Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Simran Kanthi
A few months ago, I wrote an article, 'MotoGP is in Trouble'. In that, I pointed out that MotoGP’s viewership figures had significantly decreased since the previous year. The 2022 British motorcycle Grand Prix had fewer viewers than the British Superbikes the week prior.
It's no secret that the viewing figures have been lower than usual for MotoGP ever since the MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi left the sport at the end of 2021. But it's safe to say now that MotoGP, might well and truly, has been saved by an iconic rivalry.
Francesco Bagnaia, the man who has cut down a 91-point deficit, now heads into the MotoGP Championship finale at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, Valencia, as the leader of the Riders' standings.
Fabio Quartararo, the reigning World Champion and Yamaha's new hope after Jorge Lorenzo, was let down by machinery and team but is still in the championship contention.
23 points separate the two incredible men, and many people predict that "Pecco" Bagnaia will take the MotoGP Championship with some ease. However… This is MotoGP, anything can happen. Right, Rossi fans? Remember 2006?
The reason I point out 2006 is because the nine-time MotoGP World Champion and legend, Valentino Rossi, should have won the 2006 Championship against Nicky Hayden. However, Rossi crashed in dramatic fashion in the final race and Hayden went on to take the championship in a truly unexpected upset.
Now, Bagnaia has been absolutely no stranger to crashing it up the road, he's DNF'd (Did Not Finish) in five races so far this season, so could we see another 2006 situation where the title favourite actually crashes out? Maybe.
However, even if Bagnaia was to score no points on 6th November, Quartararo would still need to win the Grand Prix to win the championship. It's no secret that the Yamaha is an absolutely terrible piece of machinery when matched against the Ducati, or even the Aprilia.
Nonetheless, Bagnaia and Quartararo's championship battle has definitely saved MotoGP.
You see, this year 42,000 fewer fans tuned in to watch MotoGP in Silverstone - and that is free to watch in the UK.
A huge part of this is the draw of Valentino Rossi and the everlasting shadow cast over MotoGP since he left in 2021. But Bagnaia and Quarataro have created an intriguing narrative that thousands, if not, perhaps millions, will tune in to watch.
Viewing figures are back up, the championship stakes are higher than they have been in recent years, and the storylines up and down the grid, Suzuki's final race, Bagnaia being nearly 100 points down to take a potential championship win, and can Quarataro bring himself back on top? So many questions, so much intrigue, and hopefully, an increase in sales, viewing figures, and merchandise.
What do you think? Who will win the MotoGP Championship? Is MotoGP truly back? Will MotoGP ever be able to step out of Valentino Rossi's shadow? Let us know in the comments below!
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