Ducati rider Bagnaia stands on the precipice of an historic first world championship coming into this weekend’s penultimate round of the season, as he aims to become the first rider to have overturned a 91-point deficit and brush aside five DNFs to win the title.
Bagnaia has won six times so far this season, five of those coming after he crashed out of June’s German GP – the incident which left him trailing Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo by 91 points.
Finishing third last weekend at the Australian Grand Prix, Bagnaia now leads reigning world champion Quartararo by 14 points after the Frenchman crashed out of the Phillip Island race.
Four riders are mathematically in with a chance of winning the title still this season, with Bagnaia 14 points clear of Quartararo, 27 points ahead of Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and 42 ahead of Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini.
How can the 2022 MotoGP title be won at the Malaysian GP?
- If Bagnaia wins and Quartararo is fourth or lower, Bagnaia is the world champion regardless of where Espargaro and Bastianini finish.
- If Bagnaia is second and Quartararo is seventh or lower, Bagnaia is the world champion regardless of where Espargaro and Bastianini finish.
- If Bagnaia is third and Quartararo is 11th or lower, Bagnaia is the world championship if Espargaro is not first or second.
- If Bagnaia is fourth and Quartararo is 15th or lower, Bagnaia is the world champion if Espargaro is not on the podium.
- If Bagnaia is fifth and Quartararo does not score, Bagnaia is the world champion if Espargaro is not on the podium.
- If Bagnaia is sixth or lower, he will not be world champion regardless of where Quartararo finishes. Espargaro must be fourth or higher to keep his title hopes alive.
- If Bagnaia finishes ninth down to 13th, Bastianini must win to keep his title hopes alive
- If Bagnaia finishes 14th or lower, Bastianini must finish first or second to keep his title hopes alive
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
When was the last time a Ducati rider won the MotoGP title?
A Ducati rider last won the MotoGP world championship in 2007, when Casey Stoner won the first of his two series titles.
It remains to this date Ducati’s only title in MotoGP since it joined as a manufacturer in 2003.
When was the last time an Italian rider won the MotoGP title?
An Italian rider has not won the MotoGP world championship since Valentino Rossi tallied up his seventh premier class success in 2009 with Yamaha.
Since then, the championship has gone to three riders from Spain, one from Australia and one from France.
As Bagnaia is a product of Valentino Rossi’s VR46 Academy, the title for him in 2022 would be a significant milestone for the nine-time grand prix motorcycle world champion’s talent development project.
When was the last time the MotoGP title went down to the final round?
Should the championship go unclaimed in Malaysia this weekend, it will mean the title will go down to the wire for just the fifth time in the modern era beginning in 2002.
The last time was in 2017, when Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso kept his slim hopes against Marc Marquez alive down to the finale in Valencia. Marquez won the title.
Two years prior to that, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo engaged in a venomous finale to a hugely controversial 2015 championship season in Valencia. Lorenzo won the race and the championship, as Rossi finished fourth having had to start last for a collision with Marquez in Malaysia at the previous round.
Valencia played host to the 2013 title decided between Lorenzo and Marquez, with the latter claiming the spoils to become MotoGP’s first rookie champion since 1983.
In 2006, Rossi and Nicky Hayden took their title battle to the wire in Valencia. A crash for Rossi allowed the late Hayden to win a highly emotional championship.