It seemed that Rossi’s time had come and gone and he simply couldn’t compete anymore, given his unsuccessful stint at Ducati and inability to match the pace of Lorenzo on the same bike.
Yet Rossi has been reborn under new engineer Silvano Galbusera, who replaced long-time crew chief Jeremy Burgess, winning more races so far this season than in the last four.
Can he win it in 2015? Marquez should be in the mix to win a few races, taking points away from Lorenzo and helping Rossi maintain that gap. Rossi had finished on the podium in every race before his fifth place at Misano last weekend, so even if he doesn’t have the outright pace of Marquez or Lorenzo, he has the consistency to wrap it up.
If, for example, Marquez wins the remaining five races, Rossi can shadow Lorenzo in third place and still claim the championship. Let’s not forget, too, that there are some Rossi-friendly circuits remaining on the calendar, including the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, where the Italian won last season.
Rossi’s second coming undoubtedly helps his case for greatest motorcycle racer of all-time status. An eighth MotoGP world championship would draw him level with Giacomo Agostini for the most premier class titles.
And though he would still be behind Agostini and Ángel Nieto in terms of total championships across all classes, they raced in an era when riders competed in more than one category in the same season.
Rossi is without doubt in the mix of the greatest of all-time debate. Even though the risk factor was so much higher in the Agostini era, the competition is far greater in the modern era.
Perhaps most impressive in the rejuvenation of Rossi is his age relative to his rivals; 14 years older than Marquez, a longevity that’s remarkable in a sport where injuries are so common.
The next event on the calendar could be decisive for Rossi, the Aragon Grand Prix, and another home event for Marquez and Lorenzo. Rossi is yet to win at the circuit, with a win apiece for the Spaniards.
If he can limit the damage with a podium and bank some solid points before flyaway races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia, the 10th title will be looking more secure by the time they head to the season finale in Valencia.
An unlikely title that will add so much to Rossi’s legend.
Adrian Musolino is editor of V8X Magazine, and has written as an expert on The Roar since 2008, cementing himself as a key writer who can see the big picture in sport. He freelances on other forms of motorsport, football, cycling and more.
It’s difficult not to feel a little sentimental and sit in reflection over the passing of another decade of Formula One racing. Ten years of on-track action, drama and evolution, as well as the off-track occurrences that encompass the pinnacle of world motorsport.
As we close another decade in Formula One I thought it’d be a great exercise to go over some of the best moments of the decade by ranking each of the ten season against each other. It sounds easy, but it turns out this was actually a pretty tricky task given many of the seasons […]