With the world champions from both Moto3 and Moto2 winning their last race of the season, Marc Marquez had quite a formidable challenge in stopping a blisteringly fast Jorge Lorenzo from spoiling the record. But not even mighty Marquez could resist the Yamaha man on his last race for the blue team, Lorenzo departing after adding another trophy to their cabinet. Marquez finished second on his 150th GP but got to celebrate the title once again with his home crowd.
The start took place under slight cloud cover, Lorenzo’s dream start balanced by a terrible wheelie from Marquez, the world champion dropping behind Valentino Rossi, both of them overtaken on the line by Andrea Iannone and Maverick Viñales. That was the moment when Marquez lost the race, despite making up ground on Lorenzo in the late part of the race.
As Lorenzo was stretching a bit of a gap at the start, Iannone had just enough of a gap to not get embroiled in the fight for third, where Rossi and Marquez overtook Vinales by lap five. One lap later Lorenzo was already over two seconds away, but the group caught up with Iannone, bringing Dovizioso along for the ride.
Rossi did have a few tries at his fellow Italian but either the horsepower of the Ducati or Rossi himself running wide brought Iannone back in front time after time. The Yamaha man made it stick by lap ten, getting Marquez stuck to do the same dance with the Ducati. Business as usual at the front, Lorenzo four seconds ahead of the rest.
At the halfway point, the hierarchy looked settled but the expected drop-off deadlines for the softer front tyres were approaching. Iannone made his move on Rossi with fourteen laps to go, restarting the tango, Marquez waiting two more laps to put his harder front to good use and steal Rossi’s podium position. Then he wasted no time to deal with Iannone, in an old-time Moto2-style scrap between the two.
Ten laps to go and Marquez was slowly building a gap to the third place fight, Rossi and Iannone the main protagonists, with Viñales a silent spectator. Meanwhile, Lorenzo was setting a string of mid 1:31s in the lead of the race, despite the world champion closing up on him slowly and getting the almost five-second gap down to little over a second.
The Ducati’s top speed helped in the fight for third, but credit where credit due, Iannone’s willingness to rub elbows eventually got him a spot on the podium for the last race of the year, a farewell gift for his Ducati team.
Amongst other notable results, Pol Espargaro got past Dovizioso in the final moments of the race, while Bradley Smith held on to ninth position, just ahead of Alvaro Bautista. Despite only finishing twelfth in a pretty anonymous race, Danilo Petrucci wins the intra-team fight for the Ducati GP17 in the Pramac garage next year.
With the championship wrapped up for a while, the team championship went to Movistar Yamaha following Dani Pedrosa’s early crash, with Honda grabbing the constructors’ title. The trophies will be given later today, while the bikes will be back in two days for the start of winter testing.
|36||Mika KALLIO||KTM||11 Laps|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||14 Laps|
|26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||24 Laps|
|68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||26 Laps|