This weekend the final round of the MotoGP Championship took place in Valencia, Spain. SHARK supported riders finished their season in the top ten in both the MotoGP and Moto2 championships.
The 30-lap MotoGP race took place in damp conditions on Sunday. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) started well using slick tyres and was holding third place until he fell unhurt on lap ten. Bradl has had a successful rookie year impressing the paddock with a string of top-ten finishes and challenging more experienced riders in the field, which lead to Bradl being awarded ‘Rookie of the Year’. The young-German finished eighth in the overall championship ahead of experienced riders Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies. Team-mates and SHARK supported Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet finished the overall championship in 12th and 13th.
It was a disappointing final Moto2 race for SHARK riders. Scott Redding (Marc VDS) got off to a good start from the third row of the grid, but was pushed wide into turn one and hit by another rider going into turn two. Both incidents cost the SHARK man time but it was lack of mid-corner grip that robbed his chances of fighting back into the points. Redding eventually finished the race in 22nd place following a good season with four podium finishes, ending his season in fifth place. Moto2′s ‘Rookie of the Year’ Johann Zarco (JiR Team) started from tenth on the grid and had a difficult first few laps before moving up into the battle for a podium finish. Unfortunately Zarco was caught out in the difficult conditions and crashed out, unhurt, with 17-laps to go. After a positive season, Zarco secured tenth place in the championship.
Stefan Bradl: “We had very tricky conditions today as almost everybody was on wet tyres because the dry line was less than 10cm wide and we decided to go on slicks because we wanted to avoid a bike change which could cost us a lot of time. At the end we made the right choice and I want to thank the team for their support because it’s not easy for a rider to decide when the surface is so slippery. I was on a good pace from the beginning and was third when I crashed out. The rider in front of me was slower and I wanted to overtake him quickly but in turn five I was a bit too aggressive and lost the control of the bike. I should have waited a bit longer to make the move and I feel bad for the team because I lost the chance to fight for the podium. However I feel happy today because I will be awarded as Rookie of the Year and this is simply great. This first year in the premier class has been incredible for me and I must thank Lucio and his team because at the beginning I was a bit worried but now I know this team is like a family.”
Scott Redding: « As soon as we saw the weather we knew today was going to be tough. I got a good start, but was pushed wide in turn one and then in turn two I was hit so hard by someone that I was winded for the first two laps. We knew set up was going to be an issue in the wet; it was a little bit better than it was in Malaysia, but there was still little grip and I was struggling mid-corner. Finishing out of the points is not how I wanted to end the season, but I can take some consolation in finishing fifth in the championship, my best finish so far. »
Johann Zarco: “I was unlucky in this race! I had a good start but Bradley Smith on the second corner pushed me wide – it happens – so I lost many places on this lap, but then it was drying and I was moving forward step-by-step and I was doing well, was fighting for the podium and I was confident, but finally Xavier Simeon crashed, Gino Rea went wide and then when I was trying to overtake him, Marquez touched me and I crashed. I’m disappointed as I wanted so much to make a podium but I’m thinking of next year where I hope to fight for wins and a world title. This year we will remember our ‘Rookie of the Year’ title and our top 10 finish. I would also like to say how I will take some great memories from this great team. It’s been fantastic working with them as well as Gianluca Montiron, who is a good team manager and a good man.”