Morbidelli makes early exit but takes Rookie title in Valencia
The Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider claimed ‘Rookie of the Year’ honours despite a non-finish with teammate Tom Luthi also failing to take the chequered flag.
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Franco Morbidelli and Tom Luthi took the start for the final race of the season with heavy rain swamping the Ricardo Tormo Circuit for Valencia Grand Prix.
The race was red flagged after 13 laps with both Morbidelli and Luthi unable to take the 14 lap re-start having crashed in the extreme conditions.
Franco Morbidelli showed his wet track skills with the seventh fastest time in the warm-up. With limited visibility and aquaplaning from standing water Morbidelli rode superbly to be in fifth by lap nine before he crashed on lap 12 at turn eight. Morbidelli is MotoGP Rookie of the Year and 15th in the standings with 50 points.
Tom Luthi completed the warm-up in 22nd and opened the race cautiously in the blinding spray and heavy traffic of the opening laps settling in 17th position. He had moved forward to 15th and a potential points finish when he fell at turn 12 on lap six.
The first race of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship will be held from March 8 to 10 at Losail in Qatar.
Franco Morbidelli: DNF
“The race was exciting and I was having fun”
“This was good race for me. It was exciting and I was having fun because I started from 15th position was in fifth when I went out. When the heavy rain came and conditions started to get dangerous I didn’t slow down as I should have so I ended in the gravel and didn’t get the bike back to the box in time for the re-start. I was fast in the wet conditions and this makes me very happy.”
Tom Luthi: DNF
“It was important to take a chance in this race”
“The final race of the season ended little early but there were some positives because I could fight with and overtake some other riders. The crash was a sad moment but I had aquaplaning with the rear wheel and high-sided. The conditions were quite tricky and I was not the only one to crash like this. I didn’t score any points but I was determined to get the best out of this race so it was important to take a chance and feel the limit.”