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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016

Round 18: Valencia

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Valencia
Spain
November 13, 2016

Honda Wins 22nd MotoGP Constructors World Championship

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode a heroic race to second place in this afternoon’s season-ending Valencia Grand Prix and by doing so helped Honda secure a record-making 22nd MotoGP Constructors World Championship.


Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

The 23-year-old Spaniard, who won his third MotoGP Riders World Championship at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix, had a bad start from the front row of the grid, losing time as his RC213V lifted its front wheel on the run towards the first corner. By the end of the first lap he found himself in down in fifth place, with four of the world’s fastest riders just ahead of him: eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), Andrea Iannone (Ducati), Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) ahead of him.

While Marquez spent the first half of the race battling back and forth with Iannone, Vinales and Rossi, Lorenzo made the break out front. At one point the 2015 champion had extended his lead to five seconds, but then Marquez broke clear of the contest for second place and started eating into the leader’s advantage at an astonishing rate. On lap 21 Lorenzo led his compatriot by 5.3 seconds; five laps later the gap was down to 2.7 seconds. And Marquez kept charging, taking another whole second out of the leader to reduce to gap to just 1.7 seconds. However, time was running out. Marquez had only one lap left in which to catch and pass the leader; surely an impossibility, but even then he didn’t give up and kept closing on the leader, finally crossing the finish line just 1.2 seconds behind.

The ride was certainly one of Marquez’ best of the season, which has yielded him five victories, four second-place finishes and three third places.

Honda is delighted with its unique 22nd success in the Constructors World Championship. The company won its first premier-class constructors title at its first attempt in 1966 with the RC181 four-cylinder four-stroke. Between 1983 and 1985 Honda won three more titles with its NS500 and NSR500 two-strokes. From 1989 to 1999 it won another eight constructors crowns with the NSR500 two-stroke, including a run of six consecutive successes from 1994 to 1999. Honda’s final two-stroke constructors title came in 2001, the last year of the 500cc championship. Since the advent of MotoGP in 2002, Honda have won nine more constructors crowns with the RC211V, the RC212V and the current RC213V.

While Marquez celebrated on the final podium of the year, Honda’s other MotoGP riders looked back on a more challenging Valencia Grand Prix. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode a heroic weekend, still recovering from the injuries he sustained during practice at Motegi last month: a broken right collarbone, a broken left fibula and a broken bone in his left foot.

The 31-year-old former 125cc and 250cc World Champion qualified on the second row of the grid, despite significant pain and discomfort from his injuries. Pedrosa was fully aware that 30 laps of this tortuous circuit would be immensely difficult for him, but he determined to score points at a venue that’s already given him Grand Prix wins in the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP categories. Sadly, he crashed out unhurt with 24 laps remaining.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V), already twice a MotoGP winner this year at Brno and Phillip Island, was keen to conclude his best-ever season with another great result. But it wasn’t easy for the Briton who still struggled with injuries sustained at the Malaysian GP two weeks ago. He qualified 11th and was chasing seventh-place finisher Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) when he slid off.

Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) achieved his third points-scoring finish in as many races this afternoon, taking 15th place just three seconds behind Briton Scott Redding.

Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was less fortunate - MotoGP’s sole 2016 rookie finished the final race of his rookie campaign in 17th, just three seconds out of the points.

Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex) completed a remarkable two seasons of domination of the Honda-powered Moto2 series with a hard-fought final victory in the intermediate category. He will commence his MotoGP during testing here on Tuesday.

The Frenchman fought back and forth with up-and-coming Italian Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Kalex) for the first half of the race, with the pair overtaking each other several times each lap. Finally, Zarco’s experience told as Morbidelli had asked too much of his rear tire. After retaking the lead from Morbidelli at turn six on lap 16, Zarco upped his pace and broke away from his pursuers to win his seventh victory of 2016 by more than three seconds.

Meanwhile Morbidelli fell back into the clutches of class veteran Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex), who took second place on the final lap. Moments later Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) pounced at the final corner to take fourth place from Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex). Less than one second separated Morbidelli from Rins in a typically hard-fought race in which all riders use identically prepared Honda CBR600 engines.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) was the best of the rest, establishing himself in a strong sixth place, well clear of Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex), Danny Kent (Leopard Racing Kalex) and Marcel Schrotter (AGR Team Kalex) who completed the top ten.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was Honda’s top performer in a breath-taking Moto3 race which had the top five riders cross the finish line covered by just half a second. The 18-year-old Italian, making a comeback from injuries sustained at last month’s Australian GP, led the early stages and spent the entire 24 laps in the lead group, swapping places with eventual winner and World Champion Brad Binder (KTM), Joan Mir (KTM), Andrea Migno (KTM) and impressive rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW).

Bastianini took fourth place at the finish, just 0.147 seconds off the podium. The brave result, considering his injuries, consolidated his runner-up position in the World Championship, between winner Binder and third-placed Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) who won two races earlier in the season but has struggled with injury at the past few events, finishing ninth today. On several occasions it looked like Bastianini might have a chance of victory, but he could never find a way through at a track that is notoriously difficult for overtaking.

Di Giannantonio also had reason to be pleased at the end of his rookie season, which has yielded podium results at Mugello, Assen and Brno. The 19-year-old finished the year sixth overall.

Today’s seven-place finisher was Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW), just 2.6 seconds behind the race winner. The result was enough to secure the Czech rider’s best championship finish; tenth overall.

Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) finished just outside the points today - a difficult end to a season that had the Italian win the season-opening Qatar GP. He completed the season 11th overall.

Valencia teenager Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) achieved his first pole position here yesterday but a technical glitch forced him to leave the grid and start the race from pit lane, after everyone else had started. Nevertheless he stuck grimly to his task and came through to finish 19th.

Preparations for the 2017 MotoGP season commence here with a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday for the premier-class only.


Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Jack Millerzoom
Jack Miller

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“We’re happy because we’ve managed to get on the podium and we’ve finished the season strongly. This is the most important thing. In the race, the start penalized us a lot as I had an issue with the clutch and lost several positions. Afterward I wasted a lot of time behind Rossi and Iannone. As Valentino said yesterday, overtaking is difficult on this track, so even if I was able to get close, to pass them was another story because I was losing under acceleration and was a bit on the limit under braking. I waited behind as the tires began to affect performance, and step-by-step I continued improving until I found the opportunity to pass them. From then on I was able to improve my speed, and maybe if the race had lasted a little longer I might have reached Lorenzo. Anyway, he had an incredible race and I was not able to catch him. Congrats to him for this result. It hasn’t been an easy season but we were able to win the title in Japan and secure the Constructors Championship this weekend, which is great. Now we’ll work hard starting from the next test to try and improve our bike even more.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda:DNF
“It’s a shame about the crash. I started well and was taking things calmly since I didn’t feel perfectly good with the tires. Unfortunately, after just a few laps, on the entrance to turn 2, without pushing, the rear stepped out, and at the same time I also lost the front and couldn’t avoid the crash. I don’t know what went wrong because I wasn’t riding at the limit. It was a pity not to finish the race, which was our intention. We’ve come to the end of a difficult year, but we’ll try our best to do better next season.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: DNF
“It as a disappointing end to the weekend. I felt I had the pace for the top six. In the race it became very apparent that I couldn’t push. I ran the new profile hard front tire, but I couldn’t go with the other guys. Once I settled into a rhythm I felt comfortable. But I was making mistakes because I couldn’t brake. I saw I was catching Dovizioso but I made a mistake into the last corner. It’s a pity, but I’m proud of the season. I’ve won two races and been on the podium four times. I’m looking forward to getting some time off now.”
Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 15th
“This is not the result I wanted but I struggled right from the beginning of the race with a full fuel load, I just couldn’t push as hard as I wanted. The guys ahead got a gap and by the time I got some pace mid-race it was too late. Towards the end I struggled with wheelspin and also with the downshifts into turn one. But I’m happy to bring it home in the points and go to the test on Tuesday and try some new parts for next year.”
Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 17th
“My priority was to not crash and finish the race so it has been a positive end to the season for me, I have learnt a lot. I had good feeling after a couple of laps and was able to make a good pace but as the tires went down I lost some feeling. But I had a good battle with Kallio, Baz and finally Laverty and we touched a couple of times in the final laps. But I stayed calm and confident and understood where I can make improvements in the future. Now I’m looking forward to the test here on Tuesday to begin preparations for next season.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport: 1st
“It’s fantastic - I’m really happy to win my final race in Moto2. I was happy to be on pole yesterday, even though I knew Franco and Thomas had a better race pace. I told myself, hey man, just go and enjoy yourself. I didn’t let them go. Franco is a young guy - he’s very aggressive and never gives up, so my congratulations to him for his race. I also want to say thanks to my team who gave me a bike that made me confident to attack. After 15 laps I felt better than ever.”
Thomas Luthi, Garage Plus Interwetten: 2nd
“It’s great to finish second in the last race and in the championship. I could see Franco had some grip problems towards the end of the race, so I knew that maybe I could catch him. But it wasn’t easy because he was very strong. Anyway, I’m very happy and more motivated than ever for the 2017 season.”
Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS:3rd
“I had a bit of bad luck this afternoon - I destroyed the rear tire so it wasn’t at its best during the last few laps. The main thing is that I had a lot of fun fighting for second place all the way to the finish. This is my fifth podium in a row which is great and gives me a lot of motivation for next year. I could chase Zarco at first but as always be was faster in the second half of the race and I could not stay with him.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing Moto3: 4th
“It’s been a very difficult race: right from the first laps I noticed that I was struggling in some points of the track and I thought that probably it would have been difficult to fight for the victory today. The podium however was within our reach, but in the penultimate lap the gearbox came in neutral at Turn 2 and for this reason I was no longer able to launch an attack. Too bad for the podium, but I’m happy because it was another great race and I really enjoyed myself battling; moreover, the second place in the Championship is a great satisfaction. This was not only the last race of the season for me, but also the last in this team. I therefore want to thank all the members of the team who have supported me over the years and Fausto Gresini for giving me this great opportunity.”
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Racing Moto3: 5th
“I would have loved to win here, but it was a very hard-fought race: in the lead we have always kept an incredible pace. In the end I really pushed hard, I gave it 100%, but I was a bit struggling with the front tire, because in the first few laps my ride has been a little too aggressive, and so it was not possible to attack. I know I should not be disappointed, because it’s been a fantastic season, but a little bitter taste for having missed the ‘Rookie of the Year’ trophy. I’m still happy, we closed an incredible season with another great race, and this year I was able to grow race by race. I would like to thank the team, which helped me a lot in my first experience in the World Championship, and now we look forward to the next season!”
Jakub Kornfeil, Drive M7 SIC Racing Team: 7th
“I feel very happy; if someone told me we would get this result before the race I would not have believed them. To go from twenty fourth to seventh is great. I really enjoyed it. Many times I was the fastest guy on track. It felt really good to be able to overtake people the way I did and I really enjoyed fighting from the beginning; my bike was so good and it was my bike that allowed me to do this.”
Cal Crutchlowzoom
Cal Crutchlow
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016
Round 18: Valencia Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
2Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
3Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)
4Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
6Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
7Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
8Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
9Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
10Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
11Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)
12Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)
13Stefan BRADL (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)
15Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)
2Thomas LUTHI (Garage Plus Interwetten)
3Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
4Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
5Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
6Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
7Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
8Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
9Danny KENT (Leopard Racing)
10Marcel SCHROTTER (AGR Team)
11Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)
12Xavi VIERGE (Tech 3 Racing)
13Miguel OLIVEIRA (Leopard Racing)
14Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Team)
15Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
3Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
4Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)
5Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Gresini Racing Moto3)
6Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA Racing Team)
7Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team)
8Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)
9Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
10Jorge MARTIN (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team)
11Raul FERNANDEZ (MH6 Team)
12Darryn BINDER (Platinum Bay Real Estate)
13Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
14Fabio QUARTARARO (Leopard Racing)
15Livio LOI (RW Racing GP BV)

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