Subscriber Feature: 2006 vs 2016 - Did Mugello Cost Rossi The 2016 Title?

In two races, Valentino Rossi has cut his deficit to Marc Márquez by 35 points. He now trails the Repsol Honda rider by 42 points. All of a sudden, Márquez' lead in the championship looks a good deal less dominant, despite the Spaniard already having wrapped up the 2016 title at Motegi. Márquez' crashes at Phillip Island and Sepang have kicked off a whirlwind of "what ifs" among Valentino Rossi fans. The elusive tenth title suddenly seems a good deal closer than it was four or five races ago.

The one "what if" on the tip of fans' lips is the engine blow up at Mugello. The two Movistar Yamahas had a small but comfortable gap over Marc Márquez, and Rossi was clearly stalking Jorge Lorenzo. It was a matter of when, not if Rossi would pass his teammate. But on lap 8, Rossi's engine let go, just as Lorenzo's had in the morning. He was out of the race, and went from trailing Márquez by 7 points to being 27 points behind the Spaniard. Had Rossi won at Mugello, he would have gained 29 over Márquez (25 for the win, plus the 4-point differential between second and third for Márquez). That would have given the 2016 title a very different aspect.

Was Mugello the moment that Valentino Rossi lost the 2016 MotoGP championship? As tempting as it might be to say yes, it is a mistake to pinpoint a loss on a single result. There are 18 races in a year, and each one is so filled with incidents and events that have the potential to change the flow of a championship that singling out a particular race fails to do justice to the richness and complexity of each season. The best proof of that thesis comes in the 2006 MotoGP championship, when Valentino Rossi lost the title to Nicky Hayden by just 5 points.

One hand on the title

As the clouds of yellow smoke from the fireworks celebrating the 2006 season finale dissipated, Rossi fans immediately started trying to explain the Italian's loss. Hayden had been consistently on the podium almost all year, but had only two victories to his name. Rossi, on the other hand, had won five races, and yet still come up 5 points short. He had mounted an epic comeback from midseason, trailing Hayden by 51 points after Laguna Seca. He had cut that deficit to just 12 points before the penultimate race of the year at Estoril, and with two races to go, was the clear favorite to have staged the greatest championship comeback of all time.

This is part of a semi-regular series of insights into the world of motorcycle racing, exclusive for site supporters. The series will include background information, in-depth analysis, and opinion pieces. Though the vast majority of content on is to remain free to read, most notably the daily round ups at each MotoGP event, a select amount of content will be made available solely to those who have taken out a subscription.

The aim is to increase the number of site supporters and be able to move away from online advertising altogether, a model which is broken, as the rise of ad blockers demonstrates. Adding exclusive subscriber content adds value for site supporters, in addition to the desktop-sized versions of Scott Jones' photos for the site. The hope is that this will persuade more of our regular readers to support financially, and help us grow and improve the site. 

If you would like to become a site supporter, you can take out a subscription here. If you are already a subscriber, you can read the full feature comparing the lessons of Rossi's 2006 championship to 2016 here.


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Hi David

Is there any further update to the Subscriber options/levels ?

There was a good number of readers commenting on having some other options so everyone that couldn't afford the Full Subscriber Fee could somehow still have a shot at reading the articles ...

Hope to see this option soon as sad to miss out on reading the exclusive articles :(

Thanks & Cheers,

I've commented on this before. I can't speak for the entire world, but from comments on most bike sites there is no more option to watch motogp over free to air channels. If that's true, or true for your region, then my comment is that if you can afford to watch the races you can afford to subscribe to motomatters current "full" fee.  

I would love to support David but sadly i do not have the funds to cover everything i want to...

From the past comments, David was entertaining the idea of a tiered subscription which would allow readers who want only to read the articles to subscribe at a lower fee ... I was just wondering if this had developed any further.



In Australia motogp is available free to air.  Unfortunately 2 years ago was the last Moto2 and Moto3 could be watched free to air.  I thought it was because the channel that hosts it isn't doing so well compared to others (and then there's that free to air is generally on the wane) but perhaps it's as much as from a general trend with rising prices for the feed.  It sounds like I might have to start developing a business case to present to my financial analyst.

They show them all AFAIK, not that I watch it there - I can't bring myself to watch anything on FTA in the world of on demand digital media.

I flicked One on during PI as I had to reboot my router and oh dear. Horrible SD quality, and just dropping out from FP4 for some stupid pre-recorded piece. Bloody horrible. Straight back to Videopass ASAP.

Seriously, what are you on about, David? With a maximum of 25 points available in a single race avoiding a single crash will only provide a maximum benefit of 25 points if Rossi won and Marquez finished outside the points; yet you claim a 29 pt advantage for Marquez with respect to Mugello? Considering Marquez finished 2nd that race the premise of your article is complete bollocks. 

Honestly, you've either worded your article extremely poorly or you're succumbing to fanboi'ism. Neither of which is representative of your usual standard and a long way from why I visit Motomatters. Your attention to detail and willingness to, at least try, to put aside your bias towards Rossi is why you've earned such a great following. 

I sincerely hope it's just poorly worded. 

At Mugello, Lorenzo won, Marquez finished 2nd, Rossi DNF.
Lorenzo 25 points, Marquez 20 points, Rossi 0 points.

If Rossi's engine does not blow up and he wins the race and Lorenzo and Marquez finish in the same order, the result would be Rossi 25 points, Lorenzo 20 points, Marquez 16 points.

In that hypothetical case, Rossi scores 25 points more, and Marquez scores 4 points less. That difference is 29 points.

Of course this is all hypothetical, but Rossi believed he had that race in the bag, as did many neutral observers. This also assumes that Marquez and Lorenzo finish in the same order, which is uncertain. But given that Marquez has ridden all year with an eye on the title, it is not unreasonable to assume that he would be more likely to accept 3rd, if a win is not possible.

Warning! I'm a site supporter but don't work for David... :)
I subscribed early on this year because I've been coming to this site for a long time and it was fair that I finally pay my due.
I'm a journalist (no! I do not cover any sport related subject....) and I know how difficult it is to make a living out of reporting.
We may agree or not with some of David's pieces but for fans of the sport this is one the best sources of infos and comments around. It deserves a monetary reward. And to be honest I think the subscription fee is reasonable: less than 15 espressos! Or....what : 10 pints of beer? (Sorry I don't live in the UK I don't know the price of beer there )... and cheaper than 5 packs of cigarettes. What I'm trying to say: if you really enjoy the news you find here and you are a regular reader it's worth the effort and it's fair to support hard work.

I just subscribe so I don't miss any opportunity to argue with MGM. Over on the site supporter article discussions he has shared pictures of his VTR 250 with Illmore replica livery. And he evidently has a collection of pictures of DePuniet shirtless at his desk for inspiration.

You folks are missing out!
(I have a sincere offer to sponsor half of a fan with a less advantaged currency. Since I am American it is the least I can do right? How about someone least alike me? Female? Muslim? Young? SE Asia or India? Loves Biaggi and 2 strokes? Dislikes my posts?).

Maybe someone else will even pick up the other half if you can't afford that much. Anyone on here that fits the bill?

Btw - I heard that the exact same person was responsible not only for the Factory Yamaha Rev limit at Mugello but also Ben Spies' swing arm etc. And Crutchlow not getting better kit at Tech3. And supplying Stoner's pre-race smoothie mix full of dairy to his trainer. They said he oddly looks JUST like Alberto Puig but has a moustache, and only seen at night. Did he really "go on to work for the Asia Cup?!"

C'mon Motoshrink ! You know that the only form of inspiration I keep on my desk is my collection of selfies with Valentino in Ibiza and at the Ranch. Where does that DePuniet thing come from? You should know better.... after all you are a shrink.... :D

Just wanted to make sure i am getting the full article, I am a site supporter but i seem to get the same amout of text if i am signed in or not, are you ment to get more if you are a site supporter or is it that you can only comment on it if you are a site supporter?

There is a lot of rubbish online but there are 2 places I goto for real news, BBC for general news and Mottomatters for GP and superbike racing and i am happy to support both 


Click on the link at the bottom of the story and it should take you to the full story. This is just a preview for non subscribers.

Me thinks someone is about to hit the jackpot . I can't imagine coming to motomatters seeing an article and not being able to read it. But I can see myself tripping over my feet getting to the credit card 

its been a war of atrition in a lot of ways this season I think this article is very relevant. Mugello was a huge moment this season for Rossi, as was Assen. Marc's recent speight of two race crashes in a row demonstrates just how important his victories were-not too mention his various run offs at Silverstone which went relatively unpunished, Rossi on the other hand when on form compared to Marc has been beaten too many times by inspired rides from Cal, Dani, Maverick, Dovi and Ianonne. Capitalization was key this season and Marc made the most of it in 2016.