The record books will show that Jorge Lorenzo’s win today, together with Valentino Rossi’s 4th place finish, gave the 2015 championship to Lorenzo by five points. There will be documentation attesting to the fact that Valentino Rossi passed 20 riders in the first 10 laps, ultimately making it up to 4th place on the grid, at which point he was spent.

There will be no explanation, visual or otherwise, why either of the Repsol Hondas didn’t give Lorenzo a serious go on the last two laps; the term “team orders” has ceased to exist. The three points given Rossi by Race Direction after Sepang were, in the end, decisive.

The bells are not ringing in Tavullia tonight.

Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both finished within 0.7 seconds of Jorge Lorenzo. Close, but not close enough for Valentino Rossi’s liking.

Setting the Stage

Jorge Lorenzo laid down “the best lap of my life,” in his words, on Saturday to capture pole in a race where getting away at the front would solve a lot of problems. Joined on the front row by Repsol Honda troublemakers Marc Marquez and the suddenly-hot Dani Pedrosa, Lorenzo earned the best possible track to the title on Saturday.

Jorge Lorenzo was fast all weekend, knowing full well that starting on the pole put every other racer on the grid between him and Rossi.

Everyone know Rossi would be starting from the back row. Everyone had done the math about where Rossi would arrive when. Lorenzo knew, as we all knew, that winning the race meant Rossi’s eventual placement was less of a concern; anything outside of second would put the Italian in 2nd place for the season.

Valentino Rossi made a go of it, fighting his way through the field to fourth.

Thus, on a Honda-friendly track, in front of a sellout crowd and millions watching on TV around the world, Jorge Lorenzo exerted his will upon the field and his top competitors to win in Valencia. In a must-win situation he showed us his mental toughness and again brings into question why he bothered to get involved in the Rossi/Marquez tiff. Had he floated above the controversy, his title would shine a lot brighter than it does. He reminds me of my wife’s strong suggestion that I never resist an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

On the Track…

…The Usual Suspects took their places, Lorenzo followed closely by Marquez, Pedrosa trailing and, eventually, Rossi occupying fourth, unable to do anything about the action so far in front of him. For Rossi to claim the title, he needed both Marquez and Pedrosa to treat Lorenzo rudely, going through to put the Mallorcan in third place.

Amazingly, Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa at the end of Lap 1 and at the end of Lap 30, without having to withstand a serious challenge of any import along the way. This oddity, which also resulted in an all-Spanish podium, is a little fishy. The casual observer, if the top three wore the same livery, might deduce that #93 and #26 were protecting the back of #99. The world will never know.

Valentino Rossi had some sharply-pointed words about the all-Spanish podium of Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.

The worst part of all of this, as we know, is that the specific sanction imposed upon Rossi by Race Direction after Sepang had a direct bearing on the outcome of the season. What if Race Direction had, in its wisdom, assessed Rossi a two point penalty, slapping him on the wrist but allowing him to qualify? Is it that hard to see him finishing second from a second row start on a day the factory Hondas were not getting froggy?

And with triple world champion Lorenzo in effect criticizing the penalty as too lenient, is there any reason to suppose the team won’t be building a wall down the middle of the garage again in 2016, the way it did in 2009? No warm and fuzzies here.

Ever one for elaborate celebrations, Jorge Lorenzo marked his fifth world championship with doubles wearing his racing leathers from his 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 title seasons.

Elsewhere on the Grid

Pol Espargaro lashed his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha to the line three seconds in front of teammate Bradley Smith to capture fifth place for the day, Smith just showing Andrea Dovizioso and his Desmosedici the shade. Aleix Espargaro brought his factory Suzuki across the line in eighth, with Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci bringing the LCR Honda and the Pramac Ducati, respectively, to the flag filling out the top ten.

Nicky Hayden, the sole American racer left in MotoGP, finished 17th in his final race in the class.

Farther down the food chain, Maverick Vinales, Michele Pirro and Yonny Hernandez ended their year in the points. Vinales will continue with Suzuki in 2016, Pirro will continue to test for Ducati, and Hernandez moves to the Aspar team but will remain on the junior class Ducati, teaming up with Eugene Laverty. Today, in his last MotoGP start, American Nicky Hayden finished 17th and out of the money, but he finished, as has been declared a MotoGP Legend, with three career wins and a championship to show for his body of work in the premier class. I hope one of the genuine nice guys in the industry can find a competitive team and win a title in WSBK.

Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl finished 14th and 18th today, and will begin practicing on the new Aprilia MotoGP bike on Tuesday in Jerez. Brit Scott Redding ended his generally fruitless association with Marc VDS Honda and will be suiting up for Pramac Ducati alongside Petrucci. (Scott, wouldn’t it have been easier just to lose 15 pounds?) Marc VDS will, in 2016, be bringing Tito Rabat up from Moto2 to ride alongside Jack Miller. Loris Baz will join top open class rider Hector Barbera at Avintia Ducati.

Esteve “Tito” Rabat won his final Moto2 race. He will race in MotoGP next season for Marc VDS.

The top factory and satellite teams are standing pat, meaning some riders will not have seats for next season. This is life in the slow lane of MotoGP.

The Final Big Picture of 2015

Introducing your 2015 World Champions, Moto3 winner Danny Kent on the left, MotoGP champ Jorge Lorenzo center and Moto2 king Johann Zarco on the right.

So, Lorenzo edges Rossi for the title, with Marquez third and Pedrosa fourth; the Aliens remain unchallenged. Andrea Iannone outpoints Smith by seven to claim fifth, with Brit the top satellite rider in sixth. Dovizioso slips to seventh place for the year, ahead of Crutchlow in eighth. And Pol Espargaro pips Petrucci by a single point in the race for ninth place. The two Suzukis finish 11th and 12th, Espargaro outpointing his rookie teammate by eight.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

So MotoGP now has four respectable, competitive manufacturers, two of which have Alien class riders. The rule and tire changes for 2016 will shuffle the deck to a degree, but should not change the order of Aliens. Several junior class riders – Alex Rins and Miguel Oliveira among them – are soon going to be working in the premier class, along with some talented young Italian riders.

Danny Kent won the 2015 Moto3 title, the first world championship for a British racer since Barry Sheene in 1977.

The Marquez-Rossi flap this season has exposed some weakness in the relationship between teams and sponsors, with some sponsors seizing upon the opportunity to back out of agreements going forward. Repsol is having a terrible year, courtesy of cheap crude oil prices, and was offended by the event, as was Honda, as was Movistar, as was Yamaha. There is no reason to expect that these types of incidents won’t continue to occur in the coming years.

Indianapolis is gone from the calendar, replaced by Austria, and the calendar is lengthened by a week. Testing this week at Jerez marks the beginning of next season, new bums on new seats. New tires. New electronics.

Goodbye to 2015

Jorge Lorenzo receives the MotoGP World Championship trophy at the FIM awards ceremony after the race.

Each year, we try to find a quote that summarizes the season we’ve just seen. Without even doing the research, I recalled a statement from a movie several years ago that I believe sums up 2015 for Jorge Lorenzo. Heading into the season, there was faint hope that he would be able to compete with Marquez. As Marquez faltered, Rossi rallied, and Lorenzo was in a season-long dogfight.

There were plenty of points in the season where Lorenzo could have given up. In response to one, he went on a four race win streak. He kept it close until the very last week of the season, and had enough left to seize the day when the opportunity presented itself. He kept the faith.

Bring it, 2016.

It could have been Jorge Lorenzo that the young proprietor of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was speaking about when he observed,

“Everything works out in the end.
If it hasn’t worked out, it is not yet the end.”

We look forward to bringing you MotoGP again next season.

2015 MotoGP Valencia Top 10 Results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha
2 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda +0.263
3 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +0.654
4 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha +19.789
5 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech3 +26.004
6 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech3 +28.835
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Corse +28.886
8 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Ecstar +34.222
9 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda +35.924
10 Danilo Petrucci Octo Pramac Racing +39.579
2015 MotoGP Top Ten Final Standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 330
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 325
3 Marc Marquez Honda 242
4 Dani Pedrosa Honda 206
5 Andrea Iannone Ducati 188
6 Bradley Smith Yamaha 181
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 162
8 Cal Crutchlow Honda 125
9 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 114
10 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 113
  • john burns

    Well that was every bit as lame as i expected. I only watched to see if Pedrosa would submarine Lorenzo from behind, or Marquez. No such luck. The only thing that gets my attention next year is if somebody gives Jonathan Rea a MotoGP bike.

    • William Marvin Parker

      Yep, its called “sandbagging”.. Exactly what they did. I’m gonna come bk when Jack Miller is a contender in like 2020…

  • Ozzy Mick

    Once again, I agree with your sentiments, Mr. Allen. And the posers that you raised, including the lack of intensity of MM and Petrobot. Smacks of jingoism but, hey, they wouldn’t be the first.

    I also agree with your assessment of Lorenzo and have to chuckle at your sense of self-deprecation: “Had he floated above the controversy, his title would shine a lot brighter than it does. He reminds me of my wife’s strong suggestion that I never resist an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.”

    Thanks for keeping us entertained and enlightened. Until next year….Cheers! and Farewell to Hayden.

  • JMDonald

    It will take a lot for Moto GP to lose its stink. I doubt Marquez will ever lose his. The great write ups added a lot to this season. So it goes. Another day in yacht racing.

  • Gruf Rude

    I think Bruce Allen had it right at the beginning: Rossi let the pressure of the
    10th championship get to him and he began to obsess about Marquez.

    Rossi went off very publically and repeatedly at Marquez over Phillip Island yet had
    nothing but praise for Ionnone, who was every bit as involved in that scrap and
    every bit as much out of the championship. Odd.

    I thought at the time Rossi was trying to confuse and embarrass the younger rider
    to mess with his concentration and back him off. Instead, he really ticked off the younger, less mature but very proud two-time world champion. I think Marquez, as speculated by Lin Jarvis, decided to show Rossi what it would look like if he really wanted to mess with him – and did so in Sepang.

    Rossi played his mind games and then, when it did not work out the way he expected,
    he rode rough (not for the first time in his career). Rossi deliberately forced Marquez to the edge and when Marquez did not back off, he shoved Marquez’ right arm with his knee puck to make sure he was off track and out of the way. That sort of irresponsible riding would have brought out a black flag for most any rider but Rossi; he was lucky that he was allowed to finish the race and collect his third place points
    or the championship would have been over.

    As it was, he got sent to the back of the grid, but truly, with his skill and
    top-drawer equipment, I expected him to easily move to the front – and he did.
    However, he never had the speed to stick with Lorenzo – and nobody else did
    either, as has been the case in a number of dry races this year. Watching
    Marquez’ bike move around as he clung to the ultra-smooth Lorenzo did not look
    to me like he was sandbagging. Given Rossi’s qualifying, I don’t think he could
    have won the championship in any event.

    Finally, Rossi’s paranoid post-race interviews were just plain low class – and another
    indication that Rossi succumbed to his own self-generated pressure to win that
    10th championship.

    • Ian Parkes

      What I don’t get is that you say Rossi deserved his punishment, or more, for running Marquez wide (but not to the edge) without recognising all the provocation – and actual barging – from Marquez beforehand, and the lunge that led to him crashing, was even more deserving of a penalty. And I’m surprised to learn from you that Rossi took out Marquez with his slider. Wow. Can you show me?

      • john burns

        every video I’ve seen shows Rossi’s foot coming off the peg only after Marquez rams into him, a thing he could easily have avoided.

        • Ian Parkes

          Yep, that’s what I saw too.

        • Gruf Rude

          “Kick” was a misnomer from the beginning. What I saw was a strong push to Marquez’ arm by Rossi’s knee as they came together while Marquez held his line at the very edge of the pavement. The contact was forced by Rossi; note his forks compressed on braking – he braked deliberately to bring them together. Race Direction called it a foul, Rossi’s appeal was unanimously denied and the further review by the ‘sport court’ upheld the ruling.

          • john burns

            very edge my ass there were feet left, and they were barely going 40 mph. Marquez said he saw him there going slow and looking back at him. All he had to do was wait to see what Rossi was going to do and then proceed. Instead he gassed it and rammed Rossi and put himself down. Rossi’s foot came off the peg as a result of the contact Marquez initiated. I don’t think Webb saw the helicopter footage that most clearly shows what happened.

          • john burns

            Marquez insists kick.

  • Gary

    I lost a lot of respect for Rossi after the way he lost his cool the last few weeks. But it was clear in the final race that Marquez had the speed to pass Lorenzo … and he chose not to. It looked to me like his main objective was to protect Lorenzo from Pedrosa.

  • Old MOron

    Well Bruce, I haven’t been able to write a single word about that shitty “finale” all day. But you got it. Thank you, and well done! I love your parting assessment:

    “Everything works out in the end.
    If it hasn’t worked out, it is not yet the end.”

    Alright, I’ll tune in next year to see if things work out.

  • Shlomi

    Congrats to Lordnzo, 7 wins and one DNF this year. He definitely prooved fastest in dry conditions. Was painful to see Marquez not even trying to pass, and how he prevented Danny from challenging Lorenzo.
    Sheaty ending to a great year. I’m sorry for Rossi but he won so many times in the past he can live with only 9 championships.
    Too bad the champion this year was decided with race control. To be honest I wish they black flagged Rossi at Sepang, at least we would have seen a good last race.

  • Konstantin Troitskiy

    One cannot miss everyone’s frustration and anger with Marquez and Lorenzo, and – support for Rossi, but there maybe another take on this situation:
    1. It was Rossi with hysteria about conspiracy against him. Marc has at all times remained calm and cool headed.
    2. It was Rossi who broke the rules in Sepang.
    3. Apparently Marquez’s talent is so huge that he can afford choosing places not just for himself, but also for his rivals! He can play with Rossi all day and the latter can do nothing about it, and then fire to the first on the last lap. Or he can put Lorenzo on the top, keep Pedro in third, so that the Doctor does not end up on the podium.
    4. Some say MotoGP is over for them. Indeed. The next 15 years or so it will only be the fight for second place and lower.
    5. It’s amazing everyone forget that Rossi and Lory are decent motorcyclists. Pretty fast. Maybe not so easy to overtake.
    6. Even if that was in fact Marquez’s vendetta on Rossi – then he is the most dangerous man on the planet. Messed up Rossi not having violated a formal rule. Obtruded a race-track fight on Rossi…rascal, how dared he?

  • Bruce Allen

    Yesterday’s race was the most highly watched in history. First time viewers learned what a skilled rider Rossi is. They learned how smooth and fast Lorenzo is. They learned absolutely nothing about why people watch this stuff as Marquez and Pedrosa refused to engage Lorenzo in a genuine battle. Marquez, I think, wanted to avoid fighting Lorenzo at all costs, lest he cause him to crash out, handing the title to his shiny new rival Rossi and instantly creating a second.

    • Chrhu Kelki Meren

      I completely agree Bruce, it was a rightfully so “Hyped” race cause anything could have happened, unfortunately nothing really did (except Rossi’s mastery of the rest of the field). I have to say from my point of view that I don’t think Pedrosa held anything back. He looked on race form like he does in so many races, but it was clear to me that Marquez was holding back the whole time. There were many points where MM could have at least pushed or showed a wheel to Lorenzo (particularly in the last couple laps) but refused to. The evidence in my mind is proven when he fought back against Pedrosa so quickly and decisively. MM was protecting Lorenzo, not cause he wanted him to win cause they are all buddy buddy like so many (Rossi) claims, but just to keep Rossi from winning the title. I don’t know if that was his motivation in Malaysia and Australia, but I think it was his only goal in Spain.

    • Gruf Rude

      I agree that Marquez did not want to make a risky pass on the limit that might cause a crash. Only makes sense with all the criticism he has been getting for on-the limits, crazy, aggressive moves.
      Of course, crashing the title contender while he is leading would instantly draw the criticism that Marquez really shouldn’t have interfered with the title fight . . . Or would we hear such criticism, since a crash would have benefitted Rossi?

      All this drama started with Rossi’s unprecedented public whining about his perception that Marquez was persecuting him. Until Rossi framed the ‘issue’, no commentators seemed to have noticed the persecution. I think Rossi could have won his 10th title if he had simply stifled his nerves and raced hard to the end.

      • Ian Parkes

        “Of course, crashing the title contender while he is leading would instantly draw the criticism that Marquez really shouldn’t have interfered with the title fight” – I think you are fortnight late with this comment.

      • mugwump

        Valle’s never won a four stroke title with less than a 45 point cushion. Which of the musketeers are Catalonia s?

  • Fausto Carello

    Now is all over. What I enjoy most this season? The comments of Bruce Allen. Thanks Bruce. See you next year.

  • 12er

    So MM maybe showed half a wheel the entire race, must be nice to have a body guard. Second time in my life I’ve routed for Pedroso I must say and dont see a third. lol

  • Cale

    what a horrible and lackluster end to a what was a great season

  • John B.

    A terrible day for Hispanophobes around the globe, but a wonderful championship for Lorenzo and all of Spain.

    No rules were violated, no riders were injured, and the fastest rider won (prove me wrong). I especially enjoyed watching Rossi have another “Yosemite Sam” meltdown after he received the outcome he so richly deserved.

    Following the summer break, Rossi could not ride fast enough to maintain his lead, and needed help from Marquez and Pedrosa to win the overall championship. Inexplicably, Rossi concluded hurling personal insults at Marquez in public was the best way to get the help he needed. Quite a strategist this Valentino Rossi.

    Arrivederci paesano!

    • john phyyt

      Bravo! You have said it brilliantly. If Rossi has any sense he will not rely on “gentlemanly” riding from other “Aliens”. From now on if Marquez has inside line on him; well ; it is clearly okay to run him onto the grass everytime.

      • John B.

        Rossi is the slowest of the four (4) Yamaha and Honda riders and will not be competitive with Marquez next year. Rossi is through and he knows it, which is why he made such a big fuss. With athletes it’s often sad at the end.

        • Bruce Allen

          Exactly what I said last year. And the year before…

        • john burns

          so may as well put them out of their misery by allowing the youngsters to ram them at will.

          • John B.

            I’m a casual fan with no expertise in motorcycle racing, which likely explains why my comments seem obtuse. It feels like I am missing something in this Rossi-Marquez-Pedrosa-Lorenzo drama.

            Are the Spanish riders descended from the Moors who inhabited the Iberian Peninsula in the middle ages? Did the Spanish trio commit some crime against humanity about which I am unaware? Does Rossi’s superstar status render him beyond reproach? Are all American moto-journalists hiding Italian ancestry?

            I assume MotoGP has rules to prevent riders from ramming each other at will. Likewise, there must be rules to prohibit riders from running each other wide in a turn. Clearly, personal insults that impugn another rider’s professional integrity do not violate any MotoGP rule or code of conduct.

            MotoGP has rules, referees/stewards, and due process…. What am I missing?

          • john burns

            You’re missing that running a guy wide does not invite you to ram him. Marquez said after the race that he saw Rossi going slow and looking back at him– and suddenly Rossi’s leg came out and kicked him down! Clearly false. Marquez gassed it into Rossi and made himself crash. Rossi’s foot only came off the peg after the impact.

          • John B.

            Thank you for the explanation John.

            It sounds like your beef is with the committee that penalized Rossi but not Marquez, and the entity that upheld these rulings on appeal.

            Race officials reviewed all the evidence and concluded Rossi violated a rule (failing to hold his line) and gave him a 3 point penalty. The committee also concluded Marquez did not violate any rule and could not be penalized for his conduct. Since Marquez did not finish the race, however, he received no points, which is tantamount to a substantial penalty.

            I accept these rulings because I have no reason to believe the committee is corrupt and/or had an improper agenda. Moreover, unlike the committee members, I am not an expert on MotoGP racing rules. Rossi received due process and lost on the merits; then he lost on appeal, and finally he lost on the track.

            MotoGP, like society itself, has rules and procedures designed to achieve fair outcomes. These processes, however, are, and have always been imperfect.

            The final outcome does not offend me.

          • john burns

            Points didn’t matter to Marquez by then, he was already out of the title hunt, which is another reason why people are down on him. I don’t believe Mike Webb is corrupt but I don’t think we saw the helicopter footage till after he’d made his decision, and that’s the view that shows MM most clearly running into Ross, causing his foot to come off the peg.
            It’s not the first time Marquez rammed somebody. In fact it was the 3rd time he’d rammed Rossi this season, and blamed Rossi for all three incidents even tho Marquez was behind him each time. They should’ve both been penalized for Sepang, tho Marquez’s intentional ramming was more egregious.

  • Ian Parkes

    Thanks Bruce, it’s been another highlight of a fascinating season to follow your insightful analysis, from both heart and head. Congrats.

  • Vrooom

    Moto GP took a huge step downwards in my eyes. Marquez was right on Lorenzo’s butt the whole way and never once even attempted to pass him, didn’t even try. Lorenzo walking off the podium last week, that’s not what a champion does, a champion is supposed to be a flag bearer for the sport. At least Pedrosa attempted to pass Marquez, once.

  • hasty hughie is in the moto business so naturally you produce articles on moto gp. However, as a reader, a motorcycle rider and a fan, I do not have any further interest in moto gp. IMHO, Moto GP has evolved to where the negative narrative has eclipsed the real drama of extreme sport competition and I feel cheated. By who? By the organizers, race control, the riders involved, the teams, their managers, the sponsors, the journalists, everyone involved who did not assert positive leadership. I am not alone on this, read the articles and the blogs. They are full of dissatisfaction, polarization, opinion, fact, fiction, conspiracy, vitriol, apology, etc. I for one, will look elsewhere for sport.

    • John B.

      I hear you and understand your disappointment. Keep in mind, however, conflict drives drama. Many years ago, I read books and articles on writing drama, and the advice I remember most clearly is to create immense conflict and get characters into as much trouble as possible. In this light, the 2015 MotoGP season has been a smashing success. Bruce Allen noted the Valencia race had the largest audience in MotoGP history. As always in these situations, the drama annoys the purists, but attracts the casual fan. To grow, sports must interest the casual fan since casual fans far outnumber purists, and the purists rarely stop watching.

      • john burns

        imagine how much better it would’ve been for Everybody if Rossi had been up there with the other three. Or had had a chance to be. Would’ve been a finale for The Ages.

        • John B.

          To ignore rules to accomplish expedient objectives compromises rider safety, is repugnant to the rule of law, and nullifies the riders’ right to expect a fair adjudication on the merits with respect to rules violations. Otherwise, I agree it would have been better for Rossi to start at the front with the big boys.

          MotoGP could amend its rules to give race direction discretion to impose no penalty in situations where it believes to impose a penalty would make the next race less compelling. I doubt anyone would be satisfied with that arrangement.

          Race direction gave Rossi a hearing, reviewed the evidence, and rendered a decision consistent with the rules. That’s a good as it gets.

          I understand we disagree on this point.

          • john burns

            alright, Ward Cleaver but I think you’re being a little tough on the Beav. So we should never question authority even when it’s wrong? Okay. Speaking of rider safety, why was there no penalty the first two times Marquez rammed Rossi this year, from behind? Trump or Ben Carson?

          • John B.

            Nothing says “you win” as succinctly as ad hominem. Feel the Bern John!

          • john burns

            Agreed, let me know when you’re fixing to ram me so I can deploy my leg of steel to kick your machine to the ground!

          • John B.

            I have been ramming you for days, but have not encountered anything remotely so formidable as a steel leg.

            Can we agree to a ceasefire until next season begins in Qatar?

          • john burns

            Oh i didn’t realize you were actually attacking since there’s been no real argument except that we should all Respect Authority. which in this case was wrong. Do you agree with Citizens United? The Supreme Court passed that one. We should all agree because they’ve got Diana Ross on their side?

          • John B.

            I am beginning to think you love motorcycles and writing, but have contempt for your audience. Smart guy, great writer, a bit chippy, found peace in the solitude of his ex-wife’s garage…. It must be difficult for a man with your intellect and flare to write for an audience a substantial percentage of whom do not understand why they should wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Pearls before swine, right John? You’re the Birdman John, and that’s where they all belong, walking on the streets far below you. No wonder Duke allows you to work from home! I digress….

            I am a 5 year MotoGP fan who has never done a track day, let alone raced a motorcycle, who, like many MO readers, has not reviewed the MotoGP rules. For all I know, Race Direction could be a Kangaroo court, or a well-respected governing body.

            You are a motorcycle industry expert and insider whose opinions might actually make their way to MotoGP officials, and I/we (those moving specs on the streets below) visit MO to learn from you and MO’s other expert staff members. If your conclusion is based on emotion, just say so and I will look elsewhere for answers. If there’s a logical basis for your conclusions, please share it. To steal a phrase from Lily Hardy Hammond, pay it forward John! You’re the expert!

            You keep saying Marquez crashed into Rossi from behind, but don’t explain how race officials erred. Were you a race official, what logic (application of facts to rules) would have supported your decision to allow Rossi to avoid the points penalty that required him to start at the rear in Valencia? You believe race officials were wrong, however, you have not explained how they misapplied the facts to the MotoGP rules. Did they misinterpret the rules, misinterpret the facts, or misapply the facts to the rules?

            With respect to Citizens United, Diana Ross, and the Supremes you forced me clarify for myself an important distinction about so-called Authority. (I realize you may be just tooling me around, but I’ll respond anyway.)

            I draw a distinction between Authority with jurisdiction over me, and Authority with which I have no relationship. Race Direction is the Authority for those who participate in MotoGP races, and in certain circumstances it makes sense for those in that realm to challenge Race Direction’s authority. Rossi, among others, did just that after the Marquez crash.

            I have nothing to do with MotoGP, therefore it makes no difference whether or not I stand up to Race Direction’s authority. In contrast, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions interpret laws that govern all U.S. citizens including me. As such, it makes sense for me to challenge the Supreme Court’s authority in certain instances such as, for example, if I were to represent a party in a case before the Supreme Court. (You may have noticed Valentino Rossi has not challenged the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision nor the deplorable prison conditions in California.)

            I/we have come all this way to Olympus (Oz, whatever). What says the Oracle?

          • john burns

            My how you do go on. I laid out my take on the crash in my “Whatever” column the week after Sepang and about 10 more times since then, I’m tired of retyping it. You’re the kind of guy who comes very close to the facts but then just misses getting them right. In my Whatever Garage Love column, I mentioned I bought a house with a big garage WITH my ex, not that I’d moved into my ex’s garage. Kind of a big difference. (AirBNBing out her master suite has been working out really well so far!) Duke lets me work at home because we ALL work at home. It’s awesome. I’ve written about that too. I love all my readers and am eternally grateful to them for giving me this great career, even the ones who don’t wear helmets. Even the ones who seem like they don’t wear a helmet. Kudos…

          • John B.

            Love you say…. Thank you for putting a fine point on your living and working arrangements; that’s why we tune in.

          • john burns

            It’s my curse to need to straighten people out when they disseminate misinformation publicly. Glad to be of service.

          • John B.

            Of course, I knew you and your ex-wife own the house together. I purposely wrote the sentence about your living arrangements to be both technically accurate (your wife in fact owns the garage in which you find peace) and to provoke your insecurity (ego).

            You creatively found an ideal living/working arrangement in a town where that’s especially difficult, and it doesn’t matter whether you rent or own. Right? Your ego, however, demanded you restore order (you above, and everyone else below). As such, you were COMPELLED to correct the record, and to ridicule my intelligence and reading comprehension skills. It’s as though your ego screamed, “I’m a homeowner! I’ll dare you confuse me with mere renters! I am the Birdman!”

            All of us are a work in progress John.

          • john burns

            Okayy, this was fun.

          • John B.

            Yea man, nothing like an excursion into left-coast vapidity.

          • methamphetasaur

            John B.:
            after a few weeks deliberation, the internet has decided to award your trolling a perfect 5/7 !

      • hasty hughie

        John B. my advice is go back and read it all over again. Drama in sport comes from the effort and struggle to excel against the challenges of the endeavor, like climbing a mountain, bull fighting and to complete the Hemingway trinity, motor racing. This season moto gp has given sport a back seat and become about supporting the characters’ effort to control the narrative for their own aggrandizement. There is no tragedy here, no statement or lesson. There is not drama. This conflict has become cheap melodrama. This kind of spectacle has its fans, but it has nothing to do with your contrived polarized nonsense about purists vs casual. In addition, quoting Bruce Allen as an authority that a lot of people watched this disaster does not make the event worthwhile or validate your cynical observations.

        • John B.

          In a .51 second search I found 61,300,000 references to the role of conflict in writing drama. Throughout these materials, you will find (in one form or another) the following axiomatic statement: “Conflict is the essence of drama…. Conflict is the primary ingredient that weaves together all the other elements of a novel.” Apparently, my memory is sharper than your ignorance. I recommend you do additional reading on the subject.

          In referencing this year’s MotoGP season you state, “There is not [sic] drama.” To quote John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious….” Rossi’s battle with Marquez at Phillip Island before Marquez crashed was one of the most dramatic and memorable battles I have ever seen in sports. Like two (2) heavyweights slugging it out in the center of the ring, it was obvious the battle could not continue very long, and I could not look away. I watched that battle several times, and even my family members who do not watch MotoGp were riveted.

          Rossi starting at the back of the grid and courageously fighting his way through the other riders in a desperate bid to prevail over Lorenzo, Marquez, Race Direction, and evil forces throughout the universe was dramatic and compelling. Lorenzo, under circumstances where one misstep could cost him the championship, rode one perfect lap after another at a pace that froze Rossi 18 seconds behind. The focus moved to the front of the race as it became clear Rossi could not win unless Lorenzo faltered. Lorenzo despite the brisk pace and all the pressure met the challenge and won the championship. Lorenzo, now a five-time champion in a highly selective sport, established himself as one of the world’s most accomplished athletes.

          Rossi’s press conference(s) where he relentlessly impugned Marquez’s integrity and professionalism, and Marquez’s denials and befuddlement greatly heightened the drama. Lorenzo’s plea in intervention created conflict and drama. Honda and Yamaha’s opposing views further heightened the drama. Other riders, past and present, took sides. Industry giants gave their opinions. In short, there was enough drama and conflict to draw a record number of viewers to watch the Valencia event, and to drive social media commentary into a frenzy.

          You pejoratively characterize these compelling conflicts as “cheap melodrama,” but don’t explain what you find so contemptible. Conclusory statements even when conveyed with vehemence and certitude make for ineffective rhetoric. Moreover, melodrama involves exaggerated one-dimensional stock characters (e.g., heros, heroines, and villains) and MotoGP riders are complex multi-dimensional beings who risk life and limb in every race. Melodrama involves exaggeration, and It’s impossible to exaggerate the dangers inherent in MotoGP racing.

          Finally, I am an entrepreneur; not a cynic. Bruce Allen wrote, “Yesterday’s race was the most highly watched in history.” The number of viewers is one metric by which to measure an event’s worthiness. Certainly, advertisers and others who derive revenue from MotoGP consider viewership critical. I would characterize first-time viewers as casual fans, and contend as a matter of mathematics MotoGP cannot expand its audience without attracting the casual fan.

          In your original statement you say you have no further interest in MotoGP and will “look elsewhere” for sport. I recommend womens beach volleyball. Riveting in a whole other way.

          • hasty hughie

            Whoa John, take a breath. Do you also write at length on the drama of american wrestling. Moto Gp is real people being themselves in a dangerous sport, for better or worse. This past year, worse. Now you are added to my experience this year with the picayune bits of minutia, like the funny hats and the big foam fingers. Watch women’s beach volleyball, tough talk there.
            The horror of your clever put down leaves me shaking. I suppose I should close with something just as clever like bma or amf but I will go with see ya’

          • John B.

            You did not respond to one point I raised. Instead you, like Burns below, resorted to ad hominem; the least persuasive form of argument. You’re dope!

          • hasty hughie

            John, respond to you points, why ? That would be redundant. Above you say, “You’re dope!”. Is that as you wrote, ” you are dope” which would be a good thing, because in context it seems
            like you are trying to say, “You are a dope!” which would be a bad thing. So I will go with both and in the end we have conflict but no drama; seems more like farce…. me dope saying goodbye.

  • wg

    Interesting to see all the comments here and most people forgetting or not realizing the entire story, which has been playing out for a long time during this year’s championship.

    But first: does Lorenzo make a great champion? For his riding skills, absolutely.

    With that out of the way, back to the Rossi/Marquez controversy: all that Rossi asked for is an equal chance at the title, without someone deliberately trying to make that impossible, someone who could not get to the title this year.

    And this making it impossible, has been going on at least since the second half of the MotoGP this year, Argentina, and so on, and so on. MM has been extremely lucky not to get any points this year with hsi behaviour. IMO, he deserved to get them, f.e., at Assen. RD did not bother, because despite MM’s action, Rossi made an excellent recovery riding amazingly straight through the gravel, and won regardless.

    If you look at MM’s riding style, including Sepang, you’ll see that he always rides like an idiot, trying to push or scare people so he can overtake them. It got more extreme against Rossi, for whatever reason. Just watch Sepang back, and a few more races. Especially watch how MM behaves.

    Rossi running wide? Yes, first time, while MM had done the same in that same race a few times already, almost forcing him off the track. At least Rossi did leave him enough space to go around, at least 2.5 m, much more tham MM left him most of the time.

    Essentially, what MM was doing, amounts to bullying, no more, no less.
    Imagine someone is bullying you, and you see nobody is doing anything about it, for quite a while, months at least. What would you do? Normally making a lot of noise about it, is often enough. That is all Rossi did, when he realized that this was not going to stop. It was his only chance of still making something of this season. I am pretty sure he knew which way this could go, but what else could he do?

    Doinfg nothing or pretending nothing had happened, doesn’t help in the fight against bully tactics, it will continue, as we saw.

    Now to “speed differences”. “Rossi is the slowest of the quartet”. Prove it. It just ain’t true. An analysis was done by another digital magazine, which shows that all 4 Aliens have approximately all the same speed, with very little in it. If anything, Pedrosa is the fastest.

    The only thing one can say about Rossi in this respect, is that he didn’t do too well with qualifying in many races, for whatever reason. Essentially this means that one always has a disadvantage to start with, and considering the battles required to get past other riders, especially the better ones, always mean that one loses more time.

    It also requires one to ask all from one’s tyres, and that again means that by the time one finally gets into a position to do battle in the top 4, starting with a 5 second or more backlog to catch up with, it becomes almost impossible to win, especially if those in front have been able to ride a consistent race in comparison. One would have to do 0.3 of a second faster over 18 laps just to catch up, to refer to Valencia, let alone win, and that with worse tyre wear than those in front of you.

    Finally, from my POV, MM could have won this race, if he had really wanted to. The words he used to say why he didn’t are in stark contrast with the way he normally rides and totally out of character. And in addition, he behaved rather differently and decisively with his fellow team rider in none to be misunderstood way. Even Pedrosa understood he should better not try again, and stayed a little behind thereafter.

    So, all in all, this last race, Lorenzo won, he is a great and consistent rider. MM played a game. In this game, Pedrosa could maybe have become second, but I doubt whether he had enough left to go past Lorenzo at that stage. Rossi’s tyres were spent too much by the time he had gotten to 4th position, so further advance would only have been possible with one of the other three DNF-ing.

    IOW, MM first, followed by JL, then Pedrosa, would have been a distinct possibility, with Rossi still not winning the title.

    Maybe it is good that Rossi did start from the last spot on the grid. Who knows what would have happened if he had been in the top 4 from the word go. I shudder to think….

    I could say a lot more, but it is a long story as it stands :).

    Anyway, just my 2 1/2 cents :).

    Kind regards, Wim

  • Deryl Clark

    Honor to a Spaniard, no matter how dishonest, is as real a thing as water, wine, or olive oil. There is honor among pickpockets and honor among whores. It is simply that the standards differ.
    Hemingway from “Death in the Afternoon”

  • Bruce Allen

    Having given the last three rounds of MotoGP some thought, more than they deserve, I have reached the following conclusion. It is advice I would give Rossi if I had a deep, dramatic Spanish accent to my English, an “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do” kind of voice. Had I such an accent and delivery, I would say to Valentino, in that voice, “If, Valentino, in the few years you have left, you wish to avoid having an enraged young bull wearing #93 and getting deeply in your SHIT on the racetrack, perhaps it would be wise not to wave a large red flag in his face and insult his integrity at the same time. Yes, perhaps that would be better.”

  • c j chamberlin

    What a sad ending to a season that was so exciting. Not the winner but the stupid drama laden crap that sucked in Rossi. Why not show instead his technically perfect riding, being a man instead of a script. Reality Racing? Too bad. But oh, to have that skill that Rossi has is like nothing else. Come next year, Rossi, please get your head in the game again and out of the drama.

  • Bob Dragich

    For an analysis of how the new Michelin tires are doing against the Bridgestones in MotoGP, click here:

  • Bob Dragich

    MotoGP will be changing tire brands in 2016. They’ve already done a test on the new tires. To see the results, click here: