— MotoGP 2013 – Round 18 – Valencia – Race
— Lorenzo wins final battle but Marquez wins Championship war
Marc Marquez has finished third in the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana to become the youngest ever MotoGP™ World Champion in his rookie season. The Repsol Honda Team rider, who started from pole position, shared the podium with teammate Dani Pedrosa as race victory went to outgoing title winner Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha Factory Racing.
Having already made himself the youngest premier class race winner and pole-sitter as well as registering numerous other records, Marquez now becomes the youngest ever World Champion and takes the mantle away from Freddie Spencer.
At the same time, the 20-year-old from Cervera, Catalunya becomes the first rookie World Champion for 35 years, following in the footsteps of Kenny Roberts from 1978.
Lorenzo made his plan clear over the opening laps. Having shot through into the lead, the title winner of 2010 and 2012 attempted to slow the pace as last year’s victor Pedrosa ran second from Marquez, Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing). Having avoided incidents on a selection of occasions, tipping point came on Lap 10 as Pedrosa overhauled Lorenzo but was instantly pushed wide at Doohan corner, leaving Marquez in the lead. The overtaking maneuver is being reviewed by Race Direction and a decision will be made post-race.
Lorenzo retook the top spot just a lap later, while Bautista pressured Rossi before dropping to fifth and the recovering Pedrosa rose to third before being waved through by Marquez on the 26th tour. By this point, knowing Marquez would still become World Champion, Lorenzo put the power down to win for the eighth time this year (two more victories than Marquez) by almost four seconds. Pedrosa collected his 13th rostrum of the season, with Marquez sealing the world title in a comfortable third.
Elsewhere, Rossi signed off his partnership with long-time Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess in fourth place, ahead of Bautista as LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl finished sixth from Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith and Ducati Team trio Nicky Hayden (in his last race for the Italian marque), Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro. Aleix Espargaro finished 11th in the last event to feature the CRT label, while Cal Crutchlow crashed out of his final Grand Prix with the Tech3 outfit.
Six riders failed to make the finish: Damian Cudlin (PBM), Lukas Pesek (Came IodaRacing Project), Yonny Hernandez (Ignite Pramac Racing), Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar), Andrea Iannone (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) and the aforementioned Crutchlow, while Remus Racing Team wildcard Martin Bauer successfully completed the distance on his second MotoGP™ appearance.
Attention now turns to pre-season testing in Valencia, starting on Monday and to be streamed live and interactively on motogp.com. The 2014 campaign will kick-off in Qatar on Sunday 23 March, with Marc Marquez heading to the Losail International Circuit as the 26th premier class World Champion.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 46’10.302
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 3.934
3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 7.357
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing + 10.579
5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini + 14.965
6. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP + 24.399
7. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 29.043
8. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team + 39.893
9. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 53.196
10. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ignite Pramac Racing + 1’02.983
11. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Power Electronics Aspar + 1’04.197
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Blusens + 1’06.826
13. Claudio Corti (ITA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 1’11.481
14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project + 1’13.643
15. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing + 1’24.249
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Avintia Blusens + 1’33.010
17. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport After 1 laps
18. Luca Scassa (ITA) Cardion AB Motoracing After 1 laps
19. Bryan Staring (AUS) Go&Fun Honda Gresini After 1 laps
20. Martin Bauer (AUT) Remus Racing Team After 1 laps
21. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing Team Not classified (4 laps)
22. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Power Electronics Aspar Not classified (7 laps)
23. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 Not classified (21 laps)
24. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Ignite Pramac Racing Team Not classified (22 laps)
25. Lukas Pesek (CZE) Came IodaRacing Project Not classified (27 laps)
Pole Position: Marc MARQUEZ 1’30.237 159.7 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Dani PEDROSA 1’31.628 157.3 Km/h Lap 22
Old Circuit Record Lap: Casey STONER 1’32.582 155.7 Km/h 2008
Circuit Best Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’30.237 159.7 Km/h 2013
Championship Standings Standings
1. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 334
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 330
3. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 300
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha Factory Racing 237
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 188
6. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 171
7. Stefan Bradl (GER) LCR Honda MotoGP 156
8. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 140
9. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 126
10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 116
11. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Power Electronics Aspar 93
12. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Pramac Racing Team 57
13. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ignite Pramac Racing 56
14. Colin Edwards (USA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 41
15. Randy De Puniet (FRA) Power Electronics Aspar 36
16. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Blusens 35
17. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Came Iodaracing Project 26
18. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Ignite Pramac Racing Team 21
19. Claudio Corti (ITA) NGM Mobile Forward Racing 14
20. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Avintia Blusens 13
21. Ben Spies (USA) Pramac Racing Team 9
22. Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 5
23. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (JPN) Yamaha YSP Racing Team 5
24. Alex De Angelis (RSM) Ignite Pramac Racing 5
25. Michael Laverty (GBR) Paul Bird Motorsport 3
26. Bryan Staring (AUS) Go&Fun Honda Gresini 2
27. Javier Del Amor (SPA) Avintia Blusens 1
FINAL TEAM POSITION:
1 REPSOL HONDA TEAM 634, 2 YAMAHA FACTORY RACING 567, 3 MONSTER YAMAHA TECH 3 304, 4 DUCATI TEAM 266, 5 GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI 173, 6 LCR HONDA MOTOGP 156, 7 POWER ELECTRONICS ASPAR 129, 8 PRAMAC RACING TEAM 121, 9 NGM MOBILE FORWARD RACING 55,
10 AVINTIA BLUSENS 49, 11 CAME IODARACING PROJECT 26, 12 PAUL BIRD MOTORSPORT 10, 13 CARDION AB MOTORACING 5.
FINAL CONSTRUCTOR POSITION:
1 HONDA 389, 2 YAMAHA 381, 3 DUCATI 155, 4 ART 99, 5 FTR KAWASAKI 46, 6 FTR 46, 7 IODA-SUTER 26, 8 PBM 3, 9 FTR HONDA 2.
— Moto 2
Nicolas Terol took a great victory at his home race in the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana Moto2™ contest, with teammate Jordi Torres second and Johann Zarco third, after a photo finish with Simone Corsi.
New Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro crashed out on lap eight when leading comfortably and he eventually finished in 29th position. Meanwhile Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding clinched second in the standings, finishing 15th in the race, riding through the pain barrier with his injured wrist.
Terol clinched a third win of the season by a clear four second margin, taking full advantage of Espargaro’s error. The race winner’s colleague Torres made it a great day for the Aspar Team Moto2 team, coming home second after overtaking NGM Mobile Racing’s Corsi with five laps to go.
There was more disappointment for Corsi as he was beaten to the line by French Came IodaRacing Project man Zarco by just 0.001s.
Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40), Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing), Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team), Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) all finished in the top ten.
Hafizh Syahrin, a wild card rider for Petronas Raceline Malaysia, crashed out early in the race, as did Rafid Topan Sucipto (QMMF Racing Team). Japanese rider Kohta Nozane, a JIR Moto2 substitute, also suffered a DNF, but all riders were uninjured in the final race of the Moto2™
MOTO2 RACE: (27 laps = 108.135Km)
POS / RIDER / NAT. / TEAM / MOTORCYCLE / TIME / KM/H / GAP
1 / Nicolas TEROL / SPA / Aspar Team Moto2 / SUTER / 43’24.972 / 149.4 /
2 / Jordi TORRES / SPA / Aspar Team Moto2 / SUTER / 43’29.019 / 149.2 / 4.047
3 / Johann ZARCO / FRA / Came Iodaracing Project / SUTER / 43’30.965 / 149 / 5.993
4 / Simone CORSI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 43’30.966 / 149 / 5.994
5 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 43’33.288 / 148.9 / 8.316
6 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / NGM Mobile Forward Racing / SPEED UP / 43’35.568 / 148.8 / 10.596
7 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Interwetten Paddock Moto2 / SUTER / 43’36.191 / 148.7 / 11.219
8 / Anthony WEST / AUS / QMMF Racing Team / SPEED UP / 43’37.306 / 148.7 / 12.334
9 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 43’38.355 / 148.6 / 13.383
10 / Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 43’39.581 / 148.6 / 14.609
11 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 43’39.777 / 148.5 / 14.805
12 / Xavier SIMEON / BEL / Maptaq SAG Zelos Team / KALEX / 43’43.140 / 148.4 / 18.168
13 / Takaaki NAKAGAMI / JPN / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 43’43.764 / 148.3 / 18.792
14 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 43’48.527 / 148.1 / 23.555
15 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 43’52.451 / 147.8 / 27.479
Pole Position: Pol ESPARGARO 1’34.957 151.8 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Jordi TORRES 1’35.694 150.6 Km/h Lap 12
Old Circuit Record Lap: Karel ABRAHAM 1’36.611 149.2 Km/h 2010
Circuit Best Lap: Pol ESPARGARO 1’34.957 151.8 Km/h 2013
FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS:
1 ESPARGARO 265, 2 REDDING 225, 3 RABAT 215, 4 KALLIO 187, 5 AEGERTER 157, 6 LUTHI 155, 7 TEROL 150, 8 NAKAGAMI 148, 9 ZARCO 139, 10 TORRES 126, 11 CORSI 105, 12 SIMEON 88, 13 SIMON 79, 14 DE ANGELIS 76, 15 WEST 61.
FINAL CONSTRUCTOR POSITION:
1 KALEX 392, 2 SUTER 297, 3 SPEED UP 149, 4 TECH 3 19, 5 MOTOBI 18.
— Moto 3
The Moto3™ title was decided on the last lap at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana with Maverick Viñales winning the race and the championship, as Jonas Folger came home second and Alex Rins third. Luis Salom crashed earlier in the race and finished 14th.
In a dramatic conclusion to what has been an intriguing Moto3 title battle it was Team Calvo’s Viñales who had the last word, taking his first win since Le Mans – only his third victory of 2013 – before he moves up to Moto2™ next season.
Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) missed out in the final stages as Viñales made his move, with German Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 rider Folger coming through for second place on the final straight. If he stays in Moto3 next year Rins will surely get another title shot.
There was heartbreak for Red Bull KTM Ajo man Salom who crashed out on lap 15, dropping the front end at turn five, having gone into the race as the standings leader. Meanwhile Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) also hit the deck in the final stages when fighting for a podium finish.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) finished fourth and again showed why he should be a regular podium and victory contender in 2014, whilst Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing) finished in the top five, having started tenth.
The top ten for the final race of the season was completed by Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Isaac Viñales (Ongetta-Centro Seta), Ana Carrasco (Team Calvo), Philipp Oettl (Interwetten Paddock Moto3) and Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing).
Niklas Ajo walked away from a high speed crash at turn 3, whilst Livio Loi hit the deck on lap 14 after clashing with Francesco Bagnaia and John Mcphee was also unable to finish the race following an early accident. All riders escaped unhurt.
MOTO3 RACE: (24 laps = 96.12 Km)
POS / RIDER / NAT. / TEAM / MOTORCYCLE / TIME / KM/H / GAP
1 / Maverick VIÑALES / SPA / Team Calvo / KTM / 40’12.463 / 143.4 /
2 / Jonas FOLGER / GER / Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 / KALEX KTM / 40’12.649 / 143.4 / 0.186
3 / Alex RINS / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 40’12.650 / 143.4 / 0.187
4 / Alex MARQUEZ / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 40’26.129 / 142.6 / 13.666
5 / Efren VAZQUEZ / SPA / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’26.171 / 142.6 / 13.708
6 / Alexis MASBOU / FRA / Ongetta-Rivacold / FTR HONDA / 40’41.050 / 141.7 / 28.587
7 / Isaac VIÑALES / SPA / Ongetta-Centro Seta / FTR HONDA / 40’41.239 / 141.7 / 28.776
8 / Ana CARRASCO / SPA / Team Calvo / KTM / 40’41.257 / 141.7 / 28.794
9 / Philipp OETTL / GER / Interwetten Paddock Moto3 / KALEX KTM / 40’41.416 / 141.7 / 28.953
10 / Miguel OLIVEIRA / POR / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’41.648 / 141.7 / 29.185
11 / Romano FENATI / ITA / San Carlo Team Italia / FTR HONDA / 40’41.810 / 141.7 / 29.347
12 / Brad BINDER / RSA / Ambrogio Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’41.970 / 141.7 / 29.507
13 / Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN / MAL / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 40’43.129 / 141.6 / 30.666
14 / Luis SALOM / SPA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 40’46.616 / 141.4 / 34.153
15 / Matteo FERRARI / ITA / Ongetta-Centro Seta / FTR HONDA / 40’49.981 / 141.2 / 37.518
Pole Position: Alex RINS 1’39.459 144.9 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Luis SALOM 1’39.744 144.5 Km/h Lap 7
Old Circuit Record Lap: Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN 1’49.622 131.5 Km/h 2012
Circuit Best Lap: Alex RINS 1’39.459 144.9 Km/h 2013
FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS:
1 VIÑALES 323, 2 RINS 311, 3 SALOM 302, 4 MARQUEZ 213, 5 FOLGER 183, 6 OLIVEIRA 150, 7 MILLER 110, 8 MASBOU 94, 9 VAZQUEZ 82, 10 FENATI 73, 11 KORNFEIL 68, 12 KHAIRUDDIN 68, 13 BINDER 66, 14 AJO 62, 15 SISSIS 59.
FINAL CONSTRUCTOR POSITION:
1 KTM 425, 2 KALEX KTM 191, 3 MAHINDRA 173, 4 FTR HONDA 151, 5 SUTER HONDA 47, 6 TSR HONDA 8.
— HRC Report
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) made history at Valencia today, becoming the youngest premier-class king since the birth of the motorcycling World Championships in 1949. The remarkable rookie secured the title with a perfectly judged ride to third place behind team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and race winner and outgoing champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
Marquez – aged 20 years and 266 days – comfortably beat the previous youngest champion record, held by Honda’s first premier-class king Freddie Spencer, who was 21 years and 258 days old when he won the title at Imola, Italy, on 4 September 1983. Marquez is Honda’s 16th World Champion in the elite 500cc/MotoGP categories.
Following his six race victories earlier in the year – another record for a rookie – Marquez arrived at Valencia 13 points in front of Lorenzo. Thus Marquez knew that if Lorenzo won today’s race, he ‘only’ needed to finish fourth to make sure of his place in history. But the season finale – watched by a raucous capacity crowd at the stadium-style Valencia venue – was anything but straightforward.
Marquez didn’t get the best of starts from pole position – his ninth pole from 18 races – and finished the first lap in third place behind leader Lorenzo and Pedrosa, the winner here in 2007, 2009 and 2012. Pedrosa attacked Lorenzo repeatedly, often getting ahead, only for Lorenzo to come right back at him, including one move at Turn Two that brought the pair into collision and came under investigation from Race Direction.
Lorenzo’s tactics were simple: by chopping back and forth with Pedrosa he hoped to slow the leading pace and bring as many riders as possible into the lead group. He would then let fate play its hand and hope that other riders might relegate Marquez to fifth place or lower. However, the strategy failed. The second group of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Alvaro Bautista (Honda) wasn’t quite quick enough to join the fight at the front.
Lorenzo’s collision with Pedrosa at Turn Two at one-third distance allowed Marquez to sweep into the lead, but with no need for him to take risks, it wasn’t long before Lorenzo was back in front. Pedrosa was less lucky when Lorenzo slammed into him – he ran off the track and had Bautista and Rossi come by.
By half-distance Marquez seemed safe – he was running a comfortable second – but then Pedrosa passed Rossi and Bautista and set off after his team-mate. Marquez, who was executing some glorious high-speed slides through the fast Turn 13, did the sensible thing on lap 26 and let Pedrosa past into second place.
And that’s the way it finished: Lorenzo, Pedrosa and then Marquez, who crossed the line in ecstasy before stopping on the slowdown lap and hurling his gloves into the tumultuous crowd. After 18 races – his first 18 races in the class – he had beaten twice MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo by four points.
Unlike the top three, Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) chose the softer rear tyre and was able to run just behind the leaders while Lorenzo tried to slow the pace. But the Spaniard wasn’t keen to get involved in the three-way battle up front because he wanted to give fellow Honda riders Pedrosa and Marquez a clean run up front. Finally he finished fifth, four seconds behind Rossi.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) spent much of the race alone, gaining one position when Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) crashed out in front of him and eventually crossing the line in sixth place, almost ten seconds down on Bautista.
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) had another difficult run in his final MotoGP outing, coming home in 19th position.
Nicolas Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) won his third victory of the year in the Honda-powered Moto2 series, inheriting and never relinquishing the lead after runaway early leader and recently crowned World Champion Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) crashed out of the lead on the eighth of 37 laps.
For a while, Terol had Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) on his tail, but gradually he pulled away to establish a comfortable advantage and cross the finish line four seconds ahead of Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter), who is still getting around the paddock on crutches, following a big spill in Japan two weeks ago.
Torres passed Corsi with six laps to go and worked hard to gain a gap on the Italian who then came under pressure from Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter). The Italian and the Frenchman were neck and neck, Zarco getting a better drive out of the final turn to pass the chequered flag alongside Corsi. At first the timing screens had Corsi down as the final podium finisher, but moments later the final results had Zarco third by just one thousandth of a second.
Behind the top four, the mid-pack Moto2 battle was typically intense, with Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) breaking clear of the multitude to claim fifth. The next three finishers Alex De Angelis ((NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter) and Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) were separated by less than two seconds.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who had led the World Championship until he crashed and broke a wrist in Australia three weeks ago, struggled to 15th. Espargaro remounted after his tumble and finished 29th.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) had a stunning ride to sixth place in the title-deciding Moto3 race, despite having to start the race from pit lane after his bike refused to fire for the warm-up lap.
The Frenchman was dead last at the end of the first lap but he kept his head and charged through the pack, even though this track is notoriously difficult for overtaking. By half-distance he had already climbed to 11th, but the closer you get to the front, the harder it is to pass.
The last man he overtook was Spaniard Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda), who crossed the line seventh, a fraction of a second behind Masbou, in the midst of a seven-rider gang disputing positions.
Honda’s other big star of the race was Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) who was running fifth in the leading group – headed by title-fighters Maverick Vinales, Alex Rins and Luis Salom – until he tumbled out in the closing stages. Nonetheless he remains seventh overall in the World Championship final standings, just ahead of Masbou.
The title was won by Maverick Vinales, who got the better of Rins at the very final corner. Salom had fallen earlier, remounting to finish 14th.
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) ended the season in 11th place, less than two tenths outside the top ten. The last Honda rider in the points was Matteo Ferrari (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) in 15th position.
The 2014 preseason testing season begins tomorrow at Valencia, when most MotoGP riders will test their next year’s prototypes. Moto2 and Moto3 riders start at Jerez later in the week.
Honda Racing Corporation management quotes
Tetsu Suzuki, President Honda Racing Corporation
“During the last few laps, my stomach was aching and I was nervous, although I could see Marc not challenging for the win but for the championship. I am really happy to win this championship as we didn’t expect Marc to win the title at the beginning of the year. Marc looks aggressive but is steady and he has improved a lot during the season. We hope he will win many more titles and I think he is the strongest rider of the future generation.”
Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice President Honda Racing Corporation
“I am very much relieved. I saw Marc racing steadily, but still anything can happen in racing so I am very much relieved and of course happy. At the beginning of the season I said the possibility of Marc winning the
Championship is five per cent but now he has done it! He learns really fast.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“I started well and from the first lap I thought I could go in front and be faster. But every time I passed Jorge he immediately fought back. I changed my overtakes but still he found a way to come past again – he pushed me a couple of times, the second time it was hard enough to push me off the track and I nearly crashed. After that it was a different race, I had to come back. Congratulations to Marc and Jorge, it’s been a very exciting season.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I am still in a dream – I can’t yet realise what I did today! Maybe this all happened too early because we didn’t expect the title in my first year. I have to say thanks to Honda, the team, my family and everyone who has helped me to enjoy this moment. The race result was what I predicted yesterday: Jorge, Dani, me. The first ten laps I was a little nervous and stiff on the bike. Inside something was telling me I needed to fight, but I had to be clever and think about the championship and not the race. It was the longest race of my career, especially the last lap when I was very careful and didn’t push at all. In normal circumstances I would have been ready to fight with Jorge and Dani, but maybe if I pushed more I would have crashed. I’m so proud with what we have done this season. The first races I had a lot of moments, but by the second half of the championship I had a learned a lot and was cleverer. The big thing was that Honda helped me so much.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 5th
“It hasn’t been an easy weekend because we have had some problems with the set-up of the bike here. We have continued to work on making small changes to try and improve it for the race and after getting probably my best start of the year I was able to stick with the front guys for the first few laps. Lorenzo was slowing the pace down at the front and that gave me a chance to run with the guys at the front and I was in a position to make an attack but the last thing I wanted to do was get involved with the two guys who were fighting for the title. Once the soft tyre dropped off I lost a little ground but I am happy because we have finished the championship in sixth place overall as the second best non-factory bike. I want to thank everybody in the team, Showa, Nissin, Honda and GO & FUN. Tomorrow we start working on the future.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 6th
“First of all I want to thank my team for their excellent job during the season – I am happy to keep working with them in 2014. For the first time in my career I finished a race in Valencia! The race itself was quite tough as we expected because we have been struggling with front-end issue for the whole weekend. Actually it was not a bad race but we lost a bit of time in certain areas so we will focus on those points from tomorrow during the testing days. My best moment of the season was my Laguna Seca podium because we did an incredible job the whole weekend there. The worst moment was the injury in Malaysia but I can say that, even in that case, Lucio [Cecchinello] and the guys were incredibly professional and they made my recovery easy and fast. The 2013 season is over but we will start working on 2014 in less than 24 hours…”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 19th
“I was hoping for my MotoGP experience to finish in more positive fashion than this but it wasn’t possible today. I want to thank everybody that has helped me this year during this new adventure and to those who made it possible for me to get this opportunity.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Nicolas Terol, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2: race winner
“I’m very happy with my first victory here at my home circuit. It’s a dream come true for me. The race was difficult because I was alone, so lap by lap I had to work very hard to maintain concentration and focus. To win the last race of 2013 is very important to me because it gives me great motivation for 2014 when I will be ready for the battle.”
Jordi Torres, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2: 2nd
“To score a win, a second and a third in my first full season is a great result for me. During the race I had some pain from my injured leg, but I didn’t think about it while riding. The only problem was that the other leg had to work extra hard, so by the end I was very tired. I pushed hard to catch Corsi and again to make a gap on him. For the Aspar team to get a one-two here is incredible.”
Johann Zarco, Came Ioda Racing Project: 3rd
“It’s so nice to be on the podium at the last race. I wasn’t sure whether I had got it at the finish line. I looked up at the big screens and they said I was fourth, which was a big disappointment, but when I got back to the pits my team said I was third, so that made me very happy, a huge emotion!”
Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 6th
“We don’t know why but the bike wouldn’t start, so we had to start the race from pit lane. After that the bike ran okay and in the race very good – my lap times weren’t so bad and I passed a lot of riders. This isn’t my favourite track, so I think we made a really good job for the race. The last four races have been very good for us – we’ve been fast.”
Isaac Vinales, Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta: 7th
“That was a really tough race and I think we have to be happy with the result because it is my best finish of the year. At the end of the first lap I was down in 16th, so from there it was a big fight with a lot of riders to come through to seventh, just behind Masbou. Now we go into winter testing, working to improve for 2014.”
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia: 11th
“I really wanted to be in the championship top ten and we did it, although of course I was hoping to do more in my last race with Team Italia. These two pats years have been very intense, during which we have achieved good results together and faced the most difficult times, always putting the maximum commitment. Now I leave the team and I say thank you, keeping with me good memories before opening a new page in my career.”
Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda): DNF
“I was just cruising with the front guys – it was an unexpected crash. And it was a quick one, it hurt a bit. I suppose I was hanging onto them a bit with the tips of my fingers – maybe it was a bit too much for the tyres.”
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo wrapped up the 2013 MotoGP season today with victory in the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, his third consecutive victory of the season. Trailing leader Marc Marquez by 13 points going into the race, Lorenzo had nothing to lose and everything to gain as the Spanish showdown unfolded in front of a record crowd of 104,000 race fans at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Taking off past Marquez from second on the grid, the 2012 world champion took the holeshot and control of the race. Lorenzo kept the pace down on the opening laps, hoping to bring the chasing pack into play to challenge Marquez. The daring strategy allowed Dani Pedrosa to attack, the two rivals entering an intense battle over several laps as they swapped positions countless times in a stunning display of riding skill at the limit. Pedrosa was to end up the loser in the exchange as the two touched going into turn two with 21 laps to go. Pedrosa ran wide, losing position as he rejoined the race.
The incident allowed Marquez to briefly pass Lorenzo for the lead but he was only allowed to stay ahead for a lap before Lorenzo reclaimed the front on lap 11, putting the hammer down to reel off a number of 1’31 second laps as he flew to his eighth win of the season.
Teammate Valentino Rossi moved up to fourth off the line after a good start, chasing Marquez into the first corner with Alvaro Bautista in hot pursuit behind. As the race unwound Bautista was able to make a pass on Rossi but with 19 laps to go the nine-time world champion showed his mastery of late braking, taking third position back from the Spanish rider. The provisional podium position was not to last as a recovering Pedrosa re-passed on his way to second, leaving Rossi to claim fourth at the line.
Despite dominating not just the last quarter of the season but the final race, it was not enough to overcome the points difference to Marquez, leaving Lorenzo to claim a worthy second place in the standings after an incredible season of unrivalled performances. Rossi’s eighth fourth place finish of the season was enough to secure him fourth in the final standings.
Jorge Lorenzo – 1st / 46’10.302 / 30 laps
“I slowed the start of the race a little but I think it didn’t work out because the other riders, Bautista, Valentino, Crutchlow and the others needed some tenths more to stay there. I tried first and last to play a little bit with the race and I managed it quite well but I couldn’t stay there for too long. When I looked behind I could see that Valentino was very far away so I thought that today it was better to concentrate on winning the race and waiting to see if Marc makes a mistake. Now we have to celebrate second in the standings which is a good place. We have to congratulate Marc because he really deserved the championship and we will make a party tonight!”
Valentino Rossi – 4th / +10.579 / 30 laps
“The race was not so bad, especially after this morning where I had a lot of problems and wasn’t fast enough. Unfortunately I didn’t have the pace to fight for the podium. I was able to stay close at the beginning and try to fight but after I didn’t have the speed, like more or less all the season where I am two or three tenths slower compared to the top guys. For this reason I couldn’t challenge for the pole position, the race and the championship. The season was not so bad for me but we have to try more to increase our speed and our performance to fight for the podium more constantly. This is the target for 2014.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Wilco Zeelenberg Team Manager
“It’s been a fantastic season and of course a great win today, it was an amazing show. The first ten lap tactics were to keep the pack together. Jorge did a great job, it was on the edge and that’s racing; all that counted today was the championship. Marc was clever and stayed calm, Jorge did his best at his maximum and he won the race but lost the championship. This loss is exceptional; he won eight races and broke his collarbone twice. It’s an incredible result to finish just four points from the title given the conditions. It is a great achievement and we are very proud about that.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Massimo Meregalli Team Director
“It has been an incredible season. I think we deserved the championship, we really did the maximum that we could. I would like to say a big thank you to everybody, Jorge and the team. We never gave up and Jorge never gave up. He delivered some really impressive performances. Even today he made a fantastic race. He started the race having a plan and tried to manage the race until he understood that he couldn’t do any more. Then when he decided to win he pulled away. The season has been really long, hard and tough but we are satisfied with all we did. I would like to thank everybody and wish all the best to team members Jeremy, Walter and “Bibo” who are leaving us. Tomorrow the new season is already starting with a three-day test. We will aim to give the Japanese engineers as much information as possible to work with.”
The 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign ended with mixed emotions for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia this afternoon, with Bradley Smith racing to a hard fought seventh place in an enthralling season finale.
There was to be no fairy tale final appearance in the French-based squad though for Cal Crutchlow, who crashed unhurt on the 10th lap while he was in hot pursuit of the leading group in front of a capacity crowd of almost 105,000 fans.
Smith made one of his trademark sensational starts and he led the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 challenge for the opening six laps by brilliantly fending off a hard charging Crutchlow.
Crutchlow moved into the top six with a pass on Smith on lap six and he immediately launched a fantastic charge towards the leading group of five. But his quest for a 13th top six finish of an outstanding third season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad was ended prematurely by a crash a third of the way into the 30-lap title decider.
Smith’s 13th top 10 finish of a hugely impressive rookie campaign never looked in any serious doubt thanks to his stunning early pace and he finished in a comfortable seventh.
Smith’s result concludes a fantastic final part of the 2013 campaign for the 22-year-old, who has finished inside the top eight in each of the last five races.
Today’s excellent display secured Smith a thoroughly deserved top 10 placing in the overall standings and he has made an invaluable contribution to ensuring the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team finished third in the Team World Championship rankings behind the Yamaha and Honda official factory teams.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF – 188 points
“The last race with my Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team didn’t really go according to plan, I’m feeling probably more disappointed for the team than for myself. We had an engine failure this morning and could only manage to run two full laps, so we were going into the race a little blind with the setup we had wanted to try. But I had a good feeling with the bike and after passing Bradley, I tried to close the gap to the riders in front of me but unfortunately I touched the curb and lost the front. We still made sure of fifth in the World Championship which was my target for this season, so I can’t be too upset with how this year went. I want to say thank you again to the whole team, we had three great years and a lot of good memories together. I learned a lot during my time with the team, but now it’s time for me to move on to a new adventure.”
Bradley Smith – 6th – 116 points
“Another seventh place, 116 points in the World Championship Standing and third place in the team standings should actually make me happy at the end of my rookie season. The gap to the fastest guys is less than 30 seconds again, and that is a positive end to the weekend, and a really positive way to end the year. I think we definitely showed good progress throughout the season and I want to thank my team for the amazing job they have done in teaching and helping me over the last 12 months in this really tough category. It has been a lot of fun as well and I’m really grateful to have such an experienced squad behind me. The next seasons starts on Tuesday already, and I’m really excited about it.”
— Ducati Report
The Ducati Team wrapped up a difficult season today at Spain’s Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso finishing in eighth and ninth places, respectively, on a day that saw Marc Marquez crowned 2013 MotoGP World Champion.
Hayden, in his final race with the Ducati Team after a five-year stint, had a bad start from his fourth-row grid slot aboard his Desmosedici GP13, but he made several overtakes in the early going and passed the chequered flag in eighth position. Row-three starter Dovizioso was involved in a near-race-long battle with fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone and after getting the better of that contest, he finished the race one spot behind his American teammate. Dovizioso and Hayden finished eighth and ninth overall in the final championship standings.
After starting from the seventeenth spot on the grid, Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro was 18th at the end of lap 1, but he pushed hard for the rest of the 30-lap race and completed the day rounding out the top ten.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 8th
“The start wasn’t very good, as the same thing happened as in Japan, but I was able to make up some places and finish in eighth place. It’s not a great result, but it was nice to finish the race as first Ducati rider. For a while, I thought maybe I could get on the back of Bradley [Smith] as I cut the 3 second gap in half but then I had a moment coming off the last corner and hit the windscreen. He went faster after that anyway, so that was it. It’s pretty emotional. I spent five years with a great group of guys, and although it hasn’t always been easy, we were a good team together. I wish them all the best.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 9th
“It was a pretty disappointing and slow race for me. I had no feeling; this track continues to be difficult for me, and I just didn’t do very well. Nicky was good though, and once he was gone, I tried to base my race strategy around Iannone. All things considered, eighth place overall isn’t too bad, but these obviously aren’t the positions that we want and we’ll approach the 2014 season with confidence and determination.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 10th
“It was a tough race because apart from the fact that I haven’t raced for two months, 30 laps here is very difficult. I just regret that my crash yesterday compromised my grid position, and instead of starting close to Andrea and Nicky, I was two rows behind them. In the early laps, I found myself in eighteenth place. I ruined the tyre when I started battling with the others. I made up a bit of ground, but the other riders were still far away. Thanks to Ducati for the opportunities they have given me this season; I’m sure we’ll do some great things in 2014.”
The 2014 season gets underway tomorrow with the start of the first winter tests and the Ducati Team will be on track for three days of testing activity with Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Ducati’s new signing. The test will also mark the first official Ducati appearance of Luigi Dall’Igna, who was recently appointed Ducati Corse General Manager.
“Today’s race brings to an end a 2013 season that for Ducati has been particularly short on satisfaction,” declared Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding, at the end of the race. “Tomorrow we’ll begin with the first tests of the 2014 season, with a new structure headed by Luigi Dall’Igna, to whom I would like to give a warm welcome and offer best wishes, both on a personal level and on behalf of the entire company. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank and say goodbye to Bernhard Gobmeier, who has managed Ducati Corse in the last ten months, and who today hands over the baton, so to speak, to Gigi. Big thanks also go to the teams and the riders, in particular to Nicky, who will leave his team and his garage this evening to tackle a new professional challenge, but who in these last few years has always been a proud ambassador for our brand throughout the world. And finally I give a warm welcome to Cal who will join Andrea on our team next year. Both riders will do their utmost to help us forget the disappointments we have suffered in the last few seasons.”
“We are delighted to welcome on board Luigi Dall’Igna, who will be at the circuit from Monday onwards for the first tests of 2014,” declared Maurizio Arrivabene, Vice-President of Philip Morris International. “Obviously we cannot consider ourselves satisfied with the results we have obtained recently, but we have been alongside Ducati for the definition of the new racing structure. We did it with continuing confidence in the project, in a spirit of total and constructive collaboration, with the aim of working together towards a future of mutual satisfaction.”
— Power Electronics Aspar Report
The final race of the 2013 MotoGP season was one to watch, and spectators flocked to Valencia to see the World Champion crowned. The sellout crowd packed the grandstands, eager to take in the action on Sunday. Marc Marquez headed the grid, but it was Jorge Lorenzo who pushed hardest early on and battled with Dani Pedrosa at the front. Behind the Spanish duo, Márquez, Álvaro Bautista and Valentino Rossi formed a quintet of strong riders. Lorenzo attempted to bunch things up, waiting on a possible error from Márquez, but in the end he found contact with Pedrosa and his title rival got ahead. Lorenzo eventually retook the lead and went on to win the race, with Pedrosa in second and Márquez sealing the title with third. He becomes the youngest MotoGP World Champion in history as a result.
Aleix Espargaró was fourteen times the top CRT rider in 2013, out of a possible eighteen. Today was the last such occasion. He had already made clear that, even though he had already been crowned top CRT rider for the season, he was out for a last hurrah at Valencia. He was able to dedicate such a feat to the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar Team, at the end of a tricky weekend. He battled for an eleventh place finish to thank his team for their great times together over the past two seasons.
Teammate Randy De Puniet was unable to do likewise, as engine braking issues caused him problems all weekend. Unable to find the best setup for his bike and lacking security in the race, he decided to return to the garage on lap fourteen to avoid taking risks.
11th Aleix Espargaró: “After crashing at the previous race, I feel happy to be back as the top CRT rider at home, in front of the fans. The stands were packed and the race was really exciting. I am happy to have been able to say goodbye to my team with another top CRT performance, in an excellent end to the season. Our paths are separating now, but I am sure that one day we will be back together again. I am delighted with how these past two years in the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar team have gone. For the first time since I’ve started riding in the World Championship, I’ve felt that I have a team alongside me who believe in me and support me in any situation. Thanks to those who have been my family over these past two years. I also want to congratulate Marc, because today he achieved something historic.”
Randy De Puniet (DNF): “This weekend has been difficult for us. It is strange, because normally I feel very comfortable at this track, but we found it much harder to find a good setup this time. The mechanical problems plagued us all weekend, despite our trying umpteen different solutions. I had difficulty stopping the bike in the race, and we didn’t have a good feeling with our engine braking. The more the tyres went off, the harder it was to brake, so I decided to stop. I didn’t feel safe, nor want to take any more risks.”
— PBM Report
The final round of the MotoGP World Championship took place at Valencia this weekend with the PBM MotoGP Team hoping to end the season in style after a run of bad luck but once again, they didn’t enjoy the best of fortunes at the Spanish track.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty was once again aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene sponsored Aprilia ART which he has campaigned in recent rounds and after a solid performance throughout Free Practice, qualified on row seven of the grid whereas Australian Damian Cudlin continued on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene sponsored PBM machine and qualified one row further back.
For the opening couple of laps, Laverty circulated in 22nd place as he looked to move forward but on lap three, Cudlin’s race ended when he crashed out. Laverty meanwhile continued his progression up the leaderboard, climbing inside the top 20 by lap nine and steadily making progress to cross the line in 17th place at the end of the 30-lap race.
It was Laverty’s 14th top 20 placing of the season and although he couldn’t add to his points tally, it cemented a positive rookie season for the Toome, County Antrim rider and his Penrith, Cumbria based team.
Laverty ended the season in 25th overall in the MotoGP World Championship standings in his debut season. In the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class, Laverty finished tenth whereas PBM claimed eighth in the Constructors Championship and 12th in the Teams Championship in their debut season with their brand new British-built machine.
Michael Laverty: “So that’s my first season in MotoGP done, we’ve had both highs and lows but overall I’ve enjoyed the whole experience. The final weekend was a difficult one for me, I was struggling for grip and seemed to hit a wall pace wise on Friday afternoon. I ran consistent lap times throughout the race but I just seemed to be spinning and not moving forward off the turns. I held Scassa at bay to finish 17th but it was difficult to do so with so little grip. I’d like to thank Paul Bird for everything and the whole PBM team for all their hard work throughout the season.”
Damian Cudlin: “It’s a shame to end my MotoGP adventures with PBM in the gravel bed but sometimes that happens when you’re pushing the limits. The bike didn’t work as well with a full fuel load but I tried to push on anyway and I just over stepped it before the fuel load lightened up enough. Although I’d hoped for better results, I’ve really enjoyed my time here at PBM. I’d like to thank them for the opportunity and would love to work with them again in the future sometime.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “Disappointing is a word we have used far too much this year but it could also be used to describe this weekend’s results as well as our season overall. In today’s race Michael suffered with a rear grip issue, which affected both his pace and possibility of challenging for a points scoring position and Damian had an unfortunate crash early on so we did not get to see his potential. Although we have enjoyed some positive moments this year and can be proud of a few achievements, we have also had to endure many negative times which have been detrimental to our progress. I would like to thank the people who have given their best to make PBM’s MotoGP project successful and I hope we are able to show in the next few days our potential if all the necessary ingredients are correct, to both continue and improve our involvement.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft & Soft. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 23-24°C; Track 27-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez is the 2013 MotoGP World Champion after the rookie took third place behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo to become the youngest ever premier-class title holder.
Lorenzo, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marquez were engaged in an enthralling dogfight in the opening laps, before Lorenzo broke away in the second half of the race to win comfortably by 3.934 seconds. Pedrosa took second place, while Marquez rounded out the podium in third, the result ensuring he becomes only the second rider to win the premier-class world championship at the first attempt. First CRT rider across the finish line at Valencia was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro who took eleventh place.
Today’s weather conditions were similar to the previous two days of the race weekend, with fine, dry weather and a peak track temperature of 30°C recorded at the start of the race. Faced with the same track conditions, tyre choice was similar to that seen in practice. For the rear tyre, there was a clear preference for the hard compound rear slicks amongst the works riders and a preference for the softer rear for the CRT riders. Nine of the thirteen works riders – including all the riders on the podium – selected the new hard specification rear slick, while eleven of the thirteen CRT riders selected the soft compound rear slick. For the front tyre, only two of the twenty-six starters selected the softer front slick, the majority of the field selected the harder front option.
The pace in today’s Valencia Grand Prix was record-breaking with Pedrosa setting a new Circuit Record Lap of 1’31.628 and the overall race time beating the old record by thirty-three seconds.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Congratulations to Marc Marquez and Repsol Honda on winning the MotoGP World Championship. Marc’s amazing performances in his rookie year make him a deserving world champion, but it was also an excellent effort by Yamaha and Jorge Lorenzo who did everything they could to defend their world title, including winning at Valencia today. It was great to see a huge crowd at Valencia this weekend cheering on their local heroes and today was a fitting end to one of the most exciting seasons in recent years. I would like to extend my thanks to the teams and riders, Dorna, the FIM and IRTA for their cooperation and support throughout the year. Bridgestone is now looking forward to taking the first step towards next season through our support of the Valencia post-season test which starts tomorrow.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The consistent weather over the three days meant the tyre combinations used on Friday and Saturday afternoon were well suited to today’s race conditions. Our new specification asymmetric hard rear slick was chosen by most of the works riders, while the CRT riders preferred their softer rear option. As expected, the harder front slick was by far the most popular choice for the riders. I’m very happy with the performance of our tyres this weekend, and it was great to see both the circuit record lap and overall race time records being smashed. It was a great weekend for Bridgestone and a great ending to the MotoGP season.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – 2013 MotoGP™ World Champion
“It’s a dream come true to be World Champion. I can’t explain how I feel to win the championship in front of all the Spanish fans, while fighting with Jorge and Dani who are both fantastic riders. Thanks to Honda, all my team, my family and friends, for always being there for me.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Coming into this weekend my strategy was to try go fast from the start of the race, but this morning we had a meeting and decided to change the strategy and slow down the race in the opening laps. However, the other riders outside the top three couldn’t keep with the lead group, but with Dani and Marc so close it was a bit risky. We tried our best for the championship, we did all we could but today Marc is the deserving World Champion.”
– MotoGP 2013 – Round 18 – Valencia – Day Two
— Title within reach as Marquez starts ‘The Decider’ from pole
Repsol Honda Team’s title chaser Marc Marquez registered a superb new pole record of 1’30.237 in the final stages of Q2 at Valencia at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, putting himself ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol’s Dani Pedrosa on the grid for Sunday’s title deciding race.
World Champion Lorenzo broke Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844s from 2012 with a 1’30.645 lap on his first attempt, but was troubled by engine problems with his number one bike, as well as an issue with the rear brake, and eventually finished 0.34s behind Marquez in second. Completing the front row is Pedrosa, and like Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi – who qualified fourth, 0.7s off pole – he could have a big say in the title battle on Sunday if he can get in front of Lorenzo or Marquez in the race.
The likes of Cal Crutchlow, on his last weekend with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, and colleague Bradley Smith, are unlikely to fight for victory at the final round, but they will try to challenge for top five or even podium positions. They both qualified within a second of Marquez on row two.
Heading the third row is GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who crashed out but walked away unhurt. He starts just ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. For his final appearance on a Ducati, Nicky Hayden qualified tenth. Meanwhile, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci were the two riders to make it through from Q1, but could not challenge the top 10. The best of the rest from Q1 were Hector Barbera, Aleix Espargaro and Claudio Corti who will therefore line up on the fifth row.
If Marquez finishes tomorrow’s race in fourth place or higher, he will be crowned World Champion regardless of where Lorenzo finishes. He has shown that his pace is certainly high enough for such a finish, and will hope for a good get-away off the line. The main permutations for riders tomorrow will be the rear slick tyres, with both the softer and harder options useable. The majority of the grid will use tomorrow morning’s Warm-up to decide.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1 Marc Marquez 1’30.237 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1’30.577 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Dani Pedrosa 1’30.663 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino Rossi 1’30.920 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Cal Crutchlow 1’31.113 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Bradley Smith 1’31.201 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Alvaro Bautista 1’31.594 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
8 Stefan Bradl 1’31.638 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Andrea Dovizioso 1’31.718 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Nicky Hayden 1’31.870 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Andrea Iannone 1’31.963 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
12 Danilo Petrucci 1’33.116 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
13 Hector Barbera 1’32.773 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
14 Aleix Espargaro 1’32.807 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
15 Claudio Corti 1’32.961 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Yonny Hernandez 1’32.966 COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
17 Michele Pirro 1’32.966 ITA DUCATI Ducati Test Team
18 Colin Edwards 1’33.203 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’33.328 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
20 Randy De Puniet 1’33.869 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
21 Michael Laverty 1’34.018 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Luca Scassa 1’34.113 ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Bryan Staring 1’34.805 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Damian Cudlin 1’34.903 AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
25 Lukas Pesek 1’34.993 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
26 Martin Bauer 1’35.277 AUT S&B SUTER Remus Racing Team
World Champion Pol Espargaro is in great form at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, setting a new pole position record of 1’34.957 to head the grid for his final race in the class, ahead of Simone Corsi and Jordi Torres.
Espargaro was in scintillating form as he became the only rider to dive underneath the 1’35.000 barrier, a comfortable three tenths of a second ahead as his Tuenti HP 40 machine sailed to a seventh pole position of the campaign. Italy’s Corsi prevented an all-Spanish front row for NGM Mobile Racing, while Torres picked up a second third-place qualifying result in three race meetings.
Espargaro’s teammate Tito Rabat missed out on a front row starting position by seven thousandths of a second, with only a further four thousandths back to Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi promising an exciting fight on Sunday. The top six was rounded out by Nico Terol, Torres’ teammate at Aspar, as the team prepares for its home race. Alex de Angelis will head Row 3 for NGM Mobile Forward Racing, with Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco and Maptaq SAG Zelos Team’s Xavier Simeon eighth and ninth.
A tough weekend for Marc VDS Racing Team ended in 12th and 17th places for Mika Kallio and the injured Scott Redding, while there were star performances from Gino Rea (Gino Rea Montaze Broz Racing) and Franco Morbidelli to achieve respective 13th and 23rd spots. Blusens Avintia’s Alex Mariñelarena has been declared unfit and was therefore unable to take part in the qualifying session, leaving a 33-rider field ahead of Sunday afternoon’s 27-lap encounter.
Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Pol Espargaro SPA Kalex 1:34.957
2- Simone Corsi ITA Speed Up +0.318
3- Jordi Torres SPA Suter +0.395
Alex Rins will start from pole position for Sunday’s three-way Moto3™ title shootout in Valencia. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider was just 16 thousandths of a second quicker than championship leader Luis Salom, with final contender Maverick Viñales third. A race victory would seal the title for either one of the trio.
Heading into the 17th and final round of the Moto3™ campaign, just five points cover Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Viñales (Team Calvo) and Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) atop the championship standings, meaning a race win for any of the front-row starters will seal the 2013 title regardless of their rivals’ positions. On Saturday, despite Salom having topped two of the three practice sessions, Rins topped the qualifying timesheets with his best effort of 1’39.459.
‘Best of the rest’ behind the championship top three was Jonas Folger for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3, while Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) and Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) completed the second row. Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez will line up seventh and could play a role in the championship fight should he run at the front of the race, while the top ten on the grid will be rounded out by Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou, Salom’s teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Efren Vazquez on the first of the Mahindra Racing machines.
There was a crash for Vazquez’s teammate Miguel Oliveira with four minutes remaining in the session, while Hyuga Watanabe also hit trouble when he lost control of his La Fonte Tascaracing bike at the final corner. Qualifying was not without misfortune for Florian Alt (Kiefer Racing) either; he will start at the back of the grid following a crash.
Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Alex Rins SPA KTM 1:39.459
2- Luis Salom SPA KTM +0.016
3- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM +0.285
— MotoGP 2013 – Round 18 – Valencia – Day One
— Marquez begins Valencia title-charge ahead of Lorenzo
As the MotoGP™ action on the first day of Free Practice at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana concluded it was Marc Marquez who set the pace with his teammate Dani Pedrosa only 0.066s behind him, and title rival Jorge Lorenzo 0.158s off the pace in third.
Despite the windy conditions in the afternoon’s FP2 at the Valencia track, Marquez stepped up the pace in the second half of the session, with his best time of 1’31.220 not far off Pedrosa’s pole record of 1’30.844 from last year. Pedrosa was very close to his Repsol Honda colleague, with both of them still looking for more grip – using both the softer and harder option rear tyres.
Lorenzo improved late on in the session on his regular number-one machine, having spent time before on his number-two bike with holes in the front bubble to cope with the windy conditions. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a great day as he ended up fourth overall despite a late low-side crash, from which he escaped unhurt. The Englishman rides in his last GP for the team this weekend before departing for Ducati.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi, who is working with Crew Chief Jeremy Burgess for the last time this weekend, was fifth fastest on Friday, 0.4s off the pace. After his statements that he needs to get quicker for next year, he will hope for a strong push in tomorrow’s practice.
The top ten was rounded out by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Ducati Team pair Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden. Bradl is keen to resolve front-end grip issues, whilst Batista is working with a new Showa rear shock provided for this weekend.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was unhurt after he crashed his ART machine, which was the new bike him and his team are testing this weekend for the Italian outfit. Despite switching bikes on Monday, Team Manager Gino Borsoi said that the team is pleased to help Aprilia until that day, hence why Espargaro is giving feedback on the new bike featuring a different frame, swingarm and engine. He ended the day 13th on the timesheet.
1 Marc Marquez 1’31.220 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 1’31.286 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Jorge Lorenzo 1’31.378 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
4 Cal Crutchlow 1’31.502 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Valentino Rossi 1’31.639 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
6 Stefan Bradl 1’31.858 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
7 Alvaro Bautista 1’31.873 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
8 Bradley Smith 1’31.984 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9 Andrea Dovizioso 1’32.363 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Nicky Hayden 1’32.395 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Andrea Iannone 1’32.596 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
12 Michele Pirro 1’32.756 ITA DUCATI Ducati Test Team
13 Aleix Espargaro 1’32.809 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
14 Claudio Corti 1’33.172 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15 Colin Edwards 1’33.252 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Hector Barbera 1’33.270 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
17 Danilo Petrucci 1’33.304 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
18 Yonny Hernandez 1’33.487 COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
19 Randy De Puniet 1’33.570 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
20 Luca Scassa 1’34.049 ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing
21 Hiroshi Aoyama 1’34.077 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
22 Michael Laverty 1’34.132 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
23 Bryan Staring 1’35.478 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Damian Cudlin 1’35.644 AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
25 Martin Bauer 1’35.832 AUT S&B SUTER Remus Racing Team
26 Lukas Pesek 1’36.353 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
Having topped the FP1 timesheet, new Moto2™ World Champion Pol Espargaro was fastest again on Friday afternoon at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, with his 1’35.548 lap keeping him 0.142s ahead of Tuenti HP 40 teammate Tito Rabat, and 0.426s in front of Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Thomas Luthi.
Espargaro will ride a Monster Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP™ bike in testing next week and the pressure is off in many ways, having already clinched the title, but he now intends to end the season on a high. The Spaniard dominated both sessions at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on Friday but almost had a clash with wildcard rider Gino Rea during the afternoon, with both riders just managing to avoid going down.
Behind Espargaro, teammate Rabat aims for a strong finish to the season in his last race for Sito Pons’ outfit, and that pair could do battle for the win on Sunday if today’s pace is anything to judge by. Switzerland’s Tom Luthi would also be a good bet for a podium finish, though having also lapped in the top five Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing) and Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) will aim to run at the front as the weekend progresses.
The top ten was completed by Jordi Torres, Mika Kallio, Nico Terol, Xavier Simeon and Julian Simon, all lapping within tenth tenths of a second of the leading time.
The Friday Moto3™ Free Practice sessions at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana were topped by the trio fighting for the title, with Luis Salom leading Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales.
Salom’s best time of 1’40.403 from FP1 was the best of the day and the Red Bull KTM Ajo man’s best FP2 time was just a tenth of a second slower, as Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) topped the timesheet in the latter session with a 1’40.489 fastest lap.
Team Calvo’s Viñales was third best in both sessions and his FP2 time of 1’40.580 was his best time of the day, as the three Spanish title candidates flexed their muscles in front of the home fans.
German rider Jonas Folger (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) and Australian competitor Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG) were fourth and fifth overall respectively, but both were unable to improve on their morning best times in FP2.
The overall top ten was completed by Efren Vazquez (Mahindra Racing), Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold).
Khairuddin has had some costly crashes in recent weeks and he walked away from a big highside at the conclusion of the session, whilst Lorenzo Baldassarri was also unhurt in a light crash towards the end of the outing.
Brad Binder was taken to the Medical Centre with a suspected collarbone injury, as was Alan Techer, after both had FP2 crashes. Whilst Binder was cleared with shoulder contusion, Techer has suffered a left wrist fracture.
— Repsol HRC Report
It’s been a positive first day for the Repsol Honda team in Valencia, with Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa finishing on the top of the time sheets.
Championship leader Marc, winner in Valencia last year in Moto2, had a good start to the day finishing first in FP1 with just 0.024 separating the top three riders – Marc 1’31.557 (lap 20 of 21), Lorenzo 1’31.575 (lap 12 of 19) and Dani 1’31.581 (lap 10 of 18) – with all three lapping under the Circuit Record Lap set by Casey Stoner in 2008 (1’32.582).
In the afternoon’s FP2 session, times improved on the new asphalt and both Marc and Dani (who is the only rider to have won here in all three classes) bettered this morning’s times, using the hard rear tyre. Marc recorded a time of 1’31.220 on lap 16 of 20, and Dani was second fastest with 1’31.286 on lap 16 of 22.
Marc Marquez 1st 1’31.220
“It was good to start the most important week of the season and with a good feeling. We still need to improve our setup but we were fastest today – which is the key thing ahead of Sunday’s race. Tomorrow we will continue in the same way but try to improve and take another step forward because I am sure that the rest of the riders will do so”
Dani Pedrosa 2nd 1’31.286
“Today we were able to work with the soft and hard compound tyres, but the track conditions weren’t ideal and the bike was sliding a lot. We will have to be very focused, because the level of the other riders is high at the moment and everyone is riding fast. For tomorrow we shall concentrate on improving certain aspects of the bike and continue with the working method that we have been using”
— Yamaha Report
Action got underway today at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia ahead of this Sunday’s championship showdown, the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.
As one of the two protagonists for the title, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo came out fighting in the two free practice sessions. With a blistering pace from the outset, Lorenzo wrapped up the morning run in second position, 0.018 seconds from Marc Marquez on top.
The defending champion carried his speed straight into the afternoon session, leading from the start. As rivals Marquez and Pedrosa increased the pace, Lorenzo made some set up changes and moved to second position behind Pedrosa. The last ten minutes then became a flurry of activity as the three Spaniards turned in hot laps, Lorenzo delivering a 1’31.378 to finish third in the combined times, 0.158 seconds from the top.
Teammate Valentino Rossi started the weekend’s action strongly in the morning practice. The nine-time world champion led early on before dropping to sixth, just 0.68 seconds from the top as the frontrunners increased the pace.
Rossi got straight down to business in the second practice, holding second on the timesheets from the beginning behind his teammate in first. By mid session the Italian was sitting in third place, having reduced the gap to the top to just over 0.3 of a second. As the later lap times tumbled Rossi was able to close the time gap from the morning session, finishing in fifth in the combined times with a 1’31.639, 0.419 seconds from first.
Jorge Lorenzo – 3rd / 1’31.378 / 27 laps
“This afternoon was very windy so it was very difficult to make the same lap time of the morning but we managed to improve it a little bit. We adjusted the bike a little electronically and also the suspension. We are quite close to everyone and ready to keep working tomorrow.”
Valentino Rossi – 5th / 1’31.639 / 27 laps
“Today was not so bad, especially this afternoon. I am quite satisfied with the practice. The level is very high and the top seven or eight riders are very close. This afternoon we were able to close the gap, I am now just 0.4 from pole position and I have quite a good pace. I’m quite happy with the work on the bike. I’m quite fast in the middle of the track but I lose some time on T1 and T4 so we have to work a bit. We have to try to do a good result for the last race of the season, stay close to the top three and see what we can do.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The first day of practice is done. The boys are very tight at the top. We have space to improve but it looks like the weekend will be nice weather so different from the last couple of years here. Lap times are already quite fast but I guess tomorrow we will break lap records because the tarmac is good and the grip is very good. The boys are very close together so I think it will be tight tomorrow. So far we are happy with the result but of course we need to work and try to improve.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We are not leading but we are satisfied. For the first day we were able to get a lot of information. Both riders are quite happy. We are for sure going to work and improve the areas where we are suffering. We were also able to test both tyre compounds and we know we can make a step tomorrow.”
Crutchlow makes fast start ahead of final Tech 3 appearance
Cal Crutchlow warmed up for his final appearance in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia with an incredibly strong performance in today’s two practice sessions at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo track.
In gloriously sunny and warm conditions this morning, Crutchlow was an encouraging seventh fastest with a quickest pace of 1.32.434 that left him just 0.052s outside of the top six.
A strong breeze had picked up in advance of this afternoon’s second 45-minute session, but Crutchlow impressively slashed almost a second off his pace to surge up the rankings into fourth position, courtesy of a lap of 1.31.503.
Only dominant Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo lapped faster than the 28-year-old today, who is hoping to mount a podium challenge in his last appearance for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday.
Crutchlow walked away unhurt from a crash on his last lap at Turn 11 to finish just 0.124s outside of the top three and 0.282s away from the best lap posted by Marquez, as he once again led the non-factory challenge in Valencia.
Teammate Bradley Smith also enjoyed a magnificent start to the final round of 2013, the British rider storming to the fourth best time this morning. Smith took full advantage of the surprisingly pleasant conditions to clock a best time of 1.32.086 that saw him eclipse the pace of Valentino Rossi and Crutchlow on the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
Smith was able to lap slightly faster in FP2 and he was eventually eighth on the combined rankings, but encouragingly he was just a fraction over 0.5s away from the top six, as he concentrated on assessing both soft and hard rear Bridgestone options ahead of the 30-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow – 4th 1.31.502 – 42 laps
“I am happy with my start to the weekend because this afternoon I made a big improvement and I felt fast and strong in FP2. I am disappointed that I crashed right at the end of this afternoon’s session. I didn’t have a bad feeling with the bike but I was trying to improve the bike in the corners and I lost the front. I was trying to roll through the corner faster but obviously I have found the limit. But it was a very positive session and I am in the top four and being so close to that Spanish trio gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the last weekend. My crew did a great job again today and this is a difficult weekend knowing I am leaving after this race. But that makes me even more determined to ensure the last race is a positive one and we can end a brilliant time together on a high.”
Bradley Smith – 8th 1.31.985 – 45 laps
“The great thing about today is that I felt immediately comfortable on the bike. This morning’s fourth position though made the situation look a bit better than it probably was because I put in a brand new tyre right at the end of the session to set my fastest time. This afternoon I was able to improve again and it was good because we got time on the soft and hard Bridgestone options to assess both for the race. We still have a little bit to find with the setting on the hard tyre and we will try and use it again tomorrow to get as much information as possible before deciding what will be the choice for the race. But it has been a positive first day and I am quite close to the front so I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
— LCR Honda Report
Sunny and dry conditions welcomed the MotoGP riders for the first day of practices of the ultimate round of the season at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia. Following an intense three-week schedule over sea, LCR racer Stefan Bradl took the 4.005Km race track today with the intention to chase the best set-up of his RCV ahead Sunday’s race as the German had an unfortunate history at the Spanish track: since his first appearance here in 2007, Bradl never completed a race. Now, after the fracture occur in Malaysia and the intense recovery programme, Bradl aims to put the word END to this unlucky record.
Stefan: “Well… I think we achieved an acceptable position today and we gradually improved our pace from the morning to the afternoon. We struggled a bit with a lack of front feeling in the morning and it was difficult for me to turn the bike. But we adjusted the setting lap by lap getting a better feeling in the afternoon thus it was easier for me to go faster. There’s still something to improve about the bike balance but we are working on it. I am very happy about my conditions because the ankle is responding well and I had no painkillers so far”.
— Ducati Report
The Ducati Team experienced an uphill start to the final race weekend of the year, with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden finishing the first two free-practice sessions for the GP de la Comunitat Valenciana ninth and tenth, respectively, in the combined times.
In the perfect weather conditions of the morning session, Hayden and Dovizioso were ninth and tenth, and although they occupied the same positions in the afternoon session, they were in the opposite order. In preparation for tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying sessions, both riders will work with their teams in an effort to improve the turning of their Desmosedici GP13 race machines, particularly in the first and last sectors.
After having sat out the last few rounds to focus on his Ducati Test Team duties, Michele Pirro is back in the MotoGP paddock this weekend, this time in another appearance as a wildcard rider. The Italian was twelfth best aboard the test team’s Desmosedici.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 9th (1:32.363)
“The track surface is still really nice, but our normal limits remain. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for us to make our bike turn like the others can, so we’re limited and aren’t able to get close to the other factory riders. We’re still too slow mid-corner. Regarding the tyres, the soft is too soft on the right, and although there aren’t many turns in that direction, it still wears too quickly. With this temperature, I think we’ll have to go with the hard, although it doesn’t have much grip and is a bit difficult to manage.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 10th (1:32.395)
“The track surface has held up really well from last year and is in great shape, and although the wind made things a bit difficult in the afternoon, that’s the same for everyone. Our first couple of exits this morning were decent, but we haven’t improved enough since then, with either the bike or myself. I’m okay in splits 2 and 3, but the first and last ones are giving me some problems. We need to get the bike to brake and turn better, and we’ll keep trying tomorrow to put ourselves in a better position for Sunday.”
Michele Pirro – Ducati Test Team, 12th (1:32.756)
“It’s nice to be back at a race after two months, so thanks to Ducati for the opportunity to do this again. It took me a few laps to get used to it again this morning, as we haven’t had any tests here. My bike doesn’t have any major updates, so it’s more or less the base for what we used in my last race. Now we’ll try to understand what to do for tomorrow to make further improvements, but anyway, I’m pleased that my gap to the other Ducati riders is around two tenths, which means my level is still good.”
— Power Electronics Aspar Report
The MotoGP World Championship began an important weekend at Valencia on Friday. Not only is the Moto3 title up for grabs, but this year the premier class title is also still to be won. It is a situation which has not occurred since 2006, and as a result the grandstands at the Valencia track are expected to be packed for the occasion. Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo are the title contenders, and it was Márquez who drew first blood with the top spot in practice today. He was just 0.066 quicker than teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Lorenzo in third.
Aleix Espargaró is known for his fun-loving nature and, after he clinched the CRT title in Australia and brother Pol became Moto2 World Champion in Japan, he has reason to be cheerful at the season closer. He was the quickest of the CRT competitors on Friday, once again. The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar was the standout of that particular field in both morning and afternoon, and not even a crash –from which he escaped unharmed- could stop him from completing a positive day.
Teammate Randy De Puniet was not feeling comfortable on track, due to an engine braking issue. He nevertheless put in 39 laps of the Valencia track. He will continue searching for the way forward in tomorrow’s practice sessions at a circuit he loves.
13th Aleix Espargaró 1.32.809 (26 laps): “Today we debuted a new chassis. It is the new development for next season and it felt very good. This morning we had to set it up, and we were 1.3 seconds off the fastest time. Thus, we were very motivated after the morning session and were focusing on the afternoon. In the second session we improved, but before the end of the run I crashed. I feel really bad about it, because we had a lot of work to do with the new chassis and the crash affected our plans. I apologized to the team afterwards, because it was a silly crash. Tomorrow we shall see the potential that this bike has. I am very relaxed this weekend, because both Pol and I have completed our objectives. It is a special race for me and I want to enjoy every moment. Despite the crash today, things are going well.”
19th Randy De Puniet 1.33.570 (39 laps): “This morning we felt good right from the start of the practice, but we had some engine braking problems which lost us a lot of time. Without knowing the reason why, the bike was locking up under braking. The issues continued in the afternoon, and we eventually had to go to the second bike. This afternoon my mechanics will make sure that everything is under control, so that tomorrow we can use the sessions to the maximum and not miss a minute. I love this track and I want to get a good result here, so tomorrow we will look for solutions.”