MotoGP 2013: The story so far

© GEPA/Gold & Goose

The sport stands on the verge of history being made next week in Valencia, but how did we get here?

Seventeen rounds down, one to go. It's been a thrilling 2013 MotoGP season which has had life breathed back into it in dramatic fashion over the past few weeks.

Next weekend in Valencia, the final round of the campaign will see either rookie Marc Márquez make history by becoming the youngest ever champion and the first debutant since 1978 to win the coveted prize, or Jorge Lorenzo take his third MotoGP title.

As the day of reckoning fast approaches, Redbull.com looks back at the key points throughout the season so far that have brought us to this final, decisive race of the year.

Kicking off
When the season got underway under the floodlights in Qatar back in April, there was plenty to get excited about. Defending champion Lorenzo looked sublime in victory, Valentino Rossi was running at the front once more in his first race back on a Yamaha, and precocious young rookie Márquez stood on the podium in his first MotoGP race.

Making his Marc
It was only the second round of the season but when Márquez took pole at Austin, there was a sense that something special was about to happen. It did, and he went on to win ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo.

The Pedrosa show
Back-to-back wins for Pedrosa in Jerez and Le Mans gave him an early championship lead, and there was a nice bit of spice added to proceedings when Márquez and Lorenzo clashed coming out of the last corner at the Spanish GP. The youngster's consistency was impressive, though, and pitched him right in the middle of his more experienced Spanish compatriots, while a tough French GP for Lorenzo saw him lose a little ground in the developing fight for the title.

Márquez on the way to victory in Indianapolis© GEPA/Gold & Goose

Lorenzo strikes back
Two wins on the bounce at Mugello and Catalunya for Lorenzo, and a first DNF for Márquez as his formative MotoGP season experienced its first real blip shook things up, as Pedrosa and Lorenzo began to open up a slight advantage in the championship standings over their younger rival.

Pivotal point in Assen
The weekend of the Dutch GP provided all kinds of thrills. Rossi's first win in over two years was the headline, but Lorenzo's determination to ride with a broken collarbone on race day just 36 hours after surgery following a crash in practice saw him finish fifth, collecting valuable points while Márquez scored yet another podium.

Márquez hits a roll
Following the weekend at Assen the Championship was turned on its head. At the next race in Germany both Lorenzo and Pedrosa sat out injured, and it started a four-race winning streak for Márquez who took victories at Laguna Seca, Indianapolis and Brno to open up a 26-point lead at the top of the overall standings.

Keeping it tight
Lorenzo managed to respond with wins at Silverstone and Misano, but Márquez's incredible form in finishing second in both races meant that by the time Round 13 had passed, the rookie was leading both Lorenzo and Pedrosa by 34 points with five rounds remaining.

Jorge Lorenzo leads the charge in Motegi© Studio Milgaro / DPPI

Match point
Márquez returned to winning ways in Aragón, and when Pedrosa won in Malaysia with Márquez second and Lorenzo third it meant that the championship went on to Round 16 in Australia with the youngster 43 points ahead and able to claim the title. It looked like a done deal...

Upside down, down under
With things looking grim for Lorenzo going to Phillip Island, Márquez's disqualification from the race handed his rival a lifeline as victory took a 25-point chunk out of the leader's advantage. Victory for Lorenzo again in Japan – where Pedrosa's fading championship hopes were ended with a third-placed finish – with Márquez second left the deficit at 13 points going to the 18th and final race in Valencia.

Márquez needs to finish fourth or better in Valencia – irrespective of what Lorenzo does – to claim the title.

However, as we've seen this season, anything really can happen, and it'll be a tense weekend on home soil for the two Spaniards as they go head-to-head to decide the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.