It was an all-Spanish podium in the MotoGP season finale in Valencia, Spain, and as a result it was a Spaniard who was crowned. Jorge Lorenzo was flawless, setting the pace to secure the win and his fifth World Championship over his Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi.
“It was one of the toughest races, if not the toughest one because the tension and the pressure was very high from the first corner,” Lorenzo said. “But I try to push the limit like I know how to do. Not thinking about anything, just ride and to give the maximum on the bike, on the tire.
“And finally it was worth it because now we can say we are five-time World Champion in general, three times in MotoGP – equaling legends like Wayne Rainey, my friend and legend Kenny Roberts Sr., and in the motorsport world Ayrton Senna. So it’s amazing to feel that and we have to enjoy the maximum because these moments are difficult to reach.”
Adding to the difficulty was the fact that Lorenzo couldn’t read his pit board half the time, so he did not know where Rossi was. He had to rely on the scenario that Rossi was in fourth. Towards the end, he was able to see that the Repsol Honda duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa were hot on his heels, so he kept at it.
“It was difficult and I just wanted to focus on the track, because on the board I couldn’t see so much,” he explained. “So much information I couldn’t see in which position that Valentino was. I just imagined that he was in fourth position. So I tried to ride at my best. I believed there was still more laps to the end, when I entered that last corner I saw the checkered flag. When I saw the checkered flag, I say, ‘okay it’s done. It’s mine.’”
That’s because Lorenzo knew the number – seven points – which meant that if Lorenzo won, Rossi needed to finish second. If Lorenzo finished second, Rossi needed to finish third.
Rossi also gave it his best and rode a superb race, charging from the back of the grid to finish fourth. Unfortunately for the Italian legend, it was too little too late. He was more than 19-seconds adrift of the three Spaniards – Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa – and therefore it was up to them to make a mistake. None of them did. As a result the fan favorite (even at the Spanish Grand Prix) went home five-points shy of his 10th title.
The Italian was not so happy about it and was very critical of the Honda duo, especially Marquez, feeling that they did not try to pass Marquez for the win. Rossi did admit however that he was not as fast as Lorenzo, but that the handicap of starting from the back of the grid hurt his chances of keeping up with the pace.
“First of all, was a strange weekend because I know already that my chances were very, very small,” Rossi said. “Today I wasn’t particularly fast, but is true also with the new tire in the beginning I was in the traffic trying to overtake, so I cannot give my maximum. For sure if I can start in the normal grid position I can try to do something, try to fight with Jorge.”
The Honda boys explained that they were not confident with their front tire (something they struggled with all weekend). In the end, their late charge at Lorenzo, like Rossi’s, was also too little too late. Battling with each other caused them to lose too much ground on the soon to be crowned World Champion and they had to settle for a spot on the podium.
“Dani arrived, he overtake me. I was impressed by this, but then he go wide, and when he was off line I try to go on the inside to try and catch Jorge again” Marquez said. “In that situation we lose half a second. The last corners I was close, but not enough to win the race. I was disappointed to not win the race, but in the end I was happy to be on the podium.”
2015 MotoGP Valencia Results:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha
2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha
5. Pol Espargaro (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar
9. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) LCR Honda
10. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
11. Maverick Vinales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar
12. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati
13. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
14. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
15. Scott Redding (GBR) EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
16. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing Ducati
17. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar Honda
18. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
19. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing Yamaha
20. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing Yamaha
21. Jack Miller (AUS) LCR Honda
22. Anthony West (AUS) AB Motoracing Honda
DNF Mike di Meglio (ITA) Avintia Racing Ducati
DNF Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar Honda
DNF Broc Parkes (AUS) E-Motion IodaRacing Team ART
DNF Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati