In a stunningly dramatic and tense Final Showdown at Valencia, Marc Marquez took his sixth world title and fourth MotoGP World Championship despite a huge front end moment into Turn 1 and a run off track, coming home third in the race to defend his crown.
Title rival Andrea Dovizioso similarly suffered a run off from P4, but the Italian was unable to save it and sadly crashed out of contention in the race and Championship.
At the front, the race was a duel to the line between Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco – with the race decided in favour of the Spaniard on final lap as Pedrosa pounced and defended to perfection for his second victory of the year.
Marquez got the holeshot from pole, with teammate Pedrosa slicing through from the second row to take over in second – and Zarco pushed down to third. Dovizioso made a good start to move up to sixth, then past Andrea Iannone and glued to the back of the second Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo.
Early on, Zarco took over in the lead – with Marquez seeing him coming and slotting into second. Pedrosa remained in third, with the two Ducati machines glued together around a second behind and the tense tick of the clock counting down.
After a Zarco error, a Marquez pass and then the Frenchman hitting back, laps ticked down before Marquez struck for the lead – and ran wide. Sliding on his knee for a stunning save into Turn 1, the reigning Champion headed for the gravel – but managed to rejoin, yet behind Dovizioso.
Lorenzo then bolted to chase down Pedrosa and Zarco ahead, before the Ducati Team rider went down suddenly – and just as suddenly, the dream was over for his teammate. A run off into the gravel that couldn’t be saved saw Dovizioso’s title hopes disappear after a nevertheless stunning season to take the runner up spot.
Dani Pedrosa vs Johann Zarco was then the duel for the win, with Pedrosa initially attacking at the final corner but the Frenchman able to hit back.
As the last lap dawned, the Spaniard tucked in and then pounced into Turn 1, managing to hold off Zarco around the tight Circuit Ricardo Tormo Circuit to take his second victory of the season.
Marquez, back into the podium places after the falls ahead, kept his calm to the end to take third and the title, making him the youngest ever six-time World Champion and the youngest to take four premier class Championships.
Alex Rins put in an impressive rookie ride into fourth, ahead of Valentino Rossi after a more difficult race for the ‘Doctor’. Iannone dropped back slightly after a run off at Turn 1 to take sixth, ahead of a great final race with EG 0,0 Marc VDS for Jack Miller in P7.
Cal Crutchlow moved up after crashing out in Q1 and qualifying outside the top ten to cross the line in P8, with Michele Pirro putting in another solid wildcard appearance to come home in ninth. Tito Rabat also impressed, locking out the top ten.
Bradley Smith rounded out the Austrian factory’s first season in the premier class in P11, and it was a tough weekend and final race of 2017 for third-placed in the Championship Maverick Viñales, as the Spaniard came home in P12. Danilo Petrucci, Karel Abraham and Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) completed the points in the Final Showdown, with the dust settling around the dramatic final race as the flag flew.
That’s a wrap on a stunning season to savour, with 2017 having provided some of the most incredible racing ever seen. Marquez retains the crown, and Dovizioso fought to the end – and on Tuesday, the clock resets once again.
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