Championship weekend !!!
The 18th and final round of the MotoGP Championship takes place in Valencia. As the points stand, Valentino Rossi, “The Doctor” leads teammate Jorge Lorenzo in the championship standing by 7 points, as the Italian chases his 10th MotoGP crown, and his teammate chasing his 5th MotoGP crown.
However, it won’t be a Rossi vs Lorenzo battle from start to finish as people might have hoped before the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Rossi-Marquez incident at Sepang, that saw the latter crash in the incident saw Rossi being handed 3 penalty points , bringing his tally to 4. 4 Penalty points are enough to start the race from the back of the grid. Rossi recently lost his appeal of the decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport, meaning he will be starting last. The effect of the Rossi-Marquez incident however has been unfolding off the track, with journalists invading Marquez’s home, Lorenzo’s Italian Watch Manufacturer has quit the sport over the incident and Repsol, the primary sponsor of the Honda factory team has even threatened to quit the sport over this incident they have called, unsportsman like conduct by Rossi (who incidentally, won his 2002 and 2003 titles with the Honda Factory team).
The relationship between Lorenzo and Rossi might have even taken a downturn before the Court of Arbitration of Sport gave its final ruling. Lorenzo had requested to be involved in the ruling of the decision, which was anyways denied. That would no doubt sit well with Rossi, and while professional throughout their conduct off the track, the tension within the Yamaha Team is clearly visible during races and their battles. Also, during the Podium at Malaysia, Lorenzo gave Rossi a Thumbs down gesture, for which he apologized on Thursday.
In terms of momentum, Lorenzo has it in his favor, finishing ahead of Rossi at the last two races (Malaysia and Australia). Being a Spaniard, there is additional incentive to win the title here, especially since he nearly won the title in 2013, finishing second overall to Marc Marquez who won his first premier class title by 4 points over Lorenzo who won it in Valencia.
The track layout, should ideally suit the Honda bikes, given the long start-finish straight and the tight corners, although their advantage would not be too much to overcome for either Yamaha. Dani Pedrosa has been in fine form and could really be the one to take the win at Valencia. Marquez will no doubt want to win here as well, ending his disastrous 2015 MotoGP campaign on a high note.
Rossi, will need to fight it out right from the back. It should be no surprise to see him in the Top 10 in no time, given the skills and experience possessed by a 20 year veteran of the sport, and the power of the Yamaha bike. With Lorenzo no doubt fighting the Spanish duo’s of Honda for the top step on the podium (maybe one of the Ducati’s of Iannone or Dovizioso might jump into the frame), it arises where should the Doctor finish, to win the 10th title?
Currently, it seems it will be an easy win for Lorenzo, but then again, there is the possibility either he or Rossi or both might crash out during the race.
So the championship outcome can be decided, through the following events.
- If both crash, Rossi wins the title
- Whoever of the two crashes, the other one will mostly take the win, although Lorenzo still needs to finish above 9th (it’s hard to imagine Lorenzo finishing below 9th)
- If Rossi finishes below 9th (which awards 7 points), Lorenzo will win the title
- If Lorenzo finishes first, he will win the title if Rossi cannot finish second (the difference between first and second is 5 points, but first and third is 9 points)
- If Lorenzo finishes on the podium (2nd or 3rd) , Rossi needs to finish fourth or better if its second for Lorenzo, or sixth or better if its a 3rd place finish for Lorenzo
- If Lorenzo does finish off the podium but above 9th, he needs to hope the Doctor takes as few points as possible
So, the cards are no doubt stacked in favor of Lorenzo, but then again, there is still a good chance for Rossi to take the championship. Whoever of the two wins it, either would be a deserving champion, in a season where Yamaha broke the two year Honda reign of power.
It looks set for a thrilling conclusion for the 2015 MotoGP season.