Jack Miller outfought Isaac Vinales to take victory in the Valencia Grand Prix but Alex Marquez held his nerve to clinch the Moto3 world championship, finishing third in a memorable finale. The championship decider delivered on its promise with aggressive moves throughout which saw the title pendulum swing one way and the other but Marquez emerged at the end of it all as Moto3 champion.
With the lightweight class building a reputation for frenetic racing, Marquez’s greatest danger came in a potential collision with other riders and when pole-starter Niccolo Antonelli tagged him at turn eight on lap ten, the championship leader was punted back to fifth. With Miller leading from Vinales and Efren Vazquez, Alex was now playing catch-up in the race for the title.
Showing no sign of the nerves which made life so difficult for him in Sepang, Marquez calmly progressed back towards the front of the eight-man leading group but a brutal move from Miller on lap sixteen left him with yet more work to do. The decisive incident in the championship fight ultimately came four laps later.
Moments after losing the lead to Vinales, Miller was relegated to third by Alex Rins and in his haste to get past the Estrella Galicia Honda, the Australian forced himself and the no.42 machine wide at turn four. Jack darted back across to try and reclaim the racing line but Danny Kent and Alex Marquez were both in the way, Alex being sandwiched between the Ajo teammates. Both championship contenders lost valuable time as they tried to regain their rhythm but the chaos had given Vinales a 1.5s lead out in front. With Miller needing victory to have any realistic chance of the title, he could no longer concentrate on delaying Marquez, and had to give chase to the leader.
A blistering sequence of laps saw Jack reel in the Calvo KTM, eventually snatching victory on the last lap by 0.155s, but Marquez had recovered to third with Danny Kent the only rider close enough to challenge him. The Briton appeared to be lining himself up for a pass on the last lap but a minor error two corners from home blunted his charge, allowing Marquez a trouble-free run to the finish line and a first world title.
Alex Rins took fifth ahead of Vazquez and Antonelli with Mahindra duo Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder taking eighth and ninth respectively. John McPhee should have capped an impressive season with a top ten finish but a tumble at the very last corner dropped him all the way to seventeenth.