It was a dramatic beginning for the final round of the 2009 MotoGP season with Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner high-siding on the warm-up lap, effectively ending his day and his chance for second in the championship. When the flag did drop, Pedrosa took the early lead with Honda pilot Toni Elias in second and Lorenzo in third. World Champ Rossi overtook Lorenzo when the Mallorcan had a wobble on Lap 6 relegating him to third. The Doctor then set his sights on catching Pedrosa but the Spaniard had opened up an insurmountable gap.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards was up to fourth by Lap 14 with Nicky Hayden on his Marlboro Ducati Desmosedici behind in fifth. Wildcard entry Ben Spies moved his Sterilgarda Yamaha to ninth ahead of San Carlo Gresini Alex De Angelis on Lap 17 and began his campaign against Pedrosa’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso in seventh and LCR Honda Randy De Puniet in eighth. During the last part of the race, the Texan made his move and passed the checkered flag in seventh ahead of Dovizioso. The maneuver not only gained Spies a position, but bumping Dovizioso down a spot granted fifth in the MotoGP championship to his 2010 teamate, Edwards.
2009 Rookie of the Year, Mika Kallio crossed the line in ninth ahead of De Angelis, who fell back to tenth. The Gresini Honda pilot finished just ahead of fellow Honda man De Puniet in 11th and Edwards’ teammate, for the final time, James Toseland in 12th. Pramac Racing Aleix Espargaro captured 13th with the Rizla Suzuki team of Loris Capirossi in 14th and Chris Vermeulen in 15th. Chris V was riding his final MotoGP race before joining World Superbike in 2010.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi may have hoped to finish the season with the first-place spot but the Italian could not catch Pedrosa before the checkers.
MotoGP Valencia Race Results:
1. Dan Pedrosa (Honda) 46:47.553
2. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +2.630
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +2.913
4. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +32.515
5. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +34.585
6. Toni Elias (Honda) +34.888
7. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +37.706
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +38.364
9. Mika Kallio (Ducati) +42.491
10. Alex De Angelis (Honda) +43.689
11. Randy De Puniet (Honda) +46.018
12. James Toseland (Yamaha) +50.226
13. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati) +57.168
14. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) +1’06.877
15. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) +1’11.701
MotoGP Valencia Race Rider Quotes:
Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda:
“It’s really great to finish off the season with a win, especially here in front of my home fans. I was waiting on the grid with my visor up and I was looking to the side for Casey to arrive, but the marshal in front of me was walking to the side and I was thinking: ‘Where is he going!’ So I assumed something had happened to Casey on the warm-up lap. In the first few laps I had to be careful because you have to warm up the tires here, especially on the right hand side. But once that was done, we maintained a good pace and kept focused. In the last laps, the wind was strong and it would have been easy to make a mistake, but I was able to control the gap to Valentino and take this win. I was thinking back to Laguna Seca where Valentino closed the gap a lot, and I also knew that Jorge was catching Valentino too, so I just kept pushing. I’m very happy for the team because we struggled quite a lot in practice here, and yet we were able to win in front of all the Spanish fans. I’d like to thank the fans too. To get third in the championship is not what I was expecting but it’s a nice surprise, even though Casey wasn’t in the race. This season has not been easy and tomorrow’s testing will be important so that we can start 2010 in the best possible shape. This gives us a good start towards that.”
Casey Stoner – Ducati Marlboro:
“Obviously this is a frustrating and disappointing way to finish the season. There have been plenty of highs and lows throughout the year and we have ended on a low, but with another lesson learnt for next season. We have had this strategy for two years and not had a problem until today so I guess it is better it happened here than in the first race of next season in Qatar! The important thing is that after back-
Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner was unable to take his pole position spot on the grid after a high-side during the warm-up lap.
to-back wins in Australia and Malaysia we have shown our pace here at Valencia and we know we have everything in place to be competitive next season if we do the job right over the winter. Now I am looking forward to working on the bike over the next three days and then spending a couple of months building up my physical fitness, which I haven’t been able to dedicate myself 100% to for such a long time. We know it will be hard next year but we are confident that we can be back and fighting again. I want to give my personal thanks to everybody in the team – to Filippo and everybody at Ducati Corse for giving me a bike that was competitive even when I wasn’t and for working to make sure it was firing on all cylinders when I came back. I also want to thank Livio Suppo, who is leaving the team, for all the support he has given me since I joined Ducati and especially during the difficult moments this season.”
Valentino Rossi – Fiat Yamaha:
“I’m really happy about this result because it was fantastic to be able to ride well at Valencia and it’s my best finish here since 2004. Of course it would have been better to win but I lost some time at the start battling with Elias and Lorenzo and by that time Pedrosa had gone and at this track it’s almost impossible to make up a two second gap. It’s not one of our best tracks but after the problems we had all weekend we can be very pleased, we made a great modification in warm-up so thanks to all my guys for this. We’ve ended the championship on the podium and it’s been a great season, another world title and the triple crown for Yamaha, I am very proud. Thank you to Yamaha, all my team, Bridgestone and everyone else, now we will have a little party before we start work on the 2010 bike tomorrow!”
Jorge Lorenzo made an impressive save of his Fiat Yamaha when it wobbled on Lap 6, but it caused the Mallorcan to lose his second-place spot to teammate Rossi.
Jorge Lorenzo – Fiat Yamaha:
“I had some good fights at the start and I was feeling quite strong but then I made a big mistake in the slow corner and I was lucky not to crash, so Valentino got by. I was in a bit of pain and I took some time to recover, and by then the gap was a bit too big to catch him. Anyway I’m happy to get another podium in Spain and I am so proud to have finished second in the championship; I want to thank everyone, Yamaha, Bridgestone and all my team, because we have worked so hard and this is a great achievement in just our second season. Now I can’t wait to start testing the new bike and I look forward to being even stronger next year.”
Colin Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3:
“Things really fell my way today but over the course of the season I feel like I really deserve fifth place in the championship. At best I was thinking I could finish fifth in the race but then I saw Casey wasn’t on the grid and immediately I thought ‘well, there’s some more points up for grabs.’ I got a great start and the bike was working awesome but those three out front were untouchable. I don’t know how they do it, what they’ve got or what they eat for breakfast, but I couldn’t run their pace. In the middle of the race I couldn’t carry the corner speed I wanted to so I tried to smooth myself out and just rode out of my skin. I was doing the best I could but wasn’t sure where Dovizioso was. It turns out Ben got by him and that point proved crucial. I gave him a big hug after the race and anything he wants me to buy him, he can have it.”
Toni Elias – San Carlo Honda Gresini:
“I started the weekend with a bit of a cold, which hasn’t helped, and we had a few technical issues to resolve too. The team have done a great job though to give me a bike that I was able to ride to the maximum in qualifying yesterday and in the race today, which gave me the opportunity to take seventh place in the championship, which six riders were going for. I was calm going into the race because I know I usually start well and after that it was a case of pushing as hard as I could to stay with the front guys, who were on another planet again here. I managed to stick it out with Nicky and Colin for the whole race although they were slightly faster than me and it was an effort to stay with them. In the end I knew seventh place in the championship was ours if I could finish sixth so I gritted my teeth to the end. There are so many people I want to thank. My MotoGP adventure is over for now but I hope to be back as soon as possible after taking on the new challenge that awaits me, starting tomorrow, in Moto2.”
“I had an enjoyable race, going back and forth with a few guys at the beginning especially. It’s not a spectacular result but we’ve end the season with two top fives and we know we have a direction to work in over the winter,” said Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden on his fifth-place finish.
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro:
“I thought it might be possible to do a little better than that today but I didn’t get the best start. The clutch was slipping a little bit down the first couple of straightaways and I lost some positions. After that I managed to pull myself up again and from there it was a case of doing my best to try and bridge the gap to Colin (Edwards). The bike was working quite well but every time I closed a tenth or two he had an answer and pulled it back out. Towards the end I had some issues in a couple of left-handers and my pace dropped too much It hasn’t been a great season for me in terms of results but the improvements we have made since the start are huge and I’m excited about the future. We’re thirteenth overall, which looks awful on paper, but we are only eleven points off seventh and I had three first-lap incidents that weren’t my fault – just one of those could have made the difference. Next season starts tomorrow and I can’t wait to get back to work! There will be some changes in the team and a few guys leaving who I will miss. I want to thank them because even though it’s on old saying it really is true that Ducati is like a family. All I can say is good luck to them and I’m looking forward to welcoming the new guys in.”
Ben Spies – Sterilgarda Yamaha:
“It was a good day. We got a good start which something I didn’t think was going to happen. For the first six or seven laps I wasn’t really on it, I wasn’t used to the way the tires
“Elbowz” Ben Spies made a lasting impression on future Yamaha teammate, Colin Edwards, for his seventh-place finish ahead of Dovizoso granting Edwards extra points in the championship fight.
come in so I was halfway taking it easy and halfway getting pushed around because I didn’t want to do anything silly. Once we got into a rhythm I got to follow some people and it was ok, then I slowly started to pass some people and got my eyes set on the guys in front. Once I got passed Dovizioso I could see Nicky Hayden and Tony Elias up ahead. I knew I wasn’t going to catch them but I tried to keep my pace going and was able to keep it steady. It’s been a dream first weekend for us, to get seventh on a track I don’t particularly favour is pretty cool, the feeling is the same as winning a superbike race. I’m happy we’ve kept the bike off the ground and made solid progress all weekend which was our number one goal. I just want to thank Yamaha for giving me this opportunity, and all the sponsors that helped put this together for the weekend, especially Sterilgarda, BM Group, Fimer, Parts Europe and everybody else who made it possible to get this thing going, I think we did a good job for them.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda:
“We overtook a lot of riders in the race, but I cannot be happy with this result because we lost fifth place in the championship, and keeping that position was our target today. I had a bad start and lost a lot of time overtaking riders with a slower pace than mine, and this caused me to lose contact with Edwards and Elias. If I had started from further up the grid, I had the rhythm and pace to fight with them, but starting from the fourth row everything is more difficult. In the end Spies overtook me and I couldn’t re-pass him, and with eighth-position at the finish I lost my fifth-position in the championship. I don’t want to make any excuse for this result. I’m just looking forward to the future. We have worked a lot this season and, although it hasn’t been easy, we have learned a lot. I’d like to thank my team for their hard work, and from tomorrow the 2010 season starts. Honda has brought a new chassis and I’m really looking forward to testing it.”
Alex De Angelis – San Carlo Honda Gresini:
“I’m happy because we’ve finished the season with a good position in the championship, virtually the first satellite rider if you consider that Edwards is a test rider on pretty much factory machinery and Elias was on the factory Honda. We’re also ahead of the two factory Suzukis. It was a difficult race today because the rear was sliding around a lot but I think I held my own and did pretty well with what we had. I want to thank all the sponsors and everybody in the team for helping me make this position in the championship possible. ”
Randy de Puniet – LCR Honda:
“Honestly, I would have preferred to finish the last race of the season in the top-six, so I am a bit disappointed about today’s result. I made a good start from the third row, but after 12 laps I started to lose some grip on the left side of the rear tire; that’s why the other guys caught me! However I want to thank Lucio [Cecchinello] and the rest of the team for their efforts. We have had a positive season together and I am pretty sure we could have had a better result if I hadn’t broken my left ankle in the middle of the season. I am happy to continue with LCR for next year because we have got the potential to be the most competitive private Honda team.”
Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki:
“Before we got to Valencia our expectation was that it would be a bit tough here as the conditions would be quite cold and everything we expected seems to have come true. It was difficult in the practice as we tried to find a good setting, but just never got the feeling we wanted. I chose the softer tire today, even though I didn’t have a good feeling in that – so you can imagine how difficult the hard one would have been to use! At the start of the race when the tire was new everything felt not too bad and I tried to follow some guys , but as the grip levels dropped down I didn’t have complete control over the bike and struggled even more. I tried to defend my position but it felt like everyone could get past me, so all I did was try to make sure I finished the race. This result is not good for me, the team and Suzuki, because we try to work hard and we really want to have a result – so this feeling is not good. Thankfully, the good thing we have as a team is that we are strong inside and we know what our target is. We want to make sure we break everybody’s balls so that we can get to the front and we have to do it next year, because like this is just not good enough! I also want to say I feel sorry for Chris that he had to finish with this result. I have worked with him for two seasons and he is a great team-mate and we have a good friendship. We work well together and we check data all the time to try to improve the bike, so for me this is not a nice day. After two seasons it will be difficult to look over and see a different guy in my box, but this is the way life goes and I want to say good luck and welcome to Alvaro and hope we can work together as well as Chris and I have done.”
Chris Vermeulen – Rizla Suzuki:
Chris Vermeulen lines up on the grid for the final race of the 2009 MotoGP season. This is also the last time the Aussie will ride on Rizla Suzuki GSV-R as he embarks on a World Superbike career for 2010.
“It has been a difficult weekend and the only positive I can take from it is that we definitely improved in the race from yesterday’s qualifying and managed to pass a few guys out there today. I was catching Loris towards the end of the race and I could see that he was struggling with a similar sort of situation as I was. Suzuki has got a lot of work to do to get this sorted, but I really hope they are able to do that, especially for all my crew who work so hard to get things right. I want thank everyone at Suzuki and in the team for what they have done in the last four years, we’ve had some good times – sadly today was not one of them unfortunately. I hope the guys get a lot of work done in the winter and come out much stronger. I also want to wish good luck to Loris and Alvaro for 2010; I have enjoyed working with Loris and will miss the friendship and rivalry that we had together.”
Gabor Talmacsi – Scot Honda:
“I’m not satisfied with the race. While I got a good feeling from the bike in the qualifying session, the race was a different story. I had to fight the bike all the way. About the season in general, it has been very tough. They say what does not kill you makes you stronger. Well, I collected a lot of experience in my first MotoGP races. I’ll make good use of it next season, in Moto2. I want to thank the team for all they did for me.”