At the Pre-Event Press Conference for the Valencia GP, race talk centered around one thing and one thing only: the Championship fight. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) arrives 21 points ahead, and that leaves the last man standing in opposition with a must-win race. But never say never…
“It has been a tough season and one race decides everything,” begins Marquez. “We’ll see, we’ll try to iapproach the weekend the same as always and give 100% on the practices but of course you feel it and feel it’s a special race. But we’ll try and enjoy the party at 2pm and it will be a special race in front of my fans at a circuit I like. But in motorsport, anything can happen.”
That’s very true, and Marquez says his main target is simple – finish the race. And with previous experience in a final round fight – taking on Lorenzo in 2013 as a rookie – the outlook is good for the defending Champion.
“To finish the race is the most important thing,” affirms the number 93. “It’s not the first time I’ve fought for the Championship here and it’s difficult but I’ll try to manage it the best I can. I’ll push like always throughout the weekend, then after Warm Up we will see. I will go out, try to find the feeling with the bike and try to enjoy the race.”
Dovizioso’s mission can also be boiled down to one simple goal: win the race. With the deficit as it is, the Italian cannot take the crown without the victory – and without Marquez failing to come home better than twelfth. The Italian began by talking about the season, and approaches the weekend as any other.
“I wouldn’t have believed I’d be in this situation,” said the Italian. “And no one watching the races expected it. That’s why I’m so happy and proud of what we’ve achieved in this Championship. From Mugello on we’ve become very competitive. Some ups and downs but we’ve been able to arrive at the last round fighting for the Championship. We will see…21 points is a lot and very difficult, but it’s still open. We have to focus. We have to win the race, which will be difficult, but we have good speed now. Let’s see what we can do in the race. We have one strategy: try to win. I don’t feel much pressure because I know what we’ve done this season and I’m so happy about the results up to now.”
Two more riders present weighed in, with Dovizioso’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo saying that he will help the Italian in the fight if he has the chance. “The situation is better for Marc and not so simple for Dovi, but I will check – if I’m fighting at the front, I’ll check my pitboard and dashboard to see the situation.”
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was also asked for his thoughts on the title fight ahead of the #FinalShowdown, and said it’s a simple yet difficult mission for Dovizioso – but that Marquez has more cards to play.
“Dovizioso has just one way he can do it: trying to win the race,” says the ‘Doctor’. “But Marc, he can control the situation. But you have to wait and see, wait for Sunday and understand your level.”
The level will, as ever, be incredibly high – but who will come out on top in the final round of the year?
Practice begins on Friday, with the race at 2pm on Sunday (GMT +1).