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
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales pushed to the max during today’s Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, putting on a brave ride from 11th on the grid to 4th position over the finish line. Valentino Rossi had a heroic run at the Sepang International Circuit, but it ended in heartbreak on lap 17 when he crashed out of the lead. He was able to rejoin the race and took the chequered flag in 18th place.
Viñales started from 11th on the grid and soon found himself in 10th position. After warming up his tyres on the first two laps, he began his charge. His pace was as strong as the front group, meaning he had no problems cutting through the field, though there was a lot of ground to be made up.
With nine laps to go he took over sixth place from Andrea Dovizioso. The Spaniard didn’t waste any time to also pass Dani Pedrosa. He was trying to close the gap to Álex Rins but was unable to catch him. As his teammate at the front made a small mistake, Viñales crossed the line in fourth place, 4.667s from first.
Rossi had a perfect start from second, taking the hole shot and holding the lead superbly. He had a stunning consistent pace that allowed him to make a clean getaway from his pursuers.
Though his advantage went up and down over the first half of the race, there was no one who could really reach Rossi at the front, let alone make an attempt at passing the nine-time World Champion. However, in the final ten laps the heat and the tyre degradation meant Marc Márquez was closing in.
The Doctor responded by picking up the pace and defended his first place brilliantly, but a small mishap in Turn 1 on lap 17 caused him to slide down the tarmac. He was able to rejoin the race in 18th place and finished in the same position, 58.288s from first.
Today's results see Rossi hold on to third position in the championship standings with a 25-point gap to second. Viñales, in fourth place, reduced the gap to his teammate to 2 points. Yamaha is still in third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Malaysia, with a 38-point margin to second, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in second position in the team standings, with now a 39-point gap to first.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in two weeks' time for the final showdown of 2018, the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, held from November 16th - 18th.
Sunday, 04 November 2018 14:34 Published in Rider and Team Releases
From seventh on the grid to the 70th win in his career: In Malaysia, Marc Marquez took his ninth win this season and his 44th in MotoGP, earning Honda its 24th Premier Class Constructors Title. Furthermore, thanks to today’s win of newly crowned Moto3 World Champion Jorge Martin, Honda has achieved also the Moto3 Constructor Title bringing its tally to 69 over all classes, a record in the Championship’s history.
Such were the numbers, but today’s competition was also another master class race for the 2018 MotoGP World Champion, who recovered from the third row of the grid to second place within five laps of the start before beginning a long chase of erstwhile leader Valentino Rossi. Marc was preparing for what seemed certain would be a battle for the victory when the Italian slipped off four laps from the end.
On the other side of the garage, Dani Pedrosa matched his best result of this season, taking fifth place after displaying a strong pace during the race.
Now the Repsol Honda Team will pack up and fly back to Europe, where Marc will pay a visit to the Honda stand at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday before heading home to Spain.
Sunday, 04 November 2018 14:30 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Today Marc Marquez took an historic 80th pole position across all classes, despite the tricky conditions that affected qualifying day at Sepang. Nonetheless, he’ll start tomorrow’s race from seventh place on the grid after being sanctioned with a six-place penalty.
Fair weather is rarely an enduring condition in Malaysia. After enjoying two sunny sessions yesterday and a further dry FP3 stint this morning (in which Dani Pedrosa advanced from 11th to fourth place, earning a direct passage to Q2), the MotoGP field encountered the weekend’s first rain in FP4, ultimately topped by Marquez.
That shower was just a warning, as heavy rain soon followed, forcing Race Direction to postpone qualifying proceedings by over an hour. Q2 started at 4:30 p.m. and Marc was able to set a time that proved untouchable for his opponents, despite the fact that a tumble at turn four in the final minutes of the session prevented him from further improving. Dani ended the session in 10th place.
The unfavourable weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon prompted Race Direction to also reschedule Sunday’s proceedings, moving the Moto3 race up to 10 a.m., the Moto2 race to 11:20 a.m. and the MotoGP race to 1 p.m. local time.
Saturday, 03 November 2018 12:25 Published in Rider and Team Releases
One year, four months, three days. That’s how long Yamaha have waited to taste a MotoGP™ victory but at long last, at the Michelin® Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) crossed the line in P1 to lift the curse.
Sunday, 28 October 2018 13:26 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) wrapped up a sensational seventh World Championship title at the home of Honda after claiming a stunning victory at the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, a race-long battle with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) ended with the latter crashing out of contention at Turn 10 with two laps to go, handing the title to the number 93.
Dovizioso got the perfect launch from P1 on the line as Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) came into off the front row. Meanwhile, Marquez kept the inside line from P6 to get himself into P3 before dispatching Miller at Turn 9 for P2 – Dovi’s qualifying advantage disappearing after half a lap.
Crutchlow then got past Miller to latch onto Marquez and Dovi, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) making a great start from P9 to get himself up to fourth as he passed Miller into Turn 11.
The three at the front then put the hammer down as Dovizioso slammed in a 1:45.7 on lap 6, Crutchlow and Marquez kept tabs on the Italian but fourth place Rossi suddenly found himself over eight tenths back. The pace was fluctuating but the leading trio started to edge away from the nine-time World Champion bit by bit, who in turn had two Team Suzuki Ecstar riders right on his tailpipes.
With 11 to go, the two Hamamatsu factory machines passed Rossi and were closing in on the front three, with fifth place Alex Rins setting a lap nearly a second quicker than race leader Dovizioso. Then, Marquez made his first move on lap 14 at Turn 9, but on the exit of Turn 10 he ran wide and onto the dirt, kicking up plenty of dust to hamper his exit, allowing Dovizioso to re-take the lead into Turn 11. The Suzukis were firmly in the fray at this point but then disaster struck for Andrea Iannone, the Italian crashing out at Turn 10.
With eight to go, Dovizioso and Marquez exchanged 1:45s with Crutchlow a whisper behind – a 1:46 flat, but a 0.5 second gap appeared between the LCR rider and Marquez. A lap later the number 35 was two tenths slower as the front two started to make the decisive break, with Rins ready to pounce on Crutchlow. Dovi’s intent was clear: a fastest lap of the race, hammer firmly down and the pin pulled.
And so it was, Dovizioso vs Marquez on the final five laps. Marquez sat behind the Desmosedici before making a move into P1 at Turn 9 – no immediate reply for Dovi. With three to go the Ducati was swarming, but there was no way past with two to go.
Then, a huge moment and one that decided the 2018 title. Pushing hard to keep with Marquez, Dovi tucked the front of his GP18 at Turn 10 with just over two laps to go, crashing out of the race to leave Marquez with a healthy margin to Crutchlow and Rins. The number 93 taking title number seven at the home of Honda, his eighth win of the season.
Crutchlow held off Rins for P2 at the line, with Rins less than two tenths behind the British rider to secure a phenomenal home podium for Suzuki. Rossi brought his YZR-M1 home in a second consecutive P4, with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) claiming P5 in Japan after a strong latter half to the race – an equal best result of the season for the Spaniard. Zarco couldn’t recover from a difficult start, he ended P6, with fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) seventh.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line eighth on his last Grand Prix visit to Japan, the ‘Little Samurai’ having a healthy five-second gap back to ninth place Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – the Italian losing ground to Crutchlow and Zarco in the Independent Team Championship. Battle of the rookies was won by tenth place Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), the Malaysian beating Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) by less than a second.
Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and teammate Pol Espargaro were line astern in P12 and P13, with Yamaha wildcard Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamalube Yamaha Factory Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claiming home turf points in P14 and P15 respectively.
Miller crashed midway through the race, with Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) also crashing – riders ok. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) retired in the early stages.
Sunday, 21 October 2018 19:16 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso powered to a splendid pole position this afternoon in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held tomorrow at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. The Italian, who had also been quickest in the morning’s FP3 run, then went out in Q2, in which he set a time of 1’44.590 in his second exit. Today’s pole is the second of the season for Dovizioso, his seventh in MotoGP and also the seventh pole of the 2018 season for Ducati.
The Japanese GP will get underway tomorrow afternoon at 14.00 local time (07.00 CET) and will be held over a distance of 24 laps.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’44.590)
“My qualifying session went very well and I’m happy with the feeling I had during my pole run. We’ve got a good pace, but so has Marquez and not only him. I think we still have to improve something if we want to fight for the win tomorrow, so we’ll analyse the data to see what the tyre wear is like, because probably we’ll be able to adopt a different strategy than in the last two races, where we had to save the tyre for the final few laps. We went strongly both with the soft and the medium, and we haven’t decided yet which one to use. I want to thank my team for their great job, because with a few small modifications we were able to make a big improvement and in qualifying I did a really great lap. This morning my aim was to set a time of 1’44.6 and I ended up lapping in 1’44.5!”
Saturday, 20 October 2018 16:43 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Andrea Dovizioso headed the field on the opening day of free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, which will be held this weekend at the Motegi circuit. The Ducati Team’s Italian rider was the quickest in the morning’s dry FP1 session with a time of 1’45.353, and he then opted not to go out on track again in FP2 because of the rain that fell in the early afternoon.
This morning Jorge Lorenzo only completed two laps of the Japanese circuit before returning to the pits to stop because of the pain in his left wrist, which was injured in a crash two weeks ago at Buriram. The Spanish rider yesterday underwent a CT scan in Utsunomiya Hospital which unfortunately was not positive for his ongoing recovery from the hairline fracture. In the evening Lorenzo will have a further MR scan which should give medical staff all the information necessary to decide on the best possible treatment for the rider to speed up his recovery and determine how much time will be required before he returns to the races.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st (1’45.353)
“This morning we immediately started off very well in the FP1 session and my feeling was very good. For the race we will still have to improve but starting off with such a good base on Friday morning really makes a difference. We already know what to work on and the braking is surely the most important aspect in this circuit. We didn’t go out in the afternoon, even though we wanted to try a few things, but the track conditions made it too much of a risk to try and push hard. In any case our Desmosedici GP works particularly well here at Motegi and tomorrow we hope to find the track dry so as to be able to work for the race.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99)
“After doing as much as possible to quickly recover from the injury to my wrist caused by the crash in Thailand, today I tried to go out on track to see how I felt on the bike. Yesterday my feelings weren’t very positive and unfortunately today I had confirmation not only of the pain that the riding was giving me, but also that there was a serious risk of making the fracture worse. It’s a real pity not to be able to race here because Motegi is a circuit that I like a lot, it adapts well to the characteristics of the bike and I wanted to score a good result. I feel really bad for my team and for the fans, but now I only have to be patient and try and recover as best as possible to be ready in Australia or in Malaysia.”
Friday, 19 October 2018 16:53 Published in Rider and Team Releases
Championship leader and Dovi went head-to-head once more as Viñales and Yamaha make a welcome return to the podium.
Sunday, 07 October 2018 16:13 Published in Reports, Results & Points
It will be a front row start for Andrea Dovizioso in the inaugural Thailand Grand Prix, which is being held this weekend at the Buriram circuit. The Ducati Team rider, fastest in both the morning’s FP3 session and FP4 in the afternoon, then went third quickest in the all-important Q2 run with a best time of 1’30.227, just a fraction behind poleman Marquez and Rossi.
Following yesterday’s crash in FP2 his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on the other hand did not go out on track today. The results of the scan he underwent in Buriram hospital revealed that the Spanish rider, as well as the bruising to his right ankle and his left wrist, also suffered a hairline fracture of the distal radius of his left arm. In agreement with medical staff and his team, Jorge decided not to take part in today’s sessions and tomorrow’s race so as not to incur any further risks and to try and recover with the aim of being 100% fit for the GP of Japan in two weeks’ time.
The Thailand GP, which will be run over a distance of 26 laps, will get underway tomorrow at 09.00 CET (14.00 local time).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 3rd (1’30.227)
“Qualifying went really well: my goal was to start from the front row and on this type of track that’s never easy. I knew that we were quick enough, but putting in a clean lap when there are many riders out there is always complicated and so I’m satisfied with that. We have worked very well over these last two days: yesterday morning in FP1 I didn’t have a good feeling and instead now we’re amongst the riders with the best pace, even though tomorrow in the race we won’t be able to push that hard because we have to try and manage the tyre wear in the best way.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99)
“After my crash and the results of yesterday’s final tests, I decided in agreement with the team and the doctors to not take part anymore in this weekend’s race at Buriram. The CT scan revealed a hairline fracture in my left wrist and, in view of the condition I was when I arrived and the way I’m feeling now, I think it’s better I don’t race here in Thailand and try and recover as much as possible for the next GP in Japan. I feel really bad for the team but, also in consideration of my situation in the championship, it wouldn’t make sense to take any further risks so I think I’ve made the right decision.”
Saturday, 06 October 2018 19:52 Published in Rider and Team Releases