The fans at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana will gather to salute double MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez this weekend, with the battle for the runner-up spot between Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo to be settled at the 2014 season finale.
This year will be the 16th Valencia GP, which has been held every year since the first visit in 1999 and indeed this is the 13th successive year that the Ricardo Tormo circuit has hosted the final race of the season.
Last year Marquez arrived at the Spanish track for the final round looking to become the youngest ever premier class World Champion and this time he arrives in a more relaxed mood, having made history this season with his incredible performances to become the youngest ever back-to-back title winner at the top level.
The win by Marquez in Malaysia at the penultimate round was his 12th victory this year, equaling the record for most wins in the premier class in a single season, held by Mick Doohan since 1997. Another triumph would see Marquez take the record outright, with the Repsol Honda rider having already also set a record of 13 premier class poles in a season last time out at Sepang.
Spanish riders have won the last 10 MotoGP races on Spanish soil and the last non-Spanish rider to win a MotoGP race in Spain was Casey Stoner at Jerez in 2012.
The task for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s nine time World Champion Rossi is to end that run, which would also see him clinch second place in the 2014 World Championship over his teammate Lorenzo, who trails him by 12 points as they head to Valencia.
Meanwhile, Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa is out of the race for second but could well be a contender for victory on Sunday. Pedrosa is the most successful rider at the Valencia circuit with six wins, three in MotoGP, two in 250cc, and one in the 125cc class. No other rider has had more than three GP wins at the Valencia circuit.
Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP formula in 2002, Honda has been the most successful manufacturer at Valencia with seven wins, whilst Yamaha has had three and Ducati two.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) will do his best to add to the Italian manufacturer’s Valencia win tally, with the Italian rider set to race alongside his British colleague Cal Crutchlow for the last time this weekend. Crutchlow will head to the CWM-LCR Honda Team for 2015 and in the post Valencia test next week he will get his first ride with his new squad.
Sunday’s race will also see the battle for sixth place overall come to a head, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith, in addition to Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), all in contention.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) still has an outside chance of taking sixth but it would require a race win from the Italian on his return from injury, after he missed the Sepang contest due to a severe contusion to his left arm. Pol Espargaro will have checks on his injured foot this week but is expected to be fit to race.
Only two riders have competed at all 15 previous Grand Prix events at the Valencia circuit. Rossi is one of them and Randy de Puniet is the other, with the Frenchman set to extend that run of appearances with a wild card ride for Suzuki as the Japanese factory prepares to return to MotoGP in 2015.