Race, Modern
MAY 09th 2019

Michael Scott

Will Valentino Rossi ever win another MotoGP title?

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway’s 1952 novel, describes the struggle of an elderly Cuban fisherman with a giant marlin, his first catch after a long dry spell. He finally triumphs, only for his prize to be devoured by sharks before he can get it to land.

It is tempting to try to bend this allegory to fit The Old Man of the Track, 40-year-old Valentino Rossi, and his struggle to regain pre-eminence in the new-era dominated by Marc Marquez. It doesn’t really work, though. Rossi hasn’t managed to hook Marquez, nor to harpoon him, much as he would like to. But the metaphorical sharks might be a better fit: a circling school of increasingly threatening young riders.

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