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Rossi: No better chance for 10th title

Rossi: No better chance for 10th title

So, have you all caught your breath yet after what was a manic and memorable Misano MotoGP race?

With nineteen years of experience reporting on MotoGP™ for Motorcycle News, MotoGP™ Commentator Matthew Birt knows the Championship inside-out. For the 2015 season he joins the motogp.com team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.

We had a season’s worth of drama in less than 50 minutes, and to write a summary to do all the action justice, this column would be of War and Peace proportions.

My main conclusion from all the mayhem is that Valentino Rossi is never going to get a better chance to capture a 10th world title.

For the first two days at Silverstone and Misano, Rossi was worryingly outpaced by Jorge Lorenzo, and woke on race day morning at both wondering how the hell he was going to live with the Spaniard’s blistering speed.

The great thing about racing, and a reason why we all love it so much, is that it is brilliantly unpredictable and anything can happen.

It was Nicky Hayden that once summarised it perfectly a few years back when he seemed out of contention on Saturday afternoon.

“You never know what’s going to happen and that’s why we line-up on Sunday, “ said Hayden.

And 24 hours later he was guzzling cava on the podium.

That’s a quote I’ve heard the American roll out frequently in the past and it certainly rings true for Silverstone and Misano.

Who could have foreseen the scenario that played out last Sunday?

Rossi missed the podium for the first time in nearly a year. And Lorenzo crashed out for the first time since the opening round of 2014 in Qatar.

Adding to the craziness, two British riders finished on a premier class podium for the first time in 36 years! And Scott Redding did so after a crash and two pit stops.

Yeah, that was all really easy to predict.

Whatever Rossi and Lorenzo did in the rapidly changing conditions was a high-risk strategy.

Both were racing each other, more than the conditions, to such an extent that they both stayed out too long on deteriorating rain tyres to finish on the podium.

Lorenzo’s biggest downfall was being too cautious when back out on slicks. Freaked out by Redding’s speed when the Briton passed him, (Redding’s slicks were already up to working temperature) Lorenzo lost his normal ice cool clarity. He panicked and pushed too soon with insufficient heat in the rear tyre and fell heavily at turn 15.

Thankfully he was unhurt. I have no allegiance to Rossi or Lorenzo, but this Championship deserves to be decided on track and not in a medical centre.

Lorenzo was still rolling through the gravel when you immediately understood that his rare unforced error was a monumental turning point.

And that is why Rossi is now back in the ascendancy by 23-points, with just five races now between the Italian and a title success that in my humble opinion will earn him the undisputed right to be known as the greatest of all time.

This battle though is far from over.

Lorenzo could easily have expected to take 50-points at Silverstone and Misano and put himself well in control of the World Championship.

That was how some thought the script was going, including me.

Now he’s playing catch up again.

Lorenzo clawed back 28-points on Rossi in just four races with a career best winning streak between Jerez and Catalunya earlier in the season.

Should he repeat that then he would arrive for the final race in Valencia with a slender points lead.

I’ll quickly let my patriotic side take over and say it was an incredible feeling to see two British riders on a premier class podium for the first time since 1979.

I’ve seen Bradley Smith and Redding go from boys to men and tracked their journey from aspiring teen hopefuls to the top step of the podium in 125s and Moto2™.

Both have taken their fair share of criticism since moving to MotoGP™, yet their belief in themselves has never waned and you will not meet two more dedicated and committed young men in the paddock.

And when an opportunity for a podium presented itself, they grasped the opportunity, as Danilo Petrucci did at Silverstone.

Yes, they needed some luck. But it was earned more through skill, talent and bravery.

Next up is Motorland Aragon. Who can predict what is going to happen there? I’ll just let them line-up on Sunday and see what happens.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2015, GRAN PREMIO TIM DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI

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