Saturday, October 28, 2006

MotoGP Valencia Qualifying: Rossi on the brink

It was Bridgestone all the way at the MotoGP qualifying session for tomorrow's GP at Valencia, until a certain Valentino Rossi decided to crank it up a notch and take pole.
His title rival Nicky Hayden had been looking good all weekend, but ended up in 5th on the grid, behind Rossi, the hugely impressive Troy Bayliss, Loris Capirossi and Shinya Nakano.
Things are looking extremely strong for The Doctor, especially if Bridgestone carry on their speed into tomorrow's race. The Kentucky Kid needs to beat Vale by 9 points to win the title, which is looking unlikely.
In the past we have seen that Rossi doesn't necessarily give 100% unless he has no choice but to go for it. When he takes his brain out and goes all out, he is simply in another class to the other riders. His stunning performance a few years ago in Australia when he was given a 10 second penalty mid-race, and simply won the race by more than 10 seconds, shows his true speed. Is Rossi better than Agostini? We'll never know, but winning his 8th championship tomorrow would be another boost to his incredible reputation.
MotoGP is blessed with 2 charismatic, likeable individuals battling for the title, the kind of personalities that dull-as-dishwater F1 can only dream of. Nicky Hayden has fought hard through the whole season, racking up points everywhere, but he has been fighting a defensive battle. Always fearful of losing his lead, he must have given away many points by not taking risks. Rossi on the other hand, has had nothing to lose, being more than 50 points down and facing a seemingly impossible task.
I can only see one championship winner. It must be Rossi. This year's championship would be easily his most difficult, and winning it would only strengthen his claim to be the best motorcycle racer of all time.
Who will win the race? That depends on whether the Bridgestone tyres can last the distance. I wouldn't bet against Capirossi.

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