Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) was crowned the first Moto2 World Champion at last month’s Malaysian Grand Prix. But the Spaniard hasn’t actually won a race since Motegi, the weekend before his coronation, and is super keen to prove himself once again with a final victory at Valencia before returning to MotoGP in 2011.
Elias has dominated Moto2 this season, winning seven of the 16 races so far, and although he’s not a great fan of Valencia (he has yet to win a GP event at the Spanish track) he will be fully focused on achieving an eighth Moto2 win on Sunday.
Of course, the Honda-powered Moto2 series has a reputation for frantic, topsy-turvy racing, so any one of several dozen riders will be in with a chance of the final Moto2 victory of 2010 at Valencia.
One man who deserves to win a 2010 Moto2 race more than most is Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter). The rider from Villacanas has scored five runner-up Moto2 finishes so far this year – including four in a row from the Indianapolis to the Japanese GPs – and dearly wants to win a race before the year is out.
Simon also needs maximum points because his second place in the championship standings is under threat from Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) who is just six points down on Simon.
The Valencia Ricardo Tormo circuit is a tight, technical and very asymmetric racetrack, dominated by left-handers, which places very different demands on the left and right sides of the tires. The Valencia venue was christened after Spanish Grand Prix racer Ricardo Tormo, who won the 50cc World Championship in 1978 and 1981.
Moto2 Machine priorities at the Ricardo Tormo venue are agile handling for the many changes of direction and edge grip – Valencia packs 14 corners into just 4km (2.5 miles).
Despite the track’s sinuous nature, horsepower is also crucial for the 0.876km (0.544 mile) start-finish straight at Valencia, which allows Moto2 machines to exceed 315km/h (195mph), even though the straight follows a low-speed final corner.
The Valencia circuit is almost completely surrounded by grandstands, giving the venue a unique stadium feel. This Grand Prix is always a hugely popular event with more than 200,000 fans visiting over the weekend.
Honda has enjoyed considerable success at Valencia, with four different riders winning the elite class on the factory’s RCV machines since the venue joined the MotoGP calendar in 1999: Alex Barros (2002), Valentino Rossi (2003), Marco Melandri (2005) and Pedrosa (2007 and 2009).
Moto2 Valencia Pre-Race Rider Quotes
Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2) says: “After winning the world title in Malaysia we haven’t managed to get a result that reflects our potential demonstrated throughout the season. Phillip Island was the fault of the bike and Estoril was my fault. I’m sorry because I really wanted to honor my title in the best way possible.”
“Now I have one last race which I will apply the same strength and determination which made me champion. Valencia is certainly not my favorite track but I’ll try to do my best for me and my team, to which I owe so much. Closing with a win would be a great gift for me and for them and in some way it would redeem the disappointments in Australia and Portugal.”
Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team Suter Moto2) says: “After a difficult weekend at Estoril we go to Valencia knowing that second place in the championship is a real possibility – it is all in our hands, so we are really looking forward to this challenge. I am spurred on by the prospect of racing in Spain again, in front of the home fans and at a circuit I love. I am determined to have a good result on Sunday and secure second overall in the first-ever Moto2 championship.”
Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up Moto2) says: “After my crash at Estoril I really want to end the year with another great result at Valencia. I was sorry about the crash – I had started from the back row of the grid and a podium finish was possible, so at least we once again proved that we have a very fast pace. Of course, we can still get second place in the championship, which is a big incentive, but I also want to win or make the podium as a big thank you for all the hard work my team has done for me this year.”
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2) says: “I hope that we will be able to attack again, especially after the weekend in Estoril. We have to try to find a good set up and I hope that the weather will be good again for a change as the last two races were miserable.”
“If we can get good settings for the bike and I can be strong in the practices, I want to be able to attack in the race as well for the end of the season. In Valencia I had all kind of results already, bad, good, everything, so I cannot say how it will work this time. I hope it will go well.”