Grand Prix Generali De La Comunitat Valencia 2014
Posted on Nov 03, 2014 by Nick Harris
ROUND EIGHTEEN 2014 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - SUNDAY 9 NOVEMBER
Bradley Smith’s last grand prix victory came four years ago at the Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo circuit in Spain and he returns on Sunday fighting for sixth place in the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship.
That last win for the Oxfordshire rider came in the 125cc race and this year he arrives fighting for sixth place in the MotoGP World Championship after a recent run of top results including third place in the Tissot Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago. He trails his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team mate Pol Espargaro by seven points in their fight for sixth with Pol’s older brother Aleix just two points behind Smith who was fifth at the previous round in Malaysia. Despite a broken bone in his foot Pol was a brave sixth with Aleix failing to finish for the second race in succession.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding signs off an impressive first MotoGP season after finishing runner-up in the Moto2™ World Championship last year. Redding is the leading Open Class Honda in this year’s 18 round championship in 12th place and returns next year with a factory supported Honda riding for his old Moto2 Marc VDS team.
Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow makes his last appearance for the factory Ducati team after a season which is summed up by his last three results. Crashes and mechanical problems have prevented him finishing those grands prix despite a front row start and a podium at the previous round in Aragon. He will test the LCR Honda for his new team at Valencia on Monday.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty could be making his last MotoGP ride with his Paul Bird Motorsport team leaving the MotoGP World Championship next season to concentrate all their efforts in the British Superbike Championship. He arrives in Valencia after points scoring rides at the last two grands prix.
The former World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes has endured an up and down baptism in the Moto2 World Championship. The Lincolnshire rider is 14th in the championship riding the Speed Up machine and has a chance of at least moving up to 12th. German Jonas Folger is on equal points while Dutch TT Winner Ant West is only five points in front. It’s also been a tough year for Londoner Gino Rea but he’s battled on riding the AGT REA Racing Suter. He’s been rewarded with a Moto2 entry next year.
Wiltshire based Danny Kent’s last grand prix victory came in Valencia two years ago when he won the final round of the Moto3™ World Championship. He returned to the class this year on the Red Bull Ajo Husqvarna and has hit top form in the second half of the season, including two podium finishes, a pole and a fourth at the previous round in Malaysia. He is currently ninth in the championship but could still finish seventh.
Twenty year old Scotsman John McPhee is still chasing that elusive first podium on Sunday. He crashed out on the last lap in Malaysia while contesting the lead after finishing fourth and fifth in the two previous races. Riding the SaxoPrint RTG Honda he will be right up there again on Sunday.
Marquez versus Miller – the final showdown
It promises to be the shoot-out of the season with eighteen year old Spaniard Alex Marquez versus 19 year old Australian Jack Miller to decide the Moto3 World title at the final round in Valencia on Sunday. For the 17 previous rounds these two teenagers have swapped paint work and words in an explosive battle that comes to a head round the 2.489 miles Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Marquez, younger brother of MotoGP World Champion Marc, must be favourite to secure the title. Riding the Estrella Galicia Honda he holds a precious 11 point lead over Miller. He has won three grands prix and before finishing fifth at the previous round in Malaysia after a typical fairing bashing finish, he’d grabbed five consecutive podiums. After losing his championship lead for the first time in Japan Miller has fought back in typical style finishing first and second in Australia and Malaysia. Riding the Red Bull Ajo KTM he looked a likely world champion after winning three of the opening five races. Both depart to fresh pastures next season. Marquez to Moto2 and Miller to MotoGP – both want to leave as the world champion.
The problem for both of the championship contenders is that a Moto3 race and especially the last three laps is more like a street brawl which you just have to get involved in to secure vital championship points. Throw in winners this season Alex Rins, Efren Vazquez, Romano Fenati and Alexis Masbou plus the likes of Enea Bastianini, Danny Kent, Brad Binder, John McPhee and Miguel Oliveira and anything can happen.
Marc Marquez returns to Valencia where he clinched the MotoGP World title last year with no such worries this time. The Repsol Honda rider clinched the 2014 title in Japan and is chasing his 13th win of the season and a record breaking 14th pole position. The real battle is for second place in the championship with the rejuvenated Valentino Rossi defending a 12 point advantage over his Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. Both are in superb form. Apart from his Aragon crash, nine times World Champion Rossi has finished on the podium at the last seven races including two wins. Lorenzo has finished on the podium at the last nine including two wins. Lorenzo has won twice in Valencia including last year with Rossi’s two MotoGP wins coming in 2003/4.
Dani Pedrosa has slipped to fourth after failing to finish the last two grands prix but wants to finish on a high at the circuit where he has three MotoGP wins. Andrea Dovizioso is safe in fifth after a tremendous season on the factory Ducati but behind him it’s a very different story. Just nine points separate Pol Espargaro, his Monster Tech 3 team-mate Bradley Smith and his older brother Aleix. Behind them Stefan Bradl, on his last ride for LCR Honda and Andrea Iannone, who missed Malaysia with an injured arm, are separated by just seven points. Suzuki make a welcome Grand Prix return after a three year absence with Randy De Puniet entered as a wild card before their full scale return next season.
Frenchman Regis Laconi won the first 500cc grand prix race at the Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo circuit in 1999. It was his one and only grand prix victory. Riding the Yamaha he won the 25 lap race from Kenny Roberts Junior with his team-mate Australian Garry McCoy in third place. Tohru Ukawa won the 250 cc race and Italian Gianluigi Scalvini the 125, which he followed with his second only grand prix victory two rounds later in Australia.
The Comunitat Valenciana circuit is named after the former 50cc World Champion Ricardo Tormo. The local rider won the 50cc World title in 1978 for the Spanish Bultaco factory and also seven Spanish Championships in both 50 and 125cc classes. He died in 1998 from leukemia after a long fight against the illness.
The 2.489 miles circuit, which has staged the final round of the MotoGP World Championship since 2002, is renowned for close finishes. In 2011 newly crowned MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner beat American Ben Spies by just 0.015 s in a dramatic race to the finishing line. It was fifth closest finish in the history of the class.
Tom Luthi, Stefan Bradl and Nick Hayden have won their respective world titles at the last round in Valencia. In 2005 Luthi clinched the 125cc world title by finishing ninth at the final round in the race won by Mika Kallio. One year later Nicky Hayden secured his historic MotoGP World title after finishing third in the 30 lap MotoGP race behind the Ducatis of Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi. In 2011 Stefan Bradl clinched the Moto2 World Championship even before the race started when Marc Marquez was forced to pull out because of injury.
Dani Pedrosa is the most successful rider at the circuit. The Honda rider has won six times – three in MotoGP, two in 250 and one 125cc in 2002. Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi have won two MotoGP races. Stoner also won the 2003 125cc race which was the first grand prix victory for the double MotoGP World Champion. The Australian went on to win 44 grands prix before his retirement in 2012.
Facts and Figures
Circuit Length: 4.005 kms/2.489 miles
Pole Position: Right
Longest Straight: 876m/0.544 miles
Left Corners: Nine
Right Corners: Five
Pole Position Record: Marc Marquez/Honda 1.30.237 (2013)
Lap Record: Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1'31.628 (2013)
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
Friday 7th November
8.00am – Grand Prix of Valencia – FP1 - LIVE
12.00am – Grand Prix of Valencia – FP2 - LIVE
Saturday 8th November
8.00am – Grand Prix of Valencia – Free Practice/Qualifying - LIVE
Sunday 9th November
9.30am – Grand Prix of Valencia - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races - LIVE
Tuesday 11th November
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: (BT Sport 1)
Monday 10th November
8.00pm – MotoGP Highlights Programme