Most pundits agreed: if Valentio Rossi did win in 2013 it was going to be an asterisk race. A race where the outcome's subplot was just as well known as the winner.
Rossi hadn't been fast for long strings of laps since the season opener in Qatar and at times seemed to have reverted to the Rossi who rode for Ducatiwhere one wondered if that really was a nine time world champion in those leathers, as he didn't look much like the Rossi everyone remembered.
There were flashpoints of successhe was fastest in the second practice session at Catalunya, no small feat. But at what cost? When he pulled his AGV off after the session and smiled for the cameras, it was clear that what he'd just done came at considerable cost. Sitting in the Yamaha garage afterward, Rossi looked like he'd spent ten days in Vegas with a fresh credit card. His early, easy-living days when he might mention he would win the title riding one-handed (2001) were clearly well behind him.
If he won, they said, it was going to be in the rain, or after a pile-up took out Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez, or a situation where he could barge his way though and then stay in the lead and be as impossible to pass as he could and hang in for the win.
In the end, Rossi's Assen victory had no asterisk. It was a straight up race win right out of Mike Hailwood's 1963 book "The Art of Motorcycle Racing". In it, Hailwood wrote The wisest plan is to go as hard as you possibly can from the moment the flag falls and try and put maximum distance between yourself and your rivals. That's how Rossi won Assen.
Rossi's training regimen has always been more talked about than witnessedhe rarely rides a bicycle and gave the one a bike company sent him to his manager, so he does not take part in the most common form of training today for professional riders. It is said, he prefers to ride dirt bikes and the like to stay sharp. That said, if he was exhausted by the effort needed to nail his Assen win he didn't show it afterward. Winning can take ten years off a man and Rossi looked much younger as he leaped to the podium for his first winner's trophy in more than two seasons.
|In the end, Rossi's Assen victory had no asterisk. It was a straight up race win right out of Mike Hailwood's book "The Art of Motorcycle Racing". In it, Hailwood wrote The wisest plan is to go as hard as you possibly can from the moment the flag falls and try and put maximum distance between yourself and your rivals. That's how Rossi won Assen.|
After the win, one of his Italian media friends asked him about Jorge Lorenzo's amazing performance, racing on a broken collarbone.
In his typical Rossi very unfiltered fashion, Valentino said Lorenzo's feat was a magnificent performance. Because if he broke his collarbone, Rossi said, he doubted he (Rossi) could even masturbate.