Marc Marquez claimed victory number 12 of the season at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, making the Repsol Honda Team Team Champions to add to his rider title and the constructors’ Championship – the triple crown. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also scored points in his final MotoGP™ rider, with the five-time World Champion bidding an emotional farewell to the sport. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), meanwhile, signed off with another impressive podium in second, and he pipped Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) to the title of top Independent Team rider as the Aussie followed him home in third.
Miller launched his Pramac Racing machine into the holeshot, with Marquez getting a sluggish getaway from the middle of the front row to drop down to P6, having run slightly wide at Turn 1. Polesitter Quartararo then grabbed the lead from Miller as the Australian ran wide at Turn 2, with the Frenchman quickly creating a small gap to his rivals. Heading into Turn 1 on Lap 2, Marquez was into P3 past the fast-starting duo of Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), however, and it wouldn’t take the 2019 Champion long to pick off Miller as he locked his radar onto Quartararo.
The Rookie of the Year’s lead was 0.7 over Marquez, with the latter racing to an eight-tenths advantage over Miller. Marquez was creeping up to the back of the leading M1 slowly but surely, and on Lap 8 a surprise, late but super fine move at Turn 11 saw the number 93 lead. Suddenly third place Miller – with Dovizioso and Rins in tow – had closed the gap to less than half a second, the top five covered by 1.7. However, Marquez was in the groove and the eight-time Champion had pulled to over half a second clear of Quartararo, with the gap hovering between 0.6 and 0.8 for a number of laps after. Miller wasn’t letting Quartararo have P2 all his own way either, that margin was remaining at a second – enough to keep the number 20 on his toes.
Everyone held firm before a tenth here and a tenth there saw Marquez stretch his advantage to one and a half seconds with six laps remaining, with Miller cutting the gap to Quartararo down by four tenths. It was 0.6, but was there a late twist for P2 inbound? Not quite, Miller didn’t have enough speed to catch the back of the M1 by the time the chequered flag was waved, with Marquez taking another 25-point haul to land Repsol Honda Team the 2019 triple crown, Quartararo taking another podium and beating Miller to top Independent Team rider.
Dovizioso and Ducati’s aims of picking up the Teams title didn’t materialise in Valencia, but P4 was a solid result for the Italian who was comfortably best of the rest in 2019. Rins capped off a fine season by claiming P5 at his home Grand Prix, however it wasn’t enough to grab P3 in the Championship from sixth place finisher Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – the Malaysian GP winner having a quiet final round of the season before jumping onto the 2020 Yamaha on Tuesday.
Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in seventh was a great way to round off a very solid rookie MotoGP™ campaign, the Spaniard ending 2019 with five consecutive top 10s after an impressive comeback from his testing crash at Brno. Valentino Rossi’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) P8 sees the nine-time World Champion end the season P7 in the overall standings, with Aleix coming out on top in the battle of the Espargaro brothers – P9 for Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), P10 for Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). That makes it all factories in the top ten.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team), Johann Zarco (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) all crashed at Turn 6, on Lap 14, in separate incidents, although Lecuona was close behind Zarco and the Frenchman got flipped by the KTM. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) also crashed – all riders ok.
On his final ever MotoGP™ ride, five-time World Champion and future MotoGP™ Legend Jorge Lorenzo finished P13. It was an emotional day for the Spaniard who arrived back into pitlane to rapturous applause, with the Valencia fans paying their full respects to one of the sport’s greatest ever riders on his cool-down lap. #ThankYouJorge!
So, 2019 draws to a close. But don’t worry, 2020 is just around the corner! Testing begins in Valencia on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 November – so stay tuned! Rookies, new bikes, old rivalries and another season of awesome competition is just around the corner.
Marc Marquez: “The perfect season. So difficult to improve this season because the way we rode all season, the consistency and everything, has been amazing. Finishing the season with a victory, riding with a gold helmet – which is always extra pressure because if you ride with a gold helmet you need to be smart and clever – is special too but also for all the Repsol Honda Team it was important too. The Teams Championship. We achieved it, the triple crown. An amazing, amazing season and all the team deserve it.”
1 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) 41’21.469
2 – Fabio Quartararo* (FRA – Yamaha) +1.026
3 – Jack Miller* (AUS – Ducati) +2.409
*Independent Team riders
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