IN THE 2013 sports drama Rush, a biopic about the intense rivalry between Formula One drivers, Niki Lauda tells James Hunt that ‘A wise man gets more from his enemy than a fool from his friends’.
It may be odious to compare the rivalry of F1 greats with that of modern-day MotoGP riders Maverick Vinales and defending champion Marc Marquez, but what Lauda told Hunt has a true bearing in the present context.
The pre-season tests have just concluded in Qatar and having topped them all (Malaysia and Australia as well) Vinales, who switched from Suzuki to Yamaha replacing three-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo, is already being spoken about as a threat to Marquez’s crown.
The two Spaniards have been rivals since their mini-bike race days in childhood and still there is no love lost between them as was evident during the tests in Australia, where Marquez rode behind Vinales and forced him to slow down.
“Obviously, I don’t want to show him my pace, so I had to stop my race simulation. The next time he does it, it’ll be my turn to bother him,” said Vinales.
It would be prudent to say that the rivalry with Marquez brings out the best in Vinales and what happened in Phillip Island circuit could just be a harbinger of things to happen.
He was quick to admit that, “Yeah, I think, there’s going to be a good rivalry between us. In the pre-season, both of us did well and so it’ll be great to carry on from there,” Vinales said.
Vinales and Marquez may be different in style — while the former is laidback, the latter is aggressive.
But the presence of one has spurred the other on and the 2017 season could see them taking their rivalry to a new level — one that could even match the Rossi vs Marquez duel.
“For sure, I’ll aim for the world title. Every time I go to the track I feel better. My riding has improved. The bike is also good and we’re on equal level. I know if I push 100 per cent I can be there, at the front, fighting for the championship.”
Hello Marquez, are you listening? dsp