Jorge Lorenzo brought the curtain down on his nine-year spell with Yamaha in sensational style by winning the Valencia Grand Prix. The outgoing world champion held off 2016 champion Marc Marquez to take victory in his last race before switching to Ducati, who clinched the final podium spot courtesy of Andrea Iannone.
For Lorenzo, it was a virtuoso performance, reminiscent of so many of his MotoGP successes, as he stormed into an early lead from pole position. Crucially, Marquez and Valentino Rossi were outdragged on the run to the first corner by Iannone and Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales and they provided a buffer to allow Lorenzo to escape.
Rossi finally looked to have loosened the shackles on lap six when he outbraked Vinales into turn one, a move repeated by Marquez at the next corner, but Iannone provided a much tougher challenge with the powerful Ducati. On lap twelve, Rossi finally looked to have made the move stick but Lorenzo was 4.6 seconds to the good and virtually uncatchable.
Instead, Rossi fell back into the clutches of Iannone and the Desmosedici GP breezed past on lap seventeen, signalling the end of ‘The Doctor’s’ challenge. Marquez soon followed through into third and when the Spaniard muscled Iannone aside on lap twenty, Marc had ten laps to try and make a dent in Lorenzo’s advantage.
Marquez fought valiantly to chase the leader down with Lorenzo’s lap times dropping off due to apparent tyre troubles but those early laps stuck in traffic proved decisive as the Yamaha rider held on by 1.1 seconds. Iannone held off Rossi for third in his last race for Ducati while Vinales ended his Suzuki career with fifth, three seconds further back.
Pol Espargaro finished sixth although that wasn’t enough to see him win the Independent Championship, despite a crash for Cal Crutchlow. Andrea Dovizioso faded in the latter stages to seventh ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith while Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten for Aprilia.
2016 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana (Race Result)
|1||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||45:54.228||25|
|2||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+1.185||20|
|3||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||+6.603||16|
|4||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+7.668||13|
|5||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+10.610||11|
|6||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+18.378||10|
|7||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+18.417||9|
|8||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+18.678||8|
|9||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+25.993||7|
|10||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+35.065||6|
|11||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+36.425||5|
|12||9. Danilo PETRUCCI||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+42.415||4|
|13||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+49.823||3|
|14||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+52.035||2|
|15||73. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+55.625||1|
|16||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||+58.254|
|17||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+58.555|
|19||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+1:06.164|
|NC||36. Mika KALLIO||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+11 Laps|
|NC||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||+14 Laps|
|NC||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+24 Laps|
|NC||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||+26 Laps|