Valentino Rossi announced that he will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2021 MotoGP season. The nine-time World Champion confirmed his decision during a press conference today, just as the 2021 MotoGP season resumes from its mid-summer break for the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria in Spielberg, Austria.
Despite the fact that, virus-wise, the U.S. is starting to resemble Dante’s Inferno, over in Europe things appear to be trending well. MotoGP/Dorna has been itching, for obvious reasons, to get some kind of season started and in the books. The sheer amounts of money involved in canceling an entire MotoGP season are unimaginable. They need to get a 2020 season, this kind of MotoGP Lite thing, going, and soon.
As COVID-19 continues to spread to alarming levels around the world, it’s no surprise to hear that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas has been postponed until November 15, 2020. The American round will now be the penultimate race of the season ahead of Valencia which has been pushed to November 20-22. This, of course, comes after the first race of the season in Qatar was run without the MotoGP paddock while both Moto3 and Moto2 were able to race due to the riders having already been in the country for testing prior to the first round.
Repsol Honda phenom Marc Marquez is, as per usual, the early favorite to make it seven world championships in eight tries in 2020. Sure, there are a lot of fast challengers – Yamaha NKT (new kid in town) Fabio Quartararo, Ducati #1 Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha’s inconsistent Maverick Viñales topping that list – and Marquez is coming off right shoulder surgery. Sadly, the result is likely to be the same. If you’re planning to wager on anyone other than ReMarcAble Marc, best get yourself some odds.
Today’s GoPRO British Grand Prix unfolded according to script, a script seemingly written by some Hollywood hack. Plucky young challenger Alex Rins trails peerless champion for the entire race, makes a late mistake, but recovers in time to steal the win by 13/thousandths of a second in one of the closest MotoGP tilts of all time. Marc Marquez lost a relatively meaningless battle but happily extended his lead in the war to a dispiriting 78 points.
It must be nice to be Marc Marquez, from a professional standpoint. He commands a multi-billion dollar industrial monolith to hand-build million-dollar motorcycles to his specifications, which are numerous and detailed. Everyone else, it seems, is always running for office, always defending their turf, always concerned about being unwillingly replaced. Even guys like Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Viñales. Silverstone is a Viñales track. If Maverick wants to keep his Alien card, for openers he needs to podium in the British Grand Prix.
In another classic late-race duel between the top two riders in MotoGP, Ducati royal Andrea Dovizioso went through on Repsol Honda savant Marc Marquez in the last turn for a heart-stopping win, his fifth in six close encounters of this kind. Dovi’s first win since Round 1 in Qatar provided warm fuzzies by the gross for Ducati but had virtually no impact on the championship. The battle for second took a hit, as Dovizioso’s win put 36 points of daylight between him and teammate Danilo Petrucci.
The Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky was the kind of procession that gives MotoGP a bad name. Marc Marquez led wire-to-wire without breaking a sweat for his 50th premier class win and a 63-point lead heading to Austria. A bit of a scramble behind him left Ducati pilots Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller on the side steps of the podium. Golden Boy Fabio Quartararo finished in P7, finally showing some respect for his elders. The season grinds on.