Enjoy It While You Still Can

Stephen Edwards 10.7.2014

fotka

There has been some hype recently regarding the fact that Honda secured their 100th Moto GP win in the modern four stroke era. This is certainly a milestone worth noting and I congratulate them on it. I have no doubt that they shall pretty soon also be racking up many more wins via a certain Marc Marquez and his amazing talent.

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If we look at the riders who have secured those wins then we see that Dani Pedrosa has the most with 25, between 2006 and the latest win in Malaysia 2013. Next up is Valentino Rossi, who took 20 wins within the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Next along comes Casey Stoner who also rode for two winning seasons 2011 and 2012 netting a total of 15 wins and then, with 13, is Marc Marquez. Five other riders all have less than ten each.

In that same time span there were five riders championships; 2002, 2003 both to Valentino Rossi 2006 for Nicky Hayden, 2011 to Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez in 2013. It was this that triggered a little calculation session in my head and this is what I came up with and remember this applies to only the four stroke period.

In the twelve and a half seasons (approximately) of the winning run, Valentino Rossi has:

- Won 20% of all the wins in that period.

- Taken 40% of the Honda mounted riders world championships.

- All with riding for Honda just 16% of the time.

If you look on various web pages and forums you shall see a growing number of people who are critical of Vale and I have never really understood why. I admit that I am a fan and always have been, ever since he was a scrawny kid on a 125. I am not going to list every single achievement of his but he has, without question, been the lifeblood of Grand Prix motorcycle racing since he burst on the scene in 1996. He has, almost single handed raised the profile of the sport and brought hundreds of thousands of new fans to it. His talent on the track is matched only by his personality off it and the connection he makes to those who follow the sport. He is perhaps the best known motorcycle racer to the general public on a global basis, ever. He has won a total of nine world titles on Aprilia, Honda and Yamaha motorcycles across all classes covering both two stroke and four stroke eras. Won not only back to back races between the end of 2003 and start of 2004 seasons on two different brands of Moto GP machinery but also won the world titles in those years. Indeed watching his first win on the Yamaha in South Africa in 2004 remains one of my all-time favourite sporting memories.

I could go on for a long time but as I say I am not wishing to list it all. Of course one day Vale shall retire and it looks like we already have a special talent, in Marc Marquez, to pick up the baton of the very special rider in our midst. In taking nothing away from Marc I would say though that he is still a long way from achieving what Valentino has and he may never make it, or maybe he will. The thing is that we possibly have maybe only a couple of years left to witness Valentino Rossi riding in the premier class of motorcycle racing and I think everyone interested in the sport should be revelling in this time, making the most of it. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to watch him race throughout his career and shall continue to do so, while he is still there to allow me to do so.

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