Jorge Lorenzo has won his third MotoGP title with a victory at the season-ending Valencia GP on Sunday as Valentino Rossi failed to make enough ground from the back of the grid.
Lorenzo entered the race trailing Rossi by seven points but the veteran Italian couldn’t manage more than a fourth-place finish. Rossi, who needed to finish at least second, started last on the grid because of a penalty for kicking Marc Márquez in the previous race.
Lorenzo ended with 330 points, five more than Rossi, who was trying to win his eighth world title and the first since 2009. The 28-year-old Spaniard added to his MotoGP triumphs in 2010 and 2012.
Earlier Danny Kent won the Moto3 title to become Britain’s first motorcycle grand prix world champion since the late Barry Sheene in 1977.
The Moto2 race win went to Spaniard Tito Rabat, with Johann Zarco having already secured the title.
Lorenzo started from pole position and stayed in front at the Ricardo Tormo circuit outside of Valencia. He grabbed Spain’s flag and rode with it around the track in his victory lap.
Márquez, the winner of the last two MotoGP championships, finished the race right behind Lorenzo in second, but never tried to make a significant move for the lead. Dani Pedrosa, winner of two of the last three races, was third to close out the all-Spanish podium.
Lorenzo had a clean start but Rossi quickly moved up the field behind him and had already reached 10th place just two laps into the 30-lap race. Rossi continued to press forward and got to fifth after 10 laps, but couldn’t make much ground after reaching fourth place two laps later. His only chance was if something happened to the riders ahead of him.
There was extra interest in the Valencia GP after Rossi had a role in Márquez’s crash in Malaysia two weeks ago and also accused him of trying to favour his fellow Spaniard in the title race. Rossi appealed his penalty to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but his request was denied a day before the first practice session in Valencia on Friday.
Rossi needed a second-place finish to secure the title without depending on Lorenzo’s result. He also could have won it by crossing the finish line immediately behind the Spaniard. The Italian struggled in the last part of the season, winning only once in the last 10 races.
Lorenzo hadn’t won since the Aragon GP four races ago but had finished on the podium every time since then. The Yamaha rider ended the year with seven victories, including all four races in Spain.
The 36-year-old Rossi won four races and had only three podium finishes since winning the British GP six races ago.
It was the second time that Rossi entered the season-ending race with the points lead but failed to win the title. He was surpassed in the standings by American Nicky Hayden in 2006 after falling early in the decisive race in Valencia and finishing only 13th.
Márquez was third in this year’s championship with his Honda.
Jorge Lorenzo celebrates with the Spanish fans after winning the Valencia GP, where he made up a seven-point lead to pip Valentino Rossi to the MotoGP championship. Photograph: Javier Soriano/AFP/Getty Images