Never say never, but it feels like a done deal.
Marc Marquez set pole position and crashed twice today as Andrea Dovizioso struggled on his first qualifying run and could only climb as high as seventh on the grid. The Ricardo Tormo circuit is named after a 50cc racer for a good reason: it is very difficult to pass here on a big bike, gaps that look small take ages to close, and getting across a big gap is all but impossible. Frankly, Dovi’s position is all but hopeless. He looked most unlike his usual smooth self on the bike in qualifying, perhaps trying to force the Ducati to do things it did not want to do. He was 12th and last at the end of the first qualifying run, only rescuing a few places on the second run. He simply looks like he doesn’t have the pace here. And if he can’t win the race he can’t win the title, it’s that stark and simple.
However, the front row of Marquez, Iannone and Zarco looks, said Marc with a smile, “dangerous.” Andrea told Italian TV the three “worst” riders in MotoGP were on the front row, by that we assume he meant the three craziest. And Johann pointed out that “they are not scared to fight,” but that Marc might have other things to worry about and want to manage his race. World-class passive aggression right there. “Why not think about the victory?” He concluded. Why not?
There will also be fourth contender, as all three of the front-row men acknowledged. Expect Jorge Lorenzo to blast off from the front of the second row and get involved. The championship may be over but there is still plenty to look forward to.