After the dust or rather rain has settled on the spectacle of the San Marino GP, which by the way was a thrilling race that encompassed everything you want in a silly season, it was time to crunch the numbers and possible outcomes of Valentino Rossi realizing his 10th world title.
He left the San Marino GP in 5th, his first non podium finish since Aragon of LAST year, but more importantly he holds a firm grip on the championship lead. With 5 more races to go the momentum has swung in his favor leading Lorenzo’s 224 points by just 23. So what would it take for Valentino to walk out of Valencia, heck earlier would be better, with the crowd shouting ‘10 TIMES WORLD CHAMPION’ echoing around the vicinity?
Here is my math break down:
23 points is close enough in either direction in terms of a race win, 25 points, or 2nd place, 20 points. In the five remaining races if the battle were between just Rossi and Lorenzo then the leader could afford to finish directly behind his teammate in each of the remaining races and still walk away with title in hand if they finish 2nd/3rd, 3rd/4th, 4th/5th and so on and so forth. Points between these two positions start at 4, from 2nd and 3rd and dwindles down the order. Theoretically in five remaining races the Yamaha dual can be 2nd/3rd JL/VR respectively and Rossi would win the championship by just 3 points. But the problem lies if they finish in the order of 1st and 2nd, the points gap being 5 instead of just four. If that happens then it could literally go down to the wire at Valencia. Lorenzo can win four of the last five races and have Rossi finish behind him the entire time in the last run of the championship and he would get his hands on his 3rd premier class title.
Best case scenario is to continue with the strategy he has been trying all year – finish ahead of his blindingly fast teammate and that title will be ever so much closer
Marquez is still in the running for his 3rd straight title even though his chances are grim since both the Yamaha men have been almost damn near perfect in their consistency in finishing races this season compared to the Honda rider. Nonetheless with 125 points still up for grabs and Marquez behind only 63 points it is a tough ask but not entirely impossible, this is racing after all. He can still throw a wrench in the dual’s plan and furthermore if either Yamaha men score a couple of DNFs or worse finish outside of the points then the bag is blown wide open. We’ve seen crazier things that has happened, think back to 2006 or even more recent 2013 when the deciding race came down to the last round, the title being decided by a mere five or less points.
Of course this is all speculation into what can and what need to happen in order for Rossi to secure his 10th title but this isn’t an ideal world, and racing is anything but ideal, look at the last two rounds for reassurance. There are tracks upcoming that on paper favors Lorenzo more, first being Aragon, then Motegi, but you have tracks that Rossi has been known to go good at such as Phillip Island and Sepang so to decide anything now would be doing so with a blind eye. Other riders can get tangled up in their race and finish in between them such is the case that has happened a few times this year to each title contender. Other riders could also trip up and take them out, it hasn’t happen yet but it was damn close for Lorenzo at Silverstone.
I haven’t witness Rossi take a world title since I have started my own riding so I am more than thrilled to see him leading the chase pretty much the entire season since Qatar. Am I biased? Maybe a little bit, but who wouldn’t be? So many people, mainly journalists and commentators, wrote him off as a contender since his Ducati years, let’s call those the lost years, and said he was done, washed up, has been. The new talent was here and they tasted blood, they were hungry. Everyone was easy to forget though who is the hungriest of them all: Rossi.
With four wins and a streak of podiums starting from last season coming to an end at San Marino I hope he made those journals eat their own words.