Nineteen Grands Prix and as many Sprint Races were not enough for Francesco Bagnaia to confirm himself as world champion, nor for any of his opponents to take the scepter from him early. Not even Jorge Martin, who has been the main contender for most of the year and is the only one who can succeed him. Everything will be decided next weekend in Valencia, as in 2022, when Pecco got the better of Fabio Quartararo's resistance. It will be the sixth season of the MotoGP era that will award the title to the last act. With the Turin rider a big favourite, thanks to the advantage over the Madrilenian that rose to +21 in Qatar.
The circuit named after Ricardo Tormo could then be the scene of a goodbye that is difficult to explain. That of Fabio Di Giannantonio, winner of his first race in the premier class at Losail. A success bathed in tears of emotion, but also of sadness. Certainly not a farewell, given the undisputed talent of the Roman, 25 years old, in his second season in the premier class world championship with the Ducati customers of the Gresini team.
However, Marc Marquez's arrival in 2024 forced him to give up his seat. His 2023 has not been easy. He reacted with a lot of work, without letting himself go to controversy, not even when he found himself running separately at home. As a good Roman, after the third place in Australia he had entrusted the bitterness he was experiencing to a joke: "Now that I was starting to have fun, they take away my toy". But Diego Tavano, Fabio's manager, didn't give up. And a glimmer of hope for the rider's future seems to have opened, or rather two. The first leads to the Ducati of the Mooney VR46 team that will lose Luca Marini, destined to relaunch Honda. The second, sensational, to the Japanese brand, if Miguel Oliveira does not arrive.
The outcome of the fight for the iris has a shorter time radius. As mentioned, Bagnaia leaves for Valencia with a reassuring margin to manage (21 points out of 37 up for grabs) and morale on the rise, after Qatar seems to have steered the title race. If the Turin rider had paid the price in the Sprint to a non-performing tyre, it was worse for Martin because he caught the faulty rear on Sunday, playing for a nice bunch of points. At the end of the day, he pointed the finger at the manufacturer, with an even excessive reaction given that he arrived with a cool head, a sign of the awareness that that tenth place - worst placement of 2023, excluding retirements - will probably cost him dearly.
In the meantime, Pecco can rejoice, although he is aware that in Spain "it won't be easy because 21 points are not enough to be able to relax". He wanted to win, he finished second, but he risked ruining everything on the last lap, in an attempt to overtake Di Giannantonio. In Valencia, he could confirm himself as champion after the Sprint race, although Martin has proved to be a specialist in the genre, winning six of them. But Pecco will only need to gain another four points to be the first to concede an encore since the years of Marquez takes it all.
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