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Nov 13, 2017

MotoGP: More From The Season Finale At Valencia

The start of the MotoGP race at Valencia.


Michelin saw a dramatic climax to the second season since its return to MotoGP™ as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took the riders championship while his team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) won the race to give Honda a clean sweep of the championships at today’s Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana at Valencia in Spain.

Marquez began from pole and got the perfect start by leading for the first three laps, then on lap-four Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) set the fastest lap of the race and took the lead from the reigning champion. The Frenchman — who had already secured the Rookie of the Year and Independent Rider titles — then led for 19-laps before Marquez made the move to take the lead, but a mistake caused him to almost crash and go into the gravel. He kept his bike upright and re-joined in fifth, giving his nearest title-rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) a glimmer of hope, but unfortunately a costly mistake by the Ducati man saw him crash out, and although he remounted he was unable to continue and retired, giving Marquez the title. Following the excursion into the gravel by Marquez, Zarco continued to lead, but was passed on the final-lap by Pedrosa, leaving the rookie to finish in second with the distinction of being the First Independent rider and setting the fastest lap. Marquez crossed the line third to take his second title in succession and secure him his fourth MotoGP crown and the sixth World Championship of his career, making the 24-year-old the youngest rider to achieve these two feats. Today’s results also gave Honda the team and rider championships, to go with the constructor title it had already secured, and give the Japanese marque all three trophies for the first time since 2014.

Michelin again saw its range of Power Slick tyres utilised to almost the full extent of the available compounds, with five of the six versions being used in various configurations. The top-three all shod their respective machines with different selections, as Pedrosa went for a hard front and medium rear MICHELIN Power Slick, Zarco went for the soft front and rear options, whilst Marquez chose the hard front and soft rear pairing, again demonstrating the different choice available to all riders and manufacturers.

Today’s race crowd of 110,220 basked in bright sunshine and clear skies as track temperatures reached 26°C and were treated to the excitement of the championship climax and many battles through the field. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) — using a medium front and soft rear selection — took fourth and his best result of 2017, as the top-four all used a different tyre choice for their machines. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) with a medium front and a soft rear compound was fifth, Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) finished sixth, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in seventh and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) eighth. Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) came home ninth, with Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking tenth and his best result of the year.

This weekend also signalled the final race for Patrick Isacco, the Michelin tyre technician for Honda. After 40-years of loyal service he is retiring and all at Michelin would like to wish him well in the next chapter of his life. Michelin also parted company with Nicolas Goubert, the Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme, as he announced his decision to leave the French company after 28-years of excellent service and seek pastures new, as he moves to Dorna to take up a role as FIM Moto-e World Cup Executive Director. Michelin would also like to wish him all the best in his new venture and is thankful for all his achievements within the company.

Michelin will now remain at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday of this coming week for the first test in readiness for the 2018 season. This will be followed by three winter tests in Malaysia, at a new MotoGP venue in Thailand and then Qatar during January, February and March respectively, before the season kicks off with the first race of 2018, at Losail in Qatar on Sunday 18th March.

Dani Pedrosa — Repsol Honda Team:

“Today was a special day because of the win. It was a mixture on the tyre choice and a few riders that I was battling with were on the soft rear when I chose the medium, but the rear worked well for everybody. In general, it was positive for me to get the win on the last-lap in front of the amazing fans.”

Marc Marquez — Repsol Honda Team:

“Really happy to be World Champion! Two years of Michelin and two world titles, this is a good thing for me. In the first part of the season it was quite difficult to understand the limit of the tyres, but then Michelin did an incredible job and solved all these issues and all the riders really started to enjoy riding. The season has been amazing and all the team and staff at Michelin helped me a lot and I want to say thanks, especially to Patrick — the guy that helps me in the box — because he retired today, and he was someone very special.”

Nicolas Goubert — Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:

“Today has seen another demonstration of what we have been trying to achieve since we returned to MotoGP last year, and that is to give as much choice as possible to all the riders and manufacturers at every race to allow them to be able to choose tyres that will work on race day, no matter the riders’ style. That was highlighted by the first four all using different configurations today and five of the six compounds being used throughout the field. It was again an exciting and absorbing race and we congratulate Marc on his championship and all the other riders for such an entertaining season.

“I also want to send my thanks to all at Michelin and all the riders and teams I have worked with during my time in MotoGP, it has been a fantastic journey and I have enjoyed my 28-years at Michelin and have been able to be involved in many great things within the company. I am leaving the MotoGP project in safe hands with Piero and the rest of the team and I am sure it will continue to go from strength-to-strength.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS:

Morbidelli ends season with second place in Valencia

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli completed his Moto2 World Championship season with a controlled second place in today’s final race in Valencia.

This was the 12th podium of Morbidelli’s brilliant season, which included eight race victories, more than double that of any of his rivals.

With six pole positions to his name Morbidelli was the dominant rider in Moto2 in advance of his move to MotoGP in 2018 with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

Morbidelli and teammate Álex Márquez engaged in an early battle in the 27-lap race with Morbidelli leading the race from lap four to 22 before conceding the front running to eventual winner Miguel Oliveira.

Márquez started from pole position after a superb qualifying performance and was looking set to challenge for the podium.

But after a long battle with Brad Binder the podium assault faded with Márquez eventually finishing in fifth place as he struggled with grip levels. .

Márquez won three races and scored three poles in the 18-race season and finished fourth in the championship with 201 points.

Morbidelli’s Moto2 World Championship campaign ended with the Italian rider on top with 308 points.

Franco Morbidelli: 2nd

“This second place in Valencia is a great way to finish in Moto2 before starting the new chapter of my career in MotoGP. Early in the race I had a nice battle with Álex and then when I got to the front I pushed hard to make a gap knowing that Miguel Oliveira would try to chase me down late in the race. I gave everything to fight him for the win over the final five laps but today he was the faster rider.”

Álex Márquez: 5th

“From the first lap I did not have the same feeling and grip as in qualifying and the warm-up which was a little strange. I was expecting better than fifth place but I finished the race and we know what problems we have to work on to improve for next year. I am motivated and focussed to start the job at the test in Jerez later this week.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“I was hoping for a double podium here but we knew that the KTM riders were coming on strong late in the season. It was important for both Franco and Álex to finish the final race of the year and overall we have to be happy with the victories and podiums that delivered us the world championship this year. Now we start work for 2018 from the test in Jerez on Wednesday, we have a big job ahead of us.”

More, from a press release issued by Tech 3:

Hard fought race for relentless Gardner - Misfortune strikes Vierge in final Tech3 GP

Remy Gardner finished his full year in Moto2 with a determined fight in the challenging season finale. Gardner leapt forward when the lights went out and quickly set into his pace as the sun shone down on the Valencia circuit. Eventually, he crossed the finish line in 22nd to close the difficult weekend, but he confidently eyes up for the forthcoming 2018 tests.

Meanwhile, Xavi Vierge’s memorable season ended in an unfortunate way after he fell from 7th. The impressive Spaniard lunged forward from the third row and quickly joined the tussle for 5th. However, his luck changed on the 17th lap, marking a frustrating end to his highly positive time with Tech3. The entire team would like to thank Vierge for his efforts over the years and wish him luck for the future.

Remy Gardner

Position: 22nd - Championship: 21st - Points: 23

“I can’t hide how truly disappointed I am with this race. We tried a new setting and it didn’t suit me. I really struggled and in the end, I just made sure that I made it to the chequered flag. Hopefully, when we test this week and next, we can make a big step forward and try to start getting everything ready for the 2018 season, because we need to improve."

Xavi Vierge

Position: DNF - Championship: 11th - Points: 98

“I am really frustrated with how the race finished today. Throughout the weekend, everything was so good and I started the GP with my objective being to finish in 10th in the championship. However, I had the same issue as last year in Valencia. As soon as I started, I felt that the bike didn’t slow down when the same amount of pressure was applied as normal and I couldn’t control the brakes as fully as I wanted to. In every corner, I did my best but when the tyres dropped, I fell. It’s a big shame because today could have been a very good race, yet, we had an issue that we couldn't control and a crash. I have to say thank you to the Tech3 Racing team for the amazing two and half years together.“

Hervé Poncharal

Team Manager

“This will be my final press release for the 2017 season, and we had a great time with Xavi Vierge so I want to thank him once more for his efforts as well as his never give up attitude. He made a real step up this year and he was riding another very strong race here in Valencia. Unfortunately, he crashed which was a big shame because we all know that he is going to leave us tonight and it would have been great to celebrate one final top eight finish which was highly possible. Thank you Xavi for everything you have done and we will miss you for sure. On the other side of the garage, Remy has had a tough weekend and he finished in 22nd. I think that he needs to find some consistency and it's a shame that he’s losing his teammate, who was a good reference for him. We are 100% behind Remy, which is why we signed him for another year. Yet, right now it’s a bit confusing about what is going on and it is disappointing. Anyway, the team will start testing in Jerez this week and then the week after in Valencia. Hopefully, he can find a new feeling for the 2018 season. Thanks to the entire crew, everyone worked very hard and now we will start preparing for 2018.“

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