November 2nd, 2015
As the final round of the 2015 MotoGP series comes to a close this weekend in Valencia, tensions are higher than the octane content in a race bike’s fuel. Last week’s barn burner between reigning champ Marc Marquez and 2015 championship hopeful Valentino Rossi (New VR 46 Fan Wear Available Now!) , was filled with more drama than we know what to do with. The main story, however, really boils down to the championship fight between Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi’s alleged takeout on Marquez in Malaysia resulted in a costly 3 point penalty and a last place starting position on the grid at this weekend’s finale in Valencia. While the 7 time world champ still tops the series points (312 pts.) he now only leads Lorenzo by seven (305 pts.), the smallest margin headed into the finale since 1992.
Just days away from free practice in Valencia, Rossi and Lorenzo have to put aside the drama and focus on one thing: the championship. Keeping in mind the tie breaker will go to Jorge Lorenzo (6 wins to Rossi’s 4) Jorge will need to make up at least seven points in some fashion. On the flip side, Rossi’s easiest way to MotoGP world champion, is to simply finish ahead of Lorenzo (no easy task). Rossi doesn’t necessarily have to beat Lorenzo to win based on the way the points structure breaks down. Here are a few scenarios:
• If Lorenzo wins or places 2nd, Rossi can finish 2nd or 3rd, respectively, and still be world champion
• If Lorenzo finishes third, Rossi needs to finish sixth or better.
• If Lorenzo finishes worse than 9th, Rossi wins (9th place pays 7 points)
Success at the Valencia GP has been a mixed bag for both riders, each with a pair of wins. Jorge Lorenzo is a native Spaniard so you have to assume the hometown support should be an advantage. Last year’s winner, and fellow Spaniard, Marc Marquez is perhaps the biggest spoiler in all of this. Marquez has been vocal about Rossi’s punishment being rather weak, due to Rossi’s stature in the sport, signifying there is possible unfinished business between the two.
To no surprise, Rossi feels differently and has even threatened to not race the finale if the sanctions were not lifted. Rossi has appealed his penalties through the Court of Arbitration for Sports, however we learned it has been denied just before publishing.
Will we see the same fireworks from the previous round? Will Marquez play the spoiler? Does either Rossi or Lorenzo rise to the occasion and dominate? It all remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt #TheGrandFinale will be one to watch!
The Valencia Grand Prix will air on Fox Sports 1 at 6:30 AM EST.