With the 2010 MotoGP Championship now in the moto-racing history books, the riders had much to say Sunday after the final round at Valencia.
In the following quotes, the grid discusses not only the race at Valencia, but also their thoughts on the overall season. And what a race it was on Sunday.
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo won his ninth race of the season, and acquired the highest amount of points (338) for a MotoGP season, breaking nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi’s record.
Starting from second on the grid, Lorenzo fell back to seventh after he had some contact with San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli, almost losing the Yamah. Lorenzo’s save was one of the most impressive saves of the 2010 season, and allowed him to come back and take the win.
It wasn’t an easy win, though, as he didn’t pass Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner until eight laps remained. Stoner would take second place, with Rossi filling the final spot on the podium during his last race aboard the factory Yamaha before moving to Ducati for 2011.
Here’s what the riders were saying after Sunday’s final round of the 2010 MotoGP Championship at Valencia in Spain.
Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “Coming here to Valencia I really wanted to win one more time in this fantastic season, in front of my home fans. In the practices I was fast all weekend, but it seemed like Casey was even faster. I made a good start today but in the second corner trying to pass Casey I got overtaken by three or four riders, then I had a hard fight with Simoncelli when I nearly fell! I kept calm after that and concentrated and then lap-by-lap I recovered.”
“I had a wonderful fight with Casey at the end. Winning here in front of my home crowd at this special track is one of the happiest moments of my life. We are proud to have got the record for the most number of points with 383, I used to be known as a crazy rider who crashed too much so to demonstrate consistency in this way makes me proud.”
“Thanks to Yamaha and everyone involved for a fantastic season – now we have time to celebrate tonight before we start working for 2011 on Tuesday. Finally I want to say goodbye and good luck to Valentino – I am looking forward to racing him next year!”
Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha M1) says: “Honestly I’m happy with this final result with Yamaha, because we had a difficult weekend here. I didn’t get a good start but I realized straight away that I was much faster today and that my bike felt good. At one point I thought I might be able to win but in the later part of the race I just didn’t have enough strength to stay with Lorenzo and Stoner, this is a very hard track when you’re not completely fit.”
“I started to make a few mistakes because I didn’t have enough power to stop the bike so after a bit I decided it was better to slow down and keep my third place. Arriving on the podium was my way to say thank you to my bike, to Yamaha and to all the people who have worked with me in these seven seasons. It’s been a great experience and I have enjoyed it so much.”
“Forty six is a great number of wins – of course I wanted more but I think I can be happy with what I have done here. We have finished the season strongly with five podiums in a row and after such a difficult season we can feel happy about how we have ended. It’s been a wonderful seven years, great fun with a special atmosphere, many fantastic victories and four world championships. I stopped with my bike after the race today just like I did at Welkom when this story began, it was the right way to say goodbye to ‘her’. Thank you to everyone, we have wonderful memories.”
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team GP10) says: “We had a big decision to make in terms of the tire choice today but we went for the hard compound and maybe in hindsight it cost us. It is difficult to say because maybe the softer option wouldn’t have worked as well in the final stages so we could have ended up second either way.”
“At the end of the day Jorge had a better pace than us today and there wasn’t much more we could have done. It is nice to bring this era to a close on the podium and I think that is fitting. I have so many great memories of these past few years with Ducati, from my first win at Qatar in 2007 and that race in Barcelona the same year, to the title success at Motegi and my wins at Phillip Island.”
“I also especially remember my return to action in Portugal last year. I have enjoyed every single victory on the Ducati so much and I want to thank them for so many great years together. I leave behind a lot of people that I will miss, like Filippo, Vitto and the others but even though we will be rivals on the track from now on our personal relationship will stay the same. I also want to thank all the Ducati fans for their support over these past four years.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP10) says: “I am bitterly disappointed with the result today. After the warm-up this morning when I set the fastest time I really felt confident we could get a good result today and I pushed hard from the start. The bike felt good and I was able to make up a few positions into the first turn, then pass Dani for second place.”
“To crash just a couple of laps later is frustrating because I had the pace to be fighting for the podium out there. It is definitely not the way I wanted to end the season and my guys deserved more after another great job this weekend. We had our problems with the bike on Friday but we pulled something out of the bag and I had a competitive bike here. Overall over the past few races we have ended the season quite strongly and I am looking forward to taking that into winter testing and hopefully coming out with an even more competitive package next year.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “This was the one of the hardest races of my life and also one of the ones I can feel most proud of. Honestly I was not sure at all before the start that I could do 30 laps today, but I managed to do it and I’m very happy now, and also exhausted.”
“I made a good start and to stay with Stoner in the early laps was amazing for me. I fought as hard as possible to maintain the pace for as long as I could and it was during this period that I set the fastest lap of the race.”
“But of course my strength was ebbing away little by little and I was caught by the group behind me. From then on I just concentrated on staying on the bike and finishing the race – I was counting down the laps. To finish second in the championship was not our goal at the beginning of the season of course, but only we know how hard it has been to keep second place after the crash in Japan. We will take our time to recover after this race and we can also have a useful test on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for next year.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We have done a good job here at Valencia and we can be happy that we were the first Honda rider home today. Our pace wasn’t enough to compete for the win so we can’t be totally satisfied of course, but overall we’ve had a positive end to the season.”
“I was missing some speed in the middle of the corners today which is an area to work on in future, as is improving the stability under braking. I’m disappointed I couldn’t re-pass Spies, but my tires were very worn by the end and I couldn’t fight in the last laps because the grip was dropping off quite a lot and it was difficult to maintain the pace from the first part of the race.”
“Anyway it was a good battle with Simoncelli again and I hope there will be more like this next year – it shows that pocket bikes was a good training ground! Overall we have to be satisfied with the job done by Honda, the team and myself throughout the year and I’d like to thank all those involved. The package has improved a lot and, whereas last year we were struggling, this year I’ve been consistently faster. We still have some fine tuning to do for next year – and that can start here in the test on Tuesday.”
Ben Spies (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) says: “I’m patting myself and my Monster Yamaha Tech3 crew on the back because to get sixth overall in the points is a great achievement for all of us. It was a good race and once I settled I could see the three Hondas coming back to me quite quickly.”
“I kept them about a second in front of me and pounced when I felt confident I could pass them and pull away. They had some acceleration on me off the turns, so I knew when I made the pass it needed to be into a string of corners and not onto a straight. Once I passed Andrea and Marco I put my head down for a couple of laps and got rid of them.”
“To finish fourth after last week’s crash in Estoril is the perfect finish to what has been a great season. I said at the beginning of the season that a top five feels like a win and now this feels more like a normal result. I’ve had a better year than I thought I would have, so thanks to my team and all the people around me who have given me unbelievable support. I’ve learned a lot this season and I’m confident I will be even stronger in 2011.”
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1) says: “I wanted to finish the season on a high to reward my crew for all their hard work, but that was way below what I was expecting and to say I’m disappointed and frustrated is an understatement. Right from the start it just didn’t feel like I had any grip when I accelerated.”
“We’d set the bike up on the hard tire for most of the weekend but we went for the soft option because the temperature was a little bit lower. But coming out of the corner I didn’t have the grip to stay with anybody and it is a big pity because the changes we’d made to the bike for the hard tire this weekend had helped me feel much more confident and comfortable. Congratulations to Ben though on getting sixth overall. He’s been awesome and he’s only going to get stronger.”
Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) says: “Well… to start from the fourth row on the grid was a bit difficult for me but I immediately set my pace trying to catch the guys up there. In the last two days we worked mainly on traction control and our overall package was quite good. Maybe we have been too cautious working on engine mapping and rear tire life so when I was stuck in the second group I had not enough speed in the corners and I was not able to overtake my competitors.”
“Honestly I aimed to finish in the top six but this is racing and I am satisfied about my final position in the standing considering the bad accident I suffered in the middle of the season. I want to thank Lucio and the Team for the five years together (two in 250cc class and three in the premier one). We shared good and bad moments and this period was an important part of my career”.
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR) says: “After having such a difficult weekend with all the problems on Friday and Saturday, today has been a big step for us. This morning in warm-up we went back to a setting that I used in the last races and it quickly felt a little bit better, it wasn’t a big difference but I thought it would be good for the race.”
“I wanted to give my maximum in the race and give the team the best result possible today. I had a normal start and made up one position straight away, but then I was behind Loris and I lost some time because he brakes so late and is difficult to pass. When I got past him I pushed to my limit and I got in to a good rhythm – the best I’ve had all weekend. I caught the group fighting for eighth and I finished ninth at the end, but it was a great battle with the others because I managed to overtake them all and it was good fun.”
“Before the race started if someone said I could finish ninth I would have signed for that, but after the battle with Hector I am disappointed because I think I could have been eighth! It is a good result for the whole team after a hard weekend, but it is not the result I expected before I came to Valencia because I came with the mental attitude to finish in the top-five.”
“Now that we have finished the season we know we have many things that we need to improve on the bike and I also need to improve my riding style, so we have a very hard winter ahead of us – I hope to get to the first race next season with the bike better than it was this year. I will also have more experience so I expect to improve on my results next season.
“I would like to the thank Suzuki, all the team, Rizla and all the other sponsors, because if they didn’t help us it would be impossible for us to be racing, so thank-you to all of them. Next year we will certainly be trying even harder and I really believe we can be competitive!”
Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki GSV-R) says: “I really want to say thank-you to everybody because I have had three really good years here at Suzuki, the relationship is great and I am so sorry to be leaving – I really love everybody! The luck this year didn’t really help me, we had many small problems and that showed in today’s race.”
“I have improved a lot in myself in my time at Suzuki and although our roads are now changing direction, I will for sure have a place in my heart for Suzuki and all the people there – thank-you for everything!”
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: “I was hoping for a better result than this to be honest but I am still satisfied because I gave it my best shot. I struggled a little bit to set the same lap times as yesterday and stay with the front guys. I was losing the rear in a few places and maybe with the conditions today we should have gone with the soft tire.”
“Even though it had less grip yesterday I felt more confident with the hard so we stuck with it because I thought it would help me stay consistent to the end of the race but it was sliding around a lot. In any case I kept going and I am happy with my performance.”
Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) says: “I don’t want to talk about the race. I would rather look to the future because I think we have seen today that the right choice right now for me is to end this story and start a new one. Having said that it has been a big part of my life and I am the person I am today partly because of MotoGP.”
“I want to thank all the people who have stayed close to me and also those who have been against me because they have helped me to grow. Thanks to all the sponsors who have accompanied me over these years and everybody who has worked with me, my family and my fans, who I will see again next year in another championship.”
Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda) says: “I want to thank my team and sponsors and all the people, who helped me this year. It was a tough year and not easy. Also the last race was tough and difficult. At the end I could finish the race, but I am not satisfied with the way I did it. I almost always finished the races in the points and I had some good experience this year, in my first year in the MotoGP class and I want to thank all the staff who was involved in it.”
Aleix Espargaro (Pilota Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “I am truly sorry for the final position. This was my last race in this Team where I found true friends and I wanted to achieve a good result. I do not have much to say about the race, I tried to overtake my rivals but my pace was not so quick to allow me to approach them.”
“I would like to thank the Pramac Racing Team, Paolo Campinoti and all the technicians who accompanied me during this year. It’s been a great experience where I learned a lot and I’m sure it will be useful for me for the rest of my career.”
Carlos Checa (Pilota Pramac Racing Team Ducati) says: “I wanted to finish this race in every way and I did. The result is not exceptional, but the feeling with my bike was not that strong to allow me to do better. It’s a really good start, but unfortunately after six laps my pace was not fast enough for me to hold the position won.”
“I was first passed by Bautista in the seventh round, while the next lap I passed Capirossi and Aoyama. Thank you anyway to Pramac Racing Team for allowing me to run these last two races while riding their bikes and I wish them a successful future.”