2014 Valencia MotoGP Preview
Seventeen rounds completed, and one remaining. That’s the situation in the 2014 MotoGP Championship.
And it all concludes this weekend with the season finale at Valencia – the fourth round held this season on Spanish soil. The circuit celebrates its 16th-straight year as a venue on the MotoGP Championship, and this year will be the 13th-consecutive year that Valencia will host the final round.
The man who clinched his second-straight title at Motegi – Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – will chase his 13th victory of the season. With his win at Malaysia two weeks ago, the RC213V pilot tied the 1997 record of Mick Doohan for 12 wins in a single season.
Though he can relax, that’s not the 21-year old’s way. In typical Marquez fashion, the youngest rider to win back-to-back titles will give it all to earn the outright win record of 13 in a single season.
Marquez finished third last season at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, behind teammate Dani Pedrosa and race-winner Jorge Lorenzo, making for an all-Spanish podium.
As Marquez chases lucky 13, Lorenzo is engaged in a tight battle for second with his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi. Lorenzo currently trails Rossi by 12 points, and is the only rider other than Rossi that can finish second overall in points.
Lorenzo has one other win at Valencia, which arrived in 2010. But he is not nearly as successful as the fourth-placed rider who has the most wins – Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda pilot won in Valencia six times: three in MotoGP, two in the former 250cc class, and once in the former 125cc class. This is impressive, considering no other riders have more than three wins at Valencia.
Honda is also the most successful manufacturer at Valencia since the modern four-stroke of MotoGP that began in 2002. Honda has seven wins, followed by Yamaha (two) and Ducati (two).
Speaking of Ducati, Desmosedici GP14.2 pilot Andrea Dovizioso’s best finish at Valencia was second while riding with Repsol Honda in 2011. Nobody can catch the Italian Dovi, so he will finish the season in fifth as the top Ducati rider.
This will be Dovi’s final race riding with his teammate Cal Crutchlow. Following Valencia MotoGP, the Brit joins the CWM-LCR Honda team. He will take his first ride on the satellite Honda at the traditional post-season test at Valencia.
There’s also a battle for sixth between five riders – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espagaro and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl.
Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone – who joins Dovi on the Ducati Team in 2015 – is also in contention for sixth, but needs a win to earn it. Iannone missed the Malaysian Grand Prix due to a left-arm contusion sustained in practice. Pol Espargaro was also injured in Malaysia, and is expected to race though he is recovering from a broken foot.
Suzuki is also entering Valencia MotoGP as a wildcard with Randy de Puniet at the controls of the Suzuki MotoGP Team GSX-RR. This will provide the Japanese manufacturer with great data ahead of its official return to MotoGP in 2015.
The Frenchman also has a great history at Valencia; he and nine-time World Champion Rossi are the only two to compete at all 15 previous Valencia Grand Prix races.
2014 Valencia MotoGP on TV:
Fox Sports 1 will provide live TV coverage of 2014 Valencia MotoGP. The broadcast begins at 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 9, and features a replay of the Malaysian Grand Prix.