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Jorge Lorenzo at the 2016 Motul Grand Prix of Valencia
NEWS

Lorenzo guards Valencia fortress with sensational 2016 closer

Nov 132016

Jorge Lorenzo was the picture of perfection for the second season in a row in front of more than 110,000 people at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia to not only wrap a memorable 2016 MotoGP championship…but also culminate his prolific nine year stint with the Yamaha factory team at the highest level of Grand Prix racing.

The 29 year old - in his 250th GP run - provided an apt ‘preview’ on Saturday by setting the fastest ever lap of the largely flat Spanish layout by a motorcycle; circulating 2.5 miles in less than a minute and a half. A smooth as velvet brushing a pane of glass; Lorenzo was an exquisite ‘extension’ of his motorcycle and bookended his Yamaha career having take Pole Position on his debut at Qatar in 2008. An ideal launch in the 30 lap sprint on Sunday under fine early winter sunshine on the Mediterranean coast allowed ‘99’ to break away and create a cushion of almost six seconds as he sought his second successive Valencia clean sweep.

“My confidence gave me more motivation and more determination,” he said. “Finally I couldn’t give a better present to Yamaha for these last nine years, achieving a lot of good things, very successful. It was a perfect weekend: 250 GPs, Pole Position, fastest lap, victory. I’m very proud, very happy.”

 

“When you fight with Iannone it is always…[grimaces] and you have to do this [makes the sign of the cross] and go!” Rossi joked. “Honestly it was a hard fight but we did not touch or anything. I think he was very aggressive with me but I was also aggressive with him and everybody played their cards. I pushed a lot on the right because I was stronger…but finally I was too much out of the line. I finished fourth but it was a good race because Valencia is always difficult. It has been a positive season.”

 

Lorenzo weathered a determined chase from Marquez with the Honda man less than two seconds away from the Yamaha’s slipstream by the flag. “I suffered so much in the last ten laps because I saw Marquez was second and that he’d push a lot,” he said. Victory meant the Majorcan closed almost a decade of wearing the Japanese ‘blue’ with 155 starts, 44 wins, 107 podiums and three titles as well as classifying in the top three of the championship each year except one. In a matter of hours Lorenzo will switch colours and try the factory Ducati for the first (and only) time in 2016. “I never have regrets,” Jorge said. “I leave a great team - a champion team - but hopefully my next team can become also.”

 

“Unfortunately I destroyed the tyre in the last two laps but I had so much fun fighting with Johann,” the Italian said. “We did a lot of overtaking and everything was on the limit but really clean; I really had fun. Towards the end – like always – he was faster than everyone else. Anyway I’m happy for the podium and I want to thank everyone for this [strong] end to the season…and I want to start next year like this.”

 

Valenciano Aron Canet took his Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda to a first ever Pole Position and gave cause for the locals to rub their hands at the prospect of Moto3 opening the day. Sadly the seventeen year old’s race was over before it started after a technical hitch meant he had to start from the pitlane. World Champion Brad Binder triumphed in another (typical) thrilling affair but faced resistance from Sky Racing Team VR46’s Andrea Migno who sprayed the champagne in third spot; just eight hundredths of a second away from the South African.

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