There are now just 17 points between the top three in the MotoGP standings after a thrilling race at MotorLand Aragon on Sunday afternoon.
The MotoGP season is embarking on a triple header with Japan and Thailand to come this weekend and next, and if they replicate the drama and excitement shown in Spain on Sunday then we’re in for an exciting couple of weeks.
The race already looked like one that would require Fabio Quartararo to produce a performance of damage limitation with Pecco Bagnaia starting from pole and several of the other Ducatis looking strong in qualifying, but things took a turn for the worse in dramatic style for the defending champion after just a handful of corners.
Clashing with the returning Marc Marquez, Quartararo found himself on the deck and out of the race, knowing that his then-30-point lead in the championship was about to be seriously reduced in the coming minutes.
Indeed, it was Bagnaia out in front with Aleix Espargaro also up near the sharp end and both knew that quite the opportunity had presented itself to them to set up a grandstand championship finish for the final five races.
Only Enea Bastianini would stop it being a perfect day for Bagnaia in particular, meanwhile, with him pushing his 2023 team-mate all the way and eventually taking, and keeping, the lead in the very final stages:
VIDEO: Enea Bastianini takes victory ahead of Pecco Bagnaia
The MotoGP title race as it stands
Quartararo is now just ten points clear of Bagnaia at the top of the standings, with Espargaro a further seven points back.
All three will believe they can still take the crown though the momentum, as has been the case for several rounds, remains with Bagnaia.
He’s been making serious inroads in recent weeks and is now within striking distance of the reigning champ, who has been doing all he can to extract performance from the Yamaha.
Espargaro has been a little off of the boil recently compared to the start of the year but a podium finish and seeing the points gap reduce for himself may well rejuvenate him and his challenge too.
Without doubt, the championship is set up beautifully for a thrilling finale.
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