Francesco Bagnaia can be 2022 MotoGP champion at Sepang if…

Having taken the MotoGP title lead by 14 points at Phillip Island, Francesco Bagnaia can be crowned world champion at the Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang this weekend if he leaves with a lead of at least 25 points.
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 15 October
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP, Australian MotoGP, 15 October

With six wins already this season compared with three for reigning champion and nearest rival Fabio Quartararo (and only two races remaining) Bagnaia’s superior victory tally would hand him the title if the pair finish equal on points on Valencia.

For the Ducati star to build a 25 point lead in the MotoGP standings over Quartararo in Malaysia, he must finish in the top five, with the Yamaha rider in the following positions:

  • Bagnaia 1st with Quartararo 4th or lower (+12 points, 26 point lead)
  • Bagnaia 2nd with Quartararo 7th or lower (+11 points, 25 point lead)
  • Bagnaia 3rd with Quartararo 11th or lower (+11 points, 25 point lead)
  • Bagnaia 4th with Quartararo 14th or lower (+11 points, 25 point lead)
  • Bagnaia 5th with Quartararo 16th or lower (+11 points, 25 point lead)

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However, it’s not that simple in terms of Bagnaia winning the world championship.

There are still two other riders also in mathematical title contention: Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro (-27 points) and Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini (-42 points).

  • For example, if Espargaro wins at Sepang with Bagnaia 2nd and Quartararo 7th or lower, the Frenchman (and Bastianini) would drop out of the title fight - but Bagnaia would still not be crowned champion due to Espargaro closing to 22-points.
  • On the other hand, if Bastianini wins the race with Espargaro 4th, Bagnaia 5th and a non-score for Quartararo, Bagnaia would be MotoGP champion for the first time.

In brief, Espargaro must gain at least 3 points on Bagnaia in Malaysia to stay in the world championship battle, while Bastianini faces the tall task of gaining at least 18 points on his future factory Ducati team-mate.

From Bagnaia’s perspective, to be crowned champion before Valencia the Italian must finish in the top five at Sepang, score 11 points more than Quartararo and lose no more than 2 points to Espargaro (Bastianini will automatically drop out of the title battle if Bagnaia is in the top five).

Fifth in the world championship Jack Miller, taken out of his home race at Phillip Island last Sunday, is now 54 points behind with a maximum of 50 still available.

The Australian could however still mathematically finish as title runner-up.

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