News 13 Nov 2017

Marquez earns fourth MotoGP crown as Pedrosa wins Valencia finale

Australia's Miller charges to seventh in Spain, falls just shy of top 10 in the standings.

Source: Supplied.

In a stunningly dramatic and tense finale at Valencia, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took his sixth world title and fourth MotoGP World Championship despite a huge front end moment into turn one and a run off track, coming home third in the race to defend his crown.

Title rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) similarly suffered a run off from P4, but the Italian was unable to save it and sadly crashed out of contention in the race and championship.

At the front, the race was a duel to the line between Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco – with the race decided in favour of the Spaniard on final lap as Pedrosa pounced and defended to perfection for his second victory of the year.

Marquez got the holeshot from pole, with teammate Pedrosa slicing through from the second row to take over in second – and Zarco pushed down to third. Dovizioso made a good start to move up to sixth, then past Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and glued to the back of the second Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo.

Early on, Zarco took over in the lead – with Marquez seeing him coming and slotting into second. Pedrosa remained in third, with the two Ducati machines glued together around a second behind and the tense tick of the clock counting down.

After a Zarco error, a Marquez pass and then the Frenchman hitting back, laps ticked down before Marquez struck for the lead – and ran wide. Sliding on his knee for a stunning save into turn one, the reigning Champion headed for the gravel – but managed to rejoin, yet behind Dovizioso.

Lorenzo then bolted to chase down Pedrosa and Zarco ahead, before the Ducati Team rider went down suddenly – and just as suddenly, the dream was over for his teammate. A run off into the gravel that couldn’t be saved saw Dovizioso’s title hopes disappear after a nevertheless stunning season to take the runner up spot.

Dani Pedrosa vs Johann Zarco was then the duel for the win, with Pedrosa initially attacking at the final corner but the Frenchman able to hit back. As the last lap dawned, the Spaniard tucked in and then pounced into Turn 1, managing to hold off Zarco around the tight Circuit Ricardo Tormo Circuit to take his second victory of the season.

Marquez, back into the podium places after the falls ahead, kept his calm to the end to take third and the title, making him the youngest ever six-time World Champion and the youngest to take four premier class Championships.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) put in an impressive rookie ride into fourth, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) after a more difficult race for the ‘Doctor’. Iannone dropped back slightly after a run off at turn one to take sixth, ahead of a great final race with EG 0,0 Marc VDS for Jack Miller in P7.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) moved up after crashing out in Q1 and qualifying outside the top ten to cross the line in P8, with Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) putting in another solid wildcard appearance to come home in ninth. Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) also impressed, locking out the top 10.

Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the Austrian factory’s first season in the premier class in P11, and it was a tough weekend and final race of 2017 for third-placed in the Championship Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), as the Spaniard came home in P12. Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) completed the points in the final race, with the dust settling around the dramatic final race as the flag flew.

In Moto2, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) made it a stunning third time in a row for KTM to cheer him over the line in the lead at Valencia, hunting down Champion Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) to pull clear for win number three on the bounce. Teammate Brad Binder made it another double podium for the Austrian factory, completing the podium for a third visit to the rostrum in a row.

Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) battled Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) for fifth before pulling away from the Malaysian rider and then catching Marquez; able to pass the rider from Cervera in the latter stages. The number 73 took P5, with Syahrin in P6. Australian Remy Gardner (Tech3 Racing) finished up in 22nd position.

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) took a stunning maiden Moto3 win, launching into the lead from his ninth pole position of the year and then able to escape at the front. Over three seconds further back over the line, newly-crowned Champion Joan Mir put in the ride of his life for second – recovering from the tail end of the top 20 to complete the podium in a stunning final Moto3 appearance.

Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) completed the podium, just unable to overtake the Majorcan in the final sector but close at the flag. Behind Ramirez it was an Italian battle for fourth as Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) just beat Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0) in the former’s last Moto3 outing.

With the 2017 championship now wrapped up, the MotoGP paddock will return to the Valencia circuit this week for testing ahead of the 2018 season.

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