Will the best rider win the MotoGP 2022 championship?

He has won four times this year, narrowly beating Bagnaia once; and in two other races he crossed the line barely a wheel behind after furious last-lap attacks that threatened to bring them both down. Team orders? Ha no sir.

Quartararo crashed three times, once (in Aragon) through no fault of his own. But he too has shown a tendency to choke, the pressure coming not only from other riders but also from the fact that his Yamaha is nowhere near the performance of Ducati, Aprilia and often other bikes as well. He had to dance on a knife edge, far exceeding the results of other Yamaha riders (one of whom, veteran star Andrea Dovizioso, was so disappointed with the bike that he didn’t even finish the season) .

Then there was the first competitor Aleix Espargaro on the transformed Aprilia – formerly both rider and motorcycle underdogs, but briefly even leading in points. The Spaniard’s chances were undermined by three errors, only one of them. It was at his home grand prix in Catalonia, where he celebrated a fine second place a lap too early, and had fallen to a red-faced fifth by the time he realized his mistake. Then in Assen he was pushed off the track by a plummeting Quartararo, producing an epic fight from behind to fourth, suggesting he had the speed to win. And in Japan, a team error left a fuel-efficient electronic turn setting on his bike, forcing a rough pit lane start and his only non-score of a wonderful year in which a injury also hampered his efforts.

Earnest L. Veasey