The final round of the 2010 MotoGP season is upon us, and although Fiat Yamaha M1 rider Jorge Lorenzo was crowned champion four rounds earlier at Malaysia, many positions will still be decided this weekend.
The biggest is the battle for second place in the final MotoGP standings. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa holds a 19-point lead over nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, but due to his shoulder injury at Motegi, the Spaniard hasn’t been performing all that well; Pedrosa returned last weekend at Portugal and finished eight.
For the last four MotoGP races, Rossi has been on the podium four times, including his win at Malaysia. And he will be looking for strong results during his final ride with Yamaha as the Doctor VR46 moves to Ducati next year.
But Pedrosa has won here across all classes, and will be looking to maintain his position, giving him the closest finish to a championship title since he finished second in 2007.
As riders prepare for Friday’s first of three practice sessions, here’s some stats and facts for the final round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
- Valencia is one of just three of the current circuits where Jorge Lorenzo has not had a Grand Prix victory in any class, the others being Sachsenring and Aragon. Lorenzo has twice finished on the podium at Valencia; in 2005 when he was second in the 250cc race behind Pedrosa and last year when he finished third in the MotoGP race.
- Dani Pedrosa is the only rider to have won in all three classes at the Ricardo Tormo circuit. In his eight races at the circuit across the three GP classes he has only once finished off the podium and that was fourth in 2006 in his first season in the MotoGP class. He set a new lap record in winning the MotoGP race at Valencia in 2007 from pole position, in 2008 he finished second and last year he led every lap of the race.
- Casey Stoner scored his first ever GP victory at Valencia, in the 125cc class in 2003 riding an Aprilia. In his first MotoGP race at Valencia in 2006 he crashed out from fifth place when only seven laps from the flag, in 2007 he finished second and in 2008 he had a perfect weekend with pole position, start to finish race win and a new lap record. Last year he qualified on pole but he crashed on the warm-up lap and did not make the start of the race.
- Valentino Rossi has had two victories at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, in 2003 on a Honda and in 2004 riding a Yamaha. Valencia is one of only four circuits on this year’s calendar where Rossi has not had a win riding the 800cc bike; the others are Aragon, Silverstone and Phillip Island. Since his last win in Valencia in 2004 he has had mixed results both in the race and qualifying; he was 3rd in 2005 after qualifying down in 15th on the grid, he qualified on pole then crashed and re-started to finish 13th in 2006, and in 2007 he retired with engine failure after qualifying down in 17th. Two years ago he finished 3rd, after another disappointing qualifying left him in tenth on the grid and he finished second last year.
- Andrea Dovizioso’s only podium finish at Valencia was in 2004, when he finished second in the 125cc race. In 2008, his de- but season in the MotoGP class, he finished an excellent fourth in Valencia and was the first rider from a satellite team across the line. He got a bad start last year at the Valencia GP and ended the first lap in 14th place before fighting back to finish eighth, to equal his lowest finish of 2009.
- Ben Spies raced at Valencia last year in both the Superbike series and in MotoGP. On the Superbike he qualified on pole, crashed out of the first race and then finished second in race two. He finished seventh in the MotoGP race, in only his fourth GP start and his first riding a Yamaha.
- Nicky Hayden has had mixed fortunes at Valencia – he crashed in both 2003 and 2004 and then had podium finishes in 2005 and again in 2006 to clinch the world title. In 2007 he finished 8th after qualifying on the front row and in 2008 was fifth on his last ride for Honda, after again qualifying on the front row. He was fifth again last year on his first race at the circuit on the Ducati.
- Marco Simoncelli qualified on pole and won the 250cc race at Valencia two years ago. Last year he was leading the 250cc race when he crashed on the 21st lap.
- Randy de Puniet won the 250cc race at Valencia in 2003 riding an Aprilia. Since moving up to the MotoGP class his best result at the circuit is ninth in 2007 when riding a Kawasaki.
- Marco Melandri won the 250cc GP at Valencia in his world championship- winning season of 2002. He also won the MotoGP race at Valencia riding a Honda in 2005. In the last couple of years he has finished just outside the points at Valencia; in 2008 he was 16th on the Ducati after running off the track with a few laps to go when battling for 10th and last year he finished 17th, having had a trip through the gravel trap half way through the race.
- Colin Edwards’ fourth place finish last year is his best result at Valencia from his seven visits to the circuit.
- Hector Barbera has won in both of the smaller classes at the Valencia Grand Prix: the 125cc race in 2004 and the 250cc race last year.
- Alvaro Bautista has finished on the podium in the 250cc class for the last two years at the Valencia Grand Prix.
- Aleix Espargaro finished 13th last year at Valencia in only his fourth ride on the Ducati MotoGP machine.
- Loris Capirossi has twice finished on the podium at Valencia in the MotoGP class; in 2003 and 2006, both times riding a Ducati.
- Hiroshi Aoyama finished seventh last year in the 250cc race at the Valencia Grand Prix to clinch the world championship title.
- Carlos Checa has twice finished fourth at Valencia; riding a 500cc Yamaha in 2001 and on the 990cc Ducati in 2005.
- Toni Elias has finished second three times at Valencia when racing in the smaller classes; in the 125cc class in 2001 and the 250cc class in 2003 and 2004. Last year he finished sixth, which equaled his best result at Valencia in the MotoGP class which he had achieved in 2006.
- Before his victory there last year, Julian Simon had not had much success at the Valencia circuit, never having finished higher than sixth. In 2008 he led the 250cc GP in the early stages before his KTM began losing power and eventually retiring on lap 20.
- Andrea Iannone’s sixth place finish in the 125cc race in 2008 is his best result from four GP starts in Valencia.
- Alex de Angelis twice finished on the podium at Valencia during his time competing in the 250cc class, including a win in 2006 which was his only GP victory before this year. He has finished tenth in the MotoGP class at Valencia for the last two years.
- Thomas Luthi finished ninth in the 125cc race at the Valencia GP in 2005 to clinch the world title.
- Simone Corsi won the 125cc race in Valencia in 2008 and last year finished fourth.
- Gabor Talmacsi has finished second twice in the 125cc race at Valencia (in 2005 and 2007) and started on pole in both 2007 and 2008.
- The winner of the Moto2 race in Portugal, Stefan Bradl, has not had any suc- cess in his three starts in the 125cc class at Valencia, having never reached the finish line after crashing out in all three races.
- At the Portuguese Grand Prix, Kenan Sofuoglu became the first rider from Turkey to score points in Grand Prix racing.
- Marc Marquez missed the Valencia Grand Prix in 2008 as he was still suffering from injuries to his right leg, received when he crashed in Malaysia. Last year he crashed on the last lap of the race when battling to finish fourth; he re-started and finish 17th.
- Nico Terol was second in 2008 at Valencia, just one tenth of a second behind the winner, Corsi. Last year he was running as high as sixth place early in the race, but dropped off the pace to eventually finish tenth.
- Pol Espagaro’s third place finish last year was his first GP podium at the Valencia circuit. Two years ago he failed to start the race after a crash during the qualifying session.
- Bradley Smith led for 20 laps of the 125cc race in Valencia last year, but eventually finished second, just 0.22 seconds behind teammate Simon.