How’s the MotoGP™ title frame shaping up ahead of Assen?

The gap has shrunk between Martin and Bagnaia, with Marc Marquez also gaining ground on the current leader as we set our sights on The Cathedral of Speed

The 2024 MotoGP™ title race has all the makings of being an all-time classic chase – especially after recent announcements – with Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) leading the way from back-to-back World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), with Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) lurking too.

So how is the Championship picture shaping up ahead of a double date with Assen and the Sachsenring, before MotoGP™ takes a back seat for its annual summer break?

Martin – The Leader

The Spaniard sits on 171 points after the Italian GP, in which the #89 suffered his first-ever Tissot Sprint DNF. Before Mugello, Martin’s advantage sat at a healthy 39 points after a perfect weekend in France, which was backed up with a solid enough P4 and P2 at the Catalan GP.

However, despite a good response on Sunday at Mugello, Martin’s lead was slashed to 18 points after a certain home hero did the Sprint and race double. With no win in the last two weekends, Martin will be hunting a return to the top step to get the pendulum swinging back in his favour before the second half of the year begins.

Bagnaia – The Chief Chaser

A DNF on Sunday in Portugal and a quiet weekend in Austin saw the reigning World Champion struggling slightly at the start of the season. Three consecutive Sprint DNFs in Jerez, Le Mans and Barcelona also haven’t helped his quest to defend his crown either, but as he did in 2023, the #1 has started to shine again on a Sunday.

Bagnaia has won three of the last four Sunday outings, and the aforementioned famous home turf double – for a second season in a row – at Mugello has seen Pecco reel in Martin ahead of Assen. The momentum has shifted towards the three-time World Champion in recent weeks. 

Marc Marquez – The Current Underdog

We know, we think it too – how can you ever call an eight-time World Champion an underdog when he’s on one of the best bikes? And it’s true. However, in 2024, the #93 currently wears that tag because he’s riding Ducati’s GP23 compared to the GP24s of Martin and Bagnaia.

That hasn’t stopped Marquez from challenging for wins though. And you get the feeling his debut Desmosedici victory is just around the corner. The 31-year-old came close in Jerez and Le Mans, while his comebacks in France and then again in Barcelona to podiums were nothing short of sublime.

Three Sprint P2s in a row, coupled with three Sunday podiums in the last four, sees Marquez sit just 35 points adrift of Martin. That's closer than Bagnaia was to the title leader before Mugello.

Bastianini and Acosta – The Outsiders?

Being 57 (Enea Bastianini) and 70 (Pedro Acosta) points adrift at this stage of the season makes both The Beast and the rookie sensation outsiders for the Championship. Both the Ducati Lenovo Team and Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 stars, however, are threatening the podium – and more – on a regular enough basis to mean some would still call them outside bets for the title.

For either of them to win it from here would be quite outstanding given the trio that sits ahead of them, but even if that doesn’t come to fruition, the Italian and Spaniard will have a major say in plenty of races between now and Valencia. The question remains: will Acosta become the youngest-ever premier class winner before the summer break?

We now look ahead to the Assen and Sachsenring doubleheader, where the title frame is set to change yet again.