Valencia Final: Ducati Versus Yamaha
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Valencia Final: Ducati Versus Yamaha

By FORMULAMotoGPMag - 05 November 2022

Author: Myanna Wedes

The final race of the season is here with a World Championship to be decided. The odds are in the favour of Pecco Bagnaia and Ducati to achieve their first MotoGP World Championship since Casey Stoner. The odds are against Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo who has a 23-point gap to bridge and there are various scenarios which could allow him to become World Champion though the chances are slim. With that said, in this sport, anything can happen, and the pressure is building upon both riders. There will be nerves and the ability to make mistakes at the highest level in both their careers. Ducati will celebrate the win for Bagnaia with tears of joy if they can pull it off on Sunday. Plus, Bagnaia would ink himself into the history books as an Italian rider to win on an Italian machine. We must credit Andrea Dovizioso for his work to build up the Ducati machine and Bagnaia’s ability to refine the bike to ride with confidence. In comparison, Quartararo feels strong and will not give up. He is going to fight hard and represent his brand with everything he has for the final event in 2022. As this battle continues, a Moto2 World Champion will also be crowned between Ai Ogura and Augusto Fernandez. There will be anxious energy across the paddock as both classes of motorcycle racing get underway. In addition to crowing new Champions, we also have many riders moving around the field, we say farewell to Suzuki and goodbye to those exiting the premiere class and heading to another category of motorcycle racing. The list is as follows:

Jack Miller: Ducati Lenovo Team à KTM.

Enea Bastianini: Gresini Ducati à Ducati Lenovo Team.

Alex Marquez: LCR Honda à Gresini Ducati.

Alex Rins: Suzuki à LCR Honda.

Joan Mir: Suzuki à Repsol Honda.

Remy Gardner: Tech3 KTM à World Superbikes.

Darry Binder: WithU Yamaha à Moto2.

Raul Fernandez: Tech3 KTM à RNF MotoGP Team.

Augusto Fernandez: Moto2 à Tech3 GasGas Factory Racing Team.

Pol Espargaro: Repsol Honda à Tech3 GasGas Factory Racing Team.

Miguel Oliveira: KTM Factory Racing à RNF MotoGP Team.

As the weekend unfolds and we prepare for the battle of the year, there are few riders who have provided some insight on their feelings before lights out on Sunday. Ducati will have team orders ready to utilise because the risks are high, and they will do everything in their power to win at all costs. It will be strange to say goodbye to Jack Miller, his red bike, red outfit, and broken Italian. Miller has been an asset for the Ducati squad, and they will have a challenge on their hands with two fiery Italians to manage in 2023. With the debut of a new chassis for KTM, Miller will be working hard alongside Brad Binder to set up a race winning and Championship worthy machine. The last race will be a celebration of a wonderful season where Miller certainly showcased his ability to win, obtain podiums and finish in the points consistently. A “Thriller Miller” season of success that is for sure!

Pecco Bagnaia #63:

"A really important weekend for us is about to begin, but I arrive in Valencia calm and serene. The Circuit Ricardo Tormo is a track where we were fast last year, and on paper, it suits the characteristics of our bike. We are in a more favourable situation than Malaysia, but we must stay focused until the end and think about working well from the first session to give our best in the race, as always. There will be a lot of Ducati fans here, as well as my family, my friends and my fan club, so I hope to give them all some great emotions on Sunday."

Jack Miller #43:

"I am happy to be back racing in Valencia, a track I really like and where I have been competitive in recent years. It will be a special weekend for the team, with Pecco fighting for the title, but it will also be my last race with the Ducati Lenovo Team and riding a Desmosedici GP. I hope to bid farewell to Ducati by getting one last important result. Mathematically I also still have a chance to finish third in the Championship. It is not easy, but until the end, we will work to try to reach this important goal together."

There are two riders who will find the limit this weekend and that is Quartararo and Marc Marquez. The last race for these two riders has numerous teachings available in terms of bike performance whilst also being very important for their mental strength and confidence. You have Quartararo going for the title and Marquez wanting to win. Both are testing their limits, finding the edge to go faster, and preparing for a big weekend whilst also having to factor in the upcoming testing schedule which is straight after the final race of the year. The 2023 season starts almost immediately after the race and there is no rest for the wicked. We anticipate that Quartararo will do everything in his power to qualify close to the front and hope that his fellow Yamaha riders provide some assistance to make it harder for the various Ducati riders filling the grid. The Yamaha riders are certainly outnumbered. In addition to this, Bagnaia has mentors a plenty with Valentino Rossi attending the race, Casey Stoner available to discuss strategy and of course Jorge Lorenzo watching on as we reflect on the crazy events that took place in 2015 crowing him World Champion for that season. Lorenzo knows what it is like for a title to go down to the wire and this year is another key reminder on why we all love motorcycle racing and the complexities that exist in chasing for the crown.

Fabio Quartararo #20:

“We had a good race in Malaysia. I really enjoyed it, and it was nice to be back on the podium again. Winning the championship will be very difficult now. Of course, I will give my 100% as always, but I’m not going to stress too much about the championship title. It’s the final GP of the season, and I want to enjoy it and end it with a good result.”

Marc Marquez #93:

“The last race in a long and very different kind of year. We’ve been learning every weekend since we came back and that’s the objective again for this race. I think Valencia will suit our bike better than in Sepang, so hopefully we can be closer to the front. It’s a track where I have had good results here in the past and you get some close races because of the layout. No matter what I think it will be an exciting weekend for the fans with both the Moto2 and MotoGP titles on the line.”

The changes for Bastianini, Alex Rins and Joan Mir are interesting because one is experienced on a Ducati and progressing towards the new model whereas both Rins and Mir are going to a totally new manufacturer. We are all sad to see Suzuki leave the sport after obtaining a World Championship, developing an all-round machine, and putting the Japanese manufacturer back on the map. It has been a privilege to watch them grow as a team and interview the riders who shaped their brand over numerous years. We wish all the team personnel who are not continuing in the sport all the best and know that their families will enjoy some quality time after being on the road for such a long time.

Enea Bastianini #23:

“This will be my last race with team Gresini and I will try to celebrate it the best way possible. It will surely be a complex race, with many competitive riders… We’re on a roll and we know our potential, so we’ll try to do well and finish in the world championship top-three.”

Alex Rins #42:

“It’s going to be a strange and sad weekend, but I’m determined to have a good one. My team have given me everything over the years, and I’ll give my all to pay them back with a good result one last time. Our team attitude has always been to try and stay happy, so let’s enter Valencia with good vibes and try to enjoy every moment.”

Joan Mir #36:

“I want to put everything together for this final round, for me and for my squad. I can be fast here, and my bike can be too, but we just need a little bit of luck on our side to tie it all together. I’ve had a few issues lately such as my arm pump in Malaysia, and the pressure gauge problem in Australia, and all I want now is to have a trouble-free weekend so I can bring this chapter to a close with my fantastic team and enjoy the final race.”

Who do you think will hold up the trophy and celebrate in style? Will it be Bagnaia or Quartararo….

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