Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez may just be assigned bodyguards at Mugello to protect them from Valentino Rossi’s rabid fans.
— #Ducati99 #JL99 (@kelly99u2) May 19, 2016
It may sound kind of comical to shield MotoGP’s bad boys from their adoring fans, but apparently, an uproar after last year’s world championship may make such measures necessary. Valentino Rossi accused both racers of conspiring against him for the title, potentially inciting his passionate following into attacking the two Spaniards when they’re off guard. Both have already been booed at by fans in the five rounds this season so far, so they might need to be especially vigilant on Rossi’s home turf.
“Well in the paddock, I don’t know if it’s necessary. Maybe outside the paddock? There are a lot of fans in Italy and you never know how a fan will react. So the bodyguards are there and if we don’t need them, it’s okay. If we do need them, they’re ready to work.”
However, Marquez is of the opinion that all this excessive caution is stuff and nonsense.
“Honestly, since I arrived here yesterday, I already feel good. The fans are just asking for pictures and autographs. This morning when I left the motorhome I saw a bodyguard, and honestly I already said to Dorna that I don’t need a bodyguard.
“I don’t want a bodyguard. I want to feel normal. This is [just] another circuit and I think we are in a sport where this will not happen. So I already told them that I don’t need one. I just feel great and that is most important.”
We understand how he feels. It seems silly to be shadowed by a poker-faced, hulking figure when all everyone seems to do is clamour to be graced by your presence. But we do see the inherent risks in tempting fate in an enemy’s backyard, where his loyal fans have made no secret of what they think of you even on foreign soil. Let’s hope he’s right and that MotoGP followers are more civilised than we give them credit for, but we’re relieved there are options if his faith in humanity has occasion to be tested.