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Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:07 UK

Steve Parrish's MotoGP column

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo cut the gap between him and Valentino Rossi to 18 points

Prior to the last race in Portugal we thought the MotoGP Championship was all wrapped up, but the fat lady hasn't started singing just yet.

Jorge Lorenzo's win and leader Valentino Rossi's off colour performance means the title race is far from over.

Championship leader Rossi had such a peculiar race and saw his Spanish team-mate and rival Lorenzo cut into his lead.

He had a lack of traction, nothing seemed to work and that is most unlike his side of the Yamaha garage to get it things wrong. They made some adjustments before the race, normally they make the right adjustments, but in this case they didn't.

There hasn't really been a full post mortem from Rossi or Yamaha about what happened, we might find out a bit more as the week progresses.

He just didn't look that comfortable on the bike and didn't manage to get the pace at all.

Saturday 17 October
Qualifying: 0450-0600, BBC Red Button/online
Sunday 18 October
125cc and 250cc races: 0250-0505, BBC Red Button/online; Race live: 0545-0700, BBC One/online; Race repeat, 1200-1300, BBC Red Button/online

On the other hand, in-form Lorenzo was on it from the word go and looked very, very fast as he stormed to victory.

Rossi refused to speak to the press directly afterwards which is unusual for him.

His body language to me looked like he didn't want to be part of it. I kept thinking, "any minute now he is going to kick in", but he didn't and he just cruised round and took the points.

It was mature decision to take fourth and valuable points, but he is on the back foot a little bit now.

A 30-point lead sounded better than the 18 he has now and with 75 points still on the table, this weekend in Australia is pivotal.

I hope it gets closer so we can set up an epic finale in Valencia.

There's something about this season which makes me think we could go all the way to the wire and enjoy a grandstand finish.

It's not just Toseland who we won't see in action next season as quite a few big names are missing out on rides as well

Steve Parrish

Casey Stoner did an amazing job to finish second in Estoril after all his health problems. It was a stunning achievement.

He has won here, at his home race, for the last two years so despite him easing his way back in - I think he is the man to beat.

James Toseland only has three races left as a Yamaha Tech 3 rider and that is such a shame for him and for all British MotoGP fans.

It hasn't come as surprise as there has been something fractionally missing for him out of the equation - be it confidence, who knows?

He is going back to Superbikes now, the second division of motorbikes, but he will be at the top of it.

He will be on a great bike with Yamaha, he will have a great package and his manager Roger Burnett has done a good job of getting him on that bike as there were a lot of people queuing up for it.

It's not just Toseland who we won't see in action next season as quite a few big names are missing out on rides as well.

The likes of Alex de Angelis and Toni Elias are without contracts and it feels like a bit of a "changing of the guard" is taking place.

Some of the more established names are clearing off and a new wave are coming through from the 250cc class like Alvaro Bautista, Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama.

The problems stem from MotoGP losing a few teams off the grid because of financial reasons. If we had a grid of 22 or 24 riders then the likes of Toseland wouldn't be dropping out back to Superbikes.

But MotoGP is a tough, tough world.

Phillip Island prediction:

1) Casey Stoner 2) Valentino Rossi 3) Jorge Lorenzo

Steve Parrish was talking to BBC Sport's Paul Birch

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see also
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
04 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo wins to reduce Rossi lead
04 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Stoner feat puts Lorenzo in shade
03 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
Toseland to return to Superbikes
01 Oct 09 |  MotoGP
What new rules mean for MotoGP
12 Apr 09 |  Motorsport
MotoGP calendar 2011
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP on the BBC
15 Mar 11 |  MotoGP
MotoGP standings
31 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  MotoGP

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