The battle between Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo over the last three laps of the Motegi MotoGP race last Sunday included some of the most aggressive and dangerous riding I have ever witnessed in a roadrace. At stake was third place in the race, but you would have thought the riders’ lives depended on the outcome. The riders bumped one another on more than one occasion at speeds exceeding 100 mph.
It would be one thing if these riders were rivals for the championship, but of course they were not. They were teammates, one of whom had no chance this year at the title, while the other is in a position to clinch the championship shortly. Rossi appeared ready to take Lorenzo down if he did not concede third place. Lorenzo seemed ready to toss the championship in the bin if Rossi didn’t concede third place. These men clearly do not like each other, but one might think that their loyalty to their employer would mean something to them.
If Lorenzo is young and impetuous, the old man Rossi knows exactly what he is doing. His contract with Ducati may not start until next year, but he has already left Yamaha behind from an emotional standpoint.