Marc Marquez takes the flag to win the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the last race of the season, and with it the MotoGP championship. Picture: Alberto Saiz / AP
Marc Marquez takes the flag to win the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix, the last race of the season, and with it the MotoGP championship. Picture: Alberto Saiz / AP
Marc Marquez celebrates becoming the youngest ever six-times World Champion and the youngest to take four premier-class titles. Picture: MotoGP.com
Marc Marquez celebrates becoming the youngest ever six-times World Champion and the youngest to take four premier-class titles. Picture: MotoGP.com

Valencia, Spain – Marc Marquez took his sixth world title and his fourth in the premier class in a tense and stunningly dramatic showdown, despite a huge front-end moment into Turn 1 and a run off track, finishing third to clinch he title defence.

Title rival Andrea Dovizioso had a similar run-off while running fourth but was unable to save it and crashed out of contention for the race and title.

South Africa’s Brad Binder, meanwhile, kept the South African flag proudly flying with a third consecutive podium finish in Moto2.

Marc Marquez celebrates becoming the youngest ever six-times World Champion and the youngest to take four premier-class titles. Picture: MotoGP.com

MOTOGP

The race came down to a duel between Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco, with the outcome decided on the final lap as Pedrosa pounced and defended to perfection for his second win of the season.

Marquez got the holeshot from pole, with team-mate Pedrosa slicing through from the second row to take over in second - and Zarco pushed down to third. Dovizioso made a good start to move up to sixth, then past Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) and all over the tail of Ducati Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Zarco took over the lead early on, with Marquez slotting into second as Pedrosa held third, with the two Ducatis glued together about a second further adrift behind.

After a mistake by Zarco, a Marquez pass and a Zarco comeback, Marquez saw his chance to dive through for the lead – and ran wide. Sliding on his knee for a stunning save into Turn 1, he headed for the gravel but pulled off a near-miracle save and rejoined behind Dovizioso.

Lorenzo then upped the pace to chase down Pedrosa and Zarco ahead, but went down suddenly; and just as suddenly, the dream was over for his team-mate. A run off into the gravel that couldn’t be saved saw Dovizioso’s title hopes disappear, leaving him to take the runner up spot.

At the start of the final lap Pedrosa tucked in and then pounced into Turn 1, managing to hold off Zarco around the tight Circuit Ricardo Tormo to take his second victory of 2017.

Marquez, promoted to the third podium spot by the falls ahead of him, kept calm to the end to take third and the title, making him the youngest ever six-times World Champion and the youngest to take four premier class championships.

Alex Rins (Suzuki) put in an impressive rookie ride into fourth, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) after a difficult race. Iannone dropped back slightly after a run off at Turn 1 to take sixth, ahead of a great final race with Jack Miller in seventh.

Honda privateer Cal Crutchlow moved up after crashing out in Q1 and qualifying outside the top 10 to cross the line eighth, with Ducati test rider Michele Pirro putting in another solid wildcard appearance to come home ninth, while Tito Rabat (Honda) also impressed, rounding out the top 10.

RESULTS

POINTS AFTER 18 OF 18 ROUNDS

MOTO2

Miguel Oliveira made it a stunning three in a row for KTM, hunting down champion Franco Morbidelli and pulling away to win by 2.154s, while team-mate Brad Binder made it another double podium for KTM in third, making his third consecutive visit to the rostrum.

Morbidelli and team-mate Alex Marquez made the running into Turn 1, with Marquez talking an early lead before Morbidelli was able to battle through and take over – leaving a three-way scrap for second between Marquez, Mattia Pasini and Oliveira before Pasini suddenly crashed out.

Marquez then held firm ahead of Oliviera for a number of laps before the KTM team-mates were able to press home the attack; Oliviera then set about chasing Morbidelli for the win.

With seven laps to go, Oliveira had his KTM glued to the Morbidelli’s Kalex, and on the following lap he dived through into the lead at Turn 4, leaving the the newly-crowned Champion was forced to follow him home.

Binder completed the podium, while Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia debated fourth with Hafizh Syahrin for fifth before pulling away from the Malaysian rider and then catching and passing Marquez.

Takaaki Nakagami said goodbye to the intermediate class ahead of his graduation to MotoGP with seventh, ahead of a solid final rookie ride for Fabio Quartararo. Simone Corsi (Speed Up) crossed the line ninth after making some late progress, with Dominique Aegerter (Suter) completing the top 10.

RESULTS

MOTO3

Honda privateer Jorge Martin took a stunning maiden win, launching into the lead from his ninth pole position of the year and pulling away at the front. More than three seconds further back, newly-crowned champion Joan Mir put in the ride of his life for second, recovering from the tail end of the top 20 to reach the podium in his final Moto3 appearance.

Marcos Ramirez (KTM) completed the podium, just unable to overtake Mir in the final sector but within 0.11s at the flag
Martin got the hole shot from pole with Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM) slotting into second, but the Argentinean rider then slid out early and left the pole-sitter out front – and Joan Mir off track as the new champion was forced to avoid the fallen rider ahead of him.

Martin’s gap was then more than two seconds to the chasing group behind, with the battle for second seeing a squabble break out, enabling him to take further advantage and pull clear.

There was sudden drama in that battle soon after as Martin’s team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio clipped Ramirez on the start-finish straight, but Ramirez was able to stay clear of the traffic as he fell and wasn’t hurt.

Mir was on the fight back, having moved up from 19th to 11th within a handful of laps - but then with more than two seconds to make up to reach the top 10.

By five to go, Mir was in second and starting to cut the gap to leader Martin but there just weren’t enough laps, as Martin pulled a wheelie over the line to convert pole into victory.

Behind Ramirez it was an Italian battle for fourth as Romano Fenati just beat fellow Honda rider Enea Bastianini in the former’s last Moto3 appearance, ahead of Juanfran Guevara (KTM), reigning Moto3 Junior World Champion Dennis Foggia (KTM) in a wildcard appearance at the circuit he dominated at junior level, another stunning slice through the field from John McPhee (Honda) on his final outing with the BTT squad.

Reigning Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion and wildcard Kazuki Masaki (Honda) completed the top 10 behind local hero Aron Canet (Honda).

RESULTS

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