MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016
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.
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.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|2||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|5||Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|6||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|8||Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|9||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|11||Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)|
|12||Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)|
|13||Stefan BRADL (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)|
|14||Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich)|
|15||Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|1||Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Garage Plus Interwetten)|
|3||Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|4||Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|5||Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)|
|6||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|7||Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|9||Danny KENT (Leopard Racing)|
|10||Marcel SCHROTTER (AGR Team)|
|11||Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)|
|12||Xavi VIERGE (Tech 3 Racing)|
|13||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Leopard Racing)|
|14||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Team)|
|15||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)|
|1||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)|
|3||Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|4||Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|5||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Gresini Racing Moto3)|
|6||Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA Racing Team)|
|7||Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team)|
|8||Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)|
|9||Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|10||Jorge MARTIN (Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team)|
|11||Raul FERNANDEZ (MH6 Team)|
|12||Darryn BINDER (Platinum Bay Real Estate)|
|13||Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|14||Fabio QUARTARARO (Leopard Racing)|
|15||Livio LOI (RW Racing GP BV)|