MotoGP 2019 season finale
The Final Curtain
With Boris

And so ends the 2019 MotoGP season. Not with a bang, but with a whole bunch of whimpering from a field totally decimated by the World Champion, Marc Marquez.

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Marc Marquez celebrates victory at Valencia – Image by AJRN

He won again, racking up a record-setting 420 championship points, as well as securing the triple-crown of championships, virtually single-handedly – the World Championship (him), the Constructor’s Championship (Honda, but only due to him), and the Teams Championship (pretty much all him again).

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Marc Marquez celebrates victory at Valencia – Image by AJRN

This time, on the cold and windy Valencia circuit, he let Fabulous have a taste of the front, before passing him on lap six and…well, just doing what he has done all season. At least Marquez tore out Quartaroro’s heart early in the piece, rather than bitching him on the last lap as he’d done in the past.

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Valencia MotoGP – Image by AJRN

So kudos to him, I guess.

MotoGP Rnd Valencia Race Quartararo Marquez
Another Marc v Fabio battle unfolded, but this time Marquez did not wait until the final lap to squash the rookie’s spirit

The weekend was, of course, dominated by Lorenzo’s announcement of his retirement. The broken spine, the difficult Honda, his age, and the realisation that in order to spend all the money he has it’s probably wise to get while the getting is good, and the Mamba called it quits.

Jorge Lorenzo Retires
Jorge Lorenzo announced his retirement at a press conference on Thursday at Valencia

This, of course, set off a flurry of speculation about who would take his place. Zarco, Crutchlow, Nakagami and even Miller were all alleged considerations – but when King Marquez declared he would approve of his brother, Alex, to partner him next year (no pressure, HRC, right?), Honda immediately announced that to be the way forward. Of course, Marquez denies pressuring HRC.

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Brothers in arms…

But keen observers will note several things: Alex Marquez took his sweet time winning the Moto2 championship, and only scraped in by three-points ahead of the brilliant Brad Binder, whose machinery wasn’t up to scratch early in the season.

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Alex Marquez celebrating his Moto2 title win with brother Marc Marquez in Malaysia

Japan cannot print enough Yen to keep Marc Marquez in the HRC saddle if he decides he wants to try his hand elsewhere. So Honda will give him anything he asks for.

Alberto Puig is being entirely disingenuous when he whines about how Alex is the right choice for HRC because he won a title.

FIM MotoGP Awards Ceremony Marc Alex Marquez
Alex and Marc Marquez

Time, will of course tell if the younger Marquez will be a help, a hindrance, or an actual challenger for his amazing brother. Personally, I think he’s going to be shit, but I have been wrong before.

Now then, about the race.

It was a little underwhelming in terms of racing spectacle.

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Valencia MotoGP – Image by AJRN

Marquez quickly fought his way to the front after being swamped at the start. He qualified second, behind Fabulous and ahead of Miller, but maybe he was just giving himself something to overtake in the last round.

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Marquez and Quartararo – Valencia MotoGP 2019

Miller rode well, and ended up the bottom step of the podium, while Fabulous assumed his now usual position of second.

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Jack Miller was stoked with his final round podium – Image AJRN

There were a heap of non-finishers. The field was exhausted and bruised, the track was cold, and everyone was probably not on their absolute A-game.

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Franco Morbidelli – Image AJRN

Iannone went first, then Morbidelli, then Petrucci, then Zarco. And then, the impressive new kid, Iker Lecuona, competing in his first MotoGP race, threw his bike into Zarco as the Frenchman was walking towards his crashed bike in the gravel trap.

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Johann Zarco chasing Pol Espargaro before crashing out – Image AJRN

As many have observed, it was the first somersault Zarco got to do in ages. How his legs were not smashed by Iker’s hurtling KTM which nailed him in the calves, can only be down to angles. It hit him directly from behind and flipped him. Had it hit him side-on or front-on, Zarco would be joining Lorenzo in the Not-Playing Anymore Club. As it is, the Frenchman’s racing future is uncertain, though it’s likely he will return to Moto2.

Cal Crutchlow also retired into the gravel, which surprised no-one, including themselves.

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Cal Crutchlow watches on after crashing out

As it was, the field came home well spaced out – both physically and in spiritual terms. It has been a long and discouraging season for all of them, bar Marquez.

MotoGP Rnd Valencia Race Podium Marquez Quartararo Miller
2019 Valencia MotoGP Race results:
1 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) 41’21.469
2 – Fabio Quartararo* (FRA – Yamaha) +1.026
3 – Jack Miller (AUS – Ducati) +2.409

Dovi idled home in fourth some three seconds adrift of the front, with only Rins behind him showing any aggression.

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Alex Rins chasing Andrea Dovizioso – Valencia GP 2019 – Image AJRN

Vinales, who showed some pace during practice and had been talking himself up all weekend, bumbled home eight seconds shy of the front. Two seconds behind him came Mir, and then 12 seconds behind Mir, Rossi.

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Maverick Vinales eventually pulled away from this horde – Image AJRN

For a brief instant, Rossi showed some pace during practice and was the fastest rider on the track. Then on race day, nothing. He qualified 12th and ended up in eighth with a quarter of the field in the gravel.

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Valentino Rossi – Valencia MotoGP 2019 – Image AJRN

Lorenzo came home in 13th, 51-seconds behind Marquez. But for the first time in ages, he looked rather relaxed.

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Marc Marquez celebrates victory at Valencia

I felt Marquez might have done a kindness to his team-mate and maybe ridden a lap with him, held his arm up to the cheering Spanish crowd…something to respectfully signify the retirement of one of the greatest riders MotoGP has ever seen.

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The 2019 Valencia MotoGP Podium

Instead, Marquez celebrated by himself, while a few metres away, Lorenzo planted the last Lorenzo Land flag he will ever plant and waved to the fans.

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Jorge Lorenzo welcomed back into the pits

Still, if the riders weren’t all insane self-centred egotists, they couldn’t do what they do as well as they do it. It just struck me as a bit of a PR blunder when it could have been a PR masterstroke for Marquez. 

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Marc Marquez – Image AJRN

All up, an amazing year for an amazing rider, and a brutal, ego-crushing exercise for the rest of them.

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Marc Marquez celebrates victory at Valencia – Image by AJRN

It will be very interesting to see what the impending tests will reveal, and 2020 will be astonishing. Everyone’s contract is up for grabs. Lots of exciting new blood on the grid, and some quite determined old blood, as well.

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Marc Marquez celebrates victory at Valencia – Image by AJRN

Will 2020 be another year of Marquez dominance? 
I actually don’t think so.

Valencia MotoGP Results / Standings

1Marc MARQUEZHonda41m21.469
2Fabio QUARTARAROYamaha+1.026
3Jack MILLERDucati+2.409
4Andrea DOVIZIOSODucati+3.326
5Alex RINSSuzuki+3.508
6Maverick VIÑALESYamaha+8.829
7Joan MIRSuzuki+10.622
8Valentino ROSSIYamaha+22.992
9Aleix ESPARGAROAprilia+32.704
11Tito RABATDucati+42.795
12Mika KALLIOKTM+45.732
13Jorge LORENZOHonda+51.044
14Karel ABRAHAMDucati+1’04.871
15Hafizh SYAHRINKTM+1’16.487
Not Classified
DNFAndrea IANNONEAprilia1 Lap
DNFFranco MORBIDELLIYamaha9 Laps
DNFDanilo PETRUCCIDucati14 Laps
DNFJohann ZARCOHonda14 Laps
DNFMichele PIRRODucati19 Laps
1Marc MARQUEZHondaSPA420
2Andrea DOVIZIOSODucatiITA269
3Maverick VIÑALESYamahaSPA211
4Alex RINSSuzukiSPA205
6Danilo PETRUCCIDucatiITA176
7Valentino ROSSIYamahaITA174
8Jack MILLERDucatiAUS165
10Franco MORBIDELLIYamahaITA115
12Joan MIRSuzukiSPA92
13Takaaki NAKAGAMIHondaJPN74
14Aleix ESPARGAROApriliaSPA63
15Francesco BAGNAIADucatiITA54
16Andrea IANNONEApriliaITA43
18Johann ZARCOHondaFRA30
19Jorge LORENZOHondaSPA28
20Tito RABATDucatiSPA23
21Stefan BRADLHondaGER16
22Michele PIRRODucatiITA9
24Karel ABRAHAMDucatiCZE9
25Sylvain GUINTOLISuzukiFRA7
Boris Mihailovic
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.