MotoGP: Marquez crowned champion in dramatic finale

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Marc Marquez was crowned 2017 MotoGP World Champion in a dramatic fashion at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia this afternoon.

It wasn’t as clear cut as many expected, however, with Marquez so nearly crashing out of the race at the mid-way point, losing the front at turn one and miraculously saving it.

It was a dream start for the Spaniard, who took the lead into turn one with team-mate Dani Pedrosa behind him. However, he’d not have the buffer of Pedrosa for long with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco barging past on the second lap.

In the knowledge that the aggressive Frenchman was behind, Marquez let Zarco past on the third lap to avoid a dogfight, but remained on his tail throughout the race.

The Ducati duo of Lorenzo and Dovizioso were behind third-placed Pedrosa running fairly even pace when a message appeared on Lorenzo’s dash reading ‘Suggested Mapping 8’.

The same message he’d seen in Malaysia, widely thought to mean ‘Let Dovi past’, would appear on his screen four times before the team resorted to telling him to drop one position on his pit board. However, Lorenzo wasn’t willing to let Dovi past.

With the Ducatis closing in, Marquez took the lead from Zarco into the final turn, but knowing the Frenchman would fight back into turn one he went in hard. Unfortunately for the Spaniard it was slightly too hard, as he lost the front on the brakes. Remarkably saving it, he re-joined the race in fifth, before moving up to third just a lap later when both Lorenzo and Dovizioso crashed out in separate incidents.

The battle for the lead was then down to Zarco and Pedrosa, and the Repsol Honda pulled a hard move on the Frenchman into turn one which he was unable to defend. Pulling the pin, Pedrosa left Zarco with no answer on the final lap to take his second win of the year.

Marquez completed the podium, ahead of an incredible run from Alex Rins to finish fourth ahead of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone.

Jack Miller crossed the line seventh ahead of close friend and fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow while Michele Pirro and Tito Rabat rounded out the top ten.

Britain’s Bradley Smith was 11th for Red Bull KTM, ahead of the devastated factory Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales. Scott Redding crashed out in the early stages of the race, while Sam Lowes would also fail to finish his last MotoGP race before returning to the Moto2 World Championship next year.

The result sees Marquez take the title from Dovizoso by 37 points with Vinales miraculously third after a tough end to the year. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing