Marquez and Honda Make History at Thrilling Valencia Finale

This has been another remarkable and historic Grand Prix season for Honda, with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), Honda, the Repsol Honda team and Honda’s Moto3 riders and teams all breaking records today.

Marquez went into this afternoon’s season finale with a 21-point lead, but instead of riding conservatively, he was the same Marc as always: attacking from pole position, leading the first few laps, then retaking the lead in the late stages, moments later saving a scary moment, when he ran off the track and into the gravel at high speed.

The 24-year-old Spaniard regained his composure to cross the finish line in third place and secure his fourth MotoGP crown in five years. He finished the last race of the year less than 11 seconds behind team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who took his first victory since May’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez and moved up to fourth overall in the points chase.

This afternoon’s season finale won Honda the coveted triple crown of Riders World Championship, Constructors World Championship and Teams World Championship. This is a record seventh time the factory has taken the triple crown, since the team prize was added to the riders and constructors awards in 2002.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez

Marquez’s latest success gives the company its 19th Riders World Championship since 1983, an all-time record. Two weeks ago in Malaysia Honda secured its 23rd Constructors World Championship since 1966, also a record. And today the Repsol Honda Team secured its eighth Teams World Championship since the award was introduced in 2002, another record

Pedrosa’s 31st MotoGP victory takes Honda to 287 premier-class races since it first entered the class of kings in 1966. This is also a record.

Marquez proved everything today: that he a six-times World Champion (four in MotoGP, one each in Moto2 and 125cc), that he has a superhuman ability to maintain control in the most amazing situations and that he is a great sportsman. After the race he immediately thanked his Honda staff and his Repsol Honda crew, then paid tribute to Ducati’s efforts. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) had been his main title rival, taking the championship all the way to the final round.

Today is also a historic day for Marquez, who is now the youngest rider to win four premier-class World Championships, at the age of 24 years and 268 days, taking the record from Mike Hailwood, who was 25 years and 107 days old when he won his fourth premier-class title in 1965. The Spaniard is also the youngest rider to win six World Championships, taking the record from Valentino Rossi, who was 25 years and 244 days old when he won his sixth title, the 2004 MotoGP crown.

And Marquez has achieved a whole new record. He is the first rider in the 69-year history of motorcycle Grand Prix racing to win at least five GPs per season over eight years, across three categories: 125cc, Moto2 and MotoGP.

The race started watched by a capacity crowd, buzzing with excitement. Marquez led for the first three laps before sensibly allowing Johann Zarco (Yamaha) to take the lead. The last thing he wanted was a race-long battle for victory, when all he needed was an 11th-place finish, even if Dovizioso won the race, which the Italian needed to at least stand the slimmest chance of bettering Marquez’s points haul.

For much of the rest of the race that’s the way it stayed, with Zarco a fraction ahead, then Marquez and Pedrosa, followed by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati) and team-mate Dovizioso.

By the closing stages Marquez knew that Dovizioso didn’t have the pace to win, so he decided to do what he always wants to do: go for victory. He swept past Zarco, but then lost the front as he rode into the high-speed first corner. The bike fell onto his knee at speed – which would’ve meant a crash for anyone else – but Marquez saved the crash in his own inimitable style, ran into the dirt and then regained the track. When both Ducati riders fell he was promoted back into third place, allowing him to celebrate this amazing title from the podium, in front of his adoring fans. It was another astonishing performance from the man who scored six victories and six further podiums this year.

Pedrosa rode a beautifully judged race, riding behind Marquez until his younger team-mate ran off the track. In the final laps the 32-year-old closed on Zarco, then took the lead as the pair attacked turn one for the 30th and last time. He rode an inch-perfect final lap to take the checkered flag 0.337 seconds ahead of Zarco.

Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) had an excellent ride to seventh, completing an impressive run of results at the three races since he returned from a broken leg: seventh in Australia, eighth in Malaysia and seventh here.

The young Australian just held Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) at bay, the pair crossing the line separated by less than two tenths of a second. Crutchlow had had a difficult two days of practice and qualifying but bounced back with typical grit to finish the race in eighth place, a stirring result considering that he had started from 16th on the grid. Crutchlow was 14th after the first lap, then steadily moved forward as he passed some rivals and took advantage of other’s mistakes.

Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was also a happy man, the Spaniard scoring his first top-ten result of the year in tenth place, behind factory test rider Michele Pirro (Ducati) and ahead of Bradley Smith (KTM).

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 3rd and 2017 MotoGP World Champion
“I’m living a dream. ‘six titles’ are big words. The truth is that I’m incredibly happy because we worked so much this year, and today the race was incredibly tense and exciting – a bit ‘Marquez Style.’ I made a mistake, but I also made my best save of the year. From that moment on, I just tried to finish the race in a good position. I’m sorry that Andrea didn’t finish the race, as he deserved to do so. He had an incredible season and I would have liked to have him on the podium with me today. The key to the year has been our mentality. In our world it’s very important to remain positive and motivated during the difficult moments. Some things happened to us at the beginning of the season but when we found the way to sort things out, everything went better. Congratulations to Honda and the entire team for the triple crown. It’s an amazing achievement. Winning the title at the last race of the season in front of our fans is one of the best things possible, really special. Now I want to enjoy this with my entire team and my family, and after that we’ll start to work for next year.”
Tetsuhiro Kuwata, HRC Director, General Manager, Race Operations, Management Division
“Today our riders and team did a perfect job. The race was very tense for everybody, but the final result was amazing! Marc was brave and pushed hard as always, managing to get on the podium despite a big scare! Dani finished the championship with a victory, so I don’t think we could have asked for more today. I would like to thank the riders, everyone in the Repsol Honda Team, and HRC at home. We’ll keep giving our 100 percent to continue in this way.”
Yoshishige Nomura, HRC President, Managing Director of Honda R&D Co.
“Today was the ‘perfect storm’ for HRC and Honda, as we won the rider title, constructor title, and team title, earning the triple crown. Of course I am extremely happy with this fantastic result, and I would like to congratulate Marc and Dani for their hard work and commitment, as well as all the HRC Engineers and our Sponsors, who together have contributed to this incredible result. I am very proud of all them.”

 

Marc Marquez Wins Second Straight MotoGP Riders Title, Honda Takes the Triple Crown

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) scored a superb third consecutive victory in the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, hunting down recently crowned World Champion Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) during the final stages. Morbidelli tried everything but could not keep the Portuguese rider at bay, so he had to settle for second place, comfortably ahead of Oliveira’s team-mate Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) who achieved his third successive podium.

Twenty-two-year-old Oliveira came through from the second row of the grid, but took some time to get the better of pole-sitter Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) who had contested the lead with team-mate Morbidelli during the early stages. That tussle cost Oliveira a lot of time, so that when he finally made it into second place, shortly before half-distance, he was more than two seconds behind the leader.

Oliveira applied himself to this mighty task with typical precision, taking a few tenths out of the Italian race leader on every lap until he was right behind him. He made a strong pass at turn four on lap 22 of 27 and Morbidelli was unable to come back at him, eventually completing the race 2.154 seconds behind the winner and two seconds ahead of Binder.

The fight for the lower placings was as frantic as ever in Moto2, with Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) once again impressive. The 20-year-old Rookie of the Year was down in seventh at the end of the first lap, after which he engaged in a long skirmish with Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex). When he finally got the better of Syahrin he kept moving forward, closing on Marquez, whose hopes of a fourth victory of the year faded fast. Bagnaia took fourth from Marquez with two laps remaining. Syahrin took sixth – his fourth top-six finish of the year – which lifted the 23-year-old from Selangor to tenth overall.

British GP winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) ended his last Moto2 race in seventh position. Like Morbidelli the Japanese star commences his MotoGP career during the first winter tests that start here on Tuesday. Championship runner-up Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten Kalex) is the third Moto2 rider to move to MotoGP for next year, but didn’t ride here, due to injuries he sustained at the Malaysian GP.

Marc Marquezzoom
Marc Marquez
Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa

The top ten was completed by Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40 Kalex), the second-best Moto2 rookie of 2016, Simone Corsi (Speed Up Speed Up) and Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing Suter).

Honda also rewrote the record books in the Moto3 (formerly 125cc) class today. The victory achieved by Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) was the company’s 206th in the category, another record, and its 17th from this year’s 18 races.

Honda’s NSF250RW machine has so dominated 2017 that Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) made sure of the title in Australia, with two rounds remaining. This was Honda’s 16th Riders World Championship in the category since 1961. And two weeks ago in Malaysia, Honda secured its 17th Constructors World Championship in the class since 1961, yet another record.

Martin’s first Grand Prix victory, at the end of his 50th World Championship race, was hugely popular and richly deserved. The 19-year-old scored his eighth pole position of 2017 yesterday but still had to win his first GP. He fixed that problem today in superb style, leading from the start, then breaking clear of the pack when Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) crashed just behind him, sending Mir off the track and demoting him to 19th.

By half-distance Martin was five seconds ahead of the chasing pack, which featured a dozen riders, covered by just two seconds. Mir was the star of this battle, fighting his way back into podium contention, then securing second place in the final laps. This incredible result broke the record for the most points scored in one season in the junior class. Mir’s average score was 18.9 points per race!

Marcos Ramirez (KTM) took the final place on the podium, crossing the line 0.117 second behind Mir and 0.076 seconds ahead of Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW), the championship runner-up.

The group from second place to ninth place crossed the finish line covered by 1.458 seconds! Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) completed his season with a strong fifth place. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) was sixth, Dennis Foggia (KTM) seventh, John McPhee (British Talent Team Honda NSF250RW) eighth and three-times 2017 race winner Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) ninth.

Kazuki Masaki (Asia Talent Team Honda NSF250RW) deserves a special mention for his superb ride to tenth in his debut Grand Prix event. The 17-year-old from Fukuoka usually contests the Moto3 Junior World Championship, so this was his first ride against world-class talent and he proved himself more than up to the task, finishing less than three seconds off the podium!

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) finished just behind his young compatriot in 11th, to make it eight Hondas in the top 11. Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) finished 13th.

Preparations for MotoGP 2018 begin here on Tuesday, with Moto2 and Moto2 starting their offseason tests at Jerez on Wednesday.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
“Obviously I’m very, very happy because a win is a win, and this was a very tough and hard-fought one. Today we had a chance because we got a good start and the set-up was working well, so we took it. The track wasn’t easy as front grip wasn’t perfect, and in fact we saw a lot of crashes in the race. I was just behind Marc when he made that save and it was incredible. The smoke, the noise, the speed – wow, impressive! I realized that the track had a limit, maybe because the rear had more grip, which pushed the front. Anyway, I tried to manage the front grip, but then in the last three laps I gave it everything to pass Johann. He was so good into the corners but finally I passed him on the last lap. I’m so happy to have won in front of my crowd, and I would like to dedicate this victory to my family, friends, fans, and the team. This was a fantastic day for all of us, as Marc clinched the rider title and we secured the constructor and team titles. I also move up one place in the championship, and that’s great as well.”
Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 7th
“It was a great race for me and perhaps could have been better because I lost a lot of time in the final two laps. I had to give up the fight with Valentino [Rossi] because I had a couple of front-end moments with my front tire grip going down towards the end. I felt I could have fought with Rossi and Iannone right to the end otherwise. It has been a good finish to the season with three top tens including two seventh places so no better way to end my time with this great team.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 8th
“I started the race way too far back, it’s as simple as that. I think we have to be happy with a solid result, considering that we made the top ten after starting 16th, especially at a track like this where it’s so difficult to overtake. I made some good passes and really pushed in the last ten laps. I think if I hadn’t started so far back I could’ve been in the group with [Alex] Rins. We’ve had some great races this year – quite a few fourths, a podium and a few non-finishes. Overall we’re happy enough with this season and so we have to go into next year feeling positive. We’ve got a few things to test on Tuesday and we’ve got to start getting some info for next year.”
Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 10th
“I am really happy to leave this magnificent team with a tenth place in Valencia. I have had a great time here both in Moto2 and MotoGP. The early laps were difficult but I never gave up and it is very satisfying to be in the top ten as I prepare for a new challenge in my career.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 1st
“It was a dream final Grand Prix of the year. I came to this race in Valencia with the sole intention of having fun and we achieved that; I am very happy with this result. We would never have imagined that we could put together a run of three consecutive victories. I cannot thank the team and KTM enough for all the effort they have made throughout the season. It has been a very good season for us and I’m sure that next year we can do even better and fight for the title -which should be the goal.”
Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 2nd
“This second place in Valencia is a great way to finish in Moto2 before starting the new chapter of my career in MotoGP. Early in the race I had a nice battle with Alex and then when I got to the front I pushed hard to make a gap knowing that Miguel Oliveira would try to chase me down late in the race. I gave everything to fight him for the win over the final five laps but today he was the faster rider.”
Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd
“I am very happy to be back on the podium. Unfortunately I made some mistakes during the race, but you learn from everything. I want to congratulate Miguel [Oliveira] and Franco [Morbidelli], because they did an incredible job both today and throughout the season. It’s an incredible feeling to think about how we started out in Qatar, finishing the race 20th and 34 seconds behind the winner, and to now see that we have taken three consecutive podiums. We have undergone an incredible evolution over the course of this year. Every time I got on the bike I learned something, I learned how to handle the KTM better and now I have almost mastered it perfectly. I look forward to seeing what next year brings!”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3: 1st
“I wanted to pull away right from the start, but then Rodrigo tried to pass me and from then it was not easy. When I got back to the front and saw that I had a two-second gap I kept pushing until the end. It was not easy to stay fully focused but today – maybe for the first time this weekend – I did not make any mistakes, and that never happened before. To win the last race of the season is truly amazing, but we will back on track in two weeks and we must work hard to try and get to the top in 2018.”
Joan Mir, Leopard Racing: 2nd
“It was a pity about what happened on the third lap: for the rhythm I could have fought for victory over Jorge [Martin]. I want to remember this last race in Moto3 with a special flavor for this comeback and for the warmth of the whole audience. I could not match Valentino’s record, but I gave it my all and tried it until the end. Today is also the last experience with Christian Lundberg, who has accompanied me in these two seasons: together with Leopard Racing we have formed a family, true and united, it will not be easy to find another.”
Romano Fenati, Marinelli Rivacold Snipers: 4th
“Today was quite a difficult race and I am very happy to finish fourth. Qualifying wasn’t so easy for us, so we had to start from 13th on the grid, which is always bad, but especially here because the track is so tight and narrow. In the end, I enjoyed the fight and we only missed the podium by a fraction of a second, so I can be happy with this last race in Moto3. Now I look forward to my new adventure in Moto2!”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2017
Round 18: Valencia Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
3 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
5 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
6 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
7 Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)
9 Michele PIRRO (Ducati Team)
10 Tito RABAT (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
11 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
13 Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Racing)
14 Karel ABRAHAM (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
15 Hector BARBERA (Reale Avintia Racing)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
3 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
5 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
6 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
8 Fabio QUARTARARO (Pons HP40)
9 Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)
10 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
11 Axel PONS (RW Racing GP)
12 Isaac VIÑALES (BE-A-VIP SAG Team)
13 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
14 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Speed Up Racing)
15 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Racing Team)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
2 Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
3 Marcos RAMIREZ (Platinum Bay Real Estate)
4 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers)
5 Enea BASTIANINI (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6 Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA BOE Racing Team)
7 Dennis FOGGIA (Sky Junior Team VR46 Acade)
8 John MCPHEE (British Talent Team)
9 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
10 Kazuki MAZAKI (Asia Talent Team)
11 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
12 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
13 Ayumu SASAKI (SIC Racing Team)
14 Niccolò ANTONELLI (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
15 Philipp OETTL (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing)
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