Okay, so this is a week late. Better late than never.
Sometimes I think Marc Marquez is kind of like the Joker: He’s so good that he toys with us fans because he can. In two of the last three grands prix Marquez has made terrible starts only to knife his way through the field and storm to yet another commanding victory. Whether Marquez made genuine errors at the start of each GP or Carmelo Ezpeleta whispered in his ear to not risk making World Superbike look even better, Marquez remains the enigma that is driving MotoGP. Much like 2002 when Rossi was serving up dominance while Edwards and Bayliss were dueling it out, MotoGP runs the risk of fans losing interest because races are nearly pre-determined. Additionally, Marquez lacks the charisma that Rossi delivered to MotoGP. While his talent is beyond question, professional athletes are nevertheless entertainers, or at best, personalities. It’s not Marquez’s fault he can come across as a mild Kimi Raikkonen. It does not mean there is anything wrong with him or that he is doing anything wrong. But fans like people who make them smile and laugh, and Rossi has spoiled fans rotten for the last 15 years. Marquez is also from Spain, which is already moto-crazy and is therefore not delivering new fans to the sport. Nevertheless, the French GP was another Marquez showcase. So while Marque is driving MotoGP, he could be driving it into the ground. The racing in World Superbike has been compelling and close with multiple brands and riders capable of winning any given race. MotoGP needs to up its game rather than continue to punish World Superbike for clearly outperforming it.
Outside of Marquez’s exemplary performance, Rossi showed again that he still has the touch. Body position apologists across the road racing world must be rejoicing at seeing Rossi’s stark improvement from last year simply by hanging off the bike more. Moreover, the team’s number one rider Jorge Lorenzo was down in sixth. Looks like the Doctor found the cure to his own ailment. Also down the order was Dani Pedrosa, who finished in fifth behind the satellite Honda of Alvaro Bautista. While Vale was probably happy he had Marc standing in between him and Bautista on the podium, Bautista’s podium on a satellite bike shows that when he doesn’t submarine Valentino, his skill may justify his coveted ride.