Joan Mir claimed the MotoGP riders’ title in his second season as Franco Morbidelli won the Valencian Grand Prix in a superb last-lap duel with Jack Miller.
Mir became the category’s first new champion since Marc Marquez in 2013, and the first Suzuki rider to take the premier-class title since Kenny Roberts Jr in 2000.
Spaniard Mir rode a conservative race, making just minor inroads off the line – relative to his usual early-race prowess – and settling into ninth behind Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
That became eighth when Johann Zarco (Avintia Ducati) crashed while trying to defend from Mir’s team-mate Alex Rins for sixth up ahead, and Mir then passed Espargaro at the final corner on the 11th lap.
From there on Mir would gain another position when Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) crashed trying to pass Pol Espargaro, and he just held on to seventh at the final lap, fighting off long-shot title rival Andrea Dovizioso by 0.026s.
The reliably fast-starting Miller had taken the lead off the line but overcooked it into Turn 1, ceding first place back to Morbidelli and also dropping behind Pol Espargaro – although he was back past the KTM almost immediately, diving down the inside at Turn 4.
Miller stayed with Morbidelli initially, and though the Petronas Yamaha man began to eke out around a tenth per lap, establishing a lead of over a second as the lap counter ticked over into the double digits.
But Miller bucked the trend soon after as he ate into Morbidelli’s lead, lowering it to half a second as the race entered its final six laps.
He got closer still on the next lap but struggled to get close enough to Morbidelli to attack until the end of the penultimate lap, going past on the start-finish straight but running just wide enough into Turn 1 to allow Morbidelli the inside line into Turn 2.
They swapped positions twice more over the next two corners, and Morbidelli remained in control after that, holding off Miller by 0.093s off the line.
This denied Pramac Ducati a long-awaited first victory, as Pol Espargaro held on to third place for KTM three seconds behind the leaders.
Rins completed the top four, with Suzuki missing the podium for only the second time in the last seven races.
Brad Binder was a close fifth behind him, while Tech3 rider Miguel Oliveira followed his works counterpart to make it three KTMs in the top six.
Aleix Espargaro completed the top nine, with Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales’ title hopes ending with a 10th place finish, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati) and Vinales’ team-mate Valentino Rossi.
Having slipped behind Mir at the start, championship contender Fabio Quartararo was briefly ahead of him in the braking zone at Turn 2, but had to run wide to avoid clattering into Vinales and dropped to the back of the field.
It took him until lap six to get back into the points, but he then wobbled entering Turn 1 and was run out wide by Alex Marquez at the next corner, losing three places in one moment.
As he tried to fight back from that setback, he fell at Turn 6, officially ending a title campaign that had begun so strongly with a double win at Jerez.
Quartararo’s fall officially gave Suzuki the teams’ title, while Morbidelli, Rins and Vinales all jumped ahead of him in the riders’ standings in the battle for second place.
|Pos||Name||Team||Bike||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Franco Morbidelli||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||27||27||41m22.478s||1m31.428s||0||25|
|2||Jack Miller||Pramac Racing||Ducati||27||0||+0.093s||1m31.378s||0||20|
|3||Pol Espargaró||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||27||0||+3.006s||1m31.487s||0||16|
|4||Alex Rins||Team Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||27||0||+3.697s||1m31.569s||0||13|
|5||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||27||0||+4.127s||1m31.59s||0||11|
|6||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||27||0||+7.272s||1m31.616s||0||10|
|7||Joan Mir||Team Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||27||0||+8.703s||1m31.651s||0||9|
|8||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||Ducati||27||0||+8.729s||1m31.571s||0||8|
|9||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||27||0||+15.512s||1m31.582s||0||7|
|10||Maverick Viñales||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||27||0||+19.043s||1m31.906s||0||6|
|11||Francesco Bagnaia||Pramac Racing||Ducati||27||0||+19.456s||1m31.788s||0||5|
|12||Valentino Rossi||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||27||0||+19.717s||1m31.944s||0||4|
|13||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||Honda||27||0||+23.802s||1m32.136s||0||3|
|14||Stefan Bradl||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||27||0||+27.43s||1m32.192s||0||2|
|15||Danilo Petrucci||Ducati Team||Ducati||27||0||+30.57s||1m32.262s||0||1|
|16||Alex Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||27||0||+30.619s||1m32.402s||0||0|
|17||Tito Rabat||Avintia Racing||Ducati||27||0||+42.365s||1m32.662s||0||0|
|18||Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||27||0||+46.472s||1m32.914s||0||0|
|Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||Honda||18||0||DNF||1m31.446s||0||0|
|Fabio Quartararo||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||8||0||DNF||1m32.153s||0||0|
|Johann Zarco||Avintia Racing||Ducati||5||0||DNF||1m31.621s||0||0|