Why it’s time to embrace the 2022 MotoGP Friendliest Championship title battle

Since the 2017 season, the MotoGP title battle has been on the line. In an exciting year, Andrea Dovizioso Fortunately, he kept his hopes and that of Ducati alive Marc Marquez Until the final in Valencia. In the end, Marquez triumphed, and the Honda rider dominated through 2018 and 2019.

The 2020 season late due to the coronavirus has remained close to a long period of the 14-round abbreviated calendar. But the frequent mistakes of Fabio Quartaro The consistency of Suzuki Joan Mir Means that the latter won an additional round. And last year, Quartararo finished his first championship with two races left to run.

Now we have three knights – Quartararo, Francesco Bagnaia And the Alex Espargaro – Divided by just 17 points ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. With only five races remaining, there have been no suggestions yet that this will not survive through the curtain in Valencia on November 6.

The MotoGP World Championship is having a strong year in 2022. Three very different competitors are vying on three different motorcycles for supremacy in both MotoGP and World Superbikes.

While the Superbikes arguably enjoyed more explosive fights on the track, their title chase got even hotter (Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista Believing six-time Kawasaki world champion Jonathan Rhea deserved to be disqualified for intentionally bumping into him in Magnei Kors), MotoGP was the furthest thing from boring — no matter what some people like to believe.

But what’s happening at WSBK has led to talk of sports drama in that title fight detracting from the MotoGP championship race.

Can. Much of MotoGP’s popularity over the past two decades has been built around its intense competition – largely centered on who Valentino Rossi He did not like it, or vice versa. Rossi vs Lorenzo vs Stoner vs Pedrosa vs Marquez was a golden era that produced some very exciting fights.

There is an argument that two people do not like each other and are driven by ego to prove that they are the best rider that leads to great races on the track. But it also leaves the door open to hostility.

The rivalry between Rossi and Marquez exploded in 2015 when the duo clashed on the right track in Sepang

The rivalry between Rossi and Marquez exploded in 2015 when the duo clashed on the right track in Sepang

Photo by: Gold and Goose / motorsports pictures

The epic 2015 MotoGP season was tainted by the fallout from the Sepang showdown between Marc Marquez and Rossi. A behind-the-scenes penalty was seen as a backstage penalty by Rossi as our role was to give a Spanish rider Lorenzo a cheat code to the title – and Rossi says to this day he would never forgive Marquez for ostensibly costing him the championship that year.

The backlash from fans was toxic. At Mugello in 2016, both Marquez and Lorenzo had to be pursued by security personnel over concerns that Rossi fans were inciting violence towards them. At that time, stories of non-Russian fans who received abuse and threats permeated stories – and even today the anti-Marquez brigade rejoices in his tragedies.

The effects of bitter rivalries are most prevalent in Formula 1 at the moment. After controversies over the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and how it upended the title balance in Max Verstappen’s favour, Formula 1 has descended into a hateful and toxic environment.

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has spoken out about mental death threats he received over the winter, as misguided Lewis Hamilton fans believed his crash sparked a safety car drama that decided the title justified such abuse. At Silverstone, British crowds booing Verstappen while the same behavior occurs in Dutch strongholds – with numerous reports of assault and other forms of abuse from Verstappen fans often overshadowing the races in 2022.

When Motorsport.com published a story from Formula 3 champion Victor Martins in which he said that the events of Abu Dhabi crossed his mind while waiting in line after the red flag at Monza to understand the fate of the championship, it led to strange comments that were in 2021. The traumatized young drivers.

To borrow a phrase from TV when things get silly: The shark jumped really well.

Formula 1 saw its fight between Verstappen and Hamilton explode in 2021

Formula 1 saw its fight between Verstappen and Hamilton explode in 2021

Photography: Jerry Andre / motorsports pictures

Without a doubt, some needlework between the MotoGP championship trio might create some extra spice – which, as a journalist, is good for headlines. But ultimately our job is to reveal the stories of the season. And in Quartararo, Bagnaia, and Espargaro, you have three distinct story arcs that make their missions for the tournament compelling.

In Quartararo, you have the defending champion who outlasts a motorbike, which is simply not good enough to lead the standings at the moment. The Frenchman has no support from his fellow Yamaha riders, but has won three times and climbed the crucial podiums at the courts he was expected to face at Mugello and Red Bull Circuit. But the dramatic meltdown in Aragon saw his points lead slip from 30 to 10.

In Bagnaia, you have a rider trying to achieve something Ducati hasn’t done for 15 years. And he does so after slipping 91 points after his fourth championship win early in the June German Grand Prix. But six wins in total – four of which came between Assen and Aragon – means he is now only 10 points behind. Bagnaia not only has Ducati expectations, but as a member of the VR46 Academy, he is often seen as the heir to the nine-time world champion Russian.

And in Espargaro, you have a 32-year-old who spent most of his time in MotoGP on bikes he couldn’t do much more. Aprilia has been seen as a paddock joke most of the time since her return to the series in 2015 before a major bike overhaul in 2021 underlined how good the job of Espargaro was – someone who was publicly rejected by Lorenzo online. Spit last year – he did. He remained in competition for the championship throughout 2022.

All three riders have remained friendly throughout the season. When Quartararo crashed into Espargaro in Assen, the pair cuddled in Aprilia’s garage after the race and Espargaro noted how far the Yamaha rider remains his son’s champion.

At the end of training in Barcelona earlier this year, Espargaro prepared to start training by engaging his various Aprilia devices. Quartararo and Banaya get to his bike to jokingly push the buttons and stop him. Consider the storm caused by Hamilton making his way past Red Bull led by Sergio Perez in the same circuit and you begin to realize this perpetual high-alert frenzy in the fans caused by the bitter rivalry.

Quartararo and Espargaro clashed in Assen but remained friendly in the battle

Quartararo and Espargaro clashed in Assen but remained friendly in the battle

Photo by: Gold and Goose / motorsports pictures

“I’ve said many times, Fabio is a nice guy, and a lot of times outside of us from the press, it seems like you guys don’t like that we’re fighting for the world championship and we have a good relationship,” Espargaro said after the Asen duo clash. “And I don’t really understand that. We’ve already clashed once at Assen, and I’m sure we’ll have to face each other again during the next races.

“The race is racing. If we know how far we can go to respect each other, it’s a race. We both want to win, but Fabio is a very nice guy. He lives right next door to my house and always when my house passes he stops, and I hope he continues to stop in the coming years to say hi.” But what happens on the right track stays on the right track.”

Friendly and good competitions have their place in sport as much as they do in bitter ones. And with only a slight change in approach, it can be easy to commercialize.

Since the COVID pandemic has forced the world to re-evaluate its priorities and what is really important in life, there has been a shift in what is now reverberating. This has been exacerbated by the far-reaching effects of the war in Ukraine on the people, as the cost of living crisis is pressing the people hard.

Over the past three years, the importance of sport as an escape has been amplified – in a number of cases, restoring sport has been used as a key tool in getting people to respect lockdown rules during the worst of the pandemic.

So rich people do things and get paid in the millions for it, and then squabble with it, it seems out of place in the modern world. In the end, whatever would have happened in Abu Dhabi last year wouldn’t have done much to completely change either Verstappen or Hamilton’s life. They both come home to more comfortable lifestyles than most of us know.

And that applies a lot to everything that happens in the MotoGP title race. Yes, athletes have their own personal sacrifices that drive their achievements. But you have to take into account Meyer’s feelings when he won the MotoGP title in 2020: “Here, we definitely have pressure. We’re playing with our lives and definitely we have to really focus on what we have to do. But that’s our job I think what is the real pressure, fortunately I don’t have. .. I have good pressure, because if I win this year [it] It would be very good for me, but if I didn’t win that would be fine too.

Will the competition pressure increase for the title contenders in the last five rounds?

Will the competition pressure increase for the title contenders in the last five rounds?

Photo by: Gold and Goose / motorsports pictures

“But the people who can’t pay the rent because of the coronavirus and all of that, these people who can’t bring food home, that’s the real stress. When I hear questions about pressure, I think about this and I say, ‘I don’t have pressure, this is my job, I’ll be Very good anyway.” I’m lucky.

There will still be controversies that could arise from the title fight in 2022. Should Bagnaia win, his incident of driving under the influence and his apparent lack of punishment for it, as well as his strange helmet honoring Dennis Rodman – the convicted aggressor and a fervent supporter of Kim Jong-un – in Misano are to be talked about and will constitute Legacy Special Tournament.

Strong rivalries raise the stakes, and thus create an absolutely fantastic drama for a series that elicits interest.

But we must also begin to learn to embrace a title fight that includes fighters who love and respect each other and make no secret of that fact. It makes them more human, and therefore more connected to them.

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