Cycle News

Cycle News 2013 Issue 45 November 12 2013

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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CN III IN THE PADDOCK P126 BY MICHAEL SCOTT QUIXOTIC FATE S o that's how it goes. After a year of rising and falling tension, it's all decided in one race. That's how it should be in sport. But what does it mean for the future? Maybe that what everyone expects will be a long and dominant reign by the boy-wonder Marc Marquez will not be quite so untroubled. Without doubt throughout 2013 we have been watching the changing of the guard. Valentino Rossi has been watching it too, without a great deal of comfort. Fourth place – hmmmm. Likewise Dani Pedrosa, consigned to the far end of this year's eternal triangle. Both are looking at the wrong end of their careers. The revelation of 2013, however, has not been Marquez. Or at least not after the first handful of races, when his speed, aggression and rostrum consistency had already been underlined by a first MotoGP win. Became normal. Jorge Lorenzo is surely the man of the year, for all sorts of reasons. Most of them the very essence of the vainglory that makes motorcycle racing so wonderful. An ostensibly pointless – even childish – game of "I can go faster than you can," which makes it somehow worthwhile (and worth millions) to develop skills and take risks just to get back where you started from. I'm not questioning this. I'm applauding it. And noting the Don Quixote element indivisible from this Spanish struggle. Quixote is famous for tilting at windmills – charging the whirling sails with lance held ready, on his war-horse Rocinante. Never mind his delusions and muddled mind. The persistence in the face of almost certain defeat is what fits the Lorenzo model. The defender's performance has been remarkable, and not only for jumping off the operating table and into an aircraft to finish fifth after breaking his collarbone at Assen. The landmark was the arrival at last of Yamaha's seamless-shift gearbox. The benefits of this married perfectly to Lorenzo's style: smooth and inch-accurate. Every move is considered, and has been practiced until perfect. Just look at the way he starts every race; it's become the norm for him to lead into the first corner. He's found a way to beat even jackrabbit lightweight Pedrosa. And not by accident. The gearbox came at Misano, round 13 of 18. More than improving his results, it improved his threat and increased the pressure. By the first of the crucial three-in-a-row flyaways in Malaysia, Lorenzo also showed a new side, again in a studied manner, underlined by his irony in suggesting that his rival should be given extra points rather than rapped on the knuckles for bumping into Pedrosa at Aragon. Next day he showed he meant it: if Marquez was to be forgiven after a series of more-than marginally dangerous moves on Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa, then he was going to take advantage of the leeway. He came off second-best in the fight in the race, but not for want

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