The 2016 MotoGPTM World Championship draws to a close this weekend at Spain’s Circuito Comunidad Valenciana Ricardo Tormo which has hosted the last race every season since 2002.
This time around, the identities of the champion and runner-up are already known after a season that has seen nine different riders win races, a figure never previously reached in the 68-year history of motorcycle racing’s premier series.
The name to engrave on the bronze medal has yet to be decided, however, with both Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, 208) and Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar, 191 points) still in contention.
Marc Márquez, who clinched his third MotoGP world title in Japan in only his fourth campaign with Repsol Honda Team, and who is staying with the Japanese make in 2017, is targeting a sixth victory at Valencia.
Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi, who signed for two more years at Movistar Yamaha MotoGP at the year’s curtain-raiser in Qatar, and who secured runner-up honours in Malaysia, is hoping for a third win in front of Spanish fans.
The season’s finale will have a special flavour, too, for those riders who are preparing to switch teams this winter.
Maverick Viñales, who is poised to join Rossi at Movistar Yamaha MotoGP next season, and Jorge Lorenzo, who will be looking for one last top result with Yamaha before moving on to Ducati, will be focused on their fight for third place. In 2015, after posting a new qualifying lap record, the Majorcan went on to clinch the title with victory. He also won at Valencia in 2010 and 2013.
After sitting out the last three races due to the broken collarbone he suffered in Japan, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) returns to the circuit that saw him notch up MotoGP wins in 2007, 2009 and 2012.
After becoming the season’s ninth different winner in Malaysia, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) stands out as another possible front-runner, while his team-mate Andrea Iannone will be making his last appearance for Ducati ahead of his transfer to Suzuki.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) is still the best-placed Independent Teams Rider, 17 points clear of Pol Espargaró (Monster Yamaha Tech3) who, along with team-mate Bradley Smith, will race in the colours of KTM in 2017. The Austrian make will be represented at Valencia by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing which has a wild card entry for Mika Kallio.
Michelin will have a range of front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks for the Spanish clash. Two different versions of the front tyre will be available (medium, no marking / hard, yellow marking), plus a choice of two rears (soft compound, white marking / medium, no marking). All four will have an asymmetrical construction, with a harder compound for the left-hand shoulder. For wet conditions, the riders will be able to choose between the extra soft, soft and medium front MICHELIN Power Rain, with soft and medium variants of the same tyre on hand for the rear wheels. The MICHELIN Power Inter will be available for changeable weather.
Action will begin with the first free practice session at 9:55am on Friday, November 11.
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