Rossi's tenth title: over or set to break more records? | Valentino Rossi Blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rossi's tenth title: over or set to break more records?

With 21 years of experience reporting on MotoGP™, Matthew Birt knows the championship inside-out. For the 2016 season he remains with the team to bring you exclusive news and opinion from inside the paddock.
Valentino Rossi has become accustomed to defying logic and ripping up the record books in his glittering 20-year career in the Grand Prix paddock.
He’ll need to buck the trend again in 2016 if that elusive 10th world title is to finally find its way to Tavullia.
Rossi’s costly crash out of the lead in the Dutch TT last time out was his third DNF in the opening eight races.
That’s as many as he had in the previous 63 and leaves his title chances looking almost as gloomy as the conditions in Assen.
The odds are already stacked firmly against him when you consider that none of Rossi’s previous seven premier class titles were claimed in a season where he failed to score points in three or more races.
In the seven years that Rossi won the MotoGP™ crown he suffered just seven DNF’s, which include 2003 and 2008 where he registered points in every race.
In fact, Rossi has already had as many DNF’s in the opening eight races of 2016 than he had in total when he captured his first three premier class titles for Honda in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
The size of the task facing Rossi is even more daunting
when you consider the last time a rider overcame three
DNF’s in a single season to win the title was Mick Doohan
 way back in 1998.

I’d imagine Rossi is feeling pretty frustrated at the
moment because since the battle moved to Europe,
 I think he has been the fastest rider in all but one
 race and that was in Le Mans.
Had he not had a Yamaha engine destroy itself in
Mugello and then make that mistake while leading in
Assen, Rossi could have easily won four of the last five
races and the title battle would have a very different
 feel to it heading to the halfway stage in Germany
this weekend.
As it is, Rossi is riding better and faster than ever, yet
 he is a massive 60-points worse off than he was at this
 stage last season when he had a 100% podium record
after eight rounds of 2015. This year his podium hit rate
 is only 50%.
Assen’s crash would have particularly stung. At one stage
in that race he was looking at slashing the advantage held
 by Marquez to just 15-points.
His rare unforced error leaves him 42-points adrift of
Marquez and I think we are already in the territory where
 one more mistake from Rossi and he can kiss goodbye to any aspirations of an eighth premier class crown.
But I don’t think Rossi is out of contention by any stretch
of the imagination. I say that because I can’t see Marquez
 going through the remainder of the season without a DNF
or two. And I think in both wet and dry conditions over the
last few races, Rossi has been stronger than Marquez.
The luxury position Marquez finds himself in is that he can
afford another DNF and still have a comfortable buffer over
Rossi in the title chase.
In stark contrast to Rossi, Marquez is a massive 56-points
 better off after eight races than he was in 2015.
The Spaniard has brilliantly applied control to his chaotic and captivating riding style to go from being the man who made
the most mistakes in 2015 to the man who has made the
 least of the leading contenders this year.
I’ve never seen him so animated and ecstatic with a second
place like he was in Assen but I think like all of us he knew
 the magnitude of those 20-points.

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