Valencia GP Race Results
1. Jorge LORENZO (99) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
2. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA
3. Andrea IANNONE (29) Ducati Team DUCATI
4. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA
5. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
6. Pol ESPARGARO (44) Monster Tech 3 YAMAHA
7. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI
8. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI
9. Bradley SMITH (38) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
10. Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
11. Hector BARBERA (8) Avintia Racing DUCATI
12. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI
13. Stefan BRADL (6) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA
14. Scott REDDING (45) OCTO Pramac Yakhnich DUCATI
15. Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
16. Eugene LAVERTY (50) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI
17. Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA
18. Loris BAZ (76) Avintia Racing DUCATI

DNF: Mika KALLIO (36) Red Bull Factory Racing KTM
DNF: Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA
DNF: Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA
DNF: Yonny HERNANDEZ (68) Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI

History will show that Jorge Lorenzo led two of four practice sessions this past weekend at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, and smashed his own lap record in qualifying en route to winning the 65th pole position of his 250-start Grand Prix career.

Jorge Lorenzo at Valencia
On Tuesday, Jorge Lorenzo will make his first laps aboard the factory Ducati that he will race next season.Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto
Lorenzo victory champagne
“Perfect weekend: 250 GPs, pole position, best lap, victory,” Lorenzo said. “For sure, we will enjoy the result with the team in these last hours together.”Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto

History will also show that, in addition to setting a new race lap record, the outgoing Movistar Yamaha rider commanded every lap of Sunday's MotoGP season finale. Margin of victory over Marc Marquez was 1.185 seconds—a perfect end to a perfect weekend.

Likely lost amid the champagne showers and 110,000 cheering fans will be post-race comments in which Lorenzo acknowledged that he did not expect to finish first. “I was lucky that Marquez had problems at the start,” he said. “If not, I probably wouldn’t win.”

Lorenzo was referring to the “worst start of the year” and “big wheelie” Marquez suffered at the beginning of the 30-lap race that left the recently crowned world champion fifth at the end of the first lap, 1.4 seconds behind leader Lorenzo.

Rossi in second at Valencia
Race for second: “Today, we saw the lap record and race record broken, and yesterday, the overall track record was surpassed,” said Michelin’s Nicolas Goubert on Sunday afternoon. “Overall, we are quite pleased with how everything has gone in 2016.”Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto

Instead of giving Lorenzo the heads-up run for his money that many expected, Marquez was trapped behind Andrea Iannone, Maverick Viñales, and Valentino Rossi. The quartet had a front-row seat for Lorenzo’s patented disappearing act.

“You have to take profit of your opportunities,” said Lorenzo, who reeled off five low 1-minute, 31-second laps, building blocks for what would become a five-plus-second lead. “In the first laps, especially the lefts, I was half throttle, trying to save the tires.”

Speaking of tires, Michelin brought a new-profile front slick this weekend that will be part of its 2017 allotment. More than 75 percent of the field used it for the race. Everyone went with the soft asymmetrical rear.

Typically, Marquez chose the harder of the two new fronts. “Like Valentino said yesterday,” he noted, “it is difficult to overtake here. I tried but the Ducati just passed me on the straight. When I finally opened a gap, I pushed like I had nothing to lose.”

Andrea Iannone at Valencia
“This is the last race with this beautiful factory and group,” Andrea Iannone said. “I’m not really happy about this. I believe a lot in these guys, and we improve step-by-step and arrive, more or less, at the top.” Iannone will race for the Suzuki factory in 2017.Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto

Manufacturer title on the line, Marquez continued to chip away at Lorenzo’s lead. “I was catching Jorge,” he said. “I knew it would be difficult, but I tried. If two or three more laps remained, maybe, but no excuses. Jorge did an incredible race.”

“I was lucky that I could open a gap in the beginning,” Lorenzo said. “The last 10 laps were a nightmare. The left side of the rear tire was struggling so much, especially in the last corner. I had to be very focused, very precise.

“The Honda was better for conserving the tire so that’s why he caught me so much. Marquez was coming so quick—eight tenths, nine tenths—I was praying that my rear tire kept alive.”

Dani Pedrosa
Two of the record nine different MotoGP race winners this season, Cal Crutchlow and Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the season finale at Valencia in separate incidents. Neither rider was injured in the falls.Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto
Cal Crutchlow
Crutchlow was the top independent team rider this season.Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto

Rossi and Iannone, meanwhile, were giving as good as they were getting. At the post-race press conference, a journalist jokingly asked Iannone if he “races on a different track,” one that makes passing easier.

“This track is very difficult to overtake, but my bike today helped a lot,” Iannone replied. “It has strong power on the straight. Half the race, Vale had a better pace but I overtook him in every corner. We had a great battle, and I have a great result.”

Iannone is still recovering from the fractured vertebrae suffered this past September at Misano. “I had a lot of pain in my back after 16 laps,” the Italian admitted. “I understand I have pain. I have less energy. But I don’t think about my pain.”

Valencia 2016 start
Lorenzo acknowledged that he did not expect to finish first. “I was lucky that Marquez had problems at the start,” he said. “If not, I probably wouldn’t win.”Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto

With Viñales fading, Iannone sealed his fourth podium of the year when Rossi ran wide. “It was a very tough race,” Rossi said. “I was pushing from the beginning to the end. At half race, I was not so bad because I was in the second position.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t fast enough to make a gap. And after, I suffered on the second part. We make a fight with Iannone—the last blood. Unfortunately, he beat me, so at the end, it was just fourth place. But it was a good race.”

Preseason testing for the 2017 championship—Lorenzo to Ducati, Viñales on a Yamaha with Rossi, Iannone to Suzuki, and Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro aboard the fledgling KTM RC16—begins on Tuesday at Valencia.

MotoGP world champions
Post-race selfie with the 2016 MotoGP, Moto3 and Moto2 World Champions.Photo: Andrew Wheeler/AutoMotoPhoto