Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) won the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana to claim his second, consecutive MotoGPTM title at the 2023 finale. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Team) and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) were second and third after an entertaining race at the recently-resurfaced Circuit Ricardo Tormo. The MICHELIN Power range contributed to new track-lap, race-lap and shortest race-duration records for the Spanish venue.
Victory for Jorge Martin in Saturday's sprint took the Prima Pramac Racing rider to within 14 points of Bagnaia in the provisional standings ahead of the next day's grand prix. The Italian produced an impeccable getaway for Sunday's showpiece, however, having been promoted to the front of the field when Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was handed a three-place grid penalty, despite qualifying on pole with a new lap record for Valencia (1m28.931s) .
From the start of the 27-lap race, Bagnaia was closely tailed by Martin who started from fourth on the grid. On Lap 3, though, the Spaniard fell to eighth after a failed passing attempt. Three laps later, he made another mistake that eliminated him for good while trying to make up for lost ground. That incident's co-victim Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was making his last appearance for Honda.
Now sure of winning the 2023 crown, Bagnaia fell back to second, initially behind Brad Binder, then behind the South African's Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate Jack Miller. Under renewed pressure form the Italian, however, the Australian fell, leaving the Ducati star to ward off late challenges from Zarco and Giannantonio en route to collect his seventh victory of the season.
Bagnaia's second Riders' title was Michelin's 34th after the French firm's asymmetric front and rear Power Slicks rose successfully to the challenge of anticlockwise Valencia's new asphalt. They also helped Viñales to clock a new track-lap record, while Binder pocketed a new fastest race-lap for the venue (1m30.145s) and Bagnaia completed the distance 17 seconds faster than the previous shortest race-duration benchmark.
The sprint race saw the riders opt in equal proportions for either the soft or medium rear MICHELIN Power Slick, but they all selected the medium for the grand prix, with the exception of Viñales (soft).
The 2023 campaign may now be over, but everyone will soon be back in action at Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the first official pre-2024 test session, on Tuesday.