From unawares of MotoGP’s existence when we first met to near religious devoutness now, my wife, Maria, has become a verifiable MotoGP junkie. She knows the racer’s names, what bikes they ride, teams they ride for, tracks they ride at, and the countries hosting the rounds. Unsurprisingly, she’s enamored with the charismatic, nine-time world champion, Valentino Rossi. The curly light brown hair, blue eyes, adorable accent, charisma, intellect, racing talent, win record, fame, riches all conspire to send her heart aflutter. His finishing position oftentimes dictates how good or bad a Sunday afternoon I’m going to have. And then Sepang happened and she’s been in a tailspin ever since.

It all began at the opening press conference in Sepang when Rossi accused Marc Marquez of intentional sandbagging during the previous Phillip Island round. A possibility of his insinuation being a joke was later dispelled during Rossi’s subsequent press conference with the Italian media.

An earnest look of confusion on her face, Maria turns to me and says, “But, Marquez passed Lorenzo on the last lap and won at Phillip Island … How can Rossi say that?”

How, indeed? The remarks caught everyone (except for maybe Lin Jarvis) by surprise. Even more surprising was Rossi’s follow-up accusations that Marquez perhaps fabricated stories of Rossi being his childhood hero, questioning if Marquez really did have Rossi posters on his wall. Wow! Seriously? Add conspiracy theorist to Rossi’s resume.

Top 10 Memes From Sepang MotoGP

I’ve been watching Rossi’s GP career since it began in the 125cc class two decades ago. Reaching into my trunk of historical racing knowledge, I tell Maria that this could possibly be some kind of Rossi-Jedi mind trick. Unbeknown to her is Rossi’s history of coercive persuasion. She’s loathe to believe me until MotoGP commentator Nick Harris reiterates my statement during FP1. In my mind, though, I’m grasping for excuses because these recriminations don’t echo the cunning subterfuge of which Rossi is capable.

In his prime, the force was strong with Rossi.

In his prime, the force was strong with Rossi.

The Sepang race weekend finds us in San Francisco celebrating our anniversary. We still set aside time to watch the remaining free practices and qualifying. The unfolding soap opera pervades everything MotoGP. After a night on the town I awake Sunday and begin watching the race. Maria’s flitting around the hotel room. My superstitious wife won’t watch the race, certain that Rossi’s comments are bad juju. On lap seven, she’s proven right.

“Rossi just took Marquez out!” I exclaim. Maria rushes over and we watch instant replay after instant replay. Maybe Rossi didn’t take him out, but his actions are questionable. The trip home is doleful. Thank god it’s a one-hour flight and not an eight-hour drive.

Whatever: Big Brother Is Watching You

It’s not ’til days later Maria watches the first six laps of the Sepang GP. It’s her turn to exclaim, “What the hell is that punk-ass Marquez doing?” The back and forth, knife’s-edge passing is mesmerizing, but she’s furious that Marquez keeps impeding Rossi’s forward progress as Lorenzo inches away in the distance. For her, Marquez’s riding justifies Rossi’s reaction.

But wait, “Doesn’t Rossi’s verbal attack justify Marquez’s riding?” I ask in devil’s advocate style. “Rossi is embroiled in a championship battle with Lorenzo but chose to attack Marquez. He’s like Germany fighting two fronts. If I were Marquez and had just endured a weekend’s worth of Rossi lobbing verbal bombs my way I most likely would have retaliated the same way Marquez did. ‘Screw you Rossi and screw your championship,’ is what I’d be thinking as I again passed him up the inside.”

The two were destined to meet on the track. Did Rossi, after affronting Marquez since Thursday, think Marquez would submissively comply with Rossi’s championship agenda? “Well, it’s not very sportsmanlike of him,” says Maria in regards to Marquez. To which I reply that it wasn’t very sportsmanlike of Rossi to be taunting him the way he was.

The infamous Biaggi elbow thrown during the 2001 Grand Prix of Japan. All these years later, Biaggi retired, Rossi encounters a new nemesis. Maybe it’s the existence of an arch-enemy motivating the 36-year-old.

The infamous Biaggi elbow thrown during the 2001 Grand Prix of Japan. All these years later, Biaggi retired, Rossi encounters a new nemesis. Maybe it’s the existence of an arch-enemy motivating the 36-year-old.

There’s fault on both sides complicating the issue. Not like back in the day when it was more apparent who wore the white hat and who wore the black one. Rossi wasn’t perfect back then and he’s not perfect now, but this recent fracas has, for me, tarnished, however slightly, his shiny knight armor. Not so for Maria. She’s acquitted Rossi of all crimes and returned to her previous state of adoration.

I may not totally agree with her, but that’s okay; it’s marriage, right? At least I know who she’s thinking about when her eyes are closed during those intimate encounters between the sheets. “I scissorly love you,” I whisper into her ear in my best Vale impression.

These are for you, Hon.

  • Douglas

    Putting all this together must have taken quite an effort…..and if it didn’t, you should be in Hollywood doing this instead of fiddley-farting around in this here MOdersickle websight, me thinks. Anyway, gettin’ physical in sports (any of them!) has become commonplace….Nastycar, Granpricks, basketball,….even hockey! There’ll probably be more of it, too. (Personally, I have no favorites in this racing…..I go for the IOM & Pikes Peak. Compared to them, all other racing is childs’ play.

    • fastfreddie

      I think it’ll be som time before that trend infects racing om the IoM.

      I for One won’t write Rossi off completely.The question is:if Rossi manages to pull it off,will people start spewing conspiracy theories?

  • Old MOron

    The deck is stacked against Valentino. None of the powers that be will take his side. Here’s why:

    Let’s say you’re high up the Dorna chain of command. You want Grand Prix motorcycle racing to be as popular and as lucrative as possible. But in order for this to happen, you need more than good racing. You need a hero that people like Ms Roderick can admire.

    So far that hero has been Valentino Rossi. His star power, and its benefit to Dorna are undeniable. But Valentino is not going to be around for ever. In fact he’ll only be around for another year or two. So what do you do? You groom the next Valentino Rossi.

    Enter Marc Marquez. He seems to have all of the necessary qualities to assume Valentino’s mantle. Indeed, he’s shaping up to be the next hero. There’s only one problem. He’s come into direct conflict with the current hero.

    If Dorna takes Valentino’s side, they cast Marquez as the bad guy. And if Marquez is the bad guy, he’ll never be the cash cow that Valentino has been. So the Dorna will not take Rossi’s side. In fact they seem to be siding with Marquez. Follow the money.

    What about journalists? They’re supposed to be independent, right? Well, yes – mostly. Let’s say you’re a widely published and widely respected Moto GP journalist. You have access to the paddock. Important people like Livio Supo and LIn Jarvis return your calls. This is a very nice place for a moto journalist to be. Now let’s imagine that you take sides. If you condemn Marquez, Livio will never talk to you again. If you condemn Vale, don’t expect to be welcome around Yamaha’s hospitality until after Vale retires.

    So you wring you hands and decide that both riders could’ve behaved better. If pressed for a stronger statement, you play safe and say that Valentino was the worst offender. Why? Because that was Dorna is doing. Because after Valentino retires, you still want Marc to return your calls.

    You see? Anyone with a vested interest in Moto GP is going to lean away from Valentino on this one. The playing deck is stacked against him.

    Based on the video replays I’ve seen, I think he has justice on his side. I hope the CAS will dispense it.

    But I’m not holding my breath.

    • Vrooom

      Excellent theory. The problem is pretty well stated in the last video. That’s what a lot of people who previously respected Marquez think of him now. Not everyone, or even a majority, but enough to screw up their cash cow I think.

    • Bruce Allen

      Hey old man–though I disagree with your final analysis (I think Rossi instigated the event and Marquez went for it) I love your writing style, your passion, and your attention span, which are longer than mine. I’ve removed a Lorenzo poster from the wall of my office in response to his crappy comportment since the race. May the best man win on Sunday.

      • Old MOron

        Boy, oh boy, if Lorenzo is bitter now, wait till he finds out you took his poster down!

        Thanks for the encouragement. I’ll try not to get too cynical.

    • john burns

      Wise beyond your many years, Old Moron. On the other hand, to make Rossi start on the back row is to have the best GP season in years end with a fizzle, and to seriously piss off the most current fans by far… maybe it was Dorna’s idea to have Rossi appeal to CAS? That way it looks like they attempted to do the Right Thing, but were overruled by a higher power who actually might do the right thing? I like your analysis about the journalists; it’s the only thing that makes sense when you look, not even that hard, at all the evidence. I know Kevin Cameron and Nakamoto are old pals…

  • Alexander Pityuk

    That scene from Downfall proved to be of legendary quality if it can be (and is) used for absolutely anything.

    • fastfreddie

      Personally,I’m getting tired of endless iterations using that scene.

      • Old MOron

        It even has your name on it!
        http://captiongenerator.com/67571/FastFreddie

        • fastfreddie

          Well done lad.Now wait for the lovin’ wrath of the editors here in MOron land:)

          • Old MOron

            Ha ha, you changed your name! Oh well, I don’t blame you.

          • Mahatma

            hehe.Had a little think,and found I’m not all that fast to be honest,so went back to my old name.Backpedaled pretty fast though didn’t I;)

  • John B.

    Great article Tom. “… it’s a marriage, right?” Indeed. Lol!

    My Mother’s family are of Italian descent, and I can assure you no man with Latin blood would merely shrug off the accusations Rossi leveled at Marquez. No way! I’m 54, and am not sure I could resist the temptation to retaliate against Rossi were I in Marquez’s position. Were I Marquez’s age, no one could stop me from retaliating against him. If you impugn my integrity and insult my family, you pay. Fine della storia!!!

    Regardless of where Rossi starts on the grid, he has a better chance to win next year’s Kentucky Derby than he does to win at Valencia.

  • Phark

    Let’s face the fact of the elephant in the room. Rossi is the champion and

    cause célèbre for all the millions of weekend “worriers” and all the former wannabes who have now realized they are today’s “never was’s”.
    He is a guinea wop punk who has been unmasked.

    Deal with it.

    PS. If my wife was a mindless twat, I would not go around confirming people’s suspicions.

  • Bob Dragich

    For the latest update on what’s going on with Rossi, check this out:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/motogp-dodges-rossmarquez-confrontation-bob-dragich?trk=pulse_spock-articles