Ducati finishes MotoGP season on a high note
THE MOTORSPORT LAP/ Season finale also brings first premier class podium for KTM
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso tamed a rainy racetrack in a dramatic two-part race to clinch the MotoGP season finale at Spain’s Valencia circuit on Sunday.
The Italian rider twice passed Suzuki’s Alex Rins, the longtime leader, before and after a 40-minute red-flag stoppage to take his fourth win of 2018.
Multiple champion Valentino Rossi crashed five laps from the end of the restarted race, handing Suzuki’s Alex Rins second place, while Pol Espargaro was third to give KTM their first podium in the premier class.
Rossi still took third place in the championship ahead of Yamaha team-mate and polesitter Maverick Vinales, who was one of several riders to crash out in the slippery conditions. Marc Marquez, who won his fifth world title with three races to spare in Japan in October, crashed out with 21 laps to go after starting fifth.
The red flags were out on lap 15, and the race order was rolled back to lap 13. Spaniard Rins held the lead off the line, but Dovizioso passed him on the next lap, before pulling away to take the chequered flag.
Veteran rider Dani Pedrosa took fifth place for Honda in his final MotoGP race.
In a great day for KTM, the Austrian manufacturer also won the Moto2 and Moto3 classes in wet conditions. Miguel Oliviera won the Moto2 race, with his South African team-mate Brad Binder crashing out. Binder, however. retained his third place in the championship
History was made in the entry-level Moto3 class when 15-year-old Turkish wild card rider Can Oncu took victory on his debut. He become the first rider to win on his first world championship outing since Noburu Ueda in the 125cc Japanese Grand Prix in 1991.
TEEN OKAY AFTER CRASH
Teenage German Formula Three driver Sophia Floersch, 17, has had successful surgery with “no fear of paralysis” after a dramatic crash at Sunday’s Macau Grand Prix, her team said on Monday.
She suffered a spinal fracture at the street circuit after her car catapulted off the track and into a photographers’ bunker while travelling at 275km/h.
“Everything is working and is in order,” team boss Frits Van Amersfoort told the BBC. “We are extremely happy that she is now recovering and that everything went well. There’s no fear of paralysis whatsoever.”
Japanese driver Sho Tsuboi, who Floersch hit before flying through the catch fencing, was also taken to hospital complaining of back pain, and was discharged after treatment.
Crashes are frequent at the Macau Grand Prix which this year, in its 65th edition, hosted six car and motorcycle races on the 6.2km Guia Circuit.
In 2017, British motorcyclist Daniel Hegarty died after hitting the safety barrier during a race, the eighth rider to have lost his life on the circuit since 1973.
SIXTH TITLE FOR OGIER
France’s Sebastien Ogier won his sixth consecutive world rally championship title when his two remaining rivals failed to finish stages at the season-ending Rally Australia on Sunday.
The Ford driver’s nearest rival Thierry Neuville of Belgium, who came into the rally three points behind Ogier in the title race, was forced to retire from stage 22 after tearing the left wheel off his Hyundai.
Toyota’s overnight leader Ott Tanak had a mathematical chance of taking the title but the Estonian’s chances were scuppered when he slid off a slippery gravel track and hit a tree in the penultimate stage.
Ogier’s fifth place in the rally meant he ended the season with 219 points, 18 clear of Neuville (201) with Tanak third on 181.
Finn Jari-Matti Latvala won the rally by 32.5 seconds from New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon for his first victory since the Rally Sweden at the start of last season. Latvala’s win helped his Toyota Gazoo team secure the manufacturers’ championship with 368 points to Hyundai’s 341, a first success for the Japanese marque since 1999.
Ogier, whose title was a 14th in a row for France after Sebastien Loeb’s nine straight from 2004, will be leaving Ford and rejoining Citroen.
FESTIVAL UNDER WAY
East London will once again reverberate with the sounds and smells of Grand Prix cars when the South African Historic Grand Prix Festival begins on Saturday and Sunday. But it won’t just be pre-war vintage cars that will be celebrating the festivities of over 84 years of motorsport at this historic site.
Over 80 entries have already been received for the full race weekend including single seaters from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s to some of the wild formula cars of the ’80s and ’90s.
On December 1 and 2 the festival moves to the Val de Vie Luxury Estate in Cape Town for a Grand Prix Garden Party, where the public will be able to interact with the cars. A display of the pre-war grand prix cars will be on display along with a collection of about 150 of SA’s best collector and classic cars.
More festival details and tickets are available on www.sahistoricgp.com
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso celebrates winning the race.