Who Needs To Finish Where: The 2009 Championship Permutations

Both MotoGP and World Superbikes are in action this weekend, and a grand total of four titles could be wrapped up on Sunday. At Sepang, Valentino Rossi could secure his 7th MotoGP title on Sunday, while Hiroshi Aoyama could clinch the last ever 250cc world title. Several hours later, at the last WSBK round at Portimao in Portugal, the World Superbike title is likely to go down to the wire, with little to choose between Noriyuki Haga and Ben Spies. Between the two World Superbike races, Cal Crutchlow looks likely to secure the World Supersport championship.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as all that, and so below is a guide to who needs to finish where in which races to wrap up the championship. The 125cc class already has a champion, with Julian Simon clinching the title after beating Aspar team mate Bradley Smith at Phillip Island last weekend.



Despite his first-corner pile-up at Phillip Island, an incident which he later described as a "junior's mistake", Jorge Lorenzo is still in with a chance of the MotoGP crown. However, 38 points down to Valentino Rossi with two races to go, Lorenzo needs Rossi to make a mistake. Rossi needs just 12 points to secure the title, which a 4th place, which scores 13 points, would provide. 

If Jorge Lorenzo is to stay in with a chance of the title, he needs to finish at least 4th and ahead of Rossi. But the odds are stacked in Rossi's favor. If Lorenzo finishes 4th, Rossi clinches if he finishes 15th. If Lorenzo comes 3rd, Rossi needs to finish 12th. If Lorenzo finishes 2nd, Rossi needs to come 8th.

The current MotoGP standings can be found here.


World Superbikes

Ben Spies has a simple task. He stands 10 points behind Noriyuki Haga in the championship, a tally he can recover by winning both races at Portimao and having Haga come 2nd. If that should happen, both riders would be equal on points, but Spies would take the championship by virtue of having 15 wins to Haga's 8. Haga, on the other hand, can clinch the title if he wins race 1 and Spies finishes 6th.

The key at Portimao will be those 10 points: If Spies can score 10 points more than Haga in both races, Spies becomes World Superbike champion at the first attempt; score any less and Haga takes the crown.

The current World Superbikes standings can be found here.


250cc Class

Hiroshi Aoyama has a much more difficult task ahead of him. He currently stands 12 point ahead of the resurgent Marco Simoncelli, after the Italian has won the last two races in a row, and three of the last four races. Simoncelli also has more race wins than Aoyama, so it is not enough for the Japanese rider to end the season equal in points, he has to score more points than the Italian.

Aoyama therefore needs 14 points to clinch the 250cc crown, but he will need a bit of assistance from Simoncelli to manage that. If the Scot Honda rider wins, then he will become champion at Sepang if Simoncelli finishes 5th or worse. If Aoyama finishes 2nd, he needs Simoncelli to finish 10th. Should Aoyama come 3rd, he would clinch the title if Simoncelli finishes 14th or worse. But Aoyama needs to be on the podium if he is to lift the crown at Sepang.

As for Simoncelli, he is not able to become champion in Malaysia, but if he wins both of the last races and Aoyama doesn't finish 2nd in both of them, then the Italian could become champion. Alvaro Bautista, currently 29 points behind the leader Aoyama, needs a lot of help, finishing well ahead of both Aoyama and Simoncelli at both of the last rounds if he is to have a chance at the championship.

The current 250cc championship standings can be found here.


World Supersport

The picture in the World Supersport series is much simpler. Cal Crutchlow leads the series by 19 points, and needs just 6 more points to clinch the title, and so a 10th place finish would be good enough. Eugene Laverty will need a lot of help if he is to retain his slim chance at the championship. The Irishman needs either a win or a 2nd place, and in both cases, Crutchlow needs to score minimal or no points. If Crutchlow can bring his Yamaha home, he will be champion.

The current World Supersport standings can be found here.


Perhaps the most remarkable fact of the weekend, though, is among the manufacturers. Yamaha stand a chance of clinching three world championships this weekend, if Rossi, Spies and Crutchlow win. Yamaha are rapidly becoming the dominant force in motorcycle racing, through a combination of clever engineering and very smart personnel and management choices. Signing Valentino Rossi was a stroke of genius, as was signing Jorge Lorenzo as Rossi's successor. Bringing Spies to World Superbike was a smart and obvious move, but allowing him to bring his crew chief Tom Houseworth with him was even smarter. Right now, Yamaha has an embarrassment of riches in the rider department. It will be interesting to see whether they can hold on to that wealth of talent.

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bautista, until recently definitely in contention of lifting the crown has a potentially bigger worry than the near impossible task of beating both aoyama and simoncelli. he's only 4 points clear of barbera who's having a very strong finish to the season. it was be pretty much a disaster if bautista, tipped for the crown several times throughout the season to finish just 4th in the championship.

and then going to suzuki to top it off >:)

as David so eloquently put it. Though at what cost? Yamaha has a payroll that certainly exceeds every other Major competitor (in some cases by several fold). It has obviously been money well spent! The potential to win three titles on the same day would effectively spoil both Honda and Ducati's day! In this global meltdown we are calling an "economy" that looks like a darn good investment!