"Ricardo Tormo Circuit is like a football stadium"

After a long season of 19 rounds, the final round of the 2018 MotoGP Championship is upon us. As has been the tradition for several years, this grand finale will be held at Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, Spain. The track, which has been on the calendar for almost 20 years, has a spectacular ‘stadium’ layout, with fantastic viewing opportunities for the many passionate fans who fill the grandstands every year.

There are a lot more left handed corners, so it’s something the team and our riders are always careful of, we need to ensure the right side of the tyre doesn’t cool down too much

And whilst its great fun for all followers of MotoGP, it does bring certain challenges for the teams as they seek to end the season on a high. Andrea Iannone’s Crew Chief, Marco Rigamonti, tells us how Team SUZUKI ECSTAR will focus for the weekend ahead…

Valencia is a really special place, but the track is small and quite short so it can be a bit difficult with the MotoGP bike. One of the hardest things is keeping the front of the bike down with the anti-wheelie, because in almost every corner the bike is trying to wheelie!”  

There are several ways in which the mechanics and engineers can work to keep the front of the bike down and stable, including engine mapping. But the aerodynamic fairing also plays an important part…

Like at every track this year, weve found that the aero fairing can be very useful. But the set-up is different for each circuit, so we take time to find the best balance and configuration.” 

With the final round a week later than usual, track temperatures will be another consideration, and Valencia adds another element with its ‘unbalanced’ number of turns - 9 left corners, and just 5 right corners.

Its possible cold weather could be an issue, especially as were into November now. We hope to manage it, and hope that Michelin will bring the high standard of tyres that weve seen all season long. There are a lot more left handed corners, so its something the team and our riders are always careful of, we need to ensure the right side of the tyre doesnt cool down too much. In addition, the long penultimate corner gives a lot of sliding which can lead to spinning, so we also need to concentrate on tyre life.

As you can see, tyres are always a crucial element to any race weekend. And Marco goes on to explain that it’s an area the team have worked hard on this season…

Basically this year weve focused a lot on tyre knowledge and weve spent time finding the best settings for tyre management and longevity. I think it has really paid off, as you can see in our results.

After the recent run of great form, ‘Riga’ is confident that the GSX-RR will also perform well at this circuit…

Turning is very important here in Valencia, and there are a mixture of corners. Long and flowing like the first corner, and tight and narrow like the second one. We know that our bike is very good in fast corners, but we sometimes suffer a little bit in the slower corners. But Im sure well be able to find a good compromise. Were looking forward to getting out on track again!

Join Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins from Friday 16th November as they tackle this special circuit and aim to end the season on a high in front of the enthusiastic Spanish fans!