After eight months, 17 races, four continents visited and thousands of miles travelled, the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship comes to a close this weekend at Valencia in Spain.
The Ricardo Tormo circuit will be the scene of the final battle of the season, with three World Champions already crowned, but with still some positions for the riders and teams to fight for.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR arrives in Valencia after very positive races in the far east, aware of being very close to the top in terms of performance of the GSX-RR and with the desire of a final positive showdown. According to the maths, Maverick Viñales can still aim for third place in the ‘Riders World Championship,’ being fourth with 191 points, 17 behind Jorge Lorenzo (208). Eleven points separate Aleix Espargaró from a top-10 position, while the team defends third place in the ‘Teams World Championship’ where they head the Ducati Team by five points (276 vs 271).
The Gran Prix de la Comunitat Valenciana is expected to be an emotional one for Viñales, Espargaró and the whole team, because it will be the final one in Suzuki colours for both riders; and the positive performance and feeling found during the second-half of the season gave further hopes for a remarkable performance at the 18th race of 2016.
The Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana is a facility completed in 1999 and has been hosting the GP ever since. The track is pretty tight, but the complex can hold around 150,000 fans in the stadium-style grandstands. Being the final GP of the season it will see many people coming support their heroes. The MotoGP™ events are held on a 4km track comprising five right-hand corners, eight left-handers and a 650m straight, for a total distance of 120.2 km (74.7 miles) covered in 30 laps.
“Last year’s race was not one of the best, but since then we made solid progress and we can say we are in a totally different situation. Already, in the test we did this year, our performance resulted in improvement, but most important factor is the steps forward we have made in the second half of the season. Now we feel we can be competitive in any conditions, and this is a great injection of enthusiasm for everyone. We feel we can compete with the top riders and teams, and we have already proved we can be on the podium consistently - which is a good way to end a season. This race will be important because we still have some hopes for the third place in the championship. When we started the season, our objective was to end in the top-six, but then during the season our competitiveness increased a lot; maybe even more than we expected and this had increased our ambition. We as a team are all racers, this means we always strive for the best result possible. We are already satisfied with the season, but we will try to exploit this last chance to get something even more and close these two years together in the best possible way.”
“The last races have not been the best in terms of final result, but looking at the performance and the competitiveness, we can be happy and proud. In the last months, I managed to find a lot better feeling with the bike, we improved the settings a lot and my riding style took advantage of this, resulting in being able to fight for top positions. This is a first step towards the place where I think we deserve to be, although unfortunately it arrived late in the season. The hard work we’ve done should deserve a positive result, both for me, the team and the Suzuki factory. Valencia is a circuit we know, although conditions will be different from the test we did, but I think we can find an effective configuration for the machine and be competitive.”