Valentino Rossi ended his final race of 2010 in third after lacking the physical strength to pressure Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner.
Valentino Rossi ended his Yamaha career on the podium in Valencia yesterday, but the Italian was unable to clinch a fairytale farewell as he was overshadowed by bitter rival and Fiat Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi was in contention for an emotional final victory and the 47th win of his Yamaha career when he suddenly started to fade with Lorenzo and Aussie Casey Stoner dicing for the lead. The 31-year-old though blamed a lack of fitness for his failure to sustain his challenge as his training regime has been badly affected by the damaged right shoulder he suffered in a motocross training accident in April.
“It was a great race for me because we suffered too much during the practice and I think it is one of the best races of my career at Valencia,” said Rossi. “I lost time at the start but I had good grip from the beginning so I could push. I did some good passes and when I arrived in third-place I was able to come back on Casey and Dani (Pedrosa). I made some great lap times and at that moment I think maybe it is possible to win the race. But Jorge rode very well. I was behind him and we were behind Casey, but unfortunately for the last laps I wasn’t at the maximum. I’m not fit, so I started to lose power to the right hand and then to the left and then to the leg. I needed more distance to stop the bike and I started to make some mistakes behind Jorge. I was running wide and I had to slow down. If you are not 100 percent with this level it is impossible to win. But the podium is great and I kept third position in the championship.”
Rossi will now test for Ducati this week before he goes for surgery on the shoulder that troubled him throughout the entire season.
“Next Monday or Tuesday I will do the surgery,” said Rossi. “It will be quite a long time to recover and hard work but I hope to be quite fit for the first test in Sepang, and if I will not be 100 per cent I hope to be at the maximum for the first race of next season.”
Casey Stoner (#27) took second behind Lorenzo (#99) at Valencia after his hard option rear tire lacked sufficient grip.
Casey Stoner’s bid to end his Ducati career with a 24th victory was thwarted in Valencia yesterday. The Aussie led for the opening 22 laps before he came under attack from Jorge Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha. Unable to respond to the Spaniard’s onslaught, Stoner settled for second in his final ride for Ducati before he joins Honda’s official factory team for 2011.The 2007 world champion said failure to generate heat in his hard rear Bridgestone tire choice was partly to blame for him not being able to streak away at the front for a trademark runaway victory.
“The lap times we were doing in practice and qualifying sort of covered up a lot of problems people didn’t see behind the scenes, said Stoner. “I was cautious going into the race. We knew it wasn’t going to be how everybody thought it was going to be and we just tried to get the best start we could, because we knew if we were back in the pack a little bit with the hard tire we chose. We were struggling to warm up the tire a little bit. So if we were back behind a few people I think I’d have struggled to overtake and get through to the front. I was just braking as hard as I could, going as deep as I could into the corners to make sure nobody was coming past me. I was trying not to make mistakes and trying to keep my corner speed and my lap times still consistent. I had a lot of pressure coming from behind but I just tried to do everything we could and as best as I could. I saw that Jorge was quite a way back at the start and I knew that he’d been running some pretty good lap times to be able to catch up. So I knew it was only a matter of time before he made a move and tried to get past. I did everything I could to try to block, but it was inevitable that Jorge was going to come past. And from that moment I just tried to hang onto him, but there was no chance.”
Stoner paid tribute to Lorenzo after the double world 250GP champion claimed a ninth win of the 2010 campaign, and added: “Hat’s off to Jorge. He’s won this championship and proved why he’s world champion again, similar to the last race in Portugal. I’ve just got to look forward to next year and I think this is a great way to sign off with Ducati.”
Lorenzo overcame a batlle with Valentino Rossi and a near crash with Marco Simoncelli to claim the last win of the season.
Jorge Lorenzo showed why he will be the man to beat in 2011 after he ended a fantastic season with an emphatic victory in Valencia yesterday. The new world champion battled his way back from seventh in the early stages to comfortably defeat Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi and Ducati rival Casey Stoner. Having somehow managed to stay on board his factory YZR-M1 after an early collision with Marco Simoncelli at the final corner, Lorenzo carved his way through the field to claim his ninth win of the season. He broke Rossi’s points record in the process, his finally tally of 383 beating the Italian’s previous best by 10 points. The 23-year-old, who had won the previous week in Estoril too, said: “Before Portugal I was very convinced to try for a win there because it’s one of my favorite tracks. But coming here to Valencia, I tried to be convinced, but I remembered the past and it was really difficult to convince myself to try for a victory. But in practice I was fast from the beginning and I set a good pace. Casey seemed to be a little bit faster and more constant, but the race is very long and I made a good start. But in the second corner I tried to pass Casey from the inside and couldn’t do it, so a few riders passed me. The fight with Marco was difficult and in the last corner I lost a lot of positions. But I kept trying. I was concentrated and little by little, lap by lap, I was recovering and finally I could take the win.”
Lorenzo though admitted he thought his hopes of breaking Rossi’s points record had evaporated when he collided with Simoncelli’s San Carlo Gresini Honda machine on the third lap. He added: “I was proud to get this record because I demonstrated a lot of consistency. To be honest, in the corner where I touched with Simoncelli and I almost crashed, I thought I’m eighth, I won’t make the record points. But I kept patient, won the race and made it.”
Valentino Rossi admitted that he’s curious to find out what challenges await him as he prepares to make his much-hyped factory Ducati debut in Valencia next week. The 31-year-old will test for the Bologna factory on November 9th in Valencia, having opted to quit Yamaha back in August.
Valentino Rossi (#46) is due to begin testing the Ducati soon, but a gag order by Yamaha will prevent the Italian from saying anything untill January of 2011.
“I’m very curious because it looks like the Ducati is very different compared to the M1 but I expect a competitive bike, perhaps a bit faster but a bit more nervous and aggressive but also with good power,” Rossi said. “This is what I think from following the Ducati on the track, but it will be a great emotion on Tuesday morning like the first time with the M1 in Sepang in 2004. It is something that you will always remember in the next years.”
Rossi was speaking in the same press conference room where, in 2003, he announced he was leaving Honda to join Yamaha. He added: “I am very happy, and if in 2003 somebody would have said to me you will win four championships and 46 races, I would have signed with my blood.”
Rossi also spoke of the importance of moving with his entire crew to Ducati, led by influential Aussie, Jerry Burgess.
“For me it is very important and I know that for the guys and especially Jerry it is a completely new adventure,” said Rossi. “It is also a life choice, but at the end all the guys say yes and I’m very happy because they bring a lot of experience and together we have a great atmosphere. It is a long time we have been working together. At the end of this year they have been together for the same time they were with Mick (Doohan), so I want to make more.”
He also said he would have switched to Ducati regardless of whether Burgess and the crew moved or not.
Nicky Hayden suffered a DNF in the last round of the season, and the American’s results in 2010 were largely frustrating.
Nicky Hayden has admitted large parts of the 2010 MotoGP campaign have been frustrating, despite the American producing a vastly improved performance compared to his first season with Ducati. Hayden has scored 11 top-six finishes so far in 2010 but has only once finished on the podium when he took third at the Motorland Aragon track in September.
“It hasn’t been a bad season but not spectacular,” said Hayden. “Certainly my goal wasn’t sixth-place but this year has been a big step from last year and I learned a lot. I enjoyed parts of it but it has been frustrating not to be able to go to that next step. It’s not an end of the world season for me but it’s not over yet.”
Hayden also found time to joke about the imminent arrival of nine-times world champion, Valentino Rossi, to Ducati.
“Last time we were teammates I took him under my wing a little bit,” said Hayden. “I was coming from America with a lot of experience and I think I helped him a lot and I showed him the way and I was really open, didn’t mind sharing my information with him and I hope to do the same with him this time. I helped him a lot with his race craft because he really needed some tweaking on that. Truthfully though it’s an exciting future at Ducati for the people and fans with Valentino coming. It’s good for MotoGP and I’m looking forward to it.”
Casey Stoner has said how crucial it is that his entire crew will join him in Honda’s official factory squad in 2011. Stoner has quit Ducati to join HRC and as part of the two-year deal, he will move en masse with his entire crew. The 24-year-old said it was vital that his crew, led by Cristian Gabbarini, were also making the switch as he bids to become the first rider in the 800cc era to win the MotoGP crown for Honda.
Rossi will be joined at Ducati by his entire crew except for Davide Brivio, who will be stepping down as team manager into an advisory role for the upcoming season.
“They are my guys and my family,” said Hayden. “I know they would follow me through volcanoes and everything and I love them as much as they love me. We have become such a family and there was really no question that we’d separate. We didn’t have to deny the rumors but there was no doubt ever that they weren’t coming with me. I’ve had a great four years with them and didn’t want it to end with them.”
Stoner said the emotion of leaving Ducati after Sunday’s final round in Valencia would probably not hit until later. Stoner has won 23 races for Ducati and is the most successful rider in the 800cc era.
Meanwhile Valentino Rossi has apparently been gagged by Yamaha and is unable to make any public comments about his factory Ducati debut in Valencia next week. One of the conditions of Rossi’s early release from his Yamaha contract was that he wouldn’t speak to the media after his GP11 debut in Valencia next Tuesday and Wednesday. Rossi was given permission to test for Ducati during last month’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. It means the first time Rossi will be able to speak officially about his thoughts on the Ducati will not come until the Bologna factory holds its traditional team launch at the Madonna di Campiglio ski resort in mid-January. Ducati only got confirmation of Rossi’s release from his Yamaha contract at the recent Australian Grand Prix in Phillip Island. Ducati chief, Alessandro Cicognani, admitted he started getting concerned about Rossi’s availability for the Valencia test.
“The time was passing and the longer it went and there was no answer, we felt it might not happen,” said Cicognani. “I think the decision was already taken but they were just waiting for the right moment. I’m happy because they will also release the team and I think we have arrived in a situation where everybody is happy. I think it is fair that every rider has the same chance to test the bike. We have been working on this for months so we really have to thank Yamaha.”
When Valentino Rossi opted to join Ducati in 2011 back in early July, it was widely expected that he would decimate his side of Yamaha’s factory’s garage by taking all of his crew with him. That proved the case when Yamaha confirmed at the Motorland Aragon race in September that Rossi’s entire crew, led by influential Aussie Jerry Burgess, were leaving. And on the eve of the final race of Rossi’s Yamaha career in Valencia this weekend, another departure has been confirmed.
Davide Brivio, a prominent figure within Yamaha for nearly 20 years, has been team manager of Rossi’s crew since 2008, but has opted to step down. The Italian was influential in persuading Rossi to join Yamaha at the end of 2003, and it is understood he will undertake a personal manager role or advisor to the nine-times world champion. Yamaha has also confirmed that Massimo Meregalli will be re-united with Texan Ben Spies in 2011. Meregalli ran Yamaha’s World Superbike squad when Spies won a record-breaking 14 races in 2009 to become the first rookie ever to lift the crown. Meregalli has been appointed Team Director and will work closely with Team Manager, Wilco Zeelenberg. Taking Meregalli’s place at Yamaha’s WSB squad will be Andrea Dosoli, current boss of the Forward Racing Moto2 team and ex-Hayate MotoGP chief.
Suzuki has confirmed it will run only one factory GSV-R in the 2011 MotoGP world championship. The Japanese factory released a short statement overnight confirming it would reduce its involvement and field only one bike to be campaigned by Spaniard, Alvaro Bautista. Suzuki first informed Dorna of its intention to reduce its involvement to one bike in 2011 back in June. Suzuki boss, Shinichi Sahara, made the plan public at the Misano round in early September. Suzuki is blaming the impact of the economic crisis on its decision to downsize to one factory GSV-R. The statement read:
Scott Redding (#45, above) has re-signed with the Marc VDS Racing squad. Kenan Sofuoglu (below) will join Technomag-CIP in the 2011 Moto2 series after winning the World Supersport Championship in ’10.
“Suzuki Motor Corporation wishes to thank all customers and race fans who supported the Suzuki MotoGP Team in 2010. With the experience and knowledge gained in 2010 the Suzuki MotoGP Team will move forward with great passion and effort in search of glory in 2011.The Suzuki MotoGP Team will participate in 2011 with a single rider, Alvaro Bautista. Alvaro joined the team in 2010 and made good progress with GSV-R, the Suzuki Grand Prix machine, improving his results throughout the season. Suzuki will continue to make the best use of the short time to the start of the 2011 MotoGP season to develop the GSV-R machine for this, the pinnacle class of motorcycle racing, and we thank all Suzuki customers and race fans for their continued support.”
Rising British star Scott Redding will be joined by experienced Finnish rider, Mika Kallio, in the 2011 Moto2 world championship. Kallio signed a deal with the Belgian-based Marc VDS Racing squad during last weekend’s Valencia MotoGP race and was due to make his Suter MMX debut at the Spanish circuit on Monday. The former Pramac Ducati MotoGP rider said: “I had quite a few options in Moto2 for next year, but with Marc VDS I know I’ve found the right team for me. Their results in the second half of the season show clearly that they are one of the top teams on the grid and with them I know I can make good results next year. I’m sure there are some people who think this is a step backwards for me career-wise, but I disagree. I think it is a great opportunity for me and I know that with this team I can be back at the front once again. The fact that the Marc VDS Racing Team are committed to stepping up to the MotoGP class in the future is also a very positive thing for me, as I still feel I have unfinished business there. Now I just need to get a feel for the Suter MMX.”
Redding finished yesterday’s final race in Valencia in fifth position to move himself into eighth-place in the final rankings. He finished just seven-points from an overall top-six, having scored five top-five finishes in the final eight races – including podiums at Indianapolis and Phillip Island.
Double World Supersport champion Kenan Sofuoglu will ride in the 2011 Moto2 world championship having signed a permanent deal today in Valencia. The Turkish rider has agreed on a deal with the Technomag-CIP squad after having impressed with his Moto2 debut in Estoril last weekend. He was drafted in by the team for the final two races following the tragic death of Japanese rider, Shoya Tomizawa, at the Misano round back in early September. He revealed that he turned down several offers after his Estoril performance, including an opportunity to ride the Gresini Moriwaki machine that Toni Elias dominated the 2010 campaign on. He will partner Swiss rider, Dominique Aegerter, in 2011 and he said: “I am really excited about racing in Moto2. I had an offer in my hand from every top team after the Estoril race including the world champion team. But I have been with a world championship-winning team in World Supersport with Ten Kate, and I wanted to be involved with a team that I could bring to the top. When I agreed to sign the guys were virtually jumping all over and this is what convinced me I had made the right decision.”