MotoGP: Valentino Rossi Buries The Hatchet

Rossi mends fences with Marc Marquez at Catalunya

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez
After last season’s fall out from Sepang, Valentino Rossi (left) said he would not forgive Marc Marquez (right), but the loss of Luis Salom brought things in perspective at Catalunya.Photo Courtesy of Repsol Honda

There’s no perfect family. It’s an illusion. There’s always some sort of dysfunction that’s weighed with a varying degree of not getting along. Last October, the quarrel that erupted in Sepang between Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez created a major rift in the MotoGP family. Although bitter rivalries were not new to the sport, this rift seemed to have something that sucked a bit of the life out of the sport; the family.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes losing someone in the family to bring some clarity, some perspective, as to what’s really important – the family. The loss of Luis Salom during Friday’s Moto2 FP2 at the Catalan Grand Prix did just that. It gutted the paddock, but the silver lining of that tragedy was that it brought the family back together.

“I think that after when happen these things, all the rest become not very important. Very small,” Rossi said simply. “So I think it that it is the right thing to do.”

After Sepang and Valencia, Rossi said that he’d never forgive Marquez, but never say never. Rossi shaking hands with Marquez proved that. The doctor buried the hatchet. To everyone’s relief, including Marquez: “Another thing for me that was very important was that we shake again the hands with Valentino. I’m happy with this.”

Luis Salom 2016
There was a touching minute of silence for Salom on Sunday before the race.Photo Courtesy of Yamaha

The other thing that was important to Marquez was the return of the family atmosphere to MotoGP. Before the race festivities began there was a memorial for Salom, a moment of silence. A moment for everyone in the MotoGP family to pay respects before “carrying on.” After all, it was a tough to get back to business as usual, but everyone did. And they did it for Luis.

“Yeah was a really difficult weekend. A really sad weekend for MotoGP,” Marquez said. “But in the end also, this Sunday I like because it was again the atmosphere of the family; MotoGP family. When we were there together on the grid, when we were racing, everybody was racing for Luis, everybody dedicate the race for Luis. In the grandstands everybody was pushing to all the riders, full of respect because… We are there. We saw. When we are on the track we taking a lot of risk.”

Dani Pedrosa echoed his teammate’s appreciation of the power of that minute of silence and the importance of having a level of respect from the fans. Not to bring up old wounds, but the reason the rift between Marquez and Rossi was so far reaching was because it incited so much hatred amongst the fan base, turning MotoGP into something more suited to Jerry Springer or the Kardashians. This new perspective after losing one of their own, one of Pedrosa’s friends, was more important than ever.

“Like Marc said, when we were in the minute of silence with all the riders, and all the people from the paddock there, it’s very touching because you see how important and how much the risk is there,” Pedrosa said. “Just ask the fans to give us all the respect from the first to the last rider, because we all try our best and try to do a great show for them and for us. But it’s not always easy. So this minute was very emotional. Today we finished the day with these t-shirts, but especially his memory in the heart for always.”