Maverick Viñales grabbed just his second race victory of the season at the 2019 Malaysian Grand Prix, Marc Márquez came from 11th on the grid to be second after the opening lap, and after an early battle with Jack Miller, managed to hold second place right until the end of the race, while Andrea Dovizioso finished third from 10th on the grid after a race-long battle with Valentino Rossi.
So, the season is about to come to an end, and the grid heads to Valencia in Spain for the 2019 Valencian Grand Prix, the 19th and final round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship.
Márquez (395 points) leads the championship by a dominant 139 points for the Repsol Honda Team over Dovizioso (256 points) from Mission Winnow Ducati in what has been a truly extraordinary season for the Spaniard.
Márquez has achieved 11 wins in 2019 so far, just two away from his tally in 2014, but has had 17 podiums, the most by anyone in a premier class season, one more than he had in his rookie season in MotoGP back in 2013, and three more than what he had in 2014.
However, what is mind-blowing is that he has now scored the most points in a premier class season, 12 more points than what his current teammate Jorge Lorenzo did back in 2010, and now only needs five points in Valencia to become the first rider in any class to score 400 points or more in a single season.
Also, if Márquez can outscore Dovizioso by nine points or more in Valencia, it will be the biggest world championship winning points-scoring margin in history, surpassing the 147-point winning margin Rossi had over Marco Melandri in the 2005 MotoGP World Championship.
However, regardless of whether this happens in Valencia or not, the question will be afterwards whether Márquez can replicate this in 2020, and by the way he has performed on the Honda, you struggled to see anyone truly halting his charge towards immortality in the sport.
Meanwhile, Dovizioso just needs six points to score more points in 2019 than in any other season since he has been in the premier class since 2008. He scored 261 points in taking Márquez to a final round championship battle back in 2017, but has been nowhere near challenging the great Spaniard in 2019.
Behind the Top Two in the world championship, there is a battle for third between Viñales (201 points from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, and Álex Rins (194 points) from Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
Both riders have had inconsistent seasons by their standards, suffering four and three race retirements respectively, but have shown some flashes of their brilliance, with Viñales producing magnificent performances at Assen and Sepang, while Rins won at the Circuit of the Americas, taking advantage of the only race crash of 2019 for Márquez, and then beating the now six-time MotoGP World Champion in a race long duel at Silverstone.
So, for Viñales to finish third in the 2019 MotoGP World Championship:
1. If he finishes ahead of Rins.
2. If Rins wins in Valencia, Viñales must finish in second.
3. If Rins finishes in second, Viñales must finish in third.
4. If Rins finishes in third, Viñales must finish seventh or higher.
5. If Rins finishes in fourth, Viñales must finish 10th or higher.
6. If Rins finishes in fifth, Viñales must finish 12th or higher.
7. If Rins finishes in sixth, Viñales must finish 13th or higher.
8. If Rins finishes in seventh, Viñales must finish 14th or higher.
9. If Rins finishes in eighth, Viñales must finish 15th or higher.
10. If Rins finishes ninth or lower.
Behind the Top Four in the standings, Danilo Petrucci (176 points) is fifth in the championship for Mission Winnow Ducati despite not achieving a podium in his last 11 races, just ahead of Fabio Quartararo (172 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT and Valentino Rossi (166 points) from Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, while Jack Miller (149 points) from Alma Pramac Racing, Cal Crutchlow (133 points) from LCR Honda, and Franco Morbidelli (115 points) from Petronas Yamaha SRT complete the Top 10 in the world championship.
In terms of the Teams’ Championship, only two points separate Mission Winnow Ducati (432 points) and the Repsol Honda Team (430 points). For the Repsol Honda Team to win the Teams’ Championship, they must outscore Mission Winnow Ducati by two points or more in Valencia.
So, who is going to win the final race of the season in Valencia?
It should be a cracking race, as it usually is in Valencia, and with fine, but cool conditions expected, it should give every top competitor a chance of victory, but given his dominance in 2019, and that once in 2019 has he failed to bounce back after not winning the previous race, you would have to tip Marc Márquez to finish 2019 on a high!