Sen­si­ble ride sees ‘The Ma­niac’ bid farewell to Du­cati with bril­liant fi­nal per­for­mance

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport - IN SPAIN BSB RE­PORTER oli.rushby@motorcyclenews.com OLI RUSHBY

An­drea Ian­none was able to round out the 2016 sea­son with one of his best rides of the year as he beat close friend Valentino Rossi to the podium.

In a sur­pris­ingly sen­si­ble ride, the man they call ‘The Ma­niac’ used the strengths of his Des­mosedici in a race­long duel with both Rossi and Marc Mar­quez as they grap­pled for the run­ner-up spot. Us­ing the Du­cati’s power, Ian­none could blast past his ad­ver­saries down Va­len­cia’s straight, but was also able to pull some ag­gres­sive moves to main­tain po­si­tion de­spite hav­ing strug­gled with cor­ner­ing all week­end.

While Mar­quez was able to get away, Ian­none beat Rossi fair and square to bid farewell to the Ital­ian mar­que with just his fourth podium of the sea­son.

“I am very happy with this last race be­cause I fought hard from the be­gin­ning,” he said after the race. “I started very well, hit the first cor­ner in sec­ond place and tried to fol­low Jorge but he had in­cred­i­ble pace.

“The feel­ing from the bike on Fri­day was very bad and I didn’t be­lieve it would pos­si­ble to im­prove that much, but we man­aged it. My team told me to be­lieve in my­self and be­lieve in them as we wanted to fin­ish the sea­son the best we could, and we did!

“It was very dif­fi­cult, but I fought 100% with Marc and Valentino. I put all I had into this race. From Fri­day I had a lot of dif­fi­cul­ties cor­ner­ing as, with the Du­cati, it is very dif­fi­cult for me to carry high cor­ner speeds but on the other hand we have good ac­cel­er­a­tion and good sta­bil­ity un­der brak­ing. This maybe makes it a bit eas­ier for us to make passes.”

The re­sult came in spite of the Ital­ian still strug­gling with pain from break­ing bones in his back in prac­tice at Misano.

“I tried not to think of the pain in my back,” he ex­plained. “I know I have pain but if I think about it I have less en­ergy. I tried to over­take Vale but he kept com­ing back, but the bike helped me a lot as it was very good on the straight be­cause of the power. For the first half of the race Vale had a bet­ter pace but I over­took him in ev­ery cor­ner and we had a great, great bat­tle.”

The podium rounds off a roller­coaster sea­son for Ian­none in a year that not only saw him achieve his first Mo­togp vic­tory but cre­ate a bar­rage of con­tro­versy with a se­ries of crashes and ag­gres­sive moves.

Rat­ing his sea­son ahead of mov­ing to Suzuki for Tues­day’s test, Ian­none

said: “I’d rank my­self six out of ten, a bit like when I was at school! I made a lot of mis­takes this year but I am also happy be­cause we achieved the first vic­tory and I al­ways tried my best.”

Com­mend­ing the Ital­ian, Du­cati’s Mo­togp head honcho Gigi Dall’igna added: “An­drea Ian­none’s race was re­ally great and ex­cit­ing and his podium was, for sure, the best way to say good­bye to us.

“An­drea raced with his heart in his fi­nal out­ing with Du­cati and I want to thank him be­cause, in the four years we have been to­gether, he has helped us to im­prove and ar­rive at our cur­rent level. I’d like to wish him all the best for his new ad­ven­ture.”

Valentino Rossi said Ian­none beat him fair and square de­spite a hard bat­tle which saw the Ital­ian duo bang fair­ings in Sun­day’s race.

Rossi and Ian­none went at it ham­mer and tongs as they tus­sled for sec­ond and then third place in the Mo­togp sea­son fi­nale, with a se­ries of ag­gres­sive moves seen from both through­out the race.

It had looked as though Rossi may have dropped off his close friend’s pace, but a late surge saw him fight back in the clos­ing stages.

Then Rossi lost the po­si­tion for the fi­nal time in an in­ci­dent that saw the nine-time world cham­pion run wide on the penul­ti­mate lap.

“When you bat­tle with Ian­none it is not easy!” Rossi laughed. “You of­ten have to cross your­self and pray! It was a hard fight but we never re­ally touched. He was ag­gres­sive with me but I was very ag­gres­sive with him, we both played our cards and it was a fun bat­tle which I en­joyed.

“I pushed a lot on the right hand side be­cause that is where I was stronger but in the end I was in too much trou­ble.”

With Lorenzo long gone out front, the thrills came from Ian­none’s bat­tle with Rossi

It’s the end of the road for Ian­none and Du­cati but he’s gone out with a bang

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