Marquez’s unruly and foolish act during Free Practice and his misguided behaviour and attitude during the main race that cost the Nine Times World Champion more than a fortune.

Battle lines were drawn, Friendships betrayed and egos were bruised, families, friends and nations were divided and there were calls of foul cries everywhere. For MotoGP and Dorna credibility was questioned as well as the sports future got itself locked at a standstill after Race Direction’s rude and unfriendly decision that victimised Valentino Rossi. We are not here though to go over a seemingly earthed thing or complicate issues, rather bask in the glow of “now”

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Something remarkable, historic, sensational, rational and divine happened at the Catalan Grand Prix, something I as well as I am sure that even you never would have conceived such a thought not even in our Wildest thoughts and most liberal minds – Marc Marquez reached out to Valentino Rossi to congratulate and celebrate with the Legend’s remarkable and historic victory despite he Marquez being brutally defeated by the Italian at his home Grand Prix.

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It was the peak of the whole weekend’s event as Spectators chorused a roar to acknowledge the act and display of Sportsmanship between the two once aggrieved rivals. Rossi might have won the race, but I tell you that Marc Marquez earned my respect. Marc Marquez has really grown to maturity. This perhaps might be a step towards repairing the damage he might have cost fans, nations and colleagues as well as the sports

I will hold Marquez’s act in high esteem for a long time and I hope you do too do same because in Motorcycle Racing, you are out to beat everybody lining up on the grid either for you or against you, on the same machine and colours or not and in the case of rivalry, the last thing you want to do is shake hands with someone who is trying to beat you week in week out in every lap on the track. Ask Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz.

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Marquez sure has had his name engraved in my own tablet of Grand Prix history. I might not have been a fortunate teenager like My Dad to have been in the world in the sixties when Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood would race each other to the curb in every sense of it nor when Kenny Roberts Snr was fighting week in week out against Barry Sheene but I tell what, I am yet blessed to have grew and followed GPs from the days of hot early nineties American rivalry between Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz that eventually was ended after Rainey’s unfortunate crash that left him paralysed in the 1993 Grand Premio Italia, the Italian Temperament and ego wars between Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi in early 2000s, The sweet friendship gone soar relationship between Valentino Rossi and Spaniard Sete Gibernau that lasted all the way untill 2007 only for yet again another battle for supremacy between Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi and Biaggi at some points had to shake it off for perhaps patriotism’s sake but I cannot remember any other peace treaty neither thought of let alone suggested nor a compromise met for neither comradery nor proliferation of the sports. Now that is what only Marc Marquez alone would conquer. He has grown to a real man, maturity And a full blown sportsman that now Understands and sees the need to reason, take cautious steps and reach a logical compromise for Peace’s sake and posterity and sustenance of the ever Glorious Sports before fans, sponsors, participants and organizers. Marquez lived to the very letter and meaning of Camaraderie a code believed only to be the very basic and at the same time the apex attitide that anybody on a motorcycle should be attributed to and expected to exhibit 

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It sure takes two to tangle like they say, thus, had Valentino Rossi not decided to look beyond the vast majority of his fans and admirers that counts in myriads and willing to support him to any level, or had he not taken the responsible and divine act of forgiveness and counting the unfortunate past experience and what happened as part of growing up and learning, or had Rossi thought so highly of himself after all his accomplishments and unmatched fame and popularity, Marquez’s feat or act would not have seen the light of day nor be talked about atleast in a positive and cool ambience like this. Both Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez are true sportsmen, worthy heroes as well as well behaved models for all of us to imbibe irrespective what sports or part of life, leisure and profession we ply, I call them “The Catalan Idols”

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