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Spaniard Versus Spaniard and the Italian Who Missed

It is going to be a fiery November in Spain as the last round of the 2013 championship will decide who gets the title. Talk about a tensioned championship so far? Wait until Friday, November 8, and you'll change your definition for the term.
The title is a two-men affair: Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo. It is also a two-factory affair, as this is Honda battling Yamaha, and by all means, during the Valencia weekend we're going to see the best these two manufacturers can offer.

However, MotoGP racing is not shoulder-to-shoulder drag strip business and there are so many other factors that must be taken into account by everybody: the other riders, the nature and configuration of the Valencia track, the lucky bike setup and the determination and focus of the main two heroes.

Dani Pedrosa is definitely out of the race for the title, but he is still 25 points behind Lorenzo and a podium or a win for him is not at all impossible. Au contraire, such a result could ease the Phillip Island crash disappointment a bit, and he knows it's worth doing his best.

Rossi is too far behind the first three for a shot at the podium, but this does not make him a laid-back rider for Valencia. He lost the 2006 title here to Nicky Hayden, and I believe he's not in a mood to see mistakes plaguing his weekend.

He's also safe from Crutchlow, who will end 2013 in the 5th position as he's free from Bautista's threat, 28 points behind.

Still, these guys add to the Ducati machinery and the Borgo Panigale team’s riders who are definitely looking forward to minimizing what has been a semi-disastrous season. And all of them can affect the 2013 title in ways which are out of the hands of Marquez, Lorenzo or their teams.

This is the most important MotoGP weekend in 7 years, since the Valencia round that decided the 2006 champion. Then it was Rossi who crashed and fell in the 13th position, nulling the 8-point advantage over Hayden. And Hayen in 3rd won the title.

Back at Motegi last week, it was again Rossi who could play a dramatic role in Yamaha's strife for the 2013 title, but it was also the failing brakes which caused the Doctor to run wide twice and fall back in a critical moment.

Of course, many argued that Il Dottore was definitely not on par with the Honda bikes and could not last in that position through the end of the Japan GP. Schroedinger himself could judge this. While some could see Rossi unable to fight the Hondas, I'd say that he already proved he can ride well again this year.

And with him holding Marquez and Pedrosa at bay, Lorenzo could have reduced the gap between him and the rookie to an even more dramatic minimum, but it was just not meant to be. What caused him to fail in 2006 kind of prevented him from helping Lorenzo and the team at Motegi.

Yet, there is still a lot until the fat lady sings, and Rossi can still play an important role for Yamaha's title, provided the team is able to set up his bike accordingly and he's in good shape.

Now, if Marc Marquez finishes 4th or higher, then he's the 2013 champion, no matter what Lorenzo does, and this includes winning. With the rookie being a constant presence on the podium, some say that a scenario excluding Marquez from the top three at Valencia is very unlikely, and doing the math (15 podiums this year), they may be right.

There are some iffy things about Marquez, though, and I can expect Nakamoto-san and the rest of the rookie's team members to make it clear enough to him: don't act like an idiot!

Marquez' style is an aggressive one: he's young and even younger at heart, and his MotoGP experience is barely starting to build up. Compared to Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo, he's just a child... therefore, he's quite prone to make mistakes.

Also, there are 3 penalty points on his rider license, and one more can technically come in FP, Q, just like we saw it happening before. 4 points means starting from the back of the grid, and this can be decisive in a race, especially in the Valencia one.

Even starting from the first row does not guarantee the needed result, so the back-of-the grid penalty is definitely not helping. I am positive that HRC will instruct Marquez to exercise more caution in his riding, during practice, qualifying and even during the race.

We've all seen numerous wipeouts, errors and run-offs from experienced leading riders, and we all know (Marquez included) that a race ain't over until blazing past the checkered flag.

Besides the technology battling for supremacy at Valencia, we're going to see the eager spirit of a sensational rookie fighting the determination and experience from a defending champion which makes almost no mistakes. And to make things even more interesting, it's also down to at least 2 more riders (Rossi and Pedrosa) who can make a winner.

Now it's probably off-to-the-bookies time...

 
 
 
 
 

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