Jorge Lorenzo has added another world title to his racing resume…
The 28-year-old Spanish professional motorcycle road racer won his third MotoGP title with a victory at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday, as Valentino Rossi failed to make up enough ground on his Yamaha teammate from the back of the grid.
Lorenzo entered the race trailing Rossi by seven points, but the veteran Italian couldn’t manage more than a fourth-place finish.
Rossi, who needed second place to guarantee the title, started last on the grid because of a penalty for kicking Marc Marquez in the previous race.
After the checkered flag, Rossi went on a rant against Marquez and accused him of protecting his fellow Spaniard in the last three races of the season.
Lorenzo finished with 330 points, five more than Rossi, who was trying to win his eighth world title and the first since 2009.
“This was one of the toughest races, if not the toughest of my life,” Lorenzo said. “The tension and the pressure was very high from the first corner, but I tried to push to the limit, like I usually do.”
Lorenzo added to his MotoGP triumphs in 2010 and 2012, after wins in the 250cc category in 2006 and 2007.
He started from pole position and stayed in front at the Ricardo Tormo circuit outside Valencia. He grabbed Spain’s flag and rode with it around the track in his victory lap.
“It was very emotional. I was crying throughout the victory lap,” he said. “What we achieved today is huge after a very difficult season. Five times now. I’m very proud to have won this world title for Spain.”
Marquez, the winner of the past two MotoGP championships, finished the race behind Lorenzo in second, but he never tried to make a significant move for the lead.
Dani Pedrosa, winner of two of the past three races, was third to close out the all-Spanish podium.
“I was riding over the limit,” Marquez said. “I was preparing the attack for the last two laps, but Dani overtook me, and we lost time. Second place is not the best way to finish the season, but next year, we will be back to try to fight for the title again.”
Rossi said Marquez was protecting Lorenzo.
“Today was embarrassing for everybody because it was unbelievable. The behavior of Marquez is something very bad for everything, especially for the sport,” Rossi said. “I hope that he will understand what he did in these last three races in the future of his career. At the end, I think that also Lorenzo have to not be very happy, as it is not a championship that was won on track.”
Lorenzo had a clean start, but Rossi quickly moved up the field behind him and had already reached 10th place just two laps into the 30-lap race.
Rossi continued to press forward and got to fifth after 10 laps, but he couldn’t make much ground after reaching fourth place two laps later. His only chance was if something happened to the riders ahead of him. He could have won the title if both Marquez and Pedrosa passed Lorenzo at the end.
There was extra interest in the Valencia GP after Rossi had a role in Marquez’s crash in Malaysia two weeks ago and also accused him of trying to favor his fellow Spaniard in the title race. Rossi appealed his penalty to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but his request was denied a day before the first practice session Friday in Valencia.
Lorenzo hadn’t won since the Aragon GP four races ago, but he had finished on the podium every time since then. The Yamaha rider ended the year with seven victories, including all four races in Spain.
The 36-year-old Rossi won four races and had only three podium finishes since he won the British GP six races ago.
It was the second time Rossi entered the season-ending race with the points lead but failed to win the title. He was surpassed in the standings by American Nicky Hayden in 2006 after falling early in the decisive race in Valencia and finishing only 13th.