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MotoGP, Ten questions to understand who will win the title

Dovizioso arrives at Jerez as championship leader, but Marquez and Honda prepare to fight back. Many unknowns for everyone as the action hots up, with six races in ten weeks

MotoGP: Ten questions to understand who will win the title

The holidays are over and things are about to get serious.
No, we're not talking about the Easter break, but rather the fact that the world championship is about to land in Europe, specifically, in Jerez.
Up until now, the MotoGP has been an easy ride, with just three races - Qatar, Argentina and America - in eight weeks. But from Spain onwards, the pace is about to pick up, with six races over the next ten weeks.
After Jerez comes Le Mans, on 19 May, then Mugello, on 2 June, Barcelona on 16 June, Assen on 30 and then, straight after that, Sachsenring on 7 July.
There is then a break before Brno on 4 August, but in the meantime the MotoGP riders are in for some very different tracks and climates.
By then the championship will have taken a decisive turn, but we're convinced that the situation will become clearer between Jerez and Barcelona.
Sure, we shouldn't expect too much from this weekend and, whatever the outcome, it will clearly be different from that of 2018 when Marc Marquez was leading with a 12-point advantage over Johann Zarco, second, by 24 points over Andrea Dovizioso, fourth.
Last year saw Magic Marc arrive in Andalusia with one DNF to his name, Argentino, but Andrea had two.

So can the Ducati win the title this year?

The Honda has improved this year: it will be a tough customer

For now, we can only say that DesmoDovi and the Ducati seem to be in a better position. Andrea says that the Ducati was already comfortable around Jerez last year, so we can expect a good fight this time around.

In reality though, Dovizioso is leading because Marquez made a mistake.

It's true.And the Honda seems to have closed the gap to the red bike in terms of top speed. It will be a tough customer.

Does this mean that the Honda is really the best bike?

The RC213-V is suffering from unspecified problems

No, in our opinion, aside from its corner entry difficulties, which we think are simply part of the character of the GP19, it is Gigi Dall'Igna's creation that is the best bike.
The RC213-V appears rather wild to ride. And only Marquez is able to fully exploit it. Not to mention the mysterious problems that have emerged during the last two races.

Furthermore, there has been no sign of the 'dream team' until now, another advantage for Ducati.

Yes, Lorenzo, physical problems aside, doesn't seem to have got to grips with his new bike. We think it's a matter of style: the 'cleaner' riders always struggle more to adapt. The speed requires a perfect bike. One example from the past when it comes to adapting is Valentino Rossi, but that Ducati is not the same beast it is now. Johann Zarco, having gone from Yamaha to KTM is another obvious example.
We need to see what will happen when Jorge is back in shape. He might be able to take points from Marc, but he might gift him points too.

We haven't seen Petrucci helping Dovi yet.

It's difficult for Honda and Ducati to give team orders

In effect... The three six-place finishes scores so far don't say a lot for him. Jack Miller, just one point behind him, would actually be in front if he hadn't had a problem at Losail, having scored a fourth and third place since then. Petrux is very focused though. He's close. And let's not forget that there are a couple of races, Assen and the Sachsenring where both he and Jack could say their piece in the case of a wet race.

But is it really likely that Honda and Ducati will resort to team orders?

It's always difficult in motorcycling and is limited to the final races of the championship. In F1, as we've seen recently with Ferrari and Leclerc, strategies are decided around the table. Assisted also by radio communications and a very different sort of professionalism!
It's not that our riders are insubordinate, but there is a different way of racing. And less interested parties.

Aside from Rins and the Suzuki, will there be other riders able to get between Marquez and Dovi?

Perhaps, but only occasionally in our opinion. It's true that Suzuki has improved significantly, particularly its engine, but it's not at the level of Honda and Ducati, though it did win out against the Yamaha at Austin. Some might say that Rossi only lost because he was physically more tired than his rival over the final stages.

Yes Rossi. And what about this tenth title?

Valentino chases ten, but it is no longer a dream or an obsession, but rather an incentive

We don't think Valentino is focusing on that. And that is what makes him even more dangerous. As Dovizioso said last week, if Vale was still racing with the spirit of ten years ago, no longer able to win consistently, he would be frustrated or, to use Andrea's words, he would self-destruct.
Today's Rossi is a wonderful marathon runner who does not set the pace but is always there in the leading group. He's lacking something in terms of pace, but having rivals ahead of him spurs him on. He's more dangerous than he might appear.

More so than Maverick Vinales, apparently.

For now at least. Maverick is a strange one. Our impression is that he lets any bump in the road get him down rather than managing it. In practice he's often very fast, but the race is a different matter. He also needs to put those slow starts behind him, and improve his performance in the wet.

What can we expect from the Jerez race?

To enjoy ourselves!


Translated by Heather Watson

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