Another KTM win for three in a row - with Champion Morbidelli forced to settle for second and Binder on the rostrum once more
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) made it a stunning third time in a row for KTM to cheer him over the line in the lead at Valencia, hunting down Champion Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) to pull clear for win number three on the bounce. Teammate Brad Binder made it another double podium for the Austrian factory, completing the podium for a third visit to the rostrum in a row.
It was both EG 0,0 Marc VDS riders dueling into Turn 1, and Alex Marquez emerged with the early lead from pole before Morbidelli was able to battle through and take over – leaving a three-way scrap for second between Marquez, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Oliveira before a sudden crash for the Italian. Marquez then held firm ahead of the KTM rider for a number of laps before Oliveira and teammate Binder were able to both attack, with the Portuguese rider then focused forward on the hunt for Morbidelli and a third consecutive win.
With seven laps to go, Oliveira had his KTM glued to the Kalex of Morbidelli and the following lap saw the Portuguese rider slam through into the lead at Turn 4. Oliveira then unstoppable in the lead, the newly-crowned Champion was forced to follow the KTM rider home and say goodbye to the intermediate class in second. Binder completed the podium after proving able to pull away from those behind.
Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) battled Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) for fifth before pulling away from the Malaysian rider and then catching Marquez; able to pass the rider from Cervera in the latter stages. The number 73 took P5, with Syahrin in P6.
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) said goodbye to the intermediate class ahead of his graduation to MotoGP™ with seventh, ahead of a solid final rookie ride for Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40). Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) crossed the line in P9 after making some late progress, with Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) completing the top ten as top Suter once again.
Axel Pons (RW Racing GP), Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), rookie Augusto Fernandez (Speed Up Racing) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) locked out the points scorers in the season finale, bringing the curtain down on another stunning year of racing as the cava flows and another season appears on the horizon…with testing underway soon.
For Morbidelli and Nakagami, soon means Tuesday as they prepare to move up to the premier class.
1 – Miguel Oliveira (POR – KTM) 43’15.843
2 – Franco Morbidelli (ITA – Kalex) + 2.154
3 – Brad Binder (RSA – KTM) + 4.181