During the closing stages of last Sunday’s Thailand MotoGP, Johann Zarco was the fastest rider on track before coming up behind Bagnaia. 

The Pramac rider, who is still without a victory in MotoGP, had the chance to change that had he picked off the Italian quickly, however, Zarco chose not to challenge Bagnaia and instead settle for fourth place, thus aiding Bagnaia’s title chances. 

Choosing not to overtake Bagnaia has allowed the Italian to close within 2 points of Fabio Quartararo in the MotoGP standings, although Zarco’s team-mate Jorge Martin would not have been so kind, insisting he would have ‘fought’ Bagnaia for a podium. 

"For Ducati it was better for Bagnaia to finish 3rd and even win the race, but, in the end, we are in a World Championship and I would have fought for the podium," Martin told Marca.com

"If it's a sixth or eighth place, there's no need to beat him, but for a podium it's worth it, especially if you have the pace to win."

Like Zarco, Marco Bezzecchi, who claimed his maiden MotoGP pole in Buriram before going on to lead the opening few laps, purposely stayed behind his fellow VR46 Academy rider in Motegi. 

Bezzecchi added: "He's my friend, I wasn't going to attack him."

Yet, that was not the case for Enea Bastianini, who is also a title contender although an outside bet, as the Gresini Ducati rider attacked Bagnaia on multiple occasions at Motegi, before Jack Miller also overtook Bagnaia to finish second in Thailand. 

For Bastianini and Miller, both of whom are title contenders in their own right, challenging Bagnaia makes more sense although it could cost Bagnaia valuable points going forward and unintentionally aid Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro.

Another reason for Miller having less incentive to help Bagnaia and focus more on his title chances is the fact he is leaving Ducati at the end of the season, not to mention he has been in better form than Bagnaia since Motegi. 

Speaking to MotoGP.com, Miller said: "Now there are five of us who are very close [in the championship]. There are only three races left and it won't be easy, but it's become fun."

So with three races to go, will Ducati’s position that any rider is allowed to challenge for a race win change in order to benefit Bagnaia, or will the Italian manufacturer stay strong in their thinking? 

The answer to this will start to take shape at next weekend’s Australian MotoGP at Philipp Island, a race Miller will be desperate to win.