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Down To The Wire? Rossi and Lorenzo and 5 Races

091615top-i

I can’t disagree with Marc Marquez’ assessment of the battle between Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo for the 2015 MotoGP championship. Before last weekends’ Misano round (when only 12 points separated them … it is now 23 points), Marquez observed: ” It looks interesting because on speed Lorenzo is faster, but Valentino has unbelievable experience and is consistent so he can take profit from all the situations.”

At Misano, in my opinion, both Lorenzo and Rossi made mental errors. Both of them switched back to their dry bike too late in the race …  2 or 3 laps after the optimal time to do so. Both seemed to ignore their pit boards. They seemed fixated on one another rather than the changing track conditions. Lorenzo fell trying to go too fast on his out lap on the dry bike, and Rossi’s late bike change caused the “rain master” to finish behind riders who should never have beat him … at his home track, no less.

With 5 races remaining, Lorenzo would win the championship by just 2 points if he and Rossi finish first and second in each race. Marquez will be in the mix, for sure, and a first place finish by Lorenzo in a race will gain back 9 points on Rossi if Marquez finishes second. Just one bad race, or a DNF, by Lorenzo could spell doom. Lots of possibilities, but this just smells like a title fight that will go down to the wire.

69 Comments

  1. Gng says:

    Simple – Rossi wins his 10th and last title and makes his extraordinarily large number of fans worldwide so (h)appy for the last time (me included). After this, let the young guns fight for as many titles as they may deem necessary.

  2. DB says:

    Wow, after reading all these posts, it seems that anything could happen, lot’s of speculation. It’s going to be a great season, however it ends up. It has been real exciting to watch this year. You just never know what’s going to happen……

  3. Pacer says:

    Dirck, which races will get the infamous edge treatment tires?

  4. mickey says:

    On a clear dry track with Lorenzo out front, I can only see 25 points in his column. Don’t see Rossi hunting him down and passing him. Same with MM. Don’t see Rossi tracking him down and passing him if he gets away first. I can see MM tracking down Rossi if he is in the lead, but Rossi is such a master defenseman I don’t see MM getting past him without possibly going down. If JLO doesn’t get off the line well ( which rarely happens) I don’t see him hunting down and passing either of them. It is indeed going to be interesting.

    • Pacer says:

      I can see Marquez catching Lorenzo, just not every time. I do agree that if Lorenzo’s race doesn’t go exactly as he likes, he doesn’t deal with it very well.

    • VLJ says:

      Can’t recall whether it was Qatar or Argentina or perhaps both but Rossi tracked down Lorenzo from WAY behind and beat him, in the dry.

      • Pacer says:

        Did he catch Lorenzo when he was leading?

        • mickey says:

          I dont think so. In Qatar Rossi won followed by 2 Ducatis and then Lorenzo. In Argentina, Rossi battled with. Marquez for the win. dont remember where Lorenzo was but he didn’t make the podium.

          • mickey says:

            To VLJs point though in both races Val came from I think 8 th and 11 th to win passing everyone, but Lorenzo wasn’t out front running clean when Val caught and passed him, Lorenzo was hung up in traffic where he doesn’t fair well.

          • Pacer says:

            I think the only time Lorenzo has been successfully stalked was by Marquez. It was Indy or C Republic, and that day Lorenzo never got away. I think they gapped the field together, similar to Rossi and Marquez at Assen. If Lorenzo is feeling it, and gets out front early its just a parade.

        • VLJ says:

          I just watched the Qatar race again. Lorenzo led from lap two on, with Rossi well back in the pack. Lorenzo had clear track ahead of him, and it was a dry race.

          Yes, Rossi came from way back to track down and beat Lorenzo, who was leading the race.

          Just watched Argentina. Lorenzo never led but he did have clear track ahead while running in second place behind Marquez, who had cleared off. Again, Rossi caught him and passed him on the way to passing everyone else, too.

          • mickey says:

            Trying to remember why JLO finished behind the Ducatis ( both times iirc) helmet foam at Qatar? Don’t remember Argentina ( was that the face shield fogging incident?) Traffic causes JLO to find excuses.

          • VLJ says:

            Qatar was the helmet padding issue. Silverstone was the face shield fogging issue. Argentina was the race in which Marquez chose the softer rear tire and pulled out to a huge lead over the Yamahas, but Rossi and his choice of the hard option tracked him down and passed him at the end, only to have Marquez crash into him from behind and fall.

            Qatar and Argentina were legitimate examples of Rossi catching and passing Jorge in the dry, unless you wish to allow Jorge his helmet excuses.

          • VLJ says:

            Hopefully this won’t be a repeat post, but the first one went into “awaiting moderation” status before disappearing altogether….

            Anyway, Qatar was Jorge’s helmet foam deal. He was in front all race, and Rossi tracked him down in the dry from way back in the pack. Argentina was the race in which Marquez built up a huge lead on the soft rear tire, with Jorge running free and clear in second, before Rossi on his hard tire tracked them both down and passed Marquez on the penultimate lap. Marquez responded by twice hitting Rossi from behind before falling. Silverstone was Jorge’s foggy faceshield race.

            Bottom line, unless you wish to grant Jorge his helmet excuses, Rossi has in fact caught Lorenzo from behind twice this season on dry tracks when Jorge had clear sailing ahead. Yes, Jorge is a real bear to beat when he’s in front on a dry track, but he’s not a lock to win. Marquez and Rossi have both caught up to and passed him in 2015.

            The one constant this season has been Rossi’s race pace. Jorge and Marquez nearly always qualify much better than Rossi but both have had their ups and downs come Sunday. Conversely, and excepting Rossi’s decision to stay out too long on the wets at Misano, Valentino has consistently been the fastest guy all season once the flag drops.

          • mickey says:

            Good deal I stand corrected. I don’t have any way to watch past races so have to rely on an aging memory that’s beginning to misfire like a bike with bad plug wires sometimes.

            I’m really hoping Rossi can get his 10 th, I felt like he wasted 2 years at Ducati, where if he’d have stayed on the Yam he would have had many more wins and podiums for his records, and possibly another championship. The guy really is an amazing racer. i’ve given up on Dani and suppose since he is no longer keeping Yamahas off the podium, Honda may give up on him soon as well. We shall see. Heck of a racer too..but buzzard luck kept him from ever becoming champion which he deserved. These last 2 years have been a disappointment.

          • Pigiron says:

            It was buzzard luck and Casey Stoner that thwarted Dani.

          • VLJ says:

            Not to mention Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Jorge Lorenzo, and Marc Marquez. Casey was just one of many that thwarted Dani.

  5. Gary says:

    I love this season and really, really hope it goes down to the last turn of the last lap in the last race. But I get this uneasy feeling that Marquez is going to knock someone down. Not on purpose. But because as fast as he is … he is still a squid.

  6. ze says:

    Two great riders. Anyone who wins it’s deserved.

  7. Brian says:

    Rossi loves Phillip Island, a site of Victory last year.
    With Marquez in the mix likely taking some victories (Japan) I don’t see the Yamaha 1-2 with MM in the lead every time, and looking for a potential Rossi victory in Australia again isn’t that far fetched.
    Hoping to see him cement his legend even further!

  8. Hot Dog says:

    Rossi can play all the games he wants, JLO is faster than him. Mix in a little MM meddling and this is going to be a great ending to the season.

    • Brinskee says:

      JL99 isn’t always faster than VR46. If he gets away at the front and has a clear track he’s certainly smooth and unbelievably fast, and especially if he has the edge treatment bridgestones. But if he doesn’t have those tires and isn’t out front, he’s not impossible to beat. At all. VR46 has beat him a few times this season, fair and square.

      • Ricky_Crue says:

        Exactly, I am not sure what season some of these other brain surgeons have been watching, but Rossi has beaten both Jorge and Marquez.

        • mickey says:

          No one has said Rossi hasn’t beaten both MM and JLO. What WAS said if you read the words that were actually printed is that Rossi never tracked down and beat JLO when JLO he was out in front leading the race all by himself on a dry track. (unless you want to count the night race at Qatar where Jorges helmet liner fell down blocking his vision where he finished off the podium..or in Argentina where JLO was running second and V46 caught and passed him. I don’t believe when JLO has gotten out front, in the lead, on a dry track, that V46 has come from behind and beaten him.

          If you know a race in which that has happened this season please post it up.

          • VLJ says:

            Qatar.

            Like you said, JLO was out in front, in the lead, on a dry track, and VR46 came from behind and beat him. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go ahead and dismiss Jorge’s helmet excuse. (Silverstone, too.) The shifted padding wasn’t blocking his vision. If that had been the case, he wouldn’t have finished fourth. He probably wouldn’t have finished, period.

            Was it a possible distraction? Perhaps. Fine. He could still see, obviously. Deal with it, Jorge.

          • mickey says:

            Since you just re-watched the race, did Val pass JLO and move into the lead before either of the two Ducati’s passed JLO or was it after JLO had fallen back in traffic?

            In any case you’d have to say, proven by many other numerous races this season, that it is out of the norm for V46 to come from behind and beat JLO when he is out in front and sailing.

            IOW if you were a betting man, and JLO was out in the lead and ripping off a string of laps within .003 of each other and V46 was in 8th but moving up, who would you place your money on for winning that race?

          • mickey says:

            found this report of the race

            Rossi waited patiently at the tail of the trio, first picking off Iannone at mid-race distance, before following Dovizioso through on Lorenzo to move up into second place with four laps to go.

          • VLJ says:

            Since you already answered your first question, I’ll answer the second one. No, if JLO is out in front and doing his usual Jorge thing and Rossi has to come from mid-pack to catch him and beat him, I wouldn’t bet on Rossi to pull it off. Doesn’t mean it wouldn’t still happen, since it’s already happened this season, but it’s not the smart bet.

            The thing is, Rossi has only qualified better than Jorge once this year, right? (Maybe there were other occasions besides Assen and I’m just unable to recall them.) Despite nearly always starting behind Jorge, often well behind, he’s still won four races and finished ahead of Jorge more often than Jorge has finished ahead of him. Moreover, Rossi has somewhat upped his qualifying game of late. No longer is he habitually starting from the third row, the way he always seemed to do earlier in the season. Now he’s starting from no worse than the middle of the second row, which is a far more manageable position. I expect this trend to continue.

            Okay, let’s flip the scenario.

            If you were a betting man, and Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo are running a reasonably close one, two and three, in whatever order, where does your money go? We’re talking a dry track, and no other bizarre issues/excuses for Jorge. It’s a legitimate straight fight. Five laps to go, and they’re within one second of each other.

            See, that’s how this championship is likely to unfold. With Marquez back on form and Rossi fighting from the lead for a championship, I don’t see Lorenzo running off and hiding too many more times this season. If he’s to overcome that twenty-three-point deficit, he’s going to have to come out on top in a few tight battles against a young, fearless, reckless lion with nothing to lose, and, maybe even more dauntingly, the sport’s all-time greatest champion, a guy who now smells blood in the water and is eager to close the deal.

            If Rossi can simply avoid any DNFs or similar catastrophes over these final five races, I don’t see him blowing this thing, not now. The road back to this pinnacle point in his career has been too long and arduous. His heart is too great.

            VR46 is going to find a way.

          • mickey says:

            Well lets hope V46 does continue to qualify well, start well and do what he does best find a way to get past the man in front of him. A one second gap with 5 laps left is a pretty good gap considering how consistantly these guys turn laps. I can see Marquez or Rossi somehow overcoming that gap to win if it’s not Lorenzo leading by a second. In other words I can see either of them passing the other one, simply because Marquez is fearless and Rossi is crafty. I don’t see Lorenzo coming from 3 rd to overcome that gap with Rossi and Marquez in front of him. I don’t envision Rossi letting Lorenzo past at all, using every defensive move in his bag if it comes to it. The trick for rossi will to somehow get in front of Lorenzo and not really worry about Marquez. Certainly will be interesting and I can’t wait for every race. A DNF for Rossi would be devastating. he must score top 3 points every race.

          • mickey says:

            Reply is in moderation VLJ. Other than moderation, this is fun.

          • VLJ says:

            Because Rossi has a reasonably comfortable points lead, I think it’s more likely that Jorge or Marc will DNF again, rather than Valentino. Jorge can’t play it safe now. No more “just cutting his losses and taking the points” when things aren’t going his way. Nope, he has to finish ahead of Rossi in every remaining race. This could very easily lead to Jorge extending beyond his comfort zone, and crashing. And Marquez is always a threat to crash.

            If Valentino simply maintains focus and avoids any major mishaps, he can pressure Jorge into making a final, crushing mistake. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see this championship finally decided in that manner.

          • mickey says:

            well VLJ… after qualifying for tomorrows race, we are going to get to see if Rossi can chase down and pass Lorenzo

            things are about to get real interesting

          • mickey says:

            I call it a tie..you were right about Marquez ending up in the kitty litter. I was right that if Lorenzo got out front and away that Rossi wouldn’t chase him down. Spirited ride by Pedrosa.

          • VLJ says:

            I was counting on a Lorenzo-Marquez scrap to keep Lorenzo honest, but crashaholic Marquez pulled another Marquez and put paid to that notion.

            Stupid Dani. God, I hate that guy. (Not really.) One time in his life he decides to put up a fight, and it has to be today?

            What I do hate is the power advantage the Hondas and Ducatis have over the Yamahas. Rossi clearly had Dani beat on corner speed, but unless he was well ahead coming on to the two straights he was never going to hold the lead, never mind being able to slipstream and pass Dani there.

        • VLJ says:

          He’s done so a half dozen times already this season, so what’s one more?

          I wouldn’t discount the possibility of the inevitable Marquez-Lorenzo scrap leading to one or both of them ending up in the kitty litter.

          Dani just better not take out Rossi.

  9. Dave says:

    If Lorenzo and Rossi go 2nd & 3rd for the rest of the season, Rossi still wins by 3 points. Something to think about with Marquez in the mix. While I don’t see him going 5 in a row, he’ll definitely impact the points race.

  10. Blackcayman says:

    Off-Topic

    Icon Motorcycle Drifting Movie:
    http://www.autoblog.com/2015/09/16/motorcycles-cars-icon-drift-video/

    just because

  11. Brian says:

    I see Toni Elias is back. That can’t bode well for Rossi’s championship bid. Ha.

  12. Krisd says:

    What’s the latest with Lorenzo’s hand Dirck, after he fist pumped the ground why he came off?

    Norm G- perhaps you’ve got the goss?

  13. Fred_M says:

    Rossi was doing what he does best — pressuring his opponent into making a mistake. Rossi knew that both of them on disintegrating tires meant that Lorenzo was a lot more likely to end up in the gravel — because Lorenzo lacks Rossi’s ability to make the best of a bike or tire that’s less than perfect. As it turned out, Lorenzo’s undoing was not disintegrating rain tires but, instead, the sudden change from rain tires to cold slicks.

    Rossi is a master tactician and always has been. He knows his opponents’ weaknesses and uses them to his best advantage. With Biaggi, it was temper and pride. With Lorenzo, its an inability to deal with bike and tire problems.

    • Pacer says:

      I don’t know if Rossi thinking this, but here is another thought. By keeping Lorenzo in tow, losing 10 seconds a lap, there were less points to be had. Either way I hope Rossi pulls this off.

    • EZMark says:

      Don’t forget how he messed with Sete Giberneau’s head. That was hysterical.

  14. Brinskee says:

    One thing I want to bring up. No one else really mentioning it, and I don’t really want to either… But Rossi hasn’t had a DNF at all this season and the other guys have. How likely do you all think his chances are to go an entire season with that kind of record? It’s looking like he’s going to do exactly that if he’s going to have any chance to win the championship.

    • Fred_M says:

      What do you mean “if he’s going to have any chance to with the championship”? Rossi is *leading* the championship by 23 points! The chance that he will have a DNF isn’t higher because he’s had a perfect record thus far. In fact, having a perfect record thus far makes it LESS likely that he will have a DNF in the last five races. Think of it this way: If a rider had a 50% DNF record due to crashes or mechanical failures and another rider had no DNFs, which one are you going to bet on having a DNF?

      • Brian says:

        I believe it’s an adaptation of the concept of: There are 2 kinds of riders, those who have crashed…and those who are going to…

        • Fred_M says:

          That saying is just acknowledging that just about everyone who rides crashes sooner or later. It’s not suggesting that crashing now decreases your chances of crashing later.

          It’s the old flipping the coin example: The odds of flipping a coin and getting heads ten times in a row are 1 in 1024. But if you’ve flipped it nine times and gotten heads each time, the chances that you will get heads the next time 1 in 2.

      • mickey says:

        Man hate even saying this as I don’t want to jinx, but remember the last race in 06?

      • Dave says:

        Re: ” Rossi is *leading* the championship by 23 points!”

        True, but leading over a rider that has had a DNF. I just looked it up, Lorenzo has had ONE season in his whole pro career with no DNF (2010). In Rossi’s much longer pro career, he has only had 2 seasons with no DNF’s (2003 & 2008). 2010 did not have a DNF but did have a DNS. Point being, while a DNF against the total number or races seems long odds, having one across a long and competitive season seems more likely than not.

        • Fred_M says:

          Dave, you have some misunderstandings about probability and statistics.

          The number of seasons in both cases is statistically insignificant. You need bigger sample sets to get meaningful statistics. It’s like trying to predict the frequency of colon cancer based on data from seven patients.

          Probability doesn’t have a memory. If you flip a coin, you have a 50% chance of getting heads. The chance that you will flip a coin ten times in a row and get heads each time less than 0.1%. But if you have flipped the coin nine times and had heads every time, the chance that the tenth flip will be heads is still 50%. It doesn’t get less likely because of what has happened in the past.

          That second point means that Rossi’s chance of a DNF in the remaining races does not go up go up each time he finishes a race.

          Finally, I see no logic in suggesting that Rossi’s DNF on a Honda due to a Michelin tire failure in 2002 will have any bearing on the likelihood of a DNF on a Yamaha shod with Dunlop tires in 2015 (just to cite one example).

    • TF says:

      I would not be surprised to see VR with a DNF before the end of the season. I also would not be surprised to see him with another win given the way he is riding. That said, I think it is highly unlikely that JLo will win the rest of the races especially with MM playing spoiler. It’s a sure thing that it is going to be an exciting finish!

    • Gary says:

      If you flip a coin five times and get heads five times, what are the chances you will get heads on sixth flip? Fifty/fifty.

    • Brinskee says:

      Good arguments, and I’m not at all suggesting his chances are more or less any race, I’m just talking season average as some have pointed out. It’s unusual to go an entire season without a DNF. If he has one, there goes his points lead, not to mention just being in the mix for the podium. I just think the DNF aspect should be considered. I hope he makes it without one, personally, and I hope it’s all down to the wire too. It’s been a great, great season.

  15. Al says:

    Would be funny if Marc gets the title while these 2 trip each other up again and again.

    • notarollingroadblock says:

      Funny ha-ha, funny strange, or funny not-at-all-funny-cuz-that-would-be-so-sad-for-the-boys-in-blue?

  16. dman says:

    In the end, one guy crashed, and one didn’t. In some previous races this year, the same could have been said, but the crasher was Marquez. This time it was Jorge. In the end, “to finish first, first one has to finish”. If Rossi takes the title, it won’t be due to luck, but because he was the better racer.

    • Fitbar says:

      And Rossi has been the fastest in many dry races this year, a poor qualifier but best rider overall. Great season no matter what happens, There has been a minimum of dud races. It would have been interesting to see Rossi change into slicks 5 to 7 seconds ahead of Lorenzo, but it probably would have only lasted a couple of laps, but at last Lorenzo would of had to pass him. It really looked like he preferred to stay ahead Lorenzo on shredding rain tires.