Jorge Lorenzo (above) is just 15 points away from matching the record for the most points earned in a single season. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi (#46 below) will seek one last win as he prepares to leave Fiat Yamaha.
Just one round remains in the 2010 MotoGP Championship as the paddock steers its way to the Valencia circuit in Spain. It will be an ideal return home for Jorge Lorenzo, who officially secured the Triple Crown in the last round at Estoril by taking the Rider, Team and Manufacturer titles. Lorenzo gets a final 2010 performance in front of home fans as the new World Champion while his teammate, Valentino Rossi, will bid farewell to Yamaha as the Italian moves on to Ducati.
In the penultimate round of the series Lorenzo once again rode to victory lane after breaking a six-race losing streak. The Spaniard is thrilled to have the chance to ride in front of friends and family again – putting the perfect cap on a season which has seen the 23-year-old take eight wins, seven poles and a staggering 15 podium finishes. There is still one record in sight for Lorenzo and that is the most points accrued during a single season. Currently at 358, Lorenzo needs another 15 points to match the previous record, and that number could be surpassed with one more podium. The Spaniard has yet to win at the Valencia circuit, with two Spanish victories earlier this season at Catalunya and Jerez and with a fourth-place result at Aragon. Lorenzo will be putting up a strong fight for win number three in his home country.
“Finally the end of the season is here and for me it is so special to finish in Spain, with all of my fans,” said Lorenzo. “I have already celebrated in Mallorca but this will be the first time I ride in Spain as the World Champion and I am so proud to do so. It has been an incredible season for us and I was so happy to win again last weekend. We have won the Triple Crown now so our targets are complete, but I would like to make a new points record, which I can do if I finish on the podium. I have never won in Valencia so I would really like to try this weekend.”
Dani Pedrosa will also race on home soil as he seeks to defend second-place in the championship from Valentino Rossi.
Emotions will also be running high in Rossi’s corner as he suits up for the last time with Yamaha. The Italian has enjoyed an extremely successful career with the Japanese marque which has lasted through 116 races, 46 wins and four world titles. With six podiums and two wins this season, Rossi will be looking to end the season and his time with Yamaha on a high note. The 31-year-old’s record at the Spanish circuit is exemplary with two wins and another six podiums, and as of the last round Rossi has retaken third-place in the Championship.
“So here we are, my last race with Yamaha and it will be an emotional weekend for all,” said Rossi. “Of course I would really like to try to win this final race because it would be a great end to this partnership, which has had so many beautiful moments. We improved the setting of our bike again in Estoril so I hope we will be in good shape in Valencia, although it hasn’t been the best track for me in the last few years. Anyway this is a special weekend so we will do everything that we can. I am third in the championship after Estoril and second is not impossible, although we know Dani is strong in Valencia and he is still 19 points ahead.”
It will also be the a home race for Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who is clinging to second in the championship after a major crash at Motegi. The Spaniard put in a commendable run at Estoril, taking eighth across the line to gain valuable points to hold-off Rossi who is 19 points behind. It will be a tense final round between Pedrosa and Rossi as both have their own motives for putting in their best performance of the year.
Ducati’s Casey Stoner will look to return to winning form after three victorious rounds late in the season. The Aussie is fourth in the championship and trailing Rossi by 12 points after a recent DNF at Estoril caused significant fall back for him. Stoner crashed out on Lap 5 while pressuring Lorenzo, and was unable to finish the race. A zero-point haul this late in the season could spell doom for the 25-year-old in his quest for a top-three finish overall, with Stoner headed to Honda in 2011.
Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, is still reveling in his third-place finish from the last round after narrowly outpacing San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli across the finish line. The Italian has had three podiums in the last three rounds, and has had an impressive season despite it being winless. The last round also allowed Dovizioso to separate himself in the standings from rookie Ben Spies and, coupled with Stoner’s DNF, the 24-year-old is now just 10 points outside of a top-three finish for 2010.
Nicky Hayden will go head-to-head against Ben Spies as the two Americans duke it out for sixth in the championship.
Stoner’s teammate, Nicky Hayden and Spies are currently tied for sixth in the series, so the final round will prove vital for both rivals as they struggle for ranking. Perhaps the biggest storyline in regard to the two Americans is Spies’ ankle injury sustained at Estoril. The Texan dislocated his left ankle during his second sighting lap at Estoril, but is determined to race the final round. With both riders dead even in the standings, it will take a spectacular ride on Spies’ behalf to outrun Hayden.
For Interwetten Honda, Valencia will be the last race for the team as they decide to call it quits in MotoGP and focus their efforts instead on Moto 2. Meanwhile, rider Hiroshi Aoyama is expected to join the San Carlo Honda crew for next year.
In the Moto 2 class Toni Elias will be receiving a warm welcome from his home country at Valencia. Like Lorenzo, the Spanish rider will enjoy the final race of the season on home soil, and will be able to celebrate his championship victory properly in the presence of family and friends. However, the battle still rages on for the rest of the field as Mapfre Aspar’s Julian Simon and Fimmco Spees Up’s Andrea Iannone
Toni Elias will be able to end a title-winning season in home territory as remaining positions in the series get dished out at the Valencia circuit.
grapple for the runner-up position. Simon is ahead by just six points coming into the last round while Iannone suffered a difficult round at Estoril, finishing 21st and nearly 47 seconds off the pace of the leader.
Behind the two rivals in the series is Swiss rider Thomas Luthi. The 24-year-old finished 16th in the last race, and is comfortably seated fourth in the championship. Fifth in the championship is JiR Moto2’s Simone Corsi. The Italian took 14th during a brutal race in Estoril, and needs to make up 14 points in order to take a top-four finish in 2010. Hungary’s Gabor Talmacsi looked to have Estoril in the bag on Saturday after nailing down pole position, but he finished eighth in the last round. The Fimmco Speed Up rider will most likely have to settle for sixth in the series as he remains 26 points behind Corsi.