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budoist September 23rd, 2015 10:27 AM

MotoGP: 2015 Round 14 - Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon (SPOILERS)

Circuit Info
LENGTH: 5.1 km / 3.16 miles
CORNERS: 10 left - 7 right
WIDTH: 15 m. / 49.21 ft.
LONGEST STRAIGHT: 968 m. / 3175.85 ft.
Laps: 23
2/3 of laps: -
Total distance: 116.8 km - 72.7 miles

Weather courtesy of
[tr][td]FRI Sep 25[/td][td]75°F / 50°[/td][td]Sunny[/td][td]0%[/td][td]E 9 mph[/td][td]38%[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]SAT Sep 26[/td][td]74° / 49°[/td][td]Mostly Sunny[/td][td]0%[/td][td]NNW 9 mph[/td][td]43%[/td][/tr]
[tr][td]SUN Sep 27[/td][td]72° / 48°[/td][td]Sunny[/td][td]0%[/td][td]NNW 9 mph[/td][td]57%[/td][/tr]

The Art of War

18. All warfare is based on deception.

19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.

25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.

- Sun Tzu, "I. Laying Plans"

Let's just get this out of the way and state the obvious - for the first time this season, in his race to claim a tenth championship, Valentino Rossi was not on the podium. Let us even go so far as to say that he looked, for much of the race, to be in a strong position to do so if not claim victory outright. However, and despite the reams of digital paper written about it to the contrary, Rossi won in Italy. Big time.

"The dickens!" you (and roughly half the internet, I checked) exclaim. "Rossi flubbed. He flopped! Surely you can see that. Take off the yellow tinted glasses, man!"

Yet, as Sun Tzu teaches us, sometimes what is shown as a weakness can actually be a strength; and not just any strength but one so critical that it can determine the course of a battle, or the war. Rossi's strength, in this case, is the weakness of his finishing position. To get all Confucius, divorce yourself of the illusion that Rossi is racing against Marquez. Even with his most recent win Marquez needs Rossi to finish every one of the remaining 6 an average of sixth or lower. Marquez isn't a threat to Rossi's championship... yet. So going into Sunday Rossi was firmly focused on Lorenzo, and Lorenzo looked to have the pace for a win. That meant Rossi could effectively look forward to losing 9 points to Lorenzo as a worst case scenario, 4 in the best case that Marquez found a way to barge his way to the front. At the start of the race Rossi was immediately knee deep in the worst case scenario, but tricky conditions completely reversed his fortunes, allowing him to rocket to the head of the pack and into race winning position.

This is the part where you'd be tempted to say that Rossi could have, even should have, fought for the win and this is the part where Rossi deep understanding of the teachings of Sun Tzu come into play. Recall that in the dry both Lorenzo and Marquez checked out in the lead, and that for the first change in mixed-to-wet conditions all 3 riders entered and exited the pits together. With the track drying and all 3 riders together, entering the pits as a group was exactly what Rossi did not want. He neither missed nor miscalculated circulating on wets despite his team calling for him to come in, and he didn't care that Marquez went in to switch. All he cared about was goading Lorenzo into staying out as long as possible in the hopes of having other riders filling as many of the top positions as possible. The effect of this was two fold. First, it allowed the two satellite Hondas to move into the top positions by the time Lorenzo caught on and dived into the pits. Second, and most importantly, it caused Lorenzo to lose just that touch of concentration when he went back out on track that eventually put him on the ground and netted Rossi a gain of 11 points instead of a loss of 9.

  • 2014 - Yamaha Factory - DNF
  • 2013 - Yamaha Factory - 3rd
  • 2012 - Ducati Factory - 8th

1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.

2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.

3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy's plans; the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.

- Sun Tzu - III. Attack by Stratagem

Let's get this out of the way as well while we're at it. Marc Marquez lost big time in Misano.

Now this is the part where I wait for the scores of people who only read the headlines to walk out in a huff 'cause that was the one button that broke the camel's back. Or is it the one straw that shouldn't be pushed? Either way, that statement was a crock. Marquez rode not just a brilliant race, but exactly the kind of race that so many people had been expecting of him as a 2 time, back-to-back world champion. It is small conjecture to say that had Marquez paid a little more attention to ancient Chinese philosophy and a little less time to youthful wizz and vinegar fueled exploits that the championship landscape would look very different right now.

Let's take line #2 above - fighting and winning is not supreme excellence, but breaking the enemy without fighting is. Can anyone look at Marquez's race and argue that he didn't employ this exact strategy. After setting a blistering pace early in the race, he found himself hounded by the one man that he has had the most problems with all season. Faced with a wet track and fluctuating weather conditions Marquez could have tried to fight at the front and lead the pack, but he didn't. Instead he did the thing that I would wager the vast majority of the MotoGP audience, crew, spectators, insiders and janitors would have expected. He sat up, looked behind, and let Rossi and Lorenzo pass. The man most known for trying to punt others off the track (and, I guess, setting a couple of records here and there) yielded the floor. Then, despite coming in to switch to the wet bike as a group, he abandoned the fight on his own terms to switch back to the dry bike.

Marquez played Misano brilliantly, and with almost no effort for himself closes no to within 64 points of a 3rd championship. From Rossi's perspective that still puts him far down on the radar, but from Marquez's perspective that puts him in striking distance with 6 long races to go. With Rossi and Lorenzo so intently focused on each other, there may be plenty of opportunity for Marquez to capitalize on any opening afforded. If, that is, he continues to follow some sage advice.

  • 2014 - Repsol Honda - 13th
  • 2013 - Repsol Honda - 1st
  • 2012 - N/A


Picture the sun drenches hills of Spain. A cool breeze wafts NNW across the gathered masses. Emperor Ezpeleta summons an upstart general to attend him. His demand is simple: prove himself by turning the seemingly aimless paddock into fighters and be awarded the title of champion, fail and endure the derision of the internetz. Lorenzo accepts the emperor's challenge and divides the paddock into two groups, appointing over each a leader of the emperor's most favored cohorts. The paddock thus divided he issues his command, that the field line themselves with himself in the fore. Simpering, dismissive, the emperor's cohorts fail to obey.

"If the command is not followed," Lorenzo intones, "It is the fault of the general to ensure that it is not clear."

Again the command is issued, and again there is failure.

"If the command is clear and is not followed," Lorenzo decrees, "It is the fault of the officer. An officer who fails to obey the general is an offence against heaven. It is the duty of the general to remove this offence, even against the wishes of the emperor. Once appointed by the emperor, a general must fulfill his mission."

Coolly, calmly Lorenzo executes Rossi and Lorenzo to the backdrop. The rest of the field dutifully assumes ranks behind him. Emperor Ezpeleta weeps.

Thus will it come to pass.

levigarrett September 23rd, 2015 06:26 PM

MM wins. Lorenzo 2nd, Rossi 3rd.

MdubSTYLIE September 23rd, 2015 08:02 PM

levigarrett September 23rd, 2015 08:59 PM

Is if forecast to rain?

MdubSTYLIE September 23rd, 2015 09:09 PM


Originally Posted by levigarrett (Post 380550)
Is if forecast to rain?

No, but they didn't forecast the parting of the red sea either.

WVMotoGP99 September 24th, 2015 04:56 AM


Originally Posted by MdubSTYLIE (Post 380551)
No, but they didn't forecast the parting of the red sea either.

Lol.. If JL sees Rossi dancing, he better hit with a wrench in the knee cap....

shovelhead September 24th, 2015 05:04 AM

Zarco needs to finish 7 points ahead of Rabat to clinch the championship.

Jumkie September 24th, 2015 08:15 AM

Excellent write up as usual Bud.

J4rn0 September 24th, 2015 02:59 PM

“En toda competición hay que retratar al rival desde el primer asalto. Hay que tomarle el pulso, calcular sus reacciones. Saber si es frío, si es caliente, si es decidido, si es taimado, si muestra sangre fría, si es calculador. O sea: si es un hijo de la gran puta.”

Manu Leguineche

Keshav September 24th, 2015 04:32 PM


Originally Posted by MdubSTYLIE (Post 380549)

That's such a weird still. What the hell does "Smoke Mahout" mean? Mahout is the Hindi word for a guy who rides on an elephant's neck.

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