VALENCIA, Spain (AFP) - Spain's Jorge Lorenzo claimed his third MotoGP world championship with victory at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday, as he withstood Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi's charge through the field.
Rossi climbed to fourth despite starting at the back of the grid as punishment for kicking Marc Marquez off his bike at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
However, Lorenzo held off pressure from Honda duo Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to lead the race from start to finish to overcome a seven-point deficit heading into the final Grand Prix of the season and claim the championship by five points.
Rossi cut through the back of the field with ease as he took just 13 laps to climb into fourth.
However, in doing so the Spanish trio of Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa had built up an unassailable 11-second lead that only grew in the second half of the race.
All eyes were then on whether Marquez could pass Lorenzo at the front after his spat with Rossi in recent weeks, when the Italian accused the two-time world champion of conspiring to help Lorenzo win the title.
With Rossi sure to finish in fourth, though, he needed both Hondas to pass Lorenzo to win the title.
Marquez remained glued to Lorenzo's back wheel for the majority of the race, while Pedrosa made a late charge on the penultimate lap.
However, the battle between the two Hondas for second place eased the pressure ever so slightly on Lorenzo, as he was able to negotiate a nervy final lap to secure his fifth world title in all categories with his seventh race win of the season.