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Every Sunday, as night begins to fall on Coriano, a flame ignites and burns in memory of Marco Simoncelli for 58 seconds. Grand prix motorcycle racing is the process of turning fire into speed. The combustion of fuel and air in the engine and the fire in the heart of a rider willing to risk everything... to win.
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Let me start with a premise: I am an Italian and a huge fan of Valentino Rossi (will get back to this later).
It is not easy to make a film with six protagonists, but the attempt was absolutely successful, and indeed a more-than-2-hour long film was needed in order to cover their stories thoroughly.
This film is so good that in my opinion it deserves an Oscar. It is unfair, though, that just because of the subject (racing) this documentary will probably not even receive a nomination. I bet technically horrible documentaries, but with a more popular subject, will make the nominees. "Amy", for instance, which is interesting obviously because of Amy Whinehouse, who I love as an artist, but the documentary is just a collection of footage edited with no meaning or apparent order and without conveying any message. "Hitting the Apex", instead, is film writing at its best, interesting as a watching a fiction movie. The first and last parts of the film are pure poetry. Music is a killing and builds up the tension in tremendous ways. Great is the idea of having an actor (Brad Pitt) narrating the movie. It makes a huge difference.
The brilliant idea of this documentary of focusing on these six pilots made me grow huge respect for all of them indistinctly.
I have seen the fights between them, the many times they sent each other to hell, but I have also seen tremendous respect for one another. A couple of examples: Pedrosa sincerely pay tribute to Simoncelli, Rossi tipping the hat for Marquez and saying he is a hell of a pilot (in very positive terms).
These are men that love what they do. They do it despite the risks that racing such fast bikes may bring. They do it because it's passion that drives them, reason why I totally respect Stoner's retire decision. He made very valid points and we should really reflect on the fact that though more TV appearances, more camera view angles, and press coverage, made this show more enjoyable to us, they are also taking away something from them and their life beyond riding their bike.
Now, going back to my premises and the title of this post... Needless to say I was very disappointed when Rossi lost the 2015 championship because Marquez decided that he had to attack him in all possible ways in that penultimate race. We were all very angry at Marquez here in Italy and easily dismissed his racing style as a deliberate act of helping Lorenzo win the championship. After watching this documentary, I feel I owe, not all, but at least some apologizes to Marquez. He is a very fast rider who goes at maximum speed regardless of the context or whether the points he earns make any difference. Marquez is a biker that runs very fast even when the practice session is over. A man that takes down even his own teammate. All this to say that, sure, his riding style is often outrageous and dangerous to the others, but he is young and does it all the time regardless. Therefore, I am certain there was no combine between the Spanish riders. And I am not even sure at this point, after seeing the friction between Lorenzo and Marquez, Pedrosa and Marquez, that Marquez would want Lorenzo to win just because they are both Spanish.
Therefore, I wish Marquez all the best for his career and hope he will be the next Valentino Rossi. Meantime, I have grown to be a huge fan of Lorenzo thanks to this documentary. He has appeared to me as a true professional of this sport. Meantime, however, I would like Rossi to win one more championship before his retirement.
Good luck to all of them (not just these 6 pilots) and thank you so much for all the fun they make us have every other Sunday.
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