When we look back on the 2011 season, we
may well be able to pinpoint the Indianapolis Grand Prix as the moment the
title was decided.
Jorge Lorenzo appeared every bit the
defeated champion when he slumped into his chair at the end of the race at 'The
Brickyard,' having seen his chances of retaining the MotoGP crown grow
ever-slimmer. There was the wave to the camera, a shrug of the shoulders and a
look of resignation etched across his face.
"Mathematically, it's still possible. But
with every race it becomes more difficult," he commented afterwards to Spanish
Casey Stoner is simply sensational at the
moment, and has a 44-point advantage over Lorenzo with only six rounds to go.
Let's put that into perspective: Lorenzo could win every race from now until
the end of the season, with Stoner in second, and the Repsol Honda rider would
still have fourteen points in hand at the final count.
He is three wins and a second place from
lifting a second word title, whatever the results of others. It is now becoming
a question of 'when' rather than 'if' for the 25-year-old who always publicly
shies away from proclaiming the season to be over.
Here's another mouthwatering prospect for
Stoner fans though, ably corroborated by "MotoGPedia" and official
statistician, Dr Martin Raines: If the Australian wins the next three races,
with Lorenzo in second, then he would have the chance to seal the title in
fairytale fashion at Phillip
Engine-wise, all the Repsol Honda riders
have two motors left to use, whilst the Yamaha duo of Lorenzo and Spies have
moved onto their fifth of six. A start from pit lane for them would be music to
Andrea Dovizioso's ears as he chases second place and a seat for 2012.
Look at the tracks that are left on the
calendar and you will see that Stoner has been triumphant at all of them.
Lorenzo hasn't done too badly at said circuits either, but there is nothing
that immediately screams out "Disaster for number 27."
A second successive comprehensive Stoner victory/Lorenzo
non-rostrum comes at just the wrong time for the Yamaha factory man. It makes
his participation in the Japanese Grand Prix essential to his slim title
chances. If Stoner decides to skip Motegi (which I still do not expect him to
do) then will Lorenzo make a 180 degree turn on his stance towards the Japanese
It would be a tough pill to swallow for a
rider who likes to call his own shots.
ahead to Misano - Remembering Shoya Tomizawa
Expect announcements aplenty at next
weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. Loris Capirossi is likely to make a statement
on his future, and we will go one step closer to knowing who is going to run a
CRT (Claiming Rules Teams) bike in 2012.
Sadly, it will also be a race that brings
back bad memories. Just shy of the first anniversary of his untimely death,
MotoGP returns to the track at which Shoya Tomizawa tragically lost his life
last year. It is something that every rider will have in mind when they return
to the Adriatic circuit.
One memory that I have of Tomizawa is
watching the 2009 World Superbike race at Miller on television in his presence.
It was one of those rare weekends in which the two major motorcycle series both
run events, and the Japanese photographers were joined by the rookie rider in
the media centre at Mugello.
A crash for Karl Muggeridge stopped the
race and created a great deal of preoccupation on the other side of the Atlantic, with a bike and rider strewn across the asphalt
and the emergency services called to the scene. On that occasion, things worked
out OK. You would never have expected something so similar - yet heartbreakingly
different in conclusion - to have been replicated a year later by the kid with
the infectious smile and animated gestures.
Gone, but definitely not forgotten.