Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi raised their games at the season-ending Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana this afternoon to unknown heights as they battled for the Championship Title.
Valencia (Spain) - Jorge Lorenzo was unflappable as he defended first place from his pursuers from start to finish to secure a brilliant 40th MotoGP Grand Prix victory of his career and take the Championship Title by five points. Team-mate Valentino Rossi also had a phenomenal ride, cutting though the field like a knife through butter, to take a hard-fought fourth place and the runner-up spot for the 2015 season.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Jorge Lorenzo proved once again his racing pedigree, taking a superb win at the final round of the season at Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo as he fended off two trailing rivals to the very end of the race. Valentino Rossi followed up two tension-filled races with an equally thrilling 30-lap sprint and delighted his fans with one of the strongest performances of his career. He rode from 26th on the grid to take a superb fourth place and finished the season as the World Championship runner-up.
I‘ve ridden with Valentino, Marc, Casey and Dani on the track. For me these are the best riders in the 21st century.
Lorenzo started from pole after his perfect lap during yesterdays‘ qualifying and delivered the same standard today. He had a perfect start to take the hole shot with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa following. Lapping consistent mid 1‘31s for most of the race, the Spaniard slowly built a gap of over 0.7s to his closest rival, but as the race progressed towards the midway stage, Marquez was able to win some time and slowly inched closer.
Suddenly the atmosphere changed as the possible outcome of the race became wide open again, however Lorenzo remained unshaken. Despite pressure from Marquez, and Pedrosa who started to close in with seven laps remaining, he rode like a true champion, not allowing his compatriots to make him lose his concentration for even a second.
There was close to nothing between the current and the soon to be World Champion, but still Lorenzo managed to hold his rival off. As Pedrosa had a second wind, he and Marquez started to fight amongst themselves. This was all Lorenzo needed to break away for a second time. Immediately acting on the situation he pulled away slightly while going into the final lap. Marquez and Pedrosa were still following his every move, but the Yamaha rider's pace was too fast for them to make an impression before Lorenzo crossed the line for a final time with a 0.263s advantage.
Team-mate Rossi started from the back of the grid in 26th place and rode the opening lap of a lifetime, completing the first lap in 15th place to climb up to ninth position at the end of the third lap as Iannone crashed out. He soon closed the more than one second gap to fellow Yamaha rider Bradley Smith, while setting a personal best lap of 1‘31.820, but the Italian was unable to make his move on the Brit straight away.
Rossi let his experience do the talking and waited one and a half laps before passing smoothly and soon moved up to seventh just a few minutes later as Petrucci, who was in front of him, ran wide. Next in line were the Espargaró brothers, lapping 0,8s in front of the flying Italian. He managed to close up to Pol Espargaró with 21 laps remaining and overtook him just a few corners later, making his brother the next target.
Rossi was unable to make it stick on his first attempt but the Spaniard had no answer to the nine-time World Champion's second pass. Dovizioso followed and was soon devoured by the Doctor, giving him fourth place in the provisional results, just five points short of a title win.
With 14 laps left to change the fate of the 2015 World Championship, Rossi now faced the task of bridging a 11.488s gap to Dani Pedrosa. He pushed as hard as he could, but the ride to the front of the field had asked too much of his tyres for him to be able to match the lap times of the top three riders. Though Lorenzo's pace slowed slightly as he battled the riders in second and third place, Rossi was unable to make up any ground and took the flag for the last time in the 2015 season in fourth place, 19.789s from the front.
Despite Rossi‘s brave performance, it was Lorenzo who gave Yamaha the Rider Title. Besides sealing the Triple Crown and filling the first two spots in the championship, Yamaha also gets to celebrate a strong performance from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith. He took sixth in the race, just one spot behind team-mate Pol Esparagó, to ensure sixth place in the championship as the top satellite rider.
"There was a lot of pressure, especially at the end of the race, because I had been pushing all the time and I was quite tired from pushing so much. Dani recovered so much time and so many metres. He was at 0.5s at the middle of the race and he recovered everything, so I knew I had two riders behind me and that, if they overtook me, I would lose the championship, so it was a very difficult situation. I also felt that the right side of the tyre was destroyed, I was moving so much and I had to go very slowly entering right corners, so I couldn‘t keep the 1‘31-high up and it became 1‘32-low. I also couldn‘t see the pit board or how many laps there were left to the end.
On the last lap I passed the last corner and saw the chequered flag and I couldn‘t believe that I won the race and the championship in the last moment. It‘s such a relaxing and enjoyable moment. I was crying on the honour lap, it‘s such a fantastic day for us. I equal Wayne Rainey, I equal Kenny Roberts Sr, I equal Ayrton Senna in the motorsport world with these three premier class World Titles, it‘s unbelievable! We have to enjoy this day, this week, because you can‘t often live this emotion.
I‘ve ridden with Valentino, Marc, Casey and Dani on the track. For me these are the best riders in the 21st century. The first championship title is the first one and thus very special, but to be in the championship with these four legends on track was very important to me. I was always behind in the championship recovering points and it‘s a special moment in the last race to become champion, so the championship couldn‘t have had a more emotional ending.
I don‘t want to think about 2016 now. We will see later during the test, or after the test. Now I just want to enjoy it with the team like crazy, to feel this moment completely with no end, because it‘s not easy to repeat and it‘s not easy to become champion again. We have to enjoy it completely now, tonight, this week, next week, this is for sure!
I was giving everything I have, the rhythm was very low, but I didn‘t give up. I knew the importance to put everything on the track and I did, like with yesterday‘s pole position.
We built this season from the first race and it was a great season, I was always competitive and I never made any mistakes. I thought after Motegi that I had the potential to win the championship, but unfortunately from the race at Phillip Island something changed.
Massimo Meregalli - Team Director
Jorge has once again proved that he is untouchable when he is on form, and deserves this fifth title. He pushed to the maximum this year, always challenging and never giving up. I‘m really proud to be part of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team and share in this amazing moment. Of course it takes more than just a rider to win a title so I have to thank all the crew members who have put in all their efforts and professionalism this season to make victory a reality. On the other side of the garage Vale has also shown that he is still one of the best riders in the world and a key protagonist in the title challenge. His ride from 26th to fourth was incredible. To have two such incredible riders fighting together for the title is an amazing thing to see, not just for us but for the fans across the world. Jorge, Vale and the entire team really deserve the Triple Crown they fought so hard for, the perfect gift for all the fans who support us in our racing.