In a sport already renowned for high drama and tension, the 2015 MotoGP season managed to raise the bar and surprise everyone with its explosive races, psychological warfare, and on track clashes.
Valentino Rossi is no stranger to rivalries and during his long career he has clashed with many other rider’s, with notable feuds with Sete Gibernau, Jorge Lorenzo, and his high profile and long-running feud with Max Biaggi, which even came to blows. One thing which always stood out in these clashes was that Valentino usually had the upper hand when playing mind games and he usually came out on top – all that would change during 2015 when a fall out with Marc Marquez would prove decisive for the outcome of the season.
The season started strong for Valentino Rossi who took victory in the opening race at Qatar, and then in Argentina. Ultimately Valentino would lead the championship for almost all of the season, but the true story of the championship was really a ‘tale of two Yamaha’s’ – with Rossi dominating the first half of the season, and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo dominating the second half of the season.
Marc Marquez who started the season as defending champion had mixed fortunes in 2015 and his relationship with Rossi would deteriorate during the season. In Argentina, Rossi and Marquez made contact whilst battling on track and Marquez crashed out, and the two riders clashed again at Assen on the final lap whilst fighting for the victory. The situation escalated after the Australia MotoGP which was a thrilling race that saw Marc Marquez eventually win, but not after a 6 way fight and lots of tough overtaking (The final top four riders crossed the line within a second). Rossi accused Marquez of helping Lorenzo out and slowing up the other riders at a pre-race press conference before the Sepang MotoGP.
During the Sepang race Rossi and Marquez found themselves battling with each other for third place and after a series of tough and close overtaking manoeuvres on each other Rossi ran Marquez out wide on lap seven. The pair made contact again and Marquez crashed out. Rossi was ultimately penalised for the action and handed 3 penalty points, which meant he had to begin the final race at Valencia from the back of the grid.
This set up a fascinating finale for the season, Rossi who had led the Championship all season was only 7 points ahead of Lorenzo had to finish in second place (if Lorenzo won) in order to claim the World Championship. Rossi eventually battled his way to fourth place, but by the time he got there he was unable to bridge the gap to Lorenzo who finished first and took the World Title.
Throughout this tense and thrilling season Valentino also produced some wonderful new helmet designs. The SoleLuna remained his primary race helmet, but he also debuted some striking new designs like the Shark helmet, and fun ones like the Winter Test helmet from Sepang.
Check out all the helmet designs that Valentino Rossi wore from the 2015 MotoGP season below:
For the 2015 Winter test that were held in Malaysia, Valentino Rossi reveled a new helmet design to poke fun at the tropical temperatures and oppressive heat that seemed ironic for an official ‘Winter Test’.
The helmet was made to look like it was a knitted woolly hat and had chunky snowflakes, christmas trees, and reindeer on it. It was named the ‘ugly sweater’ helmet or the ‘woolly hat’ design, and you can see why.
Once again, Valentino Rossi carried across his popular SoleLuna helmet as his primary race lid and design for the duration of the 2015 MotoGP season. This design was first used on Valentino’s return to Yamaha in 2013, and the 2015 season marked Rossi’s third year wearing this design.
Valentino Rossi’s 2015 Mugello was a tribute to the fans and included solar panels and an energy gauge detailing how Rossi’s energy rises over the course of a weekend thanks to the fans
This helmet had a reflective surface that looked stunning in the Italian sun, and the helmet has become known as the ‘Yellow Energy’ helmet.
Valentino Rossi went into the Misano MotoGP as championship leader, but the gap was closing between Lorenzo.
To reflect the pressure he was under he had a new helmet design that portrayed Rossi as a tiny yellow fish being chased down by a huge shark.