Five time motorcycle Grand Prix champion Jorge Lorenzo called time on his racing career this weekend, while Repsol Honda team mate Marc Marquez took another win, his 12th of the season, to end the season with a record-breaking 420 championship points.
Lorenzo, who won three MotoGP world titles with Yamaha between 2010 and 2015 as well as two 250cc titles for Aprilia, called a special press conference on Thursday to announce that he was quitting racing after struggling with injuries and form throughout the year. The Spaniard came home a distant 13th, 51 seconds behind his team-mate, and admitted afterwards that he was focussing in finishing his final race. He said: “Today was a special day. On the grid I had a very different feeling to all my other races and certainly in the opening laps I was more cautious than other races because the conditions were very difficult and I wanted to finish my last race. I focused mostly on myself in the race and I am pleased to end with some points certainly. It is great to help the Repsol Honda Team win the teams championship after an unbelievable season from Marc. I want to say thank you to all of Honda as they have treated me with the utmost respect and professionalism. I wish them all the best for the future.”
Up front, the race itself was relatively static – typical of the Valencia circuit – with Marquez leading home polesitter Fabio Quartararo on his Yamaha and Ducati rider Jack Miller.
“A perfect end to a perfect season with the victory,” said Marquez. “I put a little extra pressure on myself with the gold helmet, so I needed to be extra smart! We did exactly what we wanted to do and won the team championship, taking the Triple Crown in this amazing season. Always the riders championship is the first objective, but I was happy to help win the team championship, not just for them but also for Jorge who has been a great champion, a hard rival and a great teammate. It will be difficult to improve on this year because we rode in a perfect way.”
The cold conditions led to low grip levels and a number of falls during the race. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow were among those to crash out, while fellow Honda rider Johann Zarco was lucky to escape injury after his crash. He fell and found himself hit by the bike of debutant Iker Lecuona, who slid off several seconds afterwards.
Testing for 2020 kicks off today, with Moto2 world champion Alex Marquez joining brother Marc as the replacement for Lorenzo at the Repsol Honda team.