Valentino Rossi v Jorge Lorenzo: who’s big in Japan?

Valentino, Rossi

DON’T MISS!

There are only four rounds left in the MotoGP season and Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are neck and neck in the championship, just like in the good old days. The two factory Yamaha riders are separated by only 14 points and the Japanese Grand Prix could potentially bring a change at the top of the standings. So DON’T MISS the Motegi race, on Sunday!

Championship leader Rossi took his first wrong step in the title race the previous round, at the Aragon GP. Teammate Lorenzo won, while the Italian came in third, losing nine points of the lead over his Spanish rival. It has been an eventful two weeks since then, even though there has been no GP racing. Rossi fell during Michelin tyre tests at MotorLand Aragon, but was lucky enough to escape major injury. The french manufacturer takes over Bridgestone as MotoGP tyre supplier in 2016, and this was the last official opportunity of the year to test the new rubbers. Lorenzo also had a crash during the two-week break. While training on a minimoto, the two-times World Champion fell hard on his left shoulder and suffered a sprain. For those of you thinking that he won’t be 100% fit for Motegi, think again. This is a guy who, two years ago, raced at Assen just hours after having surgery on a broken collarbone! And he came in 5th, which is more than honorable.

Guess what? Marc Marquez, reigning World Champion and third in the standings this season, also suffered a crash before the Japanese GP. The Honda rider was the least fortunate of the three mentioned in this article, as he broke his finger while mountain-biking in his homeland of Spain. He even required a surgical procedure to repair the fracture and will be forced to race on Sunday with screws and a titanium plate in his left hand. Talk about tough guys! Last year at Motegi, Marquez finished 2nd and became the youngest rider ever to win the World Championship twice. That should bring back some nice memories for the Spanish rider and maybe ease the pain in his finger. Well, that and the pills they’re giving him.

Jorge Lorenzo won the 2014 Japanese GP, over 1.6 seconds ahead of Marc Marquez and a further one second ahead of Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo certainly wouldn’t mind a repeat of that, although he’d be even happier if Rossi would be further down. Should the Italian fail to finish higher than 8th and should Lorenzo manage another win, then we would have a new leader in the standings, with less than a month left in the season. Of course, that would take quite a bit of bad luck for Rossi. Or good luck for Lorenzo, depending on who you’re rooting for. “The Doctor” was outside the top eight in only three races over the past three years! Moreover, he hasn’t finished lower than 5th this season, and that only happened once. Rossi has been on the podium in 13 out of 14 rounds so far in 2015. That’s impressive from a rider who’s 36 and should, in theory, lack motivation. After all, he’s already won everything there was to win in motorcycle Grand Prix racing.

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