POLL: Who will win the MotoGP championship?

With Germany the last race before MotoGP’s mid-season break, now represents an opportunity to take stock of the first half of the season and consider who should be favourite for the title.

The first nine races of the season have seen five different race winners and a championship race that is tighter than ever before, with just 10 points separating the top four.

Read through our shortlist of contenders and cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

Marc Marquez celebrates the German Grand Prix win which has given him the championship lead

Marc Marquez (1st, 129 points, 2 wins, 5 podiums, 2 DNFs)

A win in Germany gave the defending world champion the points lead for the first time this season, having been 37 points adrift just three races earlier.

Marquez has crashed more times than he’d care to remember in 2017, including four times in a single day at the Catalan Grand Prix, as he attempts to make up for his Repsol Honda’s acceleration deficit under brakes.

While the 24-year-old believes that he will have to persevere with those issues for the rest of the season, Marquez can be unstoppable on his day, and a more conservative approach might just do the job for the Spaniard.

Maverick Viñales won in his first race for Yamaha

Maverick Viñales (2nd, 124 points, 3 wins, 4 podiums, 2 DNFs)

Movistar Yamaha’s newest recruit dominated winter testing and shot out of the blocks by winning the first two races in Qatar and Argentina.

However, Viñales has been hampered in recent races by poor qualifying, causing him to either struggle through the races, such as Catalunya, or push too hard, such as when he crashed in Assen and lost the championship lead.

The 22-year-old says that a chassis update introduced at the Dutch TT is not too his liking, but of Yamaha can provide Viñales with a bike with which he is confident then he is a red-hot threat for the title.

Andrea Dovizioso became the first Italian to win the Italian Grand Prix on a Ducati

Andrea Dovizioso (3rd, 123 points, 2 wins, 3 podiums, 1 DNF)

Ducati’s Italian factory rider has arguably been the surprise packet of 2017 (though rookie sensation Johann Zarco can also lay claims), taking an eyebrow-raising win in Mugello before producing an even bigger shock by going back-to-back in Catalunya.

While there is no doubt that the long straights at both venues suit the powerful Desmosedici, the Italian manufacturer seems to have found something this year.

Dovizioso has been the most consistent front-runner so far, with just the one DNF and no actual finish worse than eighth, and an ability to accumulate points that could prove crucial come Valencia in November.

Valentino Rossi beat Danilo Petrucci in a thriller in the Netherlands

Valentino Rossi (4th, 119 points, 1 win, 4 podiums, 1 DNF)

With his winning drought out to a full season, the seemingly ageless Italian put paid to any criticisms which may have been hanging over his head with a thrilling victory in The Netherlands.

Rossi might be the wrong side of 38-years-old, but he has demonstrated a willingness and ability to race like a young gun with a point to prove, an approach which has delivered both pleasure and pain, most notably at Le Mans.

Qualifying continues to be a relative weakness for the Movistar Yamaha rider, as has been the case for some time, but the Italian almost always races better than he qualifies, and can never be ruled out.

Dani Pedrosa celebrates his Spanish Grand Prix victory

Dani Pedrosa (5th, 103 points, 1 win, 5 podiums, 2 DNFs)

Pedrosa is the first of the riders who sit more than a full race adrift of the lead (26 points back, with 25 awarded for race wins), and is the clear outsider pick among the big factory squads of Honda and Yamaha.

The long-time Repsol Honda rider, now in his 12th season with the team, can completely battle throughout a race, such as in Mugello or Le Mans, while also possessing the potential to dominate on any given afternoon when the conditions are right.

A breakthrough premier class title seems unlikely, but if the 31-year-old can put together a string of good races then in a season as tumultuous as this, he is still a chance.

Pirtek Poll

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