Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi may have already won his coveted ninth title, but you can bet he will fight for the finish against rival and teammate, Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati ace Casey Stoner at the season-ending MotoGP finale at Valencia. Also battling with the GP boys will be the current World Superbike champ and future Tech 3 Yamaha rider, Ben Spies
, who will contest the final round as a Yamaha wildcard.
Despite his “Gallina Vecchia” (old chicken) display last month at Sepang, it's apparent Rossi isn’t slowing down his racing efforts anytime soon and is looking forward to
Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi will be pushing for one final 2009 win at the MotoGP finale at Valencia.
Valencia. The Doctor said, "I am very happy to be going to the final race with the championship won and the pressure off, now we can just enjoy ourselves. It's been a fantastic year and now we just have one more weekend before we start work for 2010. On Monday we will start working on the new M1 and I'm very excited to try it!"
With only one point needed to clinch second-place in the championship, Lorenzo only has to finish the race at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, a track he knows will challenge him and the Yamaha M1. "Valencia is an amazing place to finish the Championship, at home, with your fans. I've never got a victory here and I know that it's not one of the best tracks for Yamaha, but I am confident that I can try to change that and finish the championship in the best possible way,” said the Mallorcan.
As for the other Yamaha
looking for some points, SBK champ Ben Spies will be eager to impress. The American has already made his GP debut last year in a pair of wildcard rides, but Valencia will be a head start on his first true MotoGP shot as he pilots the Tech 3 Yamaha alongside Colin Edwards for 2010. How well can Spies perform under the GP spotlight? Well, he will be hard pressed to duplicate the last time a SBK champ raced the Valencia finale, when Troy Bayliss
smoked the field for a flag-to-flag victory aboard the Desmosedici
in 2006. All eyes will certainly be on Spies this weekend.
, on the other hand, has enjoyed some of its most famous successes at Valencia with the team being represented on the podium every season it has been here with the exception of 2005, when their best was fourth. Stoner would like to continue Ducati’s prosperity by holding off Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and finish his tumultuous 2009 season on a high note by taking home third in the championship.
But the fast-running Pedrosa has also savored victory at Valencia in the past, with a flag-to-flag win in 2007. The Spaniard has graced the podium six times and has won the race from pole position on four of his seven previous visits. Pedrosa will need to overcome an 11-point deficit on his home turf to overtake Stoner for third in the points.
Can Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa (3) repeat his 2007 flag-to-flag victory at the Ricardo Tormo circuit?
After a disappointing crash took him out of the Sepang race, fellow Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso will be spoiling for his fight with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards for fifth in the championship. While jockeying for the final top-ten spots includes Hayate Racing’s Marco Melandri in seventh all the way down to Edward’s teammate, James Toseland in 14th. The Brit still has a mathematical chance of finishing seventh in the championship if he wins the race, before moving back to World Superbike in 2010.
Dicing with Toseland will be Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen (also bound back to World Superbike for 2010), San Carlo’s Alex De Angelis and Toni Elias, and LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet.
Another rider looking to finish the season strong will be Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden, who has been on the podium twice at Valencia including 2006, when he clinched the MotoGP title.
Pramac Racing’s Niccolo Canepa will miss the final round at Valencia as he continues to recover from his crash at Phillip Island which required surgery. Aleix Espargaro will stand-in again and ride his first Grand Prix as a MotoGP rider on Spanish soil.
Valentino Rossi - Fiat Yamaha:
"I am very happy to be going to the final race with the championship won and the pressure off, now we can just enjoy ourselves. It's been a fantastic year and now we just have one more weekend before we start work for 2010. Valencia hasn't been a great track for me in the past and I've had some bad times there, but at the moment we're in great shape and our bike is working well everywhere we go, so I hope it will be the same at Valencia. It's a great place to finish and the atmosphere is amazing, so we will just do our best and hope for another good race to end off a great season. On Monday we will start working on the new M1 and I'm very excited to try it!"
Jorge Lorenzo - Fiat Yamaha:
"The last two races haven't been great for me and I really want to get over that. Furthermore, I need one point to become 'vice-champion' and I would really like to do that with a podium or a win. That's my aim in Valencia. My best race here was in 2005, when I finished in second place but I think my best memory was in 2006 when I won the championship there. 2009 has been an amazing year for me and for Yamaha and I am looking forward to celebrating with my fans at a home race."
Casey Stoner - Ducati Marlboro:
Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner hopes this will be what things look like in his rearview mirror.
“Valencia is a circuit I’ve always liked – it is tight and slow but surprisingly flowing and I think it’s a good circuit for a MotoGP bike. Apart from anything it is a great viewing spectacle for the fans, who can follow the bikes around practically the whole circuit. My Ducati has always run really well there and I’ve been on the pace for the past couple of seasons – in testing and in the races – so obviously we’re hoping that trend continues, even though we will have to make a few small adjustments to the bike. We’re finally at the end of the season and already looking forward to the next one, so if we can win this race then great, if not we’ll try and finish the year with a podium and then start working towards next year.”
Loris Capirossi - Rizla Suzuki:
“I am heading to Valencia in a totally fixed and determined state of mind. Last time at Malaysia was disappointing for the race, but the work we did in the dry leading up to race-day was very important and we will be able to use that info in Valencia. I am really confident that we can make a big impact at the last race and give the whole team something positive to take into the winter and on to 2010.”
Chris Vermeulen - Rizla Suzuki:
“I am totally focused on going out on a high at Valencia. This will be my last race in MotoGP – for at least a couple of years – and I want to make sure it is one that I can be proud of. My time with the Suzuki team has been great and my crew has worked tirelessly throughout my time here to give me the best bike they can whatever the conditions, so a good result will be as much for them as for myself. I have scored points in every race this year and want to make the last one the highest points scoring one. I will certainly be going for a podium this weekend, I know that will be tough, but that’s the target and one that I would really love to achieve!”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Marlboro:
“I love Valencia and for obvious reasons it is a place that holds very special memories for me but I don’t just like it because it is where I won the title in 2006 – I actually just like the circuit itself. I guess it will be my first ‘Ducati anniversary’ and it will be interesting to see how far we have come since that first test a year ago. I can’t wait to get there – it is a great Grand Prix with a special, welcoming and party atmosphere. Hopefully I can have a good race and enjoy myself. If I can manage a good result there’s a chance we can finish the season in the top ten, with ninth place just twelve points away. I won’t be easy but we’ll see what we can do.”