Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez clinched the 2013 MotoGP World Championship title with a third-place finish at Valencia. The Repsol ace is now the youngest rider to ever win a GP title and is the first rookie to do so since Kenny Roberts achieved the feat in 1978. Outgoing champion, Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha Factory Racing, took the race win followed by Marquez’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, in second.
Lorenzo pushed to the head of the pack off the start and Pedrosa slotted into second. Marquez managed to put himself in the top-three by holding to the inside of Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, as they entered Turn 1. The following laps were tense as Lorenzo worked to regulate the race pace in order to keep more riders in position to challenge Marquez. The strategy also allowed Pedrosa to remain glued to Lorenzo’s rear tire and #26 made multiple passes for the front in the first five laps. Lorenzo never let Pedrosa hold the lead for long though and the two got physical at times jostling for position. Marquez remained cool and never attempted to enter the fray but was granted an unexpected opening with 21 laps remaining.
In a move to take the front back from Pedrosa, Lorenzo bumped the Repsol rider wide. Pedrosa remained upright and slipped into fifth-place but the move caused Lorenzo to drop back a position to second. Marquez took over the lead for a brief period, but the Mallorcan soon pushed past with little resistance from the rookie. At this point the pack of riders out front was still tight, with Rossi, Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Pedrosa bunched up behind Marquez.
Pedrosa made short work of both Bautista and Rossi as the race reached mid-point, gaining third-place with 17 laps remaining. Despite Lorenzo’s efforts to slow the race, a gap began to develop between Pedrosa and the rest of the field.
Lorenzo proceeded to up his pace during the second half of the race and distance himself from the Repsol duo, realizing no other riders beside Pedrosa and Marquez were close enough to pressure for a top-three spot. Pedrosa continued to close in on his teammate and with five laps remaining Marquez gave #26 a wave and Pedrosa slipped into the runner-up spot. The rookie was able to hold steady through the final stages in third-place for the title.
Rossi finished in fourth-place followed by Bautista in fifth. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl crossed the line in sixth with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith trailing in seventh. Smith’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, ended his tenure with the Tech 3 team early, crashing out of competition during the first portion of the race. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden finished eighth in his final race with the Italian marque. Hayden’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, took ninth followed by Ducati Test Team’s Michele Pirro in 10th. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro took top CRT honors in 11th.
Marquez finishes the season and takes the title with a four-point advantage over Lorenzo.
“It was a really long race, maybe the longest of my career," said Marquez. "At the start I was very nervous, I know I said I wasn’t but if I’m honest I really was. Jorge had a very good start, as usual, and I wasn’t sure which tactic to take. I followed Jorge and Dani and began to settle into the race. Then towards the end, I decided not to push as I knew my position was secure and safe to take the Championship. It has been a fantastic year, I am still in a dream! I really didn’t expect this at the beginning and I am really so very happy. So thank you to all my team, my family and of course Honda and all our sponsors. The support from everyone and all my fans around the World has been incredible and I dedicate this Championship to you all!”
MotoGP Valencia Results 2013:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Marc Marquez (Honda)
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
5. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
6. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
9. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
10. Michele Pirro (Ducati)
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART)
12. Hector Barbera (FTR)
13. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki)
14. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
15. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki)
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR)
17. Michael Laverty (ART)
18. Luca Scassa (ART)
19. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda)
20. Martin Bauer (S&B Suter)