Marc Marquez has been confirmed as the 2016 MotoGP world champion, as the competition visits Valencia, Spain for the final grand prix this term.
The Spaniard sits top of the standings with an unassailable total of 278 points for Honda, 42 points clear of legendary racer Valentino Rossi of Yamaha.
Many riders have improved during this year's championship, as Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso claimed top spot on the podium in the last race at Sepang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Marquez claimed his third MotoGP world crown in four years at the Grand Prix of Japan, as Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of contention.
Here's a look at the schedule for the upcoming race weekend:
|MotoGP Valencia 2016: Grand Prix Schedule|
|Friday, Nov. 11||8:55 a.m.||Free Practice 1|
|Friday, Nov. 11||1:05 p.m.||Free Practice 2|
|Saturday, Nov. 12||8:55 a.m.||Free Practice 3|
|Saturday, Nov. 12||12:30 p.m.||Free Practice 4|
|Saturday, Nov. 12||1:10 p.m.||Qualifying 1|
|Saturday, Nov. 12||1:35 p.m.||Qualifying 2|
|Sunday, Nov. 13||8.40 a.m.||Race|
Top Riders and Preview
Marquez has guaranteed his trip to his home country will be a joyous occasion as his nation celebrates yet another world title for the 23-year-old fresh-faced legend, who has made such a stunning impact since winning his first premier class title in 2013.
However, racing fans will be paying attention in Valencia to one of his main rivals from over the years, as Lorenzo makes his final ride on a Yamaha.
MotoGP noted the great man's last race in his famous colours after winning three world titles:
Lorenzo swept to the championship in 2010, 2012 and 2015 after nine seasons with his team. The iconic Spanish rider won 43 races, gaining 106 podiums along the way, starting from pole position 38 times—according to MotoGP.
Lorenzo was reflective as he prepared for his last stand for the team in Valencia, per MotoGP:
The season is almost over and finally we arrive to Valencia, where I have some good memories, especially last year when we were able to achieve our goal and become World Champion again. Valencia is going to be a very special race for me because after nine years with the Yamaha family I have to say goodbye and it won‘t be easy. I had a lot of good feelings with Yamaha and together we won a lot of races and titles… I would like to finish this season in the best way possible and that‘s with a victory, so I will do my best to try to win in Cheste and I will try to secure third position in the championship as well.
Rossi slid out of the title race in Japan, and the gravel surface will not have hurt as much as the knowledge of Marquez's confirmation of a third world title.
Rossi has had little success at Valencia in recent years, but spoke of his fondness for the track ahead of Sunday's race, per Crash.net.
For me Valencia is always a special race because it is always very challenging. Usually on this track I suffer a bit and it's not good for me.
For this reason I want to be as strong as possible during this weekend, working well with my team and get the best possible result. We are still fighting for the constructor's and the team's championship, so I will do my best to collect important points.
After the race I will finally try the new YZR-M1. I am very impatient to get to know next year's bike.
The Italian superstar clearly has one eye on next season already, and his machine hasn't had the extra speed to pressure Marquez at the vital moments. Rossi has remained competitive for most of the campaign, but Marquez has been a class apart during most races against increased competition from the field.
There's been a clutch of burgeoning talent in the top-10 places this term, and as Lorenzo departs for Ducati, there could be a new pecking order next year.
Cal Crutchlow has progressed well for Honda, as has Dani Pedrosa, making the top end of the championship as strong as ever.
However, the king of the track remains the young rider from Spain who has brought a new level of consistency to the sport since he made his bow in MotoGP.
Marquez is the man to beat, and still in his early 20s, he could be at the top of the standings for many years to come.