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MotoGP, Bagnaia or Aleix Espargarò? against Quartararo only one will remain!

On the eve of the Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring the Ducati rider has 4 wins, 4 crashes and no podium placement, while the Aprilia rider has only one victory, but has never made a mistake

MotoGP: Bagnaia or Aleix Espargarò? against Quartararo only one will remain!

Is it a two-man or a three-way fight, the one for the MotoGP world championship this year? We are asking ourselves this with 8 Grands Prix remaining and therefore with 200 points still to be assigned, considering the current situation: the 22 and 49 points that respectively separate Fabio Quartararo from Aleix Espargarò and Pecco Bagnaia.

If you go beyond the numbers, it turns out that the Aprilia rider has reached this enviable position by scoring points in all 12 races so far, with one victory and a total of five podiums, four third consecutive places. An average of 13.1 points per race.

On the other hand, the Yamaha leader only failed to finish in Assen and nevertheless his average is 15 points, thanks to three wins and six podiums.

Bagnaia, among the three, is certainly the worst off: he has an average of 10.1 points due to four setbacks, on the other hand he is the one who has won the most - 4 times - and strangely enough he has only won. He doesn't even have one placement. Which means that his gap is almost two Grands Prix from the current championship leader.

This brief analysis as a result leads to a question: is Pecco Bagnaia still a contender for this world championship?

Aleix Espargarò thinks so and after Silverstone he said clearly: “It's not an easy job for Ducati because they still are almost two races (49 points) behind, but they have a lot of bikes on the track, they can do a lot of teamwork and they are going to some good circuits for Pecco such as Austria and Misano. Everything is open, and I think the last eight races will be very close in terms of the championship. "

The strong point of the Turin rider, as always, is the Ducati's ability to express itself at its best on any track and the fact that the next two Grands Prix will take place on two tracks that are favourable to the GP22: the Red Bull Ring and Misano.

In fact, since 2016 Ducati has almost always won in Austria with Iannone, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, again Dovizioso and Martin in 2021, only losing to Miller in 2020 against Oliveira's KTM.

If we always count from 2016, at Misano, instead we can see Honda with Pedrosa, then Marquez in front of Petrucci and Dovizioso, then Dovizioso in front of Marquez, again Marquez in front of Quartararo in 2019, then Morbidelli's Yamaha in front of Bagnaia (and in the following 'double-header caused by Covid’, Vinales in front of Mir), to arrive last year at the success of Bagnaia in front of Quartararo.

So the Red Bull Ring is a Ducati fiefdom, Misano definitely less so.

There is more: Pecco's run-up to the title came to an end in 2021 with the crash of Misano 2, which confirms how the Turin rider tends to go over the limit when (apparently) he is calmly in the lead.

Overconfidence? Tendency to go beyond the limit? We don’t know; what is certain is that it this characteristic - and in 2020 he crashed 6 times out of 14 races – that does not make him favourite in a championship that is won even with placings.

But let's go further and weigh up Espargarò's words further. When he says that Ducati has 8 bikes on the track, is this an advantage or a disadvantage for Pecco Bagnaia?

Both, actually. It could be an advantage if more red bikes stand between you and the leading couple; a disadvantage if two of his most accredited teammates, Bastianini and Martin, were to end up in front of him. In the impossibility given the situation and Ducati’s philosophy to impose team orders.

Pecco's task is therefore difficult, because he cannot afford another mistake that would definitively detach him from the final sprint in which Quartararo is always the favourite ... but beware of Aleix Espargarò who with a single victory but a surprising reliability could be the winning horse of a long sprint that will start from the Austrian GP.

 

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