Eight months after the start of the 2018 championship season, which kicked off at the Losail circuit in Qatar in March, the MotoGP teams and riders have arrived in Spain for the nineteenth and final round of the season, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, which is held every year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of Valencia.
Thanks to the results obtained in the previous round at Sepang, Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati come to Valencia with second place in the Riders’ and Constructors’ standings firmly in the bag, while Jorge Lorenzo intends to conclude his partnership with the Borgo Panigale manufacturer in the best possible way, despite the aftermath of his recent injury. In any case 2018 has been another positive year for Ducati with six wins to its name – three for each rider – together with four seconds and two thirds.
Dovizioso has ten starts to his name at Valencia in MotoGP, with his best result being a third place in 2011, while last year the Italian rider crashed six laps from the end while in third place. Jorge Lorenzo has taken part in nine editions of the Valencia GP, winning four of them and demonstrating total supremacy in 2015 and 2016.
It will be the third race of the year on the Desmosedici GP for Michele Pirro, after Misano and the Sepang round, where he replaced Lorenzo. The Italian rider has taken part in five Valencia GPs in the MotoGP category, scoring a best result of fifth in 2012, while the year before Michele was able to win in Moto2.
Ducati has scored two MotoGP wins at Valencia, with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2008.
After 18 races, Dovizioso is second overall in the Riders’ standings with 220 points while Lorenzo lies in tenth with 130. Pirro, who has taken part in just two races this season, is in twenty-seventh place with 1 point.
The Valencia weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 09.55 CET, while the 27-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14.00 CET.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (220 points)
“Sixth place at Sepang meant that I finished second in the championship and we wanted to bring home this very important result at all costs. Now at Valencia we come up against a track where in the past we have struggled quite a bit: this year however I expect us to be fast and the race will also be an important test to understand in which areas we have to improve to be more competitive next year.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 10th (130 points)
“We have arrived at the last race of the season and even though I still won’t be 100% fit, I would really like to finish my adventure in Ducati with a good result. It’s difficult to know what condition my left wrist will be in, but luckily I feel much better than in Sepang and on Friday morning I’ll go out on track with the hope that I won’t have too much pain and that I can be competitive. My two years in Ducati have been very intense and I’d really like to say goodbye to my team with a good race. For sure our fans, who always come out in force at Cheste, will also help to make this weekend special.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 27th (1 point)
“I’m happy to be back on track for the last round of the season and be able to work all weekend with my squad and the guys in the test team. As always, we’ll try and do a good job and bring home as much information as possible. We recently went testing here at Valencia and so we’ve got a good starting base. Let’s hope we can enjoy ourselves and finish - with a good race - a season that after my crash at Mugello has seen me recover really well.”
The Valencia circuit
The Ricardo Tormo Circuit at Cheste, which was built in 1999, hosted its first Grand Prix the same year. The track has several different configurations, with varying lengths, and all of them lap in a counter-clockwise direction. Although the track itself is relatively tight and compact, the massive grandstands all around can contain more than 150,000 spectators. The circuit layout helps to create a unique atmosphere, both for the riders and the enthusiastic Spanish fans, who always fill the stadium for the last GP of the season.
Fastest Lap: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Circuit Record: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’31.171 (158.1 km/h) - 2016
Best Pole: Lorenzo (Yamaha) 1’29.401 (161.2 km/h) - 2016
Top Speed: Dovizioso (Ducati) 335.9 km/h - 2015
Track Length: 4.0 km
Race Distance: 27 laps (108.1 km)
Corners: 14 (9 left, 5 right)
Race Start: 14.00 CET
Podium: 1st Pedrosa (Honda); 2nd Zarco (Yamaha); 3rd Marquez (Honda)
Pole Position: Marquez (Honda) 1’29.897 (160.383 km/h)
Fastest Lap: Zarco (Yamaha) 1’31.576 (157.442 km/h)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 04
Age: 32 (born on 23 March 1986 in Forlimpopoli)
Residence: Forlì (Italy)
Races: 293 (195 x MotoGP, 49 x 250cc, 49 x 125cc)
First GP: 2008 Qatar (MotoGP), 2005 Spain (250cc), 2001 Italy (125cc)
Wins: 20 (11 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
First Win: 2009 Britain (MotoGP), 2006 Catalonia (250cc), 2004 South Africa (125cc)
Pole Positions: 19 (6 x MotoGP, 4 x 250cc, 9 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2010 Japan (MotoGP), 2006 France (250cc), 2003 France (125cc)
World Titles: 1 (1 x 125cc)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 99
Age: 31 (born on 4 May 1987 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain)
Residence: Lugano (Switzerland)
Races: 281 (187 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
First GP: 2008 Qatar (MotoGP), 2005 Spain (250cc), 2002 Spain (125cc)
Wins: 68 (47 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First Win: 2008 Portugal (MotoGP), 2006 Spain (250cc), 2003 Brazil (125cc)
Pole Positions: 69 (43 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
First Pole: 2008 Qatar (MotoGP), 2005 Italy (250cc), 2003 Malaysia (125cc)
World Titles: 5 (3 x MotoGP, 2 x 250cc)
Bike: Ducati Desmosedici GP
Race Number: 51
Age: 32 (born on 5 July 1986 at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy)
Residence: Cesena (Italy)
Races: 98 (51 x MotoGP, 18 x Moto2, 29 x 125cc)
First GP: 2012 Qatar (MotoGP), 2010 Aragón (Moto2), 2003 Italy (125cc)
Wins: 1 (1 x Moto2)
First Win: 2011 Valencia (Moto2)
Pole Positions: 1 (1 x Moto2)
First Pole: 2011 Valencia (Moto2)