2015 Assen MotoGP Post-Race Round Up, Part 1: Rossi vs Marquez

Great final corners make history, every track should have one. A chicane, or a wide, tight final turn which allows riders to attempt a desperate last-gasp plunge up the inside, or for the exceptionally brave, round the outside, for the win. The truly great corners have just enough options after the turn for the attacking rider to make a mistake and let the rider he just passed retake the lead.

Assen has such a final corner. And not just a great final corner, but also a great sequence of corners which lead up to it, allowing riders to both plan ahead and to react to the unexpected. On Saturday, Assen's GT Chicane, and the complex from De Bult all the way to the exit of Ramshoek, delivered spectacular and exhilarating racing. It also delivered a moment which will go down in the annals of MotoGP history, and be debated for years to come. It might even prove to be the decisive moment in the 2015 championship.

The names of the protagonists should come as no surprise: Valentino Rossi led into the final corner, with Marc Márquez in hot pursuit. What happened next depends on whose version of events you wish to believe, as the participants differ in their perceptions. Rossi says he turned in to the first part of the chicane in front, got bumped wide by Márquez, and had no choice but to gas it across the gravel to avoid crashing. Márquez says he had the inside line in the corner, Rossi cut him off, then cut the corner on purpose to take the win. Which version is the truth? We'll come to that later, but to understand what happened we have to go back to the beginning of the race.

Rossi's success has its roots in Barcelona, when he and his team found an improvement on Saturday morning which allowed him to be competitive in Catalonia. The new set up worked even better with the new chassis at Assen, and Rossi was on the pace from the start. Qualifying on pole for only the third time in five years put him in a good position to get away on the start, and he capitalized on his pole as soon as the lights went out. Aleix Espargaro slotted into second, managing to hold on to his position off the line thanks to the short run to the first corner, and Marc Márquez followed in third. At the Strubben hairpin, Márquez cut underneath Espargaro and hammered on the gas, latching onto the tail of Rossi, the pair quickly disappearing into the distance.

Jorge Lorenzo followed, charging through the field with clinical precision from eighth on the grid. By the time he was halfway round the track, he was up into third, sliding inside the other Espargaro brother Pol at Mandeveen. Lorenzo tried to catch the leading pair, but their pace was just too hot to follow, and he had to let them go. He was never threatened for third, and rode home to a lonely podium.

At the front, Rossi had taken off like a scalded cat. Márquez stalked, his Honda RC213V looking better than it has all year. The rear slides and fishtailing on corner entry were much reduced, and it looked like Márquez had control once again. Even as the tires began to wear, Márquez kept control, the bike never sliding out of control like it had at Barcelona and Mugello. Though the bike was still making some rather acrobatic shapes, Márquez was still hitting every apex he aimed at precisely. Was his bike better? "I want to be careful, because it's only this weekend," he answered at the press conference. "But what I feel is that I enjoy again on the bike. We still need to improve the slide on entry, especially in the last part of the race." He was able to follow the pace set by Rossi comfortably, and be in good shape to attack later in the race.

And what a pace it was. Every one of Rossi's flying laps was under the existing race record, the only exceptions coming when swapping the lead with Márquez. The same was true for the Repsol Honda man, only going slower than the record when he was attacking the Movistar Yamaha rider. Márquez watched Rossi carefully for the first 19 laps, then pounced when Rossi ran over the astroturf on the outside of the final chicane and lost drive onto the straight. He was through into Turn 1, and it was Rossi's turn to stalk.

The Italian clearly still had a trick or two up his sleeve, and with three laps to go, he lined up a move through the inside of Mandeveen, holding the tight line to take back the lead. Márquez tried to come back at Duikersloot, but found the Yamaha blocking his way. It was a classic Yamaha move, described by Bradley Smith a day earlier as "arrive on the apex and say 'hello!'"

Rossi knew he had to try to go for the kill and put in his fastest lap of the race. He opened the gap to just over half a second, but now Márquez knew it was time to respond. On the final lap, Márquez inched closer corner by corner, until he was close enough at the Ramshoek to try that last gasp dive up the inside of the GT chicane which Assen is famous for. It was, he said in the press conference, the move he had been practicing all weekend, ready for just such a moment as this. "My plan was to go in on the first corner and then close the second one. Because then the other rider don’t have the space and you have already the position."

Márquez attempted to dive up the inside of Rossi, but never quite got his front wheel ahead of the Yamaha's. He made it about as far as the radiator of the M1, but that was not far enough to have secured the position. Rossi, knowing Márquez was near but, he said, able to see only his tire, closed the door on the Honda, as he had every right to do as the leader. But Márquez was in too deep, and hit the inside of Rossi's fairing, bumping Rossi off line and making his own RC213V wobble. Rossi reacted instantly, picking his bike up, gassing it up and pointing it straight through the gravel at the finish line. Márquez regained control of his Honda, cut across the inside of the astroturf, and crossed the line furious at not having won.

After the race, Rossi said he entered the corner and was on the line, and only cut across the gravel because he was forced to by Márquez. Márquez saw it differently, claiming he had the right to the corner as he held the inside line, and suggesting that Rossi should have the win taken away as he had cut the corner. Honda immediately rushed to Race Control to lodge a complaint, but Race Direction had very quickly come to the conclusion that this was a racing incident, that both parties had cut the final corner, and that the result would stand. Honda accepted the decision, and after the post-race conference was finished, both Rossi and Márquez were called to Race Direction, and shown the video from the many different angles which Race Direction have, in addition to the standard broadcast feed.

A group of journalists spoke to Race Director Mike Webb after the race, and this is what he told us. "It obviously needed review, so as soon as we saw it, and because it’s the last lap we can then pay our attention to it. So lots of video reviews, lots of discussion. I have to say the end result, race incident, was clear cut. It wasn’t we're not sure or whatever. It was clear cut. The basis of that was that during the entire last chicane maneuver Valentino was always in front. We have a really good helicopter shot that he's always in front and is therefore entitled to his line. He was entering the turn and doing a normal line as if he was going to go through the turn. Marc made a pass on the inside, which he's entitled to do. It's the last lap of a GP, have a pass. During the pass he first of all critically never got in front of Valentino. The helicopter showed us very clear, Valentino’s always in front. Marc did make contact with Valentino."

Was it Márquez hitting Rossi, or Rossi hitting Márquez? "Very clearly Marc made contact with Valentino. The helicopter shot shows us who’s in front. The frontal shot which was not the live shot, but another shot from front on, shows the gap between the riders and which trajectory they’re coming on. Valentino’s on pretty much the classic line. Marc’s doing a pass up the inside as you would, and arrives and contacts Valentino. Valentino at that point decides he has to stand up. He said, I’m on the limit. He’s going as fast as he can into the turn, gets contact from the inside, has no option but to stand up. So he goes across the gravel. Marc also leaves the track, goes across the artificial grass. So from the rules point of view both riders left the track. They entered the turn and through the turn and exited the turn in the same relative positions, as in first and second. At no point did they change positions. So from that point of view no advantage was taken. Clearly because Valentino cut a lot more of the corner there was a time advantage taken but in this instance it’s immaterial. We’re not waiting for the next lap to see who’s got an advantage. It was the person in front stayed in front. The person in second stayed second. They both left the track and they both regained the track. End of story. The critical point is that I believe both riders entered the turn intending to make the turn. No one was intending to cross the gravel. No one was intending to knock the other rider off. But what happened was contact and then a rider left the track, both riders left the track. So in the end pretty simple. Racing incident, no advantage was taken."

Webb said that Márquez was entitled to try to make the pass in the final corner. "Marc had a legitimate attempt to make a pass. I believe he did not intend to make contact with Valentino, but he did." The goal of Race Direction is to ensure that the racing is safe, but that it remains racing, and that riders are allowed to attempt to win the race on the last lap by taking more risk than they might on any other lap.

Was Márquez' pass legitimate? Watching practice and warm up, you can indeed see him taking that same line through the corner a number of times. The minor complication being that when he did it during practice, there wasn't another rider there to ruin the line. But in that respect, it was a trademark Márquez move, planning his own line through the corner without overly concerning himself for the plight of the riders he is passing. With any other rider, he might have got away with it, though in that case, Race Direction may have taken a different view. "There are other incidents with Marc in the past, with other riders in all the classes, where our opinion is that the pass had no chance of coming off, that it was deliberate contact or something like that in which case there’d be a penalty. In this case it’s a fair attempt at a pass on the last corner of the last lap that resulted in some contact. It wasn’t particularly strong contact, but it resulted in contact. Luckily the end result was that the positions stayed the same. If one or both had crashed as a result of that we’d have to look at the incident in the light of that, but luckily they didn’t," was Mike Webb's view of the incident.

The problem for Marc Márquez was that he did not try that move on just any old rider, he tried it on Valentino Rossi. Rossi has been racing at Assen for over twenty years, starting in the European championship and then all throughout his Grand Prix career. He has seen a lot of racing here, and has the experience to cover all eventualities. He saw his former teammate Colin Edwards have trouble in this corner in 2006, and Nicky Hayden steal the win taking almost exactly the same line. Rossi must have been all too aware of the options he had at that corner, and instinctively picked the right one. To put that into perspective, Marc Márquez wasn't even racing in Grand Prix in 2006.

Perhaps Rossi even entered the corner already knowing exactly what his options were in case of contact. Bradley Smith had an illuminating take on the entire incident. "Valentino played the circumstance perfectly to his advantage," Smith said. "He made sure Marc hit him so then he had to go across the gravel and no one can say anything. That’s finally what it is. There’s however many years of experience right there. He closed the door. He timed it perfectly so that when Marc went for it he hit him and knocked him off the track. Then you can’t say anything because Valentino said 'yeah, I’m going to make the corner'. Whether he could or not is up to interpretation but he can say 'the reason why I went straight on is because Marc hit me and I had the lead going into the chicane so I didn’t actually technically gain an advantage so I should actually win the race'."

Did Rossi really mean for Márquez to hit him? That seems unlikely, but you have to believe he factored it in to his decision making. In Rossi, Márquez may have finally met his match, the physical intimidation which has worked on so many other riders simply will not wash at this level. Jorge Lorenzo showed in Sepang 2013 that he would not be intimidated by Márquez, and was happy to give as good as he got from Márquez. Now Rossi is taking that a step further, planning to absorb and deflect Márquez' physical style, and turn it against him.

There have been many complaints in the past that Márquez has no regard for other riders, and that he charges in with no regard for their safety, and no respect for their rights to be on track. Jorge Lorenzo believes a one-race ban is the only thing that will make Márquez alter his ways, just as it worked with Lorenzo after Motegi 2005. But Rossi's medicine could perhaps be even more effective. Banning Márquez for one race would be painful, but using his own tactics against him to steal victory from him is a very special kind of torture. The next time Márquez ponders trying to muscle Rossi out of the way in a bid for victory, he may pause for thought, and look back to Assen 2015. He may realize that his only real hope of beating the Italian veteran is by making sure his passes will stick. That means not resorting to physical bullying, but actually ensuring he gets ahead and stays ahead.

That this had been a painful lesson was all too clear at the post-race press conference. It was a deeply fractious affair, the light-hearted banter and fellowship between Rossi and Márquez notably absent. There was plenty of joking – the best of it coming from Jorge Lorenzo, surprisingly, the Spaniard given the space to display his wit, without the need to get defensive about his own performance – but the two protagonists were sticking resolutely to their guns. Rossi, as the winner, had the lightest load to bear, history and the results sheet on his side. Márquez was more querulous, stating repeatedly that he had done nothing wrong. "What I did, I think, was the perfect last chicane because I go in and I stop the bike to be on the correct line to cross later the space for Valentino, for the second chicane," Márquez said. Then later, "I did the perfect chicane with what I planned yesterday." Later still, "What I know is that I did the correct [thing] because I didn’t go outside the track. What I already say, I think I did the perfect last lap, perfect last corner. I prepared like this. But when I stopped the bike completely and I had already the place there inside then we had the contact but we already know that in that chicane it’s really tight. I know that I did the correct [thing]."

Rossi's reply was simple: "Maybe it's better that we see another time the images." They did, after the press conference, up in Race Control with members of Race Direction. BSB race director Stuart Higgs posted a photo of the two watching the video, and the faces of the two riders spoke for themselves. Márquez did find a way to vent his frustration with humor. When asked what he had learned from Rossi at Assen, he shot back "some motocross, nothing more."

The most ironic moment in the press conference came when Márquez was asked what he would have done had he been in Rossi's position. "You never know, but after this experience, I know what I need to do," he said darkly. The words were almost identical to those used by Lorenzo at Jerez in 2013, when Márquez bumped him in the final corner to take second. "Let's see what happens in the future," Lorenzo had said then.

Mike Webb was left unimpressed by Márquez' veiled threat. "I’ve been through this a lot of times where riders have felt that they’ve been done wrong and their reaction in many, many cases is if that’s allowed then I’ll carry on doing it. Almost like a threat. Sorry, but I’ve heard it too many times. It’s not even worth comment, really." In the heat of the moment, riders say a lot of things, but very rarely do the actually follow through on them.

If there was a winner from the press conference, it was Jorge Lorenzo. Invited to pick sides, Lorenzo skillfully avoided the trap laid for him, and left the audience laughing. He managed to get subtle digs in at both riders, as well as give the journalist who asked him the question enough rope with which to string himself up. Later, when asked if the battle between Rossi and Márquez could help him in the championship, he quipped, "if they had crashed today for sure it would help me a lot..." After a race where Lorenzo had been unable to follow the two leaders, he managed to regain the momentum in the press conference. It was well played, and an opportunity well taken.

Does the incident at Assen mean that the relationship between Rossi and Márquez will change? They both denied it, of course, but inevitably it will. With the championship firmly in sight, Rossi's attitude towards his rivals is hardening again, his demeanor changing subtly to put a little more distance between himself and the rest. When Márquez first came into the class, and Rossi was struggling to get his head round the Yamaha again after his time at Ducati, Rossi may have viewed the Spanish youngster as his heir apparent, and treated him with a certain fondness. That continued into last year, even when the two were battling for victory. Now, though Rossi remains friendly and smiling, laughing at Márquez' jokes, the banter between the two has acquired a certain edge. It is spikier, more barbed, though there is still great respect.

Does this herald a return of the Rossi mind games? I have never really been convinced that his tactics were deliberate, or even especially successful. Rossi's greatest asset in his battles with rivals was always his riding on the track, rather than anything he might have said off it. The Italian does appear to be putting a little distance between himself and Márquez, as he starts to believe in his championship chances, and sees that Márquez could ruin it for him, not as a title rival, but by stealing points in the races. Valentino Rossi is always seen as a joker, a clown, and a big friendly bundle of fun. He may well be all those things, but he certainly isn't when it comes to motorcycle racing. Racing is serious business, winning even more so.

Will Assen 2015 be a Laguna Seca 2008 moment? It can't really be, as the man beat at Assen had no hope of winning the championship. In 2008, Rossi beat Casey Stoner in a straight fight, one of the most bloodcurdling and exhilarating duels in the history of racing. With victory there, he swung the momentum of the title race away from Stoner and towards himself. At Assen, Rossi went up against Marc Márquez and beat him decisively, putting him in his place. In doing so, he extended his lead over Jorge Lorenzo, taking it out to ten points. The fact that it was Márquez who was forced to finish second will have no bearing on the championship, other than it slightly decreases Márquez' chances of coming third.

The real rival Rossi faces is his Movistar Yamaha teammate. He may have beaten Lorenzo convincingly at Assen, but he did not deal him a psychological blow as he did so. Lorenzo was slower, because the lack of edge feel on the tires made it hard for him to follow Rossi's pace. That was merely returning the favor for what Lorenzo had done to Rossi for the past four races. Assen may yet prove to be a pivotal race in the championship, but this was not the race where Rossi broke the spirit of his teammate. That battle is yet to come, but come it surely will.

To spend nearly four thousand words on just a single pass is to do a massive injustice to the remainder of the weekend. There was so much to talk about at Assen that it will not fit into a single story. The tale of the Suzuki, Andrea Iannone's mature and measured ride, Andrea Dovizioso's broken rear seat unit, the battle for fifth, Pedrosa's problem with the brakes on his Honda, a new basis for the MotoGP class, Johann Zarco's increasing grip in Moto2, and last but not least, a scintillating Moto3 race which saw Danny Kent increase his championship lead yet again. All that will have to wait until another day. More on Assen tomorrow.

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Brilliant Read - Thanks David !

The 4k words were well written and much appreciated for the effort :)

Looking forward to Part-2 ...


Thank you for a spot-on review. Can't believe we may witness the Old Man winning another championship. It feels real now.

In the next article can you comment on Pedrosa. Is Honda keen on keeping him around or replacing him with someone else who can make headlines? I like the bloke but a change is needed.

Spanish press reported the Honda challenge as something only done later on after Marquez made it clear he was unhappy with the lack of vocal support from them for his side of the argument. Suppo was said to have stated to Marc that Rosi had won fair and square (not in those exact words). Your version of events suggests otherwise, David.

Sorry to bang on about this but this report in Marca appears to contradict your version of events, David. I'm not saying that you're wrong, just that yours and Marca's versions don't tally. I raise it because this was such a momentous race, I think it's important to have the facts as clear as possible. Also, if Marca's version is right and Honda didn't go running to lodge a complaint and were reluctant to pursue it, it casts Marquez in a much different light and of course undermines his stance.


Here's what Mike Webb told me and a small group of other journalists when we went to speak to him:

"Honda obviously requested to talk to us about, hey, come on, this is not right. Rather than make an official hearing at that point it was directly after the race, so the simple thing was we just showed Honda the same video that we saw and explained why we made our decision and they left saying yes, the decision’s made. No question. Following that I decided in speaking with the team managers of both Honda and Yamaha and our Race Direction colleagues that it would be a good idea to talk to the riders so that we don’t have a festering incident going on to following races. So I can guarantee you the racing will be as hard and as fierce as ever, however we got them in the same room so that we could hear both sides of the story, show them the video, and tell them why we made the decision we made. You guys were in the press conference, I wasn’t. But you’ll know that both riders have a different opinion of who was right and who was wrong. They still have a different opinion of who’s right and who’s wrong but at least I showed them why we made the decision we did and it’s what I’ve explained to you. That’s it, end of story."

I only have Webb's version of events, so I do not know what went on in the Honda garage, whether Marquez demanded that Suppo go up to Race Direction, or whether Suppo decided to go of his own accord.

Honda demanding a review is standard practice, and every team and factory does it every time something controversial happens. It is almost a reflex to do so, rather than something they think about. They complain, because they have nothing to lose by complaining, even though they know that in 99.9% of cases their complaints will be thrown out.

Please remain respectful in comments. Comments containing abuse are being deleted. Rephrasing comments to say the same thing without hurling abuse takes little or no effort.

is over.
Thanks David for your well written report.
What a season! Did Dorna release that final chicane melee on Youtube to grow the global fan base?

One of Rossi's great strengths is his ability to make contact with another rider (both on the track and in stairwells) and come out on top. We've spoken about this for years. IMHO this physicality has been an integral part of Rossi's success (though by far not the only ingredient) and an integral part of Rossi's popularity (it's so thrilling to watch).

The similarity between Rossi's physicality and Marc's has been discussed a lot. Again, I think this has been integral to Marc's success.

I don't see either of these 2 changing their ways. Far from Marc shrinking back, I think he'll be looking to butt heads again and come out on top. Marc said that he is looking to win races and has "nothing to lose"...

Buckle up people. 2015 is about to be the most exciting in years!!

I am still slightly stunned about why Marquez would think to lodge a protest. I am not aware of any time that Rossi has protested a result. it speaks volumes of a man when he can accept a result even if he doesn't like it.

Marquez has gotten away with an awful lot in his brief career. I will never forget and never forgive him for his Moto 2 accident at Phillip Island with an accident caused entirely by pique. And then, despite causing a serious accident and sending someone to hospital he and his team protested the penalty.

And why does anyone need to resort to name calling in an Internet forum ?

I think the protest has everything to do with the emotions flowing right after a race, I don't think MM and his team really thought they had a point. You go for a corner, are sure you will win, and then you hardly know what happens but you are pipped on the line, your opponent making an unorthodox move (and I don't mean Rossi did anything wrong, just that he went through the gravel). I don't think we can really imagine what that kind of disappointment on the world stage does to a man. Most of us mere humans would still be crying in our beds.

Thanks for the excellent round up and clarity on the doings of race control. Its great to get such an insight.

This will make things particularly interesting .... hmmmm I predict an interesting manouvere from one of them at the corkscrew come the Laguna Seca round. Could be a wasp sting or an old dog bite, either way it will be great to watch how this develops. :-)

Dont I know.
My Family booket a one month holliday to USA last summer and the ising on the cake was me visiting Laguna Seca MotoGP round..... and then it got cancelled......

Well the holiday was nice and I did get the Superbike round :)

Can someone who is fluent in Italian please translate into English the "letter" by Dr. Claudio Costa to Rossi, or at least paraphrase it so that the sentiment can be fully understood? Google Translate is utter sh*t in its translation -- can't make heads or tails out of it. Can't tell whether Costa is being critical of Rossi, facetious, or what.



Tired of Marquez' relentless disregard for any other riders on track. He'll take whatever line he wants, whenever he wants, regardless of what positions or lines other riders are in/on. If they make contact, if he punts someone off, so be it. It's his world, no one else is entitled to any piece of the track that he chooses for himself.

The kid's got a perpetual smile, and is considered a charmer off the track, but, on track, just getting really tired of his, as David said, "bullying" style of riding. Yes, as talented as anyone, but really tired of the sh*t.


Also tired of the incessant whinging by certain of the journos, such as the blowhard Ryder, and fans always playing up the supposed "mind games" of Rossi. Do people play mind games? Of course. But Rossi has always seemed actually to be one of the least likely mind game players around. A huge part of why he's so beloved all over the world, I believe, is because he is so genuine. His genuineness just shines through, and people can see that. He's certainly intelligent enough to play games, but he doesn't. But bombasts like Ryder insist on propagating the insinuation that Rossi does, and the dimmer-witted of the fans gobble up the notion, clouded by whatever venom their ill-equipped minds are clouded by.

I think that was a very tongue in cheek post praising Rossi for his outstanding victory and his very choice selection of the line for the last corner. "Everyone knows that the gods are free only on Saturday, and that the only Saturday of the championship is to Holland." Perfect :)

one wouldn't expect anything but what Dr. Costa writes of the situation. Just read his own words about his book on Marc to understand the infatuation for this young mans talent, he has. I will say he's earned his opinion, he's been around MotoGP for many years and has treated and helped many riders over the decades. However, it seems the pedestal has already been placed and filled in the case of the young 2 time world champion.

Thanks for an excellent write up David, as usual, about the "conundrum at the Cathedral". I look forward to the balance of your thoughts on the Assen weekend.

My concern going forward is that because nothing was done with this incident, he'll decide that contact isn't an issue and will simply start "claiming" track space with little to no regard for his fellow riders safety. After all, as he has said "I have nothing to lose." While he hasn't done it in MotoGP, yet, this is the first time he's faced any real frustration so time will tell if old tendencies come back into play.

I agree with your assessment of Marquez 'bullying' tactics, and that he will try this gambit again, since it's worked previously, and has been considered a racing incident.
The ploy backfired on this occasion because Rossi was able to pick up the M1 and fire it through the gravel, thereby cutting out the second part of the chicane. On a conventional corner he would have been driven wide.
Rossi and Marquez have had two serious duels this year, and both have resulted in contact. It's likely they'll meet again before Valencia and resume their argument over possession of a few feet of tarmac. I just hope it doesn't result in broken bones or decide the championship in an unsatisfactory way.

Why anyone would think Julian is a blowhard is beyond me.

He is by far the best commentator when it comes to MotoGP, and from what I can conclude of him, a sincerely pleasant person.

I think calling Ryder a blowhard is taking things too far.

Dear Valentino, you've been outstanding in Holland, winning over Marquez. He (Marquez) has been as great as you: I'd define Marquez as "fairy tale like" in his last lap where he managed to close the gap and attempt the overtake maneuver. It was the attempt we were all waiting for, at last corner of the last lap: an impossible maneuver, that Marquez in his heart felt, would have given him the victory.

The indisputable fact that no disciplinary action has been taken against the Spanish rider, has made you, dear Vale, responsible for cutting the chicane. You've been forgiven, and I bow before forgiveness. The fact that you've been forgiven, made Marquez after the race saying, calmly but with deep conviction:"I am the moral winner". And I, hoping that won't upset anyone, agree with him. For this "humane" reason I would have liked to see you hugging your rival after the checkered flag, like to little scoundrels children party, their life filled with innocent mischief. I was expecting you to praise Marquez instead of your sarcastic comment "So was i meant not to be there, at the last corner? According to Marquez, was I supposed to just disappear like it happens on a playstation game?"

No Vale, you were supposed to be there to face the fight/challenge, because if the roles were reversed, you would have done the same.
You can be certain of that and hope that the gods that freed you from the ropes Marquez forced you to (boxing reference...), giving you the favorable geography (he means: being on the right side of the chicane...) at the turn (chicane..) you cunningly cut, won't be on holiday next time you race. Everybody knows that gods don't pay only on saturdays and that Assen is the only saturday on the motogp calendar.

I share the elation for your deserved victory and please don't talk ever again about disappearing, not even in jest. Nobody could bear it because the legend of motorcycling racing is written on the pages of the last corner of Assen 2015.


A little comment from me, my English is what it is and translating Dott. Costa is not an easy task for he has a very artistic way of speaking, he improvises metaphors, his speeches always a have a mystical ring to them, his syntax is affected by his dialect, like the vast majority of Italians (including me). Plus his vocabulary is pretty archaic. He's got his own mythology, riders are epic heroes challenging capricious gods etc. Just to say that unless you are Italian it's quite difficult to really get him and also for Italians is a difficult task as we're busy figuring out what he meant to say from what he actually said.... He's quite a unique person, he has got a big heart and a true motorhead brain.

Zomby Woof, thanks for the translation, as well as the thorough context. You've clearly made an effort, and it's appreciated.

And, FWIW, your English far surpasses that of the vast majority of native English speakers around the world.


So Costa fancies himself an esoteric poet, does he. Just another shallow mind who has imbibed fully all the adulation his lofty, celebrated perch has garnered for him from a fervent fan base of a sport of passion. Just another fallible human being of shallow mind who, treated like god, believes he is therefore god.

A true motorhead brain, surely, but a "big heart?" Mussolini may also have been good to his family and friends, but to those he deemed lesser? They hardly mattered. Costa is "The" celebrated "Doctor to the MotoGP Stars," but how would he feel about lavishing the same level of care to the many displaced peoples of Italy of today's Austerity? How would he feel about lavishing the same level of care to all the undocumented immigrants who are so openly treated with so much vitriol over so much of Western Europe?

The letter seems strangely contradictory - at one point Dr Costa says he agrees that Marquez was the moral winner. A couple of paragraphs later, he's elated over Rossi's 'deserved victory'.
I hope he's a little less confused when he's got a scalpel in his hand.

If Rossi had something to go back and smooth over the chicane gravel, it would have been an ideal post-win antic!

Thanks David for your measured post.

One of the most insightful reads anywhere on the subject taking us from the tactical to the "big picture" perspective. I so much enjoyed the read so I just became a site supporter. I eagerly look forward to part 2.

David, once again excellent. You covered it all for a Part 1.

Marquez is getting a wake up call. It was fine when Rossi was the Grandfatherly has been but now....

This is the second instance this year with Rossi. Rossi is one of the few riders that has a talent of sensing what someone is doing behind him. And he is one of the few riders that is a PURE racer, meaning he is able to blossom in the middle of a race or hard battle where others get flustered.

Marquez is the baby faced killer. Does not feel or care at all what happens to his competitors, as long as he is passing them for a win.

This is two times that Rossi has outfoxed him. In Argentina he (Rossi) knew Marquez was running so close that a mere change of direction had a high possibility of making Marquez pay. This time he KNEW Marquez was going to make a last ditch desperation move and he got Marquez again. Rossi should really be named the Trickster. Because he can barge or act helpless to suit his agenda.

I am loving The drama and tension these two are creating. A fan of them both and looking forward to the next race!

in the porst race was when VR was talking about the incident mm was looking at rossi, breathing heavily as vr was just at ease doing his thing.

im so happy btw David Emmet because not a single other site does what you do and im always waiting for you as i know you wil write these articles.

I think that whatever changes have been made, they have sorted out the front end feel that meant VR has not been able to trust the front tyre when it is cold and get a flying lap out of it right away, a la Jorge. So that will mean some really tight battles from now on. Secondly, he has managed to get MM riled up, something he has not done before, and got one over on him whereby MM will think twice before attempting something like that again (or not think at all and bin both of them). He has 10 points over JL and needs to increase that, as MM will be winnning again and there will be three of them fighting for the top 3 places. Some of MM's stops at the chicane during FP need some words I think, as he is coming as close to collecting other riders without actually doing it as it is possible to do.
Many readers posted that you never covered Dani in the articles before the race, I think the race showed why, he got lost in the pack as has happened so many times and he can't fight back from there.
What a race, I hope to see many more like it this season.

Before knocking him, you should maybe read up on what happened with his bike(s). After crashing heavily in the morning warmup, which can't have helped, he had to use the second bike which first had a defunct clutch at the start that caused his initial travel backwards through the pack and then constant problems with the front brake which didn't work properly. To bring the bike home in these conditions and still battle for 5th place is no small feat IMO.

If you want to make a point of "why he doesn't need to be covered ahead of a race" this is certainly the wrong occasion to have chosen as it was in no way predictable on Friday that any of this would happen and he was fast all throughout the practice sessions to be a real threat.

conference was rather awkward to say the least. Jorge was actually quite funny, however the questions he did receive were easily made light of.

Marc did not look happy at all, and the veiled threat of what he will do next time was a little laughable.
Not good to force this type of attention on yourself, not good for ones mentality-Marc probably needs to go fishing with Casey Stoner to learn of how this can effect a racing career.

For far too long I've devoured all of the great articles on your site for free, cheating you of a much deserved subscription. This article made me capitulate, I've just this minuted subscribed and not without a bucket load of guilt for not doing it sooner.

I took out French TV subscription with Orange expressly because they had Eurosport only for it to cease 3 races in this season as Eurosport moved to another French channel, so this for now my sole means of MotoGp race reports (one that I would read anyway).

It sounds cheesey but this site is simply the best. Keep it coming!

Well done. It's great to give David the support he deserves, where else do you get quality insight like this? I hope more do the same.

Excellent piece David.

from an Italian friend of mine:

It says that, even though he did get the win, the fact that Marquez didn't get a penalty indicates that vale won only thanks to the cutting.
Vale, in the Italian interview said "Marc expected me to disappear like on a play station game", but the article suggests that vale should have been more gracious to Marc after the race.

Great write-up David, thanks! As well looking forward for the second part :)

Standing alongside this article this particular post is currently my second favourite Kropotkin article!

Language in comments
Submitted by David Emmett on Mon, 2015-06-29 00:45.
Please remain respectful in comments. Comments containing abuse are being deleted. Rephrasing comments to say the same thing without hurling abuse takes little or no effort.

Every single racer out on the tracks of the world deserves our respect regardless of us liking them or not!

Thanks David.

Albert, what was your favourite Kropotkin article? ;)

It's like saying it's okay to stab someone as long as you missed. The police aren't going to arrest you until you actually manage to stab that someone. Okay, maybe the example is too extreme, but the decision making process which they admit that because no one gain an advantage then they take no action but would act differently if Rossi were to fell, is annoying. I don't see how that Marquez move was legit. Sure, when the track is empty, any move is legit, but when someone was in front, then your option is limited and Marquez need to acknowledge that. If a lot of riders taking different lines start to claim that the rider in front took his line, that's basically a recipe for disaster.

I always found that Race direction was handing too few penalties, especially with the never ending waiting for a tow story in moto3. On the other hand, they have to be careful not to penalise racing. Can't be an easy balance to find.

I have been following your blog since a year and have learnt a lot about MotoGP reading your analysis.

After the Assen race I must have refreshed your blog main page at least a 100 times hoping to read the race report, but this time the update was a little late may be by a few hours :).

Thanks for all your hard work, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.


Let's clear up a few things here. First, there was nothing wrong with Marquez's pass attempt. Numerous passes like that had been made throughout the day in all three classes. I know, because I was in the stands at that exact same corner. And even if it was deemed too late of a lunge, punting somebody off the track on the last corner has never been penalized. Not when Rossi does it or anyone else. The whole race had been clean and respectful by both parties. So take off your yellow tinted glasses please and be real about it.

Second, I understand race control's decision not to take action to change the race result. Their motivation for doing so is completely idiotic though. They say Marquez was never ahead of Rossi. Well so what? He didn't get a chance to be ahead because Rossi bailed out of it and gassed it through the gravel. Second, why would it matter? Marquez was on the inside line, Rossi just closed the door on him. And they touched, which can happen. But as soon as they did, Rossi stood up the bike and completely forgot about even trying to take the corner. He gained over a second by doing that. Apparently cutting the corner and gaining time is alright if you're leading?

Also I refuse to believe if Marquez had actually been in front by a centimeter or two anything would have happened either and Rossi's win would still stand.

Then there's the motivation that Marquez also didn't make the corner because he ran across the astroturf. What a ridiculous statement! If Marquez had actually just about made the corner, would the result be any different? I think we can all answer that one. Then there's the fact that Marquez actually tries to take the corner, while Rossi doesn't. In fact, he gives up before even completing the first part of the chicane.

They also said Rossi was on the racing line, which is such a dumb statement I'm only going to say this: to attempt a pass you almost always have to go off the racing line.

All in all I think Race Control just didn't want to take a decision and made up bullshit reasons to justify it. Penalizing Rossi and giving the win to Marquez seemed to heavy a punishment and I sort of agree, but they should have given Rossi at least a warning for blatantly cutting the track. Now this can happen again and every rider knows, if someone's up their inside line, just bail and cut the corner. You won't get penalized!

The time gained by Rossi is irrelevant on the last lap. He was pushed off the track through no fault of his own, and took action to correct the situation. There are no points for time gained, so the result of the race was completely unchanged. The only thing that matters is the order in which the riders finish. Whether one rider finishes five milliseconds or five laps ahead of the other, they both get the same number of points, and it makes no different to the result or the championship.

There are two alternative situations where the result would be different. If Marquez enters the corner ahead of Rossi, there is contact, and Rossi finishes ahead of Marquez, then he will be docked a position. There was no change of position at Assen, but if Marquez had been ahead there would have been, and the result would be reversed. 

If Rossi and Marquez are a second behind Jorge Lorenzo, and collide on lap 16, and Rossi's run through the gravel means he closes the gap to Lorenzo by half a second, then he would probably also be penalized. In that case, he gains an advantage which affects the outcome of the race. That was not the case at Assen.

You are right about other riders doing the same thing. Crutchlow said he pushed Pedrosa through the gravel, and Race Direction took no action on that pass either, because no advantage was gained.

It is absolutely not irrelevant. He was 1.2 seconds ahead of Marquez on the line, while they were side by side going into the last corner. How is that not taking an advantage by cutting the last corner? If Rossi had actually tried to take the corner, there would have been a run to the line where anyone could have won. Instead we are robbed of that. So again, cutting the track is perfectly alright if you're the one who's leading? I find that to be a crap ruling.

And saying Rossi got pushed off the track through no fault of his own is, I'm sorry to say, shockingly naive. He closed the door on Marquez on purpose, he said himself he knew Marquez was there.

Firstly, they were not side by side going into the corner. From the overhead shot it is perfectly clear that the front of Marquez' front wheel never gets further forward than the rear of Rossi's front wheel. That is not side by side, that is Rossi leading.

The rider in the lead has the initiative. It is up to the rider behind to try to make a safe pass. Marquez did not make the pass before he got into the corner, so he should have braked harder and given Rossi room. He did not, instead, he bumped Rossi and forced him wide.

Cutting the corner remains irrelevant, because his winning margin is irrelevant. Without looking it up, can you remember what Marquez' advantage over Lorenzo was at Jerez in 2013? Or, for that matter, Rossi over Edwards at Donington in 2004, or Pedrosa over Rossi in Barcelona 2008? The only thing that matters is the order in which the riders cross the line.

Rossi was leading into the GT, Marquez tried a pass up the inside - which he is perfectly entitled to do, it is the last corner of the last lap of the race, he has a right to try and win it - but Marquez can't get past and lead into the right hander at the GT. He hits Rossi - yes, Rossi was closing the door, but that is his right as the leader - Rossi gets bumped off track, and is smart enough to gas it up across the gravel. Marquez loses his line because the collision unsettles his bike, you see it shake, and he cuts across the inside of the astroturf - which is exceeding the official track limits, by the way - and is left in 2nd. Rossi enters the corner in 1st, and exits in 1st. Marquez enters in 2nd, and exits in 2nd. Case closed.

The case might be closed David, but no justification will erase the fact that Rossi won a Race by cutting the track. And this is opening a whole can of worms.

ps: Great article.

... by leading into the final corner. What happened after that is irrelevant. Marquez never made the pass. That is the very essence of motorcycle racing.

Nicky Hayden was behind Colin Edwards in the final chicane at Assen in 2006, he cut the track without hitting Colin Edwards and should be stripped of the win.

Which probably makes VR46 2006 World Champion sine there was only 5 points in it at the end of the season!

The reality is that Marquez fairly and reasonably tried to make a last corner overtaking manoeuvre, the move didn't work as he was too far back, he hit Rossi and Rossi had the choice to go straight on as an alternative to crashing.

Marquez also left the track limits after the contact so if you want to make it fair, give both of then a 20 second penalty and make Lorenzo the winner?

Rossi won, I believe Race Control showed no bias and interpreted the rules and the spirit of clean racing with fairness and integrity.

I actually wouldn't mind a penalty for both, because both are repeated offenders in cutting the track and bullying others. Rossi has a long history on the subject, and so does Marquez, altough Marquez actually WAS penalized before.

Dubious as the move from Marquez is, you cannot give the riders the chance of cutting the track, or throw the other rider off as legitimate moves to win.

I think race direction were actually limp wristed, and once again failed to act with the resolution they should.

have you never ridden a bike through gravel before? Particularly one with race slicks on it?

Had Rossi actually tried to make the corner, there would have been no run to the line where anyone could win. Marquez would have cut through the astroturf, as he did, and won by a mile. Rossi would have been off his bike in the gravel.

You don't turn a slick-shod bike in the gravel--no matter how good the traction control program is--and the collision meant Rossi was going to be in the gravel one way or another. So trying to "make the turn" wasn't an option. Rossi did the ONLY thing he could have done to keep himself off the deck: Stood the bike straight upright and gassed it to get the front wheel off the ground and the crank spinning for stability. Had his front tire entered that gravel first, I'm not so sure he wouldn't have laid it down. Marquez was right about one thing: That was some motocrossing!

To me, there is no question about what resulted after the collision, but rather whether the collision itself necessary. When watching in real time, although I was pulling for Rossi to win it (fearing a Lorenzo runaway championship), I felt a little bit dirty about how the win came off. My immediate reaction to Rossi cutting the corner and winning by such a large margin was, "I don't see how it wasn't legit, but it just doesn't seem right, either..."

Seeing the slow motion and other-angle views of the incident, though, there's no other conclusion to draw except for "it was what it was." If you have a problem with Rossi unfairly closing the door on Marquez, I think that's legitimate right up until you see the replays from all the angles. But complaining about blowing through the gravel? Really, what else could he have done once the collision occurred and things were set in motion?

Yes, that's it in a nutshell. The incident took the shine off a good race.

The obvious preference of what to happen after the collision was Rossi crashing, Marquez wheeling through the astroturf and claiming to win followed by his normal "who, me?" face during the interviews.

Marcs comments are

"I had studied things well and knew where I had to brake in order to be able to overtake Vale, and so I did that but didn’t end like I wanted"


"The whole race I focused on studying the last chicane perfectly, I knew where to put the bike to limit his space but I didn’t think he’d cut the corner. "

Marc spent his time prefecting the corner to limit Rossi's space while attacking from behind. On that corner, the only place to go is astroturf and gravel.

The result he got was not the planned one or what he wanted, so that leaves it open that his entire goal was to punt rossi into the gravel.

"They say Marquez was never ahead of Rossi. Well so what? He didn't get a chance to be ahead because Rossi bailed out of it and gassed it through the gravel."

That's not how it works though. It's not a 'so what he wasn't ahead' situation. Rossi was ahead, therefore he had a right to the racing line. At the point of contact, he was pushed off it by Marc - who didn't have the position as he was behind Rossi.

" Second, why would it matter? Marquez was on the inside line, Rossi just closed the door on him"

But Rossi was ahead. It was absolutely his right to stay on the racing line and close the door. And according to none other than Marc himself in the post-race press conference, this was exactly what his master plan was for the left-hander that followed.

“My plan was go in on the first corner and then close the second one, because then the other rider don’t have the space and you have already the position.”

Right, so not only did he want to close the door on Rossi at the next turn - despite Rossi being on the inside line - but he also expected Rossi to back out of it. What actually happened in the race was a role reversal one turn earlier - only Marc didn't back out of it.

The inside line argument - according to Race Direction and Marc himself - doesn't matter when the other rider on the racing line is ahead. Which is exactly what irks me about the press conference comments. On the one hand he argued that in the incident that actually happened he was on the inside - even though he wasn't alongside Rossi - and therefore Rossi's to blame who turned into him.

Mere 10 minutes later, he explains what he planned to do at the next turn which is exactly what Rossi did to him - and in the role reversal, suddenly being on the inside wouldn't have mattered because he would have been on the racing line and ahead, and thus he would have had the position. ---> This is exactly what actually happened in the race. See the issue here?

"But as soon as they did, Rossi stood up the bike and completely forgot about even trying to take the corner."

Actually if you rewatch the footage, you can see the trajectory when he was still leaned over - he would still have hit the gravel, only if he was still mid-lean he'd have crashed. He made a split-second decision that helped him make it through the gravel.

"Then there's the motivation that Marquez also didn't make the corner because he ran across the astroturf. What a ridiculous statement!"

You're missing context. Marc accused Rossi of getting an unfair win, because he cut the track. Marc also cutting the track is absolutely relevant - which by the way he denied doing. The second reason it's relevant is that even after Marc engaged the Yamaha Emergency Braking System on that right-hander, he still barely made the corner and even touched grass. Goes to show that perhaps his line wasn't as perfect as he stated.

"They also said Rossi was on the racing line, which is such a dumb statement I'm only going to say this: to attempt a pass you almost always have to go off the racing line."

Again, not a dumb statement. It's about the rules. The rider that's ahead on the racing line has a right to it. That means Rossi was welcome to take the corner without being pushed off it. Marc did push him off the racing line, but it was the last corner of the last lap, they both left the track, both managed to make it back, and actually finished in the same position they were in right before the contact: Rossi first, Marc second. So, racing incident that ultimately didn't change the outcome.

Had Marc managed to make the pass stick on the inside without pushing Rossi, that would be a whole other story - and that was his plan too. But he didn't manage.

To keep it short: I don't think there was anything wrong with Marc attempting a pass. He misjudged it - and more importantly he severely misjudged Rossi and thought he could intimidate him - and they ended up almost crashing. Well, on the last corner sometimes this happens.

What I absolutely find issues with is Marc's comments after the race and lack of insight. Because when the shoe's on the other foot and he manages a pass on Rossi and beats him, it's all smiles and jokes in parc fermé - from both sides.

Twice now he misjudged where Rossi's bike would be (Assen and Argentina), almost took both of them out of the race and somehow he's the one angry and lashing out. I have no problems with him, I love the way he rides and him and Rossi are easily my favourite riders. But he needs to calm down a little bit (off-track, not on it).

Excellent comment/analysis Myrelin. The best bit, to me, is pointing out how Marquez admits to wanting to do to Rossi on the second part of the chicane being exactly what Rossi did to him on the first part of it.

Good job!

I think if there was an ugly fact in all of this, it was not the how the race direction is at times unfair, or too soft (f.ex, I still haven't found any excuse for Capirossi's move on Harada for the 1998 GP250cc title, in a very dirty "Marquez-ish" move).
Nor was it how Rossi may, or may not, have pulled a smart move to exploit the system (some thinking it's possible, him being the "old fox" he is).

It was the confirmation that Marquez does rely on bullying to overtake his opponents, and straight from the horse's mouth.
He does provoque (even plan?) moves to force his rivals into a harsh situation. And in the most sensitive place in Assen, no less.
I'm glad that his own trick-bomb blew on his face at that last corner in Assen, TBH. And if it was with Rossi (outsmarting him), it makes no difference. I'm just glad it didn't work his way.

Honestly, the kid is unbelievable on a race bike, that is undeniable.
But I have little doubt that he would have been receiving some serious bitch slapping on the way to his motorhome, had he ever tried any of these signature "bully" stunts of him back in the 80's and early 90's GPs. His way of overtaking is ungracious, to say the least.
No rider is free of making mistakes, it can even enrich the story of a race. But when they turn into habits, and especially into cold plans (not just "redmist" that we would have naively thought of), then that crap really has to stop (IMHO).

For that move - one of the dirtiest and most cynical in motorcycle racing, in my opinion - Capirossi was disqualified by Race Direction. However, he appealed to the FIM, and it was the FIM who reversed the decision and handed Capirossi the title.

So don't blame that one on Race Direction, it's all on the FIM.

I don't remember that one but do remember capirossi deliberately ramming someone at the start of a race, and being disqualified for it. Always thought it was mugello or maybe catalunya. Anyone else remember where and when?

Unrelated but still worth bringing up (considering this weekend's story at Assen), the reminder of an episode hopefully not to be repeated (has been awfully close a few times):


I didn't remember the race direction disqualified Capirossi, I thought they just "quickly studied" the case just to bury it right after (with the FIM closing it with a stamp of aproval).

Thanks for the heads-up, David. :-)

Thank you very much! I'd love to say that I took note of it instantly, but it took me several listens to actually realize what he was stating in that comment, and what it meant with regards to his grievances with Rossi. In all fairness when I watched it the first time round, there were many other comments he made that made this one seem tame and subtle. What a strange press conference.


And the YEBS!... Yes, the brilliance of Honda engineering. Too bad the system only works when punting off Lorenzo (Jerez '13) or Rossi here. But then I'm sure Marquez' bike also has variations of it, should they ever be required: the DEBS, the SEBS, the AEBS, and in the near future, the KEBS.

Great job, Myrelin!

I totally agree with you and with Bradley Smith. Rossi took advantage of the situation to cut the corner and not even have to dispute the chicane with Marquez.

Race direction basically legitimated that decision of Rossi. Marquez never being ahead is indeed a rather poor justification, because if i release the brakes and never intended to make the corner, a rider trying to pass me that is thinking about making the corner will never be in front of me.

Marquez reputation is costing him dearly here though, as people seem eager to blame him for Rossi's "motocross".

As for Marquez "cutting" the corner, that is just intelectual disonesty, Marquez described the corner, and any slight cutting he made can also be attributed to the bump he received, if we use Rossi's own arguments.

"Race direction basically legitimated that decision of Rossi. Marquez never being ahead is indeed a rather poor justification, because if i release the brakes and never intended to make the corner, a rider trying to pass me that is thinking about making the corner will never be in front of me."

Marquez being behind is the only justification in a racing incident such as this. The psychological decisions that may or may not have been made in that moment cannot be debated except by qualified professionals and usually with vision on helmet free faces and electronic gadgetry. So unless you are some kind of telepath I would argue that your point about his thought process be moot. I certainly don't believe race direction members were hired for their telepathic skills, it was more likely their ability to interpret rules..

...and let me fix this for you..."As for Marquez "cutting" the corner, that is just intelectual disonesty visible in the overhead shots, Marquez described the corner, and any slight cutting he made can also be attributed to the bump he received caused...

You don't need any deep psychological evaluation to see that Rossi cut the track, and/or to see that they touched each other. Atributing blame is the moot point here, because we can debate all we want about this with no conclusions, but i am starting to feel that i am the only on here that find this whole situation a disgrace. You have a race decided with a collision AND a track cut! Race direction should have had a firm hand here, or like Pol says, everything goes in the last lap, cutting the track, bumping other people, what's next? Brake tests? Doing the Biaggi elbow? The fact is that excitement and lack of fair place shouldn't go hand in had in a dangerous sport like this. I remember how clean the fights between Schwantz, Rainey, Doohan, etc, and i sure don't see deliberate crashes or cutting of tracks there.

The tales of yesteryear are littered with the broken bones of riders and broken parts of bikes. This is nothing new.

I am still not sure what you mean when you say cutting the track was bad. He cut the track because he had nowhere else to go. There is a reason you are finding yourself isolated on this issue is that you are not looking at the physics objectively. This has nothing to do with personalities or psychology. It has to do with taking evasive action in the event of a a set of external circumstances that would have rendered him off the bike had he not acted the way he did. The outcome was what it was. Race direction made the correct call based on the rules. Marquez made a move, which he is entitled to do, and failed to pull it off cleanly.

Remember this: on a race track the person behind is responsible. With no mirrors or lights the person behind needs to manage his position relative to the one in front. That includes moving past the one in front safely. In this case he (MM) was unable to do that as the VR used all the line he was allowed. if Marquez was there before him, and in front of him, the story would be different.

Do you ride motorcycles? Have you ever hit an unexpected bump or something that gave your bike a wobble, mid-turn, while leaned over? If you have, you know that the first instinct is to straighten the bike up, because when your bike is upset, the demand on the tires for grip increases. Grip is a commodity. You can use it for acceleration, deceleration, or turning. You only have so much, and when you are using so much for turning, and then all of a sudden you need a lot more to re-stabilize the bike because of a bump or an upset - well, something has to give. So you either stand it up or you go down. So I know this, and many others, just from my years of street riding. You can be sure Rossi is well versed enough with this that it is instinct. You can see it in the other racers too - why do they stand the bike up when a corner goes badly, and end up in the litter? Because their instincts are telling them that they have maxed out their available grip, and the only way to increase the grip is to stand the bike up, thereby increasing the contact patch of the tire touching the tarmac. Eventually you get to a point, if a turn is screwed up enough, that you know you need to take your chances with whatever is off the track, because to stay in the turn is to overwhelm your available grip and crash. At least if you straighten up and go off track, you have a slight chance of staying on your bike.

In light of all that, the idea that Rossi intentionally went off track, and could have stayed in the turn but for the fact that Marquez was there trying to execute his pass, is ludicrous.

Anyways, it's a moot point. As David points out to you below, Rossi was in front at all times. It was therefore MM's responsibility to execute the pass correctly. He had a fair try, but he failed to execute the pass. So he never was ahead. Therefore, still Rossi's line. All on video. Honestly, it's very simple. We're just lucky we were all treated to an inspiring race and exciting conclusion, rather than further crashes. And the riders are the luckiest of all!

Very good explanation. I really liked Simon Crafar's book MotoVudu for that reason. He broke everything down into very small pieces and explained it really well. Highly recommended.

Will have to check that out! Grip as a commodity is a big concept in US-based track riding schools as well. At the motorcycle show here in Chicago recently, two instructors from the Yamaha Champions Riding School did a wonderful explanation of it. Ironically enough.

With all this in mind I am amazed when people suggest Rossi stood it up to take advantage. I'm especially surprised at Bradley Smith's comments. Rossi is human at the end of the day, and humans are going to act in self-preservation at a certain point. I think it goes back to the widely held perception that Rossi plays mind-games or is practicing some other dark art. In reality, it's almost impossible for someone to calculate something like this in the heat of the moment, even VR46. People say the years of experience gives him the ability to think through many permutations of a situation, and it does, but it also ingrains in a rider a strong sense of instinct, so they can react without thinking up an elaborate plan. Occam's Razor tells me this is the more likely scenario.

If you watch the motogp after the flag episode, they show the event from many angles. some dont provide much detail, but I find this one quite useful


You can see Rossi is rolling into the corner in his normal arching style. MArc comes in on the limit of stability and taps him, enough to get rossi up off his knee. Just a touch. Rossi drops his knee back for a fraction. Then reacts to the rapidly approaching concept of astroturf/gravel+kneedown... sits up and across the gravel.

Marcs bike is all over the show, with him finally running across the astroturf after standing hte bike up. On his initial trajectory it would ahve been extremely challanging to navigate the corner without hitting gravel.

At full speed it happens in a fraction. Not a lot of thinking happening at that pace, just reaction.

It seems to me that your argumentation is tinted in orange.

Forget it's Marquez, forget it's Rossi and face the reality: the leader closes the door in the last corner, which is his right and the contender hits him. At this point, there is no way the leader can take the corner, no way at all. Even nr 93 didn't manage to take it, and he had the inside line.

But where Rossi is the master, and I agree with Smith opinion, is that I think he had this scenario in his mind: he knew what he would do in the case he's been hitten and he didn't hesitate even a tenth of a second ...

And by the way, I also think that Marquez try was really classic, he did his job, tried, and failed.
What I don't like is his reaction but ... pilots' reactions just after races are always like that. Let's see if he doesn't change his mind in the next weeks.

Welkom 2004, Phillip Island 2004, Laguna Seca 2008, Catalunya 2009 and now Assen 2015.
5 masterpieces.

I think Bradley Smith's comments summed up the situation perfectly. I don't think for a second that it was purely good fortune that Rossi instantly stood the bike up and gassed it towards the finish line after the contact occured, but that's why he's a 9 time world champion. Racing is all about exploiting the situation to your advantage, Rossi does that better than anyone.

Planning for contingencies is what allows great riders to keep the bike on two wheels when the circumstances arrive. I personally don't know too many racers that would deliberately put themselves in a position to take and expect a hit. In this case the circumstances called for this approach to prevent the bike from ending up in a less desirable place.. sideways in the middle of the corner for instance, or highsiding, or whatever.. the fact he made it through and won is irrelevant.

I think Smith comments are cheeky, off base and cynical. I also think that a guy who is not guaranteed a ride next year ought to be careful openly criticizing his factory's number 1 rider, the current points champion, a cultural icon and 9 time WC. Given Brad has not won a race since 125s, is he the best to comment on what was running through VR46 mind?
I know that sounds disrespectful given his talent, but I thought it was tasteless for him to say that.

I agree. Normally Brad gives quite astute analysis, but I don't think he was very smart to shoot his mouth off in this way given his situation vis a vis Yamaha, and purporting to know what is in another man's head is foolish and arrogant. I bet he regrets it now.

That was such a good read. It forced me to donate a small amount to motomatters.com :)

I particularly loved the view on Rossi predicting and playing on Marquez's attempt at passing with desregard to physical contact. The racing Fox at its best. I too feel he had this scenario laid out perfectly well within his mind and kept this card in his hand. Very good insight.

I cannot but wait with anticipation Marquez's next moves. Will he resort to more bullying and animosity? Will he get wiser and try to out-fox the fox?

This championship has been golden so far.

I recall Rossi and Marquez approaching the corkscrew with the#46 leading and #93 behind. #93 cut the chicane and gained a place. No penalties were issued, #93 didn't give the place back, and #46 didn't complain. Seems like a case of sour grapes from Marquez. I hope he reflects on it and comes back wiser, not angrier.

Rossi could not stay on the track after being punted off. In my humble opinion saying that he planned to do so is ridiculous. Once off the track he had to accelerate, motocross as Marquez put it correctly, because there was no other choice.

As you said just a few races ago in Argentina:

"To use a metaphor, Marc Márquez is likely to be found with matches in his hands standing next to the ashes of a burning vehicle. Rossi always makes sure that someone else is holding the matches when a vehicle burns down, whether or not he had a hand in lighting the fire."


Everyone has a right to opine, but no one has the right to his own facts, as the saying goes. Marc says he never left the track, but he did, as the chopper shot shows. I think he considered the turf outside the while track border to be part of the track. It actually isn´t, as Mike Webb points out.

If Marc ran over the white line and onto the astroturf and Rossi had somehow decided to hold his track position rather than picking up, where would Rossi have been put? Instead of exiting the track with the bike upright he would have been shoved off the track with the bike still leaned over and that usually does´t work out well.

I am surprised that this impact is referred to as a "kiss." It looked that way from the chopper shot, but the front on shot shows not only that there was firm contact, but also that Marc´s bike was slightly crossed up just before he briefly left the track.

If Rossi had not picked up as he did he would have had no track under him and would have probably entered the turf and then the gravel. Marc would probably have made the corner on the asphalt if Rossi hadn´t picked up, but it would have been because he used the Yamaha as a berm.

It was a racing incident that was not sanctioned because Rossi saved himself. Had Rossi crashed it is almost certain that there would have been some kind of sanction. I also understand the the old precedents of Rossi knocking Sete off the track and Marc doing something similar to Lorenzo, both at trine 13 (now ironically "Lorenzo Corner" at Jerez) create a dilemma that can only be solved by Race Direction calling everyone together and saying that, in the interests of safety, there will be less tolerance for contact.

It is not Marc´s fault if he has "gotten away" with incidents in the past. Rules, especially rules so loosely written as the FIM ones regarding rider behavior on track, are defined by the judges and when the judges decide to tighten their limits of tolerance and announce this, the law stays the same but enforcement changes.

And with all the reference to enforcing the rules…There is only one rule: FIM 1.21.2: "Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants."

So it would behoove Race Direction to get out in front of this and give riders some guidelines on tolerance and strictness because the only things riders have to go on are past decisions…which include, if you go back far enough, Loris Capirossi winning the 250 World Title my T-boning Harada in Argentina 1998.

"If Rossi had not picked up as he did he would have had no track under him and would have probably entered the turf and then the gravel. Marc would probably have made the corner on the asphalt if Rossi hadn´t picked up, but it would have been because he used the Yamaha as a berm."

I'm sorry, but you are predicting things here without evidence. Rossi could have braked earlier and avoided the contact alltogether. Marquez bike might have been upset enough with the bump that forced him to go wide and step on the turf; the possibilities are endless, and the only facts we have is that we had a collision and a blatant track cut deciding a race. Once again people come out of it without penalties or even as much as a warning. Most people are blaming Marquez, but i associate that with Rossi's popularity, because, and this i am sure, if the situation was the other way around, people would be asking Marquez head on a plate and calling him a cheat. The truth is any of the two scenarios was unacceptable, Marquez punting Rossi off, or Rossi cutting the track to win. 2 wrongs don't make a right.

but it's clear as daylight that Marquez was the one who screwed up here.

If you get in too hot and hit the rider in front of you, you've made a mistake. A punishable mistake, depending on what happens next.

If that rider then has to take evasive action to not be completely taken out of the race, and that evasive action means they remain ahead of you, and you've done this in the last corner on the last lap - well, too bad for you. You're the one who hit them. You're the one who screwed up.

I really don't understand why this is so hard for people to understand.

I'm no particular Rossi fan but why should he have braked earlier? He was in front, had the line and has always been the last of the late brakers.

You can't blame the guy in front for the guy behind outbraking himself which MM did.

9 times out of ten the bike behind (in this case MM) comes of worse than the bike in front when bikes contact in the way into a corner on the brakes.

The guy will never admit it, but I do believe Rossi's track position on the last lap reflected the potential for contact, he knew MM would have a go - if Rossi had taken a tighter line and forced MM to attack on the outside of the chicane and they came together MM would have won the race.

Basically, MM got played and he's a bit sore about it, if he's smart and learns from the experience it'll make him stronger.

Rossi could indeed have avoided contact. He could have stopped on the outside of the first part of the chicane, waved Marquez through, and gracefully handed Marquez the win. That sounds like the kind of thing I might do, but I don't race motorcycles for a living. I suspect any professional motorcycle racer who willingly gave up a spot would not have a job for long, unless he gave it up to his teammate.

Rossi had the advantage. Rossi was in front entering the corner. This is the only fact which is relevant to the discussion. If the situation had been reversed, and Marquez had been in front, and Marquez had held the advantage entering the corner, and the same thing had happened, I would have firmly put the blame on Rossi. I have no preference either way. I just want to see a fair race. This was completely fair. Marquez made a miscalculation, that forced Rossi into a mistake, and at no point were positions swapped during the entire incident.

One thing you have to be completely clear on: the track cut did not decide the race. The race was decided when Marquez could not get in front of Rossi into the first part of the corner. That is an incontrovertible fact, it is clear from video evidence from many, many angles. Everything else follows from that. It really is that simple.

I agree with you David that Rossi shouldn't just concede. But then again, like Marquez pointed out, he was on the inside. Rossi still went to the corner like if Marquez wasn't there. We can debate wether Rossi saw him or not, but i think being the experienced racer he is, he knew exactly where Marquez was.

Now i am not saying that Marquez should have been handed over the win. But for me this crash is really really similar to the infamous Senna Prost crash in Suzuka 1989. Funningly enough, then a rider was penalized for cutting a track, but i digress. The matter of fact here is that Marquez (and use Senna's words again) went for the gap. Rossi closed that gap, because he CHOOSE TO CLOSE IT. This is the important bit, Rossi went for the inside too because he didn't want to just leave the gap open, even though Marquez was already there! What happens next you say is irrelevant, but i think it's not. Rossi feeling the contact chooses to just go straight and avoid the next corner struggle all together. Sure we can say that after the touch, he couldn't make the corner anyways. But in my view, and this is where i disagree with you and race direction, he also is to blame for that. He took defending his position too far, went for a space on the track where Marc was already, and had no qualms about cutting the track altogether to make sure he wasn't passed.

So now what, now everytime someone goes one the inside in the last chicane at Assen, the rider in front is free to cut the chicane if he feels a nudge? Yes because pushing your opponent to win seems to be a legitimate move ever since Capirossi vs Harada, so i guess we don't need to discuss Marquez move even, he did it, capirossi did it, Rossi did it, etc etc, so Marquez did what race direction allows people to do ever since that time. I don't see how Marquez move was diferent of any of those other moves, that apparently are OK according to the pundits that even said Gibernau should man up and accept defeat.

Inside, outside, is irrelevant. Marquez was not ahead. He had the right to attempt the pass, and had been practicing the line all weekend. The Honda can brake a little harder and turn a little sharper, and so can make the turn from inside. Rossi was on his normal, sweeping Yamaha line through that corner.

The only point that matters here is that Rossi was leading the race for all of that lap, and was ahead when he entered the turn. Marquez tried the pass up the inside, but didn't get far enough forward to actually make it stick.

The point you keep missing is in the phrase you wrote "the rider ahead". The rider ahead can do whatever the hell he likes, it is his racetrack (within reason, waggling wildly is forbidden, but just about anything else goes). It is the responsibilty of the rider behind to attempt to make a pass safely. As soon as the rider trying to pass gets his wheel in front, he has priority, it is now his racetrack. That did not happen on Saturday.

Others may disagree - especially Sky and possibly Myrelin - but it seems to me that even without the contact and subsequent corner cutting, Rossi would still have won. Just prior to contact, with Marquez somewhat crossed up, their respective speeds appear to have equalized, and #93 didn't appear to have sufficient momentum to get ahead of #46 for the second part of the chicane. This would have left Rossi with the inside line for his drive to the finishing line.
Perhaps Marquez should study the Assen chicane overtaking techniques of Zarco, Rabat and Lowes before next year's race. They made very nice clean passes of Folger on their way to the Moto2 podium.

Just to chip in on this discussion. VR was ahead and MM was behind (Video shows that) and VR had the right to block MM pass. However that doesnt seem to be the dilemma, the issue I see discussed around the web now was VR standing up and cutting the track in response to the "touch".

Lets go back to 2006 when it was another Honda and Yamaha battling for the win at Assen - Hayden vs Edwards. In that scenario, Edwards was coming in to hot and Hayden gave way to Edwards who ended up crashing and Hayden needed to cut the track as well to escape that crash. Maybe VR was thinking strategically and was thinking shit we two gonna crash so he decided to stand up and cut through. If he crashed then and there, he would then be 24 points behind title contender Jorge. And thats is assuming the crash didnt hurt the rest of the season.

Though race direction should really look into some sort of punishment/sanction for dangerous riders from now on. Bringing up past dangerous battles would then be mute. But this is just my two cents.

Hmm, why would I disagree? I was just relaying/elaborating on what Marc's "perfect plan" was (since it was brought up so much, but when he did explain it it went largely unnoticed). I think Rossi would have won too.

Marc seemed to think that if he can just squeeze in at the first right-hander, he could get ahead of Valentino just enough to have claim on the subsequent left-hander (doesn't matter that Rossi would have been on the inside, ironically).

Personally my problem with this plan was - with the line Marc was taking - I don't see how he could have imagined making this corner with another rider who he needs to get ahead of, without even the slightest contact.

Because as you said, without the contact, the other rider (in this case Valentino) wouldn't be pushed wide, and should still have the momentum to stay ahead of Marc.

It looks to me as though Marc's plan included a slight nudge/contact to the other rider (instead barging into his side) at the apex of the first right-hander. Not big enough for a gravel pit, more like... I want to say Marc vs Jorge Silverstone 2013, but I'm not sure if I remember correctly. Jorge passed Marc on the inside, and bumped him in the process.

Perhaps I expressed myself poorly - I suspect we might disagree on the fine details how the chicane narrative would have played out without contact.
OTOH Sky describes a race that took place in an alternate multiverse. He appears to have seen Marquez cruising comfortably past Rossi - until the old fox set a trap and barged cynically into the naive neophyte, before picking up his bike and scooting across the gravel short-cut to the checkered flag.

No harm done,I was just a little surprised that my opinion was mentioned alongside Sky's. Also may I say, that is the best description yet that I have seen of the "Rossi mind-controlled Marc into crashing into him so he could take a leisurely shortcut" viewpoint. I wish I could say I only saw Sky's alternate version this one instance, but unfortunately there are many of the view that Rossi only has nice curly hair so he can conveniently hide his demon horns.

As for how it would have played out without contact - I understand and agree with your reasoning if there was no contact, the only part where I can't extrapolate from what we've seen is how Marc would have made the corner without contact in the first place. Rossi was - as far as I could tell - on a tight enough line that Marc would never be able to squeeze in without at least a nudge. But I do agree that even if he did somehow manage, it's still not guaranteed he'd be ahead of Rossi at the next left-hander. And as Marc demonstrated in WUP (his line went right across the kerb, almost on the grass), I'm not convinced Rossi wouldn't have stayed ahead in that short space between the corners.

You're making a leap and skipping a few critical steps. You're assuming that VR46 just decided on a whim to up and dirt track it across the corner, thumbing his nose at the rule book. Being in the stands gives you one vantage point - likely looking at MM93 on the inside - and you are not able to tell to what degree contact was made. In looking at all the various angles that website viewers are provided with, you can tell that he reacted to being pushed off track.

I decided to forgive Marquez for his silly comments after the race. He was upset at loosing and is hot headed. If he wasn't hot headed he wouldn't be winning championships. Even Jorge, Dani and Stoner who are seen as well behaved now have had angry reactions at times.
Now, does Marquez need a penalty to calm down as Jorge thinks? Well I leave it up to race direction as anyway it is up to them.
I think Rossi and Marquez bring loads to the sport on and off track and I want more.

... this conversation would have been really interesting IF Marc had stayed on track... watching it live I was just hoping that he had just to see what race direction would do. Then I thought Rossi's time, cutting the corner, might be faster than going the long way round proving that he'd actually gained from it... but that sector time was 0.5sec longer than his previous lap. They both went off track, the one across the finish line wins.

On the subject of being "on the racing line"... maybe it's been discussed to death but the racing line is any one that you use during a race. Last lap defending it's likely to be quite different to to earlier in the race or again in qualifying. Marc was trying all sorts of "racing lines" during practice. Truth is there is no 1 racing line... there's the line you take through a corner when you're racing. If you choose right you might win... wrong & you won't.

I disagree. Even if MM had stayed on track, Rossi had all the justification for running off that he needed because MM hit him. Whether or not Rossi really needed to run off given the tap is something we will never know. With the tap, and where it happened, MM gave Rossi permission to "go directly to the finish line". What MM did after the tap is practically irrelevant unless he somehow managed to win.

What bothers me here is that mm could have destroyed a great year if vr hadn't got away with crossing the gravel. While he's amazing to watch, mm is plain dangerous and needs reining in just a little. His style isn't win it or bin it, as some suggest, its one where his loss of control puts other riders at immense risk and that's not good in my book.

"The truth is any of the two scenarios was unacceptable, Marquez punting Rossi off, or Rossi cutting the track to win. 2 wrongs don't make a right."

No, not at all. The Race Director and HRC agree that there was no reason to sanction Rossi because he was bumped off line and off track. So there was only 1 wrong, and not a huge one either….just Marc living where he always lives, on the absolute edge. Race Direction seems cool with it, so we move on to Germany.

If you have ever raced you know what Rossi´s options were and he took the racer´s best option. He knows the rules too.

We all have our views, but the interpretation of fair or foul goes to four very experienced and well-documented men in the tower with access to all TV footage and even the on-bike data acquisition.

It looked pretty obvious to me that if Rossi keeps it leaned over to try making the corner he goes off track at full lean and then he's down. He was bumped wide and it's either stand it up or lay it down. I know what I'd do. And I'm not bashing Marquez for the pass either. Last lap for the win. It worked out how it worked out, but I do think Marquez was hoping to get Rossi out of the way by any means necessary.

You think "Marquez was hoping to get Rossi out of the way by any means necessary" - but you're not bashing him for it?
I think those tactics would contravene FIM 1.21.2: "Riders must ride in a responsible manner which does not cause danger to other competitors or participants" - which Dennis Noyes kindly quoted above.

What I'm saying is that Marquez wants to win. And he's proven he'll hit somebody to do it. It makes for exciting racing, hence I'm not bashing him for it.

This incident remind me a lot to Jerez 2005 Sete-Rossi incident,, I watch both again on youtube to confirm my memory,, and personally I say these exactly the same type of incident,, only different outcome. Heck I've seen so many times Rossi victorious in controversial situation and broke his rival minds in process, that's why he is "a Legend" no ?
When it come to aggresiveness in racing, any rider with strong enough will to win would take any chance even if its a high-risk small opening, no rider can be great champion without taking those risk. MM93 absolutely take it, so does young VR46.. so there is no point in hating one or both side. This is racing.

Just watched the race now.
With the speed Vale arrived at the final chicane, there was no way he was going to stay on the track, even Marc didn't manage to stay completely on the track!
The run to the line is fairly unique at Assen & running wide onto the gravel is the shortest route.
Vale was fortunate the motocross excursion paid off !

We'll be unlikely to see this particular manoeuvre at another track!

No way Rossi was going to stay on the track? Sorry, not buying it.

I don't have a way to do it, but I'll bet you could superimpose video of his previous entries to that corner on top of this one and they'd match almost perfectly.

Rossi was off the brakes and turning into the corner, whilst marquez had the brakes on and the bike was skipping sideways. Look at the Motogp face book page it shows the impact perfectly, MM bike running into Rossi's knee MM with one finger on the brake and the brake applied and Rossi opening the gas on exactly the same line as he took on the second to last lap (and MM actually took a slightly wider line than Rossi on that lap) Watch the race again and scroll back through the previous 5 laps look at the klnes taken and then make a conclusion

Can't remember when last I saw David so involved in the comment section ;) Nice to see your passion shine through beyond the call of duty :)

Hi David,

I would like to extend a big THANK YOU for your continued hard work and coverage of the Premier class. I started watching MotoGP in 2008 and became a obsessed follower of your website in the last 2 years.
Thank you for providing a glimpse into the inspiration and greatness of these gods on two wheels.


Words are fine AJ, but if you backed your thanks to David up with the small amount to become a Site Supporter it would go a lot further to help ensure he can continue to give us not only the most erudite Moto GP analysis on the web, but also the most mature and intelligent discussion forum as well.

That goes to all the other regular posters here who seem to have no moral qualms about taking without giving. Do the right thing fellas, and support David in his work for the benefit of yourself and everyone else here so we can continue to enjoy this portal for many years to come.

The best way to show your appreciation is to make a donation and support David. If that's not done then it could come to pass that he won't be able to travel to the races. That would mean much less accurate information to do these superb articles.

Thanks again for everything you do, David.

i think that a certain person here posting with the name SKY is the most fun to read. his stubborness even after getting only 1 star in all his post is worth mention.

as good as David Emmet is as bad is SKY.

ive got the feeling that SKY maybe is Marq Marquez or a crew member of Marq Marquez.

Who"s wrong or right in the incident is pretty obvious to me, but that aside...
On the Laguna Seca and Jerez incident, MM stated himself that he studied those moves made by VR.
He merely wants to see history repeated, following in his idol's footsteps!!!
So one can only ask himself if VR"s moves were made deliberate or just coincidence.
MM"s moves seem to be made with more deliberate intention, since he states he studied them.
Maybe he studied some wary moves at Assen to?!

So .... Discuss!!!

Well, then we should expect Marc to try and reproduce this Rossi motocross stunt in years to come :) Only thing is it would take somebody to try to ram him in to give him the legitimity...
Quite sure everybody will know to be on the outside of Marc in that corner :)

Firefly and Sky were in Parc Fermme in Orange and White shirts in Assen Post race......

What speed were they doing into that final chicane 80-100KPH? More?

How anyone could state that Rossi should have braked earlier to let Marc through is ridiculous. I just watched the reply again in Slow motion and Marc was two wheel drifting when he hit Rossi and again afterwards, Rossi's reaction was actually quite impressive-he avoided a certain crash and won the race.

This is great for the season though, sure beats the last 4 rounds!

Guys, Stoner said Rossi was the clear winner. Case Closed.

That's like Skeletor saying that He-Man was right!

Also Agostini (who has a record to lose if Rossi succeeds) says that if it was up to him he would eliminate the chicane where the racing incident happened and therefore Rossi is the emergent winner because he was ahead of Marc before the incident happened.

It seems we have two camps. the first where people who ride motorcycles know that Rossi did what he had to do to avoid binning it, and the others who think that "cutting the corner by riding through gravel" is something that road racing motorcycles have no issue with.

It is a disservice to this race and everyone involved to get exclusively and exhaustively focused on the last corner. I am relieved that everyone is safe. Both of the riders in the front is very lucky that is the case as one would be in deep negative public consideration perhaps tarnshing his experience in the media circus, and the other might lose more than just this champiinship.

It is CLEAR AS A BELL this thing and it is done with. Now how about the race? It was amazing!

Go watch Ajo's save in the Moto3 race and get something else in your focus. It's a gem.

I'm shuddering that no one has brought this up. In the post race press conference MM93 says 3 to 4 times that he did the "perfect last corner". He goes on to say (almost testify) at exactly 20:10 into the press conference video that he had practiced the move on the last lap of the warm up. Giving MM93 the benefit of the doubt concerning possible mixed up lap numbers, at exactly 24:09 and 25:40 of the WUP video, you can see his entrance to turn 16 on his penultimate and last laps. You can clearly see that his bike is cm's away from the OUTSIDE curb before he points the bike to the apex of T16. (Therefore that statement was false.) Yet at 45:36 of the race video you can see that he is perhaps a meter away from the INSIDE curb on the final lap going into T16. There is no way to make that corner with his chosen line, speed and obvious complete lack of traction without using VR46 as a berm. That would imply that MM93's idea of a "perfect corner" is to punt the opponent off the track. In summary, for MM93 to fabricate a story about practicing a certain move at a certain time, and it be proven not to be true, one can conclude that MM93 has as much respect for the truth as he has for the other riders on the track. A frightening thought.

Everyone lies. The only difference is in terms of how often and to what extent. Most lie taking for granted that no one will take the time to fact-check. It's people like you who care enough about the truth to actually take the time and make the effort to follow up that reveal those lies for what they are, which otherwise would have been obsequiously and lazily assumed to be the truth by the likes of me.


Marquez said he tried that line multiple times during practice and warm up, practicing a pass there. What he meant by a perfect line was he executed the line he had in his mind perfectly, which was to get into the corner, stop the bike, pivot it and pinch off the line going into the second corner of the chicane.

What Marquez didn't think about was the impact of either a) having another bike on track when he was making the pass, and b) what would happen if he couldn't get past the rider ahead. He was annoyed afterwards because he thought that the move would come off, and that grabbing the inside line would be enough to pull the pass off. It was a miscalculation, probably based on a lack of experience. He is, after all, still only 22 years old, and in his third season in MotoGP. It is Rossi's 16th season, and he still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

Putting details and opinions to one side, what's fantastic is that we have so much to talk about in Moto GP right now! There are two Legends on track, the Living Legend and GOAT Valentino Rossi, and the Legend in the Making that is Marc Marquez. Both are stunningly brilliant and have that extra special something that marks them out as defining figures of their generation.

But it doesn't stop there. In all this talk of Assen's final chicane we're forgetting the Stalker, another awesome rider: Jorge Lorenzo. As he's crushingly proved this year he is more than a match for both of his more flamboyant rivals when the track and tyres suit his silky smooth style. A lot of people complain he's boring but I disagree, he's beautiful to watch. The only thing that has made his wins 'boring' this year is the other guys: they haven't had what it takes to challenge him. That's not Lorenzo's fault.

But it seems it's all evening up now. Rossi has managed to do what he couldn't before: qualify well and go fast from the off. Marquez has got a better handling bike that will allow him to complete races at the front without binning it. That gives us a mouth-watering prospect of fantastic three-way battles between these amazing riders for the rest of the season, and beyond.

Even though Marquez is probably out of the title hunt now (barring debilitating crashes for the other two (please not!)), his brilliance could well decide it between Vale and Jorge. There is a lot of Marc bashing happening at present but he's nothing if not smart. He will see the negative reaction from the fans over his post-Assen remarks, and learn from it. I believe he will cut down the war of words and take revenge on Rossi (and Lorenzo) in the best possible way, by simply beating them on a fairly regular basis without having to resort to grossly underhand tactics - just hard racing of the sort he learned from his childhood idol Rossi. Who he beats, and in what order could be very influential in the final points tally.

But it doesn't end there. Ducati are not far off challenging at the front and Iannone is a very exciting, combative rider who will add extra excitement to the mix once Ducati make that small step to be at the same level as Honda and Yamaha. I think it's not far away, and Dovi is a top class rider who will also shine when that day comes. If/when Suzuki can deliver the extra horses to compete on top end speed and acceleration with the other marques they have two hot riders who could suddenly be in the mix for the whole race, not just the first lap. That would be great and welcomed by everyone including their rivals, I think.

And that's just Moto GP. I'm loving watching the Moto 3 races too, seeing Danny Kent's sheer speed and shrewd racecraft against the raw talent of more hot-headed riders like Quartararo, Bastianini and Fenati. Moto 2 is less enthralling so far this year, but Sam Lowes's passion and flamboyant riding style adds a spice that always has the potential to upset the emerging inevitability of a Zarco walkover.

What a great year for the whole Moto GP franchise. Formula 1, watch and weep.

Marquez repeating that he had practiced the corner entry time and time again speaks to his singular focus. Here we have someone so accustomed to winning and achieving what he plans for that he cannot believe it when his plans don't some off. In his singular world 'I practiced it and it worked' equals 'therefore it will work in the race'. That's a long way from the reality of random chance that we see in every race.

There's more than a touch of the Senna psychology in those expressions of frustration borne out of an unquestioning self-belief.
I suspect Marc seems himself in isolation in a race, and the other riders are just (mostly) irrelevant impediments to him achieving his planned outcome.

That singularity of view is often seen as arrogance. Or ruthlessness. Or sociopathic behaviour. That's up to each person to decide how they view it. Personally, I think both protagonists have elements of it, and that the younger Valentinos and Jorges grew out of it. Marquez is still a young man, let's see how or if his attitudes moderate over the years..............

A 22 year old male is still very much a work in progress developmentally. The context of his experience this season on what has been an unwieldy and destructive Honda is an essential consideration. While I am watching him do the impossible on that bike during the Assen race I am sure I am not alone in cringing with concern that he is going to bowling ball. Also seeing for the first time, along with everyone including MM93, what the gravel - spawn beast can and can't do.

Marquez and that bike are more than just in parallel this season. They are co-creating each other. He is so obviously over the limit. The last two seasons it was met with cheers. Now it is met with dread-tinged amazement. He has dug so deep and openly that he has dug into the wrathful. Just like Honda did with the bike for 2015. He is not backing off in the face of that bike. This too is really amazing. Chilling, but amazing.

Most riders would back off just a bit and await a change in the bike. Contemplate the number of hams available from another manufacturer with their manager. This softening into mediocrity is dangerous in a realm in which the last few % of inner resources are what separate the front from the backmarker.

This too is the mark of a champion. It isn't fun and games. He is throwing himself into the fire. This fire will either temper him beyond his years and bring greater glory, or destroy him. Figuratively yes, and perhaps literally.

Rossi and Marquez have not had their last battle this season. Nor Lorenzo. What these men are capable of does not exist until it manifests on track in the crucible of battle. Marquez is riding in anger with a bike that demands it. Yes he is out of this year's title chase, and yet he still must push out of this firey struggle with the impossible drawing forth. Stay tuned.

It looked to me from the way MM's bike was sliding, that if he hadn't used Rossi as a braking mechanism, he had a very real chance of ending up in the gravel himself - and we've seen how that goes for him already this season.

The human psychology of lying often sees people repeat the same statement over and over again in an attempt to convince everyone - including themselves, of something they know to be untrue is true. For me, MM knew he was in the wrong and was just acting like a petulant child that didn't get his way - which is a real shame. MM is likely to be the future star and draw for MotoGP after Rossi retires; and it would be bad if he lost popularity through incidents like this one.

Whilst Lorenzo found it amusing in the press conference, it would have been an entirely different story if it had been him that was hit and potentially knocked off by a similar move and it had potentially (or actually) cost him the race.

It would be an utter tragedy if the title were decided by someone who is all but out of the running injuring one (or both) of the people ahead of him in the championship. MotoGP needs tight races that end with everyone rubber side down, not last lap "all or nothing" passes that result in bad feelings, arguments with race direction and potentially serious injury.

it seems to me that people want to make this thing look like Rossi knew what was coming, he set up a ramp, jumped over a ring of fire and landed/stoppied his way to the Finish Line a la Evil Knievel... that's ridiculous

Rossi's move was a reaction of being hit just like any other road racer whenever there is a sense that you're not going to make a particular turn.

All you need to do is look at the historic moves at the 'Lorenzo corner' in Jerez where every single time there has been some contact the 'receiver' of the impact lifts up his bike and tries to avoid crashing.

The only difference I see between Jerez and Assen is that in Jerez the Finish Line is not across the gravel but essentially 'behind' you as it's a more tighter turn.


....are writen for this artical?!?! Is this a record? :)
Joke aside I think that this duel generated a lot of interest and rightly so. We are talking about two 2 of the possibly greatest riders in MotoGP riding in the same era with Lorenzo (I'm not giving up of Stoner yet ;)), Dani, Iannone, Crutchlow, Espargaro bros., Maverick e.t.c. the whole generation I mean. Can't wait for the next race.

Thanks for that, made me go back and watch it. It is almost a carbon copy of Marquez vs Rossi, but with the perils of real grass thrown in. I think Marquez went in a little more aggressively than Ukawa as well. 

The pattern is pretty straight forward; Ukawa, Edwards and Marquez were the bikes on the inside at the first apex in the last chicane - in each case they lost to the bike on the outside - Checa, Hayden and Rossi.

OK, Hayden and Edwards didn't actually touch but the positioning was very similar.

Rossi was in all three races, he knew where to place his bike in the final corner incase anything went a bit hairy.

I'm not implying he knew he'd be flat tracking, but he does know every the tricks of tracks he's been racing on for 20 years. Doesn't matter who is right and wrong, you can't buy experience or a long memory.

Edit. Worth noting on all three occasions the bike on the outside at the first apex was awarded the place - MM compliant may have been worth a try but plenty of precedence already existed, HRC never had a historical leg to stand on.

Jorge's reaction had it been him that was hit would have been much different, as we saw in Jerez 13 and Silverstone 14. Also a while back at Motegi with Rossi and Simonchelli at Valencia.

Imagine Casey Stoners reaction if it was him on the receiving end of a Marc torpedo! Probably the main reason why he wasn't allowed to sub for pedrosa!

What is again incredible here and overlooked, is Rossis reaction to it. Yes he won the race, however as with many of the incidents and difficulties he's faced in all these years at the top-it seems to be water off a ducks back, at least in public. Possibly a small insight into the mind set required to win so many races and titles over such a long career.
And far more impressive from Rossi in Assen were the last two passes he put on Marc, a beautiful and lightning fast change of direction to come underneath and then continue around the outside on the second right hander!

Has any top rider or MotoGP legend or commentator actually sided with Marc? Seems like Lorenzo, Stoner, Ago, and all the journalists I've read see it as a clear cut scenario.

Good question, joonyaboy. I would be amazed if anyone who had ever raced a motorcycle or anyone who has earned a solid reputation as a GP journalist found any plausible argument that would cast doubt on the prompt and definitive decision taken by Mike Webb and Race Direction. Those who still believe that Rossi somehow planned to pick up and scat over the gravel at the first touch should look carefully at the front on shots of what was solid contact and should ask themselves just exactly how Rossi was supposed to have stayed on track when Marc himself couldn't. I have spoken to all the regular GP journalists present in Assen and, afterward, with quite a few ex and current riders. Only a couple of Spanish journalists, neither of whom ever raced a motorcycle, buy into the Rossi cut and run theory. I think I have watched each of the three angles a total of maybe 20 times. I see what Marc was trying to do, but he was just a bit late…and lucky for Rossi that Marc made a mistake earlier in the lap because #93 made up .4 on that last lap before he took than final calculated but slightly late lunge. I don´t doubt that Rossi, after a thousand laps at Assen, was aware of the gravel option, but you don´t voluntarily take a MotoGP over gravel of unknown depth unless you have to.

Personally I can visualize hearing and seeing some pertinent additional info on this subject. A long shot perhaps, but it would be very interesting if anything filtered out from Race Direction or Mike Webb's discussions with the riders after they watched film of the incident.

to the Assen chicanery is simple. Any challenge to the result must be argued by the two riders themselves. Each gets three minutes to gabble unintelligibly whilst wearing a fluffy blue dressing gown. The rider with the best knees wins.

Diplomacy aside - two great Racers, integrity from Race Control, superb journalism, insightful and intelligent discussion - oh happy, happy days. . .

Thank you, David, for an excellent piece, as always. Much as a previous correspondent commented, I have finally been humbled into supporting your site financially - long may it continue!

There were outlandishly reaching ideas up yonder re Rossi "intentionally" taking advantage with a planned route through the gravel trap. He was at full tilt pace on the race line. He was run into by a rider from behind him that had his front and rear ends out of shape and on a questionable line. The rider in front cannot see the incoming pursuer, and it occurs via reflex in an exceedingly brief eyeblink. Did you know that it takes a half of a tenth of a second for a physical stimulus to reach the brain? Then processing time, then another half a tenth for the executive plan to reach the body? Rossi flinched away off line without conscious thought, then hit the gas to clear the curb with instinct and some preconcious notion. Marquez on the other hand had a wee bit more processing time to launch himself into a punting trajectory.

Watching it on TV is nothing like doing it. And even watching it on TV it is clear as a bell. Ding dong!