This just in:
Andrea Dovizioso finishes runner-up in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship. Both the Italian and Jorge Lorenzo crash out and retire from the Valencia GP six laps from the end, while fighting for third. Good race by Michele Pirro, ninth at the flag
Andrea Dovizioso wrapped up the 2017 MotoGP World Championship in the runner-up slot this afternoon in Spain. The Italian Ducati Team rider, who had to win and hope Marquez finished lower than eleventh place to take the title, crashed out six laps from the end of the Valencia GP while in third place. The satisfaction remains however for a fantastic season in which Andrea won six races and fought for the title right down to the last round.
Jorge Lorenzo was also not able to finish the final race of the season. The Spanish rider was forced to retire when he crashed out on lap 25 while in third place, behind Zarco and Pedrosa and ahead of his team-mate. Jorge finished his first season in Ducati with a seventh place overall in the standings.
Michele Pirro ran a good race in his third wild-card outing of the season with the Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Test Team. The Italian, who started from row 2 with the sixth quickest time in qualifying, finished the Valencia Grand Prix in ninth.
The MotoGP riders will be back on track again on Tuesday 14 November for two days of testing that mark the start of the 2018 season.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF
“I tried everything and I think that we have to be pleased with this weekend. We weren’t as quick as Marquez but we fought to the very end. I pushed hard right from the first lap, I didn’t make any mistakes and I put myself in the right position but unfortunately I didn’t have many cards to play. At the start I thought I could pass Jorge but there were some points where I was losing and others were I was gaining: in the end staying behind him helped me ride in a smoother way, so it was positive he was in front of me. We were all at the limit, even Marc who managed to save himself once again from a crash, and I want to congratulate him because also this year he managed to make the difference. At any rate I’m very happy with this season and I want to thank all the guys in the team, Ducati and all those who gave their support because our season has been over the top, full of satisfaction.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – DNF
“No one wants to finish the season with a crash, but apart from this retirement, I think that we must be happy with how we finished the championship, because both in Malaysia and here at Valencia we fought for the podium and this is the way we must begin next year. I pushed hard for the whole race to try and catch the leading group and towards the end I had to take a lot of risks: the front was turning in, especially in the right-handers, and in the end I lost control and couldn’t avoid crashing. Half-way through the race, when Andrea was following me closely, I analyzed the situation and I though that it was better to try and give him a tow to reach the leading group. If we had caught Zarco and Pedrosa I would certainly have let him past. But I want to offer him my congratulations because this year he has had a really fantastic season.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 9th
“At the start it was an enjoyable race for me because I was fighting with the top guys. Then the soft front tyre limited me a bit and when I saw that Dovi and Jorge had crashed out I tried to bring home the best possible result for Ducati. I’m disappointed about that, but this year we proved that we could fight for the world title and so we will start next year even stronger. I want to thank Ducati, Andrea and Jorge because together we’ve had an incredible season.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A.)
“Today we experienced some really strong emotions, an epilogue with a dramatic turn of events that concluded an extraordinary season for Ducati and Andrea Dovizioso. Marc Marquez deservedly won the 2017 world championship and we offer our congratulations to him. But also in this last race Andrea demonstrated that he had the pace, the speed and the determination on a track that in the past had seen him often in difficulty. Then two errors in a few seconds saw both Jorge and Dovi end the season with a retirement, but the great satisfaction remains for what the squad has done this year.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“It’s been a really hard-fought championship, and in the end Marquez and Honda deservedly won, so after the race I went over to congratulate them. We tried right to the end, we went very close, and for me we did a really good and solid season, both in the results and on a technical level. There is still a bit of disappointment over the missed opportunity, but we have to be satisfied for the improvements we have made this year. My heartfelt thanks go out to all the people who have made possible this fantastic world championship.”