Morbidelli secures podium finish with sensational ride in Valencia
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli completed the Moto2 World Championship with a sensational ride into third place in Valencia today.
Morbidelli was a star player in a breathtaking season finale that delivered the 21-year-old Italian his eighth podium finish from 18 races. It was his fifth consecutive podium in a superb end to the season.
The 27-lap race featured a fierce, uncompromising fight between Morbidelli and Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco, with a series of extremely close but clean overtakes.
While Morbidelli controlled the front-running mid-race the battle took its toll on rear tyre endurance and his pace began to fade with two laps remaining. On the final lap Morbidelli was forced to concede second place to Tom Lüthi to ensure he finished on the podium.
Morbidelli’s fast and consistent end to 2016 has announced him as a contender for the 2017 Moto2 World Championship with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.
With 213 points Morbidelli finished fourth in the standings, just one point behind third-placed Álex Rins.
For Álex Márquez it was painful end to the season with the 20-year-old Spaniard retiring after 17 laps with arm pump. The 14-turn Ricardo Tormo Circuit is one of the most physically demanding on the calendar and despite pain-killing injections Márquez succumbed to the issue with his left arm after suffering through practice and qualifying.
With a best result of second in the Aragon GP Márquez finished the championship in 13th place with 69 points and will now have surgery on his left arm.
The spectacular end to the season was enjoyed by a huge crowd of 110,050 people.
Franco Morbidelli: 3rd
“I had a very enjoyable race but also some bad lack because unfortunately with two laps remaining my rear tyre was destroyed and that cost me second place. But it was a lot of fun racing Zarco, we did so many overtakes that were on the limit but clean. Towards the end of the race I could not keep Zarco’s pace and just made sure I got the podium with third on the final lap. I want to thank everyone in my team for what has been fantastic finish to the season.”
Álex Márquez: DNF
“I knew after the problems with my arm in practice and qualifying it would be a difficult race but I tried to be positive and hope that after some laps the arm pump would go away. But every lap it got worse and I could not even operate the clutch to shift down properly. It was too dangerous to continue so I decided to stop. Now I will do the final test in Jerez and then have surgery on my arm to be ready for next season.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This was a really nice race and Franco put on a great show for the spectators, it is what motorcycle racing is all about. Unfortunately for Franco his rear tyre was destroyed in the battle with Johann Zarco and then at end he was caught by Tom Lüthi and this cost him third in the championship by just one point. But it was a fantastic season by Franco, he was one of the fastest guys on the track in the second half of the season and this is a good platform for next year. With all the left corners at Valencia it was difficult for Álex with his arm pump but he will have surgery in the winter and be back strong for 2017.”