MotoGP 2008 - Round 18 - Valencia (Spain)
Fiat Yamaha riders head to Valencia with more records in sight
A record-breaking season for Fiat Yamaha reaches its finale this weekend as the Grand Prix of Valencia brings the curtain down on the 2008 MotoGP World Championship. The traditional season-ending Spanish fiesta sees Valentino Rossi arrive with the title already in his pocket and the all-time points record for a season within his sights, whilst Jorge Lorenzo will become the highest-placed rookie in four-stroke MotoGP history by scoring just four points.
In a season that has seen Rossi become MotoGP World Champion for the sixth time, breaking the record number of wins in the class and scoring his 150th Grand Prix podium on the way, he now needs just eleven points to break the record for the highest tally in a season. He currently stands on 357 points, meaning fifth place or above would take him above the benchmark he set in 2005, which was equalled by Casey Stoner last year.
Lorenzo currently lies fourth in the championship and whilst third is now a mathematically impossibility, Andrea Dovizioso would have to win the race and hope the Spaniard finishes no higher than twelfth to dislodge him. Dovizioso is also the only rider with any chance of denying Lorenzo the title of Rookie of the Year. It is a familiar scenario for the old rivals, who entered the final round of the 2006 season at Valencia battling for the 250cc title, which Lorenzo won with fourth place as the Italian finished seventh.
The 21-year-old from Mallorca has never won at the Ricardo Tormo circuit although he will be looking to set that record straight this weekend in front of the 130,000 race-day fans that will pack into the unique stadium-style surroundings of the track. The layout is characterised by a never-ending burst of tight corners, connected by short straights. The long penultimate looping left-hander and the fast entry to turn one contrast violently with the otherwise geometric flip-flop chicanes and slow speed corners of the infield.
Valentino Rossi - "An account to settle"
"I have had two bad years at Valencia and I have some memories I would like to forget with a good result there this year - I have an account to settle! In 2006 I crashed and lost the championship and then last year I broke my hand and lost second place in the championship! It's not the best track for us but I won there with Yamaha in my first year with them and I would like to do the same again this weekend. It's been a fantastic season and the win on Sunday in Malaysia was great, but I am not finished yet and I want to reward my team, Yamaha and Bridgestone for a fantastic season with the best possible result on Sunday. Then we can all celebrate with a big party!"
Jorge Lorenzo - "Aiming to finish on a high"
"Sunday was really disappointing but I am not hurt and now we are looking forward to Valencia. It's the third 'home' race for me and since at the last one, in Barcelona, I couldn't race, I especially want to get a good result for all my fans. It will be a special race because it's the 10th anniversary of the Valencia circuit. Of course it is a little sad that I am no longer fighting for third in the Championship, but I can still be Rookie of the Year and this is what I am aiming for. It is really important for me and for all my team. I don't have the best record at Valencia, I've never won the race there, although I was second in 2005, but I do have great memories from winning the 250cc world championship there in 2006. It will be our last race with Michelin, who I won my first premier class race with, and more than anything I want to get a good result for them, for my tyre technician Pierre, for Jean-Phillipe Weber and of course for my team."
Davide Brivio - "We want to win and party"
"Valencia is the last race of the season so we go there with a twin objective - to win the race and to party! It is nice to go to another race without any pressure and I think all the Spanish fans will enjoy watching Valentino in the incredible form he has shown recently. Of course it has been a tough few weeks on the road for the team, with a lot of travelling involved but honestly when you are winning you don't feel the stress! Even so, it will be nice to be back in Europe and we will be focusing on ending the season on a high. Whatever the result, we'll be partying on Sunday night!"
Daniele Romagnoli - "Motivation is high"
"We still have one race to go and it's another Spanish one so it's really important for Jorge. Despite the bad result in Sepang we have high motivation and we really want to finish the season well. We will all do our very best to be back on the podium there and to finish the season in the way that Jorge and the whole team deserves. Despite not getting the best results we've been in good shape for the last three race weekends and qualified on the front row for five races in a row now, so we know we can do it. This will be the last race with Michelin and so this is another reason to push. We want to give them a good final result to thank them for the hard work they have done all season."
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