The Men Who Would Be Champion: Who Will Take The 2015 MotoGP Title?

With just days to go until MotoGP hits the second half of the season, now is a good time to start asking the question who is in the hot seat for the 2015 MotoGP championship. Valentino Rossi leads the title chase by 13 points, but his lead is due more to his terrifying consistency than racking up win after win. Jorge Lorenzo had a seemingly invincible run from Jerez to Barcelona, but has also finished well off the podium. Andrea Iannone has been brilliantly consistent, but has not looked capable of winning, which is a prerequisite for a MotoGP title. Marc Márquez struggled in the first part of the season, but a new swing arm and a return to the 2014 chassis has taken the edge off the worst characteristics of the RC213V. Dani Pedrosa, meanwhile, missed too much of the first part of the season to be a factor.

Will Valentino Rossi pull off his his eighth MotoGP title, and his tenth title overall? Will Jorge Lorenzo become the first Spaniard to win three MotoGP titles? Or will Marc Márquez pull a rabbit out of the hat and take his third championship in a row? Let us run through the options and weigh the probabilities.

The first stop should be to eliminate the improbable. With nine races to go, and therefore a total of 225 points in play, the 2015 MotoGP title is technically wide open. But for all but the top four in the current standings, winning the title would need several major miracles. Theoretically, either Andrea Dovizioso or Bradley Smith could win the championship, but to do so would require either one of them winning all of the remaining races, and the two Movistar Yamaha men not scoring another podium again all year. So far, Valentino Rossi has finished on the podium at every race, and Jorge Lorenzo has a record of five out of nine, including four wins on the trot. It is mathematically possible, but statistically incredibly improbable.

Probability is more favorably inclined to Andrea Iannone and Marc Márquez, who trail Rossi by 61 and 65 points respectively. But even then, it would be hard. Neither man can win the championship on the strength of their own results, they need help from other riders. Andrea Iannone's title challenge is the most improbable; his third place in the standings is down to incredible consistency rather than strong results. Iannone's worst finish in 2015 was sixth place, and that was just the once. He has finished inside the top five for the other eight races, including two podiums. But to have a realistic shot at the title, he must win the remaining nine races. The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 is clearly a massive step forward from the GP14, but it is still to win a single race. Iannone is struggling with an injured shoulder too, damage picked up during a test at Mugello. The chances of Iannone being able to win nine straight are pretty much zero, and giving away any points to Rossi and Lorenzo would end any hopes he had of the title.

Winning nine races in a row is not impossible for Marc Márquez, as he demonstrated last year. In 2014, he won the first ten races with relative ease, and looked like he would go on to take more. The problem for Márquez is that even if he does win every race for the rest of the season – and we shall discuss the likelihood of that happening below – that will still not be enough. Added to his current total of 114 points, nine race wins would give him a total of 339 points for the season. Valentino Rossi could still end up as champion if he finished with five second places behind Marquez, three thirds and a fourth, giving him 340 points to Márquez' 339. Beating Lorenzo is a little easier, but still no sinecure. Lorenzo would still take the title if he finished in second for eight races, and third in the ninth, giving him 342 points to 339.

Of course, all this relies on Márquez winning the remainder of the races. How likely is that? Going on both past form, and on his form from 2015, very unlikely indeed. Winning at Indy is entirely possible, as a Honda has won there for the past five years in a row, including Márquez for the last two. But Márquez' winning margin fell in 2014 to just 1.8 seconds. The 2015 Yamaha M1 is a much better bike than the 2014 version, and Jorge Lorenzo is in better shape than he was last year, to say nothing of Valentino Rossi.

The racing at Brno has been even closer, with winning margins of just a few tenths in both 2012 and 2014, Jorge Lorenzo pushing Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez right to the final corner both times. Brno also features the kind of corners where the Honda has been struggling most: fast corners with heavy braking and a high-speed entry. The 2014 chassis has cured some of the entry issues on slower corners, and gives a bit more grip on corner exit. But the problem is only reduced, not gone altogether. Beating Rossi or Lorenzo at a track like Brno will be a huge challenge.

At Silverstone, Márquez once again faces a ferocious challenge from Jorge Lorenzo, at a track where Lorenzo has won and been very narrowly beaten before. Then the circus moves onto Misano, where Yamaha have taken victory for the last four years. Of the remaining races – Aragon, Motegi, Phillip Island, Sepang, and Valencia – the picture is very much mixed, with Honda and Yamaha sharing wins between them.

If Márquez had the bike left to him by Casey Stoner in 2013, he would surely be in with a chance. But he doesn't. Instead he faces the best Yamaha in years, with two of the best riders in history both at the top of their game. Barring disaster in the Movistar Yamaha camp, the chances of Marc Márquez taking his third MotoGP title seem impossibly slim. The bookies disagree, putting the chance of a Márquez championship at 9/2. That is not an investment I would expect to pay out. Andrea Iannone at 100/1 looks a much more attractive option.

So if it won't be Márquez, and it won't be Iannone, which of the Movistar Yamaha men will prevail? The difference is 13 points, is negligible. Disregard the rest – and given the tracks coming up in the second half of the season, that would be a foolish thing to do – and Valentino Rossi needs four more wins and five second places to wrap up the title. Jorge Lorenzo needs to win six times, and finish second in the other three, if he is to be certain of the championship. Should anyone get between the two Movistar Yamahas, then things start to get complicated fast. The role to be played by the other podium contenders should not be underestimated. This championship looks likely to be decided just as much by a Honda or Ducati rider, or even a Suzuki or a satellite rider such as Bradley Smith or Cal Crutchlow, as it does by Rossi or Lorenzo.

Who holds the advantage? That is a very tough call to make. There are tracks which fall for one rider or another, but the difference between Rossi and Lorenzo is marginal at best. Lorenzo has the edge at Indy, by virtue of a better record. Lorenzo has been stronger at Brno, but only in recent years, Rossi having ruled the roost there previously. Silverstone belongs to Lorenzo, having won at the track and always been in contention, while Rossi has never really got to grips with the place.

Lorenzo has an excellent record at Misano, having won three of the four last editions. But Misano is just a few short miles from Valentino Rossi's home in Tavullia, and given the show he put on there last year, it is hard to see anyone beating the Italian there, especially with a title in play. Lorenzo has the edge at Aragon, mainly because it is very much a Spanish track. The Spaniard also has the upper hand at Motegi, having won the previous two outings. Phillip Island should be a toss up, with both men having been incredibly strong at the circuit. Sepang is much the same, though Rossi may just have the edge there. Then there is Valencia, which belongs to Lorenzo for sure. Valentino Rossi has not won there since 2004, and has some very unhappy memories of the place, including losing the 2006 world title there to Nicky Hayden, and destroying a bike with a special Yamaha livery during qualifying in 2005.

In the end, the title will be decided by who can pull something out of the bag when it counts most. It will not be won by a victory by either Rossi or Lorenzo at one of their strongest tracks, but by digging deep on a difficult weekend to maximize their points haul. That scenario favors Valentino Rossi, as the Italian has been a paragon of consistency, even on bad weeks. The Italian is yet to finish off the podium, and barring mishap, looks to continue on the same path.

The same cannot be said of Jorge Lorenzo, who has been either brilliant, or merely good. Luck has run against him, suffering a bizarre helmet liner malfunction at Qatar, followed by a bout of bronchitis in Austin. But he has also struggled when he has been forced to use the Bridgestone rear tire with the slightly harder edge in conditions which are not ideal. He won on the tire at Mugello, but could not get the feel he needed at Assen and the Sachsenring. If there is one result which decides the championship, it is likely to be the one race where Lorenzo finishes too far off the podium. Which race will that be? It may very well be none of them, given the astonishing form which Lorenzo is showing. It might even go the other way, Rossi finishing in third a few times too many. The difference between second and third could very well be the difference between championship glory and the ignominy of finishing as runner up.

Who would I put my money on, if pushed? Rationally, you would have to say the scales are tipped ever so slightly in favor of Jorge Lorenzo. But my gut instinct tells me that it will be Valentino Rossi who takes the title in the end. The 2015 MotoGP championship will be won on pure ambition and desire, and in that respect, Rossi is second to none.

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Or his eighth? :) Or, if we want to be really pedantic, his seventh... having won a 500GP title and then six MotoGP titles.

Nick Harris calls him the nine-times MotoGP champion, but he's not, really... he's just a very naughty boy.

Great summary. My money is on Lorenzo, but I hope Rossi can do it.

The entire elite tier of prototype motorcycle racing (MotoGP, Moto2 AND Moto3) is collectively known as 'MotoGP', as well as it being the name of the premier class.

So it will/could be his 10th title.

You are right, of course. I was using a little literary freedom, but I have gone back and changed it to be a little more accurate.

As mentioned before: if Rossi wins, it will be his 10th title.
Mysteriously, if Lorenzo wins, it will be his 3rd.

Should be an interesting finish to the year. Preference is Rossi, just because that throws the spanner in the works of the age question, and will stir up the trolls no end.

For Misano, Rossi has been doing some hours practicing on track. Check on his twitter, 2nd August Misano practicing on the R1, 2nd July, 5th Jun on the R1, 22nd may on the R1 and 12th may on the R1. At least these are the ones he is publically sharing.

Can't say he isn't trying...

My money is on Lorenzo as well. There are a lot of tracks favoring him that is coming up!
Ind -JLo
Brno -JLo
Silverstone - JLo
San Marino -50/50
Aragon -JLo
Valencia- JLo

So if JLo were to finish first and Rossi second and vice versa in the races favoring them and they split wins the the ones which is 50-50, Lorenzo could win by 12 points. JLo making 215 to Rossi's 190 (plus lead of 13) =203 in the second half.

For Rossi the best scenario is if Marq gets in between him and Lorenzo when he wins. But still Lorenzo would make 207 to Rossi's 190 (plus lead of 13) =203. Lorenzo would win by 4 points. If both Pedrosa and Marq finishes ahead of Lorenzo in the races that Rossi wins, then JLo would make 201 to Rossi's 190 +13 =203 and Rossi wins by 2 points.

If there is a DNF from either, that could cost them the championship.

Will the ambition and desire outweigh the talent is the big question? :-)

It's easy to say this is rider A's track, this is rider B's track etc. It doesn't really apply. Where do you take it from? Recent history is Lorenzo's peak, so do you take Rossi's favoured tracks from his peak or recent history? Last year he beat Lorenzo for most of the first half regardless of track and it was even for the last half. This year Rossi is performing better than last year and when they are both at their best the difference in pace is tiny.

Any one of Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez could go on a run of three or four wins at any time regardless of tracks just as much as we could have battles like Qatar and Assen at all nine remaining races.

Humans like to make sense out of apparent chaos - one bump or slide can make a joke of these equations.
Somehow I think those 13 points - although negligible - are going to be crucial. They put a touch more pressure on Lorenzo - while behind, he can't afford any screw-ups. One tiny miscalculation could leave him with a hill to climb. It should be fun to watch - hope everybody and their rides stay healthy.

Have based it on the history since 2008. Based on @Dayle88s, Lorenzo has performed better the first half of this year. So the second half he should be even better. When they are both at their "best", Lorenzo just disappears unless ofcourse the tires come with the edge coating.

The easiest way for a prediction was to take only both JLo and Rossi and thats what has been done. The difference between first and second is 5 points. They could also finish 3 and 4th instead of 1st and second. Difference between 3 and 4th is 3 points. I expect Lorenzo to win far more races than Rossi in the coming 9 races. Motegi, Aragon and Indianpolis suit him much better. Marquez should take more points off Rossi than Lorenzo since he seems to excel in hard tires circuits more.

Do agree this is prediction based on speculation!

You have left the Hondas out of your prediction. JLo and VR are in no way guaranteed 1st and 2nd in any race. I wont be surprised if MM takes more wins than either JLo or VR, and if not a win then 2nd or 3rd. And DP will be on the podium if not winning too, I think he'll be strong at Aragon and Valencia at least. So how do your sums look if you put MM in 1st at Brno, Aragon and Motegi, 2nd at Silverstone 3rd at Valencia. Pedrosa 3rd at Aragon, 2nd at Motegi and 1st at Valencia?

Where does the author write about any guarantees of 1-2s for them? Even last season when he steamrolled the competition, how many of the races in second half did Marquez win? His bike is worse than last season and the Yamahas are better than last season. What makes you think that he will be more successful during the second half of this season if they stay healthy and have no mechanical failures?

My post was a reply to Jakrap who has made a prediction based on JLo and VR finishing either 1st or 2nd in every race, hence I said there is no guarantee that this will happen.

I speculate MM will win more than either JLo or VR because he is extremely fast and has a better bike now than in the first half of the season. OK the Yamahas are faster this year but MM has a point to prove, nothing to loose and an extra year of experience. I think suggesting he could win at Brno, Aragon and Motegi is not unreasonable. Like David wrote in his article, the championship winner may end up being the rider who gives away the least points to the Hondas, so how do Jakrap's points calculations look if you factor in the hondas...?

As always, it will come down to the tires. (Just ask Toni Elias!) Whoever gets their favorite more often will win.

This leaves the title in the hands of Bridgestone, and whatever political forces have their ear at the moment.

Thus, I suspect Rossi will be given the nod. That's not to say Jorge or even Marc Mayhem (who is about to go on a winning spree, IMO) are ruled out, but I think #46 will quietly be granted an edge in the hope that his victory will fully revive the Bopper Army and bring the big crowds for another year or three.

As I understand it, the tire allocation for the rest of the year has already been sorted. Bridgestone sort out what tires need to be where before the season starts, along with a development program. The development tires are penciled in, and when approved, added to the allocation. Under extreme or unusual circumstances, extra tires can be brought, or the allocation can be changed, but that doesn't happen very often. If Silverstone looks like being 35 degrees all weekend, or Misano 12 degrees.

So if Bridgestone are to have a role, the dice have already been cast. The tires have been allocated and prepared.

25 riders x 10 tires (how many tires are allotted a rider for a weekend, anyway? I'm using 10, but that's a guess and probably low) = 250 tires--and not 250 of the same tire, mind you, but 250 tires of five different types. Even if all the development/approval work were already completed and the logistics of getting them from the factory to the tracks were sorted, turning who knows how many vats of rubber and sheets of nylon into 250 usable race tires is a huge endeavor.

And what if it were determined that there was a problem with the production run of that weekend's tires? Does Bridgestone just say "sorry, no races this weekend, there was a problem with the tires we just made"?

No, Mr Emmett, you are right. The tires for this weekend's racing were decided on in concept long ago, and probably came to life only a few weeks ago at the latest. If Bridgestone were to try to "help" determine a champion, it would have to be a process with a really long lead time.

And imagine the public relations disaster if anybody found out they were actually trying to do it.

BTW, don't mean to be a nerd, but I think dice are rolled. Dies are cast. I'm not really an editor, but I play one in real life.

They may well have the basic rubber and carcass stiffness scheduled in advance, but haven't they been fiddling with the edge treatment recently?

As for the 'public relations disaster,' no one much cared when Rossi was getting Saturday Night Specials that were tweaked to his liking, then cooked and delivered in time for Sunday Warmup.

My point is that there is great potential for abuse, and a little to suggest that the powers that be are necessarily above manipulating the sport 'for the greater good.' (Mo Money!)

When doohan before him was getting saturday night specials

or rainey

but its all just manipulation from powers that be...

...they existed back when there was competition between tire companies as well as competition between riders. It wasn't just okay to do whatever you could to help your guy win, it was expected. After all, you, as a tire manufacturer, had more than just your reputation on the line. You had actual cash in play.

And it wasn't a case of mad-scientist-types dreaming up new concoctions Saturday afternoon, pouring them into molds later that evening, then delivering never-before-seen tires the next morning. It was just riders and engineers choosing different ratios of familiar ingredients and applying them in familiar ways. In a far less restrictive environment.

Anyway, now that tire supply is a monopoly in MotoGP, unless Bridgestone were, for some reason, to act on its own in crowning a champion (I think they'd have to have done this months ago; you think they can do it this week), there'd have to be collusion with the sanctioning body.

Yes, there is "potential for abuse." That's the price of free will. But show me an example of Dorna ever having done something to swing a MotoGP championship. Not a rumor, not innuendo, but an actual event that overtly handed a championship to a specific rider while the whole world watched and could do nothing to stop it.

Thanks, David.

Marquez is all but certain to podium several more times, and play the cat among the pigeons. It is sure to be hard fought and closely won. I'm just hoping everyone stays upright and healthy.

Podium as a verb is painful to endure. Podium is a noun, the name of a person, place, thing or idea... this discussion is a dialogue, but we are not dialoguing.

"Marquez is all but certain to make the podium several more times" - yes, you are right.

"Verbing weirds language" - Calvin and Hobbes

I didn't realize you hated Shakespeare, king of verbing, so much...

Language changes. The great glory of the English language is that it changes so easily, and so smoothly. Nouns mutate into verbs, words are assimilated from other languages or coined (whoops, verbing again!) anew from unusual and often linguistically diverse sources, and then absorbed seamlessly into the language and used without a thought. This is why English is easy to learn and easy to use. Its flexibility is its strength.

Of course, the irony that someone would be complaining about MotoGP (neologism), which they probably watch on the television (neologism coined from Greek and Latin roots) is rich. Personally, I am no great fan of the verb 'to podium'. But I recognize that it represents part of a tide which will not be turned, and I have no great desire to play the role of Canute.

This is a rather good essay on the role of verbing in modern language. A nice quote below:

Verbing—or denominalisation, as it is known to grammarians—is not new. Steven Pinker, in his book “The Language Instinct” (1994), points out that “easy conversion of nouns to verbs has been part of English grammar for centuries; it is one of the processes that make English English.” Elizabethan writers revelled in it: Shakespeare’s Duke of York, in “Richard II” (c1595), says “Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle”, and the 1552 Book of Common Prayer includes a service “commonly called the Churching of Women”.

I did! :)

Well, it keeps things interesting... thanks for the lessons David.

Canuting isn't a capital crime - and I suspicion even Shakespeare would have red-lined over the verbing of podium

I somehow think that if Marc Marquez can stay on the bike during the races, it is not beyond him to win the required races and the world title. But I think it will in all probability be Lorenzo and not Rossi; but you never know with that old goat; he can surprise anyone. It will be nice if he clinches it but somehow I just get the feeling that he won't. Please do not look for logic or rationality in this post. Like I said, it is just a feeling. Could be just plain old rubbish.

I want it to come down to the last corner of the last lap of the last race at Valencia.

And for Marquez to punt Lorenzo and himself off gifting Rossi the win and the championship!

To the wire, Yes! (although my heart may not take it) But please not by a foul or silly move, just by plain, close, exceptional race craft.

I agree, my head says Lorenzo, but my heart says Rossi. Overall, I think I have a slight leaning toward Rossi.

Thankyou for keeping articles like this coming out during the break :)

Very brave of you, this article! The closer I got to the end, the bigger my eyes. I have been having trouble thinking this through.

It sticks out that Lorenzo has trouble when things don't line up right for him. And it isn't just luck. Even getting sick and having helmet gear issues are not just luck. The tires and weather get interesting. And more so for Lorenzo than Rossi.

Good mention of the P3 to P6 riders having a role. With which rider more than the other? When Rossi qualifies off the front row, they tangle w him a bit more. Marquez does look to have just now re found his form and could well be up front a lot from here forward. How that plays out in the point chase for the Yamaha duo is tough to call. Hey, I have forgotten, which of them has gone through more engines than the other? Is that a factor?

My hunch too is that Lorenzo has that one or even two races where something does not click and he loses the handful of points to Rossi.

THREE WAY BATTLES PLEASE! And a weekend where Ducati really shines.

I believe will play a decisive part in the championship hunt. Now that Pedrosa looks to be coming in to a something approaching a bit of form, too, I can see there being a few of the remaining races where the best the Yamaha men can hope for is to scrap over third place. Indy being one of them. I'm not sure exactly who the reduced points gained or lost would help, or hinder more, though.

My crystal ball doesn't seem to be working at the moment but, like many others have opined, my money would go on Lorenzo. But, it'd be great to see The Old Man take title #10.

Rossi. rossi keeps improving and even with the old frame he was within 0.8 sec from JL. now he has a frame he likes alot and i think he wil benefit from that.
i dont know if his qp in Assen was just a 1 time but in Assen he did what we havent seen from him yet in a qp. so if he can hold that JL wont have a change to run off again. mm back to 2014 wont let jl take off. i think we wil see a fierce battle till the end but my money is on Rossi

If Marquez had shown a little discipline and riden for the 40 or more points he has thrown away then he would be the short price favourite. I bet HRC and the team quietly thinks the same.
I know he's a "racer" but championships are about the entire season....

To take the title Rossi or Jorge will need to settle for 3rd place at Indy and other tracks as well.

Respol has gotten their sh*t together and figured out how to settle the bike down on corner entry.

Marc and Dani have the data, the frame, and swing arm that they need to let them fight it out for the win.

My humble Predictions for Honda:
Dani will win two out of the 9 remaining races.
Dani will win in the Czech Republic and Sepang.

Marc will win 3 out of the 9 remaining races.
Marc will take the win in Indy, Silverstone, and Motegi

I'm a fan of anybody that is able to throw a leg over these bikes and have what it takes to tame these beasts.

But, if I had to declare whom I hope will win then I have to pick Jorge.

I would not be surprised if at least two, if not all three of the top riders ended one of these final races in the gravel. And the longer it goes with them squeezing down the points gap on each other, the more likely that becomes. As you mentioned, as soon as we start losing 25 points at a time, all bets are off.

For the first time in a while, I'm pulling for Rossi to take it home this year. But as others have said, Lorenzo is riding to the Jaws theme right now.

Dani isn't mentioned enough. He will be taking valuable podium points and even the odd win.

I think Mr Enmet, with all respect, is giving too much credit to the top three riders. I believe only one rider will break into the 300s. The rest will spread the podium points. Don't forget Dovi, Dani and even Crutchlow can be there.

In the end I feel Marc will take the majority of points but David is correct in that still it's between the two Yamahas. Jorge is riding better at the momment.

I didn't mention Pedrosa much because he is out of the championship race. However, you are very right in that I think he is going to play a huge role. I can see Pedrosa winning at least one, probably more races, and he will be a regular on the podium. That will be a major factor in determining the outcome.

I deliberately left that out of my calculations, as it is simply not possible to go through all of the possible scenarios without drawing up complex mathematical models, which will be rendered irrelevant as soon as the lights go out at Indy. The likelihood is that Rossi will keep finishing on the podium, that Lorenzo will win some races, and struggle at others, that Marquez will win a couple, and that Pedrosa will win a couple. How that all shakes out in terms of the championship will be fascinating to watch. 

Pedrosa win a COUPLE?

You folks have that one a bit loose methinks. He will win one maybe. He just got leapfrogged by MM3, and our Yamahappy front runners are in form. I see good reason to focus on those three, and expect them to mostly podium.

Yes, I like to verb nouns V4. And more. Our language is alive, and it and my conciousness shape each other. Deconstructing and evolving both is wonderful. Try putting "-ness" on the end of nouns to capture their essence. Why wait for the dictionary to say so?

Besides, picking at David's writing Illmores the site unnecessarily, doesn't it?

The title this year will be between the two Yamaha men, no doubt about that for me. MM and DP will definitely play a key role in the outcome, that's also a fact.

I put my money on Rossi, because the so called "mental aspect", needed to win championships is slightly better and more developed in Valentino's brain.

If the team can keep working the way they did in the last races, Rossi should be a match for JL, bar some exceptional tracks where JL will get all his magic together.

As a few have suggested, Pedrosa is more likely to play a part in the series outcome than Marquez. Yes, he's missed half the season, more or less - but he goes hard at season's end, and he's got more to prove than anyone else in the field. And he is totally in his prime; about as much as Lorenzo is. Rossi is past his prime, Marquez is still far from his prime (not much more to be said there!).

Iannone is the one who is impressing me this year. Read David's commentary on him again; I don't think anyone saw that coming.

I think Marquez hit his peak immediately. It's more a question of how long he can keep it rather than moving in and then out of it like most people.

He can gain experience and learn lessons but he also seems perfectly capable of throwing all of that away in a split second on some occasions.

It is useful to look at the rider's records at various tracks to see who might have an advantage, but one factor in those records seems to have been overlooked by everybody here, so far. For three years, Rossi was 'not there', meaning that the Ducati years and the first year back at Yamaha did not demonstrate his true potential. How different would the win tallies at various tracks be had Rossi remained with Yamaha?
Like many here, I'd love to see Rossi pull it off, but I never discount Lorenzo. And the others will truly make it even more interesting.
I am an WSBK fan first, but Rea has ruined this year:) This year's GP season may be the most interesting to me since Spencer and Roberts went at it back in the early 80's. Unless someone gets hurt, this may well end up being a championship that will be talked about for a long, long time.

I like SBK also and since Yamaha left I have been a little less interested but yes, Rhea has killed it for everybody...especially Sykes.

I think Marquez would only have one title if Rossi had stayed with Yamaha.

Funny reference to Dani Pedrosa as the "Captain" I assume it because he was caught cheating on his yachting license :)

As well as the title fight between Rossi and Jorge. It will be interesting to see who accumulates the most points in the 2nd half of the season.

Predictions for the rest of the season:
1. Marc
2. Jorge
3. Rossi
4. Dani

I hope Jorge will have at least 15 more points than Rossi!

I dislike most of Pedrosa's nicknames (Pedrobot, Pendejo etc.) but The Captain is a favourite of mine... irreverant without being disparaging.

I hope he bags a win or two.

Because JL99 is in good shape, consistent, regaining his confidence, Márquez will only be an obstacle between VR and JL, so Rossi is betting on Márquez to disrupt Lorenzo's pace to get the points he wants.

After some thoughts, my bet is on Rossi, but for that, his team has to give him a good setup for qualifying. That will give Rossi an edge over Lorenzo.

"The same cannot be said of Jorge Lorenzo, who has been either brilliant, or merely good. Luck has run against him, suffering a bizarre helmet liner malfunction at Qatar, followed by a bout of bronchitis in Austin. But he has also struggled when he has been forced to use the Bridgestone rear tire with the slightly harder edge in conditions which are not ideal. He won on the tire at Mugello, but could not get the feel he needed at Assen and the Sachsenring. "

Actually, the tires were not the same in Assen/Sachsenring and Mugello:

It was an harder construction, it has nothing to do with rubber compound. Marquez, Rossi and Lorenzo all made statements about the difference that this specific change made to their "feeling". 2014-spec tyres, 2014-spec results.

The tire construction differs in that it uses a slightly harder compound to usual on the very edge of the tire. That, at least, is what Bridgestone's engineers tell me. 

Like Neo would say "I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin". It's going to begin as the second half of one of my favourite years watching MotoGP. May they all stay the rubber side down and bless us with more brilliant racing through the remainder of the year. Whoever wins the championship is not winning it for the first time. But I am pretty certain this year's championship will mean something more than the rest of them.

For Lorenzo to win the title, it will be down to at how many track will Bridgestone bring the rear tyre with special edge treatment. Do we know the allocation now?

I really wish the Ducati can win in Motegi. Stop & go, long straights (relatively), and high fuel consumption conditions fit the Ducati perfectly.

Perhaps even for Suzuki to pull off a win in Valencia if they can get their seamless gear box working?

David, can you please look into the edge treatment issue? Given that this is likely to decide the title, I think the community deserves to know the who, why, and when regarding the decision to build either a 'Lorenzo Tire' or a 'Rossi Tire.'

Having the (as you put it) "Rossi Tyre" available at what 3 or 4 GP's Vs the 14 or 15 GP's that Jorge will have the "Lorenzo Tyre", it's clear which rider DORNA are backing no?

Conspiracy theories need to go back in the box and hidden away, I really don't buy into it.

for the championship at this point. Barring injury or other significant changes for Jorge or Vale. I've said before that I thought Rossi had one more championship but wondered if he and a bike would "jell" enough for him to fight for one. There's no doubt that he's done that with the M1 he's got for a steed. I believe he'll out ride and out think Jorge to take the title. I also believe Marc will take riders out trying to win and get to the front. Who that is, could be the deciding factor in the championship.

& let's not forget "basher" Marquez - who I'm sure feels he has a score to settle / point to prove with Rossi. Those 2 are going to lock horns & Rossi may not always win the clash.

I think Marquez' role will be decisive, but not in the "he's going to win all the races" sense. The fact is that Marquez has rammed Rossi three times this year, and taken another rider out in a charge from a poor position on the grid. He hasn't yet struck Lorenzo, but has come awfully close. That's a 4 significant incidents in 9 races, and almost 5.

In a clear field, there's little to choose between Rossi and Lorezno. Maybe Rossi has a little more than Lorenzo this year - that's what it looks like to me - but we'll see.

But with Marquez going coo-coo crazy nearly half the time...I wouldn't want to bet on the outcome here. If he had taken Rossi out in Argentina, then Lorenzo would be ahead already. If he had taken Lorenzo out (forgot the race), the season could basically be over!

Heart says Rossi
Head says Rossi
Fans want Rossi
Dorna want Rossi

How can it not be Rossi, as the crowning glory to a magnificent career ! No one deserves it more, at his age to be duking it out with 'the kids' and winning by 13 at the break ? GOAT.

I've noticed that a lot of posts hint that Jorge has the momentum in his favour heading into the 2nd half of the season.

Are we overlooking that Rossi won in Assen (14 seconds ahead of Jorge in 3rd) and then finished comfortably ahead of Jorge (4.5 seconds) at the Sachsenring too prior to the break?

Personally I still feel that my money would be on Jorge, but I think it's perhaps not as black and white as previous form suggests. Rossi is a totally different animal so far this year, which makes predictions rather more difficult.

Given what I saw from him last season and the current circumstances, it seems to me that The Doctor is still the best rider in MotoGP. It amazes me how people called his career over when he was clearly struggling with inferior equipment. The M1 is no longer a dog compared to the RCV in terms of acceleration and top speed and the seamless nullified a previous braking advantage. If Rossi can put himself on the first two rows of the grid during the remainder of the season he will be champion, unless he has mechanical failures or DNFs due to crashing or getting crashed.

I think you've nailed it, Rossi has to qualify strongly for the rest of the season if he's going to lift the title. If he's third or fourth row, he's shooting himself in the foot.

I just want the racing that leads to the Championship to be good. Rossi is very crafty, Lorenzo is hard to beat when he's "on", Marquez is getting back in the groove, and Pedrosa looks to be moving closer to the front each race - so it should be a good one.

I can't say that I would be disappointed if any of the 3 favorites (46, 99, 93) won it all, but Rossi and Lorenzo definitely have a better chance at winning it. Marquez would really need to win the last 9 races, and hope that someone finishes between him and the Yamahas since he needs to take at least 9 points per race from either Yamaha to do it, or hope they start crashing out of races.

...all I want to see (as I'll be there), is 46, 99 & 93 coming to Valencia all with a shot of winning the title- and on current form, that's not an outlandish statement. If Dorna get their shit together-maybe learning from the BSB hype machine- they could build this up to gladiatorial proportions, maybe pulling interest form the eternally dull 'best car wins' F1.
Having seen VR win his first 500GP at a drying Donington in front of a sparse disinterested crowd, it is clear to see, with hindsight, that he had ignited a flame under the damp Blue Riband class, this has continued to the present day. If you need a striking visual reminder of his popularity at any GP around the world, just stand back and look at a row of merchandise stands, the VR46 stall will have four times the customers lined up than the others put together.
So, no point me speculating, David has stimulated excellent debates again, of course I'd like to be there to witness history, but the three-way finale would be of equal PR value.
Oh and for the financially astute of you, I have never bought a cheaper package for a GP in 30 years (a pissing down Assen in '85, Sarron punts Spencer off, Lawson heads for a dyke etc etc..). Currently with the weaker Euro, a three day grandstand ticket equates to £31.50, flight from Manchester-Madrid £59 and a quarter share of a luxury apartment for three nights in Valencia City at £40, four of us are paying £160 each including car hire and parking, my mate's just bought two grandstand tickets for Silverstone for £90 a piece. Resultio!

Hope my grammar measures up after the advanced English above...