Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) didn’t finish today’s rain-lashed season finale at Valencia, but the sterling efforts of the 2018 MotoGP World Champion and his team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) crowned a remarkable and historic season for Honda, by winning the MotoGP Teams World Championship to secure the mighty RC213V the triple crown of Riders, Constructors and Teams World Championships for the second year in a row.
The coveted MotoGP triple crown is the perfect way to celebrate the 60th birthday of the company that Soichiro Honda founded in 1948. And Honda has made a lot more history in this landmark year. Marquez’s fifth MotoGP riders title is the company’s 20th in the premier class, following the successes of fellow Honda champions Casey Stoner, Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, Alex Crivillé, Mick Doohan, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner and Freddie Spencer.
This year’s MotoGP constructors title is Honda’s 24th in the premier class, extending the company’s record which is already far beyond its closest competitors. This championship is also Honda’s 69th constructors success across all Grand Prix classes. And earlier this year Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) won Honda’s 750th Grand Prix, another all-time record and a significant number for the company that started the superbike revolution 50 years ago with the 750cc CB750.
Marquez started the race from the second row, after crashing during yesterday’s qualifying session. The man who has won five of the past six MotoGP world titles was in the running for another podium to complete what has been a remarkable season until the rain intensified and he lost the rear at turn nine and fell heavily, hurting his left shoulder which he had dislocated when he fell in yesterday’s qualifying session. The 25-year-old Spaniard will have remedial surgery following the final winter tests of 2018 later this month and will be back to full strength for 2019 preseason testing which starts next February.
The race was later red-flagged as conditions deteriorated and a restart arranged, which could only be contested by the riders who were still running when the original race was stopped.
Last year’s Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was one of eight riders unable to make the restart for this reason. The 23-year-old was having a strong ride until he also fell, as the conditions worsened. Indeed he might have taken his best-ever result if he hadn’t fallen, but he ended the day on a happy note with the excellent consolation of securing the important Rookie of the Year prize.
With Marquez unable to take part in the restart, it was left to Pedrosa to carry the Repsol Honda Team colours. The 33-year-old Spaniard splashed his way to an excellent fifth in his final Grand Prix before retirement, which ends an amazing 13-year career with the Repsol Honda Team.
This was Pedrosa’s 295th Grand Prix race, following his debut in the 2001 125cc Japanese GP. The Little Samurai ends a glittering career during which he won 54 GP races – across all three classes, making him Honda’s most successful race winner alongside Mick Doohan – and took the 2003 125cc World Championship and the 2004 and 2005 250 World Championships. In the 70 years of Grand Prix racing only two riders have scored more podiums than Pedrosa’s 153: Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi.
The next man to take the chequered flag after Pedrosa was 26-year-old Japanese rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V), who scored the best result of his premier-class apprenticeship in sixth place. The result made sure he completed the year 20th in the championship.
HRC test rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) also had a great ride to finish ninth. Bradl was once again substituting for Crutchlow, who was injured during last month’s Australian GP. The 28-year-old rode an excellent race in only his fifth Grand Prix outing of the year.
Honda’s third rookie Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was another who crashed out of the original race.
MotoGP winter testing begins at Valencia on Tuesday. The two-day outing is followed by another two-day session at Jerez later this month. Next year’s testing starts at Sepang, Malaysia, in February.