Nobody can deny the impact that Netflix’s Drive to Survive series had on F1. Not only did it help F1 reach a larger audience, but it also amassed a huge fan following for the sport since its very first instalment. How? Well, it told everyone the other side of the coin – the stuff that goes behind the scenes, the struggles, ego clashes, pressure-cooker atmosphere of the racing world as well its dangers. But, most importantly, it showed the human side of drivers and teams alike, which helped in creating a virtual connection between fans and drivers/teams. Thanks to DTS, F1 is no longer perceived as a boring sport about driving cars in circles. It’s rather become this thrilling reality show featuring different characters with all the drama unfolding in excess of 300km/h.
Seeing F1’s fortune change overnight owing to a globally watched web series, F1’s two-wheel counterpart, MotoGP, decided to have a similar documentary of their own – except they screwed it up, royally. Dubbed the MotoGP Unlimited, they launched it with much fanfare on Amazon Prime in 2021, but there was a major problem with it – it wasn’t available globally! In fact, it’s still not available in India – the world’s largest two-wheeler market for crying out loud! It turned out to be a PR nightmare instead of a goldmine. Forget reaching a new audience, the so-called MotoGP Unlimited documentary’s access was limited for even its current fanbase! Calling it a lost opportunity would be an understatement, to be honest.
Fast forward to 2023, and there’s another new MotoGP-related documentary on Amazon Prime, which is, thankfully, available in India right from the go. That said, this series revolves around just one man – Marc Marquez. Dubbed ‘All In’, the new docuseries promises to give you a closer look at the struggles and challenges of the six-time MotoGP world champion after he suffered a near career-ending crash in the opening race of the pandemic-hit 2020. Three years and four arm surgeries later, the Repsol Honda rider is still recovering from that trauma – both mental and physical – and is resilient to return to the top despite all the setbacks. Whether he will return to his old winning ways or not, only time will tell. The real question, for now, is – have they done this new documentary properly?
All In is a five-part series and, in the very first sequence, you can tell that the whole objective of this documentary is to show the human side of Marquez. The first few minutes are full of ‘emotions’ to set the premise, and it also convincingly portrays Marquez as a normal person who loves spending time with his family and brother Alex Marquez (two-time world champion in junior classes and also a MotoGP rider).
Surprisingly, the documentary isn’t all about Marquez & co. blowing their own trumpet – which I initially feared would be the case. There’s a short montage on his gloried past in the beginning and it quickly summarises Marquez’s career highlights so far – including that Jerez crash, which changed everything. There are more nasty crashes, especially the horrible Mandalika high-side in 2022 that prompted the second episode of diplopia or double-vision for Marquez, adding yet more agony to his already long list of struggles. ‘This stuff doesn’t even happen in movies’ – that’s what one of the crew members had, apparently, told Marquez while filming this documentary. And that’s quite true if I’m honest.
In the following episodes, Marquez reveals more about himself. Like, how winning has always been an obsession to him and that he’s an a**hole on the track – which is something many will agree to. ‘Nice guys don’t make it to the top’, says Marquez. And that’s probably true if you look at the history of greats in motorsports – Senna, Schumacher, Rossi, Alonso, Hamilton or Verstappen. Nobody is a saint when it comes to racing. It’s this pig-headed approach to mow down the competition that’s made them legends, period.
In Episode 3, Marquez also talks about his rift with Rossi – post the infamous Sepang 2015 incident – in great detail. Without posting any spoilers, let me tell you that it’s full of spicy content – almost like watching a high-voltage soap opera if you will. Interestingly, this particular episode also answers some pertinent questions about ‘what actually happened’ in 2015. But that’s only when you look at the whole fiasco from a neutral perspective and not as a yellow- or orange-blinkered fanboy. Hardcore Rossi fans might get triggered by some of the things that are being said by Marquez, or even Dani Pedrosa, in the documentary. But, then, that's expected. I mean, I can't think of any instance where Rossi fans aren't annoyed at Marquez, or vice-versa.
More than anything, the new series successfully manages to tell Marquez’s ordeals in the past few years and how not everything is rainbows and sunshine in a top-tier athlete’s life, especially ones that are launched into orbit at breakneck speeds from vicious MotoGP motorcycles. They may not get broken bones always but you can bet their egos and confidence get brutally bruised after one too many such incidents. Marquez is a classic example.
Lastly, it does seem that Honda and Marquez’s relationship is on the rocks lately. Once an indomitable duo, the last few years have been humbling and quite depressing for both parties. 'I want to get back to the top with you, but if it isn't with you, I'll try and do it on my own.' – there's this and more such instances in the series where you could see Marquez’s frustration with Honda:
Overall, the documentary relies on crisp storytelling, where the protagonist is transparent and honest and doesn’t also shy away from being called a normal human or an a**hole by his contemporaries. So, whether you love or loathe MotoGP or Marquez, this is a must-watch purely for its entertainment value.
Picture courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool
Interview with MotoGP champion Marc Marquez
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