Ryder Notes: A Pivotal Moment


When you come into the eleventh race of the year with two men tied on points at the top of the table, you one thing for certain: the title will go the man who makes fewer mistakes, or more likely no mistakes at all. Such is the level Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are riding at, that any tiny error will have an effect out of all proportion to its size. And it may not be a mistake; it might be someone else’s accident. a mechanical failure, or—of course—the weather.

[pullquote]Jorge’s crucial mistake may turn out to be his choice of headwear. Not for the first time, he had problems with his crash helmet, walking into his pits with both index fingers pointing at his visor. It had misted up completely.[/pullquote]

And we are not going to be watching the two Yamahas race each other without outside interference. How many points will the Hondas and Ducatis take off them? Jorge Lorenzo got beaten by Valentino Rossi at Silverstone but crucially there were two Ducatis between them. That gave Rossi a championship lead of twelve points. Before the GP, Jorge was keen to point out how proud he was to have closed down the 29-point lead Rossi had after Argentina. That took seven races, of which he won five! Which makes a gap of twelve look a little intimidating..

Rossi’s Silverstone win was another piece of perfection that added to his list of tracks where he’s been victorious. He is not fond of the newer tracks, the ones he didn’t race two strokes on and hasn’t known for a decade. Aragon could be interesting.

Marc Marquez crashed out while tracking Rossi and admitted that his championship chances really are now over. Which won’t stop him interfering with how many points the Yamahas take off each other, probably by beating them and making sure that number is small.

Which again emphasizes what a telling blow Rossi landed on Sunday, aided and abetted by his fellow countrymen on Ducatis. The 2014 model was always good in the wet, so Petrucci’s display isn’t such a shock, and Dovizioso won his only MotoGP victory at a wet Donington Park, so even if the ’15 model isn’t as aquatic as its predecessor the rider has form.

Jorge’s crucial mistake may turn out to be his choice of headwear. Not for the first time, he had problems with his crash helmet, walking into his pits with both index fingers pointing at his visor. It had misted up completely.

The best measure of how things changed in two weeks was the face of Valentino Rossi. In the Czech Republic he was third and never laid a glove on Lorenzo or Marquez all weekend. There, on the podium, he looked drawn and about ten years older than his 36 years.

In England on a rainy Sunday afternoon he looked like he’d discovered time travel and gone back ten years or more.

He knows a turning point when he sees one.


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