On Sunday, Marc Márquez and Andrea Dovizioso will line up on the grid for the final MotoGP race of the 2017 season. At stake is the title of 2017 MotoGP champion. For Marc Márquez, it would be his fourth MotoGP title, making him the most successful Spanish rider in the premier class. For Andrea Dovizioso, it would be his first title, the one which is always most highly prized.
Dovizioso's challenge cannot be underestimated. He trails Marc Márquez by 21 points. His path to the championship is difficult, and relies heavily on things going wrong for others. Marc Márquez, on the other hand, faces a much easier task. The Repsol Honda rider has his destiny entirely in his own hands.
After 17 races, Marc Márquez has 282 points, while Andrea Dovizioso has 261 points. With 21 points separating them, who needs to do what to win the 2017 MotoGP title? We break down the arithmetic below.
Andrea Dovizioso needs:
The Grand Prix points system awards 25 points for a win, and 20 points for second place. Dovizioso trails Márquez by 21 points, which means that Dovizioso's only hope of winning the championship is to win the race.
But winning alone is not enough. If Dovizioso wins, his points total would be 286 points, and victory would bring his race win total to 7 wins. If Marc Márquez finishes thirteenth or worse, his points total would be 285 or lower, and Dovizioso would be champion.
If Dovizioso wins and Márquez finishes twelfth, scoring 4 points, Márquez and Dovizioso would be tied on 286 points. But Dovizioso's victory would mean he would have 7 race wins to Márquez' 6 wins, and that would break the tie in Dovizioso's favor. (For more on how tied points are dealt with, see the explanation below.)
In brief - Dovizioso wins the title if:
- Andrea Dovizioso wins the race at Valencia, and Márquez finishes no better than twelfth.
Marc Márquez needs:
Márquez has 282 points, and needs to score 5 more points to bring his total to 287 points to put him beyond reach of Andrea Dovizioso. Finishing eleventh or better would be sufficient for Márquez to score the points he needs.
However, if Andrea Dovizioso does not win the race, then Marc Márquez is automatically champion, wherever he finishes, and whether he finishes or not.
In brief – Márquez wins the title if:
- Márquez finishes eleventh or better, or
- Dovizioso fails to win the race.
What are the odds either way?
- In his 15 previous races at Valencia, Andrea Dovizioso has never won, and only finished on the podium twice, in 2004 and 2011
- The last time Marc Márquez finished worse than fourth at Valencia was in 2009, on a 125cc bike. He has won there twice, finished on the podium three times. He did not race at Valencia in 2011, after suffering an injury which damaged a nerve in his eye.
The title fight in a table:
|Points after 17 races||261||282|
|DOV wins, MAQ 13th or worse||286||285||Dovizioso||Wins on points|
|DOV wins, MAQ 12th||286||286||Dovizioso||
Wins on # of race wins
(7 vs 6)
|DOV wins, MAQ 11th||286||287||Márquez||Wins on points|
|DOV 2nd, MAQ DNF||281||282||Márquez||Wins on points|
|DOV 2nd, MAQ scores points||281||> 282||Márquez||Wins on points|
In the case of a tie on points, titles are decided by positions in races. First, the number of wins is compared, and the person with the most wins is declared champion. If the number of wins is equal, then the number of 2nd places is compared, then number of 3rd places, and so on.
If riders were to finish the last race tied in points and with identical results, then the rider who performed best at the last race would be champion. In other words, if the championship resulted in a dead heat in points and positions, the rider who crossed the line first in the last race of the year is declared champion.
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