2012 MotoGP Championship Finale Preview
Following a vicious battle between the Spaniards Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, the Yamaha Factory Racing rider was able to clinch the title two weeks ago at Phillip Island, round 17 of 18 in the 2012 MotoGP Championship.
The title was Lorenzo's second in the premier class, and now he will be able to entertain home fans without any pressure this weekend at Valencia for the MotoGP season finale. Besides this factor, Lorenzo will also enjoy being at Valencia, considering he missed last season due to injuries sustained during a warm-up crash at Phillip Island the round before.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "This is the last round of the season, it's a great feeling to be coming home to my Spanish fans as the world champion. It's been a long, tough year and we have all worked so hard to get here, now this weekend will be one to enjoy for all of us with less pressure. I will of course still be pushing for the top step of the podium, it would be amazing to end the year with a victory."
With the title decided, Pedrosa will also relax at his home race in Valencia, though Pedrosa will do anything to garner another win aboard the Repsol Honda RC213V. Regardless of where Pedrosa finishes, he will wrap up the 2012 season with second overall; this will be the third time Pedrosa finished second in seven years of racing in the premier class.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: "I'm very excited to get to Valencia and race again in front of the Spanish crowd. It's been a long time away and I really look forward to enjoy the atmosphere there; it's always an special race because it's the last one of the season and I have a lot of people there supporting me together with my family and friends. I enjoy riding in this track and we've had good results there in the past. So, I want to make this weekend special and fight for the win and finish the season on a high."
Besides Lorenzo and Pedrosa, Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner will also be vying for victory, considering it will be the last race of his MotoGP career, the Australian retiring at the conclusion of 2012 MotoGP this weekend.
The two-time MotoGP Champion (2007 Ducati, 2011 Honda) is coming off a dominant win at his home round in Phillip Island, and has won at Valencia twice in the premier class, including last season.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V MotoGP) says: "Valencia should be a little better for me again, not as good as Phillip Island, but I've always had great success there, many pole positions and race wins. I hope we can be competitive there and with the track going left it should suit our bike and me a little better at this point. It's not going to be easy but it would be nice to get another good result on my final race in MotoGP."
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso won't be able to reach Stoner for the third spot overall, but has fourth secured. Dovi will be looking to help his teammate Cal Crutchlow anyway possible, considering Crutchlow, currently in seventh, still has a mathematical chance of taking fifth overall.
Brit currently is six points behind Ducati Team's Valentino Rossi, who is in sixth overall, and 14 behind San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alvaro Bautista, who holds the fifth-place position. Bautista has strengthened his results as the season dwindled down, taking two third-place finishes at San Marino and Motegi. He will also but up a challenge, considering Valencia is a home race.
But he will equally be aware of the first-corner crash that occurred at Valencia last season, Bautista taking out three riders.
Rossi's teammate Nicky Hayden, who was injured in last year's Valencia crash, will aim to finish the race strongly, and head into the off season test period injury free. Mixing it up with factory bikes will be LCR Honda MotoGP's Stefan Bradl once more, who also comes off the back of a strong outing in Phillip Island. The German will be crowned Rookie of the Year this weekend, and will hope do so in conjunction with a good result. Cardion AB Racing's Karel Abraham and Pramac Racing Team's Héctor Barberá will conclude a difficult and injury hit year on their satellite Ducatis in Valencia as well, and will hope for a top ten result to end on a positive, MotoGP reports.
The CRT field rounds off its inaugural year with Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaró currently favorite to be crowned "champion" in the new category. His teammate Randy de Puniet would have to overturn a difficult 11 point deficit to take top honours, yet will no doubt be giving it his all as usual. Lining up alongside them will be NGM Mobile Forward Racing's Colin Edwards, Came IodaRacing Project's Danilo Petrucci, Speed Master's Roberto Rolfo, San Carlo's Michele Pirro, Paul Bird Motorsport's James Ellison and Avintia Blusens' Iván Silva, MotoGP reports.
There will be two replacement riders in Valencia, with Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga substituting for the injured Ben Spies, and past-GP rider Hiroshi Aoyama making a return in place of the injured Yonny Hernandez in the Avintia team. Nakasuga was only recently crowned All Japan Superbike Champion, and will be hoping to make a strong impact in the ultimate GP race in Spain, MotoGP reports.
Valencia MotoGP on TV
SPEED TV will broadcast Valencia MotoGP at 8 a.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 11.
2012 MotoGP Championship Point Standings (after 17 of 18 rounds):
|Randy DE PUNIET