In recent seasons MotoGP has been dubbed a lot of things – boring? A procession? In decline? Take your pick, they all appeared valid.
The class has had its critics in recent times for not producing close and competitive racing, but boy has the world’s premier motorbike class answered its doubters in emphatic fashion.
With the mishaps of reigning world champion Marc Marquez combined with the resurgence of Yamaha and Ducati this season’s title race is the closest it has been for some time in the modern era.
As MotoGP finally brings an end to its summer break this weekend we can look forward to a finish that could go down in history as one of the best.
Valentino Rossi leads the way by 13 points over Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo with nine rounds to go in what has been a phenomenal start to the 2015 season.
The summer break is a chance to take stock and look back at what has gone before, but it also allows riders to assess what they can achieve as the championship builds towards its climax.
Rossi has been sensational this season, The Doctor has kept his fans dreaming of a tenth world title and how good it would be if he did so.
The Italian only has to look across his garage to see the man that potentially stands in his way of cementing his legacy even further into MotoGP history and Lorenzo certainly won’t back down from the fight.
The Spaniard, like Rossi, has had a very strong year thus far and finds himself trailing narrowly in the title chase and as the two look set to continue their closely-fought battle their chivalry could be severely tested.
Everybody knows the history between the duo and in any normal circumstances they would both fight tooth and nail to beat each other – throw a championship title into the mix and all hell could break loose.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Lorenzo’s compatriot Marc Marquez.
The two-time MotoGP champion’s struggles have been well documented after a difficult start to his 2015 campaign, but a resurgence in form just before the summer break means the 22-year-old has some renewed hope of successfully defending his crown, despite the 65-point deficit to Valentino at the top of the standings.
One man who has snuck under the radar and sits 3rd overall behind Lorenzo (2nd) and ahead of Marquez (4th) is Ducati’s Andrea Iannone. While the GP15 has vastly improved on its predecessor the 25-year-old’s performance has far surpassed expectations with his best result of 2nd coming at his home Grand Prix in Mugello.
Maniac Joe, as he has dubbed himself, has certainly had a year to remember and has nothing to lose from his current position. A title push may be a little too much to ask at this stage of his career, but Iannone will be quietly confident of battling with the leading pack all the way to the wire this season.
As MotoGP heads into its home stretch it is one of the most unpredictable years to date.
Who could bet against the experienced Valentino Rossi? The calculated Jorge Lorenzo? Or the defiant Marc Marquez? What about new boy on the block Andrea Iannone?
There are so many questions that are yet to be answered.
With nine races to go it is finely poised at the top of the standings and you would have to be a madman to predict who is going to be crowed champion come November.
Absorbing? Gripping? Captivating? Take your pick.