Valencia was a fitting end to the final round of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, with first time winners, first time podium attendees and a brilliant day for KTM. Here are our Riders Of The Day!
Ryan Lilly- Moto3 & MotoGP.
Moto3: Obviously Can Oncu. Nailed it in Red Bull Rookies. Got permission from Dorna to perform a wildcard and impressed right from the first session. Qualified on the 2nd row then remained calm when everyone was crashing around him to eventually win his debut race becoming the youngest winner ever.
Moto2: Iker Lecuona. Not really sure what to say. What a weekend for Iker. The kid has shown his talent week in week out but this weekend in very tricky conditions he shows he has serious talent for his age!
MotoGP: Pol Espargaro – Pol Espargaro for me takes it for MotoGP. He got directly into Q2, jumped straight onto the second row and nailed it. Had a great feeling in the wet overtook Marquez several times. Yeah okay bit of a hiccup in the first part but to rejoin then make the restart then put it on the podium for the first time in MotoGP for KTM was just truly amazing to watch!
Also a big shout out to Rory Skinner for winning the British Talent Cup championship!
Jacob Ward- Editor/Moto2 reporter.
Moto3- Can Oncu. I would usually put a short paragraph as to why, but is it really needed? Youngest ever winner of a World Championship race in awful conditions on his debut, spectacular. Look forward to seeing this kid full time next year!
Moto2- Niki Tuuli. Niki didn’t finish, I know. But he was spectacular in getting himself up to fifth before the rain bit him. We knew he was fast, and he proved it today before he leaves to go to MotoE.
MotoGP- Pol Espargaro. Pol would have been my vote in both halves of the split race. He was dicing with Marquez before his crash, and remounted to eighth with a hot pace before the red flag. Then he came out a little calmer after the restart, and was in a good fourth all race before he was gifted third. But he deserved the podium, and you could see what it meant to him when he was in tears coming into Parc Ferme, and who could blame him? Well done Pol, brilliant ride!
Nat Jarvis- Business Development Manager.
Moto3 – I mean does anyone even need to say who Rider of the day is in Moto3? If it’s not obvious which is Can Oncu, I mean I’m speechless, he came in, beat the newly crowned world champion, was riding like he had been in the world championship all year and won on his debut! I mean what a fairy tale.
Moto2- Iker Lecuona to finally get his first podium at the last round on home soil is such an achievement, it’s hard to forget he is only 18 as it seems like he’s been in Moto2 for a long time but he’s got such a bright future.
MotoGP- Again it should go without saying, Pol Espargaro, could it have happened to a nicer guy? No. To see the tears on the cool down lap even made me emotional. He did well and after he threw it at the trees in part 1 of the race! Well done to KTM they have worked extremely hard and today was testament to all their hard work over the last 3 years.
18th November 2018 the day KTM dominated the motorcycle racing world.
Matic Kovacic- WSBK.
Moto3: Can Oncu. Picking Can was obvious choice today, as he was simply stunning whole weekend from first session to the race.. Even though the race win was rather unexpected, as no one really believed that Scott Redding’s long standing record for youngest race winner can get beaten, young Turkish rider did it in dominant fashion and showed that Aki Ajo again has a very serious talent in his stable, capable of going to the top..
Moto2: Iker Lecuona. Iker genuinely surprised me today, as I didn’t expect that he will get anywhere close to top 6, let alone to the podium from 21st position on the grid.. But rain is a great leveler and young Spaniard’s previous Supermoto experiences helped him master the incredibly slippery track to bag the best race result for his team in what was quite complicated season for Swiss Innovative squad this year..
MotoGP: Pol Espargaro. There was probably no one as happy as Pol Espargaro and his KTM squad today.. To bag a debut podium for bike and rider in a very injury interrupted season was simply outstanding.. The RC16 looked absolutely on rails in the wet this weekend and now I genuinely wonder what both Pol and KTM can show in 2019, when another big step forward will be expected..
Declan Constable- MotoE.
Moto3 – For Moto3 it was very clearly Can Oncu. A class rider, from Asia Talent Cup P3 and and P3 in the Red Bull Rookies in 2017 as a rookie to come in and win the Red Bull Rookies championship in his second year is incredible. Dorna then granted him a wildcard under the set age of 16. He started with a good place in Free Practice but no one expected him to go out and win it! Absolutely incredible and I’m excited to see whats in store for 2019.
Moto2- It was Alex Marquez for me. He’s not had the best year so to lead the race is fantastic, it’s a big shame that he crashed out however he still managed to finish on the podium.
MotoGP- It was Pol Espargaro, I am happy for him as he’s worked so hard over the last few years with Tech 3 and now with KTM and it’s finally shown. After crashing out of part one of the race after fighting with Marquez and riding a stunning race he was given a second chance which he used to his full advantage. He grabbed his lifeline by the neck and rode his heart out and took P3 and it made it all worth it. With Pol, Zarco, Oliveira, Syahrin and Pedrosa developing the KTM next year, it’s sure to be a threat.
What a way to close out 2018! 2019 is sure to be a fantastic year, we look forward to seeing you all for Qatar in March!
Featured images- MotoGP.com