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Marc Marquez can win his fourth MotoGP world championship at the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday, where second-placed Andrea Dovizioso is the only rider with a chance to derail his title bid.
The defending champion sits 33 points ahead of Dovizioso entering the penultimate race of the year, and Marquez is guaranteed to clinch the crown on Sunday if he finishes in second place or higher.
Dovizioso would have to finish eight at the very least in order to prolong the title tug-of-war, although he's relying on Marquez to endure a nightmarish result—such as an early retirement—to slow the Spaniard's rampage.
Both riders will be seeking a perfect weekend of preparation leading into the Malaysia Grand Prix, and Dovizioso has hope to say the least considering he won at Sepang International Circuit in 2016.
Read on for a breakdown of the weekend's race schedule in full, complete with a discussion of the title-chase landscape coming into a clutch fixture in the 2017 MotoGP calendar.
Practice 1, Friday, October 20, 2:55 a.m.-3:40 a.m.
Practice 2, Friday, October 20, 7:05 a.m.-7:50 a.m.
Practice 3, Saturday, October 21, 2:55 a.m.-3:40 a.m.
Practice 4, Saturday, October 21, 6:30 a.m.-7 a.m.
Qualifying 1, Saturday, October 21, 7:10 a.m.-7:25 a.m.
Qualifying 2, Saturday, October 21, 7:35 a.m.—7:50 a.m.
Race, Sunday, October 22, 7 a.m. (GMT)
It's incredible to think that, at the age of 24, Marquez is on the verge of achieving what only seven other riders have done in history—winning four world championships in MotoGP (or 500cc competition before that).
Last Sunday's win at the Australian Grand Prix—his fourth successive podium finish and third win in those four—set the stage for triumph at Sepang, and BT Sport highlighted his ridiculous success in qualifying:
BT Sport MotoGP @btsportmotogp
44 pole positions at the age of 24 😳 Marc Márquez is quite good at #MotoGP, isn't he? 🙌 #AustralianGP https://t.co/fiLqFyk7LL2017-10-21 11:59:49
The importance of proper preparation is evidenced by the fact Dovizioso started 11th on the grid and saw his championship challenge all but end after settling for 13th at Phillip Island.
As for Marquez, it's to the detriment of his peers that he happens to be demonstrating his best form of the season thus far exactly when it's needed:
Just stop whatever you're doing and LOOK at @marcmarquez93 sliiiiiding through Stoner corner!😍 #AustralianGP https://t.co/INW416TF662017-10-21 04:45:07
It was difficult to believe for Ducati ace Dovizioso, who had been so consistent throughout the season and hadn't finished outside the top eight in a race since retiring at the Argentinian Grand Prix back in April.
His demise was hard to take, particularly with only two races of the year left to go after Australia, and spectators could see how much that loss meant:
BT Sport MotoGP @btsportmotogp
Andrea Dovizioso finishes 13th 😨 The reaction from the Ducati camp says it all... #AustralianGP https://t.co/qR5xxza2vI2017-10-22 05:48:33
Of course, Dovizioso still has more competition beneath him in the standings, too, and another Spanish foe, Maverick Vinales, recently spoke of his desire to beat the Italian to second, per Autosport's Jamie Klein:
"I'm happy to be on the podium. The last races have been tough, [this has been the] first race in the second part of the season [where] I felt strong.
"Now winning the championship is impossible, but we have to try and finish second.
"Coming on strong now at the end is going to be important for 2018."
But all is not lost, and it happened to be in Malaysia that he picked up his only victory of the 2016 season, posing some good omens ahead of the second-to-last outing.
Dovizioso, 31, has five race wins to his name this season and is sure to pull out all the stops this Sunday in what could well be his best chance to ever win a world title , but he'll be relying on Marquez to have an uncharacteristic off day to do so.
Source : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2740626-motogp-grand-prix-of-malaysia-2017-race-schedule-live-stream-and-top-riders