With the Valencia Grand Prix now in the books, the 2015 MotoGP season has come to a controversial and acrimonious end with legend Valentino Ross accusing his rivals of colluding against him.
In the final race of the season on Sunday at Valencia, Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took the chequered flag, not only winning the race but securing his third MotoGP title in the process. The native of Palma, Spain, finishes the 2015 season ahead of his teammate Rossi, who wound up in fourth place at Valencia and in second place overall. Lorenzo began the race seven points behind Rossi for first place in the standings but finished five points in front after emerging victorious in his home country.
Rossi was controversially forced to begin the race from the rear of the grid after being issued three penalty points as a result of a contentious incident with outgoing two-time champion Marc Marquez at Sekang in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Rossi appealed the sanction that gave him four penalty points total but the ruling was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Starting from the rear, the Italian quickly gained 11 places on the first lap and moved up to 4th place with 18 of 30 laps remaining but was unable to make up the requisite gap between he and the eventual champion. Because Lorenzo won the race, Rossi needed to finish in second in order to claim the title. Standing between Rossi and the Spaniard were two of Lorenzo’s compatriots in Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, who finished second and third, respectively.
When the race finished, Rossi accused the trailing Spaniards, mainly Marquez, of purposefully preventing him from catching up to Lorenzo, guaranteeing he would lose the championship.
"I did what I could but it was a strange situation having Marquez as the bodyguard of Lorenzo," Rossi told reporters after the race. "When I knew on Thursday that I had to start last, I knew already that my championship was finished because I knew Marquez would want to finish his work and protect Lorenzo in the last race."
Marquez, along with Honda Racing Corporations, denied protecting Lorenzo, who expressed that he is deserving of the title, regardless of controversy. "People who really know about motorbikes understand my value as a rider and a champion," Lorenzo said. "Obviously people who support another rider, in this case Valentino, will never be happy about this championship. But a champion is a champion, and a champion who has my statistics this year deserves the championship, in my opinion."
Lorenzo, now a three-time champion, had seven MotoGP wins in 2015, more than any other rider. Marquez was second with five while Rossi finished the season with four.
2015 MotoGP final standings:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha: 330 points
2. Valentino Rossi (Italy) Yamaha: 325 points
3. Marc Marquez (Spain) Honda: 242 points
4. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda: 206 points
5. Andrea Iannone (Italy) Ducati: 188 points
6. Bradley Smith (Britain) Yamaha: 181 points
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Ducati: 162 points
8. Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Honda: 125 points
9. Pol Espargaro (Spain) Yamaha: 114 points
10. Danilo Petrucci (Italy) Ducati: 113 points