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A day of contrasts

A day of contrasts

Contrast runs throughout the MotoGP™ paddock, but Saturday at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana brought them into focus.

Martillo and Mantequilla are two phrases often seen on Jorge Lorenzo’s pit board. Both are Spanish words, ‘Martillo’ meaning hammer and ‘Mantequilla’ means butter. The hammer is shown when Lorenzo needs to push, ride to his limit and put it all on the line. Butter shown when he needs to ride smoothly, like cold butter spreading on warm toast.

Valentino Rossi has carried the Sun and the Moon on his helmet and leathers for the majority of his career, another contrast in the paddock. They represent the contrasting sides to his personality, the aggressive side on track and the friendly side off track.

Contrasts existed not only on pit boards, helmets and leathers but also on track in Valencia; Lorenzo flying high as a dark cloud loomed over Rossi in the gravel. #TheGrandFinale will be the most important race of each rider’s life, but their preparation has gone in drastically different directions. As Lorenzo shattered the pole position record in Q2, Rossi fell and ended 12th. Lorenzo on top, Rossi at the bottom. On Sunday Lorenzo will start from the head of the grid while Rossi starts from the tail.

When it comes to taking MotoGP™ titles in Valencia the contrast disappears however. Both riders have entered the final round of the year with a chance to take the title and both have failed in the premier class. In 2006 Rossi entered as the points leader but was unable to best Nicky Hayden, the American taking his first World Championship as Rossi slid off. In 2013 Jorge Lorenzo had a chance to steal the title from Marc Marquez, but the Majorcan was unable to put enough riders between himself and the Repsol Honda rider.

The majority of races in 2015 have seen Lorenzo begin in Martillo style before settling into a Mantequilla rhythm, six times this has led to victory. But in Japan the hammer was Lorenzo’s downfall, his Movistar Yamaha eating the tyres.

Starting from the back Rossi will need to rely on his aggressive moon side to cut through the field. Both the Repsol Honda riders have reported problems with the front tyre overheating, if their pace slows with Lorenzo behind they could deliver the Majorcan into the clutches of Rossi. With a seven-point lead, finishing directly behind Lorenzo would grant the Italian his tenth World Championship.

Sunday will see one rider reset their Valencia debt, the other rider once again walking away from the Ricardo Tormo circuit wondering what could have been.

MotoGP, 2015, GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA, Q2, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, #ValenciaGP, #TheGrandFinale

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