This weekend (November 15-17) is the MotoGP 2019 season grand finale at the Valencia MotoGP, Spain. The championship arrives at the Comunitat Valenciana with the first and second places already decided, but there are still some important titles up for grabs at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Cheste.
An exciting battle is still to be had for the team world championship title (Honda vs. Ducati) and for the third position of the pilots’ standings, which would either go to Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) or Álex Rins (Suzuki).
Fabio Quartararo will also be one to watch this weekend. The French rookie of the year will be pursuing his first win against Marc Márquez. On top of that, we will be able to see the MotoGP debut of Íker Lecuona with the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team.
The young 19-year-old pilot will replace injured Miguel Oliveira and both of them will be teammates in the Austrian team next year. It will also be interesting to watch Johann Zarco’s performance on his last race with the LCR Honda team.
Honda wants to score three out of three with the team title
Ducati arrives at the Valencia MotoGP leading the team standings by three points ahead of Honda. Marc Márquez, however, is going to give it all in an attempt to beat their rivals for the team title and conquer the third crown of the season for the Japanese formation.
The #93 will once again be fighting pretty much on his own, as teammate Jorge Lorenzo is not expected to make any remarkable contribution to the effort. Weighed down by his injuries and by his inability to fully adapt to the RC213V, the pilot form the Balearics has never finished within the top 10 this year. Over the last few races, his performance declined even further, often finishing at the bottom of the list over a minute behind the winner.
Perhaps the pilot from Mallorca can make up for his latest bad results this weekend at the Valencia MotoGP, one of his lucky circuits. Lorenzo has won in Cheste in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016. It was also there that he sealed his third MotoGP world title three years ago, his fifth across categories.
The team of the golden wing will, in any case, have to deal with the strong opposition of the Ducati Desmosedici. Although a minor prize, Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci would be eager to seal off their erratic season with that small success.
A priori, this is not friendly territory for the red bullets. Over the last decade, they have only had one success in Cheste, but this was precisely last year with the victory of the #4 from the team from Borgo Panigale.
The bronze: Viñales vs Rins
The third place of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship will also be decided in Valencia. The position currently belongs to Maverick Viñales (Yamaha) with seven points more than Álex Rins (Suzuki). Viñales managed to dethrone Rins from that the third place after his recent triumph (second of the year) in Malaysia.
In complete sync with his M1, Viñales is having a sensational second half of the season. He has managed five podiums, including two victories, over the last seven races. The trend for Rins’ performance, however, has been one of decline. Since his spectacular victory in England, he has not set foot on the podium again.
Rins really needs to finish the year, which started with dreams of taking second place, achieving at least the bronze position. Only until a few weeks ago he seemed certain that he could do better, bit his irregularity and Viñales’ revival have pushed him away from those top 3.
Johann Zarco and Íker Lecuona capture the spotlight
Former KTM pilot, Johann Zarco, will again attract much of the attention at the Queen category. The Valencia MotoGP will be his third and last race on the back of the LCR Honda. His eyes are now set on Lorenzo place, in case the latter finally decides to retire.
Local pilot Íker Lecuona will be, together with the Frenchman, one of the big names of the Spanish event. At only 19 years of age, he will have his MotoGP debut with the Red Bull KTM Tech3 team. The inability of Miguel Oliveira (his 2020 partner) to dispute the race has accelerated is start in MotoGP.
Images of Valencia MotoGP: Repsol Honda team Twitter.