Morbidelli and Márquez geared up for grand finale
The final chapter in a dramatic 2016 Moto2 World Championship campaign takes place in Valencia this weekend, with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Álex Márquez determined to bring a hugely positive season to a successful conclusion.
Morbidelli goes into the final showdown of the campaign with confidence rocketing and optimism sky high that he can continue his scintillating form, which has seen the Italian embark on a career best run of four successive podium finishes.
And after taking four second places in the last eight races, the icing on the cake in what has been a major breakthrough season for Morbidelli would be taking a first ever Grand Prix victory this weekend.
Johann Zarco may have become the first rider in Moto2 history to successfully defend the title with a hard fought win over Morbidelli in Malaysia last time out, but there is still plenty at stake for the 21-year-old when the lights go out at the start of the 27-lap lap finale.
Morbidelli is just six-points behind Álex Rins in third position in the overall rankings and he still has a realistic chance of finishing runner-up to Zarco, with Thomas Lüthi a further 11-points clear.
A bumper home crowd providing typically vocal and fervent support is all the incentive Márquez needs to end his second season in Moto2 on a high note.
Restored to full fitness after recovering completely from injuries that prevented him from competing in Australia last month, Márquez is fired up to repeat his stunning podium performance from the last time he raced on home soil at Motorland Aragon in late September.
The 4km Ricardo Tormo Circuit will forever hold a special place in the heart of the Spanish rider after his success in an unbearably tense Moto3 title decider back in 2014.
“I arrive in Valencia with a lot of confidence and feeling really good about my recent run of strong results. I’m determined to end the season in a positive manner and it would be perfect to get another podium going into the winter. We have tested in Valencia recently after the Aragon race, so we have a good reference and I was fast there. I like the track, even if it is completely different to the last race in Malaysia. Valencia is not so wide or so long but I’ve always had fun there and I’ve always been fast there, so I hope this year is no exception. It is possible for me to still finish inside the top three in the World Championship and all I can do is attack for the podium and see what happens. I’m not in a position where I can defend. All I can do is attack and that’s exactly what I will do. Hopefully I’ll get to attend FIM Gala on Sunday night because it means I was able to squeeze into that top three!”
“It is always important to finish strongly in the final race so you go into the winter with a good feeling. I struggled a bit on my first appearance in Moto2 in Valencia last year but this year is completely different. With more experience I can go there feeling confident of achieving my objective. The last time I raced in Spain it was a fantastic weekend for me when I got my first podium in Moto2. The flyaway races were not easy but I hope to use Motorland Aragon as good motivation and obviously I always get a big boost racing in Valencia because it was there in 2014 that I won the Moto3 World Championship.”