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Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Signs Off with 2016 Team Title at Stirring Spanish Showdown


The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team closed the 2016 MotoGP World Championship today at a sunny yet slightly cloudy Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in supreme form. Jorge Lorenzo stormed out of the gates to clinch a stunning and untouchable victory in his last appearance for Yamaha. Teammate Valentino Rossi also put up a strong fight and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in fourth place to give Yamaha its seventh FIM MotoGP Team Title.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team closed the 2016 MotoGP World Championship today at a sunny yet slightly cloudy Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo in supreme form. Jorge Lorenzo stormed out of the gates to clinch a stunning and untouchable victory in his last appearance for Yamaha. Teammate Valentino Rossi also put up a strong fight and brought his YZR-M1 over the line in fourth place to give Yamaha its seventh FIM MotoGP Team Title.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo returned to winning form at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, securing a masterful first place. Teammate Valentino Rossi gave the Spanish crowds an action-packed 30-lap sprint at the Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo as he fought hard to hold off the competition, taking fourth over the line.

After a perfect qualifying session in Valencia yesterday, Lorenzo arrived at the circuit this morning feeling confident about his pace and it showed in the opening laps. The Mallorcan stormed into the first corner to take the holeshot before creating an over 0.6s gap to the riders in his pursuit. He was the only rider to drop a 1’36s opening lap before getting into a consistent rhythm of 1’31s.

As his teammate got into a heated battle with Andrea Iannone and Marc Marquez for second place, it was a flawless but lonely ride for Lorenzo. The home-hero maintained an advantage of more than four seconds over his closest rival for most of the race, but decided to slow down his pace in the final stages to end his Yamaha career with a textbook win and a 1.185s margin. Lorenzo’s run-away victory secured him third place in the Rider Championship standings, highlighting his protagonist status.

Rossi also had a good start from the first row on the grid and slotted in behind Maverick Viñales after riding side-by-side through the first corners. He took a few laps to heat up his tyres before turning up the pressure on the Spaniard on lap four. Not wanting to let the front riders escape, Rossi slipped past him in turn 14, all the while being followed by Marquez.

The nine-time World Champion next set his sights on Iannone and it didn’t take him long to tag onto the back of his compatriot. What followed was a sensational battle for second place that lasted over 24 laps. Rossi’s first attack on lap six was successful, but he had to let Iannone past over the line. The Italians then further delighted the race fans at the eighteenth and final Grand Prix of the season with brilliant scraps, swapping places on many occasions.

With Marquez getting into the mix with twelve laps to go, proceedings intensified even more. In turn 2 Marquez overtook Rossi. The Doctor bided his time in the last eleven laps, ready to pounce when the opportunity arose. Over the last seven and a half minutes, as Marquez started to get away, he tried to take over third place from Iannone, but their fight lost him valuable time. With two laps to go Rossi had a final try at securing a place on the podium. Though he was unable to make it stick, he ended up taking valuable points with a hard-fought fourth position, finishing 7.668s from his teammate.

With today’s results added to the riders’ scores, Rossi ended in second place in the Rider Championship standings with 249 points. Lorenzo claimed third in the overall rankings with 233 points. Their achievements combined give the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team the 2016 FIM MotoGP Team’s Title with 482 points and a 28-point advantage over the team in second place.

Tomorrow the team will enjoy a well-deserved day off before they kick off the two-day first official pre-season IRTA test of the 2017 season on Tuesday November 15th in Valencia.

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“This is the spectacular way to end the 2016 season. Wrapping up such a competitive season with a perfect victory and a fantastic battle that resulted in a hard-fought fourth place is of course a great outcome and it underlines that Movistar Yamaha MotoGP winning the Team’s Title is well-deserved. Jorge gave a flawless performance all week and he ended his Yamaha career in the best way possible. Valentino struggled earlier this weekend, but found a good solution for the race. His battle with Iannone was a pleasure to watch for everybody. It was unfortunate that he just missed out on the podium, but he was forced to give up third position due to tyre degradation on the front. However, the points he scored today helped us claim the Team Title, which was our goal for this weekend, so we are pleased. The 2016 season and our work with Jorge have come to an end so this is a very memorable win and Team Title victory, which we will commemorate tonight and tomorrow with a big celebration before we start the first test of the 2017 season at the same track this Tuesday.”

Jorge Lorenzo
1st / 45’54.228 / 30 laps, Championship: 3rd / 233 points

“It has been an incredible weekend with a perfect first few laps, the pole position, the fastest lap, and the victory. I arrived here in MotoGP at 20 years old, taking my first pole position on my first race. After almost ten years I leave with a pole position and a victory, I think I couldn’t have given Yamaha a better present than this for their support and their hard work during these years. We always had a competitive and winning bike. Now we will enjoy and celebrate these memories. Tonight at the party I will enjoy the last moments with my team. During the race you spend 45 minutes completely focused on what you are doing to dominate this bike, so when you cross the line you aren’t very emotional yet and you don’t think too much, because you need to recover. After two or three minutes I started remembering the best moments in my career and also the hard moments and in parc fermé it was very emotional with my team. For sure I will throw one of my biggest and craziest parties today because it’s a good day. We have to enjoy all of these experiences and especially this last moment with Yamaha.”

Valentino Rossi
4th / +7.668 / 30 laps, Championship: 2nd / 249 points

“I was pushing from the beginning to the end and the first half of the race wasn’t so bad because I was in second position, but I wasn’t fast enough to make a gap and after that I suffered on the second part. Marquez was very strong, so he arrived in second place and after that I had a fight with Iannone. Unfortunately he beat me because he was faster, so just fourth place for me today, but it was a good race. The 2016 season brought a lot of positive things; second place in the championship, a lot of podiums and front row starts. Next year I want to try to win more races, more than two, but we are always competitive. Unfortunately I made some mistakes and I was a bit unlucky with the engine in Mugello so I was a bit too far behind in the championship, but anyway it was a good season.”

Resilient Espargaro closes Yamaha account with hard fought run to 6th – Smith signs off with a positive 9th place finish

Pol Espargaro produced a superb display in his final MotoGP race aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 to seize the leading satellite honours in the fiercely competitive season closer. The Spaniard bolted forward from the second row of the grid and undertook a solid first lap whilst dicing the factory riders. From here, he set into a formidable rhythm, which allowed him to progress to 7th with just under a quarter of the race having been completed. Espargaro powered onwards and continued his consistent pace to expertly keep the pursuing factory Suzuki of his brother, Aleix Espargaro, at bay. The distance dialed down, and then on the penultimate lap, the 25-year-old hunted down the 2016 GP winner Andrea Dovizioso. Espargaro dug deep and eventually soared across the finish line ahead of the Ducati rider by only 0.039 of a second, in what was a nail-biting but impressive end to his Tech3 campaign.

Bradley Smith ended his six-year partnership with Tech3 by concluding the 30-lap sprint in 9th after a determined performance at Valencia today. The Briton, who started from the head of the fourth row of the grid, quickly got on the pace as he weaved his way around the first lap, which he completed in 11th. He pushed onwards whilst battling against the tight and meandering track, and his strong lap times saw him open a comfortable gap to the following rider. At just over the mid point of the GP, the 2015 leading satellite rider was back inside the top ten and running in 9th and from here, he maintained his consistency before meeting the chequered flag in this position. The result marks a positive end to what has been a challenging season for the 25-year-old, that has included a serious knee injury which he sustained in August. Yet, his strong will and determination saw him make his comeback after just seven weeks, and he scored some thoroughly impressive finishes whilst still recovering which helped the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team seize the top independent position in the team standings for the fifth consecutive season.

The whole team would like to express their thanks to both Pol and Bradley for their commitment, passion and hard work over the years, plus also give their best wishes to the riders for their future adventures.

Pol Espargaro
6th / +18.378 / 30 laps, Championship: 8th / 134 points

“It was my last race in black and green for Yamaha and the result today marks a positive end to my time with Tech3. This finish will keep my morale, as well as the team’s, up over the winter break and it’s a good way to end our journey together. We concluded the season as it began, which is in the top independent rider position, even if it has been a challenging year at times because unfortunately, we didn’t quite secure the best satellite placement in standings in the end. However, we always did our best and I have to thank the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team for giving their all in the years that we have worked together. Plus, I must say thanks to them for teaching me how to ride a MotoGP bike. We’ve shared some happy moments and some not so great ones. Our first year was excellent, but then we had a tough second one, yet in 2016 we have tried to handle the situations as best as we could. With regards to today’s race, I think the opening laps were crucial and sadly, we lost a lot of time there. After though, my rhythm was quite similar to the pace of the factory guys in front of me. For the entire GP, I had my brother behind me, but I was never sure if he was struggling to stay with me, or if he wanted to overtake. Fortunately, I kept him behind which allowed us to catch Dovi, who then acted as a barrier between me and Aleix and I made the most of this. Once again, I have to say thanks to everyone in the team for their work in the past three years and I will take a lot of memories of Tech3 away with me.”

Bradley Smith
9th / +25.993 / 30 laps, Championship: 17th / 62 points

“It was a tricky race, but I gave my all, and to finish in 9th is quite a positive way to end the season after what we’ve been through. We never really found the solution to my issues throughout the weekend, even though, of course, we tried everything that we could. However, for the GP, we definitely had the best setup. When it started, I pushed hard to try to stay with the Espargaro brothers and Cal. It looked like Pol had a bit more pace, especially in the second quarter of the Grand Prix and unfortunately I wasn’t able to remain with him. Although it may have been a bit of an ambitious aim, I was hoping to fight with Pol in our final race with the team. Anyway, at the midpoint, Crutchlow fell and after that, it was a case of finding as much rhythm as possible on my own because there was around a ten-second gap back to P10, plus Pol and Aleix were out of reach. Nevertheless, my main objective was to try to recover as much as possible before Valencia, so that we could get close to where we expect to be, which I feel we achieved with a solid top ten. I’d like to give a big thanks to the entire Tech3 team for all of their work in the past four years in MotoGP and two additional years before that in Moto2. I wish the guys the very best with the new riders for the 2017 season and I’ll come and say bonjour again in the future.”

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