Editor's Blog: MotoGP's Descent Into Madness, And How To Get Out Again

If what happened on lap seven at Sepang was bad for MotoGP, the events which have followed have made it infinitely worse. Rossi's single act of frustration has unleashed a tidal wave of insanity which has battered MotoGP, washing away the good and leaving it battered and stained. And every time you think it has finished, yet more madness emerges to engulf the sport, dragging it further down into the depths. It is a hard time to be a fan of the most exhilarating sport on the planet.

The incident itself was ugly, but it can hardly have come as a surprise. When Valentino Rossi launched his surprise attack on Marc Márquez in the press conference, accusing the Spaniard of trying to prevent him from becoming champion, a reaction from Márquez was inevitable. These are the two biggest egos in the MotoGP paddock, and with some justification. Rossi is the legend who both raised the profile of the sport and has dominated the sport for longer than any other rider in history. Márquez is the prodigy who set about smashing the record books on his entry into MotoGP, and is the man set to usurp Rossi's place in the history books. Neither man is willing to step aside, both feel they are deserving of exceptional respect.

So two angry men took to the track on Sunday, and inevitably, once their paths crossed, bad things happened. Márquez, apparently furious at being attacked on Thursday, raced Rossi as if it was the last lap of the race and the title depended on it. Rossi, unable to beat Márquez outright, lost his cool and ran the Spaniard wide and caused him to crash. It seemed like the lowest point in MotoGP for a very long time, but much worse was to come.

Men behaving badly

First, there was the podium incident, when Jorge Lorenzo appeared to give Valentino Rossi the thumbs down as the Italian received his trophy. Was Lorenzo really showing his disdain for Rossi? We don't know, what we do know is that Lorenzo was loudly booed as he received his trophy, and at other points during the ceremony. Perhaps he was showing his anger at that. Then again, given his angry words in the press conference, denouncing the decision by Race Direction to allow Rossi's result to stand, maybe he was showing displeasure at Rossi's result.

Then there was the press conference itself, in which Lorenzo complained bitterly about Rossi not being disqualified. The Spaniard had been shown the moral high ground, and had walked resolutely in the other direction. It was an opportunity for Lorenzo to answer with quiet dignity, and perhaps gain some popularity from the incident. He failed, and instead, ended up being usurped by Dani Pedrosa, who exemplified how a champion should react.

The two riders involved reacted exactly as you might expect, Márquez claiming that Rossi had kicked his brake lever, and saying the Italian was "out of control", Rossi reiterating his claim that Márquez was trying to make him lose the championship, and had been slowing him up so that Lorenzo could get away. Rossi told reporters that Márquez' manager Emilio Alzamora had told him that Márquez blamed Rossi for putting him out of the 2015 championship.

Entourage

Behind the scenes, it got pretty ugly. The head of Valentino Rossi's fan club was filmed going to the Repsol garage and hurling abuse. Rossi's helmet specialist also headed into the Repsol garage, and tried to get near Márquez. In the Repsol garage, reactions were explosive, with yet another disagreement between crew chief Santi Hernandez and Alzamora.

The role played by Alzamora is a questionable one. The Spaniard has taken over the mantle vacated by Alberto Puig, and is exerting excessive influence in the paddock. There have been complaints from photographers at being excluded from the team end of Parc Fermé, making it impossible to get genuine reaction shots from the riders any more. This, it is said, was because the people in Márquez' entourage exerted undue influence over Dorna. Alzamora and Márquez' management have had several more run ins with photographers, over the use of photos without either credit or payment.

I also have personal experience of being on the wrong end of Alzamora. In 2012, at the Moto2 press conference in Barcelona, after Márquez had run wide into La Caixa, then come back inside and knocked Pol Espargaro off in the process, I asked Márquez if he was still having vision problems. This was the year in which radical surgery had been required to fix Márquez' vision after his crash in Sepang. After the press conference was over, Alzamora came over and in a loud voice, accused me of being a bad journalist for asking the question. I may or may not be a bad journalist, but asking that question is what any journalist should do.

Throw it all away over nothing

Then there was Repsol, who issued what is arguably the most bizarre press release of all time after the race. Apart from once again claiming that Rossi had kicked Márquez, it contained the following lines:

"Repsol are deeply saddened that situations like that which occurred today in Sepang exist, especially as the company feel proud of sporting values: Companionship, competitive spirit and commitment from riders. Without these values, it would not make sense for Repsol to participate in the sport as a sponsor."

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Repsol has sponsored Marc Márquez for most of his racing career, and that Márquez' vision of 'sporting values' is the reason the penalty points system came into existence, the threat to withdraw over this incident is stretching credibility. Repsol have sponsored the factory Honda team in Grand Prix racing for over twenty years, and have a contract which runs through 2017. Throwing away such a massive long-term investment would be hugely detrimental to the company. The association inside Spain and other Spanish speaking markets is so strong that the blow to their marketing would be huge. In suggesting that they might consider this, someone stepped over the mark. Pun intended.

After the incident, the press at first divided into two camps: the Spaniards, who were baying for blood, and the rest of the media who were more neutral, though almost everyone laid the blame for the incident at Rossi's door. The question was not so much over who was to blame, as what a fitting punishment should have been, and whether Rossi should have been either black flagged during the race or given a ride through.

The Spanish press embraced Repsol's story, and enthusiastically quoted Márquez' version of events. Headlines citing a kick by Rossi filled Spanish newspapers, firing up the fans. A few journalists later acted with honor, and made public retractions after they had seen the footage. Among them Mela Chercoles, of Spain's biggest sports daily, AS. Few followed suit, however.

Flights of fancy

As the hours passed after the race, however, a third camp arose among the press. Sections of the Italian media rallied round Rossi, and the worst parts starting to invent allegations. A story in La Repubblica, a leading Italian newspaper, claimed that Lorenzo and Márquez had met in secret in Andorra, and had signed a pact to ensure that Lorenzo won the championship. It was entirely fabricated, but coming from such a high-profile source, Lorenzo felt compelled to issue an official press release, denying any pact and calling the claim "ridiculous". Lorenzo's press release would not be the first, nor the last to be issued.

It signaled a veritable deluge of open letters from high profile members of the sport. FIM president Vito Ippolito kicked off with an appeal to the riders to take responsibility for their actions and their words, and to accept the decisions of the sport's officials and governing bodies. Letters from Sete Gibernau and Angel Nieto followed, empty platitudes which did nothing to calm the storm.

The end at Yamaha?

More rumors emerged from Sepang, talk that Yamaha were trying to get rid of Jorge Lorenzo. Such rumors were not based in fact, but later, Yamaha team manager Maio Meregalli told the Corriere dello Sport that there had been tensions in the garage, and that Yamaha had approached Race Direction about the situation after the incidents between Márquez and Rossi on Saturday, asking them to have a word with the pair. Race Direction turned them down, a decision which proved to be as wrong as Rossi's decision on Thursday to publicly attack Márquez. It is a decision they intend to set right at Valencia.

Do Yamaha really intend to get rid of Jorge Lorenzo? Will Lorenzo leave Yamaha? Meregalli acknowledged that the situation had not gotten any easier, and that the relationship between the two was at its lowest point since Rossi returned to Yamaha. But it seems unlikely that Yamaha would want to get rid of Lorenzo when it is Rossi who is so much closer to retirement. Nor will they want to get rid of Rossi, given the incredible marketing power his name carries. Lorenzo has no intention of leaving Yamaha, according to the Spanish media.

Leaving next year would be nigh on impossible, for either of the Yamaha men. All of the factory seats are taken, with little reason for any factory to start tearing up existing contracts. Letting either of the two men who are still in the running for the 2015 MotoGP title leave is not in the interests of Yamaha either. If you have two of the fastest riders on earth, why let them leave?

"Fans?"

If the actions of the riders have been poor, and the actions of the media have been reprehensible, it is the fans who have behaved the worst. There have been the usual rounds of insults between the fans of various riders, and abuse of the riders involved. Behavior which Rossi had so roundly condemned at the press conference on Thursday at Sepang, but neither his fans nor the fans of Márquez, Lorenzo, nor any other riders were of a mind to heed them. Rumors of violence at Valencia abound, the low point being the fans of Italian soccer club SC Napoli, unveiling banners which read "Valentino, racing with no rules at Valencia", and a second which read "tibia and fibula" the two bones in the leg.

Then, there were the petitions. To Race Direction, to scrap the penalty imposed on Valentino Rossi, so that he can start from where he qualifies, instead of the back of the grid. The call to boycott Dorna and cancel subscriptions to MotoGP.

Most bizarre of all, the constant harassing of riders to demand that they not get in Rossi's way as he makes his way forward from the back of the grid. A stance so disrespectful of the other riders it defies belief. Their argument was "we just want to see a fair fight between Rossi and Lorenzo." What they could not see was the assumption underlying the request: "we don't care about you other riders, we care only about what happens between Rossi and Lorenzo." It is a denial of the right of other riders to be on the grid.

Unappealing

Though Race Direction never had any intention of bowing to fan pressure, that does not mean that the penalty will stand. Race Direction must still submit to a higher authority, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS. Rossi, determined to do everything in his power to have the penalty annulled or at least suspended, appealed his penalty to the CAS, and asked for a stay. From his perspective, it is a very clever move: if the stay is granted, Rossi will not start from the back of the grid, and has a better chance of defending his lead against Lorenzo at Valencia. If he loses the appeal later on, it will not matter: unless Race Direction get involved, the CAS cannot issue a more severe penalty, they can only reinstate the three penalty points. Rossi would end up starting from the back of the grid when the case is heard, some time in the middle of next year.

From Rossi's perspective, it was exactly the right move if he is to hang on to a chance of a tenth title. From the viewpoint of the championship, it casts a shadow over the outcome of the season, raising questions about the validity of the result. Then again, Rossi had already cast a shadow over the series by his actions in Sepang: had he not reacted to Márquez' provocation, and caused the Spaniard to crash, there would have been no penalty, and we would have seen the straight up fight between the two Movistar Yamaha men at Valencia that everyone has longed to see.

The jackals descend

The final besmirching of the series came when an Italian satirical – I use that word in its very loosest sense – TV show called Le Iene (the hyenas) sent two reporters to hand out a bogus prize to Marc Márquez at his home in Cervera. The show is famous for its attempts to humiliate and mock celebrities, and Márquez was an obvious target. When they turned up at Márquez' home, an altercation ensued in which the cameras of the two reporters were smashed and the memory cards removed by Márquez' entourage.

The Spanish press made a meal of the incident, with yet another press release being issued claiming that the Italian TV presenters had invaded Márquez' property and insulted and attacked them. On their TV show on Monday night, the Italian reporters offered a different set of events, playing a recording of the incident made with a hidden sound recorder. In that set of events, they never entered the property, but stood only on the street outside. They opened champagne and pretended to hold a podium ceremony, spraying it on the street. Márquez' family is supposed to have insulted them, and all Italians, and then grabbed the cameras. The Italian TV show has said that if Márquez wants to contradict their version of events, all he needs to do is to give back the memory cards and show the video recorded on it.

Controlling the information flow

Just when you think it can't get any worse, we have Dorna canceling the pre-event press conference scheduled for Thursday. Normally, the championship leader, the winner of the previous race, plus other important riders are invited to give their views of the upcoming round, and with Rossi, Lorenzo and Márquez all set to be present, it would have been the first opportunity for the media to ask the riders for their view of events so far. It was not something Dorna was prepared to countenance, organizing instead a meeting of all of the riders and teams together with the MotoGP Permanent Bureau, consisting of Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta and FIM boss Vito Ippolito.

If canceling the press conference is an attempt to keep the riders from talking, it will fail. The first thing that will happen once the riders get out of the meeting is that they will be cornered by journalists and grilled as to what went on inside it. Then, they will be grilled as to what happened at Sepang and afterwards. The first rule of managing a PR disaster is to be as open as possible, and try to control the situation through transparency. The opposite of what Dorna are trying to do.

Learning to love racing again

It has not been fun week to be a MotoGP writer. What should have been the crown on the best season of MotoGP for many years has turned sour, leaving a bad taste in the mouth. Every time you think the whole palaver is dying down, events take yet another turn, usually unexpected, and almost invariably for the worst. Nobody emerges from this with any honor: not the riders, not the teams, not the media. Not even me, by venting my frustration in a couple of thousand words on the subject, and exposing my own hypocrisy. Better out than in, as my wife likes to remind me.

How do we move forward from this? Leave the melodrama to one side, perhaps, but that is difficult. Forget about the championship, and who will win. Treat the race as the spectacle it is supposed to be, cheering every rider, regardless of their history (and none are blameless and pure, all are tainted in one way or another), and hope for a thrilling contest. Admire the skill and bravery of Rossi, Lorenzo and Márquez, but also of Dani Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro, Andrea Iannone, Maverick Viñales, Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro, Jack Miller, Nicky Hayden, Hector Barbera, Danilo Petrucci, Andrea Dovizioso, Loris Baz, Toni Elias, Eugene Laverty, Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista, Yonny Hernandez, Scott Redding, Mike Di Meglio, and Ant West. And of all thirty Moto2 riders, and all thirty two Moto3 riders.

It may seem like a strange proposal from a man who makes his living from the sport, but perhaps we should stop taking the whole thing so seriously. After all, it's only motorcycle racing. It's not as if it will make much difference to the destiny of the human race.


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Total votes: 213
Total votes: 90

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Comments

Instead of managing a crisis, we see management in crisis.

Total votes: 150

I think that sums it up. I've been either involved with or following the sport for well over 30 years and I can't ever remember feeling this let down.

Total votes: 190

I have to admit I'm bemused by all this navel gazing. Occurrences like this aren't unprecedented in MotoGP, and fans will naturally take sides. Not being a particular fan of either rider I'm actually pleased to see some pith and vinegar being thrown around. About time things spiced up a bit I reckon! When Rossi overcooked the corkscrew in 08 and bumped into Stoner re-entering the track there was bitterness and recriminations also, which polarised fans in a similar way yet there were no such worries about the sport as a whole. I think the difference here is that Rossi is clearly in the wrong and his legion of fans don't like it. This is what happens when a particular rider is bigger than the sport itself, if it were a dust up between any two other riders it wouldn't have erupted like this. But when titles, records and reputations are on the line there will always be friction, as long as it doesn't become dangerous on the track I'm all for it.

Total votes: 236

Interesting that you mention the corkscrew incident in '08. Stoner has stated numerous times (and the media conveniently ignored it) that he was not bothered by that move. What caused him to lose respect for Rossi was Rossi brake checking him into the final corner which caused him to run off track. Rossi has a long history of dirty riding, and anyone else who does the same gets penalised (both by race direction and the media).

If Rossi does end up winning the championship this year, I wonder if anyone will point out (as Jeremy Burgess did in '06) that it wasn't the fastest rider who won the championship.

Total votes: 177

Against all the disagreements, speculation, loss of fans, gain of fans and predictions one thing is almost all but guaranteed. If VR wins the '15 championship it will simply but surely be another notch in Valentinos belt of supremacy over Motogp. Either subtly or indirectly Vale will have taken his career ensemble to a new level having been the best rider over all the year and fought off two tough Spaniards and a polite one. Piercing through all the if's and but's will be the informal status of GOAT in concrete (or clay) over VR's name.

However if JL wins will it just simply be the year that wasn't?

On the flip side this year will by far not be remembered as Pedrosa's bounce back from injury, Iannone's rise (and loss of Maniac title), Smiths consistency, Bradl's bike swap, Viñales's impressive debut, back flipping Zarco, Kent and we could go on.

Despite the predicament current events have driven the paddock to '15 IMO could eventually be remembered as VR's ability to tussle through any thing thrown at him Good, Bad or Ugly and inadvertently his ability to be in the right place at the right time on and off the track and in history. Although this time he has walked away from the fire with the matches in his hands.

Its almost comical.

Total votes: 170

I can't say I'm a fan of your "new and improved" version of MotoGP.

I'll take the titanic Bayliss/Edwards 2002 battle for the WSB title over the recent MotoGP malarkey any day of the week/month/year: two great champions letting their riding say all that needed to be said. Would either of those two have carried on like Rossi, Marquez or Lorenzo? They would laugh at the suggestion.

But for all the "sport is soap opera for men" that gets bandied about, these are real people, not actors. I struggle to understand how someone can actually enjoy watching people behave badly. I tune in to bike racing to see people do incredible things with a motorcycle, if I want to watch people behaving badly I'll sit outside the pub at closing time.

Total votes: 120

... even when it comes to trivial things like motorcycle racing.

You think Marquez & Rossi aren't going to tango next year?! Are they going to split the the Yamaha garage in half? Is there a wall tall enough or thick enough for Rossi's and Lorenzo's liking?

Call it the Balkanization of MotoGP, but it certainly won't be over once this year's championship is decided.

Total votes: 126

I honestly don't know what to think about this whole melodrama...
As a fan I hope my favorite riders can come out on top, but at the same time know that the result will always have a asterisk attached to it.
As a person I sometimes wonder if I'm crazy for caring so much... Like you said David, little difference to the destiny of the human race but will probably leave a sour taste in my mouth for a while to come.

Total votes: 153

It's kind of worth remembering that every title has asterisks if you look for them and for me, whichever way it goes on Sunday, it'll only be mildly tainted by all these recent events. It's still been a cracking year.

Total votes: 150

There are those who think Rossi shouldn't have reacted the way he did but Marc Marquez caused his own crash. Everyone has their two pence and you won't be able to convince them otherwise.

If Meregalli approached race direction on Saturday, then that is the saddest piece I've read to the story so far. FP3 and FP4 had incidents of Marquez trying to play games and both riders should have been pulled to the side. The fact that nothing was done speaks volumes. Do nothing and you get what you get.

Total votes: 146

FIM and Dorna should abstain from declaring an official 2015 MotoGP champion after Valencia.

There you go.
Riders keep wins, points, results. But nobody claims the title.

Total votes: 144

I think in a certain way this has been a long time coming.
We love motorcycle racing!
Not F1, where the drivers talk about their closest rivals like competing girls at a hair salon.
This is the other sport, knee down, 215 mph, tire marks on your leathers, two wheel slides, block pass, competition.
Riders get arm pump because the bikes are soooo powerfull that they're hard to hang onto.
A little hatred in the paddock is good.
The whole thing is starting to look a wee pansy with the team's running over to hand a oversized red bull can to their rider that already has a redbull bottle in his other hand.
Nice watch Dani, that fit under your leathers?
Bring back tobacco money. Bring back booze.
The only thing that still fights being watered down are umbrella girls and the WLF on Rossi's leathers.
Quit acting as if the riders are children that will be grounded for acting badly on the playground.
If Marquez really thought Rossi caused him to crash he would have gone to his garage and knocked him on his ass.
Instead he went for a good solid pout.
The lights will go out at Valencia and we'll have a race on our hands.
The next day, testing.
Silly rumors will abound.
The Sepang test.
Austin.
The 2016 season will kick off.
It's going to be f%#£ing Awesome!

Total votes: 174

You'd be a great football coach and give one hell'uva halftime rant. Knocked me out of my dulldrums.

Bring on Valencia and thanks, Duffy!

PS - boy do i love me some hottie umbrella girls.

Total votes: 140

Totally forgot about that through all the non sense - that was hilarious!

- Dani holds Red Bull can but keeps it out of sight for camera
- Dude comes op with another can. Dani looks 'WTF'?
- Dani holds second RB-can equally invisible out of sight for camera.

Awesome.

Total votes: 123

The whole sordid Sepang incident has been revealing. It reveals the true nature of all champions and elite performers in any profession (that’s right, don’t forget Moto GP is a profession). It reveals the Naivety of sports/Motto GP fans. What’s surprising is that it also reveals the naivety of sports journos.
Let's all agree:
-Moto GP is a business as much as a sport.
-These are all professionals. From the riders to the mangers/pitcrew/presidents. Their responses and reactions are driven by the demands of their business and roles.
-World Champions (yes all of them. Ali, Federer, Rossi, Schumacher, Tiger) are where they are because they are unscrupulous, vain, egotists, conceited and have a never say die attitude (read - sore losers). It is these qualities that make them world champs.
Sportsmanship is an unwritten, fictitious, moral standard that has never been able to keep this kind of behavior in check. None of the elite professionals were ever sportsmanlike if it was coming in the way of winning. So to say that fans are disappointed by Rossi/MM/JL is like saying they are disappointed that babies cry and dogs bark.
Behavior is a completely different aspect of any profession. It is a partly self-practiced and inculcated public persona and it is partly the result of media training. In the end fans, media and relationships are all used to achieve goals
Let’s not forget, this is all about money and personal glory both of which put a lot of pressure on their performance and behavior. What happened was an incident between a few rival businessmen and their associates. Bad professional behavior but nothing to be heartbroken about.
They were always like this and they will always be like this.

Total votes: 162

What I find more interesting is the reaction (or lack thereof) of Yamaha and Honda, which quite frankly, is the primary reason why we have MotoGP. As long as the manufacturers are not affected, this past week incidents are just really being blown out of proportions. Previous scandals from any other sports suggest that fans, journalists, and committed sponsors alike will remain loyal.
MotoGP remains one of the best shows on earth, a little bit of drama and controversy can only enhance the spectacle.
I can't wait for 2016...
Yamaha's garage
Will Ducati make the final step? Do they have the riders to really challenge up front?
Marquez's resolve - We already know the Honda will be fast
The progress of Suzuki
Will Aprilia succeed?
etc

Total votes: 140

Best comment of the week!

Total votes: 116

Totally disagree. Certain cultures relish the "win at all costs" philosophy you advocate, to others it is complete anathema. Unfortunately MotoGP grids are largely filled with people brought up in a "success bubble", where almost any behaviour is excused as long as the prodigy keeps on being successful. This is to the detriment of both the rising star and the sport as a whole.

Take someone like Troy Bayliss who grew up in normal circumstances, worked as a spray painter, before becoming a WSB legend and you find a much more balanced individual. His battle with Colin Edwards in 2002 (when WSB was rivalling 500GP/MotoGP for popularity) was every bit as nail biting as the Rossi/Lorenzo battle this year yet neither of those two champions could be accused of the personality defects you deem mandatory.

Nicky Hayden won a legion of fans the way he conducted himself when defeat in the the 2006 championship was seemingly snatched from the jaws of victory by Pedrosa. Upset? Sure. But can you imagine how Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo would have carried on?

I'd argue that the traits you speak of are a RESULT of success, not a PREREQUISITE for success. In fact if someone had read these guys the riot act and put them in their place earlier on they'd be even more successful than they are now. Certainly if Marquez had controlled his ego earlier in the season he would be well and truly in the title hunt. Same goes for Lorenzo, if his ego hadn't been bruised by Redding (Redding!) passing him in the rain, at Misano (Lorenzo crashed trying to up his pace) he'd probably be leading the championship and wouldn't care less about the legal proceedings unfolding. And obviously if Rossi had shown a bit more maturity (oh the irony to use that word on the oldest man in the field!) he wouldn't be in the pickle he is now.

"Sportsmanship is an unwritten, fictitious, moral standard that has never been able to keep this kind of behaviour in check"? Nope, it's just that where money is involved anything is forgiven and competitors adapt accordingly, often for the worse.

Bottom line: you don't need to be a wanker to win, but wankers seem to be given special dispensation for winning.

Total votes: 119

I think that David's article is worth taking out a subscription. How do I pay??
I have been a life long 30+ year fan, willing to spend thousands per year to be, or feel closer to the action. Now I am embarrassed by their irresponsible actions and want to be further away from it. Big bummer.
I think the true world champion (if one exists, and regardless of points total) will be the one (or trio) who start the weekend off with an apology to each other and especially to the Fans and sponsors. After all WE pay their salaries.

Total votes: 140

The whole affair might be a 'tragedy' for hardcore fans but I wonder if behind the scenes Dorna officials are secretly breaking out the champagne... the last couple of weeks seemed to generate more publicity than the entire season that came before!

Total votes: 133

Yes and ... I don t think so, it is a buzz, and most of the them will probably move along within a week ...
The fans with flags and t-shirt aren t more half than the ones whom just love the sport ... And even me after 30 years, if it wasn t for the electronic and tyre challenge of next year at the very least my motogp subscription wouldn t survive this circus.

Total votes: 128

The late Dale Earnhardt always said something to the effect of "whether they are cheering you or booing you, as long as they are talking about you it's a good thing." And for the most part he was (and is) right.

However, when the negative gets to too high a level, that argument deteriorates quickly and fans (at least the ones who have lives) will be repulsed by the vulgarity of it and will turn away. Dale always had the gift of never taking things too far, good or bad. Ironically, NASCAR is dealing with their own crisis at present with drivers that have gone too far and are threatening to stain the sport in a way that may or may not be able to be repaired. So this sort of nonsense is not limited to MotoGP. This is what happens when ruthless men compete at the highest level for the grand prize. But the consolation for the observers of this, the thing that makes it exciting and palatable has always been the premise of honor and dignity. When that premise gets exposed as just an illusion the sport is blown. This really shouldn't be allowed to happen.

In my View DORNA should have taken control of this situation long before things sunk to anywhere near this level. But they sat on their hands and what we are left with now is only the hope that we don't see any more escalation of this debacle out on track at Valencia. If anything happens out on track things will have transitioned from debacle to joke, and that could be an irreparable blow. One that is certainly not fair to the rest of the men and women who work so hard to live the dream that is MotoGP.

If we can have a decent race and a good test, (which let's face it guys is going to be a very important one) and then a nice break until we all meet again for the next round of testing, I am quite sure we will be OK. Which will it be? Our only option, of course, is to tune in and find out!

Total votes: 132

The season has been so good that the post PI events have tainted it a lot for me. I have many contradictory feelings.
I feel bitterness that the clean competition has been destroyed and legalities and a non motorcycling organisation may decide the outcome rather than racing on the track. But I am equally concerned that Rossi may end up effectively unpunished for blatantly trying to run another rider off the track. Irrespective of views on Marquez' contribution this will cloud the stunning achievement that his comeback and probable 10th title will be.
I even feel regret that we may miss the drama of Rossi starting from the back and having to underline his greatness to climb high enough to win the WC. Imagine the yellow army if he managed to pull that off!

Total votes: 124

David, your life as a writer of news and reviews of races in the MotoGP world is bound to be slightly different from those such as me who only watch the race on television and read about the developments that we don't get to see on TV by visiting websites such as motomatters. I say this for a reason. At least a couple of reactions to this piece of yours seem to be of genuine surprise while at least one seems to be about your making much ado about a small thing; something very ephemeral and therefore not worthy of dwelling upon the way you did with this piece. I will agree with you and disagree with them for a simple reason. I have already spelt it out, it is the levels of involvement.

For you to bring what you bring to this website of yours, there is a great deal of passion backed by a great deal of labour as well. It is not easy to travel everywhere, sometimes on your motorcycle like you did last year, fight to draw attention to your questions and try to dust off the allegations such as the one you have quoted as having come from Emilio Alzamora and then when you do write it all down you have to deal with the quarrels here on the website sometimes between people who have their own allegiances or sometimes seeing things differently but still going for each others' jugular and I suppose I can add some more to this list but what I have written should be sufficient.

That paragraph above is all about the involvement levels and the difference that they bring to perspectives. I am therefore saying that what you have written in your blog is amazing; to question the fundamentals of some of the things that happen in the MotoGP world and I would like to tell you that not only do you have a right to write a piece like this one but also compel us to read it keeping in view what you say in your very last sentence. Thank you, for this piece, it shows more of the MotoGP world than the other posts of yours; all of which are great. But this is another level.

Total votes: 166

As much as I like Valentino Rossi I think that had it been any other rider that did what Rossi did to Marquez, kick or not, the penalty had probably been immediate. That is, a black flag or drive through, and a lot of this sour aftermath could have been avoided.

Total votes: 140

Thank you for the article its the best one I've read on this matter.

We hear that every race is a home race for Rossi which is a measure of just how big his support is. When Rossi does something which is questionable his fans become mobilised and spew venom, bile, abuse, insults at the perceived offender.

As a result while Rossi is very likable I don't like his fans, and this one incident has seen them go way out of control. I'm thinking of leaving Motogp to them as you can't debate anything with a Rossi fan. Maybe MotoGP should just be left to Rossi and his fans.

Total votes: 138

Excellent summary David.

Having just watched the rugby world cup we see the ride through equivalent, 10 mins in the sin bin, we see black-flag red-cards for worse infringements & we see penalties given out after the match for incidents that the referee didn't see (which doesn't apply here). What we don't see is people being sin-binned a week after their misdemeanor, or worse, CAS getting involved & their 10 mins postponed for 6 months to be served in a match that bares no relation. Ref's sometimes get it wrong & it can cost a team a chance at qualifying but it's always respected, everyone gets on with it & at the end of a match it's done.

When Dani collided with Simoncelli I thought it was a racing incident but race direction gave him an instant ride through. Here they bottled it. It could have been all over, a ride through, a few people baying that it wasn't severe enough but that's it & this week we'd have 2 riders, probably on similar points challenging evenly for the title. As it is we have a debacle that may get even worse.

Unfortunately I can see that this has the potential to descend even further at which point I will switch off. I enjoy good racing & that is all it is... until it isn't.

Total votes: 139

I agree ... But the late and regretted Simoncelli was warn multiple times, and penalty points weren t in place at the time.

Total votes: 118

The Pedrosa/Sic collision keeps being brought up. In that race we were not at the end of the championship and RD's decision to give Marco a ride through did not decide the championship. As well as that, Marco had been consistently riding dangerously in the opinion of many riders in the paddock, who were being very vocal about this opinion.

You can say if you want that RD bottled their decision and that if it had been anybody else, they would have imposed an immediate penalty. But you can't refer to the Pedrosa/Sic collision or JL's 250 race sit-out penalty as proof of this because RD have already provided their rationale for the decision they made: they did not want the championship to effectively be decided by officials; Rossi was provoked (Sic wasn't and nor was JL back in the day); Rossi did not have previous form (Sic and JL did - yes posters here have already said Rossi has a history of dirty racing but I don't think you will find that that is RD's view).

Now cue lots of people giving this post one star instead of taking the time to articulate a reasoned response, offering us all a wonderful example of irony!

Total votes: 131

My biggest problem with RD is the statement that "they did not want the championship to effectively be decided by officials". That has to be the biggest pile of cow excrement ever. The championship was effectively decided by one rider making an illegal move. Not anything else. Why is everyone including RD confusing cause and effect here? It infuriates me.

Total votes: 121

The point of the penalty points system was to ensure consistent application of the rules, allegedly. Thus for race direction to have the rationale that they didn't want to effectively decide the championship seems misguided. It either was worthy of a specific punishment or was not. The rest should not be relevant.

Total votes: 126

Once Upon a Time, In a Sporting World Far, Far Away..

Riders straddled their machines, facing the dropping of a flag that signalled the start of a contest that embraced their ability, the capability of their machines and the physics of - particularly - tyres and tarmac. Laps later, another flag dropped first on the rider for whom the combination of using the above enabled them to be the first rider 'home'.

THAT, was a sporting contest.

Up until about 2006, the followers of the sport (now superceded by the popularity contest) that was the premier class considered the achievements of the contestants in relation to their skills and results.

Nowadays, it appears that the winning of the WC is to be determined by the on-line votes of the supporters of one rider vs another. And it has to be said, that judging by the commentary one sees in the vox populi, most of the 'supporters' of any of the riders do not have a fricking clue about the physics and dynamics of racing motorcycles.

Is it any wonder that Stoner said: " I don't want to be a part of where this 'sport' is headed"? If there is anything that has validated his concern and disgust that it is no longer competition on the track between the most-skilled riders in the world on the most fabulous machines that can be devised, it has been the fall-out of the whole Sepang weekend.

I personally find it impossible to discern any participant in this debacle who has been in any way guided by 'sporting' principles: the riding protagonists, the RD, the manufacturers - and most of all, the 'fans'..

On the track, it is a combination of ultimate skill in utilising every factor that in combination allows the rider to get to the flag ahead of the next rider. Not ONE of those factors is affecting the raging debate.

My personal Gods of motorcycle racing are Mike Hailwood and Joey Dunlop. From all of my understanding of them, I believe that they both would have said: 'let Valencia progress on the merits of the weekend, and the results be as they fall'.

RD should have made a decision affecting the results of Sepang on the basis of the occurrences at Sepang. It should have ended there. What happens on the track, should not leave the track.

What we are seeing, is the results of trying to find a 'golden mean' of events. It's BS. All of this would not have happened if RD had applied the same penalty as for Simoncelli on Pedrosa: a ride-through penalty for Rossi, end of story. Marquez already had his effective penalty: zero points.

In a slightly earlier and simpler world, thankfully bereft of the Internet, two kids fighting in the schoolyard would both have been sent out of class.

End of story.

Total votes: 135

Thank you for cooling my head...

You're right, it's only motorcycle, nobody (nobody !) has been hurt, we will remember this year for a long time, and we will remind this end of the championship with a smile on our face.

"My son, motogp is not anymore what it used to be. We used to have passion and excess, we had three fantastic pilots (let say 4) with complete different styles, different characters. The golden age I tell you"

Cheers

Total votes: 119

I feel this is your best piece yet. I do not agree with everything you say (as usual!) but a good summary of events while acknowledging not even you are faultless. That takes some guts!

As for myself, I am doing my best not to let the mistakes of others influence my enjoyment of this year's racing. Lorenzo will be crowned a great champion, it doesn't really matter where Rossi starts. I think Lorenzo is mostly angry about Rossi keeping his third place points from Sepang when without the incident there was a big chance of him only coming in 4th. Lorenzo knows starting from the back of the grid on the best bike on the grid isn't much punishment at all.

Total votes: 118

Thank you for another excellent article David.
I can sense your dismay at disarray of the sport.
People behave badly a) when under pressure, combined with b) a feeling of being robbed by a.n. other party without censure.

Their fans (and teams/supporters) behave badly because they are fanatics.

Racing is in the end a metaphor for fighting.

The difference here is that the viewers can access so much of what is going on via the media now, that it is getting impossible to cover it up like the old days. Everyone is as informed as the experts.
Cancelling the presser will serve only to pressurize the fuel on its way to the fire.

So now we have before us an unabridged script from a tacky 60s film about derring do on the racetrack ( I'm surprised we don't see the ghosts of McQueen and Garner hanging around the pits.)

Its not a game any more ( if it ever was). The skill of the riders has become secondary to the the quest for bigger revenues, the spraying of fizz and the name on the all-time record books.
The League of Aliens gets bigger every year and should include riders like Knight, McGuiness, Hutchinson and Woffinden - but it doesn't. Yet we have a perfect model of what happens if you are an Alien who won't go to the party.
(he's Australian and likes fishing apparently)

Well I for one am happy if my heroes have feet of clay. Never was that struck on Hollywood, but the owners, administrators and adjudicators of the 'sport' damn well better get with the programme, because if they don't lock down the processes and the policing of the championships it will be anarchy out there and the audience will disappear in a puff of direct debits.

Rightly or wrongly both riders feel they have been sabotaged by the other, and everything that has happened is a consequence of that feeling. If the issue is not tackled at source the problem will go from bad to worse. Simple as.

Total votes: 123

I think a simple thing has been blown out of proportions. Clearly Rossi was at fault for driving Marquez wide. His intentional or unintentional kicking does not matter. I think the biggest fault here is Race Direction's. They had enough evidence to issue a ride through penalty to Rossi during the race. It was good faith to wait and discuss it with the riders. But look where has good faith got us. I think a swift decision was what was needed.

Imagine an alternate version of the incident where race direction issued a ride through to Rossi:
* Rossi loses some positions during the race.
* Rossi fights back valiantly and finishes inside the top eight; maybe even reaches upto 4th.(I clearly believe Rossi had the pace to finish 4th even if a RT penalty was issued)
* The championship points between Rossi and Lorenzo is within 5 points; doesn't matter who is ahead or behind.
* We are treated with an epic final race. Winner takes it all kind.

I know even with this alternate some sections of the fans would not be pleased. But I think most of us would have been pleased. I say majority.

Now whoever wins this championship it would feel shallow. I Rossi starts from the last row, it is a great handicap. If Rossi manage to suspend the ruling, starts where he qualifies and wins it, it will be a championship won in the courts not on the track. Rossi was wrong at Sepang from Thursday onwards. His mistake in the race deserves a penalty, a penality during the race, where he had the chance to redeem himself.

Now everthing has gone out of control. In the light of these events atleast Rossi should try to offer a statement to calm things a bit. A a person of such stature; it is his responsibility too to save the sport we all love from this disgrace.

Total votes: 136

Please correct me if this is worng, but was it not the case in 2010,
............ Valentino was out of the race for the title but had a great battle with his teammate Jorge. After the race, when Jorge complained about Valentino being too aggressive and with no meaning as he was out of the Championship, Valentino commented: “I said to Yamaha, what do you expect from me, to arrive behind? If I know this I will stay at home.”

Total votes: 132

The accusations - whether true or not - Valentino brought up against Marc are not that he is trying to arrive in front of him while he himself is out of the Championship. Neither did Valentino accuse him of being too aggressive. Valentino's accusations against him are that his focus is on disturbing him rather than to achive his best possible result on that day.

Therfore in my opinion you can not use Motegi 2010 as an argument to support the theory of Valentino using double-standard here. No one would have talked of lack of sportsmanship, had Marc battled Valentino in the last 3 laps of the race like he did in Sepang in the first 7 laps. Andrea Iannone beat Valentino in a last lap battle in Philipp Island and I believe no sensible person will accusse him of lack of sportsmanship for that.

So even if both events look similar at first glance, they are apple and oranges on closer inspection.

Total votes: 164

I've seen this narrative spoken quite a few times and I really don't think it is accurate.

Jorge had already wrapped up the title, so he wasn't interfering with that side of it.

Also, Rossi was racing to beat Jorge. The whole situation has come around because Rossi (and Race Direction I must add), felt that Marquez was not racing to simply beat Rossi, he was racing to slow him down, dive bombing up the inside and cutting him off at every opportunity.

If Marc was racing to beat Rossi and pull away from him then fair enough, but the indication is that he wasn't.

I am not trying to debate over whether Marc was doing what he is accused of, but the whole dynamic of the event was completely different.

Total votes: 139

When I was younger me and my sister would often fight. No matter what the reason was, my mother would tell us to get into on of our rooms talk about it. We could not leave the room until we were done. She would literally tell us she didn't care if be beat each others heads in or just talk, as long as she wouldn't have to deal with it.

I think this should be done with Rossi and Marquez. No management spinning every detail, just the riders in a room and leave them to talk about it or fight, I don't really care. They don't have to agree with one another, they have to come to terms. And with every rider having a huge entourage heating the discussion concensus seems far, far away.

Total votes: 134

I think you should ask again whether MM is still suffering from vision problems. He clearly turned in when he was behind and should have seen. No, I am not trying to justify VR's actions. With any luck VR, MM, and JL will all jump start at Valencia and then we can enjoy the race that will ensue without them.

Total votes: 129

For someone whose bread and butter comes from expressing an opinion (whether you believe it or not isn't really an issue) I'm surprised that ANYONE should suggest we ignore the biggest meltdown the sport has seen.
Putting our blinkers on won't hide the fact that there are loonies out there that are clearly incapable of treating this as a sport or that last weeks events will change the sport permanently!
I hope it goes without a hitch but journalists have continued to spread the blame as far and as wide as possible, whether in an attempt to diffuse the situation or not, is unclear. It should have been shot down at the original Thursday press conference and called for what it was, an outburst from a rider, not confident he can race and win head to head with his nearest rival, despite even less enthusiastic fans saying it's unloseable.
He'd done a wonderful job up until then as was in line to win what I would call (yes just an opinion) his most uncontroversial, smartest title yet.
But pretending Lorenzo and Marquez are anything but world champions not allowed to respond to ridiculous unprovoked accusations is the biggest downer of this whole episode.

Total votes: 139

I find it all unsurprising, having recently watched 'hitting the apex' it quite perfectly shows what we are dealing with here. rossi was known for being ruthless in his earlier years, but it was never on the scale of what marquez has done in a very short career in comparison to rossi. as david pointed out, the points system was actually created in light of marquez and webb even states that in the film. its easy to forget what marquez has done in moto 2 and moto3, but you see it in hitting the apex and it is quite sobering.

i sympathise with both of them. rossi is not likely to be in a position to win his 10th title again from 2016 onward, this is quite literally his only chance to set the ultimate record. with so much on the line i can see why he did what he did, how frustrated he must be with marquez. however, (having seen the slo-mo's) rossi shouldn't be surprised that marquez was going to force his way through whilst being pushed wide. Marquez has an unbelievable ability to ride whilst completely ignoring anyone around him. a normal person might flinch when they see another wheel creeping up from behind, we see this all the time with block passes here and there, but marquez does not flinch or give any ground, so you can say he was doing exactly what comes naturally to him and of course, on this occasion, just like last time, the bike behind always comes off worse.

one thing picking at me is that despite the footage, marquez is still maintaining he was kicked (the brake leaver was pushed by rossi), which we can see isn't true, and then there is the italian hyenas, which again marquez is again telling untruths or exaggerating what really happened. i'm starting to think i should take every word he says with a pinch of salt.

it got ugly, i don't deny, but i think if rossi is successful with CAS, all this mess will quickly be moved on from and we will get the end of season race we all wanted. however, i would love nothing more than to see rossi start at the back, get that 6th place with lorenzo in 2nd, and rossi still wins the championship by a single point.

there is still greatness that can come of this, but i also want to see some justice for rossi over marquez because assuming rossi is correct (and i think he is), marquez is being a very nasty piece of work if he is intentionally slowing him down, AND that marquez made the contact which rossi is being blamed for. lets not forget, rossi pushing marquez wide is not against the rules, so had marquez not forced the contact with rossi, he wouldn't have crashed and none of us would be even talking about this. Yes rossi created a situation on that corner, but it was marquez that forced the contact and his own inevitable crash, both are to blame yes, but my vote is it is more marquez as he didn't have inside line/ priority and yet it was him that forced the contact.

of course, this could allllllllllllllllllllllll be for nothing, i hope this doesn't happen but rossi could win his CAS, qualify well and then crash out during the race. i think that would make it official, we could all live with lorenzo being champion in that circumstance, because the alternatives are rossi starts at the back, doesn't get upfield enough, doesn't win the championship, we all say lorenzo won just because rossi messed up at sepang and its a tainted victory for lorenzo. or rossi does the single point win and we love him even more.

rossi holds this in the palm of his hand, can he do it?

Total votes: 154

Like that phrase. I think the past two weeks, things have been over dramatized quite a lot, and not just by the riders whom may see an opportunity to gain something by doing so. At times the whole situation has been presented as the end of MotoGP, with fans so disappointed that no one would ever watch a race again and our (ex?) heroes would be looking at a job in the supermarket.
To me, I still love this sport and even enjoy the drama around it to a certain degree. I have not felt depressed the past weeks and even enjoyed a great night's rest. While some riders/media/fans have certainly not acted the most mature, I have to admit it is also interesting to watch this whole thing unfold.
I also feel events have been growing ever bigger as time passes on. There were just two fierce rivals battling on track, where in the heat of the moment one lost his cool as humans sometimes do.
Finally, after seeing I don't know how many replays of 'The Incident' from different broadcasting sources / countries, it is remarkable that during 'The Battle' almost every commentator talks about an 'epic battle', 'this is the clash we have been waiting for' etc. Everybody seemed to enjoy it untill 'The Crash', so it puzzles me a little how this all turned around to it being the most ugly duel in racing history.

Total votes: 144

For putting all the effort into moderating all these comments. I can't even imagine how much time this must cost you, and probably Jared and Mike as well.

Total votes: 130

Can we all shine a light on Dani Pedrosa for a little while. Fair props to the guy for seemingly being the only person caught up in the kerfuffle - by his association with Repsol Honda and the minor insignificance of crossing the line first - who has carried himself with grace, dignity, maturity, professionalism and good old fashioned common sense. Shine the light and let him lead the way out of this utter madness!

Total votes: 148

Why am I commenting first:

I have followed the GPs from the late 60's and recall the BBC announcement of the terrible loss of Jarno at Monza in '73. I have employed Barry Sheene to open a motorcycle shop I managed. I raced TZs and encouraged my son to follow in the footsteps. I met Lynn Jarvis when he worked at Mitsui Yamaha and knew Andy Smith well before the dizzy heights he now occupies at Yamaha Europe.

I had always admired Lorenzo until he bumped my wild card son off the 250 grid at Donington, the finish flag was out and Jorge went round faster than Doohan's record on a 500! This is tongue in cheek but these things build emotions as a fan.

I have experienced the frustrations of chasing championships and seen my son taken out at the last round of a championship he was leading.

Worst of all I have seen motorcycle change into a marketing machine that a Canadian pension fund invests in. Read Jon Ekerold's book of how he won the 350cc title going to one round on his own. OK I am getting old and modern safety for riders is superb but come on this is great. We have never had such fun as fans, everyday knew excitement building to the last round.

We are reaping what the marketing and money men have sown, the people who boo'd Stoner at Donington because they wanted Rossi to win are the numpties who buy the merchandise. They join fan clubs and buy the bike brand the winner rides. Yamaha must want Rossi to win and Honda will want Lorenzo to win to save losing market share. Lorenzo must worried that something may go wrong with his bike because the bikes owners will make millions if his team mate wins. Dorna will want Rossi to win as the fans will come back even more next year. The non motorcycle press will not cover a Lorenzo win but Rossi 10 times a winner when he should have retired.

So get off the high horses, sign the fans petition, lobby your MP and generally revel in this pile of poo created by money men. It will be engineered for Rossi to win but there is still the human rider factor that can undo all that marketing hype and thats why I still watch this fabulous sport.

Fingers crossed Danny can deliver for himself on Sunday but that's another story

Total votes: 135

Thank you David for providing an island of sanity in the wake of the mess that was Sepang. The clarity and calming effect of your analysis is helpful. Valencia will likely be the most watched MotoGP race ever and the outcome will be discussed for decades. What a season!

Total votes: 132

Easy! we can all agree on several points here: 1.) Dave is a bad journalist (wink) and 2.) changing the name of the series to NASMOTO is a step in the right direction. (chuckle)

Total votes: 117

...had it booked for months, worried it might, as so often, be a dead rubber by then. Crikey, how wrong can you be...

What am I looking forward to?

Danny Kent FINALLY wrapping up a World title for Britain, though he looks scared and Valencia has no hiding places.

Seeing a Zarco backflip, well done this year fellah!

Sam Lowes pushing that Speed Up above and beyond, him and Alex have come such a long way through great parents and ALWAYS giving time to fans from a very young age.

Seeing Dani ride sooo well again-what a pleasure when it all aligns. Horrendous injuries and luck can return but boy I hope not for 2016.

The rest, I just don't know. Previously I had a simple view, just hope VR can do his 10th, something to savour in the years ahead. Now? I don't know what to think, my wife insists on wearing her JL hoody, my mate his VR46 coat and we're sat next to the MM 93 Fan Club block.

I'm gonna look for a Maverick Vinales t-shirt upon my arrival...

It'll be history, but not as we knew it.

Finally, David, words fail me, a shining beacon through the fog of Northern England-THANK YOU.

Total votes: 131

Thank you for this article... Great insight!
I disagree on the incident point of view because i believe racing doesn t belong to motogp, and we see tactics like slowing down or breaking the rythm of an adversory in marathon, 10000 meters and the 5000 even more, cyclism as well, motorbike and for god sake even speed skating ... Especially when it is nothing new to motogp, there is different ways to achieve it, Rossi was within the track limit and now we know marquez did accelarate. He didn't brake to take back the inside ...
But it is just my opinion, not easy to make through the load of biased crap wrote for three days in in the aftermath despite my three languages ... and though an article well wrote like yours, with ethic(!!!) i thank you an really respect your opinion and some pride back to journalism.
Great to know that i might be able to read some in spanish too!

Through all the brouhaha i missed the Santi hernandez Alzamora story? Can somebody tell me something please?

Total votes: 137

I think that this "crisis" is nothing compared to what happened to Formula 1 on the championship deciders at Suzuka in 89 and 90.
For those who do not know this story, take a look at this link:
http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/10/22/1989-japanese-grand-prix-flashback/

There was a lot at stake and Senna risk Prost's and his own life on that crash on the first corner at Suzuka.

Total votes: 111

"After all, it's only motorcycle racing. It's not as if it will make much difference to the destiny of the human race." Exactly !!!

I posted the following on Twitter (later that day) at the end of consecutive posts stating my take on said incident:

"On a Global scale, the happenings of earlier today are insignificant. If we as people could put this much passion and emotion towards righting some of the wrongs going on around us in this world today, how much better a place to live might this planet be ?"

Total votes: 129

Every time I see Alzamora's name mentioned it has a negative connotation attached to it.

I think of him as just a slimy, grabby, in-it-for-himself type of person.

Quartararo is exiting a team that's basically a straight path to the factory Honda team in MotoGP because he supposedly wants to escape Alzamora's clutches. When Marquez slammed into Williairot, it was supposedly Alzamora who told him that he needs to decimate the field early into the weekend to assert his dominance, then he basically cooked up the whole Marc and Valentino storm, and I even honestly didn't know that he and Santi don't stand each other.

Marc needs to ditch him, and ditch him fast.

I suspect Marc is a loyal kind of guy, one that's hard to forget past favors, so he's keen to keep Alzamora around, but I reckon that's doing more harm than good.

Also, kudos to everyone on this site for keeping everything nice, calm, and collected, a state of affairs that is unfortunately nowhere to be seen on crash.net

I'm against censorship in general, but it did keep things together nicely this time.

Here's to not having implement it again.

Total votes: 142

I was blissfully unaware at how silly things have become. For once, I am glad to be ignorant of what is happening in MotoGP.

Total votes: 125

The only way for this championship to not be called invalid by at least half the fans is for Rossi to win by such a margin as to make the 16 points of Sepang irrelevant.
Any lower margin and Lorenzo's fans will insist Rossi should have been disqualified.
If Lorenzo wins the championship then it will be Rossi's fans saying he was cheated.
This option means Rossi needs 18 more points than Lorenzo which basically means Lorenzo having a disastrous race (by his own fault of course) and Rossi winning the race or finishing second. It seems unlikely. And the best year in years will become the most contested ever.
If it does happen however, what a way for Rossi to push his claim for greatest of all.

Total votes: 132

I wonder if Rossi knew on Thursday. Bearing these all must require helluva cool head when lined up on the grid Sunday, for all riders. Every once in a while something gets broke at Sepang. Which saddens me so deeply. Every once in a while something remarkable happens at Valencia though. Fingers crossed for next one, despite all that belongs yesterday. I love this game!

Total votes: 125

The best advice, IMHO, that I have read so far as to how Rossi could resolve the situation most optimally was posted by Metalhead on the WERA Racing Forum a few days ago.

Quoted here with his permission:

"At this point, if I were the doctor, I'd....

...go straight up to Lorenzo on race day and offer him best wishes while shaking his hand.

Then, I'd walk towards my bike with my jaw set and my eyes focused.

When the flag would drop, I'd ride as hard as I effin could. SERIOUSLY hard. But respectful.

At the end I'd wait and see where I finished, and either jump for joy, or go find the winner/champ and hug him and congratulate him.

Then I'd give a funny/aw shucks type of press conference at the end, being graceful, and self effacing.

Then I'd go drink beer.

Then I'd start training for next year. Why? Because the shit's about to get real that's why."

Total votes: 125

Like may others I watched Motogp before it was Motogp and before any of the current crop of riders were racing in world championship events (maybe they were racing minimoto etc.).

During that time I have had the privilege of watching some great champions and contenders. There has been plenty of tough riding, harsh words from riders, tough talking fans, controversy etc. The question often arises "Who is the best rider ever (A.K.A. The GOAT)?". The list of great riders and potentially the best is phenomenal so I won't list them But concede that the criteria you use to judge helps define the answer.

What is different in this controversy is the unwillingness of various parties to accept any threat to what they see is the deserved outcome for the latest so called GOAT legend.

Long live Dani Pedrosa . Some of the parties involved could learn some life lessons from you.

Total votes: 123

I'll tell you no lies - it's been a difficult thing to try and remain as neutral as possible throughout everything that's gone in in the aftermath of Sepang!
I've been a Rossi fan since Graziano rode the 250 Morbidelli, which led me to realise who Valentino was when he debuted at Shah Alam in '96!
I've followed Vale through thick and thin since then! Throughout this time we visited Tavullia often, made some friends and continue to maintain a good friendship with a few people from there, so there's no denying where my loyalties lie!

Having laid the ground (for those who don't know me!) I must also add that I'm no blinkered fanboi and I've always tried to see the positives in other riders, so PLEASE, you other contributors, don't tar all Rossi Fans with the same brush!
We don't all fit into the preconceived picture of the stereotype "Rossi Fan" that some of you seem to hold with!

Rather sadly, Sepang-gate has got me wishing the season was over, mostly because of the constant bickering between two factions of supporters, some who simply refuse to consider anything other than their own point of view!
I've always supported the idea that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I've had numerous good exchanges with fans from different factions over the years, often in a bar at a track over good natured shared drinks!
A couple of days ago I took the unusual (for me!) step of blocking someone on Twitter!
He was adamant that the telemetry that he had downloaded proved that Valentino had kicked Marquez. Even a comment from @motomatters was ignored because it didn't fit the belief!
I tried to be reasonable - it didn't work! I tried being polite - it didn't work!
Eventually I had to take the advice of @motomatters and use the "block" button, but I wasn't very happy at being forced into doing it!!

I've actually found myself considering finishing with Social Media completely because of some of the vitriol I read --- from all factions!

This is the sad fact of life that has been brought to the fore, not by arguments and politics between riders and teams, but between fanatical supporters from different factions!

It would appear that the Lunatics really have taken over the Asylum!

Total votes: 123

What has transpired from PI to date on social media, vitriol- bloody disgusting if you ask me. I would like to think common sense will prevail & a return to the norm is just around the corner. I would like to right, but have been wrong many times.
Sorry to hear of the twitter incident you had.

Total votes: 111

Just an effort to steer a little away from all the debate:
News is Broc Parkes to return to MotoGP with Ioda Racing in Valencia as replacement rider for Alex de Angelis. Congratulations to him, although honestly I can't see Ioda Racing being more than a grid filler, and their choice of bikes isn't helping.

Also, word is de Angelis will appear in Valencia. If he really do, glad he's okay after everything that happened.

Edited to correct the statement: Parkes is not riding for 2016, but for Valencia race.

Total votes: 120

Thanks for sharing your encounter with Alzamora. It's a creamed with information about how you milk information for us. It's not cheesy.

One interesting aspect is whether MM will "help" DP secure fourth over AI in the championship standings. That JL or VR will be champion is a certainty. MM will be 3rd. At this point, I'm more interested in how team strategy between HRC and Ducati are going to play out for 4th place in the final championship standings.

Of course, Smith vs. Dovi is an interesting battle in of itself, and I hope that when Michelin takes over tires next year that we don't have blowouts like in F1 when Pirelli took over.

It's racing and things happen. And as long as there's money to be made, behinds and minds (vs. a***es and eyeballs) puts the pennies in the pot.

FP/Q/Grid position is a sharpening stone for the cortex, but watching a race engages your limbs and your limbic. Thankfully, advances in track design and rider gear have prevented many injuries, but even a "slow" low-side is painful to watch (especially in slow motion) and I physically cringe when I see it, and I cringe for the bike as well.

Hopefully, nobody gets hurt in Valencia, and like I've said before, there is no such thing as a "boring" MotoGP race.

Total votes: 111