The Rossi factor | Valentino Rossi Blog

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Monday, September 14, 2015

The Rossi factor

















With the level of the MotoGP™ World Championship at near its highest ever, sometimes it takes more than speed to win.
There’s no doubt that on his day Valentino Rossi is the fastest rider in the MotoGP™ World Championship. But on his day Jorge Lorenzo is the fastest, as is Marc Marquez. All three riders are capable of battling for victory at almost every circuit when the stars align. In both Silverstone and Misano the stars looked to be aligning for Jorge Lorenzo, until race day. With the dice coming up Rossi, he pushed his luck as hard as he dare.
The last two rounds have seen Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo have the clear edge on race pace heading into race day, but Mother Nature and luck have caused cosmic shifts in favour of his teammate. Rossi has been strong the last two rounds in practice, but, unlike Lorenzo, he has also been lucky. Based on race pace from practice in the dry Rossi would not have been able to keep up with Lorenzo in either the British or the San Marino GP if conditions remained stable. As things looked at their most dire for Rossi the clouds began to gather overhead, clouding Lorenzo’s race but offering a ray of hope to Rossi.
Having the weather open the race up to you means nothing if you can’t capitalise on the opportunity. Rossi is as quick in the wet as he is the dry but in recent years Lorenzo has struggled in wet races. A collarbone breaking crash during wet practice for the Dutch GP in 2013 may have been the start of this trend.
Aside from his incredible speed, Rossi has the unique ability to make the best of almost any situation: in Argentina and Assen he overcame Marquez and in both Silverstone and Misano he made the most of Lorenzo’s bad luck. In terms of experience Rossi stands head and shoulders above all other riders on the MotoGP™ grid, there are very few situations he hasn’t found himself in throughout his racing career. With experience comes the knowledge of what to do and what not to do, a fact that was perfectly demonstrated in Sunday’s Misano GP.
Rossi and Lorenzo broke away at the front when the field swapped to wets and continued to push each other even as the track dried and chunks of rubber flung from the front tyre. Lorenzo waited for Rossi to pit, holding off his return to slicks for as long as he dare in order to battle the Italian on equal terms. But Rossi continued to push; if he and Lorenzo went down together then it was Lorenzo who would lose more as Rossi would maintain his championship lead. Rossi knows when to risk it and how far to push, a ruthless competitor when the visor comes down.
Championships are decided with victories as often as they are mistakes. Rossi’s experience tells him when to risk it and how to make the most of other’s mistakes, an edge that has certainly helped him in the past with the likes of Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau. All hope is not lost for Lorenzo as with five rounds left closing down the 23 point gap is doable, but he’ll have to overcome the Rossi factor.

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