Press release previews of the last race of the year at Valencia:
Marquez and Pedrosa reunited for Valencia 2016 season finale
Following a three-race absence, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will return to the MotoGP paddock this weekend for the 18th round of the 2016 season.
After suffering three fractures (to his right collarbone, right fibula and the fourth metatarsal in his left foot) in a crash during FP2 at the Japanese GP, Dani underwent surgery in Barcelona and afterward began his rehab. As all of his injuries have been healing well, Dani, in agreement with his doctors and his team, have decided to return for the final round of the Championship, in Valencia.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez has enjoyed four podiums at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, including two victories, in 2014 (MotoGP) and 2012 (Moto2). Dani has a fantastic record at the circuit, having celebrated 11 podiums, including six first positions: 2012, 2009, 2007 (MotoGP), 2005, 2004 (250cc) and 2002 (125cc).
Today, before heading to Valencia, Marquez and Pedrosa took part in the official 2017 presentation of Honda’s sporting activities, in Milan, Italy, together with fellow HRC riders from the MXGP, Trial, and Dakar teams.
2016 MotoGP World Champion – 278 points
“It has been good coming back home after the three flyaway races with the title already won, and to celebrate it with all my family and friends. I had the chance to chill out a bit and get back to my usual training, both indoors in the gym and outdoors with some motocross and cycling. ‘Thanks’ to the jetlag, I had the opportunity to enjoy some really spectacular dawns on my bicycle! Anyway, the season isn’t over yet, as we’ll race in Valencia on Sunday, and after that we’ll have two important days of testing. Our target for the race is of course to try and finish on a high in front of our fans, possibly with a win or at least a podium. It was good to see that Dani is getting better and to know he’ll be back in Valencia.”
Dani Pedrosa - Championship Standing: 6th – 155 points
“These past three weeks haven’t been easy because of the pain, especially immediately after the operation, and also because I missed racing at some of my favourite tracks. Anyway, after I started with my rehab, things began getting better day-by-day, and the thought of trying to recover in time for Valencia was a boost that helped during the tougher moments. We’re still not sure about how I’ll feel on the bike, but anyway I’m happy to be able to get back to racing! I love the Valencia track, I have fantastic memories here and I like the idea of getting back to action in front of my fans.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Fly to Spain for 2016 Season Finale
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team returns to Spain this week for the 2016 MotoGP World Championship finale, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, with the third place in the Rider's Championship and the Team's and Constructor's Titles still up for grabs.
Valentino Rossi enters Spain intent on fighting for a podium spot. Having secured second place in the championship at the previous round at the Sepang International Circuit a fortnight ago, he focusses on the fight for the Manufacturer's and Team's Title to close the season in the best way possible. The nine-time World Champion previously has taken two premier class wins at Valencia, in 2003 and 2004, and he has claimed multiple podiums with second places in 2002, 2009 and 2014 and third places in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Lorenzo arrives in his home country determined to keep the pressure on to take third place in the championship rankings at his final race for Yamaha. The Mallorcan joined the team in 2008 and has shown his strength at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on more than one occasion. Highlights of his successes with the YZR-M1 at the Valencian circuit are premier class victories in 2010, 2013 and 2015 (securing the 2015 World Championship title) and a podium with a third position in 2009.
The 4.0 km long Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo was completed in 1999 and has a twisty character with nine left and five right corners and an 876 m longest straight. It is a true stadium track that gives fans a perfect view of all parts of the track from every stand that can seat up to 150,000 spectators in total. Valencia always attracts a record crowd to witness the final racing spectacle ever since it became the traditional MotoGP season closer in 2002 and the Yamaha riders aim to give the fans a thrilling show again this weekend as they sign off this spectacular year.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"After the overseas races we finally return to European soil for the fourth and last round in Spain. Now that Valentino has secured second place in the championship he can enjoy this last round to the fullest with some great racing, while Jorge continues the battle for third place in the standings. The atmosphere is always special in Valencia, which makes for an exciting race. Though we are looking forward to the final head-to-head of the year we are approaching the weekend with mixed emotions, it is a shame we won't have Jorge in the team anymore after his final appearance for Yamaha this weekend. Yet, this is all the more reason to end the season on a high. We are confident that together we can make this year's final Grand Prix a great one and we're looking forward to start work on Friday."
Championship: 2nd, 236 points
"For me Valencia is always a special race because it is always very challenging. Usually on this track I suffer a bit and it's not good for me. For this reason I want to be as strong as possible during this weekend, working well with my team and get the best possible result. We are still fighting for the constructor's and the team's championship, so I will do my best to collect important points. After the race I will finally try the new YZR-M1. I am very impatient to get to know next year's bike!"
Championship: 3rd, 208 points
"The season is almost over and finally we arrive to Valencia, where I have some good memories, especially last year when we were able to achieve our goal and become World Champion again. Valencia is going to be a very special race for me because after nine years with the Yamaha family I have to say goodbye and it won't be easy. I had a lot of good feelings with Yamaha and together we won a lot of races and titles I would like to finish this season in the best way possible and that's with a victory, so I will do my best to try to win in Cheste and I will try to secure third position in the championship as well."
Ducati Team wraps up 2016 season with Valencia GP round at Ricardo Tormo circuit
Eight months and seventeen races since the start of the 2016 championship in Qatar, the MotoGP teams and riders have arrived in Spain for the final round of the season, the Valencia Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. The track, which is located at Cheste on the outskirts of Valencia, is the fourth race this year on Spanish soil: it runs in a counter-clockwise direction and has one of the slowest average speeds on the calendar.
Following the splendid victory of Andrea Dovizioso in the Malaysia GP at Sepang two weeks ago, this weekend will be an important one for the Ducati Team, because it will also mark the final race in Ducati for Andrea Iannone. In his two years in the factory team, the man from Vasto has rapidly become one of the quickest riders in MotoGP: he has finished six times on the podium, set two pole positions and obtained three fastest laps. Furthermore, with his triumph in Austria in August, he had the honour of bringing the Borgo Panigale manufacturer back to the winners’ podium in a GP for the first time since 2010.
As always, Sunday’s race will be followed by the two-day IRTA official test session, which kicks off the 2017 season and which on Tuesday and Wednesday will see Andrea Dovizioso flanked by the three-time world champion, Jorge Lorenzo, who makes his debut on the Italian bike.
The Ducati Team has scored two MotoGP wins at Valencia, with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and with Casey Stoner in 2008. Andrea Dovizioso has taken part in eight MotoGP races at Valencia, with his best result a third place in 2011. Last year he finished seventh after starting from the third row. Andrea Iannone will be taking part in MotoGP for the fourth time at this circuit: in 2015 he qualified on row 3 with seventh quickest time, but had to retire after a crash in the early laps.
With one round left in the championship, Dovizioso lies fifth overall with 162 points, while Iannone is tenth on 96.
The Valencia weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 09.55 CET while the thirty-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th (162 points)
“It was a really special feeling for me to win in Sepang, because it was important to win a race this season, and now I can go to Valencia with this off my mind and fully aware of my worth. My goal was to arrive fifth in the championship and I have a chance to do that but above all I’m happy with the improvements made this year by the bike, the team and on a personal level, so now I’ll do everything to finish the championship in the best possible way in Spain.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 10th (96 points)
“For me Valencia will be a difficult circuit from a physical point of view: I’ll try and do my best but it won’t be easy. It will also be my last race with Ducati and so I’ll be giving 100%. I’ve had four fantastic years in Ducati, especially the last two as factory rider, and we’ve done an incredible job together, especially since the arrival of Gigi, with whom I’ve always had a really good understanding. When you manage to work so well with a group of people, it’s always tough to go separate ways, but life goes on and from Monday I will have a new challenge ahead of me.”
SUZUKI ECSTAR SET FOR VALENCIA MotoGP™ FINALE
Team Suzuki Press Office – November 9.
After eight months, 17 races, four continents visited and thousands of miles travelled, the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship comes to a close this weekend at Valencia in Spain.
The Ricardo Tormo circuit will be the scene of the final battle of the season, with three World Champions already crowned, but with still some positions for the riders and teams to fight for.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR arrives in Valencia after very positive races in the far east, aware of being very close to the top in terms of performance of the GSX-RR and with the desire of a final positive showdown. According to the maths, Maverick Viñales can still aim for third place in the ‘Riders World Championship,’ being fourth with 191 points, 17 behind Jorge Lorenzo (208). Eleven points separate Aleix Espargaró from a top-10 position, while the team defends third place in the ‘Teams World Championship’ where they head the Ducati Team by five points (276 vs 271).
The Gran Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana is expected to be an emotional one for Viñales, Espargaró and the whole team, because it will be the final one in Suzuki colours for both riders; and the positive performance and feeling found during the second-half of the season gave further hopes for a remarkable performance at the 18th race of 2016.
The Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana is a facility completed in 1999 and has been hosting the GP ever since. The track is pretty tight, but the complex can hold around 150,000 fans in the stadium-style grandstands. Being the final GP of the season it will see many people coming support their heroes. The MotoGP™ events are held on a 4km track comprising five right-hand corners, eight left-handers and a 650m straight, for a total distance of 120.2 km (74.7 miles) covered in 30 laps.
“Last year’s race was not one of the best, but since then we made solid progress and we can say we are in a totally different situation. Already, in the test we did this year, our performance resulted in improvement, but most important factor is the steps forward we have made in the second half of the season. Now we feel we can be competitive in any conditions, and this is a great injection of enthusiasm for everyone. We feel we can compete with the top riders and teams, and we have already proved we can be on the podium consistently - which is a good way to end a season. This race will be important because we still have some hopes for the third place in the championship. When we started the season, our objective was to end in the top-six, but then during the season our competitiveness increased a lot; maybe even more than we expected and this had increased our ambition. We as a team are all racers, this means we always strive for the best result possible. We are already satisfied with the season, but we will try to exploit this last chance to get something even more and close these two years together in the best possible way.”
“The last races have not been the best in terms of final result, but looking at the performance and the competitiveness, we can be happy and proud. In the last months, I managed to find a lot better feeling with the bike, we improved the settings a lot and my riding style took advantage of this, resulting in being able to fight for top positions. This is a first step towards the place where I think we deserve to be, although unfortunately it arrived late in the season. The hard work we’ve done should deserve a positive result, both for me, the team and the Suzuki factory. Valencia is a circuit we know, although conditions will be different from the test we did, but I think we can find an effective configuration for the machine and be competitive.”
APRILIA RACING CELEBRATES (RED) AT THE VALENCIA GP
THE RS-GP MACHINES AND THE ENTIRE TEAM ALL IN RED TO RAISE AWARENESS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS
#iRideRED IS THE SPECIFICALLY CREATED HASHTAG THAT WILL BE LAUNCHED DURING THE RACE WEEKEND
On the occasion of the Valencia GP, the entire Aprilia Racing team will dress all in red, in fact, in (RED), starting with the RS-GP machines ridden by Bautista and Bradl, in order to celebrate the Piaggio Group's support for (RED), the association founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to contribute to programmes in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.
Because many are red in colour, but only Aprilia is (RED) in spirit.
The Valencia GP round will be a special occasion for Aprilia Racing. For the last race of the 2016 season, the entire team will dress in red and the Aprilia RS-GP bikes will be on the track in a special livery, bathed in the same colour, where only the (RED) logo will appear to celebrate the association that has distinguished itself over the years with its efforts in policies of the fight against diseases that represent one of the biggest problems of our times. This unprecedented initiative makes Aprilia Racing and the entire Piaggio Group proud to be promoters and protagonists of it.
And to coincide with the Valencia race, the hashtag #iRideRED arrives, to be shared full throttle and to participate in the most important race, the one against the HIV virus and other terrible diseases.
Founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, (RED) has contributed $360 million to the Global Fund in the battle against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. These funds have arrived in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia. 100% of the resources have been invested in Africa to finance programmes intended to fight HIV/AIDS. (RED)'s support for the Global Fund has had an impact on more than 70 million people with prevention, treatment and consulting operations, as well as HIV tests and assistance services.
Aprilia Racing and the Piaggio Group wish to thank all the partners, the sponsors and the riders who, with great sensitivity and maturity, have collaborated to make such an important, high social profile project successful, agreeing to the creation of the RS-GP in the livery entirely dedicated to (RED).
Mika Kallio, KTM RC16 & Team READY TO RACE #ValenciaGP
MotoGP Wildcard 2016 – Valencia (ESP)
Just one year after the rollout, and following a total of 35 days of extensive track tests, the KTM Factory Racing Team now looks forward to test rider Mika Kallio (FIN) launching the KTM RC16’s first wildcard entry in MotoGP at the final round of the season at Valencia. Action begins with free practice on Friday morning.
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): "We are all very happy with what we did as a team in the year since the first laps in Spielberg, but we see the wildcard entry as another test in our preparation for Qatar 2017. It will be our first experience under Grand Prix conditions. The most important thing is that we can finish the race. But it would also be great if we can achieve the performance that we’ve shown recently. Naturally, we can feel the enormous expectations from outside, but we don’t let this deter us. Instead, we try to remain realistic, and to see this race weekend experience as the next step."
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director): "We’ve had a lot of experience and made a lot of developments this year. The set-up day yesterday showed us that everyone in the team has done their homework, and despite the constant time pressure and a lot of new parts, we apparently didn't leave anything at home. Today, from the technical point of view, we hope to have a more relaxed one and to complete detailed work in preparation for the race weekend. We hope to experience many things that weren’t possible during testing.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider): “The start in Valencia will be a remarkable moment. KTM is presenting this new bike, and it is a great honor to be the one to compete with it for the very first time. This whole year has been great, and I couldn't imagine a better way to end the season. This coming weekend will be memorable for me, and for all the KTM staff. The team will have valuable experience working under pressure, and I can finally enjoy riding MotoGP again. I’m not going to be at the back of the pack in this race. I’ll be focusing on some of my personal goals after the timed free practices. I can race without pressure, and I believe I'll be on fire when the lights go out.“
Paul Trevathan (Crew Chief): "The atmosphere in the team is positive after all the hard work throughout this year and it remains so ahead of this great occasion. Yesterday we saw that everyone was fired up with the same passion coming into the paddock as they were at the Spielberg weekend. It’s clear that one or other of us will have a bit more tension than we did in the tests, but we try to stay normal and continue to concentrate on our work. This race is the reward for all the team, and especially for Mika, for all the tireless work and we’re very excited about where we will be.”
The race weekend begins with the first MotoGP free practice at 9.55 a.m. (CET) on Friday and qualifying is at 14.10 p.m. on Saturday. The race starts on Sunday at 2.00 p.m. On Monday it is all about preparing the pit area and motorcycles for the arrival of the two 2017 factory riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. They will ride the KTM MotoGP bike for the first time in the official IRTA test on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Miller and Rabat aim to finish with a flourish in Valencia
A 2016 MotoGP World Championship campaign ram packed full of contrasting emotions and fluctuating fortunes for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS draws to an exciting climax in Valencia this weekend, with Jack Miller and Tito Rabat aiming to close the season on a high note.
The 4km Ricardo Tormo Circuit is the traditional host for the final competitive action of the year, with Miller eager to bring the curtain down on his second season in MotoGP by scoring a third successive top 10 finish for the first time in his premier class career.
Miller’s season has been one dominated by a catalogue of unlucky injuries, but the 21-year has displayed phenomenal strength of mind and character to bounce back from adversity.
Now back in peak physical shape and his confidence boosted by a 10th place finish in Australia and an excellent eighth in Malaysia, Miller’s clear goal this weekend is to put his Honda RC213V machine into contention for the top 10 again on a track he was victorious on in Moto3 back in 2014.
Miller has certainly played a big part in a historic and record-breaking season, with a sensational splash to success in a wet Dutch TT at Assen meaning the Australian is one of nine different winners in a season that will live long in the memory of those privileged to witness it.
The tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo Circuit close to the vibrant city of Valencia was the scene of Rabat’s final Moto2 World Championship victory one year ago, and he is hoping to use past glory as a platform to end his rookie MotoGP season with a return to the point scoring places.
Despite a tough recent run, Rabat’s focus and commitment has never wavered and he is determined to register his 10th top 15 finish in a 2016 that has been a steep learning curve for the Spaniard.
Miller and Rabat will get little time to reflect on 2016, as they will both kick off their 2017 World Championship preparations when testing for next year’s MotoGP battle commences in Valencia next Tuesday.
"It's been good to get back to my base in Andorra after a pretty hectic overseas trip and have some time to get back out on the bicycle again, which I've missed. I can take a lot of positives from the last two races in Australia and Malaysia and I'm looking forward to this weekend in Valencia, where I'm keen to finish the season on a high note before getting back to testing on Tuesday ready for the 2017 season."
“Valencia is always a track that has given me a good feeling and it was special to finish my time in Moto2 last year with a victory. It is going to be interesting to understand the progress we have made because it was in Valencia one year ago when I did my first proper test on a MotoGP machine. I hope to go there and be competitive and finish the season with a decent result to take into the winter. I think the Honda will work well in Valencia now because the bike has become more manageable. Like always I will be giving my maximum and trying to put on a good show for the fans.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"In one way it's been a long season, but in another it's gone by in the blink of an eye. What is certain is that it's been a season of ups and downs. Jack's injuries have meant he's sat out a lot of races, but then his victory in Assen meant we were the first independent team to win a MotoGP race in a decade, which was a definite high point. For Tito the step up from Moto2 to MotoGP has been a difficult one, much more difficult than he was expecting and that's taken its toll on his confidence. What both Jack and Tito need this weekend in Valencia is a good result with which to end the season, so that they start testing for 2017 on Tuesday with their confidence high."
Valencia, last round of the season for Avintia Racing riders
Avintia Racing team riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz head to Valencia for the 18th and last round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship this weekend. Barbera and Baz are full of confidence after the great team result in Malaysia, even though both riders are well aware that it will be difficult to repeat the top 5 result in normal conditions this weekend at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. More realistically, Barbera aims at a top ten finish on Sunday. This would give him enough points to secure ninth place in the championship standings, a well deserved overall result after a great season with Avintia Racing and Ducati. Team-mate Baz also wants to finish the year on a high note, scoring some championship points and recovering the feeling with his bike in dry conditions.
“We head to the Grand Prix of Valencia, the most anticipated race of the season for me. I’m very motivated after finishing in fourth place at the last race and, with the extra boost from my home crowd, I think it will be possible to finish 2016 on a high note. I love the circuit, I’ve been training there during the season and now I look forwrd to the race. The weather forecast is good, so we will enjoy dry track time and the fans will have a great time during the weekend.”
“I always look forward to the next race and this time, even more so. The Valencia Grand Prix is very special, as it is the home race of my team and almost a second home race for me personally, because I used to live near the circuit. We did a good race in Malaysia, so we have to try our best to match or improve it at Valencia. But being realistic, I don’t have the pace in dry conditions, I need more kilometres on the bike and get more confidence. But I’ll do my best to finish the season in the best possible way and give my team something to cheer about. I don’t have big expectations, I just want to enjoy and try to improve my pace in the dry.”
Tech3 duo confident of sealing strong results in Grand Finale
Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith keenly await the 18th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia where they aim to achieve two flying finishes in what will be their last appearances in Monster Yamaha Tech3 colours. The season-ending battle will commence at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, which has produced many memorable and spectacular duels over the years. The fight in the championship standings is still ongoing, and therefore both riders fully intend to clinch top tier results aboard their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes to conclude the year positively.
Pol Espargaro will seek to close his three-year partnership with Yamaha by powering to an impressive finish in front of his loyal fans. The Spaniard plans to continue attacking to complete the Grand Prix as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders in Sunday’s 30 lap sprint after coming off the back of three impressive displays at the overseas Grand Prix’s.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith targets speeding to a solid result in the race in order to close his sixth year with the team in a notable way. The joint longest serving Tech3 rider produced three heroic point scoring performances in the flyaway races, where he returned to the grid after sustaining a knee injury, and he will aim to undertake another determined effort to close his fourth season in the premier class strongly.
Championship: 8th Points: 124
"Valencia is always important because it is where we end the season and it is also another home race. However, this year is going to be a bit more special, and I am going to compete at this event with the grandstands full of fans! It will be my last track appearance with Yamaha and the Monster Tech3 team after three really incredible years, with some great and some not so good moments, but I have learnt a lot in this period with a big group of professionals that have been like a family to me. I'm really looking forward to enjoying this weekend where I will try to complete this adventure with a highly satisfying result. I like the track and I am happy about how I have performed there in the past, such as in 2015, which was a difficult year but I was still able to end up in the top 5. Obviously, it's going to be difficult to repeat this, because the factory bikes such as Ducati and Suzuki, are much more competitive, and we are struggling a bit in a few areas. We will see how I feel with the Michelin tyres and if the weather does not interfere, then I want to have the best possible conclusion, but whatever happens, I will give my best as always."
Championship: 18th Points: 55
"After a long time together, this week will be my final outing with Tech3. This season is my sixth year in this team and it goes without saying that it will be hard to say ‘Au Revoir’ to the crew on Sunday afternoon. The guys who I have worked with have always done a great job, which gives me full motivation for Valencia where I really hope to end on a high. The back-to-back events went well and I scored some valuable points despite my recovering knee, therefore in Spain, I will fight to be as close as I can to the leading satellite position. 2016 has not gone exactly to plan and it’s a pity to be finishing the year much further back from where I wanted to be in the rankings. However, we never gave up and after achieving sixth in the Grand Prix 12 months ago, I am confident of a positive conclusion. I won the 125cc race in 2010 at Valencia, the year before I joined Tech3, and the venue has been good to me so I am very confident about scoring a solid result for my team."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“The next GP will be our last with Pol and Bradley but we will give them both everything they need to close the weekend strongly on Sunday, and we know they are fully fired up for the fight, and we all are too. The guys performed well in the previous three rounds, which certainly were tricky, but they stayed firm and can positively look back on what they achieved. No doubt, Pol will be gunning all out for a top six on Sunday in order to wrap up his time with his team in a positive way and also keep his placement above two factory riders in the standings. He has worked hard all year and we are sure that he is excited for this GP. As for Bradley, his season has been tough due to some bad luck and his knee injury. Yet, he remained resolute and impressed us all by producing three well-fought performances in the flyaway GP’s, and no doubt, he will try to go one step further as soon as the action gets underway in Spain. In addition, we hope that the guys can clinch some valuable points so that the Tech3 team can win the top independent team battle for the fifth year in succession, which is obviously very important for us. The Valencia event is always amazing and it is worthy of hosting the final showdown, therefore, we aim to put on a great show for everyone and give Brad and Pol the best send off that we can.”
Aspar Team ready to bid farewell to 2016 in Valencia
Tuesday, 08 November 2016 11:11
Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández hope to sign off from MotoGP in the points
The Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo is the traditional venue for the MotoGP season curtain call and this year will be no different as the teams and riders bid farewell to 2016, before starting their preparations for 2017 just days later at the same track. Before then there is the small matter of the final race of an historic season that has already produced nine different race winners, with the matters of third place in the championship and top Independent Rider still to be decided. That fight for third is led by Jorge Lorenzo with a 17-point advantage Maverick Viñales, whilst Cal Crutchlow has a similar advantage over Pol Espargaró. The 4.005km of tarmac at the Ricardo Tormo circuit is the perfect venue for the eighteenth and final chapter of 2016.
The final round of the season is also the home round for the Pull&Bear Aspar Team, who celebrate the end of an era as both Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández contest their final races with the team before heading off to different categories next season. The Irishman has been in the hunt for a top ten championship position all season although his objective is a slim possibility now with 19 points to make up. However, with up to three riders all within striking distance of his current position, Laverty will do well to hang on to a creditable twelfth. Hernández scored his career best result at Cheste with sixth place in the Moto2 race in 2011 and is hoping to celebrate more MotoGP points before heading back to the intermediate category next season.
Eugene Laverty: “At Valencia it would be nice to finish the season with a great result. It is the team's home race so it's an important one for the team and their sponsors so I am going to try and make the best race possible. It's difficult to say what the result could be but a top ten would be nice - that's what we are always aiming for. Now we are twelfth in the championship so we will try to make the best finish as possible and top ten will be the goal.”
Yonny Hernández: “I am really excited about this race, it is special because it is the last one of the season and it is my last in MotoGP, as well as being the home race for the team. Hopefully I can do a good job from Friday so that we can fight for a good result and finish this period in the right way.”
MICHELIN HEADS TO THE SEASON FINALE IN SPAIN AS VALENCIA WAITS TO SUPPLY THE CELEBRATIONS
Michelin is on the way to Spain for the fourth and final time this season as the French company’s neighbours hold host to the 18th and concluding round of the 2016 MotoGP™ Championship and the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana this Sunday.
The traditional season-ending event is held at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, situated near the village of Cheste just on the outskirts of the city of Valencia. Its unique design makes it the only stadium circuit on the calendar, with grandstands surrounding all sides of the track so fans can see most of the action from any vantage point. It is this unusual feature that adds to a very distinctive layout over the circuit’s 4,005m distance. The anti-clockwise design features 14 corners, of which nine are left-hand and five are right-handed and a straight of just 650m, which is approached by a very fast left turn. With the extra left corners, Michelin has brought a range of MICHELIN Power SLICK tyres which will feature an asymmetric design – with a harder left-hand shoulder – for both the front and rear allocation. Available in medium (no band) and hard (yellow band) for the front, along with soft (white band) and medium (no band) for the rear, the tyres are aimed to give the riders the best choice to use in the colder morning temperatures that are common at the circuit in November, right through to the warmer conditions that are usually experienced when race-day afternoon arrives.
Michelin’s provision of tyres for the MotoGP field will also include the MICHELIN Power Rain in extra soft (light blue band), soft (blue band) and medium (no band) for both the front and rear, plus the Power Inters being made available if there are mixed conditions or a drying track.
The final round of the season gets underway on Friday with two free practice sessions. Saturday will have further practice sessions, before the excitement of qualifying takes place in the afternoon to decide the grid position for Sunday’s 30-lap race. A big crowd is expected trackside when the race gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (13.00hrs GMT) and the excited fans will also be treated to the customary celebratory fireworks that are usually lit by the champions of all three classes – MotoGP, Moto2™ and Moto3™ – at the end of their respective races, all adding to the spectacle and festivities as the racing calendar draws to a close.
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“Valencia signifies our last race of 2016, but it also means it’s the start of 2017 because we have an important test in the week after the race. We have had an interesting season with lots of different challenges, mostly from the weather, so we are hoping that will not play a part this weekend. We learned a lot from the post-race test at Valencia last year and that set us on our way for 2016 and we will be going to this race with very different tyres to what we had this time last year. The circuit can be cold in the mornings and it doesn’t give much grip, so we have a range that we hope will cope with these conditions. That said though, with so many corners the edges of the tyres don’t have much chance to cool down and with the extra number of left-hand corners, including the fast final turn, we have asymmetric tyres with harder left-hand shoulders for front and rear to cope with those kinds of stresses.”