Following the remarkable events during the San Marino Grand Prix in which Johann Zarco pushed his bike over the line in order to secure a point after running out of fuel, the Moto GP season is heating up further with just five races left to go.
Spain is the next destination for the Aragon motorcycle Grand Prix in which legendary MotoGP star Valentino Rossi will be absent.
The seven time MotoGP champion will be replaced on his Yamaha by Dutchman Michael van der Mark after requiring surgery to pin a broken leg he suffered whilst riding an endurance bike a couple of weeks ago.
The absentee could prove pivotal as Rossi was right in the hunt for the title trailing joint leaders Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez by 42 points as the circus heads to Spain.
The setback has led to Rossi dropping to 100/1 with some betting sites as of the 14th September for the outright title with San Marino GP winner Marquez instilled as the favourite at 4/11.
Three-way manufacturer battle for the title
As it stands, the top three drivers in the championship table all ride for three different manufacturers. Joint leaders Marquez and Maverick Vinales ride for Honda and Yamaha respectively whilst third place Andrea Dovizioso has been competing near the top all campaign on his Ducati.
This has been making for a fascinating dual all season as all three are well in the hunt for the crown with defending champions Honda with the narrowest of leads over their esteemed rivals.
Just seventeen points stands between the three as the season enters its twilight stage with just a handful of races to go making the campaign one of the closest and most competitive for years.
Ducati Team will be desperate to finish top of the pile as it has been ten years since the team have claimed the team’s manufacturers title and the wait has felt like a long one.
Andrea Dovizioso has been the main man for Ducati this season have ridden to victory four times for the side but much will depend on the performance of team mate Jorge Lorenzo and wildcard rider Michele Pirro.
Lorenzo has been surprisingly quiet this season and slightly off the pace especially compared to fast charging team mate Dovizioso.
Three-time MotoGP champ Lorenzo currently finds himself down in ninth place in the standings a whopping 109 points off the pace and although not mathematically out of the championship hunt, it would take a bigger miracle than Leicester City winning the Premier League for it to happen.
Who’s going to win?
24-year-old Spaniard Marc Marquez is the man with the bit between his teeth right now, the 2016 champion was first over the line last time out in San Marino which added to his three prior wins earlier in the season.
In fact, since round nine, the three-time world champion has won three of the last four and despite his young years, is a very mature accomplished rider when the helmet goes on making it hard to look past Marquez for back to back titles.
One man desperate to stop him however, will be Italian Dovizioso. Currently in his tenth season in MotoGP the happy go lucky Italian has never been this close to the title before and will not want to let the chance pass him by.
The 31-year-old edged to the top of the rankings after back to back victories in Austria and Britain before Marquez’s win in San Marino has seen the two men locked together on 199 points.
Looking to gate crash the party is Valentino Rossi’s team mate Maverick Vinales. The impressive 22-year-old has claimed four wins in his MotoGP career to date and held the championship lead early on with back to back wins in rounds one and two.
However, Vinales has slipped back somewhat since then with no maximum points score since the French GP in May.
That inexperience and lack of inconsistency since may cause the Spaniard to miss out with the title more likely going to one of Marquez or Dovizioso.
Whatever happens in the final five races this year, we have been treated to one of MotoGP’s most vintage years, but it is not over yet, so strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.