Jorge Lorenzo pipped Valentino Rossi to the MotoGP title, overturning the Italian’s seven-point lead by winning the final race in Valencia.
Rossi had a huge disadvantage of his own making, despite his overall lead before the race; he was forced to start from the back of the grid, as punishment for kicking Honda’s Marc Marquez off his bike during the previous grand prix in Malaysia. That meant Rossi had to rise to second to be certain of securing a seventh MotoGP world title (and his first since 2009).
The veteran Italian fought his way back up to fourth place, but Lorenzo’s victory after starting from pole denied him. Yamaha teammate Lorenzo ultimately beat Rossi by just five points across the whole season (330-325).
Marquez had won the previous two championships consecutively, including a dominant performance last year, which saw the Spaniard win each of the first ten races, and narrowly beating his compatriot Lorenzo in his debut season in 2013. This time around, he finished a distant third on 242 points in a season in which he failed to finish six races, but still played a crucial role in determining who claimed the title. Rossi’s dangerous violence towards Marquez in Malaysia was followed up by accusing the Spaniard of deliberately trying to help Lorenzo win. Rossi said after the race: “It is something that nobody expects, because [it is] a Honda rider that made a Yamaha rider win”.
In truth, Rossi can have few complaints: Lorenzo won seven races to Rossi’s four (Marquez even managed five). The Italian only started from pole once, while Lorenzo did so five times and Marquez eight times, although he did subsequently crash in three of those.
This season was also a successful one for British riders. Each of the three Brits managed a podium finish, with Bradley Smith and Scott Redding doing so together in San Marino, finishing second and third respectively, while Cal Crutchlow finished third in Argentina. Smith ended the season in an impressive sixth place in the standings. Crutchlow bounced back from a disappointing year rising from 12th in 2014 to eigth in 2015. Redding finished in 13th.