What Rossi needs to do to secure MotoGP title

All the doom and gloom surrounding Valentino Rossi's penalty and subsequent unsuccessful request at a stay of execution doesn't change the fact the Italian could still seal his eighth MotoGP title at Valencia.

Being sent to the back of the grid for his Sepang clash with Marc Marquez no doubt represents a bitter blow to Rossi's chances of taking a milestone championship this weekend at Valencia.

The Italian hasn't lined up lower than eighth on the grid all season but, at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo, he is set to have 25 bikes ahead of him as the lights go out.

But was there truth to Rossi's claims that he considered skipping Valencia? And does he truly believe that Marquez has already cost him the title? Probably not.

For, as the Rossi/Marquez investigation left the points table unchanged, Jorge Lorenzo is not the master of his fate at Valencia - even a straightforward win won't guarantee him the crown.

Title permutations

If Lorenzo finishes... then Rossi needs to be...
1st 2nd
2nd 3rd or higher
3rd 6th or higher
4th 9th or higher
5th 11th or higher
6th 12th or higher
7th 13th or higher
8th 14th or higher
9th 15th or higher
10th or lower -

If Rossi manages to take the chequered flag right behind his teammate at Valencia, the crown will be his.

If Lorenzo gets muscled out of the top two - most likely by the two Honda riders - then the Italian will only need a top-six finish. And if Lorenzo misses the podium, a top-nine for Rossi will suffice.

These are not unfavourable chances, given that Rossi has yet to finish outside of the top five all year - and that the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 seems to be quite capable of clearing early traffic, with the Italian himself excelling at that particular task albeit largely due to his patchy qualifying form.

And with Valencia standing as the joint second-longest race on the calendar, Rossi should get plenty of opportunities to muscle himself back into contention.

Still, if there's optimism in the statistics, there's certainly reason for concern in Friday form - Lorenzo punched in the quickest lap, while both the Hondas and even the Ducatis seem very much on pace.

Marquez conceded then that Lorenzo seems to be the quickest driver this weekend - and while the latter had a very low-key FP3, where Andrea Iannone and Rossi ran the show, he is still the likely odds-on favourite.

The Spaniard can also be reassured by the fact he's taken seven or more points out of Rossi on five previous occasions in 2015.

And if the Yamaha duo end the race level on points (for instance, Lorenzo taking second and Rossi fourth, or Lorenzo in third and Rossi seventh), the Spaniard will edge ahead on victory countback.

Either way, it's game on - and, with no earlier precedent for Rossi starting this far back, the title battle could very well swing either way come the chequered flag.

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Event Valencia GP
Track Valencia Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo
Teams Yamaha Factory Racing
Article type Analysis