MotoGP eSports 2018 Final: Trastevere73 Becomes Double World Champion in Valencia

After several rounds of qualifying and two semi-finals, the twelve fastest MotoGP 18 riders arrived in Valencia for the final of the 2018 MotoGP eSports Championship.

Ahead of the final race of the second season of MotoGP eSports, there was a ten-minute qualifying session, in which reigning champion Trastevere73 took pole position on the factory Ducati GP18. EleGhosT555 (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda) and Cristianmm17 (Repsol Honda) joined him on the front row for the final. Meanwhile, paul_ig7 (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha), AndrewZh (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Luigi48GP (Gresini Racing Aprilia) made up row two; Vindex813 (Givi LCR Honda), ADRIAAN_26 (Pramac Ducati) and timothymcgarden (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completed the third row. The fourth and final row of the grid featured Davidegallina23 (Angel Nieto Team Ducati), RLLORCA26 (Reale Avintia Ducati) and XxBoMbeR_45xX (Ecstar Suzuki) who completed the grid, 0.5 seconds off pole position.
Between qualifying and the race, pole sitter Trastevere73 received his Tissot pole position watch from Jorge Lorenzo.

 

Trastevere73 receives a Tissot watch from Jorge Lorenzo. Photo curtesy of MotoGP.com

 

The start of the ten lap race was extremely action-packed, with two riders going down before the first two turns: Cristianmm17 dropping the Repsol Honda in turn one, before Davidegallina23 crashed the Angel Nieto Team Ducati on the exit of the first turn. It was unclear from the cameras, but it seemed like contact may have been involved in both of these incidents. This isn’t surprising with such a tightly-compacted group going into the opening corners, and the pressure involved in a situation like this too; a pressure which was only heightened by the addition of Marc Marquez in the commentary box.

From an early stage, it was clear that Trastevere73 and EleGhosT555 had a pace advantage on the field, maybe with the exception of AndrewZh. The gap between the Ducati Team rider and the EG 0,0 Marc VDS pilot went back and forth for the entire race, and it never looked like any other rider could get involved.

What became clear were three things: track limits, with all riders looking to maximise their lap time; the pace between all the riders was very close, as had appeared in qualifying; and that in turn caused overtaking to be extremely tough. Especially because of the incredibly short braking zones, and the high amount of time the riders were spending on the side of the tyre, at maximum lean angle.

From experience playing this year’s MotoGP game, I can say that it is not possible to brake a little bit later than your limit because you lose the front very fast and have no chance to save it. Since these riders were on the absolute limit (the front tyres were completely locked for 20 metres or more on almost every corner entry), braking later was not much of an option. The slipstream effect also seemed almost completely negligible from more than a bike length or two. So, the riders found it difficult to get alongside one another in a straight line to make a pass. EleGhosT555, therefore, spent the entirety of the MotoGP eSports Final staring down the virtual exhaust pipe of Trastevere73, unable to do anything about it.

 

Trastevere73 wins the MotoGP 2018 eSports Championship, his prize is a BMW M240i. Photo curtesy of MotoGP.com

 

So, with a lights to flag win, Trastevere73 took the second MotoGP eSports crown in history, and the second of his career. If you like, it was also Ducati’s first MotoGP World Championship since 2007, and their first win at Valencia since 2008. It also seemed like a precursor to Sunday’s premier class race, which Andrea Dovizioso won for Ducati to end the 2018 season.
EleGhosT555 was just 0.298 seconds away from the MotoGP eSports crown in second place, ahead of AndrewZh who completed the podium.

Fourth place went to timothymcgarden, ahead of paul_ig7 in fifth; then came Luigi48GP, Cristianmm17, Vindex813, RLLORCA26, XxBoMbeR_45xX, Davidegallina23 and ADRIAAN_26 who was the last of the 12 riders.

eSports tends to get flack from some motorsports purists, but whatever your opinion on it, you cannot deny that the emotion is there. Trastevere73’s celebrations were a prime example of that. For a lot of people video games are just that: games, but for the elite players, who dedicate themselves to it, it is a way to show their talent. Now with MotoGP eSports it is possible for these gamers to showcase their skills on the world stage, in front of a live audience who are the same as them: MotoGP fans (as well as people like Marc Marquez and Paolo Ciabatti).

 

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Moto2 Report: Oliveira Clinched Final Win After Marquez Crashes Out

After rain hampered racing all weekend, there was almost relief evident in the Moto2 riders as they lined up for the final round of  2018. All their setup time had been in the wet, so racing in those conditions was in some ways more straightforward.

That said, after the first two corners, Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) would have been extremely thankful that he had wrapped up the championship two weeks ago in Malaysia. The pole sitter, Bagnaia’s teammate Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46), locked the front tyre and his rider-less Kalex hit Bagnaia. This seemed to cause some substantial damage to the #42 bike, and later in the race (when he was riding in the lower reaches of the points positions), Bagnaia was visibly struggling with the stability of his bike. That first lap contact limited Bagnaia’s final Moto2 race into a 45-minute ride of honour.

Meanwhile, there was some strong battling out front in the early stages. Xavi Vierge, in his final race for Dynavolt Intact GP took the early lead, before Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) switched with him and took the lead.

Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had come up from tenth on the grid to third on the first lap, and had impressively taken the lead by lap two of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Other notable rides early on included Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) and Fabio Quartararo (HDR Heidrum – Speed Up) who had come from 21st and the back of the grid respectively to be within the points by the end of the first lap.

 

Marquez, Valencia, Moto2, 2018. Photo courtesy of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS

 

After a brilliant start, Pasini started to fall back as the other riders at the front started to pick up the pace. However, as the veteran Italian was dropping back, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was steaming forward with some very impressive pace. Lecuona was coming through at the same time, and soon after Marquez passed Oliveira for the lead on lap six, the #27 was pushing the #97 of Vierge up to the back of the Portuguese rider.

Vierge, though, couldn’t maintain his pace and crashed on lap 12, unleashing Lecuona on Oliveira. For a while it looked like the 18-year-old Spaniard would find a way past the Championship runner-up rider and possibly go on to set his sights on Marquez out front. However, Oliveira responded to the pace of Lecuona, and started to pull away, catching up to Marquez simultaneously.

Marquez tried to stabilise the gap before he crashed on the final corner of lap 16 and gifted Oliveira the lead, with a monstrous gap back to Lecuona in second. Such was the pace of the top three before Marquez’ crash, and the attrition rate, that the #73 managed to remount his Kalex in third place, just in front of Pasini, who he then pulled away from.

 

Lecuona, Oliveira, Marquez. Moto2, Valencia, 2018. Photo courtesy of Red Bull KTM Ajo.

 

Oliveira went on to take the final win of the 2018 World Championship season; his final Moto2 race before he moves to Tech 3 KTM next season in the MotoGP class. It was the perfect way for him to end his time in the class. Oliveira’s win also meant that there has not been a single Spanish victor in the intermediate class this season. Lecuona held onto second place for his first ever podium. The ex-supermoto rider will hope to be able to use this as a springboard for 2019, in which he remains with the SII team (although it is changing its name next season) and will be aiming for even more podiums. Marquez managed to clinch the final podium spot after his crash. 2018 has not been kind to the Spaniard, and the aim for him next year will be to turn things around with the regulation change and the move to Triumph motors.

Pasini took fourth in his final GP, from Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), Quartararo, Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) who completed the top ten. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) was 11th, ahead of Tetsuta Nagashima (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), Steven Odendaal (NTS RW Racing GP), Bagnaia, and Jesko Raffin (SAG Team) who took the final point.

Moto3 Report: Youngest Race Winner Romps To Final Victory

It was a whirlwind end to the 2018 season, and it definitely wasn’t predictable – Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was reserved and measured, John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) managed to step onto the podium and a relatively unknown 15-year-old won the race. Not your run of the mill race!

Can Oncu, Moto3, Valencia MotoGP 2018. Photo curtesy of Red Bull KTM Ajo

This race belonged to one man, and his fight for first place didn’t involve the usual competitors either – his name is Can Oncu (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and he left a rather big impression on Moto3 today. Starting as a wildcard rider, the youngster only managed to secure his place in the race because he won the Red Bull Rookies’ Cup and after qualifying fourth, it’s safe to say he dominated from very early on before taking Turkey’s first ever podium.

However, the race wasn’t as simple as Oncu romping to victory – Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) crashed out of second place and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) had a mini high side which ripped first place from him.

The weather played a big part in the race, with 98 crashes taking place before the Moto3 race had even started and it’s safe to say many dashed hopes during the race too. Bezzecchi crashed twice (on the second crash both Redox PrustelGP bikes slide into the gravel trap), ending any chance of beating Fabio di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) to second place in the Championship, but that didn’t stop him trying. Rather foolishly, the Italian carried on riding even though his livery was badly damaged and scraping along the track – he pitted but his team only clipped the bodywork back in and he re-joined the race. But his misfortune didn’t end there, Oncu actually lapped him as the youngest rode away with what could have been his podium finish.

Marco Bezzecchi. Photo curtesy of Redox PrustelGP

Oncu didn’t just lap Bezzecchi though, he also lapped Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), his teammate for the race who had slide out of the race and re-joined too. Spectacular racing came from Arbolino who held his lead very well and is arguably the only person who could have stopped Oncu’s hunt for first place. McPhee also seemed to find something in himself and didn’t cecum to the wet weather condition, which due to a considerable ack of right-hand corners and cold tyres meant that many fell prey to it.

Di Giannantonio’s securing of second place in the Championship made it a Gresini 1-2 but you’d be forgiven for not noticing that due to the fanfare of Oncu’s race win. Arguably, the likes of Martin and di Giannantonio will be glad that they don’t have to race against such a talented and capable rider. Oncu, who snatched the record for youngest race winner away from Scott Redding on his final race weekend in MotoGP, and Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) who finished in a respectable tenth in his first really wet race in Moto3, will be dominant next year and they’ve arrived just in time for the changing of the guards.