Valencia Review 2019

2019-11-18 02:45
Michelin finished its fourth successful season in MotoGP™ by seeing its tyres set new race lap and race duration records at Valencia in Spain today as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took victory to give Honda the triple crown.

After Saturday’s Qualifying, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) started from pole for the sixth time this season, but the Frenchman was unable to capitalise on this advantage as the lights went out to signal the start of the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, as Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) led into the first corner after starting from third on the grid. Quartararo took the lead during the first circulation and continued to head the field for the next seven laps, before coming under pressure from Marquez. On lap-eight the World Champion went to the front and opened a gap that was not threatened for the rest of the race. Marquez’s victory also gave Repsol Honda the Team Championship to go with the Rider and Constructor titles, giving Honda its triple crown. On his way to victory, Marquez also secured a new race lap record for Michelin and set a new race duration time.

Michelin’s philosophy of supplying tyres that can be raced by all manufacturers was again highlighted today as three different marques again featured on the podium, with the Yamaha of Quartararo taking second behind the Honda of Marquez, with Miller’s Ducati third. Quartararo was also First Independent Rider, a result which gave him the Independent Riders’ Championship to go with Rookie of the Year and Independent Team of the Year titles, meaning Petronas Yamaha SRT also took a triple crown of honours in its first season in MotoGP.

Cold weather was the biggest issue faced by all this weekend and with today’s track temperature only 16°C the MICHELIN Power Slick tyres produced excellent performance – as they had done all weekend – to give the riders the grip needed around the complex 4,005m Circuit Ricardo Tormo. All three rear compounds were chosen for today’s race, with just the front medium – which gave the best feel in these difficult conditions – being utilised for the 27-lap race. Following the podium was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in fourth, Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) fifth, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) sixth and Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) coming home in seventh. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was eighth, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in ninth, with Pol Espagaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) tenth, meaning all six manufacturers were represented in the top-ten.

A huge crowd of 99,212 filled the grandstands around the circuit and were able to say they were present on the day that five-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) retired from MotoGP. Lorenzo made the shock announcement at Valencia on Thursday and finished today’s race in the points and to a tremendous reception from all the fans, teams and other riders at the end of the race. Michelin would like to wish him well in his future endeavours and thank him for the great memories, especially his victory on Michelin’s return to MotoGP in 2016, when he stormed to victory in Qatar in the season opener.

This weekend also saw the climax to the inaugural of the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup with a double-header, which produced two close and thrilling seven-lap races, before Matteo Ferrari (TRENTINO Gresini MotoE) was crowned the first World Cup Winner. Following Friday’s E-Pole, Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) took Pole Position for both races, but it was Bradley Smith (One Energy Racing) who got the holeshot in race one on Saturday and led across the line every time for the first five-laps. After building an early lead, Smith’s advantage was closed down as he came under pressure from Granado and Hector Garzo (Tech 3 E-Racing) and the three produced an exciting encounter onboard their Energica Ego Corsa machines, all equipped with MICHELIN Slick MotoE tyres. Despite the cold temperatures that had been prevalent all weekend, the Michelin tyres gave the riders the confidence and grip to push to the limits as the lead changed several times. Eventually Granado grabbed first and held on to the flag to take his first victory of the season, with Garzo second and Smith – despite a valiant last-corner overtaking manoeuvre – finishing in third. Following a post-race inspection Garzo was disqualified, moving Smith to second and promoting Ferrari to third.

Sunday’s race followed a similar pattern to the weekend’s first MotoE outing. With the track at 14°C, the MICHELIN Slick MotoE tyres had to warm-up quickly to give the riders confidence to push on the cold asphalt. The tyres performed this procedure perfectly and Smith again made a good start, leading for the first six laps, before losing first place to Granado. What followed was an electrifying final lap as the pair swapped positions a number of times, pushing their Energica Ego Corsa machines to the limits, which the MICHELIN Slick MotoE tyres coped with admirably to give the two riders the optimum grip as they fought for the line. When the flag came down, Granado took first with Smith close behind and Garzo in third place. Ferrari crossed the line in fifth to secure his title and win the MotoE World Cup.

Michelin will now remain at Valencia for a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading to Jerez in Spain for a further two-days of analysis with the MotoGP field next week. These important tests for 2020 will include further evaluation of the new rear construction tyre that was recently assessed during the race weekend at Phillip Island in Australia, before a final decision is made about adding this new MICHELIN Power Slick tyre to next year’s allocation. The first MotoGP race of 2020 is scheduled for Losail in Qatar on Sunday 8th March, with MotoE kicking off its season at Jerez in Spain on Sunday 3rd May.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team :

“It was an amazing race and weekend. It has be so difficult for the tyres and for the Michelin technicians and they did a great job, because we had extreme conditions, especially in the morning when it was very cold with the air and track temperatures, but the tyres worked very well. We had options for the very cold and for when the track warmed up, so I am really happy about this. The best way to finish the season is with a victory and I would like to say thanks to all the Michelin staff, we see the top guys, but there are many people working in all the Michelin factories to build tyres and give the best ones to us in MotoGP, so thanks to all of them.”

Eric Granado – Avintia Esponsorama Racing:

“It was good for me this weekend, the races are very short so you need to understand very quickly how the tyres are working from the beginning, because we don’t have a warm-up lap. I was really impressed in the first laps how well the tyres worked, Bradley understood this from his MotoGP days and I think that is why he opened a gap in the early laps in both races, but now I know that the Michelin tyres can give me what I need from the start and warm up very fast. I had a good feeling and it was all very controllable, we had some good fights in both races and I am very happy with these victories and the performance.”

Matteo Ferrari – TRENTINO Gresini MotoE:

“It has been a good season and I now understand how the Michelin tyres work with this bike. I learnt a lot and I improved every race. I’m happy about that and the work of my team and of Michelin. I want to dedicate this championship to my Dad and Mum and of course to Michele Pirro and to everyone that has made this possible.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“That has drawn 2019 to a close and what an extraordinary weekend to finish with. The temperatures were so cold here this weekend, the tyres had to work very hard to generate enough heat to give the riders the grip they needed and they did this extremely well. We saw all rear compounds used in today’s race and although only the front medium was used, all three were still a raceable option, so we produced a range to meet the demands of this difficult circuit and the demanding winter conditions we experienced, even though we had to choose the allocation as far back as March! I want to thank all the Michelin team for the hard-work and dedication this season, we have had a very successful season with many new records set – including two today – and are already looking forward to 2020. We now begin preparations for 2020 with a two-day test here at Valencia, before moving to Jerez next week. We still have a lot to evaluate before we make a final decision on the new rear construction for next season, so hopefully we will have some good weather so we can get some valuable data collected. We will also be starting to assess a new construction for the front which we hope to introduce in 2021.

“Congratulations to Matteo Ferrari on becoming the inaugural MotoE World Cup Winner, the races have proved very popular and provided exciting racing. It is an honour for Michelin to be involved in the field of sustainable energy racing and we are extremely pleased with the performance the MICHELIN Slick MotoE have given the riders this year.

“Today also saw the last race for Jorge Lorenzo, he provided us with some very high points during his time using Michelin tyres, On behalf of everyone at Michelin, I would like to thank him for his input and dedication and wish him all best in his retirement.”

Source: Michelin Motorsport

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