Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) took a second stunning win of the year after dueling Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) at Valencia, pouncing on the final lap to take over in the lead and defend it to the end. Pedrosa equals great rival Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) as a four-time winner in the premier class at the venue following the victory – and it was a special one for the Little Samurai.
“Today was a great day because the feeling is great, to be back with a victory,” grins the race winner. “I think that’s important for my team, fans, family and friends to finish the season like this because in many races I struggled a lot and those days are difficult, so today to give that happiness to them is great. Then the team has won the Constructors, Team titles and Marc won the Rider’s championship so amazing overall. We struggled a lot this year to get a victory because I think we had a good package to be on the podium and close sometimes, but Marc and Dovi had a better package to win. And today we got a second win and it’s an amazing feeling.”
It was a stunning start for Pedrosa, who went from the second row to second – but he was even aiming higher: “My intention was to get to Turn 1 first! I knew the first laps would be a bit difficult on the medium tyre, but once I was past Zarco and Iannone, suddenly Marc appeared. But I was comfortable in the first laps. Then Johann passed me, they started to go faster and I was struggling to have a good feeling with the front. I lost some metres. I tried to manage it and see if with less petrol the feeling would improve, so I tried to go again and get in touch with them – I could see Marc looking behind so maybe he wasn’t at the maximum. Then maybe he tried to go for the win and the slide…it was amazing to see from behind - the line, the smoke…but he wasn’t crashing! It was amazing to watch the save live.”
It was a spectacular save for his teammate, and a spectacular win for Pedrosa. With the 25 points taken in the finale, the older Repsol Honda rider ends 2017 in fourth in the standings – just pipping Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) to the post. Now it’s time to reset for next season, with testing beginning on Tuesday as #2018StartsNow.