While any comparison is marginal and trumped up at best, I was intrigued, nonetheless, by the victory at Aragon that Marc Marquez pulled off today. Marquez extended his lead in the MotoGP championship by winning at Aragon besting Jorge Lorenzo and even creating another issue in which his teammate experienced a high-side crash rendering his title hopes evaporated.

It got me to thinking about Marquez and how brilliant he is on a bike as he leads the 2013 World Championship. He’s winning excessively and truly beating his teammate Dani Pedrosa who is no slouch on a bike.

1.  Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda         42:03.459 
2.  Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha       42:04.815 
3.  Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha     42:16.386 
4.  Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda      42:17.246 
5.  Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda       42:17.432 
6.  Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha     42:18.121 
7.  Bradley Smith (Britain) Yamaha     42:34.679 
8.  Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati    42:44.130 
9.  Nicky Hayden (U.S.) Ducati         42:56.872 
10. Andrea Iannone (Italy) Ducati      42:58.526 
11. Aleix Espargaro (Spain) Aprilia    43:01.460 
12. Yonny Hernandez (Colombia) Aprilia 43:08.972 
13. Randy de Puniet (France) Aprilia   43:10.048 
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Japan) FTR         43:12.133 
15. Claudio Corti (Italy) FTR          43:12.589

The key moment may have been the coming together of Honda teammates Pedrosa and Marquez that had me wondering as the crowd cheered wildly for the rookie Spaniard leaving Pedrosa to spin out of the race. It has been reported that Marquez touched Pedrosa’s rear wheel and dislodged a sensor that caused the crash. Marquez had to take the corner wide as he went in too deep but he managed to continue and eventually win the race to the cacophony of Spanish cheering.

I’ll be honest, at that moment the thought of “multi-21” popped in my head. I don’t know why but it did. It brought images of the way Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and strung his teammate up as fish bait while he took the win in Malaysia this year. I was thinking about this as fans cheered Marquez on to victory and then recalled that I’ve seen quite a bit from the youngster this year.

Checking in with our friend David Emmett for details, I was reminded of this from one of David’s readers (Andy):

Marc has:
-Punted Jorge in the last corner
-Torpedoed Cal and a group of marshals under waved yellows
-Binned his bike at 175mph on the Mugello straight
-Gone off the inside of the corkscrew at Laguna passing Rossi
-Nearly collected the back wheel of the rider in front a number of times by out-braking himself
-Collided with his team mate today, inadvertently causing a dismount

Pedrosa didn’t mince words on his thoughts about his teammates antics:

“I was going into the corner. He was over the limit, completely missed the braking, tried to avoid me and at that moment touched me a little bit and went off. When I opened the gas, the cable of the traction control was broken so I had a big highside and couldn’t really avoid the crash, unfortunately.

“The positive part is that I am physically okay. I had a big impact on my hip and my lower back, but it is nothing really to worry about at the moment. I am just hoping to get physically well for the next race. I have zero points (as a result of the incident) but it wasn’t my mistake today – that is what I take from it.”

As David points out (and this is just in MotoGP, not the lower ranks), Marquez has done a few things that would make Sebastian Vettel blush and yet the rookie has none of the booing, jeers or hateful commentary that seem to be all the rage these days at podium ceremonies in Formula 1.

It’s not a nationality issue as Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez are all Spanish. The race today was in Spain and I have to think the Spanish fans would have enjoyed seeing any one of the three winning the race but they seem to love the aggressive, youthful character of Marquez. They love a new champion and a guy who is doing things that other riders have not done in MotoGP.

As I said, there comparison is not apples-to-apples but it did pop in my head and when I juxtaposed the two—Marquez and Vettel—I am intrigued by the difference in the crowd response. Marquez has clearly had more “issues” this year than nearly the entirety of Vettel’s F1 career and yet the Spanish rookie is hailed as a hero and the fans love him…I think he’s brilliant too! Wonder what the difference really is? Let me know what you think the difference is.

Why do you suppose a guy like Marquez can ping pong off of other riders, dismount his own teammate and still be cheered all the way to the title while Vettel ignores Multi 21 and he’s castigated as arrogant, impetuous and a boorish brat worthy of boos and jeers at each podium ceremony. If it has more to do with fan frustration over the current state of F1, I would offer that MotoGp is not experiencing the halcyon days either with many fans upset with that series as well. Just food for thought, it was the first thing that popped in my head as I watched Marquez win and the fans go crazy.

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Pete_uk

    I do think this new kid is really, really good. But he needed to use his head and back off slightly in this situation.

  • Healey6

    The fan-psychology comparison isn’t between Vettel and Marquez – the better analogy is Vettel and Pedrosa. Dani, despite his notable lack of Premier class Championships relative to Seb has been viewed as cold, distant, unliked and has frequently been booed. When he dumped his bike while leading the race at Indy a few years ago there was the biggest cheer I’ve ever experienced at a race. Payback for torpedoing Hayden, I suppose.

    Marquez, for whatever reason, is perceived to be likeable in the same way that Rossi and Simoncelli have been. He’s teflon as far as the fans are concerned. Vettel and Pedrosa are less likeable, less marketable, and seemingly easier for people to root against.

    • Interesting points. The Pedrosa incident was 2006?

      • Healey6

        Here’s a good summary of the 2006 incident in context – it was so egregious that most American fans will never forgive him.

        I’d tweak Mansell’s_stache’s comment below: Charisma and great talent trump Aloofness (or entitlement) and great talent every time.

        Formula 1 in this era seems to lack a personality like Rossi or Marquez, who celebrate victories and titles with such joyful abandon and openness that we mere mortals can see a common humanity. I’d say that Pedrosa with his reticence, Vettel with his ‘in your face’ (guessing at the body part here) finger or even Stoner with his constant bitching don’t qualify.

        Kimi is someone we can all relate to with his obvious rejection of F1 BS politics. Alonso can be very charismatic when he puts his mind to it – let’s see who comes out on top with the fans when the red carbon flies next year!

        • PeterFan

          Can’t agree about Alonso. Along with Button, are the least likeable characters on the grid.

          Alonso is constantly bitching about how passionate he and the team are, but are being let down by the damn car and how heroic their efforts are. That’s his mantra since he joined the red team.

          Button on the other hand is simply dull. There is nothing about him that would make you love or hate him.

  • Mansell’s_Stache

    I am not familiar with Marquez but I surmise that he is above all else, charismatic. Charisma trumps talent every time. It is that little something extra required in order to win over the affection of the masses. Vettel lacks it.

    • It’s a good point about the cult of personality these days. Do you think Kimi has it? He’s hugely loved and doesn’t say crap. :) He’s not even on Twitter :)

      • Jim

        I’d argue that Vettel is very charismatic, whether it’s him blowing off Rocky to set the fastest lap or his podium antics (campaigning Coultard) or even going back as season or two to his crazy frog impressions (which annoyed the hell out of me). Vettel does have personality and he does like to put on a show for his fans, he’s definitely not one of the drivers lacking charisma.

        • Mansell’s_Stache

          Don’t disagree with Healy6’s tweak.

          To be clear I am using the following definition of charisma: “a special magnetic charm or appeal.” Kimi has it. How else can you be an aloof jerk a great deal of the time and still have people fawn all over you. Even Kimi’s famed radio messages were kind of a jerk move, but since it’s Kimi…haha…what a riot. Kimi swears on the podium…oh, that’s Kimi. Vettel swears on the podium, what an immature spoiled little boy. I like Kimi but if I saw him at a pub and tried to talk to him I bet he would swear at me in Finnish and stumble away.

          Vettel on the other hand, seems like he would probably be more personable in a one-on-one situation. And, more to the point, while he can be personable, playful and humorous at times, I still contend that he lacks charisma. He is a polarizing figure. And, the guy can’t do anything right it seems. The finger, the radio messages…everything is fodder for the bandwagon of Vettel-haters. Maybe that’s just how the guy celebrates. Sorry you don’t like it. And if the recent tide of antipathy toward Vettel actually stems from Multi-21, hate on Horner as he is the one who failed to effectively manage the situation and/or fostered an environment in which such actions can (and did, as far as I know) go unchecked.

          The court of public opinion is fickle and relies not on merit.

  • Bill

    Two points:
    This business with Marquez strikes me as the second coming of Valentino Rossi.
    As for charisma, everyone loves a winner, therefore one is charismatic simply by the act of winning, especially by winning often. The only exceptions to this are those who win by cheating, and those who win with arrogance.

  • Julian

    Is there also some slack that is given to 1st season rookies, especially if they are winning?
    You were discussing the different treatment of Hamilton when he was ignoring team orders in comparison to Vettel. Maybe because it was his rookie season, and the guy he was beating was whining like a spoilt child.
    A combination of rookie, likeability, and winning is very popular with the fans.