Phenomenal Marquez ends season in style with record 13th victory
The MotoGP race at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana saw Marc Marquez score a record 13th premier class win of the season, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. The result sees Rossi clinch the runner-up spot in the championship.
Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) set a new record for most victories in a single campaign in the top class, having equaled Mick Doohan’s total of 12 wins in 1997 last time out in Sepang.
The race saw light rain fall, with Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Iannone electing to move onto bikes set up for the wet on lap 20, a decision which would prove costly for both.
Crossing the line in second place Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) notched up the 13th rostrum result of a remarkable season for him too and the Italian also clinches second in this year’s championship. Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) was third in the Valencia contest, registering his tenth podium result of 2014.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) beat Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) to the line for fourth place by just 0.068s in their final race together as teammates
Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) was sixth in the race to confirm sixth in the championship in an excellent rookie season. Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) crossed the line 0.284s behind his brother in seventh, giving him seventh place overall in the standings.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), wild card Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) and Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) completed the top ten.
On lap 11 Marquez had taken the initiative and took the lead from pole man Rossi and early race leader Iannone (Pramac Racing). At the half way stage Iannone made a mistake and ran through the gravel trap dropping back from the front group, having set the early pace.
On lap 20 Lorenzo and Iannone took the decision to swap bikes as light rain fell. Lorenzo then pulled into the pits on lap 26 having worn down wet tyres on a track which remained relatively dry, whilst Iannone ended up 22nd.
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) was forced to retire during the early stages with a technical problem. Suzuki’s MotoGP return also ended with Randy De Puniet (Team Suzuki MotoGP) in the pits.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) suffered a small crash, but was able to remount and recover to 14th.
MotoGP Race Classification
Moto2: Luthi takes dramatic win at final round as Rabat slows on finish straight
Tom Luthi took the victory in the final Moto2 race of the year at Valencia, overtaking Tito Rabat on the final straight, with the World Champion slowing after the last corner and letting the Swiss rider slip in front. Johann Zarco finished third.
A close battle between Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Luthi (Interwetten Sitag) saw the Swiss rider come out on top in dramatic fashion at the death. Rabat stated afterwards that he had encountered a fuel shortage coming out of the final corner, allowing Luthi to charge forward and claim victory.
It was a lonely ride for Zarco (Caterham Suter) in third, as he finished 10 seconds down on the leading duo
Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) beat Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) who had pushed hard to catch the Spaniard for fourth. Dominique Aegerter (Technomag CarXpert) was part of that battle towards the end of the race but crossed the line sixth.
Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3), Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Gresini Moto2) rounded out the top ten.
Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Gino Rea (AFT REA Racing) came together on the opening lap, though the latter two were able to remount quickly and get back into the race.
Soon after there was an incident between Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) that saw the Spaniard crash into Kallio. Viñales returned to the pits and while Kallio’s race was over in the gravel.
Axel Pons (AGR Team) and Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team) also came together several laps later.
Lucas Mahias (Promoto Sport) fell, as did Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) who lost the front and rejoined the race. Thitipong Warokorn (APH PTT The Pizza SAG) also had a spill and rejoined.
Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing Team) was forced to retire with a technical issue.
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock: race winner – “What a surprise! Out of the exit of the last corner I couldn’t believe it – I thought maybe it was a yellow flag – but then I realised something was wrong with his bike and I took profit of that. Tito was so strong, he made no mistakes and I couldn’t really get by him all race, until those last few seconds. Now me and my team go our separate ways and I think this is the best way to thank them for all their work.”
Tito Rabat, Marc VDS Racing Team: 2nd – “I made a good start and found a good rhythm. I wanted to stay in front of Tom because his bike was faster than mine. But the cooler temperature made the bike slide more, so after the last corner the last bit of fuel didn’t make it into the engine properly. Anyway, I’m so happy with the work of the team and I’ve had the best bike all season. My thanks to my team and sponsors and sorry to the fans for today!
Johann Zarco, AirAsia Caterham: 3rd – “I think it was possible to win but I crashed in warm-up so my confidence wasn’t at the top for the race. At first I fought with Aegerter and Morbidelli, so Luthi and Rabat were able to go away. I tried my best to catch them but I was missing a few tenths. I’m happy with third place and a big thank you to my team for repairing the bike which was quite badly damaged.”
Moto2 Race Classification
Moto3: Ecstatic Marquez clinches Moto3 title in third as Miller wins final race
Alex Marquez took the Moto3 title by crossing the line third at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Jack Miller winning the race ahead of Isaac Viñales.
A breathtaking 24 lap contest at the Spanish track saw Marquez doing enough to take the World Championship crown by two points, holding off a fight from Danny Kent in the final stages for the crucial last podium spot.
The championship triumph for Marquez means that he and older brother Marc Marquez, the MotoGP™ World Champion, are the first siblings to win World titles in Grand Prix racing.
Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) produced another stunning ride for his sixth win and tenth podium of a remarkable season, but it was Marquez’s third place – also his tenth rostrum of 2014 – and the Spaniard’s consistency over the year that won the day.
Viñales (Calvo Team) was searching for his first career victory and held the lead provisionally, eventually being overtaken by Miller and finishing second by 0.155s.
Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was 0.617s in front of Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo) for third with the Englishman missing a gear in the final stages meaning he could not challenge the Spaniard on the line.
Also in the front running group were Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG), the Spanish pair crossing the line fifth and sixth respectively.
The top ten was completed by pole man Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo).
Albert Arenas (Calvo Team) was an early crasher, but remounted to finish the race. Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) also fell and was taken to the medical centre for checks.
Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) was forced into the pits with a technical issue, while Jules Danilo (Ambrogio Racing) fell while chasing points.
As the battle between Marquez and Miller reached its climax, Jorge Navarro (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) both crashed.
Jack Miller: “We tried extra hard today to try to win the world title. We did our maximum and I pushed like hell right through the races. I didn’t leave anything on the table. I cannot thank the team enough. they did an amazing job all year long. Red Bull KTM, Ajo Motorsports, I thank them a lot.”
Alex Marquez, Estrella Galicia 0,0: race winner and World Champion – “I am very happy. It has been a very eventful race, with some complicated situations, but yesterday I felt very strong and I knew I could handle those moments calmly. I was very competitive at all times during the race. Getting this title is the result of all the hard work we’ve done this season and is a reward for never losing patience and always wanting to get better and better. I wanted to win this title cleanly, and that’s what we did. I knew that if a difficult situation was created then I could play the same game, but finally we were able to take the title cleanly. Now the important thing is that we won.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 5th – “It was a race that I would do all over again right now. I had a lot of fun and time flew by, even though I did not have a good feeling with the bike. I saw that I didn’t have a chance of winning the race, because the rear tyre would not have lasted, so I decided to try to help my teammate. I shouldn’t forget that thanks to him I’ve got where I am. We’ve been riding together since 2010 and over the past two years he has taken a big step forward, which has made me grow as well. I have to congratulate him for the championship win and also thank the team for all these years together.”
Efren Vazquez, SaxoPrint-RTG: 6th – “I was trying to help Alex as much as possible. We wanted to win the race but at the same time I tried to be intelligent for Honda, so I made sure I didn’t disturb Alex if I was able to overtake him. Finally I lost a few positions and once I could see Alex was safe in third I pushed my maximum for my own result. I am happy enough; we finished the championship in fourth place and I would like to say thank you to Honda for all their help and support this year.”
Moto3 Race Classification
Double MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored his 13th victory of 2014 at Valencia today to become the most successful rider over the course of a premier-class season.
The Spanish phenomenon took the record from another Repsol Honda rider, Mick Doohan, who won 12 races during the 1997 500cc World Championship.
Earlier in the day Marquez had been boosted by the superb Moto3 World Championship achieved by his younger brother Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), which makes the pair the first siblings to win Grand Prix world titles since the dawn of motorcycle Grand Prix racing in 1949.
Marquez’s record-breaking MotoGP ride was nerve-wracking in the extreme, with light drizzle falling after half-distance which had several riders enter the pits to change to their number-two bikes fitted with rain tyres. Marquez – who had made his way into the lead from third place at the end of the first lap – saw his lap times drop several seconds as the rainfall reduced grip. But he bravely and correctly decided to continue on slicks, despite a fall at the recent Aragon Grand Prix, where he had come to grief on a dampened track while using slicks.
All this time he was under serious pressure from Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who doggedly chased the youngster until the track started drying out and Marquez increased his pace again to beat the Italian by 3.5 seconds, with team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) crossing the line in third place. The pair’s Valencia results were enough to win Repsol Honda the team’s title for the second consecutive year. Honda had already won the MotoGP Constructors World Championship, for the fourth consecutive time.
Marquez’s 19th career MotoGP win – and his 45th in total across three categories – is the culmination of another astonishing season from the 21-year-old who last year became the youngest rider to win the premier-class title and this year the youngest rider to win the world’s most important motorcycling prize twice in succession.
Pedrosa’s third-place result was a great return to form after DNFs at the last two events. The former 125 and 250 World Champion once again raced hard throughout, battling his way through from fifth place at the end of the first lap and then resisting the temptation to call into the pits for rain tyres. Although he eventually lost touch with the front two, he continued to run a fast pace in the treacherous conditions.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) had a difficult final race with Honda. He started well but struggled with grip on the damp track and didn’t want to risk a fall in his last ride with the LCR team. The former Moto2 World Champion ended the race in eighth place, just behind the Yamahas of Pol and Aleix Espargaro.
Scott Redding (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) had another excellent ride to finish tenth and top Open Honda between the factory-spec Ducatis of Michele Pirro and Hector Barbera. With less power than the factory bikes he tried to use the damp conditions to his advantage but in the end he lacked the grip to beat Pirro.
Nicky Hayden (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) maintained a good pace when the rain first arrived, but when more drizzle fell he struggled with grip and was unable to fight as he would’ve liked. He completed the season with a 13th-place result.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive 7 Aspar Honda RC213V-RS) did a great job to score the final World Championship point in the first race on the RCV213V-RS which he rode for the first time on Friday. The Japanese – who will work as a test rider for HRC next year – also chose the hard rear tyre which wasn’t the ideal choice for the damp conditions.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) had yet another difficult race, struggling to get the right feeling. He finished 16th.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) finished a difficult weekend in 17th spot. He actually found his machine worked better in the slightly slippery conditions but as the track dried again he was unable to stay with Aoyama’s RC213V-RS
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: race winner – “I am so pleased, especially for my brother! It is a very happy day, even more than in Motegi when I was crowned champion. Today Alex took the Moto3 title that he deserved, and to cap it off I was able to close the year with a victory here in Valencia. I congratulate my brother for his season, because both him and Honda have done a great job this year! Now it’s time to celebrate in the way that the occasion deserves, because it will be difficult to repeat another season like this. During today’s race I was reminded of Aragon, because it was raining and there was a moment in which I considered whether or not to change the bike. In the end we stayed calm and today we were successful with our strategy. It was an ordeal which I enjoyed but suffered a bit at times! Thanks to the whole team for all their efforts this season!”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – “It has not been my best season and obviously I’m not satisfied, but you have to take the positives from the situation because we learned a lot this year. Over the next few days we have some testing and we will try to get the best out of the bike for the next test, which comes in February. Today’s race was difficult. It rained a lot in some areas of the track and it was very hard to keep upright because at other parts of the track it was dry. We had to take risks and also be careful at the same time. On the other hand, we finished on the podium and that’s good because we hadn’t taken points at the previous two races.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th – “Sure I was expecting a bit more from this race because our pace was faster than what we finally achieved. But this race was really strange because it started to rain the first laps and I was not strong enough to make the pace. Honestly I did not want to crash to ruin my last race with LCR and Honda. This is an acceptable position considering that I am not a fan of this racetrack. I was expecting something more from this season but with these ups and downs it was not easy. I really enjoyed these three years with LCR and my greatest thanks go to Lucio [Cecchinello] because he believed in me and, together with the team and the team sponsors, they have done the maximum to support me.”
Scott Redding, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 10th – “I’m happy for this top ten result in the last race: the conditions were tricky, but I was able to use it to my advantage. The group of riders in front of me was not so far ahead and I tried my best till the end, even though the soft tyre dropped down a little bit, so it was quite difficult for me to ride fast on the long corners, because you need to spin it to make the bike turn. However, overall we had a great weekend: I wanted to make a good result to say thank you to all the team and I did it. We have been quite a lot faster than the other Open Honda bikes and I ended the season as the first Open Honda in the championship, so I’m really happy”.
Nicky Hayden, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 13th – “I had a good feeling in warm-up, a pretty decent pace, the closest I’ve been to the top guys since I came back. I was hoping for a little better race. The bike was working good, I moved up early and felt good in the first little shower but by the last shower the tyre was off and I lost a lot of time and got swallowed up by a few guys. I had a good race, back and forth with a lot of guys, unfortunately it was for 13th. It wasn’t too much fun racing a wet track on slicks. You could smell the water and see it, though only the last corner was really, really wet. You couldn’t trail brake there or into Turn Eight, but the rest of track was pretty grippy. I never really thought about coming in. Every forecast and radar we’d seen said it’d just be a few drops. At Aragon the radar said at 2.30 it’d be real rain, so soon as it started raining I came in.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive 7 Aspar Honda: 15th – “The conditions were really difficult, with the rain; plus we only got the bike this week so we needed to work on set-up a little more. Today we tried to focus to make the best possible race. We chose the harder tyre which was a little bit too hard with the rain. I struggled with rear grip especially at the beginning and when the track got wet. It was not easy to keep my pace, but I tried my do best to get the get best result. We had never even done a long run, so we learned something in the race. It was good experience for us and I was happy to finish. Mainly the bike needs bit more adjustment with the Magneti ECU. The race was like a test for us because the electronics weren’t perfectly adjusted, but I was strong in the later laps which was good.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 16th – “Unfortunately, the result of this race sums up our season: a disaster. Even in this last race we were never able to make the bike work and as a result we weren’t able to fight with the second group of riders. When it started to rain the situation was even worse and I was getting even less feeling. Too bad, I’m sorry also because this was my last race with Honda. Today is coming to an end a season to forget, definitely one of the toughest in my career.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing: 17th – “After yesterday’s bad qualifying I got 17th place. The weather helped a bit and it’s a pity that it did not help me even more. After the start, the bike was sliding a lot, but when the rain started I could feel more and I enjoyed riding more. Due to that I managed to reach the group in front of me and I was riding for points. When the track dried again there was no other possibility to get in front and Aoyama overtook me. I could not fight with him because he was riding the 2015 bike and in the straights he was much faster than me. On the other hand I know what we can look forward and we will be much more competitive next year.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi secured a superb second place under difficult conditions during the 2014 season finale, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
Starting from pole in what began as a dry race, Rossi took off as soon as the lights dimmed and arrived at the first corner in second place behind compatriot Andrea Iannone. Followed closely by Marc Marquez, the nine-time World Champion was quick to find a strong pace, but as soon as the first lap was finished white flags were waving, signaling rain and allowing riders to come into the pits to change bikes.
Rossi didn’t let the changeable conditions slow him down and set a fastest lap of 1’32.437 on lap five. As things closed up at the front, fans were thoroughly entertained with a heated battle between Rossi, Marquez and Iannone. Sparks were flying from Rossi’s bike on lap 12 as Dani Pedrosa started to get into the mix. Six laps later rain threatened again, allowing the Doctor to reel in Marquez. Rossi kept his head down, but as the track dried again he came just short and finished in a deserved second place, 3.516 seconds behind the front man.
Teammate Lorenzo had an unlucky end to the 2014 season. Starting from fourth on the grid, he soon got caught up in a fight with rival Pedrosa. The Movistar Yamaha rider looked to be the stronger of the two until drops of rain began to fall and he took a few laps to get a feel for the situation, falling back to seventh.
As the track started to dry Lorenzo regained confidence and rose to fifth, having retaken Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso by lap nine. Four laps later the Spaniard arrived at the back of Iannone’s bike and won a hard battle with him before continuing his hunt for Pedrosa in third, until rain once again disrupted the race. Lorenzo struggled to get the bike stopped in the uncertain conditions and dropped down the order. He decided to come into the pits on lap 20 to switch to his wet bike and rejoined the race in 14th place. Unfortunately the gamble didn’t pay off. He dropped back to 21st and was forced to retire with five laps remaining as the conditions remained dry.
With second place Rossi gains 20 championship points, securing second in the championship, with 295 points total. Lorenzo finished third in the championship as his points total remained 263.
Tomorrow Rossi and Lorenzo will be back aboard the M1 on the Valencia circuit for the first test sessions in preparation for next year’s season.
Valentino Rossi – 2nd / +3.516 / 30 laps – “I’m happy, because I finished this very positive season for me and my team with a great race and a good result here in Valencia. For me it’s a great achievement to take the pole position and to finish in second place, especially because this race was very difficult and the conditions were very dangerous. I tried to stay concentrated and not to make a mistake. It’s a bit of a shame that I started to suffer a little bit on the right side of the tyre, because I wasn’t so far from Marc, but it still has been a good season. We got second in the championship, a lot of podiums and two victories. Now, we have to work to be even better next year. My bad luck is called Marc Marquez, because without him I can win the championship and a lot of races. He did a fantastic job and won a lot of races. It’s a great pleasure to fight with him, but we are not so far and we never give up and try to come closer. Especially on Tuesday, but also tomorrow we will start working for next season. I am very close to 300 points, but Marquez won a lot more races than me, so me and my team need to improve the Yamaha to try and stay closer during the whole season. The test is important because we have a lot of new stuff to test for next year, so it will be interesting.”
Jorge Lorenzo – DNF / – / 24 laps – “In Aragon I decided to come into the pits and it was a good decision, but here it was not raining enough for the rear tyre to work well. I was losing a lot of time as the slicks were dropping because of the water. The other riders were more confident. They weren’t scared to make a mistake, so they were faster and I kept losing time. Like in Aragon, instead of finishing in fifth, sixth or seventh position, I prefer to take risks, but today we didn’t have the luck we had there. I entered the pits and I was losing time every lap. I was five or six seconds slower than the others and eventually I decided to stop. We made a mistake and we have to learn from all the mistakes that we made this season to be stronger and more clever next year.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “This has been one of the fastest seasons from my experience in MotoGP. We had a really positive year, though we missed out on the championship we had really good results and 24 podiums, many of them with both our riders standing together. In general our results were excellent and we deserved to finish at least second and third in the championship. We responded very well from the second half of the season and we were able to close the gap and show that the performance of the bike is very good. I really appreciate the effort that everybody in the team put in to keep pushing and never give up, that’s been really important. Today it was a difficult race, the conditions weren’t easy at all. Valentino proved again that he is still one of the most competitive riders in the world. Unfortunately it was a bittersweet end to the season with Jorge’s result. He wanted to take a gamble. It worked in Aragon, but here unfortunately it didn’t. I want to thank everybody again who made this good season possible, every team member and Yamaha employee and also the fans for their fantastic support. Congratulations to Marc for his title, we’ll be back to fight for it next year! Tomorrow it’s already the start of 2015 for us and we’ll start working on the new season.”
Espargaro scores non-factory glory in Valencia
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro charged to an expertly undertaken sixth place to finish his debut season in the MotoGP class in superb form at Valencia. The 23 year old commenced the 30 lap sprint from the rear of the second row with drops of rain falling as soon as the race began. Espargaro undertook a solid start before being pushed back to 8th at the close of the first lap, yet he powered on as the rain still fell, albeit intermittently. The young Spanish rider had slipped back to 13th on lap four, but showed a fantastic display of determination to remain firm and try to move up the field. Espargaro pushed onwards and with two thirds of the race distance covered, he had ascended though the order in a consistent manner and back up to seventh with his sights directly set on the position in front. On the 25th lap the rookie had brilliantly closed the gap to his brother, Aleix Espargaro, in front and sped past to move into sixth one lap later before speeding across the finish line in this placement. His resolute and hard fought ride saw him brilliantly achieve his ambition of seizing sixth and the title of the leading satellite rider as well the rookie of the year in the 2014 World Championship standings.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith concluded his 2014 campaign with a ride to 14th after an unfortunate final round in Valencia. The British star started the race from seventh on the grid, but was shuffled down to eleventh place by the end of the first lap. However, Smith persisted with his efforts to jump back up the field in order to score a top result as he set into a fierce race pace. By lap seven, the 23 year old rider had reached eighth position and continued to climb. Yet, with more spots of rain falling at the 4005 metre Ricardo Tormo circuit, Smith unluckily fell on lap 17, before re-joining to end the lap in 20th. Nevertheless, the young British rider proceeded forward and a final dash in the last laps saw Smith make up ground as well as six places to cross the line in 14th. The performance today marks a challenging yet resolute end to the 2014 season which sees him finish in eighth position in the world championship standings.
Pol Espargaro – 6th / +37.884 / 30 laps – “I can’t help but be slightly disappointed about our result today, even if this was not because of the placement itself yet, more about how things went. The second row was a solid position to start the race from and this morning with a full fuel load and used tyres I finished second in the warm up, so I think we were really prepared for the last race of the season. However, just like many other times this year, the rain came right at the start of the race and ruined our hopes. I am still not very experienced riding in the slight wet conditions with the slick tyres but today I couldn’t risk too much. I had Bradley and my brother close to me on the track, who I was fighting with for the sixth place in the championship, so I had to think about the end result as well as finishing the race without any mistakes. However, I still ended my rookie year as the best non-factory rider, which had to be our aim, so I’m truly pleased with what we achieved. I want to say a huge thanks to the team for all their work as well as patience in teaching and supporting me this year. Tomorrow we’ll kick off preparations for 2015 and I’m already excited to try our new parts.”
Bradley Smith – 14th / +57.517 / 30 laps – “Overall, it was positive to be able to finish the race after falling, but today’s result didn’t reflect the true performance that we would have been able to achieve. The bike felt extremely well so firstly, a big thanks to my team for the work that they undertook and in all honesty, I am sure that I could have fought for fourth position. However, unfortunately at the beginning of the race I was pushed out wide by my teammate and then afterwards my fight with Aleix cost me further time so I lost the gap to the Ducati’s. Yet, once I was able to get in front of my group, I could run a good pace and recovered some time on the riders in front of me. Then I made a mistake going into turn 8 when the track was slippery due to the rain and I locked the front tyre. When I tried to get back on track, I tried to use a shortcut but a marshal stopped me which made me lose further time so it would have been better to turn and come back sooner. For sure, I will learn from this mistake and I am sorry to the team as we lost the seventh position, but I am still satisfied with the final placement in the standings. Furthermore, I hope to begin 2015 with a similar high to how we have performed in the second half of this season.”
Aleix Espargaro and NGM Forward Racing finish an extraordinary 2014 season 7th overall
The Valencia GP, last round of the season was the perfect place for the NGM Forward Racing team to celebrate the Open class title won by Aleix Espargaro with one race in advance. A success that crowned an amazing season that saw the Spaniard among the protagonist of the MotoGP class with one podium finish at Aragon and a pole position at Assen.
Today, in front of the Spanish crowd, Espargaro crossed the finish line once again as first open, conquering a well deserved seventh position, after an exciting battle with his brother Pol. With this result he secured the seventh position in the rider World Championship with 126 points. The NGM Forward Racing Team shared the same success, clinching seventh in the Team Classification with 151 points.
It was a difficult race for teammate Alex De Angelis, who closed the 2014 season with the 18th position. The rider from San Marino had a good start and was fighting to get some points, but when it started to rain he lost some confidence in the rear and couldn’t defend his position.
Aleix Espargaro – 7th / +38.168 / 30 laps “It was the final round of an incredible season together with the NGM Forward Racing Team. If I look back at this winter, we couldn’t have imagined to finish seventh in the championship on board of an open bike. We had a lot of satisfactions with the team: the first pole position, the first podium in MotoGP and 18 rounds were we have been protagonists, fighting with the front guys. I’d like to thank the “Forward family” for all their efforts, the support and the trust. The whole team has done an incredible job to give me a competitive bike. I’d like to thank Yamaha, my family and all the sponsors and partners for their support.”
Alex De Angelis – 18th / +1’15.795 / 30 laps – “I would have loved to close my season with the NGM Forward Racing team in a different way, but in the last laps I struggled so much, that I couldn’t push more. I started well and I recovered positions, aiming at getting some points. Unfortunately, when it started to rain, I lost some confidence with the rear and I couldn’t keep my pace to defend my position. I’m sorry because my target was to finish the last round with some points to thank the team.”
Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow finished the 2014 season with a good result at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste (Valencia). The two Ducati Team men ran almost the entire race together, swapping places a number of times, and they took the chequered flag in the Valencian Community GP in fourth and fifth place
The race was disturbed by a light rain that began to fall half-way through, forcing the riders to slow down to avoid any problems caused by the damp track.
Michele Pirro, entered as a wild-card on the Desmosedici GP14 of the Ducati Test Team, also scored a positive result, the Italian coming home ninth overall.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 4th – “I am very happy with this fourth place because it confirms that this weekend we worked well, as I said yesterday despite a rather disappointing qualifying session. I am satisfied with the way I administered the race, because if you start from the third row here at Valencia it’s very complicated to make up positions. It was difficult because with the rain you can never feel the limit and so it depends on how much you want to risk. I gave the maximum I could give, even though maybe I could have risked a bit more when it began to rain, but that’s OK. I want to thank all my team, because we have worked well together throughout the entire season. With Cal the battle was really nice and aggressive, but clean as always, and so I really enjoyed it. Now I feel a bit sorry that Cal is leaving our team!”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 5th – “I think it’s been a fitting end to the year to finish, with Andrea and me together in fourth and fifth, we did a good job. I believe I should have pushed a little bit more in the tricky conditions created by the rain, but we could also have been strong for this result in the full dry conditions. I was pleased for the weekend, I felt my race pace was good and we made a good race with Andrea so I’m happy with the final race of the season. Obviously a big thanks to Ducati and all the guys in the team: they did a great job and it’ll be sad to leave. Good luck to them all in the future.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 9th – “Today I’m happy because it’s never easy to finish in the top 10 in MotoGP. I’m a bit disappointed because at the start I didn’t want to make any mistakes and I rode with a bit too much caution: I am sure I could have finished higher in the results, but it was my mistake and so I have no one else to blame. A big thanks to Ducati for this opportunity they have given me: I will try again next year and I hope to make a further step forward because I believe that we all deserve it.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “We can now put the 2014 season behind us with a result that is in any case positive. Today both Dovizioso and Crutchlow did a great race and Michele Pirro also finished inside the top 10. Furthermore Andrea Iannone led the race for the first ten laps and this demonstrates that we have reached a good competitive level. With this Grand Prix my first year in Ducati also comes to an end. The past twelve months have been very intense and demanding, but also full of satisfaction. Together with the guys in Ducati Corse and our riders we have managed to constantly improve the performance of our bikes, scoring three podium finishes but above all succeeding in reducing the gap to the frontrunners to within the limits that we had fixed as a target. The new season gets underway already, starting tomorrow, and we will be tackling it with two Italians, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, safe in the knowledge that we have two of the fastest riders around in MotoGP. We fondly say goodbye to Cal Crutchlow and sincerely wish him all the best for his new adventure.”
Intermittent cloudy skies delivered bouts of light rain and made the 2014 Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana at the Ricardo Tormo circuit a delicate balancing-act of risk and skill for the fastest motorcycle racers in the world at what was the 18th and final round of the MotoGP Championship today.
Team Suzuki MotoGP lined-up on the grid in a wild-card appearance; and for the first time since 2011. Randy De Puniet was circulating inside the top-20 on the GSX-RR and determined to aim for the group fighting for points, but had to terminate his race after just 12 laps due to a technical glitch.
The team had been working from the moment it arrived in Valencia and ploughed a way through the settings, ideas and doubts as a result of a comprehensive testing programme in 2014.
In the hands of 33-year-old De Puniet, the Suzuki crew had a willing and determined athlete keen to enjoy perhaps his last foray in MotoGP before changing Suzuki machinery for a World Superbike attempt in 2015. The Frenchman knows the new MotoGP project intimately and even though predictable teething problems surfaced during the weekend, he still managed to lower his lap-times and put the GSX-RR firmly into the competitive environment that Suzuki needed to progress with its racing goal.
Suzuki will now welcome 2014 Open category winner Aleix Espargaro and former Moto3 World Champion Maverick Viñales into the pit box tomorrow for the very first briefings and test-laps looking towards 2015.
Randy De Puniet: “We knew it would not be an easy weekend but I did not expect to run into these problems. Everyone in the team tried their best but it was not sufficient to finish as I struggled with a gearbox-shifting problem. It is a shame because in these race conditions I might have been able to push for a good position. Now it is time for me to switch to Superbike. I think I did a good job for Suzuki during the year and I’m interested to see and hear the feedback of the new riders now.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “We faced some technical issues this weekend, some of which we have not encountered during the testing campaign. From this point of view it was a good decision to race here and learn more for our job over the winter. In terms of performance – and with everything considered – things are not so bad. We know we have to improve the engine and electronics and we are already working [on this]. Now we can add the information from this weekend. Despite everything, it was good to race at Valencia and make these discoveries now. We will test this week. We won’t find big solutions in the space of one day so we will have to try and manage. The new riders want to test as soon as possible and get a feeling for the bike so we will do what we can to give them the best conditions and then see how the test will progress.”
Satoru Terada – Team Suzuki MotoGP Director: “It was quite a tough weekend for the team. We’d been having some technical problems recently and we couldn’t find a sufficient solution, so it was a difficult from the start of the meeting. We feel sorry for Randy as he made such a big effort in the last two years with the development process and we really appreciate him giving his best in this final race of the season. Today was actually our first race after three years and we learned a lot; especially about what we are missing. We’ll have two new young riders to try our bikes tomorrow and we are excited to know their impressions. We understand that we have to solve our current problems first, listen to their requirements; and then look towards the first official IRTA test next February in Sepang.”
The Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport team brought down the curtain on their three-year MotoGP participation with another fitting double finish in today’s GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.
The 18th and final round of the 2014 MotoGP Wold Championship in Spain saw Ulsterman Michael Laverty claim 19th place with Australian team-mate Broc Parkes following home inside the top 20 for the only British team in MotoGP.
Former British Supersport Champion Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM, and twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes, aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM, showed good pace in free practice and qualifying and lined up on row eight of the grid.
With one of the strongest fields of the year assembled, both riders made good starts but in the early laps, rain started to fall meaning conditions were difficult. The rain eventually came to nothing but as has been so often the case this year, the attrition rate was so low as Laverty and Parkes battled up the order.
Laverty made it into the top 20 on lap 22 and climbed to 19th a couple of laps later on whereby he was followed by Parkes and although Parkes was put a lap in arrears on the very last lap and crossed the line in 20th, Laverty held on to claim 19th on the same lap as eventual winner and 2014 World Champion Marc Marquez.
Although disappointed on missing out on points following their recent good run, the PBM team can be justifiably pleased with their performances which have seen the Cumbrian team make it 31 finishes out of the 36 races this season for the British-made machine.
Highlights of 2014 include the team’s best ever MotoGP result when Laverty finished 12th and Parkes in 14th in Sepang which was the second time this season that the riders had brought both the British-built PBM machines home in the points, which also happened in Indianapolis, and added to the team’s points scoring rides in Losail, Assen and Phillip Island.
Both riders finished level on points in the MotoGP World Championship standings in equal 23rd place and also, both Parkes and Laverty ended up joint tenth in the Open class standings. Parkes claimed third in Rookie of the Year whilst importantly for the PBM team, they claimed sixth place in the Constructor’s table and 12th in the team’s standings.
Winners of over 150 races in British Superbike Championship, World Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport and Superstock British Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc and MotoGP, as well as in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike, PBM is one of the most successful motorcycle racing teams in history. For 2015, they will be increasing their profile as defending champions in the MCE British Superbike Championship as well as a major campaign at the International Road Races including the North West 200, Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and Macau Grand Prix.
Indeed, the statistics regarding their three seasons as the only all-British team in MotoGP certainly stack up favourably with a finishing rate of over 77% of races entered during that time, two of which were with their own chassis built at the team’s base in the Lake District.
Michael Laverty: “The weather made it quite a strange race today as right from the very first lap we had big drops of rain on our visors. I had good pace when the track was fully dry, but found it tough when the track got greasy as my rear tyre had began to cold tear. All in all it’s been a good weekend, I was really happy with the lap time I pulled out in qualifying and we had a good setting going into the race today. It’s a bit emotional today as it’s the final MotoGP for the PBM team, but I’m finishing with a smile on my face, it’s been a great life experience and I feel I’m a stronger rider for it. I’d like to thank all the guys in the team for a great two years and a special thank you to Paul Bird and Phil Borley for making it happen.”
Broc Parkes: “Although it was disappointing not to score points in the team’s final MotoGP race, I’m pleased we got another finish as conditions were very difficult in the early stages. My first season in MotoGP has been memorable and I’m proud of the fact that I scored PBM their best result of the season with 11th at Assen. I’d like to thank the team, Paul Bird and Phil Borley for this opportunity and wish them well in the future.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “We did not quite achieve the results we were capable of in our last MotoGP race, mainly because both Michael and Broc were more cautious when it started to rain. It was a pity the rain disrupted their rhythm as they both had a good pace and would have finished with a smaller gap to the front if the rain had stayed away. Racing in MotoGP has been a great challenge for PBM and I believe we have achieved some respectable results considering the support and resource we have had. I would like to say a big thank you to the guys in the team for their work this year, as well as all the people who have helped us in the last three years.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available:
Front: Extra-soft & Soft (Symmetric) & Soft (Asymmetric). Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 18-18°C; Track 21-21°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez underlined his dominance in 2014 as the MotoGP™ World Champion became the first rider to claim thirteen premier class victories in a season by taking a masterful win at Valencia.
The season finale commenced in dry conditions, yet light rain began to fall as the first lap was completed creating challenging conditions for the riders. Marquez found himself in third position for the opening nine laps of the race in an entertaining battle with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who had a sensational start to the race. Intermittent rain fell throughout the race, while Marquez seized the race lead from Iannone on lap eleven, after which he was never headed. Marquez streaked away to win the race by 3.516 seconds from Rossi, while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V Dani Pedrosa took third position a further ten seconds behind. Despite the variable conditions during the race, Marc Marquez was able to set a new Valencia Circuit Best Lap record of 1’31.515 on the eighth lap.
The cloud cover and lower ambient temperatures resulted in the track temperature reaching a maximum of 21°C for the race, 7°C degrees cooler than yesterday’s peak recording. As was the case throughout the previous sessions, all the Factory Ducati, Honda and Yamaha riders selected the medium compound rear slick for the race with ultimately fifteen of the twenty-five starters selecting this option. The remaining ten riders opted for the soft compound rear slick. The asymmetric soft compound front slick was the most popular front tyre choice for the race, with fourteen riders selecting it, while ten riders selected the symmetric soft compound front slick. Only one rider, Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham opted for the extra-soft symmetric front slick for the race.
Rossi’s second place at Valencia was enough for him to secure second position in the riders’ championship standings with 295 points, thirty-two points ahead of his teammate Jorge Lorenzo who retired from today’s Valencia Grand Prix for only his second DNF of the year. Marquez’s victory sees him end the season on 362 points.
Kyota Futami – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Congratulations to Marc and Honda on capping off such a memorable year with a record-breaking thirteenth victory in one season. It was wonderful to end 2014 with such an exciting race with so many riders competing at the highest level. On behalf of everyone at Bridgestone I would like to thank all the teams and riders, Dorna, and IRTA for their support this year and assisting us in our role as Official Tyre Supplier to MotoGP. I would also like to thank the millions of MotoGP fans around the globe for continuing to support the series in ever-growing numbers and helping to make it the premier motorcycle racing series in the world. This was another successful season for Bridgestone with a total of 19 lap records being set in 2014, and now we look forward to commencing our programme for the 2015 season tomorrow at the Valencia post-race test.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “The cool change we expected came through today and so this morning’s Warm Up session helped the riders get a feel for how our various tyre options performed on the cool Valencia track surface. The medium rear slick was selected by the majority of riders, but both the soft and medium rear slicks performed very well over race distance, especially given the variable weather conditions. It was pleasing that so many riders chose to run our new asymmetric soft compound front slick for the race and both the soft compound front slick options provided a lot of grip in the cool conditions, even with the intermittent rain we experienced. A new Valencia race lap record was a good way to end the year and our engineers are now looking forward to supporting the teams at the post-race test.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner – “Today I am really, really happy, maybe happier than when I won the championship at Motegi as today my brother Alex also won the Moto3 championship. This last victory was a great way to finish the year and it’s an incredible feeling and now it’s time to enjoy our 2014 season, especially for my family as to