Valentino Rossi's title challenge
Love him or not, Valentino Rossi is motorcycling's biggest ever star and has played a massive role in boosting the popularity of the sport as a whole.

But having been out of title contention since 2009, even The Doctor's most dedicated fans were surely wondering if his best years were behind him.

Yet at 36, the Italian turned back the clock to hold the points lead until the very final round, while the atmosphere for Rossi's home events at Mugello and Misano was unforgettable.

Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo may have been faster overall and would go on to seize the championship at Valencia, but in years to come 2015 will probably be remembered by many as 'the season that Rossi nearly won'.

A championship showdown
All motorsport championships naturally dream of having the title decided at the final round, with some series - such as BSB - creating points systems to help ensure such an outcome.

But, prior to this year, only two 500cc/MotoGP championships had gone down to the wire since 1992. And there's simply nothing like the tension generated by an entire season coming down to one last race.

The return of Suzuki and Aprilia
When Suzuki withdrew from MotoGP due to the financial crisis at the end of 2011, the sport was left with just three official manufacturers - Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - from a peak of nine in 2004.

The situation was so serious that a new category of superbike-based 'CRT' machines was needed to fill the void.

CRT thankfully turned into the more competitive (and credible) Open class - also helping lever the manufacturers towards cheaper customer machines and a single ECU - while this year saw the factory return of both Suzuki and Aprilia (which had quit in 2004).

With KTM also confirmed for 2017, manufacturers clearly feel MotoGP is essential to their business model once again.

Dani Pedrosa's recovery
On Sunday night in Qatar, Dani Pedrosa revealed he had been fighting a losing battle with arm pump and would be withdrawing from racing to try and seek a solution.

No-one was sure when or even if the Spaniard would return. Pedrosa's assertion that "I cannot continue racing this way... The doctors don't know what to do" underlining the threat to his career.

'Complicated and aggressive' surgery was eventually decided upon and, although it certainly wasn't an overnight cure, Pedrosa was thankfully back to his best by the closing rounds of the year, winning in both the wet and dry.

Maverick Vinales, Andrea Iannone, Bradley Smith
2015 was a breakthrough season for Maverick Vinales, Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith.

Rookie Vinales signed for the new Suzuki team and was soon being hailed as a future frontrunner, Iannone's debut season at the factory Ducati team netted his first podiums, pole and fastest lap, while Smith silenced his detractors by comfortably claiming top satellite honours.

Unified rules
It's taken a long and somewhat convoluted route, but MotoGP finally reached agreement on the introduction of a single ECU system. Therefore, from the start of next year, there will be just one set of technical rules, meaning the removal of the Factory and Open classes.

A reduced range of technical concessions will still be available to help struggling manufacturers. However these concessions will no longer offer a free boost in performance - as previously possible via extra fuel and the softer rear tyre - but instead be limited to greater engine development/changes and testing.

We think that's a good move, since it will give Suzuki and Aprilia a helping hand, but only if they put the work in.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...