Despite trying everything he could to end his 2016 MotoGP title winning year with a victory, Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez could only manage second at the season finale at the Gran Premi Motul de la Communitant Valenciana.
But his failure to win didn’t stop the Spaniard from celebrating in front of his home fans at a sellout Ricardo Tormo Circuit.
Marquez put up a good fight against Valencia winner Lorenzo
Marc Marquez was strong competition against Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo who dominated day one, smashed the records during Qualifying and secured pole, and then led the race from start to finish.
Marquez was quickest during Free Practice 3 and Free Practice 4, but could not pull off the same pace as Lorenzo during the Q2 session, and ended up starting from second on the grid as he was still over 0.3 seconds slower than him by the end of day two.
Marquez made a daring tyre choice for the race
Race day came and the weather was as good as it had been all weekend in Valencia. All riders opted for the soft compound rear Michelin Power Slick, but the Spaniard was one of only three riders who opted for the hard front; whereas everyone else went for the medium compound.
It seemed like a risky decision, but it was one that Marquez was confident in as they came to the later stages of the race. The race got underway and unfortunately for the 2016 champion, he got a poor start losing several positions immediately.
He did what he could do recover them, but as he got stuck in traffic made up of Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) and Maverick Vinales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), he lost even more time and Lorenzo extended his lead.
Marquez began his pursuit of Lorenzo
Marquez soon plowed his way through and then began his pursuit of Lorenzo. He managed to reduce the 4.5 second gap that the Spaniard had extended, down to 2.2 seconds with a few laps remaining. It looked like he was going to be able to catch him before the end, but Lorenzo responded and pushed harder.
The champion could do no more, not with the time and amount of laps he had left, and Lorenzo won his last race with Movistar Yamaha. Marquez finished in second, just 1.185 seconds behind the fellow Spaniard.
This didn’t stop Marquez from celebrating however, keen to share his success with the fans in his home country, he pulled up at the side of the track, set off firecrackers and ran ahead of them to the tyre wall; he jumped on and screamed and cheered along with the fans s in his grandstand.
He then returned to Parc ferme where he celebrated with his team as his manufacturer, Honda, also won the manufacturer’s championship of 2016. After the race Marquez said they were ‘happy’ as they “managed to get on the podium” and he felt that they “finished the season strongly”, what he felt was “ the most important thing”.
Marquez felt penalised by start hindered by clutch issues
He felt that during the race the start “penalised” them a lot as he told of how he “had an issue with three clutch and lost several positions.” He then thought that he “wasted a lot of time behind Rossi and Iannone.”
He agreed with Rossi who the day before had mentioned that “overtaking is difficult on this track”, and so he found that “even if (he) was able to get close, to pass them was another story.” He put this down the fact he was “losing under acceleration” and he found he was “a bit on the limit under braking.”
Discussing his strategy he explained how he “waited behind as the tyres began to affect performance”, and then step-by-step he “continued improving until (he) found the opportunity to pass them.”
When he eventually did he found that “from then on” he was able to “improve (his) speed” and he felt that “if the race lasted longer” that he may well have “reached Lorenzo.” That aside he still felt Lorenzo “had an incredible race” and that he was “not able to catch him”, and so he went on to congratulate him for this result.
Marquez admitted that it “hasn’t been an easy season” however as they were still “able to win the title in Japan” and also Honda were able to “secure the Constructors Championship” which he said is “great.” The 2016 Spaniard said, “Now we’ll work hard starting from the next test to try and improve our bike even more.”