Magny-Cours, the ideal setting in which to uncork the champagne and celebrate a fourth world title. Yes, because this weekend is Johnny Rea's first chance to be crowned world champion. He needs just 34 points, or rather a win and a seventh place to secure the title mathematically. The Cannibal is ready to get the job done without wasting any time. He is enjoying a stunning 2018, with twelve wins so far this season, six of them consecutive from Laguna Seca on.
No-one has been able to both him since July in fact, his rivals generally left fighting for the crumbs. Second-placed Chaz Davies must now do his best to hold off Michael van der Mark on the Yamaha, just 20 points behind. The Welshman must first understand his physical condition, having recently fractured his collarbone, an injury that really put him to the test at Portimao. And what about Marco Melandri, still looking for a ride for 2019 and keen to snatch fourth place in the standings from Tom Sykes.
Despite Ducati having decided not to keep him, the Italian has no intention of quitting, and was the only man to put the red bike on the podium two weeks ago. Just 11 points separate him from the #66 Kawasaki, Sykes having not won since Assen. That was Tom's only victory this season in fact, the British rider looking likely to come to an agreement with Honda for 2019.
The Ten Kate team is keen to make up for its lackluster performance in the Algarve, where Leon Camier was way off top ten. This also goes for Aprilia, and riders Laverty and Savadori, who came close to reaching the podium, their ambitions ultimately going up in smoke. There is also interest in Jordi Torres, who debuted in MotoGP at Aragon last week and returns to the track less than one week later.
Last but not least, let's not forget the BMW of Loris Baz. It appears as if the summer has done the Frenchman and the Althea team good, the difficulties of the first part of the season put behind them. At this point, they need only follow the path they are on, also because expectations are high for the local hero at Magny-Cours.