Marc Marquez has won eleven of the 13 races of the MotoGP season up to the San Marino Grand Prix but arguably the biggest story of the season so far is the return of Valentino ‘the doctor’ Rossi to the top step of the podium at Misano and the manner in which he did it.
In a straight fight between himself and Marquez, Rossi managed to pass the defending champion and stay in the lead till the end while the young Spaniard lost the front end of his Honda early in the race to slide out of contention.
Marquez ultimately recovered to take one point for finishing 15th but it was a Yamaha kind of day that saw Rossi lead Lorenzo home by a comfortable margin.
It was the stuff of Hollywood scripts to be perfectly honest. A once dominant champion who left the title winning team to try and replicate the magic with another (Ducati) only to hopelessly fail and then return and get back to winning ways.
His win at Assen last year could not hold a candle, however, to that at Misano this year after beating a young champion who looked unbeatable at the previous round at Silverstone. The win probably seemed all the more Hollywood due to the fact that Misano was less than an hour away from his birthplace in Urbino and that the circuit was choc-a-bloc with fanatic racing fans who hold Rossi in the same regard as Indian cricket fans did Sachin Tendulkar.
It was the kind of win one had gotten used to seeing on a near regular basis from Rossi when he used to dominate MotoGP the way Marquez is doing now.
To those who don’t count themselves as Rossi fanatics the Misano win only highlighted what a poor decision it was for Rossi to leave Yamaha in the first place.
Reportedly upset about the changing hierarchy within Yamaha when Lorenzo started to rise to prominence, Rossi and his faithful crew chief Jeremy Burgess took their talents to Ducati in a move that seemed to be a marketing dream come true.
Burgess was also one of the chief believers in the belief that in MotoGP, the outcome of a race was 80 percent down to the rider and 20 percent down to the bike.
How wrong he turned out to be with regards to Rossi, though. The Italian who had previously enjoyed dominance with Honda and Yamaha was unable to win a single race with the Italian Marque while Aussie Casey Stoner romped to the 2011 title with Honda and had managed to wring wins out of the evil handling Ducati in 2010.
Rossi seemed out of sorts even in 2012 and ultimately headed back to Yamaha in 2013 and parted ways with Burgess this year.
Doctors orders, it seemed, dictated that being on Japanese machinery was essential and had pretty much debunked Burgess’ 80-20 theory.
As he further settles back into life at Yamaha, Rossi has seemed a lot more at ease and that is reflected in him being just a point behind Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in the points standings.
Winning the title may be a bit too much to expect given Marquez’s huge points lead but it only takes a crash or two to make things just a bit more interesting.