As long as Bagnaia avoids finishing 15th or lower and Fabio Quartararo winning the race, then the Ducati rider will be crowned MotoGP champion on Sunday, making him the fourth different champion since 2019. 

In the last nine races Bagnaia has claimed a staggering 114 points, which is a total that has only been bettered over the same number of races by Marquez (2019) in the last four seasons.

In those same nine races Quartararo, who did hold a 91-point advantage over Bagnaia heading into the DutchGP at Assen, has suffered his worst stretch of results since joining the factory Yamaha team at the end of 2020. 

The Yamaha rider has collected just four podiums in the last nine rounds, while also suffering four non-scores. 

En route to making his stunning comeback, Bagnaia suffered a crash in Japan which could have spelled disaster for his title aspirations. However, another three podiums including a win in Sepang helped turn the tables in his favour once again. 

Speaking about his ups and downs throughout 2022, Bagnaia said: "This year with all the ups and downs I did in the first part of the season; okay it was not so up and down it was just a matter of pressure. In the first part of the season I was competitive when I crashed. I made mistakes. 

"I just tried to analyse why I was crashing and this has helped me understand this situation. In Japan I was just too ambitious. 

"But the luck - I had two lucks there - one was that I didn’t crash with Fabio [Quartararo] and the second was that Fabio was with me [on circuit] and wasn’t gaining so many points with my crash. This was a big [piece of] luck for sure. 

"I was knowing that it was so important to be competitive even when I was struggling in the wet like Thailand. Then in Australia I tried to do my best but in the last lap it was too risky to fight for the win again. 

"In Malaysia I was sure that arriving here with the most amount of points possible to be more relaxed here was crucial. My main objective was to win the race in Malaysia."

Winner of the Valencia MotoGP in 2021, Bagnaia expects another strong showing

Discussing his chances ahead of Sunday’s season-finale, Bagnaia expects to put up a strong performance although he’s remaining calm, especially with the title yet to be wrapped up. 

"For sure, this track is quite good for us," stated the Ducati rider. "The bike of this year is so competitive in terms of handling and I think we did an improvement compared to last year. 

"But we know that MotoGP is a world of surprise and something can always happen. My main objective is to work like always, be competitive like always and fight for the top positions if we have the possibility."