In a year of surprises worthy of any season since the World’s Premier motorcycle Championship rebranded itself ‘MotoGP’ the title fight is going right down to the wire at tomorrow’s final race of the season in Valencia. And what a fight it promises to be as the top two riders going for the title are separated by only 21 points. But let’s rewind a touch and bring you all up to date with the main protagonists.
In the orange corner we have the ridiculously successful Repsol Honda Team, recipients of no less than 7 MotoGP Titles. A team whose current no. 1 Rider, the supremely talented Spaniard, Marc Marquez, currently leads the Championship with 282 points.
And in the red corner there is the Ducati Team, a team steeped in racing history on the production side of things with World SuperBike titles a plenty but whose only MotoGP title triumph was way back in 2007. The Italian Andrea Dovizioso, also known as ‘The Professor’ due to his meticulous and thoughtful approach to racing, both before and during a race, is currently sitting in second place on 261 points.
With qualifying being run earlier today, we already know the starting positions for tomorrow’s race and with a grid full of former World Championship winners in a variety of classes, the outcome is certainly not set in stone.
Extending his career pole count to 73 (45 in MotoGP) with his eighth pole of the season in Valencia, the phenomenal Marc Marquez set a time of 1’29.897, a time that proved unassailable despite suffering a crash in turn 4 during his second run. Dovizioso however, had a far more difficult session ending up in 9th with a time of 1m 30.961s, +1.064s from that produced by Marquez.
And that’s not the only problem for Dovizioso on this, the eve of the most important race of his career. The small matter of Espargaro, Rossi, Pirro, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Iannone, Zarco and Marquez have all out qualified the talented Italian who needs to win whilst hoping his title rival finishes way down in 12th place or worse.
Quoted as saying: “I would be more nervous if Dovi was on pole and I was tenth, ninth or eighth…” after qualifying had ended, Marquez would appear to be quietly confident of gaining the result necessary to finish the day a 4 times MotoGP World Champion and would certainly appear to be in the better position of the two riders. Dovizioso is not going to go quietly though stating: “I think that tomorrow we’ll have a chance of fighting for the podium, but we know it’s going to be tough as there are several riders who have good pace. Marquez is very fast, but there also were a lot of crashes and this means that even our rivals don’t have much of a margin.” Reading between the lines and it’s clear that Dovi and Marquez will both be giving their all during the #FinalShowdown at 14:00 (GMT +1) and I can’t wait.
Over 120.2km of racing on a Valencia track consisting of five right handed corners, eight left handers and a 876m straight and there’s one thing that you can guarantee, whoever finishes World Champion will most definitely have deserved it. My money’s on Marquez, what say you?
Where will you go?