Spanish sweep of world titles marks end of MotoGP season

Márquez and Viñales add to Espargaró’s championship in Valencia

Madrid -
World Champions Repsol Honda Team's Marc Marquez (c), Tuenti HP 40's Moto2 rider Pol Espargaró (l) and Team Calvo's Spanish Moto3 rider Maverick Vinales.
World Champions Repsol Honda Team's Marc Marquez (c), Tuenti HP 40's Moto2 rider Pol Espargaró (l) and Team Calvo's Spanish Moto3 rider Maverick Vinales. JAIME REINA (AFP)

Marc Márquez claimed the MotoGP world championship at the Valencia Grand Prix, coming in third to prevent race winner Jorge Lorenzo from overhauling his points advantage in the final race of the season.

Double world champion Lorenzo crossed the line first for his eighth win of the season but Márquez’s solid finish was sufficient to ensure a four-point lead in the standing, and the title; the 20-year-old had only to come inside the top four to ensure victory. Márquez thus becomes the youngest rider ever to win the championship in MotoGP highest category, and only the second person ever to do so on his debut season, equally Kenny Roberts’ 500cc title in 1978.

Dani Pedrosa, Márquez’s Honda teammate, was second on the day after a fascinating duel with Lorenzo, who had attempted to control the pack behind his Yamaha to increase the chances of Márquez slipping further down the field as the race progressed. But Pedrosa managed to pull Lorenzo wide to allow Márquez through for a brief stint at the front. Lorenzo, however, soon wrested back the lead and Márquez settled into a procession ride in second before allowing Pedrosa to pass him with five laps remaining.

In the Moto2 category, Pol Espargaró (Kalex) had already wrapped up the title at the Japanese Grand Prix after second-placed Scott Redding was involved in first-lap crash, and the Spaniard suffered the same fate in Valencia on lap eight when he was leading comfortably. Espargaró was able to continue and eventually finished 29th, with Redding finishing 15th to clinch the runner-up spot in the world championship standings.

Nicolás Terol claimed the win at his home Grand Prix, with teammate and compatriot Jordi Torres coming in second.

Completing a clean sweep for Spain in the three motorcycling categories, Maverick Viñales triumphed in a nail-biting Moto3 race that went down to the final corner. Luis Salom led Viñales by two points going into the race but crashed out for the second week running, surrendering his claim to the title as he did so.

That left Viñales to battle it out with Álex Rins, who was also in the title running. Rins assumed the lead with three laps to go and the two engaged in an almighty joust to the line, swapping the lead several times before Viñales cut inside Rins after the latter had made a move on the last turn but run wide, allowing the 18-year-old to sneak across the line to claim his maiden world championship.

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