This time last year, Casey Stoner had a 44 point lead over Jorge Lorenzo and by race 16 Stoner had secured the championship and won his second GP title. The 2012 Moto GP champion however, is still undecided and with Lorenzo having a mere 13 point lead over second place Dani Pedrosa, and with 6 races still left, it promises to be an exciting finale.
Although the conclusion to this year’s GP is yet to be decided, it has undoubtedly been overshadowed by the changes that will be occurring in the 2013 season, in particular Valentino Rossi’s return to Yamaha after a dismal two years with Ducati in which he managed only two podiums. Whilst riding for Yamaha, Rossi won the Moto GP championship four times, won a total of 46 races and alongside teammate Lorenzo, secured the Triple Crown titles for three consecutive years. When Rossi announced that he was leaving Yamaha to ride for Ducati in 2011, his decision was greeted with an air of shock. Whilst some believed the move to be motivated by money, Rossi is adamant that the switch to Ducati was fuelled by a desire to start a fresh chapter in his Moto GP career. However, after two seasons of poor results on a bike that only Casey Stoner has been able to tame, it is clear that Rossi is hungry for more and he believes that riding for Yamaha is the gateway to a fifth championship title.
Rossi’s return to Yamaha is not the only news to have stirred up pre-season frenzy. For British fans, the introduction of Bradley Smith from Moto2 to ride alongside Cal Crutchlow for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team has been exciting news. The British duo will have the chance to capitalise on this season’s impressive results from the Tech 3 team and with both riders proving that they are extremely capable; perhaps a British champion is in the making?
Casey Stoner’s decision to retire at the end of the 2012 season was met with mixed feelings and has undeniably overshadowed his season. The question as to whether he could retire ‘with a bang’ and win the championship has followed Stoner to every race but after his crash at Indianapolis, where he sustained a broken ankle, his chances of retaining his Moto GP title are fairly slim.
With only four riders staying with the same team they began the 2012 Moto GP season, next year promises to be full of excitement, rivalry and good old drama.