The title math is simple for rookie Marc Marquez at the season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia on Nov. 10 - finish fourth or better, and he will win the MotoGP World Championship.
That task shouldn't provide too stern of a test for Marquez. He has finished in the top three in 15 of his 17 starts this season on his Repsol Honda RC213V.
Jorge Lorenzo sliced Marquez's lead to 13 points with his victory on a Yamaha Factory Racing machine Sunday at the Grand Prix of Japan. Marquez finished second despite a heavy crash in the morning warm-up.
Marquez, 20, is poised to become the youngest premier-class World Champion in history and the first rookie to clinch the title since American legend Kenny Roberts in 1978.
But Lorenzo enters the decisive title showdown in peak form. He has won the last two races from the pole, at Australia and Japan, as Yamaha appears to have swung the performance edge pendulum away from Japanese arch-rivals Honda.
Marquez and Lorenzo are the only riders to be eligible to win the championship at the finale. Marquez's teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished third at the Japanese Grand Prix and was eliminated from contention, 38 points behind Marquez.