Marquez and Pedrosa on Podium as Kent Takes Moto3 Title

MotoGP, Valencia, November 8, 2015
Credit: Honda Worldwide

Marquez and Pedrosa on Podium as Kent Takes Moto3 Title

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) rode a thrilling season finale at Valencia this afternoon, challenging for victory in the final few laps and finishing a close second and third, just behind race winner and new World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).

Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez
Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez

The race was full of tension, with Lorenzo needing a great result to overcome the seven-point advantage of team-mate Valentino Rossi, who started from the back of the grid as punishment for a rules infringement at the previous Malaysian round. Lorenzo led, chased all the way by Marquez and Pedrosa, who came on especially strong late in the race, both pushing Lorenzo to the absolute maximum.

Pedrosa didn’t have the pace in the early stages because he had front grip concerns, so he eased his pace to cool the tire and then pushed again. Immediately his lap times dropped once more and he started closing on his team-mate and Lorenzo. He made one attempted pass on his fellow RC213V rider, but didn’t quite make it and ran slightly wide, also pushing Marquez wide, which prevented the youngster from making a last gasp attack on Lorenzo. Rossi finished a distant fourth.

Today’s result put 2013 and 2014 MotoGP World Champion Marquez third overall, ahead of Pedrosa, who missed three earlier races to undergo surgery. Marquez has won five races this season while Pedrosa has taken two victories, following a lengthy recuperation from the operation he required to solve long-running arm-pump problems.

Rossi wasn’t the only top rider starting from the back of the grid. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) also started from the back after he had to race his number two bike, which forced him to start the warm-up lap from pit lane. The Briton also made a great job charging through the pack from 24th on lap one to ninth at the finish.

Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) recovered from a challenging two days of practice to take the last point in 15th place, two places ahead of Honda’s 2006 MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden (Aspar Team Honda RC213V-RS) who rode his last MotoGP race today before switching to World Superbikes with Honda.

Rookie Jack Miller (LCR Honda RC213V-RS) had a tough race, crossing the line in 21st at the end of his first premier-class season. This was also the youngster’s final race with LCR before he joins Marc VDS.

Anthony West (AB Motoracing Honda RC213V-RS), substituting for the injured Karle Abraham, came home in 22st place. Eugene Laverty (Aspar Team Honda RC213V-RS) retired from the race.

Outgoing Moto2 World Champion Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) made a victorious return from injury and a victorious exit from the intermediate class with his 13th win the class. Next week the 26-year-old will commence his MotoGP career with a two-day post-season test session at Valencia.

Rabat dominated the race – restarted after an earlier multiple crash – resisting mounting pressure from rookie of the year Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) who was right behind him until the closing stages. Finally Rins relented, knowing that third place would be good enough to give him second overall ahead of Rabat, who had missed the previous three races due to an arm injury.

Rabat crossed the finish line three tenths of a second ahead of Rins, with Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex) a further three seconds further back. Luthi had been second in the early stages but didn’t have the pace to resist Rins and later had his hands full dealing with the very real threat of the up-and-coming Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Kalex), who he bettered by lessthan three tenths of a second.

Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) was a comfortable fifth to secure fourth overall in the championship behind Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex), who could only manage a seventh-place finish today, Rins and Rabat. Zarco finished the race a fraction behind Rins’ team-mate Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex).

Axel Pons (AGR Team Kalex) was eighth, just 11 seconds behind the winner, with Simone Corsi (Forward Racing Kalex) and Mika Kallio (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up).

Danny Kent (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) won Honda’s second consecutive Moto3 riders’ World Championship with a tense ride to ninth place. Miguel Oliveira (KTM) won the race, meaning that Kent only had to finish in the top 14 to claim Britain’s first Grand Prix world title since Barry Sheene won the 500cc title in 1977. This was Honda’s 15th riders’ title in GP racing’s junior category: four in the 1960s four-stroke era, nine in the two-stroke era and now another two in the modern four-stroke era.

Kent won six of the first 12 races to establish a mammoth points lead but he has struggled since then and two crashes – at Aragon and Phillip Island – let him with a 24-point advantage going into this last race. Finally it all worked out for the 22-year-old.

Up front a battle royal raged between Oliveira, Kent’s team-mate Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), local hero and rookie of the year Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and Romano Fenati (KTM). Oliveira knew his only chance to take the title was to win the race and this he did, while all hell broke loose behind him when Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) attempted an over-optimistic passing move at the final turn, falling down and taking Fenati and Vazquez with him. That put Oliveira, Navarro and Jakub Korn

First-time pole-position man John McPhee (SaxoPrint RTG Honda NSF250RW) ran with the leading group before slipping back to finish seventh, two places behind Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW). McPhee crossed the line well clear of Hiroki Ono (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) who overtook team-mate Kent in the closing moments of the race. Qatar GP winner Alexis Masbou (SaxoPrint RTG Honda NSF250RW) scored the final point in 15th.

Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow
Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow
Danny Kent, Hiroki Ono
Danny Kent, Hiroki Ono

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“It was a very difficult race. I came out focused, as usual, and initially Jorge pushed strongly. I found it hard to follow him, and at that time Dani was two seconds off us. There were a few laps in which I was really on the limit, forcing the front tire – which moved around a lot. With about six laps to go, I felt that we could win because I had caught up to Jorge. I did not expect Dani to come through so quickly, and when he passed me he ran wide. I used that to pass him back but Jorge had escaped by half a second making it impossible to recover the gap, even though I rode the last lap and the entire race at 100%.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 3rd
“I’m very happy and I enjoyed the race – especially in the final part! I was a little bit distant from the battle in third. I couldn’t find the way to go faster because I had problems when braking and cornering; it’s been hard for us to find a good setup for the bike this weekend and I was able to be up at the front but without a good feeling. During the race I tried to counter this, but it was difficult. In the end I found the way to be faster and I was able to ride better and recover ground. When I caught up I saw that there were two laps remaining and I tried to attack, but when I overtook Marc I ran wide and he returned the pass. I am happy because what I can take from here – as well as the third place in the race and fourth in the Championship – is the attitude and the progress we have made in the final part of the season. We’ve been very strong and I hope that we can continue that this winter and next year.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 9th
“We had to start from the back of the grid because of a safety concern with my other bike. I changed bikes and then had to be patient on the first lap as I had no heat in the tires because I had to do the warm-up lap behind the safety car. So I wasn’t able to push and I only made up three places in three laps and that made it really difficult to come back through the field. But honestly I was really pleased with my pace once I got going after ten laps and it probably would have been good enough for fourth place today. It was disappointing not to be able to do that and be there, but my bike has not let me down all year and it was just unfortunate we had to start from the back of the grid today. I think it was an average year for me, but when I took the decision to stay where I am for the next two years continuity was key. I think with some new parts next year we can be back where we belong challenging for podiums and I’m looking forward to that and am grateful for the faith they have shown in me.”
Scott Redding, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 15th
“This weekend has been the most difficult one of the season and we don’t really know why, we just struggled with a lack of grip and a lack of feeling. To be honest, I’m not happy with the result, but it could have been worse. From the start I didn’t have any front grip and the bike was skidding a lot under braking. I was missing rear traction as well and I had accepted it was going to be a long old race. But then halfway through the bike came to me and I was able to push a bit more. The lap times were improving with every lap and I was able to regain positions in the last ten laps. My goal, as always, was top ten, but it was a big ask this weekend because we’ve had a lot of difficulties since the first practice session. It wasn’t the race I was looking for, but it also wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. Now it’s done and I must look to the future, but I’d like to say a big thank you to Marc van der Straten and the team for their support this season.”
Nicky Hayden, Aspar Team: 17th
“The start was really good. The first few laps weren’t too bad, I lost a couple of positions but the bike was working good and I was racing with guys that had been faster than me most of the weekend. Things weren’t going so bad, I was really working hard on the brakes and asking a lot of the front tire but I was getting away with it and the bike stayed consistent. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get into the 32s, which I wanted to and needed to, and then the last five or six laps I felt a big drop on the right side of the tire. The left side was incredibly consistent but the right side felt like it maybe had some cold tears in it, maybe it didn’t keep the temperature with the slightly cooler track today. It wasn’t spinning so much but entry grip got bad and then it was disappointing with three laps to go to see Barbera come past me on the front straightaway on the inside and then on the next lap Redding came past me on the outside. I’m not happy to lose those positions, although I did manage to get one back on the last lap on Bradl, which was nice. It would have been nice to be first Open today, we managed it for 27 laps but that’s why you’ve got to do all 30! It’s been a great ride to be a part of the MotoGP tour for the last thirteen years and to win a world title. For me as kid growing up at the end of a gravel road in Kentucky proves that with the right attitude and support you can turn your dreams into reality. Thanks for the memories!”
Jack Miller, LCR Honda: 21st
“First of all I’d like to thank the LCR Honda team for taking this risk and putting me in this year. It’s been an awesome year, I’ve enjoyed it a lot. We’ve had some ups and downs and didn’t quite achieve the goal of a top-10 finish that we wanted, but we showed some really strong performances during the season and I’m looking forward to coming back to the MotoGP class next year. I think we improved a lot during the course of the year – especially compared to when we tested here at the start of the year, we’ve improved by nearly two seconds and that’s not easy to do. I think Phillip Island would have to be our best race of the season and now I’m looking forward to improving again next year.”
Anthony West, AB Motoracing: 22nd
“The bike felt strong in practice and the team did a great job. This was my third race on the bike, but I am still using a bit too much corner speed like I’m on a Moto2 bike. I was fast at some points of the track, but then I lost a lot of grip.”
Eugene Laverty, Aspar Team; DNF
“I made a good start, probably my best of the year, and tucked in behind Rossi for the first three corners. Everybody made a gap for him so I followed him through and was able to gain some places. The bike was working well for the first half of the race but after that I started to have problems with my foot burning again. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t already raw from Malaysia but once the footrest got up to sixty degrees I knew I was in trouble. I tried to stick it out but I had to come in. My motto is “ride her ’till she blows!” and I have never had to stop for anything like this before so it was hard to take but we have a test to think about on Tuesday and if I didn’t stop I might have not been able to ride on Tuesday. After Malaysia I was on crutches for a week so I had to be smart about it. Overall it has been a strange year. We have had some good moments but to score nine points this year is much less than I feel we deserved. It was good to have a team-mate of the quality of Nicky because we could measure our work and we did a good job, but we didn’t have a package that was capable of consistent points-scoring finishes. When we did have the opportunity to show our pace we were strong but we were never going to be fighting for the top ten, that’s the long and short of it. I am looking forward to a new challenge with a new bike next season. I have a great team behind me that has won many World Championships and we now have the experience of a full season together in MotoGP so I am optimistic about next season.”
Shuhei Nakamoto, Executive Vice-President Honda Racing Corporation
“This is not the atmosphere we wanted to experience at the end of an unforgettable championship. We understand that it’s been a very difficult day for Valentino, after leading the championship for 17 races and losing by just five points in the final race must be very disappointing. However, on the other side we cannot accept the strong accusations he has directed against our rider and Honda in the past week and in today’s post-race press conference. Together with the allegation he made after Phillip Island, there is no evidence to support these accusations, only the fact that Marc took five points away from Valentino’s competitor in the championship, Jorge.”
 
 

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 1st
“I’m so happy, because I arrived here not knowing if I would be able to ride at the top level. But I felt good on the bike on Friday and it got better with every day. Okay, I’m still not 100% fit, but I’m fit enough to ride fast. Today was my last race in Moto2 and my last race with my crew, so it was great to say farewell to both with a win. I enjoyed the race; I just pushed on every lap and treated it like a sprint. I thought it was Lüthi behind me at the end, like last year, but then I looked back and saw Rins, so I knew he was going to challenge, and I knew I was going to hold him off. I learnt a lot this weekend; mainly that I need to give myself time to recover after an injury, but also that I maybe don’t need to do so many laps at home to be quick. Now we start the next adventure, with the MotoGP test on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40: 2nd
“I’m very happy. Having got the runner-up as a rookie makes me very happy. When I was with the group with Rabat and Luthi I concentrated on following them, but then I got Luthi and followed Tito. The truth is that the pace was very high and hard to follow, but we endured it. I saw on my pit-board that we were leaving behind the guy in third, so that position was sufficient to achieve the objective of second overall. I must congratulate Tito for the race he rode and to be able to play with him on this track gives even more value to the result.”
Thomas Luthi, Derendinger Racing Interwetten: 3rd
“At first I had the pace and I thought I could go with the leaders, but then I lost a little bit of rear grip and from then on I missed a few tenths of a second a lap to go with Tito and Alex. That was a shame, but I’m happy enough – it’s great to finish the season with another strong ride and another podium.”
 

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Jorge Navarro, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd
“I am very pleased not only with the race, but with the whole weekend. Riding at home is always an extra motivation, but also gives you a bit of extra pressure. I rode very comfortably in the group and in the end I tried to attack. I saw that Miguel Oliveira also wanted to be in front and I decided to gamble on the final corner. However, my bike was skidding a bit on the entrance to the corner and I had no real chance of overtaking, so I preferred to stay second, which is also a good result. The idea was to get away at the front with Miguel [Oliveira], since we both had good pace, so we could fight for victory between us, but I saw that he was unable to pull away in first two laps, so I changed the approach. I decided to save a bit for the last three laps. I am happy with second place and cannot wait to start working for next year.”
Enea Bastianini, Junior Team Gresini Moto3: 5th
“I’m very pleased to have maintained the third position in the Championship, it is a major achievement that makes me happy! Early in the race unfortunately I had some difficulty because the bike was moving a lot on corner entry, then the situation has improved and in the last six or seven laps I was able to get a good rhythm. I caught McPhee and I wanted to try to reach the other two guys in front of me, Binder and Kornfeil, but it was not possible. I would have liked to finish the season on the podium, but that’s okay, fifth place satisfies me.”
John McPhee, SaxoPrint RTG: 7th
“It is some good points to finish the season. We now come inside the Top 11 in the championship also. This is good. In the race I was hoping for more. I felt like I had the pace to fight in the front, but in the first three or four laps the tires were not at full temperature and I had to try to bring the temperature back into them. Then I managed to do my fastest lap, but then I took some time to find the rhythm again. Then at the end of the race I started to lose rear grip and I had some big moments, so I had to be a bit careful and just tried to bring home as many points as possible.”
Danny Kent, Leopard Racing: World Champion
“It’s definitely the best day of my life today, it feels so good to clinch the title which took four races finally. So there were some nail-biting times behind me. But now I leave the Moto3 category as World Champion, which is such a great thing. To win the championship in the very last race is very emotional. A huge thanks to everyone involved in this great success.”
 
Danny Kent
Danny Kent
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2015
Round 18: Valencia Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team) F/O
1 Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
2 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team) F
3 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) F
4 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) F
5 Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) F
6 Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) F
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team) F
8 Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP) F
9 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda) F
10 Danilo PETRUCCI (Pramac Racing) F
11 Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP) F
12 Michele PIRRO (Ducati Team) F
13 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Pramac Racing) F
14 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) F
15 Scott REDDING (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) F

* F=Factory option, O=Open category

Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Tito RABAT (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
2 Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
3 Thomas LUTHI (Derendinger Racing Interwetten)
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Racing)
5 Sam LOWES (Speed Up Racing)
6 Luis SALOM (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
7 Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)
8 Axel PONS (AGR Team)
9 Simone CORSI (Forward Racing)
10 Mika KALLIO (QMMF Racing Team)
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
12 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
13 Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
14 Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)
15 Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC)
4 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5 Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Team Moto3)
6 Isaac VIÑALES (RBA Racing Team)
7 John MCPHEE (SaxoPrint RTG)
8 Hiroki ONO (Leopard Racing)
9 Danny KENT (Leopard Racing)
10 Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)
11 Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Nicolò BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
13 Francesco BAGNAIA (MAPFRE Team MAHINDRA)
14 Jorge MARTIN (MAPFRE Team MAHINDRA)
15 Alexis MASBOU (SaxoPrint RTG)
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