Valencia MotoGP: Final Round Preview

MotoGP Round 18

With few days of rest since last weekend’s race in Portugal, the MotoGP grid arrives in Spain for the final round of the 2010 season at Valencia. With this year’s champion Jorge Lorenzo already crowned, an event that seems like months ago, the big battle this weekend will be for second.

The two riders vying for the runner-up position at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana are the Spaniard who currently holds the position, Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, and the man 19 points behind, Valentino Rossi.

Besides looking to take second from Pedrosa, the nine-time world champion will also be looking to beat his rival and teammate Lorenzo. Rossi has won at Valencia in 2003 and 2004, before the 800cc era, and will be looking to land Yamaha its first win on an 800cc MotoGP machine. He will also be looking to finish his last race on the Yamaha with a victory before moving to Ducati next season.

Valentino Rossi says: “So here we are, my last race with Yamaha and it will be an emotional weekend for all! Of course I would really like to try to win this final race because it would be a great end to this partnership, which has had so many beautiful moments.”

“Anyway this is a special weekend so we will do everything that we can. I am third in the championship after Estoril and second is not impossible, although we know Dani is strong in Valencia and he is still 19 points ahead.”

Lorenzo will also be looking to deliver Yamaha its first win in the 800cc era. The Spaniard has never won at Valencia, the fourth of four MotoGP races in Lorenzo’s country, but will be looking for a podium finish to achieve another record in MotoGP: most points of a season.

Last year at Valenica, Lorenzo finished in third behind his teammate Rossi in second; Lorenzo’s best finish at Valencia was second in 2005 while competing in the former 250cc Class.

Jorge Lorenzo says: “Finally the end of the season is here and for me it is so special to finish in Spain, with all of my fans. I have already celebrated in Mallorca but this will be the first time I ride in Spain as the World Champion and I am so proud to do so. It has been an incredible season for us and I was so happy to win again last weekend.”

“We have won the Triple Crown now so our targets are complete, but I would like to make a new points record, which I can do if I finish on the podium. I have never won in Valencia so I would really like to try this weekend.”

The man Rossi’s trying to beat had better luck than both factory Yamaha riders last year; Pedrosa took the win. He also took second at Valencia in 2008, and won there in 2007, and has a win apiece there in the 250cc and 125cc class.

But he’s still recovering from breaking his collarbone at Round 14 in Motegi. Due to the crash, he missed that round and the subsequent two in Malaysia and Australia, and returned last week for the Portugal MotoGP, where he finished eight.

In fourth in the championship just 12 points behind Rossi is Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner. Although unlikely, considering the way Rossi and his M1 have performed in the past few races, if the Italian has a DNF, Stoner would only need a fourth place or higher to take third away.

Stoner has great memories at Valencia; in 2003, he took his first GP victory in the 125cc class, and then in 2008 he won the MotoGP race from the pole. The Australian can’t afford another DNF like he had at Portugal, though, as Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso trails by only 10 points.

Rookie of the Year Ben Spies remains in sixth place with 163 points, but because of not starting at Portugal, Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden has tied him for the spot. Spies missed out at Estroril after a nasty highside during the sighting lap. The Texan dislocated his left ankle in the MotoGP crash.

Nothing has been made official, but Spies says he will do whatever to start this weekend, giving him additional MotoGP experience before he fills Rossi’s boots on the factory Yamaha M1 in 2011.

Rounding out the top ten are Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda), who will be starting in his 200th GP race, and Simoncelli’s teammate Marco Melandri.

2010 Valencia MotoGP: TV Schedule

SPEED TV will broadcast the Valencia MotoGP race at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, and then again at 6 p.m. The Moto2 race will precede the afternoon MotoGP showing at 5 p.m. Sunday.

2010 MotoGP Championship Points (after 17 of 18 rounds):

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1. Jorge LORENZO Yamaha M1 SPA 358
2. Dani PEDROSA Honda RC212V SPA 236
3. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha M1 ITA 217
4. Casey STONER Ducati GP10 AUS 205
5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda RC212V ITA 195
6. Ben SPIES Yamaha M1 USA 163
7. Nicky HAYDEN Ducati GP10 USA 163
8. Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 115
9. Randy DE PUNIET Honda FRA 110
10. Marco MELANDRI Honda ITA 100
11. Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 99
12. Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 82
13. Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 78
14. Aleix ESPARGARO Ducati SPA 60
15. Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 51
16. Loris CAPIROSSI Suzuki ITA 44
17. Mika KALLIO Ducati FIN 43
18. Alex DE ANGELIS Honda RSM 11
19. Roger Lee HAYDEN Honda USA 5
20. Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 4
21. Wataru YOSHIKAWA Yamaha JPN 1