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MotoGP finale in Valencia: what to expect from this weekend's thrilling battle at Circuit Ricardo Tormo

Ian Marsden
Marc Marquez during free practice this morning (Friday) - AFP

The 2017 MotoGP season will draw to a close Sunday at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Valencia. The season has ebbed and flowed with different riders and manufacturers passing the leadership baton. And now, with one race to go, the battle is between Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso; Honda v Ducati.

Marquez needs just five points to secure his fourth MotoGP crown in five years, while for Dovizioso only a win can give him a chance of the championship. Even were Marquez to no-score,  second place for Dovizioso would leave him agonisingly short of the Spaniard by just one point. Marquez then is the hot favourite, but this is motorcycle racing and anything can happen.

The last time that Ducati won the championship was in 2007 with Casey stoner on board. Since then the championship has been the exclusive domain of Honda, 4 wins and Yamaha 5 wins. Stoner was also the last non-Spanish rider to win the championship when he claimed the title for Honda  in 2011.

Motoring picture of the day puff

It is Marquez who has the edge in terms of current form taking three wins from the last five races, amassing 108 points in the process. Dovizioso meanwhile has two wins, but overall gaining only 78 points; 40 less than his rival.

The duo have been the dominant forces in 2017, especially in the second half of the season, between them they have won the last nine races, a run stretching back to the German GP in early July. Contrast that with the eight races preceding Germany where the pair won only three races.

Valentino Rossi of Italy. Credit: Getty Images Europe /fotopress

While Marquez and Dovizioso fight it out for the top two places, third place is already secured by Maverick Vinales in his first season on the factory Yamaha. Vinales is currently 29 points ahead of teammate Valentino Rossi in fourth. Rossi is not yet safe in fourth, Dani Pedrosa is only 12 points behind the Italian ahead of Sundays race.  It is Pedrosa who across all classes has the most wins at Valencia, six. Three of them have come in the premier class, though we have to go back to 2012 for the last occasion he stood on the top step of the podium.

Satellite Yamaha rider Johann Zarco while not yet secure in fifth place, there’s a remote chance he could be overhauled by Jorge Lorenzo on the second factory Ducati is assured of finishing the season as both top none factory rider and top rookie. Lorenzo meanwhile looks to be finally coming to grips with the Ducati which bodes well for the 2018 season.

  1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 282 points
  2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 261
  3. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 226
  4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 197
  5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 185
  6. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 154

Moto2 standings

Franco Morbidelli secured the  Moto2 championship in Malaysia with his third place finish, nearest rival Thomas Luthi was unable to race due to injuries sustained in qualifying. Luthi has second place secured having a 27 point advantage over Miguel Oliviera, who in turn is secure in third.

Franco Morbidelli wins the Malaysian Grand Prix Credit: FAZRY ISMAIL /EPA

Morbidelli is the first rider from Valentino Rossi’s VR46 academy to win a world championship, he is also the first Italian to win the intermediate class since the late Marco Simoncelli in 2008. If the Italian can win in Valencia it will be his ninth win of 2017 and he will equal Marc Marquez’s record  for most wins in a season in the Moto2.

  1. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 288 points
  2. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 243
  3. Miguel Oliveira (KTM) 216
  4. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 190
  5. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 161
  6. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 148

Moto3 standings

With Joan Mir already crowned champion, after his race win two rounds ago in Australia Sunday’s race is something of a none event in terms of championship with Romano Fenati having secured second place. But this is Moto3, the class that is defined by the finest of margins, and the class where anything really can happen.

Joan Mir at Malaysia Credit: Mirco Lazzari gp /Getty Images AsiaPac 

Who would have said that the champion would be decided with two rounds to go and that that very same rider would have to wait until the penultimate round of the season to claim his first pole position. This fact typifies Moto3 as well as any.

  1. Joan Mir (Honda) 321 points
  2. Romano Fenati (Honda) 235
  3. Aron Canet (Honda) 192
  4. Jorge Martin (Honda) 171
  5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 153
  6. Enea Bastianini (Honda) 130
  7. John Mcphee (Honda) 123