2015 Misano MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Good Fortune, Hard Work, And Making Your Own Luck

Racers are gamblers. The helmet designs featuring dice, cards and other gambling paraphernalia bear witness to that. They have to be gamblers, a willingness to take risks is a prerequisite to being fast on a motorcycle, running the odds through your mind and betting the house on your own ability to get the upper hand. Sometimes the gamble pays off, and when it does, the rewards are bountiful. Other times, however, you lose, leaving you a hard, hard row to hoe.

There are gambles to be taken at every MotoGP race, but Misano turned into the biggest casino the series has ever seen. Rain which came after the start then stopped again meant gambling on the right time to come in for tires – twice, once to go from slicks to wets, once to go from wets to slicks – left some riders reaping rich rewards, while others were left with empty hands. Come in too late for wets, and you could lose 10 seconds wobbling round on a wet track on slicks. Come in too late for slicks, and you could lose 10 seconds or more a lap trying to find grip on wet tires as they were tearing themselves apart. Be too cautious, as Cal Crutchlow did, and you could end up way down the finishing order. Push too hard too early, as Jorge Lorenzo did, and you could end up in the gravel.

That the rain came at all was a surprise. The forecast had been for hot and sunny weather on Sunday, as temperatures climbed through the weekend. It was only on Sunday morning that the first signs of trouble showed up, with rain and thunderstorms predicted for the afternoon. Moto3 and Moto2 went off without a hitch, but as the MotoGP bikes headed out on their sighting laps, it was already spotting with rain. That spawned panic in the pit lane, with teams checking set up, and sometimes radically changing it on the spot. Front springs were being rapidly swapped, and at Suzuki, a new shock went into Maverick Viñales' wet bike.

The race started dry, and played out much as we had all hoped after qualifying. Jorge Lorenzo rocketed into the lead, but a hard-charging Marc Márquez followed by a fast Valentino Rossi kept him honest. A second separated the leaders for the first five laps, then the rain started coming down heavily. Lap times went through the roof, and it was clear that it was time to switch to the wet bikes. The mid-pack group led by Aleix Espargaro went in first on lap 6, followed by the leaders on lap 7. On lap 8, the stragglers came in, the track now thoroughly soaking. Andrea Dovizioso led this group, saying afterwards that this was where his race went wrong, getting his strategy wrong. This cost Cal Crutchlow dearly, gambling on Dovizioso's outstanding wet-weather skills, and suffering as a result of the Italian's mistake.

Bradley Smith made an even worse mistake, missing his window to come in and so deciding to stay out on slicks. In the short term, he started plummeting down the field, going from briefly leading the race when the pack went in to swap bikes, to bringing up the rear in P20. Smith realized his mistake immediately, but as he rounded the Misano track mulling whether to come in on the next lap, the rain started easing. The Tech 3 rider made a virtue of necessity, and decided to soldier on hoping for better weather. As he put it, he was "willing to die by the sword" and crash if necessary, having little to lose. Over and over he repeated to himself "luck favors the brave, luck favors the brave." He had 20 more laps to find out whether this aphorism would hold true.

After a brief reshuffle, the leaders were once again back together, and in the same order. But the balance of power was shifting, Rossi getting stronger as Márquez weakened. On lap 13, Rossi got past Márquez, and two laps later, he was past Lorenzo as well. By now, Márquez was starting to struggle with the bike, the wets vibrating as they shed their tread. Quickly losing ground to the two Movistar Yamahas, Márquez decided to pit. It was not an easy decision. "It was difficult to think on the bike because in the end you are riding on the limit. You must think how many seconds is the other rider, how is the track, how many laps remain? Try to calculate the lap time, what you can do in dry tires and wet tires."

As the track dried, Márquez' options became clearer. "In the end on wet tires when it start to be dry both Yamaha riders were faster than me. My bike was just shaking, shaking all the straight and then I say, okay, it’s time to go in because if I continue like this I cannot win the race. So my target only was win the race. And then I go in and when I go out with the slicks I feel that the track was more dry than what I expect. So that was the key, change the bike two laps earlier than the Yamaha riders."

Márquez' choice may not have an impact on the championship, but the choice of the Yamaha riders to stay out could well prove decisive in the title race. Rossi led, afraid to go into the pits while Lorenzo was behind him, with too much to lose. "Is always difficult because I know that if you come back into the pit earlier it is better for the result, but more risky. Two laps before I wanted to stop but it was still raining a little bit on the back straight and I thought if I stop and it restarts to rain, for me the result was very bad. Also I check a little bit Jorge and he was still behind me, so I decide to continue and I think one lap too much."

Lorenzo, meanwhile, was happily ignoring his pit board, which had been telling him to come in for some time. He was focused on Rossi, and trying to judge the right moment to come in, balancing the risk of more rain with the reward of possibly beating the Italian. "It is difficult to play everything with one card," Lorenzo said. "Maybe you can win if you enter quickly into the pits, but if you put the slick and then crash you can lose the championship and not have options for the rest of the season."

That's why Lorenzo spent his time behind his teammate, waiting to see what Rossi would do. "Knowing that I was second, I waited a little bit to see what Valentino was doing because if he entered the pits and I entered at the same time, with dry tires, maybe I could be faster than him afterwards. But if I enter the pits before him and then it starts raining, I could crash and get injured, or he might win and I lose 25 points. For this reason I decided to stay out. But maybe I made a mistake. One of the two mistakes of today."

The second mistake was more egregious, and could end up costing Lorenzo the title. When he came out of the pits he saw Scott Redding come flying by, and feared he was going way too slowly. He upped his pace before his tires were good and ready, and as he flicked left for turn 15, the first left hander after a long series of rights, he locked the front and went down. "When Redding passed me so quick, I lose a little bit the patience," Lorenzo said. That loss of patience could prove very costly indeed.

Rossi pitted on the next lap, but by then, he had ruled himself out of the podium. So far this season, he had not been off the podium, and as my photographer friend Cormac Ryan Meenan pointed out to me ahead of Misano, Rossi has not had back-to-back wins since 2009. Losing both a shot at the win and a podium was a bitter pill to swallow, and one that he had no one to blame for but himself. He had balanced risk and reward and come up short, fearing a bad result more than he desired a good one. As it was, Rossi got lucky, with Lorenzo getting distracted by Redding and taking himself out. Those fond of a constructed narrative like to attribute Lorenzo's crash to Rossi's fabled mind games, but that is stretching the facts beyond what they will bear. In truth, Lorenzo misjudged his pace, and forgot about the fact that one side of the tire had cooled. He panicked, and paid dearly for his panic. In a flag-to-flag race, cool heads must prevail more than ever.

In truth, both Rossi and Lorenzo misjudged the conditions badly, because they were focused on each other. Their minds full of what their main championship rival was doing, they had less eye for the opportunities afforded by the track. When Rossi, Lorenzo and Márquez were racing together, it was eminently clear – to the pit crews at least, who would have tried to communicate this with some urgency to their riders – that the first rider to pit would win the race. At least, they would if it were to stay dry. Márquez proved the truth of that point by going on to take victory after pitting first, while Rossi and Lorenzo looked at each other, and paid the price. Lorenzo's mistake is self-evident, a crash is costly when the margins are so very tight.

Rossi's error means he gained just 11 points on Lorenzo, rather than much more. If he had pitted earlier and Lorenzo had still crashed, he could have gained 16, perhaps 20 points on his teammate, extending his lead to 28 points or more, meaning he could afford to crash in a later race and still hold the lead in the championship, a very solid buffer. Even if Lorenzo hadn't crashed, the point differential for the podium spots means that finishing ahead of your rival gives you a much bigger gap in the championship. Fortune smiled on Rossi at Misano, but it was despite, rather than because of his actions.

When it comes down to it, whether Rossi deserves the 11 points or not is frankly irrelevant. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. The fact is that Rossi has extended his lead by 11 points, and is now 23 points ahead of Lorenzo, and in a commanding lead. That does not mean the championship is over – Rossi himself said that he feared Lorenzo and Márquez were both faster than him at most tracks, with the threat of losing 9 points at each of the final rounds, and losing the championship. But the momentum is very firmly back in Rossi's court. Title number ten is a good deal closer than it was at Silverstone.

While the focus understandably was on on the ramifications of the Misano MotoGP race for the championship, the riders who finished ahead of Rossi proved the most deserving on the day. Having missed his window of opportunity, Bradley Smith soldiered bravely on, hoping circumstances would turn his way. They did, and how, but at the same time, his advantage was starting to be used against him. Once the track started to dry, his times started to drop, and the other teams started using him as a yardstick.

On lap 9, Smith had done a 2'18, some 34 seconds slower than his best lap so far. A couple more two-minute laps, and the track started to clean up. He knew there was still twenty or so laps to go, and there was a lot of racing to be done. He rode around avoiding the rubber on the track – that, especially, is what turns the track treacherous in the wet – and once the track started to dry, the gamble started to pay off. On lap 13, he was just a couple of seconds slower than the riders on wets, and next lap he was matching their pace. By lap 15, the track had started to dry considerably, Smith five seconds faster than the leaders, and Loris Baz, who had been the first of the riders on wets to pit, a couple of seconds slower. Next lap the advantage of Smith and Baz was ten seconds. Smith's deficit had gone from 1'17 to 23 seconds in the space of just six laps. By the time Rossi pitted for slicks, Smith was able to sail into second spot unopposed.

Smith's speed had a downside. The other teams were using him as a reference point, and had called their riders in when they saw his times dropping. That left Smith stuck behind Marc Márquez, and though he tried to catch him, the Repsol Honda rider's gap was just a little too large. Had Márquez pitted just one lap later, Smith said, he would have been in with a shot at victory.

Was Smith's podium a result of effort, or just a random fluke of events? A bit of both, Smith said, though he felt he deserved this podium very much more than the first one, which he took at Phillip Island last year. "This one was earned," Smith said afterwards. "Although a big gamble, it was still my decision and my talent and skill that kept me upright. It wasn’t luck. I decided to stay out there and I was riding at my max to try and stay upright and it paid off. Whereas Philip Island I was fortunate with a lot of riders crashing but this one was earned and it was to do with strategy and risk and gamble so this one feels more special." He had rolled the dice, and they had come up sevens. Alea iacta est, as Julius Caesar said when he crossed the Rubicon, the river just a few miles from the Misano World Circuit.

Behind Smith, Scott Redding took the final spot on the podium, with a big helping hand from Lady Luck. It didn't feel like he was being lucky at the time, but Redding's crash on lap 7 forced him to come in for a new bike with wet tires. That proved to be the perfect lap to swap to wets, giving Redding a bit of a head start. But the Marc VDS rider could not get a good feeling with his wet bike, and so as soon as the rain eased up, he was back into the pits for a dry bike. His second swap took place on lap 14, a lap after Loriz Baz and well ahead of most others on the grid. It meant he got on to slicks early, and was already pushing hard when the rest followed his lead. He chased down Baz, and took over the final spot on the podium, happy to finally get on the box. It was good to be able to reward Honda, he said, after several difficult races with the RC213V.

Redding's speed bumped poor Loriz Baz off the podium, and though the Frenchman was delighted with fourth, he definitely deserved more. Baz proved himself a master of strategy, timing both bike swaps to perfection. His first swap was as part of the big group that came in with Aleix Espargaro, but his second swap was entirely of his own devising. He had not even had time to signal his crew to be ready, Baz said, hoping only that his team would have his bike ready and waiting. It was fortunate that the Forward Racing garage was such a long way down pit lane, as when he entered pit lane, he saw his bike still had the tire warmers on and was up on the stands. His team had divested the bike of its tire warmers and had the bike ready and raring to go within ten seconds, Baz losing almost nothing in the pits.

Once out, he was one of the quickest riders on the grid, with only Bradley Smith for company. For a long time, Baz looked like he would be on for a podium, but once Redding got up to speed, he was just too fast for the Frenchman. Clearly Redding was faster than Baz, but the Frenchman's tactics and judgment should not go unrewarded. Baz did the best job of analyzing and understanding the conditions, and was rewarded handsomely for his effort. He took aim at Aspar after the race. A year ago, the Spanish team boss had told him he was too tall for MotoGP. After the race at Misano, Baz was clear. "I'm not too tall!"

The result was also good news for the Forward Racing team. The team has been in disarray since the arrest of team boss Giovanni Cuzari in Switzerland. Cuzari's lawyer told us that the charges of corruption are likely to be dropped against him, meaning that if Dorna are willing, he will get to remain boss of the Forward squad, and Forward will remain in MotoGP. Though charges still remain against Cuzari, they are far less serious than those of corruption.

Why did so many riders get it wrong at Misano? A contributing factor was the new asphalt, which is much darker than the asphalt usually used. The darker surface made it very difficult to see a drying line, making it harder for the riders to tell whether and just how fast the track was drying. That led several riders to stay out for much longer than they might have on wet tires, rather than pit for slicks. On the other hand, drying lines are not the responsibility of the organizers, but instead, of the riders who have to judge them.

With clear evidence hard to find, riders should perhaps have believed their intuition, rather than their eyes. But from the sidelines, that is a good deal easier to say than it is to actually understand when you are on the bike. Fortunately for Misano, for the weird weather and dark asphalt combined to make the Misano round of MotoGP a thrilling and fascinating spectacle.


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Total votes: 281
Total votes: 71

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Comments

I've seen a lot of races, but this was one for the books---dry-wet-dry---Vale rode a calculated race and took a handful of points---Marc rode like he always does and won---Jorge was the big loser this time, hope his hand is not hurt too bad. Then the two Brits---Brad and Scott---rode their asses off and reaped the the reward---very strange race…
So now Vale is 23 points up on Jorge---five races to go---still could have a big surprise somewhere down the road---a great season so far…!

Total votes: 124

This goes to show it's not just ideal weather condition that showcases a thrilling race. Yes, I (and most of us I'm sure) hoped for 3-way battle to the last lap, but I sure wasn't disappointed as it kept me at edge of my seat the whole time! 5 races to go w/total of 125 pts up for grabs; max possible gain of 25 pts by the race winner if he pulls 5 wins in a row. If there's anyone that can achieve this, is the man in 2nd position of championship. What a fantastic season it's been so far!

Total votes: 114

What if Valentino pitted first?
He was leading. The chance is Jorge and Marc would follow. Championship-wise, it would be +9 points best case, -9 points worst case.

What if Valentino pitted 1 lap after Marc did? i.e. the time that Jorge pitted?
He would be in Jorge's visual range. Jorge would not have panicked. Having pitted one lap earlier, Marc would win. +4 best case, -4 worst case.

So if buts and ifs are nuts and candies, yesterday is actually sweeter than christmas.

Total votes: 159

Totally agree. It was less of a lucky draw by Rossi and more of a calculated gamble. Luck was on his side in that the gamble paid off higher than he had expected (Lorenzo crashed) but I don't think he got the pit stop timing wrong, he dragged Lorenzo out of his comfort zone and into a fight.

Lorenzo is a sniper and at Misano Rossi tossed him a knife and dragged him into a cage.

Total votes: 135

The calculated gamble... was on the stupid decision of JL not to pit when his garage told him to (they have all the relevant speed & weather data) & draw him into a situation where, if JL had beaten him it would only be by 1 or 2 points further down the field, rather than the 5 that he could have taken for 1st. He'd lost JL the race but that didn't matter. JL was the big loser before he went down.

... & MM, Smith & Redding were the big winners. Roll on the next one... I hope it's as interesting.

Total votes: 95

Excellent analysis.

Total votes: 107

The most accurate in my humble opinion.

Rossi wanted to make sure to either finish ahead of Lorenzo or give him as few points as possible. In the end it worked out even better than expected. I really don't see the 'mistake' people are talking about.

A 23 pts lead means that Lorenzo needs to push even harder for the remaining races which tend to lead to mistakes. Rossi won 'his' race.

The Yamaha boys have their own fight going on now and that's all they care about.

Glad Lorenzo isn't injured. I want a fair fight.

Total votes: 98

Rossi makes a mistake and finishes off the podium but still manages to haul 11 points out of Lorenzo.

Lorenzo makes a mistake and crashes but manages to lose only 11 points to Rossi.

Marc has major issues in the rain but manages to win the whole thing, taking 14points back out of Rossi, and 25 off Lorenzo.

Luck favours the brave

Bradders has some cast iron ones and showed everyone today.

Total votes: 119

A MotoGP rider has to be fast in all conditions, not just when things are perfect. It's great if you are fastest in the dry on your preferred tires, but over a season you will see the rain, or your preferred tire not be the choice for race tire. Fast in all conditions yields the championship.

Marc Marquez impressed me more this weekend than any other time in his young career. In FP2 I saw a will, determination, and outright speed that was jaw dropping. Apparently testing a new swingarm for HRC. Not the ideal time, during a race weekend, to be testing 2016 parts. But he did it anyway, an employee after all, same as most any person, in any job function. He was determined all weekend, even with a scorching fast Jorge Lorenzo putting down the lap times.
FP2 ended up being the tell for the whole weekend. Fastest in the warmup and solid choices in the race.

Marc rode a master class race. Matching his speed on the track with conditions, when to swap bikes, when to back off, and when to push. He did this while two more experienced riders made bad judgement errors and in stark contrast to what he himself did last year in poor conditions, that time staying out entirely too long. Phenomenal job all weekend. Not worrying about the championship has its advantages. My money is on Marc taking the majority of wins during the last part of the season. After Silverstone I see a new determination, a new will, and terrifying speed.

Rossi showed too much caution, and Jorge made a severe error. Changing conditions and championship calculations getting the better of them. Most stressful race of the year, even for this viewer. Edge of the seat and standing all race. Both of the Yamaha men must be extremely disappointed. Rossi mucking a podium in his backyard with an entire country rooting for him in person or home on the tv. Jorge for making a mistake that could cost him the championship.

Congratulations to Bradley and Scott. Bradley is an extremely intelligent rider and the nicest rider in the paddock. Scott's road in MotoGP has been all uphill and this result is well deserved.

Total votes: 139

I can't help thinking you are reading far too much into Marquez' performance this weekend. New determination since Silverstone? "FP2 the tell", "terrifying speed" etc. You are reaching too far.

I'm pretty sure Marc treated this weekend the same as most and gave his usual 100%, no more no less, without the mental revolution you speak of. He was out qualified by Lorenzo, who he looked to be barely hanging on to when the rain came. Not to mention he couldn't stay with the Yamaha boys as the track dried so his decision of when to pit was effectively made for him.

Nothing against Marquez, it was a great performance but if Rossi and Lorenzo weren't embroiled in their own battle he would have had a battle of his own on his hands instead of a free run to the flag,

A few folks have been lambasting Rossi and Lorenzo but I think, quite rightly, they were racing each other not Marquez or anyone else.

But enough of criticisms, credit where credit is due: ride of the day surely goes to one Bradley Smith. What an effort in those conditions. To be down in P20, on a wet track on slicks, not lose your head and sling it down the road or bail into the pits, speaks volumes about the young man.

Total votes: 139

I agree, I also think he will win most of the last races.

Total votes: 98

... the championship has gotten much more complicated for Rossi and Lorenzo, and that was on full display during the wet-stint on Sunday. Rossi especially has to keep one eye on the future and the other on the next corner ahead of him. That's what we saw yesterday, he and Jorge were locked in their own race, Vale basically sacrificing all other factors to keep tabs and an advantage on Lorenzo and no one else. Marc meanwhile could just treat it like any other race and focus simply on winning that particular event. I think you're missing that aspect of this race ;)

Will Marc win most of the remaining races? If mixed track conditions like these crop up again, possibly. But in the dry we'll see the Yamaha boys riding just as hard as the first 5 laps yesterday.

Total votes: 115

I agree with most of your assessment of Marc's win. Except maybe you are giving him to much credit for the decision on when to swap bikes. When the track was drying, he couldn't match the two guys ahead of him. His bike's performance helped make the decision for him; from the article above:

"As the track dried, Márquez' options became clearer. "In the end on wet tires when it start to be dry both Yamaha riders were faster than me. My bike was just shaking, shaking all the straight and then I say, okay, it’s time to go in because if I continue like this I cannot win the race."

His tires deteriorated faster than the Yamaha's; he basically said his bike was becoming unrideable, shaking on the straights even.He was forced to change bikes.

Great win for MM and his team.

Total votes: 102

Well, according to Marquez himself (press conference) he pitted beacuse of box indication, and he thanked them.

This is not to take away anything from him. He rode well to a deserved victory, though I'd have loved to see Bradley on the top spot!

Total votes: 96

If it had stayed wet I think Rossi would have won.

But his first target wasn't the podium, it was staying in front of 99

Total votes: 110

as many have said before,its really easy to make a decision to come into pits when you have nothing at stake.example even in this race , marquez , smith and redding. Bradley even stayed on slicks on a wet track hoping for the track to get dry..too much risk..hence to declare marquez as the master class judge will not be very accurate.Rossi and lorenzo were focussed and cared only to arrive in front of one another, they hardly cared for the win .had marquez been in their shoes, he would have done the same.We can't second guess the judgment of riders from our arm chair.

Total votes: 109

I believe Rossi made the correct decision. All he had to do yesterday was cover Jorge. Sure winning Misano would have been nice, but winning the 2015 Championship would be nicer. So simple then: stay out; come in one lap after Jorge - Vale will then finish either one position behind Jorge or catch him up again and finish one place ahead. Either way it was the right choice to stay out and cover JLo. A no-lose gamble.

Total votes: 122

One thing I have not seen or heard mention of is the range of time lost to enter pit, ride down pit lane at 60km/hr, swap bikes and return. Seems to be an important metric to really understand how the lap time deterioration (or vice versa) enters into the tactics. Other than the actual bike swap times where the most variance would be (appears to be ~1-3 sec) how much time is lost by pitting?

Total votes: 93

Looking at the lap time analysis, pitting to swap bikes takes about 35 seconds total.

Total votes: 103

Things JL can do...
1) ride very fast
2) judge the current conditions & ride to them (most of the time)

Things JL can't do...
1) tell what speed those on slicks are doing & thus run detailed calculations on whether it's time to pit
2) read weather reports on the go or pay any particular attention to what weather is on the way

Things JL didn't do...
1) listen to his far better informed pit crew
2) having made the stupid decision not to listen to his pit crew, stick with his resolve not to pit until Rossi did

Errors don't win championships...he's making too many.

Total votes: 116

Ride in the wet, in low grip conditions, or steer the bike on the throttle, and it's nothing new...
http://superbikeplanet.com/2011/Jan/110117krlorenzo.htm

Loss of grip due to throttle use, worn tyres, rain, he doesn't like it, can't cope with it and even changed his style back to his old 250 style for this reason.

"Roberts, then in his first year as team owner of the Lucky Strike Yamaha team of Rainey and Kevin Magee, said in an interview that year, “That 250 style can get you on the pole, but when the tires are worn, you are f____d.”
http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/01/10/dirt-track-training-with-kenny-robe...

"At the moment, I don't know how to ride when I have spinning, I can't ride like Valentino does". Submitted by David Emmett on Mon, 2015-04-20
https://motomatters.com/analysis/2015/04/20/2015_argentina_motogp_post_r...

Total votes: 117

"That the first rider to pit would win the race. At least, they would if it were to stay dry. Márquez proved the truth of that point by going on to take victory after pitting first."

And so Bradley Smith did not pit at all and finished the race in second place ; )

Total votes: 99

It looks to me that Lorenzo did a reasonable job choosing when to come in. He was operating under different circumstances from Marques so the less risky decision to come in a lap later was justified, especially given Rossi stayed out another lap longer. Lorenzo's big mistake was falling off as he might have achieved a good result relative to Rossi if he had not.
Information is key, I wonder if he knew that Redding's slicks had more time on track than his own?

Total votes: 99

Lorenzo showed that he made a poor judgement under pressure. Although one of his qualities is that he can start a race and put the hammer down facing nothing else than clear track, forcing a gap of a couple of seconds and win the race.

He basically had to do the same, judge the grip and use it at the max. He must have known that people were swapping bikes at different times, expecially when you are overtaking by someone as Redding. He panicked.

It was a similar mistake Rossi made in 2010, but at practice at Mugello. Rossi was under pressure of Lorenzo and needed the speed and crashed with a cold left side tire. Rossi broke his leg, Lorenzo was pretty lucky with a big crash like yesterday without serious injury.

Total votes: 108

Lots going on, and just breathtaking to watch.

Jorge pulling away at the front in the dry was I think what most people expected, and had it not rained I think the podium would have been Jorge, Marc and Vale - giving Vale a 3 point lead in the standings. Very, very close for the last few races.

As soon as I saw the spots of rain I knew it was curtains for Jorge. Since his big crash at Assen in 2013 he hasn't been the same rider in the wet or mixed conditions. He just doesn't seem to have the confidence to race at full pace, self preservation kicking in as he gets a bit older? Silverstone and Misano must have been his worst nightmares with the title race so close, and I think another poor weather race will hand the title to Vale.

Jorge must be hoping it stays dry for the remaining 5 rounds........

Total votes: 105

I absolutely agree. Since that race, Jorge has not been the same. I remember him winning wet races before that. I'm sure this did nothing good for that change in him.

Rossi on the other hand has seemingly gotten better racing in the wet. He was always up there or thereabouts when it's rained, but in the last few years (maybe even at Ducati) it seems as he's become one of the guys you would now favor in the wet.

Total votes: 112

That race was exciting and full of drama. If that was boring it is time to take up being a fan of another sport. Two title contenders ready to burn down everything as long as they stayed in front of the other. A former world champion showing new maturity, and a cold calculation unaffected by emotion. Two Brits getting on the podium, one has never been considered a top talent slowly making a bigger name for himself than most would give. The other considered a large talent, but has been a consistent disappointment all year.

On and on. Marquez was clearly the most focused on the win out of the three. Lorenzo clearly was feeling the pressure and it pulled his emotions into his decisions. Rossi was feeling the pressure too and ended up off the podium by making sure Lorenzo was behind him when he should have come in several laps before he did. In this case, LUCK played a huge factor in Rossi's gain. I have not seen that angry at himself look in his eye since he lost at race where he had more pace but kept it close for the interview where he used to say, "It was a very hard battle, but anyway, I win" or something similar. Back when he was CLEARLY faster than his rivals but would go their pace for most of the race then breakaway. Leading many reporters to ask people like Kevin Schwartz if they thought Rossi was cherry picking, (going slow then speeding up to act like he had to struggle to win).

Those time are over, Lorenzo and Marquez are extremely fast. Rossi has to earn wins now like never before. And today he may have smiled, but if you look at his eyes, reaction to team, and even look at his body positioning at the end of the race. It all shows that he was not happy with the result even with the luck that kicked in for him because he could have done better and he made a decision that did not lead to that. Great race though.

Total votes: 114

I agree on all counts, with the caveat that the only person who knows whether that was a (bad) gamble or just poor decision-making, is VR himself. Not that there's much difference and either way he got very lucky. Mind you, he's allowed to make a mistake or two, isn't he; he's only human, and his racecraft over the past 12 months in particular has been impeccable.

I wonder how much Marquez is now eye-ing up 2nd place in the championship? A 40 point gap with 5 races to go... All it needs is another DNF from Jorge and that gap would be at least halved, wouldn't you think?

Total votes: 105

about nothing to him. I know second has never meant anything to me and these guys are playing for a lot more marbles.

I think Simoncelli said it best, when you're second, you just want to kill everyone.

Story would probably be different if you were on a Suzuki, Ducati or open bike, but likely not when you're an alien used to winning.

Total votes: 100

Great race, unexpected results but...
I will admit it from the begining: yes, I am a fan of Rossi. Therefore I am a bit confused reading what Lorenzo said after the race. He said that this was the second bad luck race in a row for him and I was wondering where was the bad luck in Silverstone? Or yesterday? In my opinion in Silverstone he was lucky not to end the race in the gravel twice (Miller incident and Espargaro incident). The weather was the same for everybody... So if it's raining it's bad luck?!
In Misano, I would call his crash as "an unforced error" from him. We'll never know if he would have won dry race. In the first 4-5 laps he couldn't breakway...But, again, I think he was lucky to escape unhurt after that crash...Or he was lucky because the rain stopped because otherwise he would have lost Rossi and I have a feeling that also Marquez would have been faster.
Now, coming to Marquez...He has the same number of victories this season as Rossi but he is 63 points behind. If he would have been a more mature rider I can say without mistaking that he could have easily been second in Argentina and third in Barcelona. That would have been 36 points more and a total of 220 points, just 4 points behind Lorenzo. Now wouldn't that be nice? And a much more difficult situation for Rossi?
From now on Rossi has only to defend to Lorenzo and don't care about anything else and we've seen that yesterday. I agree, he may have been selfish yesterday but I think that all his fans understood what is the stake.

Total votes: 111

First time I ever saw someone ride to lose in order to win. I'm ignoring the post race comments as riders invariably put their own spin on things, depnding how it all turned out.

As I watched the race I heard the commentators stating Smith and Baz's lap times on slicks and was expecting them all to pit together, only Marquez listened to his pit board though, Rossi and Lorenzo were clearly just racing each other, a tense duel with neither being willing to be the one who blinked first.

As Rossi continued to stay out, slowly pulling a bit more of a gap on Lorenzo I saw what game he was playing - on the drying track on deteriorating wets he was faster than Lorenzo but knew that on a dry set up Lorenzo had the pace on him, so the longer he stayed out and the longer Lorenzo followed him, the further down the finishing order they both dropped and the less impact it had on a potential loss of points should Jorge beat VR - better to lose a few points to finish fifth to JLs fourth than nine points if JL beat MM and VR could only manage third place. In the end there were only two riders in that race, no-one else mattered at all.

Shame Lorenzo binned it once he did pit, a podium was definitely within reach, but we've often seen in the past how a calm head prevails in these conditions. It's going to be a nail biting climax to the championship this year!

Total votes: 108

David, excellent article again. I need to start making your research and opinions part of a personal archive by printing it out (as long as it's not a TOS issue). I think that the tire/tyre piece that you did was very informative and useful in terms of my own (humble) experiences as a rider and how tire management and gamesmanship made Misano a pivitoal point for this season and for MotoGP as a whole.

The differences in construction between qualifying/wet/(edge treated) slicks is vast - as Silverstone and now Misano has shown us and I personally find it refreshing to find new faces on the podium.

In terms of the decisions that Rossi made, the end result is that one of the most precise and controlled riders in the history of the sport had his first DNF of the season (high-speed high-side at that) when he is near to another MotoGP championship. Make no mistake, Lorenzo is a bad ass and very intelligent, but he is also very passionate in a quiet and controlled way. Did Rossi purposely trick Lorenzo into going too hot on cold tires? Did he rub it in Lorenzo's face that he can ride better on shredding wet rubber on a drying track?

Only THE DOCTOR knows.

Total votes: 98

"Did Rossi purposely trick Lorenzo into going too hot on cold tires? Did he rub it in Lorenzo's face that he can ride better on shredding wet rubber on a drying track?"

Human behavior is as unpredictable as weather, even less predictable!

What Rossi should have done, in my opinion, was to pit in without putting so much pressure on himself and his rival/teammate!

I agree with a comment above that mentioned Rossi didn't seem happy at all.

In MotoGP, you have to use tactics to ensure your championship but Rossi's was a dangerous and an unnecessary tactic. I adore Rossi but yesterday he made a bad decision. I may be wrong, but I believe Lorenzo can refer to Rossi but Rossi shouldn't be refering to Lorenzo so much, especially in such dangerous situations as of yesterday!

Human behavior is unpredictable!

Total votes: 121

The only one to really do a bad judgement was Rossi.
MM did the only sensible thing when he saw that he could not keep up with the Yamahas.
Lorenzo did the same when he lost ground.

This time you can say that Rossi was Lucky that Loenzo crashed because he would have gotten 3th place and Rossi pushed down to 6th to get 6 more points than Rossi and cut back to only a 6 points advantage to Rossi.

To bad the race didn't stay dry because as a Rossi fan I was very happy that Rossi was so close after 4 laps ( when the rain started to drizzle ) and who knows what would have happened between those 3. Not sure that Rossi would have been better than no3 but..... thats why they line up on Sunday :)

Total votes: 104

Not fair for us all to sit there and say who made the right call or who made the wrong call. Who was playing mind games and who wasn't. In my personal and extremely humble opinion I feel there were two races. Lorenzo and Rossi racing each other and every one els racing for the win or podium.

At the start of the race it was from my perspective a standard race with Jorge and Marc at the front with Rossi close behind. When they pitted for the first time is when things got interesting for me. Rossi at the back of the group was never going to let Jorge pit without him because at all cost Rossi needed to race only with Jorge. It's the only way he could have had any hope of control over what happened with the points gap. Regarding the 2nd pit I do think Rossi stayed out one lap too long. Im not sure what his rational was but its in that situation where i think things get extremely tricky. I've seen some folks mention how they messed up not acting on what their pit boards where telling them but again for those two it wasn't about winning but beating each other. Given that reality who's going to risk letting the other out of their sight?

As I said before this race between Rossi and Jorge was about maintaining options between where each rider was in respect to the other. Once you separate there is nothing one rider can explicitly do to the other to try and push for a particular result. "it's in fates hands". Obviously will never know who would have won in the dry but I guess that's neither here nor there. Rossi lost the game of chicken when Jorge when in without him. Jorge hasn't been the same in the wet since Holland two years ago and maybe he just wanted to get off those wet tires as soon as possible knowing what he could do in the dry. In any case the moment they split up it was (and forgive the expression again) fates hands. I'm sure the pressure of riding like that is absolutely crazy. Thinking about the Championship, thinking about the result and I'm sure cursing furiously under your helmet because everything could be going wrong on the exact moment you need things to go right. I can't help but imagine trying to rationalize that into the right call is just too much to ask for anyone.

To be honest I just thought it was so interesting watching that. The two of them playing chicken as it got wetter and again as it dried out. It was almost as it this was the last race of the season or something. Rossi and Jorge riding and dragging each other into ridiculous situations trying to control the points gap rather then going for the win.

Definitely the most ridiculous race i've ever seen as i was at the edge of my seat and jumping around like a crazy person the moment the rain started.

Total votes: 91

Jorge lifting his third trophy is a difficult scene to imagine now than rossi lifting it.
Situations for jorge to win the championship....
1) winning atleast 3 races of the remaining 5 and hope rossi finishes 3rd. He can win in motegi and valencia and maybe in aragon(marc is the fastest there) but in P.I and sepang he must finish ahead of rossi if not the win.
2) hope all the races must be dry
3) finish ahead of rossi where he is less strong.

Situations for rossi to win the championship....
1) lose as less points as possible to jorge in tracks where he is faster than him.
2) Hope that one more race is wet as that would surely confirm his 10th title
3) Get a win in P.I and finish ahead of him in sepang

Rossi could afford to lose some points from here on provided that he win in P.I and finish ahead of jorge in sepang. Jorge needs him to finish 3rd while he wins in 3 races atleast. There can be many more situations like but both need to finish all the races.

Total votes: 115

Hey 99, a nice range of predictions there. You may be right. My predictions are...

>> Rossi takes the title if he finishes ahead of Lorenzo at least one more time.
>> Lorenzo's task is that he must beat Rossi at all five remaining rounds.
>> I predict Rossi will gain one more victory, will arrive at Valencia with a small margin, and will win the championship by riding very cautious at Valencia.
>> I'm also predicting no more DNF's (those could change everything).

Post-Misano bookie odds have installed Rossi as the favorite for the first time all year. He is 8/13. Lorenzo is 13/10. Round that off to odds roughly 60:40 in favor of The Doctor. (However, as Rossi's action is attracting the sentimental money, I suspect Rossi's short odds are partially to attract some JL99 bets.)

Total votes: 101

Your prediction of rossi winning one more race will most probably be P.I bcoz you see heat resistants will be allocated there but that race is far. The coming ones are more favourable for jorge. If rossi loses points badly here then the victory in P.I will make it up a little bit and he will most probably be having a little lead in valencia. For jorge he needs to start winning.

By the way my name is BUNNY, it sounds better than 99.

Total votes: 97

Worth very little as we can see after the last two rounds.

What we can say is that Rossi should be very strong at Sepang and pretty strong at PI.

I'll even go out on a limb that he will surprise at Aragon. He had good dry pace there last year and would've had a shot at the win had he not got caught out by a change in line, which I recall may have been trying not to hit Pedrosa.

Then again, all of this might go right out the window. Who knows the way this year is going. Topsy turvy it's been.

Total votes: 93

I find it funny to read here and there that "Rossi had a perfect tactic to put Lorenzo in the "non-control" zone".

Rossi's tactic was crap, how can you control someone when you're in front of him ? He should have stayed behind Lorenzo ... or don't care about him and try to win the race.
He did some strange mix of both, and only luck (first time this year in my opinion) allows him to extend the lead.

And it's not new, Motegi 2007, waited too much to go in, Le Mans 2009, entered too soon.

Anyway, it juste recalls that he is just human, something we sometimes forget when you look at the unbelievable Yellow Army who was present in Misano.
And tactic is easy when you have a beer in one hand, and the remote on the other.

But please, don't call a mistake a genious psychological tactic.

What a race (smart smart Marquez and Baz, big ba..s Smith), what a season, probably event better than 2004 in my opinion, what a suspense !

Total votes: 124

"Rossi's error means he gained just 11 points on Lorenzo, rather than much more. If he had pitted earlier and Lorenzo had still crashed, he could have gained 16, perhaps 20 points on his teammate,"

Doesn't work that way. The timeline don't allow that. A better strategic choice would unavoidably have altered Lorenzo's actions as well. Outcome of that would more likely be +/- a point or two. We will never know.

Total votes: 100

I've been quick to criticize Marquez, but in the past few races he's definitely shown more maturity than he displayed earlier this season or last season. His move to slow down and follow the Yamahas was very clever indeed, as the lap times between wet and dry are so radically different that a few seconds here or there don't matter and with that second or two he bought the most valuable commodity in a changeable race: information.

I'm not sure that Rossi made a big mistake, though. In terms of outright pace, of course he was wrong. But this is a one-on-one fight, so no other rider on the track mattered. Versus Jorge, if he had come in earlier, they both would have been on slicks and Lorenzo would have been following him as his tires heated as passing in those conditions with a narrow line would have had to wait. Personally, I think copying Marc was the right move, and he could have done it with tactics: let Lorenzo by near the end of the lap, pit and then work from there.

But if Rossi were to pit with Lorenzo behind him, then he's just setting up a rider who had been faster especially on new tires, so that's nonsense. I think Lorenzo made the biggest mistake by coming in too soon. Lorenzo knew he was faster on slicks, and giving Rossi a few seconds, with traffic and weird conditions and everything else probably wouldn't have mattered that much. He had to know that their tires were disintegrating and neither could hold that hand much longer. Also remember Lorenzo rides a different line than most other riders, so he was at a higher risk of a crash. His out-lap was much slower than Marquez's and Marquez didn't crash.

Altogether a great race, albeit an atypical one.

Total votes: 104

And I think Lorenzo came in too late.
His pace was probably a little better in the dry, but only a few tenths. Staying out another lap would further increase the distance with another .5 - .7 sec.
That would take him another two to three laps to regain. In addition he would have to pass Rossi when only marginally faster at the closing stage of the race.
I doubt that is odds Lorenzo want to play.
His decision was not too bad, it was the execution that failed.

What I wonder is if the pit box position contributed. The Yamahas, boxed at the very start of the pit lane had their tirewarmes removed and the egine started at the end of each lap while the Hondas way over at the end stood there with warmers on all the time. They lost quite a bit of heating with that operation.

Total votes: 102

That is a really good point about the Yamaha tires being colder due to their pit lane position. Not only were they having to cycle the tire warmers on and off every lap as the yama-men approached, but also I imagine they would cool off a bit while putting all the way down a cold and soggy pit lane. I wonder how much this contributed to lorenzo's cold tire crash.

Total votes: 94

I guess JLo's helmet misting problems got fixed - or else we'd have heard about it.

Total votes: 118

Actually, I suspect that if Lorenzo had a fogging problem at Misano, we'd never hear about it. I think he would try to keep that quiet, to avoid further embarrassment after the self-inflicted problem at the British GP.

Incredible as it seems, however, Lorenzo did race at Misano *without* a breath deflector fitted in his helmet, just as he did at Silverstone. With the bikes and riders on the grid, and the TV commentators interviewing team managers about the threat of rain, there was a very clear shot of Jorge starting the warm-up lap sans deflector. And a clear shot of Rossi with deflector in place. (There was an earlier shot of Rossi's lid that seemed to have no deflector, so he added one on the grid or changed to a different helmet.)

I watched the video again tonight, just to see if my eyes deceived me. They did not.

Total votes: 90

"In truth, both Rossi and Lorenzo misjudged the conditions badly, because they were focused on each other."

Well put, David. That sums up their mistakes and one of the problems behind some of the less-than fun competitions. Still a fascinating race, though.

Total votes: 111

Great analysis by David Emmett. "Fearing a bad result more than he desired a good one" really gets to the heart of it I think. (And incidentally, was reinforced by Rossi's helmet art, which -- cool as it was -- did seem a bit more "defensive" than we're used to seeing from our MotoGP racers.)

Here's how I see it (not that anyone should really care): As long as Rossi was still on wets, Lorenzo had to put off the switch to dry just in case the rain picked up again. That would have meant no points at all and so was a gamble someone trailing in the points couldn't afford to take. Rossi, knowing that Lorenzo had to follow his lead, put off the switch as long as possible since he was faster on the wets and was building up a small cushion on each lap. So might as well keep it going as long as possible, since it was likely to be a different story once they were on slicks. Unfortunately this meant that once Lorenzo finally decided to gamble on the weather holding and dived in, Rossi was stuck doing one entire extra circuit on the wets before he could follow him in.

Anyone have an estimate on what their positions would have been when Rossi re-entered the track had Lorenzo not crashed? It seems Rossi had switched bikes and was heading down pit lane (at 60km/h) when Lorenzo reached turn #15. Lorenzo was somewhere between Redding and Petrucci, which is also where Rossi re-entered. But that's about a 10 sec. gap, so it's hard to be very precise. But it would have been close.

Total votes: 104

Shows Rossi was faster than Lorenzo and Marc in all conditions at Misano on race day.

I don't understand the whole Lorenzo is not good in the wet? He was, he was leading the race in the wet and holding off Marc, only problem is Rossi was much faster and made up 4 seconds in no time.

Once again I think many don't believe that Rossi is actually really fast and more so lucky or strategically better this season. Once again he proved he was the better of the two, and circumstance decided the rest.

Total votes: 119

Objectively, I think Rossi has been overall the fastest over race distance this year, with some bizarre moments in practice to mask his race pace. Marquez I think has been a very, very close second, with a few "moments" to mask his pace. Lorenzo is the very fastest of all, but only under very limited conditions. Without Rossi, I'm not sure that Marquez wouldn't be leading this championship. Loris Capirossi said in an interview recently that Rossi was still a "monster" to use his word, and he's right. There are - even now - only two riders that have the ability to run with Rossi. The final five races now should be amazing.

One thing is sure, this is the most interesting MotoGP season we've seen in a while.

Total votes: 106

In all the conjecture about what is to come, don't forget that the race starts way too late at Phillip Island. What many riders consider as one of the best tracks in the world turns into a joke as the temperature plummets. You can expect a repeat of last year's farce so that European viewers can watch the race live at a time that is deemed more suitable by the Illuminati that run the show. Dorna should at least be presented with a bill from the teams for the damage to all the bikes caused by their stupidity. The locals would never start a race at that time, much less a MotoGP race. After it happens the press will say, "13 competitors crashed out as the temperature dropped". The only way it can change is if a rider is severely injured or killed. Then the powers that be will conduct a full inquiry to reach the conclusion that the race was started too late.

Total votes: 115

I wonder if Bridgestone can help mitigate that effect without bringing a tire that chunks itself prematurely...

Total votes: 98

I've been a fan of Baz since World Superbike. He seems like a genuinely nice guy and he was amazing in wet conditions on the Kawasaki.

I know Tom Sykes claims that Baz reaped the benefits of all Sykes' hard setup work on the ZX-10R, but the man evidently has an impressive, if quietly strategic, kind of talent. I was excited when he moved up to MotoGP and I hope he gets the opportunities he deserves.

Total votes: 106

Ah, so that explains Rea's domination this year ;):D

Total votes: 92

From the perspective of Vale and Jorge this race was a lot more complicated than many are crediting it with. I agree with hindsight Vale made a mistake taking far too long to pit for slicks. I for one was screaming at the TV everytime he came past the pits after Marquez pitted why are you not coming in. However I was sat there listening to the commentary with the live timing app looking at Baz and others lapping 10 seconds faster on slicks. I really don't see that Jorge did much wrong in his timing of the pit stop, his mistake was pushing too hard on cold slicks once he had made it. Being in second place Jorge really held all the cards, Vale was in a difficult situation. Being in the lead meant that really he had to put first or he was always going to end up a long way behind Jorge. Again though Valentino wasn't to know how much quicker the slicks were and maybe thought that a lap on cold slicks in tricky conditions for Jorge would have been slower than he was on his shredding wets. There was also the fact that there were still spits of rain on the visor on the back straight so Vale would have been concerned about the rain getting heavier, him coming in for slicks and Jorge staying out and cruising to an easy win. I don't think saying that he didn't want to go onto slicks because Jorge was quicker than him on slicks is valid. Firstly because in the dry at the start of the race Jorge really wasn't much quicker if at all and secondly because even if Vale was half a second faster on slicks he still wouldn't have caught Jorge if he came in a lap earlier for slicks, Jorge would have been at least 5 seconds up the road. As it turned out Vale made the wrong decision in staying out. Fortunately from Vale's point of view the wrong decision turned out to be the right decision as had Vale pitted first Jorge would have surely followed him in and with Vale in front as a reference point would very likely not have pushed so hard and would not have crashed. So at best Jorge would have likely finished one place behind him or maybe in front of him. Very easy to criticise from the armchair with all the information in front of you, but extremely difficult on the bike with no information and a track which is difficult to judge. Great race either way and still a long way to go in this championship. Going to be nail biting. I have my tickets for Valencia, cannot wait!

Total votes: 96

"I really don't see that Jorge did much wrong in his timing of the pit stop"...

Ok... JL had been told to come in for several laps... He was ahead of MM when MM pitted & he won the race. MM was 10 secs a lap faster on slicks. He would have been 10 secs up the road from Rossi & battling for the win ahead of MM if he'd come in on lap 18 (assuming he'd stayed on the bike)...he ignored his pit board & got lured into what was at best a battle for 5th...

In other words following MM's strategy he could've gained 9 points on Rossi...following his own strategy he could have gained 2 or 3 at best...if he'd stayed on the bike! He's not going to win the championship 2 points at a time!

Total votes: 105

From the perspective of Vale and Jorge this race was a lot more complicated than many are crediting it with. I agree with hindsight Vale made a mistake taking far too long to pit for slicks. I for one was screaming at the TV everytime he came past the pits after Marquez pitted why are you not coming in. However I was sat there listening to the commentary with the live timing app looking at Baz and others lapping 10 seconds faster on slicks. I really don't see that Jorge did much wrong in his timing of the pit stop, his mistake was pushing too hard on cold slicks once he had made it. Being in second place Jorge really held all the cards, Vale was in a difficult situation. Being in the lead meant that really he had to put first or he was always going to end up a long way behind Jorge. Again though Valentino wasn't to know how much quicker the slicks were and maybe thought that a lap on cold slicks in tricky conditions for Jorge would have been slower than he was on his shredding wets. There was also the fact that there were still spits of rain on the visor on the back straight so Vale would have been concerned about the rain getting heavier, him coming in for slicks and Jorge staying out and cruising to an easy win. I don't think saying that he didn't want to go onto slicks because Jorge was quicker than him on slicks is valid. Firstly because in the dry at the start of the race Jorge really wasn't much quicker if at all and secondly because even if Vale was half a second faster on slicks he still wouldn't have caught Jorge if he came in a lap earlier for slicks, Jorge would have been at least 5 seconds up the road. As it turned out Vale made the wrong decision in staying out. Fortunately from Vale's point of view the wrong decision turned out to be the right decision as had Vale pitted first Jorge would have surely followed him in and with Vale in front as a reference point would very likely not have pushed so hard and would not have crashed. So at best Jorge would have likely finished one place behind him or maybe in front of him. Very easy to criticise from the armchair with all the information in front of you, but extremely difficult on the bike with no information and a track which is difficult to judge. Great race either way and still a long way to go in this championship. Going to be nail biting. I have my tickets for Valencia, cannot wait!

Total votes: 105

Reading your comment made me wonder... As Rossi was so strong with shredded wets, but yet being ahead of Lorenzo puts him in a difficult position (he only knows if Lorenzo came in after the fact).

My 'what if' would be, what if Rossi had dropped behind Lorenzo? He could have followed him into the pits, a big risk as Lorenzo may have been on the pace on slicks. But at least he'd have a better hand to play compared to trying to keep Lorenzo in tow, risking doing an extra lap on wets when Lorenzo is getting warmed up on slicks (well we know that didn't work out, but this is still my 'what if').

Total votes: 115

If you were to read what is written on MotoGp .com you would think that VR46 made all the right decisions, but I feel he did not. It may have turned out in hisfavor, but it was by JL99's mistake instead that determined the outcome.
I did think it was brilliant the way VR46 he gapped JL99 in the wet and made JL play his game of staying out on track. Both Yamaha's tires were chunking badly, but VR46 had more confidence on the worn tires. When JL99 pitted he brilliantly took his destiny back into his own hands and VR46 had no chance gaining more points advantage by his own doing. That last lap on wet tires must have seemed an eternity to VR46 as MM93 was only 7 seconds behind as VR46 pitted.
Weather the mind games that VR46 had been playing with JL99 on rain tires caught him out or not we will never know. The truth is JL99's mistake deetermined the fate of the points race. The points were there for JL99 and he blew it.
It was one of the strangest races I have ever watched. I can't remember the last time I saw a MotoGP race where someone crashes and ends up on the podium. It was thoroughly entertaining! I can't wait to see how this season plays out. At the moment it seems the gods are smiling on VR46.

Total votes: 100

I am w 998 on this one. Rossi made an error. Crediting Rossi with Jorge's crash is quite a stretch. Pit boards are seldom wrong. Great observation in another post re the Yamaha bike swap position having them leaving off tire warmers. He was braking too hard and tipping left. Don't forget the skin on the fresh tire either, it has a polish to scrub.

Rossi really impressed catching the front and was masterful as usual with the changing conditions. Marquez is looking great. That 2015 Honda sure isn't...anyone else wince at the prospect of managing changing conditions w that aggressive motor and chassis? I sure did. Looking fwd to watching our upcoming races!

Total votes: 109

Laguna Seca, 2008. Stoner and Rossi duelling so far ahead of the rest of the pack, Stoner drops it in the gravel, picks it up unaided, gets second.

Total votes: 110

In these kinds of circumstances, the riders need to train themselves to obey their pit crews, who are in possession of weather reports, their competitors' positions, lap times, gaps etc. As #93 said, it takes all the rider's concentration to ride these machines - calculating unknowns while doing so requires psychic abilities.

Total votes: 110

Continued Rossi: “For two-thirds of the race I was strong in dry and wet conditions. Then, when the track started to dry, it became a gamble. In some turns on the other side of the circuit (from the Tramonto turn until il Carro), it was still wet and the sky was threatening more rain. I stayed out too much, losing the possibility to fight for the podium. I should have swapped bikes two laps earlier. It’s a pity, but I was studying Lorenzo. I’m not strong in mathematics, but when the team signaled that Bradley (Smith) was gaining 10 seconds per lap on slick tires, it was easy to calculate that I had to change tires.

http://www.cycleworld.com/2015/09/15/misano-circuit-2015-motogp-racing-c...

Total votes: 99

Nicky 1 - Others 0

It was a thrilling race with many amazing aspects.
One of those maybe all the speculation before on "predictions", "assumptions" and the like. Considering results 2010 to 2014....... Checking how many times they race in that order Lorenzo will score.... Rossi will score.... Marquez will do so..... Based on how many times Scorpio is aligned with Aries while they race in Spain.....

Marquez should have been the "immature" racer (or falling) and turned out he was the only one to promptly listen and trust his pit. And kept the bike upright. And won.

Rossi, the "slow" one but masterclass of tactics and luck, made a serious evalutaion mistake, but was pretty fast at the beginning and on wet.

Lorenzo the "metronomic guy" made a banal error and went down.

More or less the opposite of what planned and expected. But as old Nick said (and quoted zillions of times) ... that's why the line up on Sunday :)

Which makes it one of the most interesting WC of the recent times, where I am sure Marquez now regrets a lot those DNFs.......

.....and Bradley. I already hade a huge respect for the guy.... now even more!

Roll on the next one!

Total votes: 117

I'll admit that I wasn't a fan of Bradley and thought he was taking a bike that was better deserved by someone else. This year though he's put in the really hard yards and seems to have shown that hard work does pay off.

From my place on the couch I did wonder how come no one had tried just toughing it out on slicks - the rain didn't look so bad. Smith did (accidentally) and pulled it off!

Total votes: 97

Thanks for explaining what was going on in a very confusing race David, very informative and I think your assessment of the luck vs, judgement, vs skill is spot on.

Total votes: 100