Cycle News

Cycle News Issue 36 September 12, 2017

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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VOL. 54 ISSUE 36 SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 P123 wanted it badly. So much so that he pushed past inside Dovi. Got ahead for a few feet, but ran wide onto the painted curb, then used his transcendental side- ways skills to avoid crashing. Had the triple champ's rival been a lesser rider, he might have fallen for it. Or fallen, anyway. Maybe both of them. Or maybe Marquez would have bounced off the Ducati before it skittered away, and won the race. Doubtless his preferred option. I was there, and when he spoke afterwards, his no longer quite so choirboyish face glowing with elation. "This is MotoGP," he said. "I had to try. Or I would not have slept quiet tonight. And next time I will try it again." All the while Dovi look- ing like a disapproving school- master, but so pleased with winning that he couldn't really be cross. And I agreed with Marc. He had to try. That's what he's like; that's what racing is like. And nobody got hurt. It was pretty close, mind you—he could easily have taken both of them down. That he didn't was to a large extent because Dovi is very, very clever, and anticipated perfectly. Anyway, this MotoGP, and the margins are very small, between safety and disaster as well as between lap times. I thought it had been a great ride from both of them, and that Marquez had done the right thing. The GP winners at the table were the underrated Alan North, whose career was cut short by injury, and 1980 350 World Champion Jon Ekerold, the last-ever privateer to beat factory teams (his account of how he did it is a minor classic of racing literature: if you haven't yet read "The Privateer" you should do so at once). Both came from an era of tough racing, when riders would support their obsession in between GPs at money-making races, often on rudimentary and very dangerous street circuits, on two-strokes that were prone to seizing unexpectedly. And Ekerold had a reputation as the hardest of the hard men. In such a way, riding his private Bimota Yamaha like a demon, he snatched the title from Anton Mang's factory Kawa- saki on the last lap of the Nür- burgring, by just 1.25 seconds. Before the race, he had told the annual Motocourse, "…crashing here is of little consequence. I just have to beat Toni". But the pair led the chorus of shocked admonishment. Mar- quez's move—the words echoed round the table—had been outrageous. The same comment came from almost all: "You have to have respect for the other riders." This rocked me back a bit. Respect? But this is grand prix racing. You don't go there to re- spect your rivals, you go there to beat the hell out of them, surely? Starting with your teammate, and working outwards. That's certainly what the fans go there to see. It's not ex- actly blood lust. Nobody in his right mind wants to see riders get hurt. But we want to see a proper fight. There was another echo: Rossi versus Gibernau at the last corner at Jerez. Rossi made a very similar move, and took Gibernau by surprise; hit him, bounced off and admitted later that he probably wouldn't have made the corner otherwise. Gib- ernau was punted off the track, and though he didn't fall he was very clear that he had been robbed by unfair tactics. And you know what? Nobody paid any mind to him. Rossi was the hero of the day. It was the same a few years later when Marquez did some- thing similar to Lorenzo at the same corner. Lorenzo made no secret of his disapproval, and his view that Marquez should be punished. And everyone made fun of him for it. Working on the basis of believing the last person I spoke to, I must now obviously change my mind. Naughty Marc. Sort yourself out boy, before there is some blood shed. And yet… CN

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