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MotoGP, Bagnaia's great escape to the title in 10 races and 13 weeks

ANALYSIS - Pecco has notched up 68% of the points available in the first half of the championship, against 51% for Martin and Bezzecchi and 43% for Binder, but the difficult part comes now

MotoGP: Bagnaia's great escape to the title in 10 races and 13 weeks

With ten races gone and another 10 still to be raced, MotoGP rounded the mid-point of the season at the Red Bull Ring just over a week ago and is now ready for the final rush. Unlike in recent years, the championship seems to have an (almost) unchallenged dominator and his name is Pecco Bagnaia. The world champion left Austria 62 points ahead of Martin, his closest rival, 68 ahead of Bezzecchi and 91 on Binder. The others are all already in triple figures as regards the gap from the rider at the top of the standings, starting with Zarco, 5th 126 points behind the rider from Piedmont.

As you can see from the graph above, Bagnaia's ascent has been constant and unstoppable from Mugello onwards. After a few too many mistakes at the beginning of the season (crashes in Argentina, Austin and Le Mans) the Ducati champion changed his pace: in the last 5 races (we are talking about the Sunday one) he won 3 times and in the remaining 2 he was 2nd, while two instead are the victories in the sprint with 2 other places (with only one misstep at Silverstone). A quick check on the calculator shows that Pecco has notched up 68% of the 370 points available in the first 10 GPs of the year.

His opponents are far from this average: Martin and Bezzecchi stop at around 51%, while Binder at 43%. The three pursuers sometimes gave Bagnaia a hard time, but have been unable to replicate his consistency in their results. The lines of their graphs make the progress of their championship clear, with peaks, but also drops for which they have paid dearly. For Marco there is at least the satisfaction of having led the standings for a couple of GPs, something Jorge and Brad have failed to do, with the latter still looking for victory in Sunday's race (something the Italian succeeded twice instead and the Spaniard once).

The numbers say that Pecco has all the credentials to complete the feat that only Rossi and Marquez before him have accomplished in MotoGP: defending the title. However, there is one factor that should not be underestimated and that is the calendar. While the riders tackled the first 10 Grands Prix over almost 6 months, the last 10 are compressed into just over 3: to be precise, 10 rounds in 13 weeks.

We start this weekend with Barcelona, and then move directly to Misano. A weekend break, then another double: India and Japan. Kust time for a breather on one Sunday to then arrive at the two final triple-headers: Indonesia-Australia-Thailand, followed by Malaysia-Qatar-Valencia. A real tour de force in which, after the next two European rounds, the riders will change time zones and climatic conditions from one week to the next.

It goes without saying that, in these situations, consistency is essential. A mistake would have a very high price, not to mention a possible injury that could mean riders miss some GPs. Speed, as always, will make the difference, but physical condition and ability to adapt will play a more important role than usual. The risks will have to be calculated and the exercise will (also) be purely mental.

Starting off on this long journey that will lead to Valencia with a treasure trove of points will be very convenient for Bagnaia, with his rivals who will be forced to play catch-up and, therefore, press harder on the accelerator. A matter of equilibrium, in more than one sense.

 

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