Marquez wins title 4th MotoGP championship
In a season that saw numerous winners on top of the podium, multiple changes in the standings, unscripted on-track drama and a lot of crashes, the 2017 MotoGP season has definetely lived up to the pre-season hype.
Marc Marquez, the Phenom from Spain, stood atop the championship standings with just the final race in Valencia to go. While most of his rivals have fallen by the wayside, Andrea Dovizioso kept the fight alive until the last round of the championships. Dovizioso needed to win at all cost, and hope that Marc fails to get a top 10 finish for him to take possession of the 2017 title, any other result would mean that Marquez would be king once again in MotoGP.
Saturday saw Marc take control of qualifying and his destiny, by plopping his Repsol Honda in P1, with Johann Zarco in 2nd and Andrea Iannone in 3rd. Lorenzo, Pedrosa, and Pirro took up the 2nd row, with Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, and championship contender Andrea Dovizioso, down in P9.
The race started under a sunny conditions, and it was Marc Marquez who took the holeshot to lead the pack into turn 1, with Pedrosa, Zarco keeping the leader company in front. Dovizioso took his Ducati up to P5 as early as lap 2, with fellow Ducati rider Jorge Lorenzo in P4. Fans were assuming that Lorenzo would give way to allow Andrea to fight for the win and the championship. But it wasn’t to be, Lorenzo kept the front runners in sight with Dovi sniffing his fumes.
Johann Zarco managed to sweep past Marquez mid-way in lap 3 to lead the race, there was no fight back from Marc as he knew that a slight error will cost him dearly, the Phenom settled for 2nd place. Zarco kept the lead until lap 22 with Marquez and eventual winner Dani Pedrosa in P2 and P3 respectively. Then, late in the race, a series of events that could only be described as “dramatic”, unfolded; first off was Johann Zarco with a glaring error that easily handed the lead to the #93 Honda; then it was Marc’s turn, the phenom leaned too deep, forcing him to run wide at turn 1, averting disaster by slidding on his knee, and managing to wrestle his bike upright to rejoin just behind the Ducati’s of Lorenzo and Dovizioso.
This was the opportunity that Ducati were hoping for; Lorenzo began chasing Pedrosa and Zarco with Dovizioso right behind Jorge, but as fate would have it, the #99 Ducati suddenly went down on lap 24 with Andrea following his team-mate into retirement with an unrecoverable trip onto the gravel trap further down the track. His title hopes dashed, Dovizioso could only take comfort with a runner-up finish in the championships.
With 5 laps to go, it was Zarco vs. Pedrosa for the win. No quarters given, none taken. It was nail biting fight between the Repsol Honda vs. Monster Yamaha Tech 3, Spain vs. France, the veteran vs. MotoGP newbie. Johann Zarco tried his best to keep the #26 Honda at bay, then on the last lap, Pedrosa dove for the lead in turn 1 and held on to cross the line for his 2nd victory this season. Johann Zarco took 2nd with Marc Marquez taking the last step on the podium and the coveted 2017 riders crown.
The Phenom has now won a total of six world championships with four coming in the premier class!
The 24 year old from Cervera, Spain, now ranks amongst the best riders in MotoGP history, and if the 2017 season is anything to go by, this certainly won’t be his last.