I have to say, you are some piece of work.
It is so easy to dislike you, you know. To call you names, to criticize your riding style, your personality, and to basically just tear you to pieces. It would make my life so much easier.
But I can’t do that. Because I like you. I really do.
How dare you be so…naturally and effortlessly good and talented that I just can’t find it in my ice-encased heart to dislike you?!
Let me just explain myself, as a long-time Formula 1 and Michael Schumacher fan, I really admire and respect racers who push themselves to the limit—even if it means that they occasionally toe the line between being a hero and a villain.
I’ve followed your career progress from the 125cc to 250cc classes, and having a curious predilection for Spanish riders, one day, I just decided to “adopt” you, as you reminded me a bit of Dani Pedrosa when he was still competing in the lower classes.
When you were promoted to the Repsol Honda MotoGP team–as the successor to the ever-controversial Casey Stoner, no less—I got worried, I thought, “It’s going to be so weird liking 2 riders who are also (slated to become) fierce rivals.” It’s the Michael Schumacher-Kimi Raikkonen F1 dilemma all over again (long story).
So anyway, you came, you saw, and promptly broke circuit records left, right and center, at times made the likes of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa look like fumbling amateurs, incensed a whole bunch of legit and armchair racing fans with your sometimes-questionable racing tactics and inspired them to spout essays filled with criticisms on various forums in the world wide web. To put it quite simply, you turned MotoGP upside down and shook it so hard until it begged for mercy.
Ruthless. Yet adorably dorky at the same time. What a hilarious dichotomy.
A MotoGP World Champion at the tender age of 20. One of the four riders who have managed to win the championship in all classes (125cc, 250cc and MotoGP). The first rookie to be crowned MotoGP World Champion and officially the youngest MotoGP World Champion (so far). Wow. One truly has no soul if they can’t find it in their core to be amazed by what you have achieved in so little time.
So yeah, my hat is well and truly doffed. Has it all sunk in for you just yet?
One request: Can you please take it easy on your teammate Dani Pedrosa next season?
On second thought, don’t—If and when he wins that first championship, I’d like to see him do it fair, square, and with a full-strength you competing against him. So as much as I like you and wish you well, it is not quite enough to make me give up my status of being a Pedrosista.
All is fair in love and war, and I for one, cannot wait to see how Dani, Jorge and Vale shall react and (hopefully) up their games for next season.
So thank you, Marc.
Thank you for making me feel as ancient as a dinosaur. For making me question what I’m doing with my life.
Thank you for injecting new life into MotoGP. Thank you for proving that talent truly rises amidst adversity. Thank you for standing your ground and being true to yourself, no matter if it means showing the fallible and not-so-perfect sides of you for all the world to see and dissect.
Let’s see if I’ll stay this gracious and magnanimous after next season. Ha! Best of luck and, as you Spanish riders love to say: Gassssssss!!
With much admiration and sincerity,