The previous round in Malaysia saw Lenovo Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia take a major stride towards his first Riders’ Championship title, as he claimed a thrilling victory to move 23 points clear of nearest chaser (and reigning champion) Fabio Quartararo of Monster Energy Yahama (who came home in third).
The permutations for the Championship are clear. Bagnaia will win the title if (1) Quartararo does not win at Valencia; (2) Bagnaia finishes P14 or higher; (3) Bagnaia finishes P15 and Quartararo does not win. For Quartararo to reclaim the title, he must win the final race and hope that Bagnaia is P15 or lower.
The Yamaha rider says he will do everything in his power to try and claim the Championship: “I will prepare myself like a crazy man because I know the only solution for me to fight there will be to win,” said Quartararo.
“So, it doesn’t matter, but I want to enjoy the Valencia race because I know it’s the last one of the season, and then we’ll see how we do. But I’m feeling like we have to enjoy the Valencia race.”
As for Bagnaia, he believes he cannot afford to be conservative in his approach, despite being in a very strong position: “For sure it will be, in terms of the championship, a bit better,” the Italian explained.
“But normally when you are too careful you can be in trouble, because you are in the group, it’s more difficult to do things, the front tyre goes [through] pressure [changes].
“So, I will try to do like always, not like this [weekend] because I crashed too much. But [I need to] be smart, understand everything, and then in the race if I have the possibility to win I will try to win. I will wait for Friday in Valencia, hoping for dry sessions, and then I will see what will happen.”
Bagnaia is also set to be boosted by the presence of MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, who will be present in Valencia to cheer on his compatriot. In addition, Bagnaia is also a product of Rossi’s VR46 riding academy, and looking to become the first Italian to win the title since Rossi back in 2009.
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MotoGP, Grand Prix of Valencia broadcast details, 5-6 November 2022
All times CAT
14:55: Qualifying – LIVE on SuperSport Motorsport and SuperSport Maximo 1
Sunday 6 November
14:55: Race – LIVE on SuperSport Grandstand, SuperSport Motorsport and SuperSport Maximo 1