2016 MotoGP season ends on a high for Lorenzo and Yamaha in Valencia.
Like most of his wins, Jorge Lorenzo gave a stunning performance last weekend and delivered his classic lights-to-flag signature victory in his 250th Grand Prix start. This final race in 2016 also marked the final time the Spanish rider will ride for the Movistar Yamaha outfit before transferring his services to Ducati factory team next season.
Marc Marquez finished the Valencia GP in second position after having issues in the start of the race. The 2016 MotoGP World Champion from Repsol Honda gave a stunning performance to clinch the number 2 position. Andrea Iannone from Ducati secured the final podium position after a superb battle throughout the race up until the penultimate lap with The Doctor, Valentino Rossi from Movistar Yamaha who managed to secured 4th in yesterday’s race.
Yesterday’s race also marked the final time Iannone will race for Ducati before transferring his allegiance to the Suzuki Ecstar team, replacing the vacant spot that was left by Maverick Vinales who will race for the Yamaha factory team next season.
With perfect weather conditions, Lorenzo stormed for the win with textbook performance from his pole position that he obtained on Saturday by decimating the track record. The story was more intense behind the ‘Spartan’ as Iannone benefited the start and launched himself to the 2nd spot by Turn 1. The fight for second was fought with Rossi, Vinales and Dovizioso.
The fight behind Lorenzo gave the Spanish rider the perfect opportunity to walk away from the rest for the win. It was a great battle between Rossi and Iannone but it was Marquez who managed to regain control of his RC213V and slipped pass the two Italians to claim second. The late charge from Marquez also looked like he was able to chase Lorenzo but the race ended with Lorenzo crossing the finish line first.
Maverick Vinales finished his last race with Suzuki in fifth. Dovizioso on the other hand slipped back and fought for P6 with the two Espargaro brothers from Suzuki Ecstar and Monster Yamaha Tech 3. It was Pol who clinched P6 whereas Dovi claimed seventh and Aleix in eighth. This race also marked the final time Pol will race with Tech 3 before moving to KTM and Aleix to Aprilia for the 2017 season.
Bradley Smith from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 delivered brilliantly in the race and secured P9 after a couple of knee surgeries for his injuries acquired in the British GP. This too marks his last race before switching to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team along with his current team mate, Pol Espargaro.
Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) with his “Red” Aprilia completed the top ten results in Valencia. It was an amazing season for the Aprilia rider who made significant progress with the Aprilia MotoGP machine. Bautista will race for Aspar Ducati for the 2017 season.
It was not a perfect weekend for Cal Cructhclow (LCR Honda) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) as both of the Honda riders crashed out of the race.
The news for the hyped and highly-anticipated KTM RC16 MotoGP machine piloted by Mika Kallio did not end with a race finish as the machine suffered from technical issues. With vital information collected throughout the weekend, the Austrian-born outfit will need to work harder than ever if they wish to fight for top spot in 2017.
The start of the 2017 season will commence tomorrow with the shuffling and newly added riders and teams in the first pre-season testing. The most anticipated is of course seeing Jorge Lorenzo in red on top of the Ducati Desmosedici.
It was a hard fought battle between the 2016 Moto2 World Champion, Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) together with Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40) and Tom Lüthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) who gave fans quite a show. In similar style, Zarco won the race by edging away from the other riders towards the end of the race in classic Zarco fashion. Lüthi fought and took P2 where as Morbidelli completed the podium with P3.
Johann Zarco will move up to MotoGP and will be racing for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for the 2017 season. Alex Rins will also move up to MotoGP and will ride for the Suzuki Ecstar outfit.
Brad Binder once again proved to the world why he is the undisputed Moto3 World Champion by winning the race and making it look easy despite suffering technical issues that saw him dropped as far back as P22.
Pole setter Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) stalled his bike at the starting grid and had to start the race from pit lane. There was a violent crash between Francesco Bagnaia (Pull&Bear Aspar Mahindra) and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing) that gave way for Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) to clinch second and also the Rookie of the Year for Moto3. Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) also ran a brilliant race and completed the podium in third.
The day continued onto the night with a prize-giving gala to mark the end of the 2016 season. There were many awards presented that night. The winner recipients of the night were:
- 2016 MotoGP World Champion – Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda)
- 2016 Moto2 World Champion – Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport)
- 2016 Moto3 World Champion – Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
- Top MotoGP Independent Rider – Cal Crutchclow (LCR Honda)
- MotoGP Rookie of the Year – Tito Rabat (Marc VDS)
- Moto2 Rookie of the Year – Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing)
- Moto3 Rookie of the Year – Joan Mir (Leopard Racing)
- BMW M Award for best qualifier for all 3 classes – Marc Marquez, Johann Zarco & Brad Binder
- MotoGP Team World Title – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team
- MotoGP Constructor Title – Honda
- Moto2 Constructor Title – Kalex
- Moto3 Constructor Title – KTM
The night also paid tribute to the fallen rider, Luis Salom, who tragically passed away at the Catalan GP. The tribute included a letter from his family that was read by his manager in honour of the Moto2 star. His number 39 will be retired from the Moto2 category to honour the late magnificent rider.