Dream time is over. We’ve had a race. And what a race – after a long four-day weekend full of surprises, and yet full of confirmation of the old principle: The usual guys always win.
More or less.
The big question left in the desert night seemed to be about Valentino Rossi (this in itself continuing another tradition, established over his preceding 18 GP years).
Is Valentino still one of the usual guys who always win?
Of course, only time will tell. It certainly gladdened the heart to see him surge into the lead for a good long spell, and all the more so in his stirring final battle with Marc Marquez. Yet the outcome seemed all too predictable.
Old Master versus New. And Mr. New has a Honda.
It was close all the same. But after watching Rossi’s waning over the past three years, however, I am not convinced. Qatar is a weird track, a weird surface, and often has weird outcomes. Last year, for instance, the same pair had a very similar battle, although back then it was for second place - in Marquez’s first race in the class. Rossi prevailed that time. Marquez this time. And he hadn’t ridden a bike for six weeks.
It will be fascinating to watch for the next five races, to see if Vale can sustain it this time round. Crucial for him too: he’s given it five races to decide whether to carry on next year or not. And tense for the rest of us: just how many more explosions of excitement can we stand?
To read more of In The Paddock in this week’s Cycle News, click here