Three Grands Prix left, 75 points still up for grabs, 6 riders fighting for the title: these are the numbers for the finale of a season in which every prediction has been regularly overturned. With two races at Valencia and one at Portimao before we will know the name of the 2020 world champion, the situation is more open than ever.
These numbers are not entirely correct however, because if we rely on the maths, there are 14 riders who are still in with a chance of winning the championship, from Mir to Zarco, who is theoretically still in the game 73 points behind.
Considering that anything can happen, there are six pretenders for the crown: Mir, Quartararo, Vinales, Morbidelli, Dovizioso and Rins. Those are enough names to say that a true favourite probably doesn't exist.
So, it’s better to ask yourself why each of them can win or not win this world championship.
Joan Mir (137 points): consistency pays off in the end
WHY YES - After the mistake in Brno he definitely changed pace and, with the exception of the wet race at Le Mans, he has always finished in the top 5 at the flag. Moreover, in the last 8 GPs he has been on the podium 6 times. His roadmap is absolutely the best and, in a championship characterized by ups and downs, consistency of results is the best quality. And Mir has it in spades.
WHY NOT - The only drawback this season is his lack of a victory, which all his other opponents have already achieved. Without taking anything away from Joan, failing to do so would be a shortcoming for a world champion. Furthermore, the Spaniard is only in his second year in MotoGP and some of his rivals have lots more experience.
Fabio Quartararo (123 points): beware of the pressure
WHY YES - Three first places, the Frenchman is the rider who has won the most this season. His speed when everything works properly is indisputable and Fabio has shown that he knows how to get the best out of his Yamaha. Also and above all in qualifying, when he has started from the front row 9 times in 11 Grands Prix.
WHY NOT - Quartararo's problem is pressure, not just in the tyres as happened in the first race at Aragon. This has led him to achieve some disappointing results, as demonstrated by the fact that he only got on the podium when he won.
Maverick Vinales (118 points): genius and recklessness
WHY YES - Maverick's talent cannot be questioned, he is in an official team and has the right experience to aim for the title. When things turn the way he wants, staying in front of him is a challenge for everyone.
WHY NOT - The real problem is that you never know what to expect from Vinales. He seems not to know half-measures and alternates applause-filled Sundays to others where he seems to have been replaced by a stunt double on the M1. To understand which Maverick we will see in the last few races, we will just have to wait.
Franco Morbidelli (112 points): the most outsider among the outsiders
WHY YES – All you have to do is look at the last race in Aragon to see why Franco has all the right credentials to fight for this championship. Step by step, Morbidelli has achieved an almost perfect union with his M1 and the others have been left watching. One wonders where he would be today without an engine failure at Jerez and the accident with Zarco in Austria.
WHY NOT – Out of all the title contenders, Franco is the only one who does not have a factory bike. It is true that the differences between his M1 and the first-tier ones are very small, but also that in such a tight season even the details make the difference.
Andrea Dovizioso (109 points): favourite on paper, but underdog in fact
WHY YES - Dovi became the only anti-Marquez on the track in the last few seasons and that would be sufficient to mark him down him as favourite. Intelligence and strategy are two of his qualities, very important when the final rush looks like a brawl over the abundance of suitors. Without ignoring the fact that of all the riders he is the one with the most experience.
WHY NOT - At this moment, Andrea seems to have already thrown in the towel, as if the championship was no longer in his hands. By his standards, this has been his worst championship in recent years. The new Michelin tyre was indigestible, he said goodbye to Ducati just a few races after the start, and he never found the right speed. If he does not find a way to return to what he was before, the world title will remain a pipedream.
Alex Rins (105 points): Better late than never
WHY YES - Three podiums, including one win, in the last four races say a lot about Alex Rins' current state of form. He had started the championship as Suzuki’s spearhead, but the accident in Jerez complicated everything. Having solved his physical problems, the Spaniard reminded everyone that he is not lacking in what it takes to be a champion. He is the one that arrives with the most momentum in the season finale.
WHY NOT - His catch-up starts from some way back, because 32 points are not easy to recover. Even more so when it is not a head-to-head with only one opponent, but with five. Speed and skill may not be enough, luck will also be needed.