Why the Hurry for Valentino Rossi?
Thursday, July 8, 2010
surprised many when he took to the track at a recent test in Misano, with the reigning champ determined to beat an expected return date at the Czech GP in Brno by almost a full month. Still rehabbing his broken leg, Rossi eyes the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring for his tentative return, which is little more than a week away. So why the hurry for Valentino?
Valentino Rossi gets back in the saddle at Misano aboard a Sterilgarda Yamaha World Superbike.
There’s still a MotoGP
title up for grabs!
At first glance the suggestion seems ridiculous, but a closer look at the numbers and it doesn’t seem entirely impossible. Should the Fiat Yamaha ace return in time for Sachsenring, that gives him 10 rounds to gather points. Returning at Brno gives him just eight GPs to close an even wider gap.
As it stands now, in spite of missing four rounds, Rossi is seventh in the points at 61. The first three riders ahead of him - Casey Stoner, Randy de Puniet and Nicky Hayden - are all less than 10 points ahead. Well within Rossi’s grasp. Repsol Honda teammates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa are a respective 30 and 52 points ahead in the standings. Pedrosa’s lead is particularly imposing, but far from unreachable over a 10-race span, presuming Rossi gets back to his usual self sooner rather than later.
None of this world title talk makes any sense at all if Rossi’s dominating teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, stays healthy. Even before the injury, Lorenzo’s chances against his rival have looked better than any previous rider since Stoner in 2007. Yet Lorenzo’s remarkable consistency this year (almost Rossi-like…) has been anomalous to his previous GP campaigns, which featured inconsistent DNFs and crashes that left the Mallorcan out of the points and hobbled by injury. With the season not halfway completed, is it inconceivable that Lorenzo could crash his way out of a title with another serious injury? If you were putting money down during the preseason on whether Lorenzo or Rossi would lose significant time to a crash, which Fiat Yamaha rider would it have been?
Yes, Rossi’s title quest does look pretty damn near impossible, more so the more we look at it. Yet clawing back to second overall doesn’t seem too outrageous, and it would be quite a feat for the Italian, not to mention a terrific burn on the factory Hondas. Maybe both reasons are motivations for Rossi’s hurried return. Either that, or maybe sitting out multiple GPs for the first time in his career has the GP G.O.A.T. going stir crazy.
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