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Uncle Colin's blog: Ready for Valencia? Rossi vs Lorenzo for all the marbles

Four days from now, we should know who has won the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. I say “should" since protests and ongoing legal wrangling might delay the official results.

This type of behavior is rare in bike racing, more likely in automotive competition. However the days following October 25 and the penultimate 2015 season round in Malaysia have confirmed that we live in interesting times.

Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:57 Published in Colin Fraser


Open letter from FIM President Vito Ippolito on the Rossi/Marquez incident

MI ES, 29 October - Open letter from FIM President Vito Ippolito:


The recent events arising in connection with the competition for the 2015 FIM MotoGP world title have had a damaging effect on the staging of our competitions and poisoned the atmosphere around the sport. We are moving away from the tradition of pride in sportsmanship that is part of the heritage of motorcycling.

Everyone has the right to express his or her own ideas. But words and actions always have consequences. Every individual has to take responsibility for those consequences. The riders, first of all, must be aware of this. Each one of them has thousands of fans who follow their exploits on the track and listen to what they say off the track. For that reason, we look to them, not just in this Championship but in all our disciplines, to set the best example of what our sport should and aspires to be.

This responsibility is also shared by the people who form their entourage, beginning with their teams and sponsors. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter, if some of those people unnecessarily fuel polemics about events or decisions in a wrongheaded way, they are doing a great disservice to the sport, to the detriment of our entire community and all the good things it offers to everyone.

Riders, teams, manufacturers and sponsors should not only respect the rules but they should accept the decisions of the officials, whatever they may be. Otherwise, they are contributing to anarchy and undermining the future development of our sport.

On behalf of the FIM and all those who are doing their best to bring about a happy conclusion to this Championship, I express the hope that at the next and final round in Valencia the riders will fight it out on the track and in a way that fully respects the spirit of fair play.

Vito Ippolito

FIM President

Thursday, 29 October 2015 13:40 Published in Reports, Results & Points


MotoGP at Phillip Island: One for the ages

Repsol Honda’s current MotoGP World Champ Marc Marquez came out on top of a wild four-bike fight for first to win the MotoGP round at Phillip Island, Australia on Sunday, October 18. With one lap of the 28 left to run at the daunting down under venue, Jorge Lorenzo held a miniscule edge with the works Movistar Yamaha from a wheel-to-wheel trio: early leader Andrea Iannone’s factory Ducati, Marquez and the other “A” Yamaha of World Championship series points leader Valentino Rossi.

Monday, 19 October 2015 12:08 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Lorenzo takes Italian GP victory at Mugello

Jorge Lorenzo was simply untouchable at the #ItalianGP, taking his 36th MotoGP™ victory and reducing Rossi’s championship lead to 6 points.

The picturesque setting of the Tuscan hills played host to a spectacular MotoGP™ race at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. With the sun shining and track temperatures at the Autodromo del Mugello hitting 50 degrees, the Italian fans were treated to a dominant performance from Jorge Lorenzo as he stormed away to the win the race by over 5.5s.

As Lorenzo disappeared off into the distance, the real battle would be for second place. This fight was originally between the Factory Ducati’s of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, and the Repsol Honda’s of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, although Valentino Rossi would join in the fun before the end of the race.

Marquez had enjoyed an amazing start, moving up from 13th on the grid into sixth at the very first corner. In contrast, Valentino Rossi suffered a disastrous opening lap that would see him down drop down to tenth, before mounting an incredible charge through the field to join the podium fight with eight laps to go.

There was even more drama to come though, as Dovizioso was forced to retire with a damaged rear sprocket and then Marc Marquez, who was once more involved in an excellent scrap with Iannone for second, crashed out of the race with 6 laps remaining leaving the Italian to take second ahead of an inspired Rossi in third to send the partisan crowd into raptures.

It was Lorenzo’s third victory in a row and he has now closed the gap to Rossi at the top of the World Championship standings to six points. After a start to the season plagued with troubles, the Spaniard has responded brilliantly to answer any critics, and even surprised himself with his pace: “I‘m very happy, because I didn‘t expect to escape with such a big margin, but sometimes it happens that you feel great on the bike. I was the only rider to ride multiple 1‘47s, so luckily for me I was gaining six or seven-tenths per lap, this was key to the win of the race.” When asked about his chances of taking a third MotoGP™ title this season he replied: “It seems that this year could be our year, so we have to take advantage of it.”

Iannone claimed his second podium of the season as he rode through the pain after fracturing his humerus at a testing crash in Mugello before the French GP. The Italian responded to the home fans support with his best ever MotoGP™ result, after getting the better of Marquez and holding off Rossi, and has not finished outside the top six all season: “I am so pleased with today’s result:! It was incredible, because today it was not easy to score a podium finish. My team did a great job, the bike worked really well and the Clinica Mobile gave me a big hand throughout the weekend. At the start I wanted to try and stay with Jorge: he didn’t have a better pace than me, but he did manage to keep that pace by taking fewer risks. When I realized that I was pushing too hard, I tried to maintain my speed, do my own race and keep one eye on my shoulder, which from mid-race onwards was showing signs of tiredness.”

Rossi showed all of his class to work his way back from tenth on the first lap to claim third, and remain the leader in the championship standings. The Italian once again saved his best for the race after having to start from eighth on the grid, and has a six-point lead over Lorenzo in the World Championship standings having not finished off the podium yet in 2015: “Mugello was very busy, because I am very competitive and all the Italian fans expected a great race from me. I wasn‘t strong enough but at the end of the race I arrived on the podium after a great recovery and a hard race. To be on the podium with whole the crowd is always magical with the track being full of people.” Rossi went on to discuss the threat posed by his teammate to his bid to win a tenth World Championship title: “I think we have to improve, especially with Jorge being very strong, he is in a great shape and to match his level we need to be more competitive.”

Dani Pedrosa rode a solid race to claim fourth as the only Honda inside the top ten, just over three seconds behind Rossi. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was the leading Satellite rider in fifth as he benefitted from Cal Crutchlow crashing out of the race with just three laps remaining while the CWM LCR Honda rider was ahead of him on track. Crutchlow, who was already suffering after a crash in the mornings Warm Up session, went to the Medical Centre where it was revealed he had dislocated his ankle and the British rider will need a medical inspection before being declared fit to race in Catalunya. Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro was next across the line in sixth, while Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), wild card Michele Pirro (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and his teammate Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten.

Scott Redding again struggled on his Factory spec Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, fighting back to finish in eleventh after running wide on just the second lap and dropping down to 19th. Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz took his first Open class victory as he crossed the line in 12th ahead of Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Eugene Laverty, who claimed the last championship point on offer.

There were DNF’s for Stefan Bradl, Nicky Hayden, Aleix Espargaro, Jack Miller and Alex De Angelis, while Karel Abraham was guilty of a jump-start off the line and had to serve a ride through penalty before finishing in 17th.

Check out the full MotoGP™ race results, and the latest World Championship standings.

Monday, 01 June 2015 10:55 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Lorenzo wins, Yamaha goes 1-2 in France

The Monster Energy Grand Prix de France was host to another dominating Lorenzo victory while an intense battle for fourth burned.

Fortunately rain was nowhere to be seen in Le Mans, setting the stage for an exciting and eventful MotoGP™ race. The French GP comes after a post race test in Jerez and many riders arrived in France with new confidence, direction and parts. Bradley Smith was one such rider, running new front forks this weekend and leading FP2 on Friday. Marquez and Crutchlow both also had new swing arms.

Round five of the MotoGP™ World Championship also saw Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa return to the grid, the Spaniard having missed three rounds after having surgery to cure arm pump issues. Returning for Jerez had been a possibility, but a test on a Supermoto bike had Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda crew air on the side of caution and wait till Le Mans.

Lorenzo had appeared strong again this weekend, as he had done in Jerez, despite feeling his third on the grid was one of the worst results of his career. A lightning start allowed the Spaniard to break away early, quickly able to pass Andrea Dovizioso on the Ducati and focus on riding his own race. One of Lorenzo’s strongest areas is his ability to run at the front and set incredibly consistent lap times when not having to battle with other riders. As in Jerez, Lorenzo demonstrated this incredible skill and was nearly untouchable. “I could overtake Dovizioso early and stay in the lead. I had to manage the one second gap and I had to push really hard even though the front feeling wasn’t great,” he said.

This makes it back-to-back wins for Lorenzo and reignites his championship hopes after many had begun to doubt the Spaniard. The MotoGP™ paddock heads next to Mugello, a favourite track of Lorenzo and one that has seen several outstanding rides from the Movistar Yamaha rider. On his current form he will be difficult to match.

While Lorenzo was surging ahead, Marc Marquez had a difficult start to the race, dropping as low as sixth before finding his form in the closing stages.

The Spaniard quickly caught Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith ahead, leading to a fiery battle between Marquez and Iannone. The duo swapped positions at nearly every corner, giving spectators flashbacks of their Moto2™ days.  The performance of Iannone was particularly impressive as he dislocated his left shoulder less than a week ago at a private Ducati test at Mugello. Marquez eventually came out on top as Iannone’s lap times dropped off significantly in the final three laps, no doubt feeling the pain in his shoulder.

While the battle tore on behind, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi had a brief battle, the Yamaha rider coming out on top. Issues in Jerez saw Dovizioso finish off the podium for the first time this year, this third at Le Mans is important for the Ducati rider’s championship as he sits in third with 83 points. “The grip after ten laps was not great, I struggled a bit. I couldn’t gain much in the braking. I didn’t have Lorenzo’s pace though. To return to the podium is important for the championship and us,” reflected Dovizioso after the race.

Charging through the field, Rossi seemed as though he may be able to catch his teammate but the gap never dropped below one and a half seconds. It had been a less than ideal start to the weekend for the Italian as he and his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team struggled with finding a good setting. Big risks in changes to the set up of Rossi’s M1 paid off come the race as he once again extended his championship lead, now 15 points ahead of teammate Lorenzo. “We suffered a lot during practice because I couldn’t ride to the limit. We risked more with the set up for the race and I felt very good. It took a couple of laps to understand it fully,” said Rossi.

Le Mans was a difficult race for many of the British riders, both Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding fell from the race in what was an overall disappointing weekend for many of the Honda bikes. The higher track temperatures on race day having a negative impact for the Honda riders who struggled for front end feel. Bradley Smith did well to finish in sixth behind the dueling pair of Iannone and Marquez after a strong showing earlier in the week. There were also reasons to celebrate for rookie Eugene Laverty, the Irishman scoring his first MotoGP™ points as he finished in 14th and as the second Open Honda bike.

The Open category was led by Nicky Hayden, the American also qualifying as the highest Open rider. He and Jack Miller had battled during the early stages of the race, but the Australian fell as he exited Turn 4. Local rider Loris Baz also finished in the points in 12th, taking his best ever MotoGP™ finish in front of a cheering crowd.

Miller was not the only rider to fall as he exited Turn 4, returning Dani Pedrosa also took a tumble there. The Spaniard was unhurt and remounted to finish in 16th, some 15 seconds out of the points. Stefan Bradl was another early faller as he continues to adapt to the Yamaha Forward machine. Both Aleix Espargaro and Karel Abraham were forced into the pits with technical issues, ending their races early.

- From MotoGP.com

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 10:47 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Rossi takes 82nd premier class victory in incident packed race

The MotoGP race at the Tissot Australian Grand Prix saw Valentino Rossi take his second win of 2014, with Jorge Lorenzo and Bradley Smith also on the podium. Marc Marquez crashed out of an incident packed race whilst leading and Dani Pedrosa was forced to retire after being clipped by Andrea Iannone.

Monday, 20 October 2014 13:53 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Lorenzo Three-peats at Mugello

Jorge Lorenzo has won the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM for the third successive year, leading home MotoGP™ championship leader Dani Pedrosa and Britain’s Cal Crutchlow. There were crashes for both local hero Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez, ending the Spanish rookie’s run of consecutive podium finishes.

Monday, 03 June 2013 11:03 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Lorenzo tops qualifying at MotoGP Jerez

Jorge Lorenzo has clinched his second pole position of the 2013 MotoGP™ season, topping an incident-packed qualifying session in Jerez on his 26th birthday. Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi will fill positions two to five but all four riders have suffered falls this afternoon.

Saturday, 04 May 2013 15:07 Published in Reports, Results & Points


MotoGP: Lorenzo Dominates, Rossi Surges, Rookie Márquez Flashes Huge Potential

While Jorge Lorenzo took an early lead and walked away with a convincing victory, it was the late-race charge of Valentino Rossi to take second place from MotoGP rookie Marc Márquez and then the ensuing battle of veteran vs. newbie that highlighted the MotoGP season opener at Losail in Qatar.

Sunday, 07 April 2013 23:40 Published in Reports, Results & Points


Lorenzo, Rossi and Yamaha Happy with First Test

The long winter wait was finally over this morning as the 2013 MotoGP field took to the track in Sepang for the first official test of 2013. Reunited Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were quick to blow off any cobwebs from the winter rest. Rossi was initially the fastest rider during the majority of the morning session, clearly taking little time to re-bond with the YZR-M1 that has brought him so much previous success.

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 14:51 Published in Reports, Results & Points


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