It’s The Deciding Time!
The final showdown between Pecco (Ducati) vs. Fabio (Yamaha) begins!
The final weekend of the season begins. The decider: Two riders, one crown, and an incredible year of ups, downs, happiness, upsets, wins, and losses. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), and for the public watching, it's a pretty simple equation: all Quartararo can do is win. If he doesn't, Bagnaia doesn't even need to finish it, that's his advantage, but that's motorcycling. It's not over until the checkered flag flies.
On the red side, Bagnaia had an impressive seven wins and overcame 91 losses to sit 23rd clear. He broke more than a few records and became the first Ducati rider to win the crown in 15 years - which would also see the Bologna company complete the triple crown of manufacturers, teams, and riders. The track wouldn't be an unwelcome place for decision-makers, he also won on a historic day in Valencia last year when Ducati closed the podium. But it was then and this is now. History calls with open arms. Bagnaia is no longer a hunter, but a pilot in the hot seat.
In the blue corner, Quartararo's season was largely a study of consistency. A few penalty kicks, a few impressive victories, and the only Yamaha to score a Constructor Score every weekend until late into the night is an incredible performance of the season. A tough Thai Grand Prix in Australia looked to turn the tide after 0 points, but El Diablo was not over.
As Sepang scored the first match point for his opponent, Quartaro took the crucial podium for the last stand and stood up as the fight went on. Valencia may not be the place it had chosen, but it was a solid place for Yamaha. Now, without any pressure, the weight of expectations has shifted to Bagnaia. Can Quartaro swing?
But decision-makers are not alone. You'll be on a grid of the world's fastest drivers and cars, each with its own goals to achieve and glory to pursue. Some of them have allegiance. Given Ducati's history in peril, the message is at least this: don't shut down on a last-minute whim. And the message reaches a third of the grid: Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), Marco Bezzecchi. (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™).
Meanwhile, for Quartararo, the Allies have been a bit behind the scenes this season. But his colleague Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) took it one step further at Sepang in terms of speed and has already experienced the pride of the track. But what about the rest of the field? Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) is now looking to return to the European paddocks. The same goes for his teammate Maverick Vinales. Even Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) is mathematically invincible. Finishing in the top five this season is the record and consistency of the South African Sunday Championship.
There are many more names who have little to lose in full attack mode and others will face their last tango in 2022. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and teammate Joan Mir (the latter wins Valencia) will want to leave. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) leaves Honda to try Ducati, while Pol Espargaro (Team Repsol Honda) switches to the Austrian car. Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) heads to WorldSBK after team-mate Raul Fernandez switched factories while Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) bid farewell to KTM.
Last but not least, we have not forgotten it. Neither did the rest of the network, the #TheDecider champions, and the fans in the stands. For any counter-clockwise lane, the horn of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) must sound. It is a requirement given the incredible track record of the number 93. And it may have been a long and difficult time regaining that glory of late, but Marquez has already had a pillar and a podium since his comeback - a comeback with time on his side as each new race and each new one adds more power every week to heal him. Will the eight-time world champion make headlines this weekend?
Back then, Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) felt very important in Australia. But fast-forward to the final lap at Sepang, Ai Kokura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) clearly outperformed the Spaniards. Instead, he named the trophy after Fernandez and made it to the final, finishing 37th with 9.5 points and 25 wins. Both have had incredible seasons and deserve the crown, but when the lights go out, it doesn't work that way. There's only one, so stay tuned for the last Moto2™ race of the season on Sunday at 12:20 (GMT +1)!
Izan Guevara (Team Valresa GASGAS Aspar) has one last chance to score in 2022 with a win before their new adventures for next season. Sergio Garcia (Team Valresa GASGAS Aspar) is driving present, and the Ricardo Tormo circuit resembles a special truck at No. 11. This is where it spawned some glory, from junior divisions to world championships. However, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) is approaching the distance to make his final score, while Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) looks around to determine where the final standings of the year are. However, for some time the Japanese rider has been the most consistent with Guevara - and anything can happen in a Moto3™. Before a new season begins for many, tune in to watch 2022 roll out in style in Valencia with the Moto3™ race at 11:00 GMT +1!