Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.
Great Motul Prize of the Valencian Community
FIM MotoGP World Championship
Circuit Ricardo Tormo
November 18, 2018
MotoGP Race Part 2 Results (Restart) (wet conditions, all on Michelin tires):
1. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 14 laps, 24: 03.408
2. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), -2,750 seconds
3. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), -7.406
4. Michele Pirro, Italy (Ducati), -8.647
5. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), -13.351
6. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), -32.288
7. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), -32.806
8. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), -33.111
9. Stefan Bradl, Germany (Honda), -36.376
10. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (Yamaha), -37.198
11. Scott Redding, UK (Aprilia), -44.326
12. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), -46.146
13. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), -52.809, crash
14. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), -70.628
15. Jordi Torres, Spain (Ducati), -76.739
16. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), -7 laps, DNF, crash
17. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), DNS
18. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), DNS
19. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), DNS
20. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), DNS
21. Alex Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), DNS
22. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), DNS
23. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Honda), DNS
24. Thomas Luthi, Switzerland (Honda, DNS)
MotoGP Race Part 1 Results (wet conditions, all on Michelin tires):
1. Rins, 13 laps, 22: 31.583
2. Dovizioso, -0.749
3. Rossi, -1.070
4. Pedrosa, -18.244
5. Zarco, -21.317
6. Nakagami, -26.244
7. Baptist, -36.985
8. P. Espargaro, -37.561
9. Redding, -41.923
10. Syahrin, -43.670
11. Lorenzo, -45.668
12. Bradl, -46.197
13. Pirro, -59.903
14. Abraham, -61.718
15. Torres, -67.942
16. Smith, -1 lap.
17. Vines, -2 laps, DNF, crash
18. Morbidelli, -2 laps, DNF, crash
19. Iannone, -5 laps, DNF, crash
20. Marquez, -7 laps, DNF, crash
21. Petrucci, -8 laps, DNF, crash
22. Luthi, -8 laps, DNF, crash
23. Miller, -9 laps, DNF, crash
24. A. Espargaro, -11 laps, DNF, crash
World Championship Point Standings (after 19 of 19 rounds):
1. Marquez, 321 points
2. Dovizioso, 245
3. Rossi, 198
4. Vines, 193
5. Rins, 169
6. Zarco, 158
7. Cal Crutchlow, 148
8. Petrucci, 144
9. Lorenzo, 134
10. Iannone, 133
11. Pedrosa, 117
12. Baptist, 105
13. Miller, 91
14. Pol Espargaro, 51
15. Morbidelli, 50
16. Syahrin, 46
17. Aleix Espargaro, 44
18. Smith, 38
19. Tito Rabat, 35
20. Nakagami, 33
21. Redding, 20
22. Pirro, 14
23. Abraham, 12
24. Bradl, 10
25. Mika Kallio, 6
26. Katsuyuki Nakasuga, 2
27. TIE, Simeon / Torres, 1
28. TIE, Luthi / Mike Jones / Sylvain Guintoli / Christophe Ponsson, 0
More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Italian unstoppable ahead of Rins and an incredible first podium for Pol Espargaro and KTM
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) claimed the final MotoGP ™ victory of 2018 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing ahead of an on-form Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and a stunning result for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) as the Spaniard took his first premier class podium and the first for KTM in MotoGP ™. The dramatic race was red-flagged and restarted in heavy rain at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, and saw a large number of riders fall foul of the tough conditions – not least reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi. But the show had to go on – delay notwithstanding – and go on it did.
On the original start, Rins had destroyed the field to gain a huge lead after only a couple of corners, and the rain was falling but not heavy. The conditions remained difficult, however, and a good few big names – including some wet specialists – found themselves sliding out. They included a highside that skittled Marquez into the gravel from podium contention, and a high-speed tumble for Viñales after a good initial getaway. Pol Espargaro crashed out of P4 at Turn 3 after a stunning start, but he was incredibly able to re-join. Brother Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), teammate Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also all crashed out and could not get back in it, but Rossi? At that stage, he was only getting faster as the rain was getting worse.
Eventually, however, the volume of rain was starting to beat the circuit's ability to drain and the Red Flag came out. The race would be re-started for 14 laps, and the grid would be decided by the standings as of the last completed lap – meaning it was Rins on pole, Dovizioso second, Rossi third and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) lining up fourth in his final race. 14 laps and the end of an era for many …
The front row held station as the lights went out for 'Race 2' and all 16 riders safely negotiated the opening exchanges, with Rins leading. However, Dovizioso was once again able to get the power down on his GP18 to slice past Rins heading onto lap 2 – with Rossi in close pursuit. The three leaders quickly gapped fourth place Espargaro by 2.9 seconds, and Pedrosa tucked in behind the KTM in P5.
By then, the rain was starting to fall once again and conditions were still incredibly tough. Nevertheless, the leading trio were all lapping in the low 1: 43s – two seconds quicker than anyone else as it soon became a three horse race for the final win of 2018.
On Lap 6, Dovizioso then pulled the pin to create a one-second gap back to Rins – a 1: 49.921 creating that gap, with 1.5 seconds then splitting the trio. Another fastest lap soon followed for Dovi, as Rossi made his move past Rins at Turn 4 – 1.5 down on 'DesmoDovi'. However, with six to go, the gap was up to 2.4 and a lap later, the Ducati rider's lead was over three seconds. But then, the drama hit again and 'The Doctor' was down at Turn 12 – rider ok, but lifting Espargaro and KTM up to a podium place.
As the last lap began, Dovizioso's advantage was four seconds to Rins as both safely waded their way to the finish line – the Italian taking his first win since Misano and Rins grabbing a fifth podium of the year to claim P5 in the Championship. Then, emotional scenes followed as Espargaro kept Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) at bay to take both his and KTM's maiden MotoGP ™ podium – phenomenal from rider and factory alike after the number 44 rider had crashed earlier, remounted and dueled both Repsol Hondas. After a difficult season for the Austrian marque with injury struggles, it made for an incredible dose of oxygen, so said Espargaro.
Behind him and Pirro came the new MotoGP ™ Legend: Pedrosa. The 'Little Samurai' took home a hard-earned P5 from his farewell Grand Prix ride on home soil as he helped Repsol Honda secure the triple crown. Behind the three-time Champion was fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), the Japanese rookie taking home a career-best P6 as top Independent Team rider in the race, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) taking the overall 2018 Independent Team rider honors after crossing the line in P7. The Frenchman held off Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), who grabbed his best KTM result on his final ride for the team.
Replacement rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda Castrol) crossed the line in P9, with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) rounding out the top ten – a great ride, but not quite enough to beat Morbidelli to 'Rookie of the Year'. On his final Grand Prix appearance, Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) claimed a season-best P11, with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) bringing his Ducati career to an end with a tough P12 on the comeback from injury. Rossi remounted to ride to P13 and P3 in the Championship is the nine-time World Champion's, with Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) and Jordi Torres (Reale Avintia Racing) claiming the final point-scoring positions. Alvaro Baptist (Angel Nieto Team) crashed out of his final Grand Prix race with seven to go – rider ok.
With that, the curtain comes down after another sensational end to the 2018 MotoGP ™ World Championship – and another magnificent season draws to a close. There's not long to wait before 2019 begins, however, as engines fire up for testing – and 2019 – on Tuesday.
MotoGP ™ Race Results
1 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI 24'03.408
2 – Alex Rins (SPA) SUZUKI +2.750
3 – Pol Espargaro (SPA) KTM +7.406
First Independent Team Rider
3 – Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) HONDA +32.288
Oliveira wins a dramatic Moto2 ™ season finale
First lap drama sets the scene for a battle of nerves – and Oliveira keeps his steady
In his 50th Moto2 ™ race, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) produced a faultless ride to take his third victory of the season in the 2018 finale at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana. The Portuguese rider won by an impressive 13 second margin over the first-time podium finisher Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors), as Alex Marquez (EG 0.0 Marc VDS) completed the podium – despite crashing out the lead.
Straight away in the last race of the season, drama. Before the race had begun, Fabio Quartararo (HDR Heidrun – Speed Up) had an issue on the grid which saw him start from the back. Then, just after the lights went out, poleman Luca Marini's (Sky Racing Team VR46) front end washed away under braking at Turn 2; the Italian hitting the back of teammate Francesco Bagnaia – the latter staying on but running wide – while further back, the exact same happened to Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). The Spaniard went down, with Mir himself then collecting Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) as the pair followed Marini into the gravel and out of the race.
After a busy opening handful of laps, we were then eventiually left with Oliveira at the front and the top four consisting the Portuguese rider, Marquez, Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Lecuona in a class of their own – the only riders lapping in the 1: 48s. It was Marquez who soon took over the baton at the front though, and the Spaniard then upped the pace, putting in consecutive fastest laps in the 1: 47s to give himself a 1.5 second buffer over Oliveira with 10 laps gone.
Lap 12 ticked by and it was another fastest lap for Marquez, a 1: 47.342 edging the gap to Oliveira to almost two seconds, with Vierge a further two seconds behind the KTM rider at this stage. That was until the Spaniard lost the front at Turn 8 while under pressure from Lecuona, the latter now up to P3, but Lecuona soon ran well wide at Turn 14 and dropped to eight seconds off the lead.
At the front, Oliveira and Marquez exchanged fastest laps at the mid-stage, the gap fluctuating between 1.5 and 2.0 seconds. But then, on Lap 15, Marquez suddenly crashed. Turn 14 was the corner but – such was the advantage the leaders had – the Spaniard was able to remount and rejoin the race in P3, still on for a podium and just ahead of Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team). It did, however, leave Oliveira in control of the race, with an 8.5 second gap between him and second place Lecuona.
From there on, the 2018 Moto2 ™ runner-up kept his cool to stride home for his third win of the season, taking the chequered flag by over 13 seconds back to Lecuona but the Spaniard earning a fantastic maiden Grand Prix podium. After the crash, Marquez was also able to salvage the podium, with Pasini taking a commendable P4 on what could prove his final Grand Prix race.
Fifth place went to Tech 3 Racing's Remy Gardner, the Australian's career-best result after he got the better of the recovering Quartararo, who took a phenomenal P6. After starting from the front row, Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) crossed the line in P7, while it was a home race top ten finish for Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) in P8. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) rounded out the top ten in the final Moto2 ™ race of the season. Meanwhile, 2018 Champion Bagnaia clawed his way to P14 on his final Moto2 ™ ride after getting caught up in the drama at Turn 2 early on.
Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Cardelus (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2), replacement rider Tommaso Marcon (HDR Heidrun – Speed Up), Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), a super fast Joe Roberts (NTS RW Racing GP) , Red Bull KTM Ajo's Brad Binder, Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and a charging Niki Tuuli (Petronas Sprinta Racing) also crashed out – rider ok.
A dramatic final Honda-powered Moto2 ™ race of the year ends with Oliveira ending his intermediate class career on a high, while also ensuring Red Bull KTM Ajo are the Moto2 ™ 2018 Team Champions. Oliveira ran Bagnaia close – nine points the final margin – as the two now move to MotoGP ™. So who will be the ones to watch at the beginning of a brand-new Triumph powered era in 2019?
Moto2 ™ Race Results
1 – Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM 45'07.639
2 – Iker Lecuona (SPA) KTM +13.201
3 – Alex Marquez (SPA) KALEX +22.175
Can Öncü stuns the field to make Grand Prix history
Turk breaks records, takes to the top step and starts the Jaws music ahead of his full-time debut next season
It did not seem like a day for history to be made when the Circuit Ricardo Tormo began to wake up to a rain-soaked Sunday. It seemed like a day to endure, to be cautious; to take the points and not the risk. It seemed a day more likely to be defined by attrition rather than heroics, but Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) ensured it becomes much more than that. Taking his first win as a wildcard, in his first appearance, at 15 years and 115 days old, the Turkish rider is the youngest ever Grand Prix winner, the first rider to win his first race since Noboru Ueda in the 125 race in Japan in 1991, and the first Grand Prix winner from the Asia Talent Cup. If that was not enough, he did it in some serious style – crossing the line four seconds clear of reigning Champion Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) in second and another two ahead of John McPhee (CIP – Green Power).
It was Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) who took the holeshot from pole, although Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) looked threatening in second as McPhee lost a place and Öncü sliced through into third. Soon the Turk was also starting to threaten Bezzecchi as Arbolino started to make an early gap in the wet conditions, but the number 12 started to pull away again initially – until drama struck. Suddenly sliding out early, the former title contender was down and out of contention, with Arbolino left over two seconds clear of Öncü.
McPhee was then in third, leading Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) and teammate Martin as both Gresini riders made top starts, but the duo were soon past the Scot although the trio remained close. Then there was more drama up ahead and all eyes switched back to the front as Arbolino suddenly highsided out – having been over six seconds clear. Who did that leave in the lead? Debutant, wildcard and imminently impressive Öncü, nursing his own lead – and then starting to increase it.
Soon Martin was past Diggia and McPhee followed suit, but it remained the Turk's to lose and behind the front few the gaps became even bigger. Nervous faces down at Red Bull KTM Ajo watched the laps tick down towards history being made and records being broken, but Öncü held firm and stayed calm – until a huge wobble on the final lap …
That saw the reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion immediately back off, with time in his pocket to play it safe. Crawling round the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the final time, he eventually crossed the line four seconds clear for his first Grand Prix win, taking his place in history.
Martin took second in his only lightweight class race as reigning Champion, followed by McPhee in third after another impressive performance in the wet from the Scot. 'Diggia' ended the year and his Moto3 ™ career just off the podium but snatched second overall from Bezzecchi, with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) just behind in fifth. Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubia) wrapped up the Rookie of the Year title by taking sixth after his rival for that crown – Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) – did not finish, with youth getting ahead of experience as Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took P7. Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia), who leaves the paddock for pastures new next season, took his best ever finish in eighth after a stunning race and impressive weekend, with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) and Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) completing the top ten.
Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) crashed out together in some early drama, and Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was another early fake. Bezzecchi ended his lightweight class career with two crashes in tough conditions, and teammate Jakub Kornfeil almost went down but was able to rejoin, taking the last point on offer in P15.
A new era now begins for many on the grid after a classic, goosebump-creator of a season finale. The Martins and Bezzecchis of the Championship move on to Moto2 ™ and the rookies and newcomers become the experienced runners, but the race leaves most with the distant sound of the Jaws theme after Öncü's debut: the Turk becomes a full time rider next season – and he's already a Grand Prix winner and a record breaker …
1 – Can Öncü (TUR) KTM 43'06.370
2 – Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA +4.071
3 – John McPhee (GBR) KTM +6.130
More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:
Zarco seals independent rider's title in Valencia – Syahrin wraps up rookie season with another impressive top 10
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo showed a solid ultimate Grand Prix of the 2018 season today in Valencia. Both, Johann Zarco and Hafizh Syahrin did brave to get through a very tricky race that was held in two parts on a soaked wet circuit.
Zarco came off the line decently from the fourth row of the grid and progressed during the first 13 laps until he reached P5. Following the interruption because of too much water on track, the French star did brave to stay upright in scorching conditions and crossed the line in seventh. With it Zarco scored 158 points overall this season to end his successful first two MotoGP years with Monster Yamaha Tech3 as the best independent rider in 2018.
On the other side, Syahrin did a great job as well. In the first part of the race he made up position by position, after finishing the first lap in 21st, he concluded the first part in P10. In the remaining 14 laps, the MotoGP newcomer was fighting the persistent rain, put his head down and reached another fantastic top 10 result to finish his first year as the second best rookie of the classification.
Position: 7th – Championship: 6th – Points: 158
"It has been a tough Sunday. We had a lot of rain in the grid and I got a good feeling on the first start. The rain was so strong and the level of the water on track was pretty complicate to control. We saw many crashes happen. I could do my laps and have a good position. After the restart the others were faster than me and I could not follow them, but the target was to finish the race, be the first independent rider, which was our main goal at the beginning of the year and I'm so happy I managed to fulfill it. It's pretty good for me and the team, plus our history with Yamaha, because we did the last two years on a very great level. I'm really proud and happy about that situation. It was possible to fight for the top 5 in the championship, but this weekend, Alex Rins has been very fast. He rode perfectly, so congratulations to him! He deserves this position. Finally, I want to say, thank you to everybody for the two amazing years I had together with Tech3. I'm happy about the move for next year, because we will still share very good moments, even if we are not in the same garage during the race weekend. "
Position: 10th – Championship: 16th – Points: 46
"First of all, I just want to say thank you very much to my team. We did not expect, that we can arrive in the top 10 in wet conditions. There was a lot of drama, many riders crashed. We stopped the race and I was in P10. We believed that we can give a challenge to the other riders. For me, it was the first time, that I could do a full race in the wet, I learned many things. In the end, I'm just four points behind the best rookie, Franco Morbidelli. Congratulations to him! Anyway, I did my best. I want to thank all our sponsors, all my family and fans, that come to support me. I'm really happy to be here in MotoGP. Next week we start a new journey and I will keep on working hard. Thank you very much to everybody! "
"Finally the 2018 season is over. It was almost a season that never wanted to stop, because we thought we would have our last start in Valencia and then we had another start. So, as I was telling some of our guests, do not complain, you have two starts for the price of one. Anyway, it's been in a way a difficult weekend, because the weather was not what you expect for the big finale, not what you expect in sunny Valencia, but at the end of the day, it made it very exciting, very unpredictable, of course with a lot of crashes, when you have so little grip. But overall, I think it made the races maybe even more interesting and exciting than what it would have been in the dry, because you saw some strange results and a different podium. I want to say, that I am very happy and very proud that for the second year in a row Johann Zarco managed to clinch the best independent rider, sixth in the championship. I think this is quite an achievement. Today he was again the first Yamaha. I know we were not the fastest, but it was important to stay on your wheels today and finish the race and this is what Johann did. Two years ago we started the adventure with Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger and after two years with Johann we are twice best independent rider and last year's rookie. I think we did a good job together and I'm proud of what we have done. I just want to thank Johann a lot for his two seasons with us. He has been a very professional rider, he has been fast, he has been clever and I wish him good luck for his new challenge. On the other side, Hafizh Syahrin had a tough weekend, because he almost never rode the MotoGP bike with the Michelin tires in the wet, so it was a good weekend to learn and I think he learned a lot. His nickname is 'Pescao', which normally means fish and usually a fish is happy when you have a lot of water. But clearly, although tenth position is maybe not what he was dreaming of, but I think he had a solid weekend and from FP1 on Friday to today the improvement of his riding style, of the gap to the top has been unbelievable. Clearly, this guy has a very special feeling on the wet and the feeling he was having in the Moto2 is coming in the MotoGP. I'm also very glad, that he could witness how good his future bike is on the wet condition, because this is a big challenge for all of us. Hafizh is part of this challenge and from Tuesday morning we will start a new chapter of our life as a team. Before ending my quote, I would like one more time to thank Yamaha a lot from the bottom of our hearts from the whole team, our two riders: big, big thank you to everybody, Yamaha management, engineers, because all what we've done during these last two seasons with Johann and this year with Hafizh has been possible because of the great support we had from Yamaha. So, this is the end, again thank you very much. "
More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:
Honda clinch 2018 MotoGP Triple Crown in soaked Valencia, at Dani Pedrosa's final race
Dani Pedrosa completed his racing career in Valencia, scoring a fifth-place finish in incredibly tricky weather conditions that caused the crashes of nine riders-2018 World Champion Marc Marquez among them-and prompted Race Direction to interrupt the first race on lap 13 and re -start a new one half an hour later.
Marc suffered a crash from third place at Turn 9 on lap seven and was therefore unable to take part in the second stint. Dani restarted from fourth in the 11-lap second race and closed fifth, bringing to 46 points the final advantage with which the Repsol Honda Team secured the Team Championship, thereby earning back-to-back MotoGP Triple Crowns, having already achieved the Riders Title in Japan and the Constructors Title in Malaysia.
Dani ends a highly successful 18-year GP career, all of it as a Honda rider, having achieved three World Titles (125 in 2003, 250 in 2004 and 2005) 49 poles, 54 wins, 153 podiums and 64 fastest laps out of 295 starts.
After celebrating at the FIM MotoGP Awards ceremony on Sunday evening, the Repsol Honda Team will start 2019 winter test season on Tuesday, with a two-day test.
Dani Pedrosa 26
"For sure I had a particular feeling before today's race, knowing that the moment of my final race had arrived. Well, actually it turned out that I had two! Unfortunately the weather was really tricky. In both races, I struggled so much with the rear and could not really get on the gas. I was actually expecting to have a better feeling in the second race, as there was less water on the track. But we changed the tyres and I had no grip, so I could only try and finish the race with no crashes. It's a bit of a shame, but when I got back to the pits, I found everybody waiting for me-the team, my family, my people-and there was a very emotional atmosphere. I was pleased to see their emotion. It meant a lot to me. Now I'll have several events to attend, but after that I'll try and have some time to myself and relax a bit before next year. "
Marc Marquez 93
"Today I had a big high-side, but the shoulder was okay, just a bit painful from yesterday. Unfortunately, it was a mistake that I chose the medium rear tyre on the grid, as that turned out not to be the best option. I said sorry to the team, as it was my decision; I had felt really good on it in FP3, but when it began to rain heavily after the start, everything became very difficult and got worse and worse, as it was difficult to keep the temperature in the tyre. Anyway, now it's time to enjoy these final moments having achieved the Triple Crown, which is something really special. The season has been very good, one of my best, without too many mistakes; today's was probably my worst one. I'm really proud of my 2018 season, but a new one begins on Tuesday. "
More, from a press release issued by Team ECSTAR Suzuki:
RINS GIVES SUZUKI 9TH PODIUM AND SECURES 5TH IN STANDINGS
Alex Rins: 2nd (+ 2.750)
Andrea Iannone: DNF
• Alex Rins brings home sublime second place.
• Andrea Iannone victim of a crash on treacherous track.
• Team SUZUKI ECSTAR end the season with ninth podium.
The Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia had plenty of shocks and surprises before the final fireworks marked the close of the 2018 season. But Team SUZUKI ECSTAR secure a ninth podium finish.
After a weekend of chilly and wet conditions, the riders knew race day would be tricky. As the lights went out Alex Rins fired to the front from his 2nd place grid spot. The young Spaniard did not look back and built on his lead with each sector, setting several 'fastest laps'. Meanwhile, Andrea Iannone also made a good start and slotted into the second group. However, as conditions worsened the Italian sadly crashed out of 5th place on Lap 9. The rain continued to pour down and the attrition rate spiked, making for nerve-wracking times for the now dominant race leader, Rins. On Lap 15 the organisers threw the red flag due to safety concerns.
With less than the required three-quarters race distance completed the officials opted for a restart and a secondary 14 lap race after the rain had eased off. The remaining riders lined-up in order of the previous race standings, giving Alex Rins pole. He executed another superb start and took the 'holeshot' into the first corner. After a short battle at the front with Dovizioso and Rossi he dropped to third but stayed in contention. Rossi crashed with 4 laps to go go, and Alex simply needed to stay on to secure 2nd place – no easy feat! However, with careful race management and precise riding throughout the day the # 42 crossed the line to take his fifth podium of the season, and Team SUZUKI ECSTAR's ninth.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
"From Motegi to here we've managed to take four consecutive podiums and three consecutive second places – this is incredible and I'm very happy. Today was Andrea's last race with us and unfortunately he crashed despite performing well. I want to thank him very much for these two years together, I'll never forget working with him. Alex has matured so much this season and achieved a lot, so we're really looking forward to next year, we feel a win is coming! "
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
"We've achieved another podium, which is a great way to finish this season! We got nine in total, which is a record for Suzuki in the MotoGP era. Four of these nine podiums came from Andrea and today was a real pity for him, because he showed good speed and I feel we could've had both riders at the front. I'm really sorry for Andrea that his race ended in this way, and I want to say thank you to him for these past two years together. He gave an important contribution to our development thanks to the internal competition that Alex and him created, I want to wish him all the best for his carreer. Alex's attitude in these very tricky conditions was impressive, he was able to push and control everything well. In both parts of the race he was very strong and I'm really pleased with his performance. We hope to keep hold of this happy feeling throughout the winter. "
"I'm very happy and we made had an incredible weekend. During the first part of the race I was leading for twelve or thirteen laps and I pulled a good gap, but when the rain came Dovizioso and Rossi caught me. For the second half of the race, after the stoppage, I had more or less the same strategy; I tried to get the best start possible, and I pushed a lot because I really wanted the podium and fifth place in the championship. It feels great to have another podium. I hope next year I'll be at the front in almost all the races, we got a lot of experience this year and I think we're ready for it. "
"I wanted to end the season in a good way, but it could not be done. I was recovering positions and I was at the front of my group, but the conditions were really hard and I lost the rear of my bike. In any case, racing can be like this sometimes. I did not want to give up and I wanted to push hard, and perhaps this was the reason. This year has not been very easy but we’ve had a lot of really positive moments and it’s been a pleasure for me to work with these incredible people and this great factory. On Monday I’ll start a new chapter and a new adventure. Good luck to Alex, Joan Mir, and Suzuki for the future.”
More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:
Fantastic victory by Andrea Dovizioso in the Valencia GP and a great fourth position for Michele Pirro, while Jorge Lorenzo concludes his adventure in Ducati with a twelfth place
Andrea Dovizioso powered his way to a superb win today in the Valencia Grand Prix, a race held in two parts because of the heavy rain that forced Race Direction to interrupt proceedings on lap 14. At that point the Italian rider had just passed Alex Rins to take the lead, but the grid positions for the restart were based on the previous lap's classification, so Andrea restarted from the front row between Rins and Rossi for the crucial 14-lapper.
As the lights changed, Dovizioso got the holeshot into the first turn and then held off the attacks from his two rivals. After Rossi crashed out, Andrea administered his lead over the Spanish rider until the flag to take his fourth win of the year (Qatar, Czech Republic, San Marino and Valencia).
Jorge Lorenzo finished in twelfth place in his last race with the Ducati Team. The Spanish rider, who was still not entirely fit following the injury to his left wrist, was never able to find a good feeling with his bike because of the tricky conditions of the wet track surface.
An excellent fourth place went to Michele Pirro, who finished just off the podium. The Italian scored the best result in his MotoGP career, ably making use of a second chance to restart for the second race after crashing out and then getting back on track in the first.
Thanks to today’s results the Ducati Team also finished second overall in the special classification reserved for teams.
The 2019 season gets underway this Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, when Danilo Petrucci will team up with Andrea Dovizioso for the first time in the colours of the Ducati Team.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“Today’s was truly a spectacular victory! I have finally managed to win at Valencia, which for me and for Ducati has always been rather a tough track. The first race was very difficult, because Rins started off really strong. I stayed clam however and reeled him in, but Rossi was also recovering and he was very quick so I had to manage the situation while the rain was increasing lap after lap. In the second race we managed to make all the difference because we were able to use a new tyre we hadn’t used in the morning warm-up as well as making a small change to the set-up. I’m really pleased with the way we worked together with the team and to have been able to give them this win, which really helps cheer everyone up. It was a great way to finish the season!”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 12th
“So we’ve arrived at the end of my period in Ducati and I wasn’t able to do the race that I wanted. The conditions were really complicated and it was easy to make a mistake and crash so I preferred not to take too many risks, given the state of my wrist. I did the best I could on this track but I was unable to be competitive. I feel bad for the team because I wanted to say goodbye to them with a good result, but in any case I want to remember all the positive things in the last two years. Even though we know we weren’t able to obtain what we wanted to achieve when I joined Ducati, this year’s wins were really special and I will always have a special place for them in my heart. The rapport with the team has been magnificent: they have always helped me in difficult moments and we have established a friendship that goes beyond mere racing. The professional level of all the engineers and technicians is very high and together we were able to make the Desmosedici GP one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, something that makes me very proud. I also want to thank all the Ducatisti for the support they have given me since the very first day I came to the factory at Borgo Panigale. I will never forget these two years together and a part of my heart will always be a Ducatista.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 4th
“It was a difficult race because I crashed in the first part, damaging the bike a bit, but I was able to get back on and then the race was interrupted. After the restart, I managed to run at a good pace and I’m disappointed only because I missed out on a podium by just over a second. I’m very pleased however because after my crash at Mugello I once again did a good MotoGP race and Ducati won again at Valencia after many years, which is important for all of us.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“It was a great win in a really tough race: conditions today, especially in the first part, were so difficult and Dovizioso was on top form and he managed to administer a very complicated situation in an intelligent way. Making a mistake in these conditions is always easy but Andrea was simply perfect. Pity about Jorge, who unfortunately struggled in his last race with us, while I’m so pleased with the fourth place by Michele Pirro, who after a crash in the first part made an extraordinary recovery to finish the race just off the podium.”
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:
HISTORY MADE IN VALENCIA! ESPARGARO WALKS MOTOGP PODIUM WHILE OLIVEIRA & ONCU WIN
RACE 19th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Communitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo (ESP)
Red Bull KTM reached several milestones at a soaking Grand Prix of Valencia as Pol Espargaro rode fantastically in a restarted MotoGP race to finish 3rd and secure the factory’s first ever podium in the premier class. KTM won with Miguel Oliveira in Moto2 and also watched fifteen year old debutant & Red Bull Rookies Champion Can Oncu amaze with victory on his first Moto3 appearance, making history in the process.
For the seventeenth year in a row the flat, curling and short Ricardo Tormo Circuit hosted the Grand Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana in eastern Spain and the last round of MotoGP. The climate presented difficulties across the weekend with continual showers and thunderstorms ensuring all sessions – aside from a respite for Qualification on Saturday afternoon – were wet and slick. Red Bull KTM bade farewell to Bradley Smith in what was his final outing for the team since being the first rider to join the MotoGP project early in 2016. The Grand Prix will go down in the annals of KTM’s decorated racing history for the results achieved against the odds.
Pol Espargaro revelled in his best qualification run of the season on Saturday and occupied a strong 6th position (the second row) on the grid. The Spaniard had looked fast and competitive through the soaked track as well as damp and then eventually dry conditions. He immediately launched into a top five position in the opening exchanges of the wettest race of the year. The 27 year old fought with Marc Marquez and was holding 4th spot until he crashed at Turn 2 and remounted. With a damaged RC16 Pol persisted to reach 8th when the race was red-flagged due to track conditions and partial flooding. The grid waited and then resembled in the same ranking at the time of the stoppage – for 14 laps – and from that point Espargaro attacked again, running in fourth he was promoted another position courtesy of Valentino Rossi’s fall. He then deflected the pressure from Dani Pedrosa to grab 3rd place: his first podium appearance after five seasons in the premier class and the first for the RC16 at the site of the bike’s maiden race as a wild-card in 2016 and after just 38 Grands Prix.
Smith had to plough through from the last row after a technical issue restricted his potential in Q1 on Saturday. The Brit was typically astute and reached 6th place in the rain until an untimely crash at Turn 13. Smith’s determination not to end his KTM stint with a ‘DNF’ meant he pushed his racebike back to the pitlane and was lucky to arrive back within the five-minute window of the red flag being shown. He was able to restart in 16th on his second machine and then arrived to 8th: his highest classification after two years of hard work and perseverance with the RC16.
Espargaro ends 2018 14th in the MotoGP standings with nine points-scoring finishes and having suffered two injury problems. Smith classified 18th.
Espargaro: "It's unreal. I felt good all weekend in wet and dry conditions. I was playing around all weekend with a few Yamahas and I was fast; I could do good lap-times. To always be in the top eight was building my confidence up. It was wild out there. The red flag was like a ‘message’ because the bike was still working after that big crash and I said to myself ‘man, this is your opportunity, take it’. I just pushed and Valentino was so fast, super-fast. I stayed in that position and was safe, then I fought with Dani but could finally finish in third position. After this year it is unbelievable for me, for my team, wife and all the crew around me. Finally we are super-happy with the results for KTM today. You don't know how much effort and investment they are putting in the project and for them to finish the year in those positions was amazing.”
Smith: “Some things are just meant to be. I was pushing back to get to bike No.2 just to finish the race because there was only fifteen guys at that point. I did not want to ‘go out’ like that, with a crash and thinking ‘what could have been’: that's not what I’m about. I was running inside the top ten and my ambition this weekend was to get six points so I might be able to beat Pol in the championship. I got eight but he did a fantastic job today. It was obviously great to see and great for the team and all the boys. I’m happy I go out on my ‘high’ this was my best result. I cannot ask for much more.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “For the whole KTM group and Red Bull this was a fantastic day. We knew a result like this would be possible because we were ‘there’ in dry and wet conditions, especially with Pol but Bradley was there as well. To finish the season with a podium and eighth position for Bradley is very nice. It is great that he leaves in that way and we wish him all the best with his future. I don't think we expected this podium but it was super-crazy and for Pol to recover from a crash, come in and focus again and perform again to make the podium is a wonderful story that I don't think anybody would have believed this morning!”
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director): “I said all year that we are better than we could prove on paper because we had injured riders and we were not so lucky. We fell into a big hole in Sachsenring at a time when we were first in warm-up with a new bike and we thought ‘now we’ll make progress’ but Pol injured himself at the next race. Everything went wrong. There was a critical moment two months ago when we looked at the new bike and elements like the chassis and, together with strong people at the factory, we decided to stick to the plan because we were sure we were on the right way. It was important not to lose the direction and today was the first big payback. We had Pol completely free of pain and with a good feeling. In this sport you need super-fit riders to compete on this level. This is a big payback for the whole company. I think every single department in KTM was somehow integrated to make this project work and the whole race team and everybody else put in so many hours. Third place is perhaps more than we expected today but this is the best way to give something back to racing people: a result. It means so much and it is difficult to find the right words how I feel.”
Moto2 & Moto3
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder had already confirmed 2nd and 3rd positions in the 2018 Moto2 FIM World Championship standings and had only their personal podium tallies to work towards in Valencia. For Oliveira it was the last Grand Prix in Moto2 before his switch to the MotoGP class and the Portuguese rode maturely and confidently to record his third triumph of the year. Miguel pursued Alex Marquez and gratefully inherited the lead when the Spaniard tumbled on the last corner. Brad Binder was one of many fallers but KTM enjoyed a 1-2 with Iker Lecuona scaling the podium for the first time in second place. Red Bull KTM Ajo also secured the Team’s crown.
Oliveira: “Alex made a mistake and I was able to cruise until the last lap. It was definitely hard to keep focus. I was trying to control the pace and the advantage. I’m glad we finished the season on a high. It is definitely a nice goodbye to the category and the guys on the team deserve this title because they worked non-stop through race weekends, tests and at the factory. I’m glad for these last three seasons and I want to thank them all. Moving onto KTM and MotoGP I feel ready, I just need time and then we’ll see what happens.”
As usual Moto3 opened the Sunday schedule with the first wet race of the day. In a 23 lap affair in which there was a high rate of attrition with just 20 finishers debutant and rookie Can Oncu made history by taking his KTM RS250 GP to the chequered flag on his very first attempt. Oncu rode consistently and smartly through the rain to become the youngest ever race winner, the first from Turkey and the first to triumph on his maiden GP outing in 27 years. He was joined on the podium by John McPhee, who took his KTM to third position.
Oncu: “I was not taking much risk. I was riding normal. It’s a really nice feeling to write a new story as the youngest rider ever [to win] and to finish on the podium means I am two-times happy! In the Rookies I learned how to fight and to ride the KTM, as well as manage the races and not to crash. To be here was my dream and there are some incredible riders, incredibly fast. I’m ready to see how we will be next year.”
2018 has finished, but ‘2019’ is only hours away. Red Bull KTM will unpack their 2019 RC16 on Monday for Espargaro and debutant Johann Zarco to take their first laps with a view to next season on Tuesday and Wednesday in Valencia.
Results Race MotoGP Ricardo Tormo Circuit 2018
1. Andrea Dovizoso (ITA), Ducati 24:03.408
2. Alex Rins (SPA), Suzuki +2.750
3. Pol Espargaro (SPA), KTM +7.406
4. Michele Pirro (ITA), Ducati +8.647
5. Dani Pedrosa (SPA), Honda + 13.351
8. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM +33.111
Standings MotoGP 2018 after 19 of 19 rounds
1. Marc Marquez, 321 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso, 245
3. Valentino Rossi, 198
4. Maverick Viñales 193
5. Alex Rins 169
14. Pol Espargaro, 51
18. Bradley Smith, 38
Results Race Moto2 Ricardo Tormo Circuit 2018
1. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM 45:07.639
2. Iker Lecuona (SPA), KTM +13.201
3. Alex Marquez (SPA), Kalex +22.175
4. Mattia Pasini (ITA) Kalex +28.892
5. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech 3 +30.106
11. Dominique Aegerter (SWI), KTM
DNF. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM
Standings Moto2 2018 after 19 of 19 rounds
1. Francesco Bagnaia, 306 points
2. Miguel Oliveira, 297
3. Brad Binder, 201
4. Alex Marquez 173
5. Lorenzo Baldassarri 162
Results Race Moto3 Ricardo Tormo Circuit 2018
1. Can Oncu (GBR), KTM 43:06.370
2. Jorge Martin (SPA), Honda +4.071
3. John McPhee (GBR), KTM +6.130
2. Fabio Giannantonio (ITA), Honda +12.897
5. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda +14.735
6. Jaume Masia (SPA), KTM +21.984
9. Marcoz Ramirez (SPA), KTM +33.411
10. Celestino Vietti (ITA), KTM +39.008
Standings Moto3 2018 after 19 of 19 rounds
1. Jorge Martin, 260 points
2. Fabio Giannantonio, 218
3. Marco Bezzecchi, 214
4. Enea Bastianini 177
5. Lorenzo Dalla Porta 151
More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:
DRAMATIC END TO MOVISTAR YAMAHA‘S RUN AT DRENCHED VALENCIA GP
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were unlucky to see both their riders crash out of promising positions at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, after brave efforts of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales in torrential rain. Rossi gave an incredibly impressive performance at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo, riding from 16th to 3rd place in the first race, which was red flagged after 13 laps. During the restart he was set to take 2nd position until a crash at Turn 12 meant the end of his challenge. Earlier on in the first race, pole-setter Viñales also suffered an unfortunate premature halt to his strong pursuit of a podium finish. As his crash happened on lap 12, and the shorterend second race's grid positions were based on the standings at the start of lap 13, he was unable to join the rematch.
Valencia (Spain), 18th November 2018
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team were unlucky to score just three points at the Grand Prix of Valencia today, despite both riders showing a very impressive pace in the wet.
Valentino Rossi had a brilliant start from 16th place at the Valencia Grand Prix, gaining five positions in the first corner alone. Perfectly adapting to the truly wet conditions, he cut through the field and was already in seventh place just two laps into the race.
By overtaking his teammate and with several rivals crashing ahead of him, he found himself in third place just four laps later. The potential podium only made him more hungry for the lead. He pushed hard and closed an over 7s gap to the front in less than seven laps to challenge the front runners, but at the start of lap 14 the race was red flagged due to track conditions.
The Valencia GP resumed with a quick restart procedure at 15:00 local track time (GMT+1). The race would be run over 14 laps, with the starting grid based on the standings as of lap 13, putting the Doctor in third place on the grid.
The Italian had a strong start to the sprint. He firmly held his third position through the first corners, but just as he was about to commence his attack in the second half of the second lap, the rain came bucketing down again. Still, he put the pressure on Álex Rins and made his move on lap 7 to snatch second, and he kept pushing. However, he fell victim to the treacherous conditions three laps later, in Turn 12. Still, the Yamaha rider didn‘t give up. He ran back to his bike and rejoined in 13th position, which he held until the chequered flag came out.
Maverick Viñales started the race from pole and as such had the difficult task of judging where the limits were on the slippery track in the opening lap. Not taking too many risks, he entered the first corner in second place and had to let another contender pass as he got a feel for the conditions.
Though he put up a fight on the first lap, he lost some ground after that and was lapping in eighth place on lap 5, behind his teammate. Together they started to shoot up the ranking order, and the Spaniard got a taste for the hunt by lap 11, clocking his fastest lap of the race. However, just a few moments later his venture came to an early halt when he suffered a sudden high-speed crash. Thankfully he was unharmed, but he was unable to join the restart, as he crashed before the end of lap 12.
Today's results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings. Viñales finished the 2018 season in fourth place. Yamaha came third in the Constructor Championship, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team is also third in the team standings.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Valencian Ricardo Tormo circuit on Tuesday for the first Official IRTA test of the 2019 pre-season.
It's disappointing to end both the race weekend and the season in this manner, especially considering how well Valentino and Maverick were riding in the first race. After this morning's Warm Up, we knew that Vale had a good chance to be competitive at the front, even though he had to start from 16th on the grid. To me his riding was super impressive – he was fighting for the lead! But then the red flags came out, so that meant he had to start from third. He was again strong in the restart, so it's a great shame that he didn't get the result today that matched his pace and also his efforts. Maverick was very unlucky in the first race. He managed to ride around the problems a technical issue was giving him and was competing in fourth place. Had just set a new personal best lap when he crashed at very high speed. Of course, the first priority is that he's OK, and we're glad that he didn't sustain any major injuries. However, it was a pity that he crashed during lap 12 and the restarting grid was based on the results as of the start of lap 13. Clearly this is not the way we wanted to finish the season, but our riders really pushed hard in very difficult conditions today, so we couldn't have asked for more. It was a difficult season overall, but towards the end we made progress, which is the direction we will continue to work in starting from the first official testing days, held this Tuesday and Wednesday.
The feeling was very bad, because the conditions were tricky with four laps to go. We needed this result for my team and Yamaha, to finish the season in a nice way, but unfortunately I made a mistake. It's a great shame. It was a very similar crash to the one in Malaysia. We don't understand very well what happened. Maybe at the end we need to pay more attention. Still, it remained a good performance. Until that moment I enjoyed it, because I was strong, and I remained in third place in the championship, which is important.
After the crash, I feel OK. I have no big injuries, only some pain in my shoulder. Anyway, it's been difficult, because I had a technical problem that didn‘t allow me to be faster at the start of the race. But then I concentrated so well, and I tried to ride very fast. I risked a lot, because for the championship I just needed to be in front of Valentino and he was riding really fast. It was a pity I had this issue, because without it, I would have been at the front fighting with Álex and Dovi. Anyway, we have to be happy that this is the third wet race where we are challenging at the front. I came back very strong from towards the back. Honestly, I'm happy the last five races have been so good. I was consistent and I felt very confident. We understand the bike and found out in which direction we needed to go, and we regained our confidence, so that's something to take away from 2018. It's important to understand what happened at the beginning of the season, so we can be smart and don't make the same mistakes. Now it's important to try the engines during the upcoming test, but I'm very happy with Yamaha. We are excited to start and I'm very motivated!