Motul Grand Prix of the Comunitat Valenciana 2017
Posted on Nov 06, 2017 by Nick Harris
ROUND EIGHTEEN 2017 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY 12TH NOVEMBER
Valencia finale title decider
The curtain falls on a dramatic MotoGP™ season at the sold out final round of 2017 at the Motul Grand Prix of the Comunitat Valenciana in Spain on Sunday. While the ultimate championship winner has still to be decided in the 30 lap race round the 2.489 miles Ricardo Tormo circuit on the outskirts of Valencia, it’s been a really mixed year for the British riders.
Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow is the only MotoGP™ podium finisher on the LCR Honda, while Oban – based Scotsman John McPhee grabbed three podiums in the very competitive Moto3™ class.
Crutchlow, who won the World Supersport race in Valencia eight years ago, looks to finish ninth in the championship after a difficult year with injuries and crashes. It’s been a tough year for Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding riding the GP16 Octo Pramac Ducati. He’s involved in a six man battle for 11th place in the championship and is looking forward as much to the two days test in Valencia next week where he will ride the Gresini Aprilia for the first time replacing Sam Lowes.
It’s also been a tough year for Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith in the new KTM team. The Austrian factory gave him a vote of confidence before the flyaway races and the results are coming as he returns to the circuit where he won the 2010 125cc grand prix. He will have to be on his mettle in the 30 lap race on Sunday with the impressive and experienced KTM test rider Mika Kallio joining him and team-mate Pol Espargaro in the team for the final round.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes makes his final MotoGP™ appearance for the time being at least. He returns to the Moto2™ class next season after a very morale draining debut season in the premier-class with the Aprilia team. How he’d love to go out on a high before returning to the class where he’s been a grand prix winner.
It’s been a hard Grand Prix education for Tarran Mackenzie in the Moto2™ class. The former British Supersport Champion makes his last appearance for the Kiefer Racing team. It promises to be a very sad occasion for the team following the unexpected death of Stefan Kiefer during the Sepang weekend.
Jake Dixon joins Mackenzie in the 27 lap Moto2™ race. He rides the Dynavolt Intact Kalex for his second grand prix appearance of the season.
John McPhee is on the move. The Scotsman leaves the British Talent Honda team, who are going to concentrate on the World Junior Championship next year, to join the CIP Moto KTM team next season. Following his fifth place in Sepang McPhee still has a chance of finishing sixth in the Moto3™ Championship.
Did you know?
This year will be the 19th Grand Prix of Valencia, which has been held every year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit since the first visit in 1999 and below are some facts and stats related to this event:
• This will be the 16th successive year that Valencia has hosted the final race of the season, making it the circuit that has been the venue for the final event of the year on most occasions. It has been the final event of the year throughout the MotoGP era.
• The Valencia circuit is named after Spanish racer Ricardo Tormo, who won the 50cc world title riding for Bultaco in 1978 and 1981. In addition to his 15 Grand Prix victories in the 50cc class he also had 4 wins in the 125cc class. His career ended in 1984 due to leg injuries suffered in a crash whilst test riding. Tormo sadly died from leukaemia in 1998.
• Dani Pedrosa is the most successful rider at the Valencia circuit with six wins; three in MotoGP™, two in 250cc, and one in the 125cc class. The next most successful rider is Jorge Lorenzo with four wins in Valencia, all in the MotoGP™ class.
• The premier-class race at Valencia has been won nine times by Spanish riders; Sete Gibernau won the 500cc race on a Suzuki in 2001; Dani Pedrosa won the MotoGP™ race in 2007, 2009 and 2012; Jorge Lorenzo won in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016; Marc Marquez won three years ago.
• The last non-Spanish rider to win the MotoGP™ race in Valencia was Casey Stoner in 2011.
• Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP™ formula in 2002, Honda has been the most successful manufacturer with eight victories at the Valencia circuit; the last time was with Marc Marquez in 2014.
• Yamaha has had five MotoGP™ wins at the Valencia circuit, including last two years with Jorge Lorenzo.
• Ducati have had two MotoGP™ wins in Valencia: with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2008.
• Andrea Iannone’s third place finish last year was the first podium at Valencia by a Ducati rider since Stoner finished second in 2010.
• Suzuki’s only podium at Valencia in the MotoGP™ era is a third place finish with John Hopkins in 2007.
• The MotoGP™ race at Valencia has only once been won by a rider who has not qualified on the front row - Marc Marquez won the race in 2014 from fifth place on the grid.
• At least one of the three classes at the Valencia Grand Prix has been won by a Spanish rider for the last eight years.
• There has never been a year when the three world championship winners have all won their respective races at the final event of the season since it has been held in Valencia.
• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place in Valencia have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Karel Abraham, 2011 – Michele Pirro, 2012 – Marc Marquez, 2013 – Nico Terol, 2014 – Tom Luthi, 2015 – Tito Rabat and 2016 – Johann Zarco.
• The five Moto3™races that have taken place in Valencia have been won by five different riders, all of them riding KTM machinery: 2012 – Danny Kent, 2013 – Maverick Viñales, 2014 – Jack Miller 2015 - Miguel Oliveira and 2016 – Brad Binder.
• The last rider to win the lightweight-class grand prix at Valencia from pole position was Julian Simon in 2009.
Final race showdown in MotoGP™
• Following his victory in Malaysia, Andrea Dovizioso arrives at the final race of the year with a 21 point deficit in the world championship classification. If Dovizioso wins the race in Valencia, then Marc Marquez will need to finish 11th or better to take the world title.
• Since the motorcycle Grand Prix world championship series was introduced in 1949 there have been seventeen occasions previously that the premier-class title has been decided at the final race of the year.
• Only three riders have overturned a points’ deficit in the final race of the year to become premier-class world champion; Wayne Rainey in 1992, Nicky Hayden in 2006 and Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
• The largest deficit any rider has overturned at the final race of the year to win the premier-class world title is eight points by Nicky Hayden in 2006.
• If Marquez wins the championship, he will be the youngest ever rider to win four premier-class world titles and the youngest rider to win six world titles across all classes.
• If Andrea Dovizioso wins the championship, he will be the oldest champion of the MotoGP era and the oldest premier-class champion since Mick Doohan in 1998.
Never say never - The final showdown
It would be the shock of the century if he did it, but never say never in MotoGP™. Can Andrea Dovizioso turn round the massive 21 points advantage held by current champion Marc Marquez at the final round of this incredible MotoGP™ season at the Motul Grand Prix of the Communitat of Valenciana in Spain on Sunday? It’s a big ask but so much has happened in the previous 17 rounds don’t rule it out.
Both riders have won six grands prix this season in some epic battles but Marquez arrives at the 2.489 miles Ricardo Tormo circuit on the outskirts of Valencia a clear favourite to retain his world crown and clinch his sixth world title on the Repsol Honda. Simply, if Dovizioso brings the factory Ducati team their seventh win of the season Marquez has to finish 11th or above to retain his crown. It would take a Marquez breakdown or crash for this to happen. Their respective records at the tight Ricardo circuit are very different. Marquez has won in Moto2™ and MotoGP™, finished second for the last two years and clinched his first MotoGP™ title four years ago in 2013 when he finished third. Dovizioso finished second in the 2004 125 cc race, has secured only one MotoGP™ podium in 2011 and has finished seventh for the last two years.
It’s the team-mates of the championship contenders that have superb Valencia records. Marquez’s team-mate Dani Pedrosa has won six times including three MotoGP™ victories, while Dovizioso's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has four MotoGP™ victories including the last two years on a Yamaha before his switch to Ducati. Do these two have a part to play in the 30 lap showdown on Sunday?
Former Moto3™ and 125cc winner Maverick Vinales has secured third place in the championship for the Movistar Yamaha team while his team-mate Valentino Rossi holds a 12 point advantage over Pedrosa in their battle for fourth. Frenchman Johann Zarco looks to crown a superb MotoGP™ rookie season by taking his third podium of the season on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. He has already been crowned Rookie of the Year and the top Independent rider and returns to Valencia where he won the Moto2™ race last year. It’s also a MotoGP™ farewell to Loris Baz, Hector Barbara and Sam Lowes.
Franco Morbidelli clinched the Moto2™ World title with his third place in Sepang before he steps up to MotoGP™ next year. His championship rival Tom Luthi misses out after breaking his ankle in a qualifying crash in Sepang. Luthi joins Morbidelli in MotoGP next season. The KTM duo of Miquel Oliveira and Brad Binder chase the Austrian factories third successive Moto2™ win. Both are former Moto3™ winners in Valencia.
Impressive Spaniard Joan Mir chases his 11th Moto3™ victory of the season before moving up to Moto2™ next season after clinching the Moto3™ crown in Australia. Romano Fenati has secured second place on his return to racing, while Aaron Canet holds a 21 point advantage over Jorge Martin in their fight for third.
BT Sport 2
Friday 10 November: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Saturday 11 November: 8.00am – 3.15pm
Sunday 12 November: 7.30am – 3.00pm
Highlights Monday 13 November 19.00pm
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.