Motegi represents a first match point for Marc Marquez, his first opportunity to secure the world title. For the Spaniard, boosted by a 77-point advantage over Dovizioso, 99 over Rossi (the only riders still in with a chance mathematically-speaking), a 7th crown is little more than a formality. Here are various combinations that would allow him to take the title already at Motegi, but MotoGP won't be any less exciting should that happen.
DUCATI AND THE PLAN B - Though considered ‘minor prizes’, the fight for the manufacturers' and teams' title is still ongoing. They don't have the same value as a riders' title, but the guys and girls of Borgo Panigale would still be happy to take them home. Ducati is still in the mix for both titles, but snatching them away from Honda will require… team work.
In the manufacturers' standings, the red bikes needs to make up 33 points to Honda over 4 races Rosse, 34 points in the team standings. To do so, rather than Dovizioso or Lorenzo finishing ahead of Marquez, they would in fact both need to score better results than the Spaniard. This year, the team has scored a 1-2 at Mugello and Brno, so it's no easy feat, but it's not impossible either, though the Phillip Island could prove challenging, something of a tough one for the red bikes historically.
There is one more result that Dall’Igna would be pleased to achieve, and that's to win more races than Honda. Right now, the Japanese manufacturer is ahead with 8 wins (7 for Marquez and one for Crutchlow) versus the 6 of Ducati (3 apiece for Jorge and Andrea). It's a big ask, as of the four tracks remaining, Motegi and Sepang are more favourable to the Ducati, Phillip Island and Valencia better for Honda. The 2018 version of the Desmosedici has nevertheless scored some unexpected results this year, so it would need a repeat of that in this final phase.
YAMAHA: 4 SHOTS AT THE TARGET - Yamaha is also still fighting for the other titles (6 points from Ducati in the team standings), but Iwata would settle - so to speak - for a win. The M1's record spell without wins (24 GPs to be precise) is something that both Valentino and Vinales would like to put behind them by climbing onto the top step of the rostrum at least once.
Prior to Buriram, no one would have bet on a happy outcome for this project but it appears there is still hope. Easy to say, not so easy to do though, so Rossi and Maverick will really need to roll up their sleeves if they want to break the taboo. A helping hand from Japan would also be useful, perhaps even some new parts for this final part of the season. A friendly track would also be a key ingredient.
In truth, third-place in the riders' standings is also up for grabs. The Doctor has little chance of making up the 22 points that separate him from Dovizioso, but he does have a fair advantage over his closest followers: 26 points over Vinales and 42 over Lorenzo. These days, the bronze medal is a prize worth having.