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Valencia Will Be Interesting: Marquez Goes for Record, While New Honda Debuts and Tests Follow

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Marc Marquez may have wrapped up the title quite some time ago, but that doesn’t mean the final MotoGP round in Valencia this weekend will be boring. Far from it.

To begin with, Marquez has the chance to win his 13th race of the year. This would break the record set by Mick Doohan back in 1997 when he won 12 out of 15 rounds (Marquez will compete in 18 rounds this year).

Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will finish their fight for second place in the final standings at Valencia, although Rossi has a pretty comfortable points cushion going in (12 points). Who would have predicted at the start of the season that Rossi would rank higher in the final standings than Lorenzo?

During the Valencia race, a new Honda Open Class bike will debut, the 2015 version with the pneumatic valve engine (essentially, this year’s factory Repsol engine). The new machine will be ridden by Hiroshi Aoyama. Aoyama has been quick this year, at times beating both Nicky Hayden and Scott Redding on similar machinery.  Next year, Aoyama will be a test rider for HRC.

Randy De Puniet will race at Valencia with the new Suzuki MotoGP factory bike that he has been testing. Suzuki will participate full-time next year with riders Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro.

Following the race, of course, riders will test at Valencia aboard their 2015 bikes for the first time. Always interesting, this year is even more so. The new Honda Open bike mentioned above will receive seat time from former champ Nicky Hayden, who undoubtedly is looking forward to a substantial increase in horsepower from his current machine. His lap times on the new bike will be worth watching.

Young Scott Redding will be aboard a factory Honda for the first time during the tests, and he is one of the riders who was able to challenge, and even beat, Marc Marquez in Moto2. He was ready to quit MotoGP unless he could secure a factory bike, and he has done so.  We will see what he can deliver during testing.

Vinales and A. Espargaro will take their first laps on the Suzuki during the Valencia test. Alvaro Bautista will be aboard a new Aprilia factory bike, as well, as Aprilia gets ready for 2015.

Riders coming into the class worth watching include Jack Miller, an extremely talented young rider who is making the jump all the way from Moto3, where he is battling with Marc Marquez’ younger brother for the title this year. Miller will leave his 250cc KTM behind for a Honda Open Class machine. Loris Baz, fresh from some controversy in WSB (failing to yield a position to Kawasaki teammate Tom Sykes in the final race while Sykes battled for the championship) will test aboard his Open Class Yamaha.

Cal Crutchlow, who has shown great speed of late (to the chagrin of Ducati teammate Andrea Dovizioso), steps aboard his dream machine, a factory Honda, during the Valencia testing. Crutchlow will be very interesting to watch, as precedent exists for a Ducati factory rider (remember Casey Stoner?) boarding a Honda for the first time and blowing the doors off the competition. Of course, Crutchlow is no Stoner, but if the factory Honda is that much easier to ride than the Ducati, he might be quite quick.

Of course, other riders will debut aboard their new machines during testing, but we think those mentioned above should definitely be on your list to watch.  Should be fun.

32 Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Who is riding Factory Aprilia #2 on Monday? Did the talk someone into riding it? Or just Bautista by his lonesome in the garage?

  2. pigiron says:

    “Cal Crutchlow, who has shown great speed of late”

    As Freddie Spencer remarked today during qualifying: “A lot of guys can post a fast lap, what makes the real difference are the guys who can maintain race pace lap after lap after lap.”

    Crutchlow ain’t one of them.

  3. Brinskee says:

    And Rossi secures his first pole (his 50th premier pole) since Le Mans 2010. What a season he’s had! Be great to see him edge out Jorge tomorrow and cleanly bag second place for the championship tomorrow.

    • Scarecrow800 says:

      SPOILER ALERT!!!

      … ting …. you’re wish is granted. Can you imagine if Marquez hadn’t been here this year, The Doctor could have had another championship. Poor Lorenzo, what a year, probably wishes he had sat the year out. Come to think of it, for all practical purposes, he did. Anybody here notice that Alex Marquez was also the winner in Moto 3 … yeesh … what were their mummies and daddies feeding them all of those years?

  4. Brinskee says:

    Please DePuniet, please don’t crash and take out half the field like you used to. Think of this as an exhibition or parade race…

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Think of this as an exhibition or parade race”

      too late, they’ve scattered their 1st engine.

      no seriously, not being mean or anything, but I’ve only been questioning their commitment and readiness from the beginning. I wish to God there was some other way to twist this…? but it does not bode well.

      I honestly thought it a put on, till I saw the pic of Randy fogging for “skeeters”.

      • Brinskee says:

        Brivio should be concerned about his job. I would be if I were him. They scrapped a second engine today and are 20kph down on most everyone else. Except for the RCV1000 Hondas. Not a great start.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Brivio should be concerned about his job.”

          worry not for Argentina. he’s just a figure head, a “face man”. a liaison to the English speaking world.

          he’s not fingering keyboards in front of CAD screens…? nor is he spinning wrenches in clean room assembly…? the “less than stellar” boffins of Hamamatsu are the ones tending to this.

          see, only in stick and ball sports is their the faulty logic (group think) of “blaming the coach”, when it was the player on the field who missed the shot…?

          let them sissies have their party. (Mad Dog Tannen)

  5. Eric says:

    I’m interested in seeing if the Honda Open class bike is competitive with the new engine. Too bad Hayden will have to wait until next season to get his hands on it.

    Equally interesting to see if the Suzuki is at all competitive – it’s great to have them back. Are you listening Kawasaki? BMW?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’m interested in seeing if the Honda Open class bike is competitive with the new engine.”

      we’ve already seen this movie…

      answering this question first starts by having a historical look (or is that hysterical?) at the LCR and Gresini bikes.

      Q: Are you listening Kawasaki? BMW?

      A: nope.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Equally interesting to see if the Suzuki is at all competitive”

      i’ll give you this one.

      and what the hell, here’s a bump in rank/pay… PFC E3.

    • Norm G. says:

      belay my last. promotion rescinded.

  6. joe b says:

    “protect” icon will be put on the DVR for this race.

  7. mickey says:

    Love hate thing for this last race. Will love seeing the battle between Rossi and Lorenzo. Will love seeing how Suzuki and Aprillia do. Will hate to see the season come to an end. They have put on a real show this year with quite a few surprises, especially Rossi’s continued improvement.

  8. Chris says:

    “Crutchlow is no Stoner.”

    Are you sure?