2013 Valencia MotoGP Race Preview: In The Pressure Cooker - The Showdown At Cheste

Mixed emotions greet the final race of most MotoGP seasons. There is sadness at the prospect of four months or more without racing. There is interest and expectation, as fans look past the race weekend to the test which immediately follows, when the bikes for next year appear and the riders switching teams get their first shot at a new ride. And there is excitement of course, at the prospect of a race to wrap up the season. But with the title usually already decided in advance, there is only pride at stake, and not much more to play for.

This year, it's different. Yes, the test on Monday is a big deal, with Cal Crutchlow's debut on the Ducati, the Honda production racer making its first appearance, with Nicky Hayden on board, and the Aleix Espargaro giving the Yamaha production racer its first run out. But for the first time since 2006, the Valencia race really matters, and will decide who gets to crown themselves champion. Just 13 points separate Marc Marquez from Jorge Lorenzo, and the two men who have dominated the season cannot afford to make a mistake. Both come determined to do whatever it takes to get the job done at Valencia.

On the face of it, Marc Marquez is the hot favorite to take the title at Valencia. The 20-year-old Repsol Honda man has had an astonishing season, by any measure, smashing record after record as he takes wins, podiums, and lap records. He was expected to do well at the start of the season, after all, he came into the most powerful team, with perhaps the most highly rated crew, and on what was generally regarded as the best bike. Most pundits saw him getting a handful of podiums, maybe taking a couple of wins, and fighting for third spot in the championship.

But Marquez had other ideas, taking a podium in his first race, a win in his second, and then never finishing off the podium when he finished a race. Only twice did he fail: once through an error of his own making, finding the limits of the front Bridgestone tire at Mugello as he set about hunting down Jorge Lorenzo, and once when his team misunderstood the hastily cobbled together pit stop rules at Phillip Island, and caused Marquez to be black flagged.

His strategy has been simple: to go out and try to win every race he can, not afraid to take risks in the process. His thought process has been tightly focused, streamlined even, thinking only of what happens on Sunday, the championship never on his mind. When asked, he replied he was merely a rookie, and that whatever happened, his season would judged a success. Only in the last few races has Marquez shown the first hints of pressure, the cheerful, smiling face showing very occasional signs of strain, his brows drawn down in a severe frown a couple of times. He has reached the point where he can no longer banish thoughts of the title from his mind.

The occasional darkening of Marquez' brow has not gone unnoticed by Jorge Lorenzo and his team. Since missing the race at the Sachsenring, Lorenzo has watched his championship defense slip further and further out of his grasp. At Silverstone, the Spaniard started to turn the tide with a brilliant win which took every last ounce of resourcefulness, bravery and skill, but which handed Lorenzo the momentum once again. Another win at Misano edged him closer once again, but at Aragon and Sepang Lorenzo finished behind Marquez once again, bleeding points to his rookie rival.

It all changed at Phillip Island, when Marquez threw away a certain podium, which would have ensured he could wrap up the title at Motegi. Lorenzo saw a glimmer of hope once again, and when the weather at Motegi played into his hands - the first day of practice lost to fog, the second badly disrupted by rain, and little time for set up work - he seized the opportunity, taking a convincing win to cut the gap to just 13 points. Under normal circumstances, that should be enough for Marquez to take the championship comfortably, by just following Lorenzo around and finishing directly behind him. That would be more than sufficient.

But those looks of concern on Marquez' face... Lorenzo has seen them alright, and they have brought him out like a shark smelling blood in the water. He is circling, looking for weakness, cranking up the pressure, seeing if he can make the rookie crack. He knows Marquez is formidable at Valencia - Marquez' Moto2 race last year at the circuit was a breathtaking demonstration of raw talent combined with calculated risk, winning from the back of the grid on extremely treacherous conditions - but he knows Marquez hasn't been in a situation like this before, with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Lorenzo knows what it is to win a MotoGP title (or two), and he knows how great the pressure is.

It is far beyond what Marquez could have imagined: it is impossible to read a sports paper, or a motorcycle magazine, or a website, without someone telling him he has the title in the bag, yet Marquez knows that the smallest error can mean disaster. A technical problem, a missed braking point, entering a corner 1 km/h faster than the lap before, and his chances are gone. It is a dark, growing knot at the pit of Marquez' stomach, always there, despite his best attempts to ignore it.

Jorge Lorenzo is intent on exploiting that, cranking up the pressure as much as he can. He knows that he has to win the race, and he knows that he will either need help from at least three other riders, or he will have to force Marquez into a mistake. Given the gaping chasm which has generally yawned between the podium runners and the battle for fourth, Lorenzo has no illusions of the others coming to his aid, however much Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow would like to. Lorenzo's only hope is to pile on the pressure so much that Marquez cracks under the strain.

And so Jorge Lorenzo talks of not having any pressure. He says in interview after interview that he has nothing to lose and everything to gain at Valencia. He is free to ride as he pleases, he says, attempting to place the responsibility for securing the title on Marquez. Since Aragon, this has been the team's explicit aim: take the title chase to the last race of the year, and see how it turns out. 'Anything can happen,' is the mantra repeated by everyone in Lorenzo's team, goading on that knot of doubt that sits heavily on Marquez' stomach, gnawing away at his self confidence. He will need a calm head indeed to just sit quietly in the race and not panic.

So what will Lorenzo's strategy be on Sunday? The first objective will come on Saturday, trying to intimidate Marquez with a scorching pole time. In the race, Lorenzo may eschew his normal tactic of putting his head down and trying to make a break, instead choosing to hold up Marquez and try to get some traffic backed up behind them. If Lorenzo can rattle Marquez into worrying what is behind him, instead of concentrating on Lorenzo's back wheel, the Repsol Honda rookie may make a mistake, and run wide or drop a place. One mistake begets another, especially in this situation, and pushing too hard to correct a previous error can end up spelling disaster.

Just ask Valentino Rossi. The multiple world champion came to Valencia in 2006 with a comfortable lead and needing only to stay in touch with Nicky Hayden. But he got roughed up at the start, caught up in traffic, and eventually crashed while trying to make up lost ground. Though he got back on and finished the race, Rossi had allowed himself to be flustered, and when he got flustered, he threw it all away.

Will Marquez make the same mistake? He has shown very few signs of having trouble dealing with pressure during his career. The preternatural calmness with which he dealt with a warm up lap crash at Estoril in 2010 was typical of Marquez' resolve. Starting from the back of the grid, he was at the front of the race within a few corners, going on to win at Portugal, before clinching the title at the last race at Valencia. That could be a precedent for this weekend, but the competition Marquez faced was far less formidable. If he keeps his head and stays with Lorenzo, he is champion. If he loses his head, something Lorenzo will be doing all he can to encourage, then he could toss it all away with a costly mistake.

Will Marc Marquez get any help from his teammate? Given the history between the two, Dani Pedrosa is extremely unlikely to want to go out of his way to assist his rookie teammate take the championship, something which has eluded Pedrosa throughout his eight seasons in the premier class. Pedrosa's latest title chances foundered at Aragon, when he was lightly clipped by Marquez, but that contact ended up severing a sensor wire, confusing the electronics of Pedrosa's Honda RC213V, which then threw him off viciously. Marquez' victory and Lorenzo's podium opened up a gap too big for him to close.

Yet Pedrosa may still be willing to come to the aid of Marquez, if that involves beating Lorenzo. Pedrosa will be keen to win the last race of the year at Valencia, and given his record at the circuit - he is the only rider to have won races in all three classes at Valencia - there is every reason to believe he is capable of doing so. Pedrosa's way of helping Marquez will be going all out to win the race, finishing ahead of Lorenzo and robbing him of valuable points. If Lorenzo wins the race, Marquez needs to finish in the top four. If Pedrosa can get in front of Lorenzo, then Marquez only needs to finish in the top eight. That would give him much more leeway for mistakes.

Would Pedrosa be willing to step aside for Marquez, and allow him to pass if need be, if Lorenzo were leading and Pedrosa found himself circulating ahead of Marquez in fourth? That is a less likely scenario, Pedrosa feeling no loyalty to the young upstart who has already ruined his season. Honda have already said they are philosophically opposed to giving team orders (beyond 'don't knock your teammate off', that is), and so Pedrosa will feel he has a right to try to beat Marquez. As Pedrosa has a contract for 2014, and there are few obvious candidates to take his place at Repsol Honda in the seasons following that, he will not fear repercussions.

Can Valentino Rossi do for Jorge Lorenzo what Dani Pedrosa is unwilling to do for Marc Marquez? Rossi would be delighted to help Lorenzo if he can. Mainly because it would mean he was once again running at the front, rather than five seconds or more off the back of the leaders with no way of getting in among them. At a track like Mugello or Phillip Island, he might have stood a chance, but Valencia is a circuit which has not been kind to Rossi over the years. It is a race where he has all too often ended in the gravel, or off the podium, or otherwise out of contention. When Valentino Rossi lists his favorite circuits, Valencia is never among them.

Lorenzo needs help from more than Rossi, of course. Cal Crutchlow would dearly like to get back on the podium, to say farewell to the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team in style, the team which has been like a family to him. Crutchlow is frustrated he hasn't been able to give the team the win which he feels they deserve, despite coming tantalizingly close a couple of times. At least the Valencia track gives him a chance: tight, twisty, with a couple of sections of acceleration and braking where they lose out to the Hondas, but a couple of other spots where they can make up ground thanks to the more maneuverable M1. It won't be easy, but it's not impossible.

Then there's the satellite Hondas, with Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista both having shown good form throughout the year. Bradl has had an even worse time at Valencia than Valentino Rossi, the German never managing to finish a race at the circuit. The LCR Honda rider will be wanting things to turn out differently this year, but a run like that can get into a rider's mind. There is more hope for Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard having strung together a good run in the second half of the season. The Showa suspension is showing real progress, and Bautista is taking advantage by getting close to the podium. That could be within reach on Sunday, though that would be much to Honda's chagrin if it interfered with Marquez' title hopes. If anything, Bautista could be more susceptible to pressure from Honda than Dani Pedrosa has. After all, as a satellite rider who looks set to lose his seat at the end of 2014, he may decide that a good result is more important than keeping Honda happy.

The chances of the Ducati riders getting involved at the front are very slim indeed, the Desmosedici continuing to limp through the season towards a fresh start. Though some progress has been made - the bike enters corners better, is more stable, and less aggressive on the throttle - it is still a second a lap or more off the pace of the leading trio. The chances of Andrea Dovizioso or Nicky Hayden mixing it up at the front are very slim indeed. The two will be much more concerned with the post-race test than with the race itself. Nicky Hayden will swing his leg over Honda's production racer for the first time with the Aspar team at the test, and he, along with the rest of us, will get the first real sense of how good that bike will be. While Dovizioso will have only a few minor parts to test from Monday, though the focus of the factory will shift toward 2014, and Gigi Dall'Igna will make his first appearance.

But Nicky Hayden knows better than most just what the last race of the season can bring. In 2006, it brought him a world championship, just a week after it looked like he had lost it in a crash with his teammate - one Dani Pedrosa - at Estoril. In 2011, with big things to test on the Tuesday after Valencia, Hayden found himself taken out in a first-corner, multi-bike pilot, an incident in which he damaged his hand too badly to ride. Anything can happen, as Lorenzo keeps saying, and that's why they line up on Sunday, as Hayden keeps explaining. And that's why we keep watching, because you never know when the fireworks will start, and how it will all turn out. This will be the biggest Sunday in motorcycle racing for a very long time. It will be a real thrill to watch.


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History overwhelmingly favours Marquez. Only twice (1992 and 2006) out of the 15 times that the title has gone down to the last race of the year has the leader on points failed to hang on and clinch the title. I expect (and hope) that that historical record will continue at Valencia.

And if they had gone back 31 seasons they would have had Roberts v Spencer in 1983 where Roberts won the last race with Spencer second being enough for him to be champion.
An American both won and lost, just as a Spaniard will this weekend.

Should he become champion, MM is an unusual one. Most champions dominate the season but to date, JLO has led 2 1/2 times more laps than MM (208 vs 82). Even though MM has twice as many poles (8 vs 4). JLO wins more, with less pure bike speed than MM. In the crash data it is even more telling, JLO with 3 and MM with 15. Yamaha wins because of their rider. Honda wins because of their bike. Honda's bike superiority helps not just in the usual 4-8kph top speed difference at tracks, but in the way their respective teammates take points off the JLO and MM. This season Pedrosa has taken 24 points off JLO whereas Rossi has only taken 9 points of MM. That 15 point gap is nearly exactly what the current point gap is between JLO and MM. Rossi simply hasn't helped JLO as much as Pedrosa has helped MM.

That is one way of looking at it. The other is how many points DP has taken off MM compared to VR taking off JL. I will not even bother to do the maths as it would be a lot more.

And again the argument that the Honda is that much better only denigrates the talent of DP and MM.

"Yamaha wins because of their rider. Honda wins because of their bike."

This is a ridiculous statement. Every race Marquez has finished he's been on the podium. And he's only not finished two. And one of those was due to idiotic last minute rule changes and poor rule comprehension by his team. He crashed out of a race once. Who cares about practice crashes? Lorenzo is the one who crashed and got injured, too. Twice. On the same collar bone. Marquez has been a model of consistency. Consistently taking the Honda to the edge and keeping it there.

Although MM has the fastest bike, confirmed by the Honda's top speed advantage at every track, and more than twice the pole positions, it is the Yamaha leading the race most frequently. Why? Because JLO makes the difference. MM wins by following, then passing later in the race using his superior horsepower. When was the last time MM won by getting the hole shot and leading flag to flag, with constant pressure from behind (and not cracking)? NEVER. Think about it. MM takes the Honda to the edge, more often than Dani, but Dani can too. So what other rider takes the Yamaha to the edge? MM is just damn lucky his crazy crashes haven't killed his championship.

"...MM wins by following, then passing later in the

Have you heard of motorcycle racing?

No he hasn't. He likes figures though. He will need a great deal of those in the next years to explain to all of us why Marquez is winning races and championships...

Figures are what make championships and they don't lie. They are facts. More points equals a championship. A Champion isn't the best rider, just the guy who gets the most points. In the last 3 seasons, there have been 3 riders who won more than 6 races each on a Honda. Dani's won 13 races, MM 6 races, and Stoner 17 races. In the same period, only 1 rider has one more than 1 race on a Yamaha. His name is Jorge Lorenzo and he has won 16 races.
MM will win as long as he has no competition on a near equal bike. Put Stoner on a Honda and MM will have problems. The gap between Dani (the benchmark) and Casey was much larger than the gap between Dani and MM.

"The gap between Dani (the benchmark) and Casey was much larger than the gap between Dani and MM."

I think you might have missed the second half of the 2012 season :)

You mean where Pedrosa managed to beat Stoner while Casey was either out, racing with a broken ankle or racing with an immobile ankle?

I see, you're one of those delusional people that thinks top speed means anything. It doesn't. Marquez has finished in front of Lorenzo 9 times. 9 of 17. That's more than half, if you're counting. Which means of course he's beaten Lorenzo more often than not. The number of laps led is as useless as top speed. There are only 18 laps a year where finishing order means anything. That's the last lap of each race. Marquez had a pretty good runaway victory for his first win, if you actually care to remember it.

For some reason you're trying to discount Marquez's talent. I'm not sure why, but you're wrong.

MM is a real talent. No dispute, but he's never faced a world champion on equal machinery. He finishes ahead of Lorenzo more often than not and that's why he is ahead on points. But the way he wins shows his immense bike advantage. No need to lead from the front, but hang back and let your superior bike, coupled with your greater talent than your teammate, do the rest. To say top speed doesn't matter shows no real knowledge of racing. Honda's have both top speed advantage and can qualify better than the Yamahas which shows they are good on cornering and braking. Ducati has very good top speed, better than Yamaha, but can't put a lap together cause they can't corner.
Having extra cornering speed, like JLO has, is useless if you are behind. So JLO has to lead from the front, make no mistakes from the pressure cooker behind him, to win. MM doesn't. His task is far easier. When was the last time you saw a Yamaha ending lap one in 4th and moving up to finish first? MM makes many mistakes during a race, JLO doesn't.

The Ducati lost its top speed advantage when Rossi had its balls cut off because he couldn't handle it. Ever since then, shortly after his declaring the new Al spar bike unridable, it has not topped a top speed time sheet in qualifying or a race ever since. More than a year and a half ago, and Honda and Yahmaha have been faster. Great posts otherwise.

Actually, the Ducati actually got faster in top speed vs its rivals after Rossi left. But lap times got worse vs the competition. This year, the Ducati has had the fastest top speed during the race at GP America (340.6 by Iannone), Mugello (344 by Pirro), Catalunya (339.7 Hayden). Even at the very first race of the season in Qatar, the Ducati ridden by Iannone was at 342 which was 3rd fastest. JLO was at 338 and MM at 344. All this data is readily available at Motogp.com. This pattern is pretty consistent throughout the season. Honda's dominating the speed traps with Ducati close behind followed by Rossi and JLO. JLO typically has the lowest top speed of the works machines. At Phillip Island, he was 5th fastest behind his own teammate and a Duc. At Motegi he was 9th fastest during the race behind Rossi, Crutchlow, Nakasuga, 4 Hondas, Dovi and Hayden. He won both races and set fastest lap at Motegi by clearly outriding his competition in the corners, not the straights.

But it has always been one of the fastest if not the fastest round a track. 6 of the past 9 titles tells the story. A faster rider on the second factory Yam would be capable of winning with it, the difference isn't that the Yam is slow, it's Rossi that is slow.

'Honda's have both top speed advantage and can qualify better than the Yamahas which shows they are good on cornering and braking. Ducati has very good top speed, better than Yamaha, but can't put a lap together cause they can't corner.
Having extra cornering speed, like JLO has, is useless if you are behind.'

I fail to understand how this cornering speed advantage would be anything but an advantage in qualifying ? In theory, it's a time where JLO can take advantage of this and string together an unhindered lap. From what you are saying, MM is actually having to work harder in the corners to compensate for the lack of cornering speed. He gains some advantage from the acceleration (not top speed) of the Honda.

So let's theoretically say you agree that the Honda has the acceleration and braking advantage, and Yamaha has the cornering advantage. Let's say these two level each other out. What you're then implying based on your facts (8 to 4 for Marquez) that he is actually the rider that is pushing his machine to the edge further during cornering than is JLO to gain the pole position advantage.

I'm not saying that I entirely agree with what I've written above, but before spitting out logic that contradicts itself, I'd be careful to re-evaluate your facts.

As another point, how quickly you get to your top speed, is in my mind, immensely more important. Gearing can do a lot of things.

Depending on his start Pedrosa will either take off like a scalded cat and try to win from the front, or if he makes a poor start he'll let Marquez past without too much argument. Those are two options available to him. Actually racing Marquez will make Mr Honda angry with Dani out of the points race, and Dani won't do it even if there are no explicit 'team orders'. If Pedrosa were to not only fail to win the title for 7 years, but also ruin Marquez's title prospects.. He'd never ride a Honda again after 2015 that's for sure.

That's my guess. Pedrosa will run away, Lorenzo will not be able to keep up with him. Marquez will be somewhere between 6th (if he's nervous) and 3rd (if he's confident), which will be good enough to bag the trophy.

Entertaining as it might be to try to forecast what might happen...anything can and probably will happen. I first pray that everyone gets through the practice sessions unscathed. Statistically speaking, MM93's championship is somewhat at risk before the race even starts if he treats this weekend like every other weekend. Second, I pray for a clean start that will allow for a straight battle.

After that, to me, the most intriguing element in this race will be Lorenzo's strategy. Given his recent performances, he is by far the fastest starter and first lap rider and will likely be leading at the end of the first lap. What will he do then?

If Marquez is in a championship position after a couple laps, would be interesting to see if JLo slows down and attempts to rough him up, drag him down into battles with Rossi, Bautista, Crutchlow, etc. For that strategy to work, it must be employed early on before things get too strung out. If Pedrosa doesn't shoot off at the front, he could be dragged into all this and be forced to wield his knife.

Lorenzo knows that a straight fight will probably end up as it always does, with Marquez on the podium. I think JLo has a bit of nasty in him so this could get very interesting...

I hope for the best, but I have this lingering feeling that this could be a processional, uneventful race like so many we have had this year. With of course, the inevitable crowning of MM as champion.

JLo will need to get in front and keep everyone bunched up. Similar to Edwards/Bayliss 2002. Just winning wasn't enough. Bayliss needed people between them, much like Lorenzo.

If MM does win, Dani's issues may be bigger than upsetting Honda. What will he do when Honda just doesn't care anymore? Better they be mad than indifferent.

For another great season of effort David. Though I haven't always agreed with every opinion, I look to you and your site for my primary news feed, since long before the site changed names.

As for Marquez, I really wasn't his biggest fan before but he's really won me over. I agree he leaves very little margin for error and that does bother me sometimes, but in my eyes Jorge exposed himself as a hypocrite in Sepang. I believe he intentionally hit Marquez in T11 - and I honestly think Marquez hasn't intentionally hit anybody( yes I know he has but I truly think it was rider error versus intentional bumps).

Anyways I'm pulling for the youngster. I have great admiration for Jorge's butter smooth style. No one I've ever watched has looked so smooth while being so damn quick. But Marquez deserves the WC on Sunday, and even if e doesn't win next year he will only be 21!!!!! Uh oh...

To say the least, Marquez has had a great rookie season. Next year Marquez and his team will be tighter and faster. And that does not bode well for the rest of the paddock.

Lorenzo has fought really hard to claw his way to wins, and to pick up points on Marquez. The highlights of the season are when Marquez passes Lorenzo, with Lorenzo fighting back.

Without Lorenzo, Yamaha would be in real trouble. Unless Yamaha makes big strides in top speed and braking, Marquez should have the 2014 title wrapped up by Phillip Island. Lets hope that Yamaha can find a little extra speed and Lorenzo can develop the knack for breaking a little later, while keeping his corner speed.

I understand your concerns but only prior to last year's season many said the same thing about Casey Stoner- his second year on the Repsol Honda, with his crew and settings, after his domination in 2011, no one stands a chance etc...

It didn't turn out that way and I doubt it will be so cut and dry in 2014 either. It very rarely is and that, in part, is why we love the sport.

Marquez did a superb job of playing the rookie and following Dani's lead. He would be wise to revert to the same strategy he employed prior to Austin. Let George and Dani fight for the win and pick up the incidental Title.
Won't happen though. Marc will probably go hammer and tongs like his predecessor for the win. Afterall, Marc,like Casey enters a race with an Eddy Lawson attitude. 'Comming second is like kissing your sister'... it don't count.
So yes! All this speculation about Rossi/Lorenzo Yamaha will probably amount to naught come race day. Marc has nothing to prove anyway. Valentino's help is irrelevant. Judging by his lap times on HIS M1, he through 2013, why is he still employed for 2014? Ducati? Well they are still stuck in the rut of devolving the Rossi alloy beam into a competitive CF or pipe frame bike.
Then there is the sorry rubberside down compounded by a single tyre manufacturer rule.
Anyway I look forward to it, perhaps more so than 2006.

Next year Bridgestone might come up with a tire that suits the Yamaha and gives HRC chatter, just like in 2012, to prevent one manufacturer from running away with the championship, like in 2011.

I do hope that Lorenzo is successful in getting into Marquez head leading to a battle royal of Marquez slipping far back and Lorenzo leading with some play on riders between them. I fully expect Pedrosa to be in kamikaze mode to win. Not taking out his teammate, but not trying to help him either.

Rossi just confirmed today that he will not have Jeremy Burgess next year.


That was a shock for me to read. Do not expect him to be in the mix for the win, but hope to see him find some speed again.

As I implied before,its turned full circle. Rossi once said , and don't ask me to quote it chapter and verse...something to the effect 'without the tyres you are f....d. Truism indeed. As the Bridgestone reference guru circa 2008 he has single handedly destroyed 'rubberside down equality for all'. Hey! I'm actually not knocking him. He is a master of craft off and on track. George needs to be aware of it. Valentino backslapping Marc post MGP Valencia in the paddock is a distinct possibility.
The sooner the tyre war is resumed the better. It will surely bring Ducati(front end my a**.... tyres),Suzuki,Aprilia and Kawasaki back into the fray on any Sunday. The rubberside war will inevitably scupper general Dorna ECU control for all and that is what the sport desperately needs. It will be a lot cheaper to boot.
Not a green solution so what? Really. Sand is as precious if not more so than water. Real sand that is. The silica contained therewithin that enables us to watch GP this weekend and blog about it on any Sunday. Check out the content of your internet tools %centage wise. Sand may surprise you. Real sand. Electronics and tarmac and rubber.

Confirmed over at Superbikeplanet. Tell you what. I don't think his next crew chief will be Christian Gabbarini, Santi Hernandez nor Ramon Forcada.
This is a bit of a 'banzai' announcement prior to season's finale. Clearly 'helping' George is not his focus. 'God helps those who help themselves' is paramount for him this weekend. Carmello crew chief? Why not? All in jest,but this announcement is an untimely drama. I guess JB has outlived his usefullness much like FP outlived his at Ducati. Well,they can enjoy a couple of sundowners post 2013.

**** BREAKING NEWS ******

VALENCIA, (API) - Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) won the championship by taking the top podium at the Valencia MotoGP race Sunday after a spectacular chain of events caused by the young Honda rider, rookie Marc Marquez. Marquez, while braking late behind Jorge Lorenzo, clipped the back wheel of the #99 rider and crashes in the 2nd lap while following the Yamaha, effectively taking him out of the championship bid, meanwhile Valentino Rossi ran wide and out of the track trying to avoid the riders ahead, forcing both him and Pedrosa into the gravel. Pedrosa could not rejoin the race due to injured collarbone or left shoulder.

More details soon...

Sorry! couldn't resist