Ultimately it all comes down to the numbers, those that say that with 6 Grands Prix to go Pecco Bagnaia is still leading the championship, but he’s just 3 points ahead of Jorge Martin, 319 against 316. Just a few lines and already the figures abound, in a championship finale where doing the math will be more important than ever. Because the 6 GPs mentioned above correspond to 12 races (between sprint and normal) which in turn offer 222 points. In the end, it's as if the previous 14 rounds had never existed and in Indonesia they will start from scratch (or almost) for an exciting sprint.
Saying who the favourite is at the moment is not at all simple. On the one hand, one might think that while with 5 crashes in the races Bagnaia is still leading the standings, then the strength of Pecco is indisputable. On the other hand, Martin is in the middle of a magic moment as demonstrated by the sequence of 7 consecutive podiums (between sprints and Sunday races) that he has built starting from Barcelona. An apparent equality (which also passes through the bike, the Ducati GP23 for both), but built in a very different way.
How? Let’s allow the numbers to illustrate the situation.
The first interesting fact is that the sprint races, new this season, are making a difference, not only because of the many incidents they are helping to cause. In fact, it is thanks to the points obtained in the short races that Bagnaia is still ahead of Martin: those 7 more points in fact compensate for the disadvantage of 4 in Sunday's races. If the sprints were therefore a lifeline for Pecco, the same cannot be said for Bezzecchi. In Marco's case, the opposite is actually true, because the 41 points that he is down on Jorge and the 48 from Pecco in the short races are the ones that have made him drop in the rankings. Taking Sunday's results into account, in fact, Martin would be ahead of everyone in the standings, with a 4 point advantage over Bagnaia and 10 over Bezzecchi.
It is also curious to note how Bagnaia has never made mistakes in the sprints, always reaching the finish line on Saturdays. Pecco's only zero in this case was at Silverstone, not due to a crash but due to a technical setback on his bike, in fact in that case he was classified 14th outside the points zone. The 12 podiums and 4 victories demonstrate his consistency in the short races, with Martin having won the most (5 times), but having fewer podiums (9).
It is therefore on Sunday that the problems arise for the world champion and not because he is not competitive. On the contrary, the 5 victories and 9 podiums are significantly more than those of his opponents (Martin and Bezzecchi both have 3 successes and 7 podiums), but the many errors weigh heavily. The aforementioned 5 crashes in the races that gives the most points are paid for dearly and, all things considered, it’s a miracle that Bagnaia is still leading the standings.
Before his recent successes, Martin has built his championship on consistency, point after point. After mistakes in the first GP in Portimao and the third in Austin, the Pramac rider has always reached the finish line and always brought home the points. A roadmap that had some drops in form (the Netherlands-UK-Austria trio of races wasn't the best), but it has allowed him to parry the blow even when he wasn't fast enough.
If we are referring to pure speed, that of the flying lap, Bagnaia has no rivals with his 6 pole positions compared to Martin's 2 and Bezzecchi's 3. Speed, however, is sometimes not enough and the numbers say it.