How Valentino Rossi can seal the MotoGP title in Malaysia

This weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix marks the first race that Valentino Rossi could emerge from as 10-time world champion. Motorsport.com guides you through the possible outcomes...

Before we get started, here's a quick reminder of the state of play between Rossi and Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo with two races left and 50 points still up for grabs:

Rider

Victories

2nd places

3rd places

Points

 Valentino Rossi

 Qatar

 Rio Hondo

 Assen

 Silverstone

 Le Mans

 Catalunya

 Motegi

 Austin

 Jerez

 Mugello

 Sachsenring

 Indianapolis

 Brno

 Aragon

296

 Jorge Lorenzo

 Jerez

 Le Mans

 Mugello

 Catalunya

 Brno

 Aragon

 Indianapolis

 Phillip Island

 Assen

 Motegi

285 (-11)

In short, Rossi must extend his lead to 26 points at Sepang, which means outscoring Lorenzo by 15 points (Lorenzo would take the title on countback having scored more wins, so 25 points would not be enough).

MotoGP points system

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Points  25 20 16 13 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

If Rossi wins the race...

Lorenzo must ensure he scores at least 11 points to keep the title fight open - he must therefore finish at least fifth.

If Rossi finishes second...

Lorenzo must ensure he scores at least six points to keep the title fight open - he must therefore finish inside the top 10.

If Rossi finishes third...

Lorenzo must ensure he scores at least two points - he must therefore finish inside the top 14. If Rossi finishes lower than third, he cannot win the title, even if Lorenzo fails to score.

Motorsport.com says...

The chances of Rossi wrapping up the title at Sepang are slim indeed, Lorenzo having only finished outside of the top five once all season, when he crashed out in the wet at Misano.

Essentially, Rossi is relying on Lorenzo to not score - and even then, he'll need to ensure he's on the podium, something he discovered last time out at Phillip Island can never be taken for granted.

If Rossi can gain four or five points on Lorenzo in Malaysia, he can be safe in the knowledge that he doesn't need to take any risks at Valencia to be crowned champion, so pushing for victory - unless, of course, he is fighting Lorenzo for the top spot - makes no sense.

For his part, Lorenzo ideally needs to ensure he heads to Valencia no more than five points back from Rossi, which he could achieve by winning on Sunday if Rossi is third or lower.

That way, he can guarantee himself a third premier class title merely by winning the race, placing serious pressure on Rossi to go all out for the win himself.

This title battle is far from done and dusted just yet...

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Malaysian GP
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo
Article type Special feature