Aussie MotoGP 2 Days To Go! | Events
There’s only days two left before the lights go out on the 2015 Australian MotoGP and there’s only two blokes vying for the 2015 world title.
They’re teammates, friends off the track and fierce rivals on it. We have a look at their season so far.
No one could have predicted the 2015 MotoGP world championship season. For a start, nobody in their right mind would have had Marc Marquez sitting 86 points adrift of the leader and in third place come the middle of October. Nor, probably, would they have expected Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to be languishing down in fifth place, sandwiched between two satellite riders in Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone.
But without the dominance of Honda getting in the way of the pointy end of the championship, it has set the stage for one of the most intriguing championship battles in years, and let’s face it, MotoGP was in desperate need of an intriguing championship battle.
Marc Marquez summed it up well at the pre-race press conference in Aragon when he was asked who he favoured of the Yamaha boys to come out on top: “Jorge’s faster,” he said. “But Valentino is doing 100 percent. From the point of speed — Jorge. But from the point of experience — maybe Valentino.”
There’s no denying Jorge Lorenzo is a faster rider with better qualifying results, more fastest laps and finishing more sessions on top of the leader board. But what Marquez failed to mention was the issue of luck, and in Lorenzo’s case, bad luck.
It started in Qatar. As Valentino Rossi crossed the line in first position, picking up maximum points to launch his title campaign, the liner in Lorenzo’s helmet became dislodged, moved enough to hinder his vision and he finished off the podium in fourth. A podium for Rossi in America and another fourth for Lorenzo so by the time they arrived at just the third round, Rossi already had a 15-point buffer over his teammate.
Bad luck struck Lorenzo in Argentina, this time in the form of Bronchitis which lead to the Spaniard picking up just 11 points to Rossi’s winning swag of 25. A 29-point deficit by round four and the championship now in Lorenzo’s backyard for the first of the Spanish rounds was just what the Majorcan needed to narrow his focus, put the past three rounds behind him and it worked.
Lorenzo reeled off lap after lap after lap to take four consecutive flag-to-flag victories while Rossi managed a pair of thirds and a pair of seconds and so by the time they arrived at the Dutch TT the pair were separated by just one point.
Rossi claimed pole position and the holeshot while Jorge was swallowed up in some first-corner argy bargy but the sun was shining on Valentino that day and after an epic race-long duel with Marc Marquez which ended in Rossi running through the gravel, he crossed the line ahead of Marquez and, most importantly, Lorenzo.
It was a Honda one-two in Germany but Rossi continued his unbroken season of podium places grabbing third ahead of Lorenzo. This meant the Italian headed into the summer break with a 13-point advantage over his teammate. Refreshed after the break, Lorenzo clawed back some ground during the next two races at Indianapolis and Brno finishing second and first respectively ahead of Rossi’s two thirds. But bad luck would strike Lorenzo again in Silverstone, this time with a heavily fogged visor limiting vision and again, he would finish fourth to Rossi’s first.
As the championship headed to Rossi’s home race at Misano the pair were separated by just 12 points. While Lorenzo was gripped with steely focus, Rossi was buoyed by his unwavering support and massive fanbase and made fun of the situation with a helmet design portraying Lorenzo as a big shark chasing down a small cartoon-like fish in Rossi. Lorenzo was on pole position, Rossi was struggling to find a good set-up and the scene was set.
I’m sure we’ll look back on the 2015 championship and realise San marino was the race in which it was won or lost. Inclement weather made for one of the most dramatic races the series had seen and resulted in two bike changes, a crash from Lorenzo, a fifth-place finish from Rossi and new 23-point gap between the rivals. Lorenzo was unstoppable at Aragon, Rossi third. Lorenzo again looked unstoppable at Motegi but more bad luck and severe tyre degradation on a quickly drying track saw a dramatic end of Rossi and Lorenzo in second and third places respectively behind race winner Dani Pedrosa.
Right now Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are are separated by 18 points in the title chase and have three rounds left to run. Australia’s Phillip Island where Rossi has had far more success than Lorenzo winning six races to Lorenzo’s one, but where unpredictable weather patterns will always have the final say on the day.
Then it’s Malaysia’s Sepang circuit where high humidity, steaming heat and an almost guaranteed afternoon storm will surely throw a cat among the Yamaha team’s pigeons, before the circus moves to the climatic season-ending party that is the sun-drenched Valencia Grand Prix in Spain. If Valentino finishes second to Lorenzo in each of these races, the 36-year-old will claim his 10th Grand Prix World Championship. Bring it on.