MotoGP 2012 – Round 18 – Valencia
Pedrosa wins dramatic Valencian GP as Stoner says goodbye
In the final MotoGP™ race at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who took victory in a dramatic race that was marred with awkward conditions and crashes ahead of Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Casey Stoner, who was later named the 20th MotoGP Legend.
The race was declared wet by Race Direction despite a near dry line having formed, and only Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, his teammate Nakasuga, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, chose the softer option slick tyres, with all others on the hard wets. However, in a twist unseen this season, Pedrosa, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista then decided to start from pit-lane after their sighting lap, with all of them switching to a bike with slick tyres.
As the race got underway it was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró who was leading the early exchanges, yet within three laps Lorenzo’s choice looked the better one as he started to lap significantly quicker than the rest. Pedrosa was carving his way through the pack, whilst many riders that were on wets started coming into the pits to switch to their bikes with slicks, amongst which were Repsol Honda’s Stoner, Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, and Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Amid the frantic happenings, Hayden, Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva, and Speed Master’s Roberto Rolfo crashed out of contention. On lap eight, Lorenzo was leading with Pedrosa in tow, whilst Bradl was running third with Nakasuga and Crutchlow behind. It was however not to be for the young German as he lost control of his bike in Turn 5 and crashed out. With 18 laps remaining Crutchlow’s efforts were rewarded by getting past Nakasuga, as Pedrosa had a moment and ran wide, putting him over three seconds back on Lorenzo.
Then there was huge drama as the World Champion was highsided off his bike as he was passing back markers, and was fortunate to walk away unhurt. This left Pedrosa in the lead, who also had his work cut out getting past the slower riders. On lap 19 the crashes continued as Barberá also took a tumble, whilst Espargaró’s teammate Randy de Puniet ran into the gravel. A lap later he was followed Avintia Blusens’ Claudio Corti, who skidded off into the gravel on his Inmotec chassis.
Just as things looked to have settled down, Crutchlow was caught out by the conditions and dropped out of second place. This moved Bautista up into third, although Stoner was catching up quickly in fourth. And with three laps remaining Stoner was all over the rear wheel Bautista and caught him at the end of the lap down the home straight to move into third.
In the end it was Pedrosa who took chequered flag to score his seventh win of the season, with Nakasuga taking the first Japanese podium this year in his second wildcard entry, and Stoner signing off his GP career with the final step on the rostrum. The first non-podium finisher was Bautista, followed by his teammate Michele Pirro, Dovizioso, Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison and Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. Espargaró finished in 11th and secured himself the CRT title this season, whilst Bautista consolidated fifth in the championship.
Race Result – Round 18
1 Dani Pedrosa 48’23.819 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Katsuyuki Nakasuga +37.661 JAP YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Casey Stoner +1’00.633 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Alvaro Bautista +1’02.811 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
5 Michele Pirro +1’26.608 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
6 Andrea Dovizioso +1’30.423 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Karel Abraham +1’31.789 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
8 Danilo Petrucci +1 lap ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
9 James Ellison +1 lap GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
10 Valentino Rossi +1 lap ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Aleix Espargaro +1 lap ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
12 Randy De Puniet +2 laps FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Hiroshi Aoyama +2 laps JAP BQR-FTR BQR
14 Colin Edwards +3 laps USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15 Cal Crutchlow DNF GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
16 Claudio Corti DNF ITA BQR-FTR BQR
17 Hector Barbera DNF SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
18 Jorge Lorenzo DNF SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
19 Stefan Bradl DNF GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
20 Roberto Rolfo DNF ITA ART Speed Master
21 Ivan Silva DNF SPA BQR-FTR BQR
22 Nicky Hayden DNF USA DUCATI Ducati Team
1 Jorge Lorenzo 350 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 332 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Casey Stoner 254 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 218 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Alvaro Bautista 178 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
6 Valentino Rossi 163 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Cal Crutchlow 151 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Stefan Bradl 135 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden 122 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Ben Spies 88 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
11 Hector Barbera 83 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Aleix Espargaro 74 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 62 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Karel Abraham 59 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Michele Pirro 43 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 James Ellison 35 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
17 Yonny Hernandez 28 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
18 Danilo Petrucci 27 pts ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
19 Colin Edwards 27 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
20 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 27 pts JAP YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
21 Jonathan Rea 17 pts GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
22 Mattia Pasini 13 pts ITA ART Speed Master
23 Ivan Silva 12 pts SPA BQR-FTR BQR
24 Toni Elías 10 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
25 Hiroshi Aoyama 3 pts JAP BQR-FTR BQR
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez rode a phenomenal race at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana as he charged his way to victory from last on the grid ahead of Julián Simón and Nico Terol.
In a race that started on a wet track, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Terol had a sensational start and took the lead in Turn 4, which was named after him earlier in the day. He had Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Pol Espargaró, Came IodaRacing Projects’ Simone Corsi and Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi in tow. Márquez, who started last, was already up to 11th after just one lap. Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón had also charged up the field and was on the back of Espargaró’s rear wheel.
Whilst Márquez was looking strong, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea made a pass on the Spaniard, as the pair was being held up by Terol’s teammate Jordi Torres. With 21 laps remaining Torres had been passed, as Rea had also made his way past Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter, with Márquez finding it tougher to pass the Swiss rider. The battling was fierce as the group caught up to Lüthi, who was soon involved in the fight for sixth.
There was however drama a few laps later as Espargaró slid off after making contact with Corsi. He managed to re-mount and re-join in 18th. In the meantime, Simón had passed Terol to take the lead, as Espargaró’s crash left Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon in third. JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco made himself known on lap nine, as the Frenchman found his stride and started to halt Márquez’s progress. Siméon’s race was however soon halted as he slid off, with Zarco soon following suit as conditions started to worsen.
Márquez and Rea continued their enthralling battle, once touching, which saw Márquez having to run wide. Yet Márquez did not hold back as he passed Rea and then Aegerter in a tough move town the straight, which prompted the Spaniard to hold up an apologetic hand. Rea suffered disappointment soon after as he crashed out chasing Márquez, who was then in third spot. In the meantime, QMMF Racing’s Rafid Topan Sucipto had crashed out, yet was able to re-join the race, while his teammate Elena Rosell was taken out by JiR Moto2’s Eric Granado.
With eight laps left Márquez was on a mission as he flew past Terol and started to hunt down Simón at the front. His pace was significantly higher than the front-runner, and with three laps left Márquez was on the back wheel of Simón. And heading into the penultimate lap the World Champion made his way past to take the lead. He did not relinquish that lead and ended up taking victory in his final ever Moto2™ race before moving up to MotoGP™ in stunning fashion. It is the first time in history that a rider has won a race from 33rd on the grid. Simón and Terol took the final spots on the podium, with this being Terol’s first ever podium in the intermediate-class.
They were followed by Lüthi, Aegerter, Torres, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio, Espargaró, Italtrans Racing Team’s Toni Elías and Pons’ Esteve Rabat. Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, despite only finishing in 11th, managed to hold onto third spot in the championship ahead of Lüthi.
In a thrilling final Moto3™ encounter in the wet at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent who put in a stunning ride to take victory ahead of Sandro Cortese and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.
Pole-man Jonas Folger had technical issues on the out-lap and had to start from the pits, meaning that it was RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom that led the early exchanges in front of Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira and Ambrogio Next Racing’s Alex Márquez. On lap three it was Márquez that went into the lead, with Oliveira following suit to relegate Salom to third. This was however short lived as Márquez lost the front and crashed out.
In the pursuing group, Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi was putting on a strong show ahead of JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez and Red Bull KTM Ajo duo of Cortese and Kent. Folger’s day then got worse as he retired from the race, as well as JHK’s Adrián Martín and IodaRacing Project’s Luigi Morciano. Caretta-Technology’s John McPhee was also caught out by the wet as he dropped his bike on lap eight.
Yet as more riders got used to the track surface, the likes of Salom’s teammate Brad Binder starting challenging the front-runners. With 13 laps remaining Salom had dropped off the pace and was embroiled in an entertaining battle with Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales. Past the halfway point and the battles were hotting up with Salom and Viñales, as well as Binder and Kent going fairing-to-fairing.
— Honda Report – Pedrosa wins dramatic season finale with Stoner in 3rd
The 2012 MotoGP World Championship came to an exciting climax today with a fantastic display from the Repsol Honda Team. Dani Pedrosa took victory in the Grand Prix of La Comunidad Valenciana (his sixth at this track) and finishes the season runner-up to champion Jorge Lorenzo by just 18 points but with the most victories of the championship, with a total of seven. 2011 World Champion Casey Stoner completed the final GP of his career and took third place, his tenth podium of the year.
It was one of the most dramatic races of the season. Tricky weather conditions caused confusion at the start with only two riders – Lorenzo and Bradl -starting with slicks tyres on the grid. After the sighting lap, several riders chose to change to slick tyre bikes and start from the pit lane, including Dani who lost his advantage of being on pole position.
With the asphalt drying up very quickly, Dani managed to catch race leader Lorenzo within 12 laps, just before the Yamaha rider crashed out. Dani took the lead with a huge advantage of 23 seconds and remained calm to control the pace until the end, crossing the finish line with gap of 37 seconds and securing Honda’s 19th premier class Constructor’s Title.
Casey chose to remain on the wet tyre for the start but came in to the pit lane for the slick tyre bike on lap 4. The Australian was very cautious at the beginning but gradually caught up and passed the majority of the field and took third place with two laps to go, celebrating a podium in his last race. Casey finishes the championship in third position, a place that he already secured with his win in Australia.
On completion of his final MotoGP race, two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey, was nominated as a MotoGP Legend. He becomes the 20th MotoGP Legend, joining an exclusive club, whose members are: Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Freddie Spencer, John Surtees and Carlo Ubbiali.
Casey retires at the age of 27, having amassed two MotoGP World Championships, 45 Grand Prix victories, 89 podium finishes and 43 pole-positions.
DANI PEDROSA 1st Final Championship Standing: 2nd with 332 points
“After Márquez’s race, I thought I should do something similar! But seriously, I’m really happy with this win, it was very difficult at the start to make the decision with tyres. I saw Jorge on slicks on the grid and I was pretty sure with my decision, but standing there the track was drying up very quickly and before the start I didn’t know if it would be better to forget about the pole and start from the pits or go out on wets and stop after 4 or 5 laps. In the last corner of the sighting lap, the instinct told me to get in immediately. I started from the pit lane and I managed to be fast from the beginning, I caught Jorge and then I made a mistake and lost three seconds again, but one lap later he also made a mistake and crashed out. From this point another race began for me. It was tough to maintain concentration with such conditions and a big advantage, so I planned the second half of the race like a practice session, taking the corners, the lines, lap by lap. It’s a great end of the season and I’d like to thank all the Repsol Honda Team!”.
CASEY STONER 3rd Final Championship Standing: 3rd with 254 points
“Considering everything that happened today, we’re very happy with a podium. My motivation wasn’t particularly high today as I haven’t wanted to push in the wet and haven’t felt comfortable on the bike. I just didn’t want to take any risks of crashing and damaging my ankle again so I was very cautious and this isn’t how I like to ride. Even with the choice of going with the wets, not the slick tyres at the beginning of the race, I took the easy option which really isn’t me. When I saw the slicks had a big advantage, we came in and changed bikes and went back out and pushed as hard as we could, without taking unnecessary risks. In the end we were able to chase down Alvaro and take the last spot on the podium in our last race. My team are l ike my second family, we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs together and it’s going to be difficult not to see them every week. I’m sorry for them and for everyone who has supported me for so long but this is the way it is and it’s time to say goodbye. Thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years and all our sponsors, and to everyone in the Repsol Honda Team”.
— Yamaha Report – Nakasuga Steals the Show in Valencia
Katsuyuki Nakasuga stole the show today in an incident packed race, delivering an incredible performance to take second place on the podium for the Grand Prix of Valencia. The Japanese Yamaha test rider, appearing in place of injured Ben Spies, was one of the few who gambled on slick tyres to start the race in damp conditions. The gamble paid off with Nakasuga-san moving from 16th to 11th on the first lap, and then jumping to fourth on lap four as riders came in to change rubber. The one-event wonder was looking safe for third on the podium when second placed rider Cal Crutchlow crashed out in front, leaving him to hold on and focus for the remaining eight laps to claim his incredible podium finish in second, over 20 seconds clear of Casey Stoner behind him. The four-time All Japan Superbike Champion had double cause for celebration with his second son, Haruto, being born on Saturday evening. He is also the only Japanese rider to have stood on the podium this season in all three classes.
2012 MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo also gambled on slick tyres and after initially dropping from second on the grid to eighth the Mallorcan began to make steady progress back up the field. By the fourth lap Lorenzo had taken the lead, which he maintained until lap 13, pulling nearly a four second gap to chasing Dani Pedrosa. Disaster struck when he came off the dry line to lap CRT rider James Ellison on the same lap, losing grip on the damp surface and suffering a huge high side crash. Lorenzo was lucky to walk away without serious injury and will be ready to take part in testing on Tuesday and Wednesday for the 2013 season.
Katsuyuki Nakasuga / Position 2nd – Time +37.661
“I’m so very happy with this result, the conditions were very difficult today. It was a tough race but the team were amazing and I have to thank them for making the best choice for my set up for the race. It is like a dream or a miracle for me to be on the podium as the qualifying was not so good. I want to thank Yamaha for giving me this special opportunity to race here in MotoGP, it has been amazing.”
Jorge Lorenzo / DNF
“I’m happy because we are world champions and that is the most important thing. Maybe if we had arrived here without the title decided it could have been another story and I wouldn’t be so happy. I had a lot of hopes to win today, I chose a really risky tyre strategy and I was making a really good race. Dani was catching me a little bit but then I managed to have a four second lead. I came up to the slower riders and I’m not sure what happened, maybe the marshals didn’t put up the blue flags quickly enough but I was losing some time stuck behind them. I was behind Ellison and he stayed on the racing line, I couldn’t wait for another corner to overtake him as I was losing time. I overtook and made a mistake, outside the dry line and I had a big high side.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“What a crazy race! I think we could have won today so it’s a real shame we wrap up the season like this. Jorge took a big gamble with the tyres which proved to be a clever choice and rode a very strong race. Unfortunately with such tricky track conditions and much slower bikes making traffic the risk was high. We are very happy he is unhurt after his crash and also that we secured the title in Phillip Island! We’ll take some time to celebrate tonight and then it’s back to work for 2013 on Tuesday! Nakasuga-san was brilliant today and really deserved his podium, he and Ben’s crew put in a great effort for the result.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted today’s results! It’s a pity Jorge’s championship season ended this way in front of his home crowd but we are happy that he has no serious injuries and is ready to test next week. For Nakasuga-san it has been a fairytale day, we are so happy for him and proud of his achievement. After a difficult season it was also a great result for Ben’s crew who deserved this podium today. I would like to wish them all the best for the future.”
Crutchlow and Dovizioso star in dramatic Valencia race
The 2012 MotoGP World Championship concluded in dramatic fashion for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team this afternoon after Cal Crutchlow fell out ofsecond position and Andrea Dovizioso secured a hard fought top six in an incident-packed Valencia race.
Officials declared the 30-lap encounter a wet race but new asphalt was already drying up when the action got underway in front of almost 62,000 fans.
Crutchlow was one of four riders to opt to switch to slick tyres ahead of the start, which meant the British rider joined Dani Pedrosa, AlvaroBautista and Nicky Hayden in starting from th e pit lane.
Crutchlow’s decision immediately paid off with a clear dry line appearing right from the opening lap. He brilliantly built up his pace and needed only five laps to surge from the back of the field into the top five.
Crutchlow then moved into the top three on lap 13 and he found himself promoted into second position when Factory Yamaha rider and new World Champion Jorge Lorenzo crashed unhurt out of the lead on lap 14. The 27-year-old streaked away from Japanese replacement rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga, but just as he looked poised to score a career best second place and third rostrum of 2012, he crashed out on the approach to the final corner on lap 23.
Dovizioso’s farewell appearance with the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team ended with a sixth place finish, but the Italian was left to rue his decision to start the race on Bridgestone’s rain tyres.With section s of the track still damp, Dovizioso seized the lead from Aleix Espargaro on lap three, but he quickly realised that he would need to pit and switch to his YZR-M1 fitted with slick tyres as track conditions continued to improve.Dovizioso switched to slick tyres as he was about to complete the fifth lap, which dropped him out of the top 15. He lost time in the pits when he stalled his YZR-M1 machine before embarking on a brilliant recovery to score his 15th top six finish in 18 races.
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 6th – Time +1.30.423
“It is a pity that I could only finish my last race with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in sixth position. I’m sorry because I selected the worst strategy possible with the tyre choice and I’m disappointed. Normally I am always very strong at interpreting the conditions in the right way but this time I chose to start on the wet tyres and it was clearly the wrong decision. The other decision that compromised my race was I stayed out too long before coming in and changing to slicks. I didn’t have a reference because I was in the lead but when I saw Jorge I understood it was already too late. But I still came in to change to slicks. I then stalled the bike, so I lost more time. I didn’t give up and found a good rhythm so I get back into the top six which is at least decent finish. It has been a fantastic season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and I have enjoyed the experience a lot. The Team is incredibly professional and it has been an honour for me to ride with them and achieve a lot of success together.”
Cal Crutchlow / DNF
“Obviously I am very disappointed to finish the season like that. I wasn’t sure whether to start on wet tyres but I saw Dani pit and just followed him. Going to slicks was obviously the right choice but although there was a dry line, in some places it was so narrow that you couldn’t go off line to overtake because it was way too risky. Dani got through the pack quicker than me but once I got into a fast rhythm I felt really at ease. I had a comfortable lead over third and it was looking good for me to get my best MotoGP result when I hit the smallest wet patch going into the final corner. It just flicked the bike enough to throw me off the left side and I was actually lucky not to get tangled up with the bike. It is a shame because I wasn’t pushing that hard, but in those conditions we saw loads of people getting caught out. But once again I showed I was really fast and we take a lot of positives from the second half of the season. I’ve been on the podium twice and in the last races I’ve been right in the battle for the podium. I’d like to have had a few more finishes but I’ve shown my potential this year and that I am good enough to fight with the best in the world. I can now look forward to 2013 with a lot of confidence.”
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“That was an incredible way to finish the season and the excitement in the first laps when Cal was on slicks and Andrea on wets was really compulsive viewing. Nobody really knew what to expect because the conditions were so tricky but Cal was doing a brilliant job. He had built up a big lead over third place and with only a few laps to go we were getting more confident that he could he get his best result in MotoGP and the best result of the season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Unfortunately a small damp patch caught him out but I don’t think the punishment fitted the crime. Cal has enjoyed a fantastic second season and shown the form that we all knew he could after 2011. We are already really looking forward to 2013 and I am convinced that he is only going to be an even bigger threat. Andrea did another good job in his f inal race for us but it was a pity that he stalled the bike when he came in to change to slick tyres. That lost him a lot of time but the decision to start on wet tyres compromised his hopes of ending a memorable season with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team on the podium. I have to say huge thanks though to Andrea. He has been amazing in 2012 and he has become the most successful rider we have ever had in MotoGP with six podiums. He finished fourth in the World Championship and he was key to helping us take third in the Team World Championship. We only finished behind Yamaha’s Factory Team and HRC, so that is a great achievement for a non-factory squad.”
— Ducati Report
The final race of the 2012 MotoGP season, at Valencia, was seriously affected by uncertain weather.
After the wet warm-up session, in which Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden had found a good rain setting, the precipitation stopped and the MotoGP race started with a track that was only damp.
Most of the riders began the race with rain tyres, though a small group risked slicks, returning to the garages to change bikes just before the lights went out. That group, which was obliged to start from pit lane, included the eventual winner, Dani Pedrosa, and Nicky Hayden. The American was caught out by the tricky conditions and crashed before he was able to take advantage of having made the right choice.
Valentino Rossi started with rain tyres and was in fourth place when, 25 laps from the end, he re-entered pit lane to switch bikes. With the dry tyres, he no longer felt at home and was only able to finish in tenth place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th
“It’s really a shame that the last race with Ducati finished this way. Things went well this morning in the wet warm-up, and in similar conditions, it would have been possible to do a nice result. Instead, this half-and-half situation was truly difficult. In the end the right choice was to use the slick tyres, but my bike on the grid had a very different setting from the other one, so I didn’t feel like switching. With the rain tyres, I felt fine at first, but then when it was necessary to switch, the situation became more complicated. There was a thin dry line, but I couldn’t put the bike where I wanted and as soon as I would go off that line, it was very risky. I could only try to finish. I would have liked to finish these two years with Ducati better. They were two difficult seasons, but I nonetheless leave behind many people that I enjoyed working with, and with whom it was nice to go racing.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNF
“It’s a shame to end a difficult season in a bad way, but at least I’m 100 per cent okay from the crash. On the grid, it was a really close call between slick tyres and rain tyres. If the track had been warm, it would clearly have been better to start on slicks, but the cold surface temperature made it close. On the warm-up lap, Lorenzo was going faster than us on slicks, so in my opinion, it was the right decision to come in and switch bikes and start from pit lane. After that, it was okay on the dry line, but to make passes, you had to go out where it was treacherous. I got behind Petrucci and couldn’t find a way past. I was waiting to go by him on the front straightaway, but I got a little bit wide in the last corner and hit a patch. I went down so quickly that there was no way to save it. Next season starts now, so hopefully things will be better.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“Today we lost an opportunity to have a nice race, both with Nicky and with Vale, and although that can happen in such uncertain conditions, we’re obviously not happy. Nicky switched bikes immediately, like Pedrosa, who won in the end, but he was done in by the slippery asphalt. Vale went well in the early laps, while he was on the rain tyres, but he didn’t feel good with the slicks. He tried until the end, without ever being able to push hard enough. We would have liked to finish differently, but anyway, we tried until the end.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Wet. Ambient 13-13°C; Track 14-14°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa capped off his most successful MotoGP™ season by winning an exciting flag-to-flag race at Valencia.
Pedrosa started the race in pit lane after making a late decision to swap to slick tyres and his decision paid off as he went on to cross the finish line 37.661 second ahead of his nearest competitor, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga who scored his first ever MotoGP podium. In third place was Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner in his last ever MotoGP™ race. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro scored the best CRT result of the season by finishing in fifth place, the Italian rider being one of those to start the race on slick tyres.
Many damp patches greeted riders on the sighting lap but throughout the track a large dry line was apparent, so tyre choice for the race was not decided until the very last moment. Seven riders selected slick tyres on the grid, while a further four riders changed bikes during the warm-up lap for a total of eleven starters on slick tyres. The softer slick options, the soft compound front and medium compound rear slick, were the only dry tyres used during the race. Among the eleven riders that started the race on wet tyres, seven selected the harder front option, while six selected the harder rear option. All the riders that started on wet tyres pitted and changed to bikes with slick tyres within the first five laps of the race.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“What an amazing finish to the season we had today! Congratulations to Dani for scoring his seventh win of the season, but I am also very pleased for Nakasuga-san on his first MotoGP podium and that Casey was able to stand on the podium in his final race. Also, well done to Aleix for ending the season as the top CRT rider in the first year of this new class. With the conclusion of another exciting season Bridgestone now looks to the future and the post-season test next week will form the basis of our MotoGP tyre development programme over the winter break.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was expected that we would have wet weather today but the condition of the track for the start of the MotoGP race was just dry enough for some riders to consider slicks, although almost every rider originally planned to run on wet tyres. Of those riders that did start the race on wet tyres, the majority went for the alternative hard option wet tyre as this specification provides better durability on drying tarmac. Ultimately though, every rider switched to the softer option slick tyres during the race despite the track being quite damp off the racing line which unfortunately caught a few riders out. Overall it was a very challenging race, but our tyre allocation provided options that were well suited to the variable conditions.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“On the grid I was expecting to do a few laps on the wet tyres before changing bikes, but while waiting for the start the track became dry enough for slicks. On the warm-up lap I wasn’t sure if I had time to change my bike, but I was able to enter pit lane and change quickly. The start was the most critical point and from then I just focused on having a good race. It was hard to keep concentration once I had my large advantage but in the end it came out alright and I am very happy to take this win for my fans and my team.”