Marc Marquez has been crowned MotoGP world champion for a fourth time after Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix, moments after seeing his title rival almost fall.
Marquez stormed to pole position in Valencia for Honda despite crashing in qualifying on Saturday, and sat second through the opening stages after losing his advantage to Tech3 rider Johann Zarco.
Needing a victory to stand any chance of denying Marquez the title, Dovizioso made a good start from P9 on the grid to run fifth early on, closely following Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Despite being given a ‘Mapping 8’ instruction by Ducati to let Dovizioso past, Lorenzo refused to move aside, leaving his Italian teammate to toil as the race passed half distance.
Both the race on-track and the championship battle took a couple of dramatic and, ultimately, decisive twists in the space of a few laps, with Marquez almost falling when trying to move into the lead.
Marquez ran deep at Turn 1 when trying to overtake Zarco, narrowly avoiding a fall by keeping himself on his bike using his elbow to prop himself up. The Spaniard fell back to P5, but remained in the race and on-track to win the title.
Dovizioso finally managed to pass Lorenzo when the Spaniard fell out of the race, only for the title contender to follow suit with an error moments later, sliding off into the gravel.
After getting back onto his bike, Dovizioso trundled back to the pits where he was applauded by the Ducati team, having come within touching distance of a famous title victory.
For Marquez, the success was his to lap up. After seeing Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa pass Zarco on the final lap for victory, Marquez crossed the line third standing with his arms aloft, celebrating his fourth MotoGP title and sixth world championship win.
All four of Marquez’s MotoGP title wins have come in the last five years, with his only defeat coming at the hands of Lorenzo in 2015.