Stars caution fans to focus on racing this weekend

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This weekend’s race in Valencia is one of the most eagerly anticipated in years. It’s hard to remember a race that has captured the imaginations of fans to the same degree. The partisan natures of sports fans has however been revealed and for the first time there is a genuine fear of violence spilling over into the crowds.

The organisers of the race have classified Valencia as a “high risk event” and are contemplating bringing in extra security staff, police dogs and other measures to quell the threat of violence. It’s an atmosphere that has been created by a unique set of circumstances but the powderkeg of the Spanish track is not being underestimated by the organisers.

Valentino Rossi also weighed in and pleaded with fans to allow the on track action be the talking point for Sunday:

“Always in Valencia it is a great weekend,” said Rossi. “It’s the last race of the season and sometimes the championship is decided so there is a lot of people here, in this case there may be more but I hope they remain calm and we can have great support around the track without any aggravation.”

For Marquez the key is that fans remember why they love the sport and get ready to follow their favourite riders while showing respect.

“What I say on the spectators is that sure, they love the MotoGP just like me,” said Marquez. “I remember when I was a baby I was coming in the circuit to enjoy the show of the bikes and the Valencia race is always special for MotoGP; what they need to do is enjoy the show. We know that somebody will follow Valentino, somebody will follow Jorge, Dani, me and other riders but in the end, everybody is here to see the bikes, to see this show and the most important thing is to enjoy the weekend.”

Speaking for many in the paddock Livio Suppo spoke of his disappointment that such events are causing concern. Contrasting motorsport to football and the hooligan element that is still a factor in some European countries Suppo said:

“In other sports, unfortunately for them, they are used to facing critical situations,” said the Italian. “I don’t like football, but at some football games there are thousands of police around a stadium because it is dangerous. For us this is something unbelievable because ‘God this will never happen here,’ but we wanted to keep the situation as calm as possible.

“We don’t want that somebody is even more disappointed and, you know…In the end we are lucky we live in a world where fans are just fans of all riders. All riders are big heroes, all riders risk their lives and all riders deserve respect. This has been like this always. At the moment looks like we have lost this very important thing.”

Steve English

By Steve English