Pedrosa wins the race, Marquez the title

Marc Marquez

While Dani Pedrosa put in a last lap pass to win in Valencia, Marc Marquez claimed the title after pulling off the save of the season while Ducati were thrust into yet another team order debacle.

Marquez in pole position and Andrea Dovizioso, starting P9, lined up on the Valencia grid both wanting a MotoGP World title. The odds, though, were firmly in Marquez’s favour given his lead in the standings.

He made a great start despite a wheelie off the line to lead the way while his Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa lined up second, protecting the Spaniard from Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco. Dovizioso was up from ninth to sixth on the opening lap.

Zarco made short work of Iannone and then Pedrosa to run second behind Marquez, without a doubt a concern for the Honda rider especially as Dovizioso continued to make progress, up to fifth.

The lead changed hands on lap three with Zarco through on Marquez, prompting a swivelling of the head from the reigning champ to see where Dovizioso was in the running order.

Ten laps into the 30-lap season finale and Zarco was leading by half a second ahead of Marquez with Pedrosa third, Jorge Lorenzo fourth and Dovizioso running fifth.

Dovizioso continued to dog Lorenzo, stuck to his Ducati team-mate’s rear wheel, however, neither were making any inroads on Pedrosa, never mind Marquez.

With Ducati sending the message to Lorenzo, it should have been only a matter of time before the Spaniard moved over for his Italian team-mate.

But with 10 laps remaining, it was still Zarco ahead of Marquez with Pedrosa third, Lorenzo fourth and Dovizioso fifth.

Despite also getting the message to drop back one place on his pitboard, Lorenzo made no move to let his team-mate through while Marquez sized up Zarco for a possible overtake for the lead.

In sharp contrast, Pedrosa blamed the team first game as he stayed glued to Marquez’s rear wheel in third place, never once even feinting a move at his team-mate.

Eight to go and Marquez made his move on Zarco, powering by the Tech 3 rider only to run very wide – and off the track – at Turn 1 in a near crash that saw him go down on one knee. He returend to the action in fifth place, one place behind Dovizioso.

Lorenzo crashed shortly after, elevating Dovizioso to third and Marquez to fourth. However, it was then game over for the second Ducati as Dovizioso ran wide before crashing in the gravel. He remounted but headed back into the pits to the applause from his Ducati team, his challenge was over.

Heading into the final lap, and no longer having to protect Marquez, Pedrosa attacked Zarco for the lead through the first corner and made it stick. He raced ot the victory, denying the Tech 3 rider his first MotoGP win.

Marquez – the 2017 MotoGP World Champion – was third.

Alex Rins was fourth ahead of Valentino Rossi, Iannone and Jack Miller. Cal Crutchlow, Michele Pirro and Tito Rabat completed the top ten.

Result

1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 46’08.125
2 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.337
3 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team 10.861
4 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 13.567
5 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 13.817
6 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 14.516
7 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS 17.087
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda 17.230
9 Michele PIRRO ITA Ducati Team 25.942
10 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 27.020
11 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 30.835
12 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 35.012
13 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing 38.076
14 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 41.988
15 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing 47.703
16 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing 47.709
17 Michael VAN DER MARK NED Monster Yamaha Tech 3 52.134

Not Classified

Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 5 Laps
Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team 5 Laps
Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team 6 Laps
Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 8 Laps
Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 16 Laps
Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing 26 Laps
Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 27 Laps
Mika KALLIO FIN Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 28 Laps

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