Eight months after the start of the 2018 championship season, which kicked off at the Losail circuit in Qatar in March, the MotoGP teams and riders have arrived in Spain for the nineteenth and final round of the season, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, which is held every year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of Valencia.
Thanks to the results obtained in the previous round at Sepang, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati come to Valencia with second place in the Riders’ and Constructors’ standings firmly in the bag, while Jorge Lorenzo intends to conclude his partnership with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer in the best possible way, despite the aftermath of his recent injury. In any case 2018 has been another positive year for Ducati with six wins to its name – three for each rider – together with four seconds and two thirds.
Dovizioso has ten starts to his name at Valencia in MotoGP, with his best result being a third place in 2011, while last year the Italian rider crashed six laps from the end while in third place. Jorge Lorenzo has taken part in nine editions of the Valencia GP, winning four of them and demonstrating total supremacy in 2015 and 2016.
It will be the third race of the year on the Desmosedici GP for Michele Pirro, after Misano and the Sepang round, where he replaced Lorenzo. The Italian rider has taken part in five Valencia GPs in the MotoGP category, scoring a best result of fifth in 2012, while the year before Michele was able to win in Moto2.
Ducati has scored two MotoGP wins at Valencia, with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2008.
After 18 races, Dovizioso is second overall in the Riders’ standings with 220 points while Lorenzo lies in tenth with 130. Pirro, who has taken part in just two races this season, is in twenty-seventh place with 1 point.
The Valencia weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 09.55 CET, while the 27-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (220 points)
“Sixth place at Sepang meant that I finished second in the championship and we wanted to bring home this very important result at all costs. Now at Valencia we come up against a track where in the past we have struggled quite a bit: this year however I expect us to be fast and the race will also be an important test to understand in which areas we have to improve to be more competitive next year.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 10th (130 points)
“We have arrived at the last race of the season and even though I still won’t be 100% fit, I would really like to finish my adventure in Ducati with a good result. It’s difficult to know what condition my left wrist will be in, but luckily I feel much better than in Sepang and on Friday morning I’ll go out on track with the hope that I won’t have too much pain and that I can be competitive. My two years in Ducati have been very intense and I’d really like to say goodbye to my team with a good race. For sure our fans, who always come out in force at Cheste, will also help to make this weekend special.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 27th (1 point)
“I’m happy to be back on track for the last round of the season and be able to work all weekend with my squad and the guys in the test team. As always, we’ll try and do a good job and bring home as much information as possible. We recently went testing here at Valencia and so we’ve got a good starting base. Let’s hope we can enjoy ourselves and finish - with a good race - a season that after my crash at Mugello has seen me recover really well.”
The Valencia circuit
The Ricardo Tormo Circuit at Cheste, which was built in 1999, hosted its first Grand Prix the same year. The track has several different configurations, with varying lengths, and all of them lap in a counter-clockwise direction. Although the track itself is relatively tight and compact, the massive grandstands all around can contain more than 150,000 spectators. The circuit layout helps to create a unique atmosphere, both for the riders and the enthusiastic Spanish fans, who always fill the stadium for the last GP of the season.
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Circuit Record: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’31.171 (158.1 km/h) - 2016
Best Pole: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Top Speed: Dovizioso (Ducati) 335.9 km/h - 2015
Track Length: 4.0 km
Race Distance: 27 laps (108.1 km)
Corners: 14 (9 left, 5 right)
Race Start: 14.00 CET
Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:59 Published in Rider and Team Releases
13-year-old Jonathan Finn began the 2017 season on April 23rd in Valencia, Spain competing in the Spanish RFME Campeonato de España de Velocidad national championship at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia. The Bushell Park, SK teen is competing in the 85GP class this year as he starts his second year of racing internationally.
“Racing in the RFME CEV is definitely a huge step in my racing career and the level of competition here is tough, but I know I can compete with these guys,” said Finn. “My XCtech team and I tested here at Valencia the weekend prior to the race so I could get to know the track, continue to get comfortable on the bike and work on the setup for this weekend’s race."
After a solid qualifying practice, Finn went to work focusing on the overall race objective set out by the team of lowering his lap times and completing his first RFME CEV race. “I got a great start off the line and felt comfortable to push myself and the bike as the race progressed,” said Finn. Unfortunately, due to an electrical issue on the last lap, Finn lost power and would eventually have to retire from the race.
“Not being able to finish my first race here in Spain is disappointing. I feel bad for the entire XCtech team who have been working hard to help me adjust, but technical issues can happen and it’s part of racing,” Finn stated.
Finn’s progression in the RFME CEV has been evident according to XCtech team boss Xavi Jimenez. “Dealing with a new bike, world championship circuits and racing against some of the best at this level in the world is a big step for all foreign riders coming into the series. Jonathan is a mature and dedicated rider who is adapting well to the bike and we are very happy with his progress,” said Jimenez.
Finn will be returning home to Canada to continue to train and prepare for the next round of the RFME CEV Championship at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya in late May. While at home, Finn is also working on securing sponsorship support for the season. “Its no secret that racing at this level costs money. I am lucky to have my family and sponsors that have been with me for the last few years supporting me, but there is still more support that we need to have to keep this opportunity moving forward.”
Jonathan Finn competes with support from Canadian Tire - Cobourg, Arai Helmet Americas, Bickle Racing, Impact Safe-T Armor, Sidi Sport, SPY and DeCal Works.
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 11:19 Published in Reports, Results & Points
In his 250th Grand Prix start, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo said goodbye to that title in stunning style, as the ‘Spartan’ took a lights-to-flag signature victory in his final appearance in blue. A record-breaking pole saw the Spaniard then escape at the front, holding off a late charge from reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). An Italian battle royale decided the final podium place, with Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) taking P3 on the penultimate lap.
Under the blue skies of a long-awaited dry race day, Lorenzo got the holeshot from pole, but it was Iannone who was the big winner into Turn 1 as the Italian blasted through on the inside to take second. With the ‘Spartan’ imperious at the front, Iannone led the chase as Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) joined him in the battle behind the lead, after the number 93 suffered a bad start off the line.
After getting past Viñales, Rossi and Iannone fought it out at the head of the second group as the number 99 began to disappear into the distance, with Marquez and the number 25 in close company. As Rossi got to the head of the chasers, Iannone hit back again – and so began Round 2. It was the ‘Maniac’ who initially came out on top, before Marquez saw his shot and got through – gapping the fight to start a charge after Lorenzo at the front, eventually cutting more than three seconds off the number 99's lead.
The podium decider was left to a brutal, classic battle between Iannone and Rossi - with the rider from Tavullia seeming to have got the better of his younger compatriot, until Iannone hit back with an aggressive move that also gave him a gap he was able to hold onto over the line. Viñales completed his final weekend with Suzuki in P5.
Dovizioso eventually dropped slightly back from the front group into the clutches of Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and brother Pol (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) to fight for P6 after grip issues - with the younger brother Pol finally taking the honours over the line in a photo-finish against Dovizioso, and Aleix seeing the flag in eighth.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) unfortunately suffered a crash to bid adieu to his fantastic latter half of 2016 – but he takes the title of Top Independent rider although bettered by Pol Espargaro on the day. Crutchlow’s compatriot Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had another impressive ride as he gets back to fitness following a crash ahead of the British GP and two knee surgeries, taking P9 in his final race with Tech 3 before he moves to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
Alvaro Bautista had a stunning ride in his final race with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini in their special “Red” livery, completing the top ten to round out a year of impressive progress.
Returning Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa crashed out after an impressive weekend despite a recent collarbone break, and wildcard Mika Kallio, debuting the new KTM RC16, was sadly unable to see the flag after technical trouble - but the Austrian factory now head into the 2017 pre-season with vital information after lining up for the first time.
After a history-making 2016, MotoGP will return in pre-season testing on Tuesday - with Lorenzo in red at Ducati as the pack shuffles and prepares its hand for another incredible season of motorcycle racing.
Monday, 14 November 2016 10:29 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led from lights off to the checkered flag to win both the battle and the war, earning his third career MotoGP World Championship and his fifth career world crown with victory at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain today. Lorenzo experienced almost race-long pressure from the Repsol Honda of outgoing two-time world champ Marc Marquez, as well as a late race push from on-form Dani Pedrosa on the second Honda, to earn his crown.
Sunday, 08 November 2015 13:12 Published in News
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took the upper hand in the epic 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship battle against his teammate and title rival Valentino Rossi after claiming his fifth pole position of the season. The Mallorcan set the fastest ever MotoGP™ lap around the Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo in near perfect conditions (Track temp. 30˚C), a 1’31.011. In the process he smashed Marc Marquez’s Pole Record (1’30.237) from 2013 by over two-tenths of a second. Lorenzo said afterwards it was the most important lap of his life as he aims to overturn the seven-point advantage Rossi holds in the championship standings in #TheGrandFinale on Sunday. it was his 61st career GP pole position, and his 35th in MotoGP™.
Lorenzo set his fastest time on the second of his three runs as he made use of a two-stop strategy. The Spaniard is brilliant at managing races from the front and by starting on pole he has made the task of winning the Championship that much easier, as he aims to make it four wins out of four in Spain for 2015 after winning in Jerez, Barcelona and Aragon. Although don’t write Rossi off yet.
The ‘Doctor’ (+1.460s), who has to start from the back of the grid after the CAS denied his stay of execution on his penalty from Sepang, ended the session in 12th after crashing out on his last flying lap at turn 8 but walked away unhurt. It was only Rossi’s second crash of the season, and served notice to anyone that thought the Italian would not be pushing hard in Q2.
The only man who looked like he might displace Lorenzo at the top was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (+0.488s). The Spaniard rode his RC213V to the absolute limit, having a number of huge moments, but even he could not deny Lorenzo in the end. Marquez was the only rider to get within half a second of Lorenzo, as he was another to utilise a two-stop strategy, recording his 16th front row start of the season in the process.
Dani Pedrosa made it two Repsol Honda’s on the front row as he qualified in third, but he was +0.505s off the pace of Lorenzo. Pedrosa holds a two-point advantage over Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) in the battle for fourth in the standings, after winning two of the last three races. The Spaniard also has an excellent record at Valencia having won six races across all classes and should be a threat during Sunday’s race.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro (+0.906s) will start from the head of the front row in fourth in his best qualifying performance since Assen. The Spaniard’s feat was made even more impressive by the fact he was forced to progress through Q1 after ending practice in 11th on the combined timesheets.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.937s) qualified in fifth for the third race in a row as he was one of only five riders the break the 1’31 barrier in Q2. The Brit had been struggling with grip on Friday but improved to put in his best lap time on his final flying run to start as the leading Satellite rider.
Just 0.064s behind Crutchlow was his compatriot Bradley Smith (+1.001s) on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 in sixth. The British rider secured his first second row start since Misano as he aims to secure sixth in the standings from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Iannone (+1.045) heads up the third row after he failed to improve on his best time from Practice that had seen him top the combined timesheets after FP3. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will start from eighth, with Dovizioso in ninth and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) completing the top ten.
Maverick Viñales will start from 11th after he also made it through from Q1 alongside his teamate despite a nasty looking highside during that session, with Rossi completing the fourth row in 12th and Ducati Team wildcard Michele Pirro in 13th.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera will start as the leading Satellite rider in 15th, ahead of the man he leads in the standings by five points, Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, in 16th. American Nicky Hayden qualified in 17th as the leading Open class Honda in his last MotoGP™ race before he moves to WorldSBK in 2016, after he was inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame on Friday in Valencia.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding continued his struggles from practice and could only qualify in 20th, ahead of Australian Jack Miller (LCR Honda) in 21st and Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 24th.
Anthony West (AB Motoracing) filling in for the injured Karel Abraham was in 23rd, while Alex De Angelis’ replacement Broc Parkes (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) finished the session in 26th.
Saturday, 07 November 2015 12:10 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Four days from now, we should know who has won the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. I say “should" since protests and ongoing legal wrangling might delay the official results.
This type of behavior is rare in bike racing, more likely in automotive competition. However the days following October 25 and the penultimate 2015 season round in Malaysia have confirmed that we live in interesting times.
Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:57 Published in Colin Fraser