Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso took victory in the 2018 MotoGP’s season finale Valencia GP from Suzuki’s Alex Rins and KTM’s Pol Espargaro.
The final race in the 2018 season started under wet conditions as Rins took the lead from Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales ahead of Dovizioso with KTM’s Pol Espargaro shooting to fourth from Honda’s Marc Marquez and Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci.
It was Rins leading still but Vinales started to lose places as he dropped behind Dovizioso, Espargaro and Marquez as his teammate Valentino Rossi made his way into the Top 10 from 16th on the grid under those conditions.
The series of crashes started to happen with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro going down first, followed by Pramac Racing Ducati’s Jack Miller, Ducati’s Michele Pirro, Petrucci, Marc VDS Honda’s Thomas Luthi, P Espargaro and Marquez.
Rins stayed in the lead with Dovizioso behind him, followed by Rossi, Vinales, Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone, Marc VDS Honda’s Franco Morbidelli, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco, Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, KTM’s Bradley Smith and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami in Top 10.
But soon, Iannone dropped out along with Morbidelli, Vinales and Smith as Rins lost out to Dovizioso and Rossi when the race direction finally brought out the red flag. After a brief wait, the race went green with 14 laps to run.
Rins led the way on the second re-start with Dovizioso and Rossi behind him but the Ducati rider wasted no time and passed him for the lead at the end of the first lap as Espargaro and Pedrosa jostled for fourth place.
Dovizioso continued to lead as Rossi then slotted into second after passing Rins with Espargaro building a gap to Pedrosa who then lost a place to Pirro for fifth as Angel Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista crashed out of his last race in MotoGP.
With Dovizioso looking set to win, Rossi’s chance of podium went away after the Yamaha rider crashed in Turn 12. He continued on in 13th as Rins slotted in second with KTM’s Espargaro moving into podium position.
Dovizioso took the win at Valencia to close the 2018 season – his fourth in the year with Rins scoring his second consecutive podium as Espargaro gave KTM, its first podium in MotoGP – the Spaniard taking his first career podium as well.
Ducati’s wildcard Pirro was fourth with Pedrosa ending up fifth on his last race of MotoGP career with Nakagami registering his best career result of sixth after clearing Zarco as Smith in eighth made it a fine result for KTM.
LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was ninth from Tech 3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin as Aprilia’s Scott Redding ended his MotoGP career in 11th with Jorge Lorenzo ending his Ducati career in 12th as Rossi slotted in 13th.
Angel Nieto Ducati’s Karel Abraham and Avintia Racing Ducati’s Jordi Torres completed the 15 finishers in the race with as many as eight riders that failed to finish which included Bautista, Morbidelli, Vinales, Marquez, Espargaro, Iannone, Miller and Petrucci