2015 Valencia MotoGP Preview
Since winning the opening round of 2015 MotoGP under the lights at Qatar, Valentino Rossi has lead the points battle. The 36-year-old Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot technically lost the lead after round 11 at Brno; teammate Jorge Lorenzo won that round, and was tied with Rossi in points. Because Lorenzo had more wins, he technically had the lead.
That lead was short lived, though; Rossi won at the following round in Silverstone, and continued his points lead through the penultimate round two weeks ago at Sepang International Circuit. Following a third-place result at Sepang, which was his 15th podium finish in 17 races, Rossi heads into this weekend’s season finale with a seven-point lead over Lorenzo.
The battle between the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 pilots is overshadowed by the most talked about story of 2015 MotoGP – the Valentino Rossi / Marc Marquez clash from Sepang. While battling with Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marquez, who has no shot at the 2015 MotoGP title, Rossi was penalized for running wide and causing Marquez to crash. The debate is ongoing, and the opinions vary on who was in the wrong.
Regardless, the three penalty points added with another from Misano (Rossi slowed Lorenzo down during qualifying) tally up to four for Rossi. Now, Rossi must start Valencia MotoGP from the back of the grid, which can have the largest influence on the outcome of the season. He has appealed the penalty, and Race Direction is expected to release its decision on the matter Friday – the opening day of practice for the 2015 MotoGP season finale at Valencia.
Starting positions aside, the following must happen for Rossi to claim a 10th World Title (if Lorenzo and Rossi tie in points, the 28-year-old Spaniard Lorenzo would earn a third premier-class title due to having more wins; Lorenzo currently has six wins to Rossi’s four):
- If Lorenzo wins the race then Rossi needs to finish second to become world champion.
- If Lorenzo finishes second then Rossi needs to finish on the podium
- If Lorenzo finishes third then Rossi needs to finish sixth or better
- If Lorenzo finishes fourth then Rossi needs to finish ninth or better
- If Lorenzo finishes fifth to ninth then Rossi needs to finish no more than six places further back
- If Lorenzo finishes lower than ninth then Rossi will be world champion
The title was only decided at the season finale 16 times of 67 years in Grand Prix motorcycle racing. And the battle hasn’t been this tight since the 1992 season when Yamaha’s Wayne Rainey took the 500cc title from Honda’s Mick Doohan by a mere four points.
The last time Rossi was in a similar battle was in 2006. That season also came down to the final round at Valencia, and Nicky Hayden (Honda) was able to claim the title from Rossi by five points.
As for Rossi, he has competed at Valencia at every GP since the track was introduced to GP in 1999. He has finished on the podium eight times, which includes victories in 2003 and 2004. Last year, he finished second behind winner Marquez. Lorenzo has never won at Valencia, but has earned three podiums at the Spanish circuit, but was forced to retire last season after gambling on wet tires after a brief rain shower.
The only other riders with more Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing World Championships than Rossi are Spain’s Angel Nieto (13) and Italy’s Giacomo Agostini (15).
2015 Valencia MotoGP TV Schedule
Fox Sports 1 will provide live broadcast coverage the 2015 MotoGP season finale at Valencia beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET.
2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after 17 of 18 rounds):
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 312
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 305
3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 222
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 190
5. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 188
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 171
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 153
8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda 118
9. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing 107
10. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 103
11. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 97
12. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 92
13. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 83
14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing 53
15. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 33
16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 29
17. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing 28
18. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda 17
19. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 17
20. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team 16
21. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team 9
22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 8
23. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Repsol Honda Team 5
24. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing 2
25. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion IodaRacing Team 2