2018 Valencia MotoGP Preview
After a record-breaking season that saw Marc Marquez clinch his seventh world title – and fifth in the premier class – the 2018 MotoGP Championship heads to Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo Circuit for the season finale.
All eyes will be on the Repsol Honda team for two reasons. One, to see if Marquez can wrap up the season with a win. And two, to give a farewell to the other factory Honda RC213V pilot Dani Pedrosa, who retires at the end of the season before becoming an official factory KTM test rider.
Plus, the factory squad will attempt to seal the Team Championship, which would give Honda the Triple Crown in MotoGP. They already got the Rider’s Title with Marquez in Motegi, and claimed the Constructor’s Title in Malaysia. Now it’s time to take the Team Championship.
This odds are with them; the team has earned four double-podium finishes at their home track where last year’s winner Pedrosa is the most successful rider:
- 2013 (Pedrosa 2nd, Marquez 3rd)
- 2014 (Marquez 1st, Pedrosa 3rd)
- 2015 (Marquez 2nd, Pedrosa 3rd)
- 2017 (Pedrosa 1st, Marquez 3rd to win that year’s World Title)
As for Marquez, he his record at Valencia consists of the 2014 MotoGP win, another in Moto2 (2012), along with four additional podiums and three pole positions.
Pedrosa has the record for wins at Valencia with seven: one in the former 125cc class (2002); two in the former 250cc class (2004, 2005); and four in MotoGP (2007, 2009, 2012, 2017). Pedrosa also has an additional five podiums and five pole positions at Valencia.
“It was great to celebrate the title a few days ago in my hometown with my family, people and fan club, and now I’m looking forward to celebrating it with all the fans in Valencia,” Marc Marquez says.
“Of course we won’t have the pressure we had last year, when the title was still at stake, but our mentality will be exactly the same because we want to finish the year in a good way. Now we’re very, very close to achieving the Team Championship, and we’ll try our best to get it so as to complete the Triple Crown, which is important for us and for Honda, and which would be the perfect end to this season.
“I don’t want to lose the momentum or the way I’m riding at the moment, so I’ll try and focus like always for the entire weekend, and to fight for the win on Sunday.”
As for Pedrosa, the three-time GP Champion announced his retirement from racing during the Germany Grand Prix. The 2018 Valencia MotoGP round will end 18-straight years of GP competition for the 33-year-old Spaniard. He will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame Thursday, making him an official MotoGP Legend.
“Clearly, the next race in Valencia will be a bit special, as it will be my final race, so the feeling will be different than usual,” Dani Pedrosa says.
“It’s also going to be busy, because many of my people, friends and family will come there wishing to spend time together. Anyway, when I climb on my bike, my entire focus will be on riding. I like the track as it’s one of my favorites on the calendar, and of course I’ll try and get the best result possible on Sunday.”
The Repsol Honda boys will have much work to do. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team will be on the charge with much energy after Maverick Vinales won in Australia and just missed the podium in Sepang. As for his teammate, Valentino Rossi will seek his first win of 2018 MotoGP.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who clinched second in the MotoGP Championship, will also be looking for his win in Valencia. The closest he ever came was second in the former 125cc class (2004, Honda), and third in the MotoGP Class (2011, Honda).
The 2018 MotoGP season finale officially gets underway with free practice on Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday for Sunday’s 27-lap Grand Prix. The lights go green at 8 a.m. ET Sunday!
For local TV times, visit 2018 MotoGP TV Schedule.
2018 MotoGP Point Standings (after 18 of 19 rounds):