This weekend’s final round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship at Valencia in Spain holds extra significance for Reale Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera and Loris Baz.

Both riders will be competing for the last time in the premier class before taking on new challenges in 2018, with Barbera switching to Moto2 while Frenchman Baz is set to move back to the World Superbike Championship.

Barbera is steeling himself for an emotional farewell this weekend but the Spaniard is also looking forward to the future.

“Valencia is my home Grand Prix and for me it’s always special to race on the Ricardo Tormo Circuit,” said Barbera, who will ride for the Pons Moto2 team in 2018.

“This year, it’s even more special because it’s the last race with the team that I’ve raced with in the last five seasons and that has become my family. It will also be my last race in MotoGP and after eight years in this class I look forward to new challenges in Moto2.

“I have no doubt that it will be a very nice and emotional weekend, but I want to focus on working hard from the first practice on Friday to get ready for Sunday’s race,” he added.

“I want to finish this stage of my career with a good result for my team, for me and for all the sponsors that have been supporting us always.”

Baz, linked with a move to the Althea BMW WSBK team, is eager to end his stint in the premier class on a high and admits the 2017 MotoGP finale will be have a ‘special’ feel.

“It’s going to be a special weekend. It will be my last MotoGP race for now, before starting another chapter in my career,” he said.

“Valencia is also special for the team, it’s their home race and that is why I will try to give my best. We will push at the maximum from Friday and our goal is to finish in the top ten.

“This goal has become more difficult to achieve with every race, because all the factories improved a lot, especially KTM and Suzuki. But we’ll try. I would like to get a good result to conclude my two-year-partnership with the team on a high note,” he added.

“I have a house near the circuit, so it’s also like a home Grand Prix for me, and I hope I can enjoy this last race.”

Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon will spearhead a new-look MotoGP line-up for the Avintia Racing team next season.

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