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Honda and Ducati Bringing the MotoGP Tussle to the Boil

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The 2018 MotoGP season is drawing ever closer and with just five races to go, the battle between Honda and Ducati looks set to go all the way.

After Spaniard Marc Márquez took victory on his Honda at the weekends Aragon motorcycle Grand Prix, the gap at the top of the riders championship stretched to 72 points over rival and Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso.

With just a maximum of 125 points still available for winning the final five races, it means barring an almighty collapse from the 25-year-old Spaniard, that particular championship is all but a done deal.

However, not so the factory team battle, as old rivals Honda and Ducati are duking it out across the globe’s fastest patches of tarmac in a tense fight for the right to be called the number one manufacturer in bikes.

As it stands, Ducati trail Honda by just 28-points in the standings as Ducati seek only their second ever MotoGP constructors title whilst Honda are out to bag their 24th title and seventh of the decade so far.

Much like in MotoGP’s brother Formula One in which the fight between Mercedes and Ferrari dominance is set to go to the wire with Mercedes priced at 1/4 as of Tuesday 25th September with Betway to become champions, it appears the form sides in both series are edging the betting markets and fancied to take the ultimate crown.

Ducati have been kept in the hunt largely thanks to Italian Andrea Dovizioso who has taken three wins and Jorge Lorenzo who has three of his own.

Aside from the dominant Marc Márquez, Honda’s next highest championship standing rider is Britain’s Cal Crutchlow who took victory at the seasons second event in Argentina after Dovizioso took victory in the opening race on his Ducati but Crutchlow is on the LCR Honda and not a factory rider meaning his points are null and void.

From there, a series of retirements for Dovizioso seriously hampered his and Ducati’s chances of the title but thanks to consistent performance from Lorenzo and a series of wins from Italian Dovizioso, the title fight is back on.

Largely thanks to the retiring Dani Pedrosa who is Marquez’s team mate and has struggled to make an impact all season which has opened the door for Ducati. 

A tepid start saw the Spaniard finish seventh in the season opener before retiring in his second outing and another seventh at the third race of the season in the USA. In fact, Pedrosa hasn't finished higher than fifth in the entire season. 

Honda and Ducati Bringing the MotoGP Tussle to the Boil

A series of 6th, 7th and 8th place finishes may have kept the points flowing steadily, but had the 32-year-old been anywhere near the top of his game, then it is likely the championship would have been all but settled by now.

Bike Specifications

One of the best things about MotoGP is its competitiveness and this comes down to the specifications of the competing bikes.

All engines are 1000cc and naturally aspirated and churn out 260 BHP with a power to weight ratio of 1.51 bhp/kg. The valve train benefits from four-valves per cylinder and are fuelled using unleaded 100 octane.

All bikes are set to this specification with very few tweaks to performance being able to be made but it is in the tyres and how each bike reacts to the chosen tyres that is often the big difference.

For example, at the last outing at Aragon, championship leader Marc Márquez opted for the softer tyre which is quicker but does not have quite the same lifespan as say the harder tyre which most of his competitors chose.

However, after Lorenzo crashed out on the opening lap, Marquez was able to follow Dovizioso for numerous laps and thus save his tyres before late surge saw the four-time World Champion get ahead and thus strike a blow to the Ducati cause.

Can Ducati Topple Honda?

Yes, they certainly can but it will require team work from both lead Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.

It has been three races now since Lorenzo even so much as picked up a point (including the cancelled British GP due to rain), when he won in Austria. 

Can Ducati Topple Honda

A 17th-place finish and a retirement last time out has hurt the factory Ducati team and Honda has taken advantage picking up 36 points last time out to Ducati’s 20.

Where to Next?

A series of races in Asia and Australasia all but ends the season with the finale occurring back on Spanish soil.

The riders head to Thailand next for a race that promises to be a step into the unknown with Ducati well aware that time is fast running out. 

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