Dovizioso's Wet Win Keeps Thrilling Title Race Alive
Autosport|November 02,2017

JUST WHEN IT SEEMED MARC MARQUEZ was on the brink of securing MotoGP title number four, Andrea Dovizioso scored a sixth race win of the season to ensure that this most unpredictable of championship campaigns goes down to the last race.

Jamie Klein

MOTOGP

SEPANG (MAL)

OCTOBER 29

ROUND 17/18

It seems only fitting that such a battle between two very different but equally worthy potential champions should be resolved at the Valencia finale, even if the odds remain overwhelmingly stacked in favour of Marquez.

Then again, 11 years ago, the late Nicky Hayden arrived at Valencia facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit to the man widely considered the best rider in the field. But Valentino Rossi succumbed to the pressure and crashed, and the crown was Hayden’s. The biggest difference between those two races is that, even if Marquez fails to score, Dovizioso has to win at Valencia, as he lags 21 points behind the Honda rider, and that is not guaranteed, given Ducati last won there in 2008.

After the disaster of Phillip Island, Dovizioso was expected to make up some ground on Marquez at Sepang. He did win in Malaysia in 2016, while Marquez has never felt fully at ease around the Hermann Tilke-designed circuit. Although Dovizioso was pipped to pole position by Dani Pedrosa and Johann Zarco, he had the clear measure of his opposition in another rain-soaked race.

Not for the first time this year, Tech3’s Zarco – now the official rookie of the year of 2017 –was the early leader, thanks in no small part to being the only rider in the top 10 besides polesitter Pedrosa to opt for the soft compound wet rear tyre. At one stage, the Frenchman – still chasing that first MotoGP win – held an advantage of nearly two seconds over the works Ducatis of Jorge Lorenzo and Dovizioso. But it wasn’t long before they began to close in, and on lap nine of 20 both Lorenzo and Dovizioso picked Zarco off and began to edge away.

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