The 2009 MotoGP season ended with Dani Pedrosa winning the Grand Prix of Valencia and a possible sneak preview at a powerful American trio in the premier class in 2010.
Pedrosa led from start to finish on his Repsol Honda in the 30-lap race Nov. 8 at the Ricardo Tormo circuit after pole sitter Casey Stoner crashed out of the event during the warm-up lap on his Ducati. Spaniard Pedrosa controlled the gap to second place Valentino Rossi in the closing laps despite strong winds, holding off 2008 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Rossi by 2.630 seconds for the home victory.
Fiat Yamaha claimed two of the three podium spots as 2009 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Jorge Lorenzo was third, 2.913 seconds behind Pedrosa.
Dani Pedrosa Speaks…
"It’s really great to finish off the season with a win, especially here in front of my home fans," Pedrosa said.
American riders claimed three of the top seven finishing positions. Colin Edwards placed fourth on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine, while 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden finished fifth on the Ducati Team bike. 2009 Superbike World Champion Ben Spies finished seventh in a wild-card ride for the Sterilgarda Yamaha Team.
Spies’ strong ride in his first MotoGP start of the season was vital for fellow Texas Edwards, who will be his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate in 2010 in MotoGP. Spies passed Andrea Dovizioso late in the race for seventh, dropping Dovizioso to eighth at the finish. That was all Edwards needed to clinch fifth place in the season standings.
Edwards edged Honda factory rider Dovizioso by one point, 161-160. Edwards ended the season with his best points position since he was fourth in 2005. He also was the top rider from a satellite (non-factory) team in the standings in 2009.
Colin Edwards Speaks…
"Things really fell my way today, but over the course of the season, I feel like I really deserve fifth place in the championship," Edwards said. "I was doing the best I could but wasn’t sure where Dovizioso was. It turns out Ben got by him, and that point proved crucial. I gave him a big hug after the race and anything he wants me to buy him, he can have it."
A slipping clutch early in the race hampered Hayden, but he recovered to record his fourth top-five finish of 2009. Hayden finished 13th in points, but just 11 points out of seventh.
Nicky Hayden Speaks…
"It hasn’t been a great season for me in terms of results, but the improvements we have made since the start are huge, and I’m excited about the future," Hayden said.
A major test for 2010 rider lineups will take place Monday, Nov. 9 at Valencia. The 2010 season starts with a night race April 11 in Qatar.