MotoGP 2015: Jorge Lorenzo wins race and title at Valencia
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo was crowned MotoGP world champion at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday, as team-mate Valentino Rossi fell short in his challenge, finishing second in the overall standings.
Lorenzo won the race in style, clinching the championship as Rossi finished in fourth behind the Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
Rossi needed a second-place position to win the title if Lorenzo won in Valencia, but his punishment for clashing with Marquez in Malaysia meant he started at the back of the grid.
However, despite starting at the back of the grid, Rossi shot through the field in no time at all, climbing to ninth in just three laps as he chased the leaders. He was at his inimitable best, riding with aggression as he tried to pick off individuals ahead of him.
Rossi was up to seventh after eight laps, but his charge was becoming increasingly difficult as he met the stronger bikes. Nevertheless, the incessant Italian was as brave as ever, and muscled his way into fourth.
Rossi was significantly behind Lorenzo at the halfway point, as the Hondas of Marquez and Pedrosa chased the prospective new world champion in the top three places.
Double champion Marquez stayed close to Lorenzo's tail as Pedrosa fell off the pace, and Rossi remained 12 seconds behind third.
Lorenzo remained smooth as the final eight laps approached, with his compatriot comfortable in second. Lorenzo was fully aware Rossi was stuck in fourth behind Pedrosa, which would deliver him the MotoGP title, even if Marquez overtook him.
However, Pedrosa put a cat among the pigeons with only six laps to race, and cut the gap between himself and Lorenzo to two seconds, giving Rossi hope of an unlikely title victory.
Pedrosa chased hard and was a quarter of a second faster than the two ahead of him, and the pressure was on Lorenzo to hang on to a top-two finish.
Pedrosa continued to cut the gap in each sector as he caught Marquez in second, and the three riders bunched together in a hectic last two laps. Pedrosa edged past his team-mate as they battled, but Marquez shot beyond the Honda again as the Spaniard ran too wide.
However, Lorenzo's perfect race was maintained through the final few corners, and the Spanish rider claimed his third MotoGP title after leading every lap.
Rossi produced a great race to carve his way through the field, but he had left too much to do on Sunday.
Lorenzo raced as consistently as he has all season, and produced a champion's ride at the correct moment.
The Hondas were in great shape in Valencia, but they did not have the race pace to do Rossi the ultimate favour.