MotoGP™ Foes United in Grief

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Last Friday, the motor racing world was united in grief following the passing of Moto2 rider Luis Salom after an accident in practice at the Catalan Grand Prix. 24 years of age, a talent taken too soon.

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez have been embroiled in a bitter dispute since the end of last year’s championship after Rossi accused Honda rider Marquez of conspiring with Jorge Lorenzo, Rossi’s Yamaha teammate, in the race for last year’s championship.

It appears a truce had been called in the wake of tragedy, however. “It has been a hard weekend for all the riders, but in the end I think that together we paid tribute to Luis Salom with the Sunday that he deserved,” Marquez said after the race, having finished second behind Rossi. “It was a nice race with Valentino.”

There’s no perfect family. It’s a misconception. There’s always some sort of dysfunction that’s weighed with a varying degree of not getting along. Last October, the dispute that broke out in Sepang between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez created a major rift in the MotoGP family.

Rivalries are not a new face of sport, they have been there for years, and are a major component of making sport so unique. The rift between the two drivers seemed more accustomed. Although bitter rivalries were not new to the sport, this rift seemed to have something that sucked a bit of the life out of the sport; the family.

MotoGP™ Paddock in Mourning
Rossi and Marquez enjoyed a close fight for victory at the Circuit de Bareclona-Catalunya last Sunday as an emotional weekend for motorcyle racing came to an end, with the Italian Rossi coming out on top.  

“I think that after what happened, all the rest becomes not very important. Very very small,” Rossi stated after the race. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”

After the race, Marquez and Rossi shared a handshake on the podium before calling an end to their feud, something that the Spaniard believes is a step in the right direction.

“Another thing that’s important for motorcycle racing is that Valentino and I shook hands,” Marquez said. “It was probably the weekend and the right situation to do so.”

In reality, perspective was needed. While a long-running feud was magnified due to the hatred it incited amongst respective fan bases, the passing of one of their own paled their squabble into sheer insignificance. The pair, plus third-place finisher Dani Pedrosa wore t-shirts in tribute to Salom for the podium ceremony, which was conducted fittingly without champagne. 

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Like all others, MotoGP™ is just a sport – no more, no less. As the old saying goes, the show must go on, with the next port of the Netherlands Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. With just 22 points separating the top three riders, we are moving towards the business end of the season.

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