Valencia, Spain

Valencia MotoGP Test Tuesday 12:00 Times - Marquez Fastest, Rossi Crashes

The 2018 season is officially underway at a sunny but very cold Valencia, riders waiting for a while before taking to the track en masse. The newcomers were among the first to get out and ride, but they were soon joined by most of the regulars.

Marc Marquez was the fastest man at noon, half a second quicker than Johann Zarco, while Maverick Viñales was third quickest, ahead of Pol Espargaro on the KTM. Marquez started his 2018 season off in the same style as he ended 2017, with a massive front end save that would have seen anyone else end up in the gravel. Tito Rabat was the first rider to crash, putting his Avintia Ducati into the gravel trap, but his crash was only minor compared to Valentino Rossi's, the Movistar Yamaha rider completely destroying the bike he was on at Turn 10, though he came away relatively unscathed.

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2017 Valencia MotoGP Post-Race Round Up: When Team Orders Go Bad, And Other Miracles

In a season which has been rammed to the rafters with drama, it is entirely appropriate that the final round of the year should be just as dramatic. It was partly to be expected, of course, with a championship at stake. Sure, Marc Márquez entered the weekend with a nigh insurmountable 21-point lead. But he still had to finish at least eleventh or else hope that Andrea Dovizioso did not win the race.

Things were looking good after qualifying: Márquez would be starting from pole, while Dovizioso would have to line up on the third row of the grid. Between the two, a host of fast rivals capable of getting in the way of Dovizioso's charge to the front, and perhaps even depriving him of the race win by taking victory in their own right.

By the time the checkered flag fell at the end of the race, enough had happened to fill a Greek epic. Team orders and betrayal, crashes and near crashes, deceit and disguise, secret swapping of bikes, and a bunch or people finishing much higher than any had a right to expect. An intriguing winner, a rider deprived of victory, and at last, a champion crowned. If the 17 races before Valencia had generated plenty to talk about, the final race of the year topped it all.

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