2017 Valencia MotoGP Race Result: Soap Opera Showdown

They called it the Final Showdown and a showdown it was, filled with drama from start to end. But the end is all that matters and the outcome was Marc Marquez becoming the youngest rider to win six grand prix world titles. Honda’s celebrations got another kick as Dani Pedrosa ended up adding to his prolific tally of victories in Valencia after breaking France’s heart by overtaking Johann Zarco on the last lap of the race and season.

Poleman Marquez and eventual victor Pedrosa played around at the start as Pedrosa jumped into second place after the lights went off and made a nice buffer between his teammate and the crazy gang of Zarco and Andrea Iannone. Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso was up to sixth place after the start and right behind his teammate, Valentino Rossi up to seventh and Maverick Viñales only twelfth.

Zarco did not let Honda have their way though, getting rough with Pedrosa by lap two and threatening Marquez soon after. Marquez clearly did not take it easy on the hard front and was already posting fastest times on the second lap but could not quite shake off the Frenchman, who was too close for comfort. Zarco finally made into the lead on lap four as Marquez did not engage in battle, leaving the factory Hondas being chased by the factory Ducatis as Iannone lost ground slightly.

Meanwhile, Rossi was eighth and set to battle Miller and Iannone if he wanted to join the podium fight. Teammate Viñales was further behind and with Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci to contend with for a top ten position.

Back at the front, Marquez kept within reach of Zarco, with Pedrosa a safe half second behind. The Ducatis led by Jorge Lorenzo were another half a second behind Pedrosa but avoiding any unnecessary shenanigans at this stage of the race.

A sense of false calm set in by lap eight, the gaps stabilizing in the top five and Iannone being left to lead the pursuers two seconds down the road, in a group with Rossi and Miller. Two laps later the gap between Zarco and Marquez was steadily around the half a second mark, with Pedrosa giving Marquez a second’s worth of breathing space. Seven tenths down the road, Dovizioso was biding his time in attempting a move on his teammate as Rossi moved into the lead of the chasing group another four seconds down.

Dovizioso picked up the pace on lap 12 with some personal best sectors but could not make his way past Lorenzo until the Spaniard got the infamous Mapping 8 dashboard message. Lorenzo did not pick up the suggestion right away and Ducati went for third time lucky, pushing the suggestion another two times in an attempt to put Dovizioso in a better position.

Meanwhile, Marquez did not show any intentions but looked tempted to hang on and pick his time to go hunting. At the halfway mark, Pedrosa was starting to come back into play, the gap to his teammate going from a second to only half, while the small Spaniard’s gap to the Ducatis extended to one second.

Just as Ducati were adding another message to Lorenzo’s pit board with 11 laps to go, Marquez was smelling blood already by quickly swapping places with Zarco but the Tech 3 man was back in front soon after. Despite missing his team’s love letters, Lorenzo was slowly bringing down the gap to the leading trio to six tenths of a second with eigth laps to go, the entire top five running nearly identical times into the 1:32.

Marquez finally attacked for the lead with seven laps to go but followed it up with a massive save on his knee into turn one and rejoined in fifth place after some off-roading into the turn one gravel trap. Just as our heart rate was settling down from that, the curse Ducati placed on Lorenzo paid off as the Spaniard slid out with six laps to go into turn five. Unfortunately, Dovizioso did not get a chance to benefit from that as, in an unbelievable turn of events, the Italian crashed out in turn eight a few seconds later and returned to his garage to the applause of his team and pretty much everyone else.

In the middle of all that, Pedrosa was left to hunt down Zarco for victory, with Marquez finding himself back into a podium position five seconds back on his teammate. Pedrosa was shaking all over the place but biding his time until the final crossing of the line to attack. The Frenchman put the Spaniard under pressure until the last turn but had to concede the victory to Pedrosa in the end. Ten seconds behind them crossed the line as world champion Marc Marquez and went on to roll the dice one last time for the year, this time literally, in his title celebrations.

Despite having seen none of him throughout the race, Alex Rins was the best of the rest in fourth position, ahead of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone. The top ten was an interesting mix including three more Hondas, with Jack Miller seventh, Cal Crutchlow eighth and Tito Rabat tenth, while Michele Pirro ended up as top Ducati in ninth place. Maverick Viñales’ weekend finished the same way it started, down in twelfth position.

With Marquez crowned in front of 110.000 fans ended another season with an incredibly packed highlights reel, including twenty seven crashes for the world champion and almost as many saves. 2018 can’t come soon enough.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 46'08.125
2 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +0.337
3 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +10.861
4 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +13.567
5 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +13.817
6 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +14.516
7 43 Jack MILLER Honda +17.087
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +17.230
9 51 Michele PIRRO Ducati +25.942
10 53 Tito RABAT Honda +27.020
11 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +30.835
12 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +35.012
13 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +38.076
14 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +41.988
15 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +47.703
16 76 Loris BAZ Ducati +47.709
17 60 Michael VAN DER MARK Yamaha +52.134
    Not Classified    
  44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 5 Laps
  4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 5 Laps
  99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 6 Laps
  22 Sam LOWES Aprilia 8 Laps
  19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati 16 Laps
  45 Scott REDDING Ducati 26 Laps
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 27 Laps
  36 Mika KALLIO KTM 28 Laps
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Round Number: 
18
2017
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Total votes: 14

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Comments

I few fun facts I learnt after this race:
-A Honda can definitely overtake a Yamaha in Valencia
-mapping 8 message on JL dashboard does definitely NOT mean "let Dovi through"
- the Yamaha 2017 is definitely NOT a good bike
:)

Total votes: 29

Hervé Poncharral has confirmed on french Eurosport that Rossi and Viñales used the same chassis as Zarco during the race.

Total votes: 58

Another fun fact. The Yamaha coloured in yellow cannot fight for podium in Valencia, no matter where it starts from

Total votes: 27

I'd like to know why it was even necessary to tell Lorenzo to move over. You'd think he'd have understood that since the finish of the last race.

Total votes: 44

I think Lorenzo was more than happy to move over to help Dovi win the championship, however, he knew that the only way for that to happen was for Dovi to win and Marquez to (basically) non-score.  If Dovi wasn't going to win then there was no point in moving over.  Dovi confirmed, both verbally after the race, and by crashing, that he didn't have the pace to catch and pass Pedrosa and Zarco.  He actually said that Jorge wasn't holding him up - and Jorge's record around Valencia compared to Dovi's confirms that.

Total votes: 6

What another emphatic win by the little big man that as usual will go unoticed by mainstream media. Marc is not a nervy bloke but even he must have felt the pressure. Dani took that weight off his shoulders from the get go. Its hardly Dani's fault that the current Michelins don't work for him  in cold, and wet. He is still the great racer he always has been and still is. Perfect team mate for Marc who deservedly got his 6th GP title. I can't say the same about team red. Mapping 8 be damned. Jorge knew full damn well that Dovi was trying to get past him by lap 5 or 6 and Jorge could not close the gap effectively to Dani at that stage. Why not let Dovi have a go at it? This is a great venue but a stupid bloody track for GP1 bikes..no decent overtaking zones. Marc saved his day with another off track excursion, took the title and kudos to him. After Lorenzo eventually lost the bike, Dovi had no option other than to chuck the kitchen sink at it and try to win, going down in the process. If I could liken MGP to heavyweight boxing of yesteryear, Marc is sort of Ali vs Ken Norton in the form of Dovi. Dovi is one racer Marc did not want breathing down his neck in this race. Dani and Jorge saw to it. Johan Zarco, as ever just rode his own race and brilliant it was. I don't read much into conspiracy theories. I honestly believe Jorge felt he could tow Dovi up to the front. Once he saw +0 Dovi, he should have let him go for broke as was his want off the start line. Congrats Marc. Great season. There can be only one winner but Dovi was certainly no loser.

Total votes: 38

PIT BULL, but you have managed to smack a lot of my nails fair and square, lol.

There are some great camera shots at Valencia but I took one look at the overhead shot of the track and thought to myself "that would be crap on a big bike".  Scracth that one of my dream track-day list. 

Dovi barely showed Lorenzo a wheel so I'm pretty confident he was happy to be towed along by Lorenzo at one of JL's favourite tracks.  The Duc's crashing in close succession indicates they were both pretty much on the limit.  That's the trouble with todays "slot bikes", there is no extra attitude or movement to actually gauge the effort involved (unless you are MM), the only thing working overtime is the electronics.

The highlight for me?  Seeing Dovi's reception in the pits, vanquished he may have been but a hero none the less.  Great to see such a team reaction.

Miller may have just assumed the mantle of "best of the rest" Honda riders, albeit an extremely short-lived title!  The Ducati experiment is going to be interesting.....

Total votes: 4

Too late to complain ?
Doesn't want to be a 'sore loser' ?
Gigi was far from impressed with JL.
Perhaps Dovi's just helping Ducati avoid the flack from fans who can't understand JL not working with the Red Team ?
Dovi deserved a crack at MM, but JL just sat right in his way.

Total votes: 8

on his 4th MotoGP title which is rightfully deserved, I also want to praise Dani Pedrosa for his 2nd win of the season. Márquez had better pace but made a mistake, as did both Ducatis and in the end all was set for the little samurai, finding a tough opponent on Johann Zarco who made a truly brilliant rookie season. I know that a rider that wants to be a world champion can't win just two races per season, so I truly wish 2018 smiles on Pedrosa as well as the Michelin tires which have plagued him in rain and cold conditions and that he can attain what he's been after all this time. Also a word for Dovi, who put a great fight until the end giving everything he had only to fail while trying to wrap the championship. Let's see what 2018 brings on!

Total votes: 22

There are a lot of things that you don´t get until after the race. 

Dovi didn´t want past...he needed Jorge to keep him close. Jorge would have moved over if the two had managed to close the gap on Zarco and Marc. 

The other thing we didn´t know was that Yamaha had put all riders on the 2016 that the satellite team has been using. 

This is one GP that I´m glad I didn´t have to call from the booth because I would have gotten both those things wrong. 

 

 

 

 

 

Total votes: 29

Marquez couldn't resist and lost it . . . And then saved it. How does he do it? No mere mortal could, only an Alien could pick up a sliding rocket bike off his elbow, do some dirt tracking, and rejoin in fifth. 

Jorge didn't need to pull over until Dovi started nipping at his heels, and No 4 just couldn't quite get close enough, their race ended in dusty disappointment propelling Marvelous Marquez to third and a step on the podium.

Pedrosa's narrow win over the extremely talented and determined Zarco was, sadly, largely overshadowed by the Marquez cliffhanger. Meanwhile Alex Rins on the Suzuki finished a remarkable 4th ahead of Rossi, his ride also lost in the championship plot.

Five Hondas in the top 10 was significant testimony to the development of the RC213V throughout the year, and Tito pulled a Rabat out of his helmet to finish 10th. 

Before we look forward to next year I sincerely hope the motorcycle world enthusiastically pays tribute to MotoGp announcer Nick Harris who apparently called his last race on Sunday. I missed an opportunity to meet him in Austin this summer and regret it even more today. Harris was a gifted announcer, a master of the English language, always sincerely enthusiastic about the sport and personalities and I will miss his clever turns of phrases and apt metaphors immensely.

I hope Moto Matters's excellent writers take the time and devote ample column inches to the amazing career of Nick Harris because he needs to know how much he was appreciated. 

 

Total votes: 51

The riders paid a great tribute on Nick Harris and the supporting video was published on motogp.com

World champion decider aside, Pedrosa was the man of the day. He never attacked Marquez until he knew he could and proved he was the fastest all day long. 

Total votes: 3

Dylan Grey and Martin Raines also left from the official motoGP team, and Julian Ryder retired from calling for BT Sports (previously Eurosport).  Commentating is going to be very different next year, the replacements have some big shoes to fill.

Total votes: 7

...but of equal importance is the fact that yesterday was Julian Ryder's final race. He was an epic commentator. Julian was more lucid and technically adept, although Nick said funnier, more unfathomable things, and he also had his vast lexicon of superb Nick-isms. Both will be missed horribly.

Total votes: 8

Sorry. 99 should have moved out of the way. The ducati team wanted him to. Regardless of whether he thought he was quicker or not, or if marquez was placed higher, he should have given Dovi the opportunity. Dovi said they were both on the limit all the way. Maybe. But Dovi couldn't not have gone any closer without hitting him at some points for about 6 laps. Too much of a gentleman after the race
Well done Marc, great save and well earnt. The GOAT will see his records tumbling... unfortunately

Total votes: 9

"Dovi couldn't not have gone any closer without hitting him at some points for about 6 laps. Too much of a gentleman after the race"

99 should have moved out of the way just for the sake of it... dovi should not have had to try and pass him, he should have let him by, it's his team mate on a mission to win the championship... imagine if marc actually HAD crashed.

well deserved 4th motogp title though!

Total votes: 8

Congratulations to Marc Marquez and Honda. Cheers to Dovizioso and Ducati for not making it easy for them. And thank you to Dave and the motomatters team for a season of great journalism and analysis.

My two cents: Johan Zarco made the season more excitable. His passes are no more "crazy" than Marquez's. He's agressive, yes, but that's part of the game, especially on certain tracks where passing zones are few. He will be a champion soon.

The drama and unpredictability of the season was invigorating. Motogp has new fans. This was a great season which gave us great races and lots to discuss.....bring on 2018.

 

 

 

Total votes: 14

Leaving this here for fun...
(Dated last Thursday)
"Marquez may find himself in the back of a front pack. He may get suckered into a gloves off fight. He really is naturally geared to ride at 11 tenths, and paint swaps. I have watched him riding 9.5 tenths whilst in tight formation with the likes of Crutchlow, Miller, Iannone etc - brutal knife fighters - looking at two bikes in front of him at 10 tenths, and he looks like he is just one rough pass opportunity away from careening into a corner in which too much is left to chance. It. Is. Possible."

I nearly messed my trousers when Marquez dove past Zarco and lost it. His bike had stayed settled at 9.5 tenths nearly all race, tires in line. Some odd looks back to attempt to manage riders approaching him from the rear. Then he suddenly leaped for a pass at 10.5 tenths and crashed. Well, then didn't. Again.

It was Marquez that took out Marquez. Because he had been out of his usual rhythm. Much like a tire not reaching operating temperature range, a cautious Marc running at 9.5 tenths rather than 10 plus under pressure is vulnerable.

But then he saved it, again. On the knee. On the elbow. Is this normal to you already?

Dovi wasn't to get further forward than he did. It was a valiant effort. Yes, there were some moments in which he was held up by Lorenzo, a corner here and there. And yes, his pit board did indicate to drop a spot. But Lorenzo had a touch better pace than Dovi here, and I also saw Dovi getting a tow while looking less comfortable, and some slip stream on the straight. Lorenzo should have let him pass a time or three. And also should have given him the tow he did. In general the Ducati was not going particularly well here. Gigi was quite happy with the close of the season.

Interesting that the factory Yamaha garage switched to the 2016 chassis. Testing began early this year.

Rins on the Suzuki in 4th! Praise worthy. Not as much went on in this race as I had hoped. The bits that did were dramatic. Zarco was brilliant and aggressive. He moves the Yamaha around such that it looks like a Honda. He deserves more praise, and a great bike next year. Don't lose him Yamaha!

Little Dani Pedrosa is such a mighty mite. How can he throw that bike around like that? All these years. 2012 he had one hand on a title that dropped away from a mechanic's mistake installing front brakes. He has taken quite a physical beating. But not a mental one. Nice race big guy!

Farewell Livio Suppo. Casey surely has a fishing pole for you. Nick Harris, thanks for all the unending enthusiasm.

Hello to a VERY strong set of Rookies coming in. The MarcVDS squad looks interesting for 2018. Yamaha better hop to it, Honda is on the move. Zarco better not be. The 2017 M1 is ready for the scrap heap and all eyes are on their engineers. Most clearly are Valentino's. This may be how the #46 run ends, long after Burgess and Furusawa. MotoGP will do fine moving forward. The Yamaha next season? No one knows.

Congratulations Marc Marquez and Honda. #93 is something really special, his talent and courage are unquestionable. At this point I am not a fan of any one rider or bike. I am a fan of motorcycle racing. One that is very happy with our GP's.

Total votes: 11

This has been an epic season. As a fan, one could not ask for much more. All the thrills, chills and spills one could possibly stand without bursting were experienced this year! And to the victor goes the spoils - Congratulations Marc Marquez on a title that was well-earned. It would have been incredible to have Dovi in the mix there at the end, but it was not to be. He just didn't have the pace despite Jorge's best efforts to tow him to the front. At no time did I feel the 99 held the 04 up at any point during this race - Dovi had been struggling all weekend and had nothing for the Honda's in this title fight. It almost seemed proper to me that the RCV's grabbed both the titile and the race win in the final round. The best on the best. I can live with that.

This however in no way diminishes the amazing progress made by the red bikes in 2017. Everyone was wondering (well, I was at least) how these bikes were going to fare without the winglets, and I feel that the aero fairing was a stroke of genius. It literally saved Jorge's season. If they can figure out their mid-corner issues Ducati will be more than knocking on the door for the 2018 title. 

If I had any gripe at all with this season it is with Michelin and that crap front tire. Granted, they have made progress (at least the rear is not flying apart like it was) but that front is just garbage. nearly every rider that I heard from post-race was saying no feeling in the front, grip issues in the front, I lost the front multiple times... When are these folks at Michelin going to get a clue and get it right? Again, there is always hope for next year. No doubt they will have plenty of data to work off of, so we will see. 

So we get a few days of testing, and then the long wait until pre-season in January. A time for all to reflect, refresh, heal and recharge. This includes all of us! Rest well, my brothers and Sisters, Sepang Pre-season will be here before we know it!  

Total votes: 6