Lorenzo Ends MotoGP Championship Season with Home Win

Henny Ray Abrams | November 7, 2010

VALENCIA, SPAIN, NOV 7 – Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo recovered from an almost certain crash on the second lap to win the final grand prix of the season before nearly 81,000 partisan fans at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.Lorenzo attacked Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) up the inside into the final corner when the front end folded. Lorenzo nearly fell off the inside, then was almost flicked from the saddle. Then began the resurgence that carried him from seventh to first, a ride that took most of the race.Lorenzo took advantage of a wobble from Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner early on the 23rd lap to make the pass in the Mick Doohan Corner. By then Valentino Rossi, who’d earlier been with the leaders, was 1.81 secs. back and a secure third in his last ride for Yamaha. Rossi said he’d lost strength in the final few laps, the legacy of his injured right shoulder, which caused him to slow.Stoner tried to stay with Lorenzo, but there was no way. Lorenzo sped into the distance, winning his ninth race out of 18 by 4.576 secs.The win, Lorenzo’s first of any kind in Valencia, set a number of records. His 383 points are the most ever in an 18-race season, beating Rossi’s mark of 373 from 2008. Lorenzo’s 18 top four finishes are the most ever in a season. His 16 podiums in one season ties him with Rossi, who did it three times, in 2003, 2005, and 2008. The win was the 14th of Lorenzo’s premier class career, moving him clear of a tie with Randy Mamola and Max Biaggi to a lone 16th, one behind fellow countryman Alex Criville.‘Today has been the greatest days of my life,” Lorenzo said. “One of the more beautiful races for me that give me better feelings. I just have a good start, but then in the second corner some riders overtake me and then mainly (Marco) Simoncelli didn’t give me any facilities to go forward. But you know, I keep the calm and I stay concentrated and every lap I was improving. At the end we make a very good fight with Casey (Stoner) and I’m just so excited with this victory.Pole-sitter Stoner finished the final grand prix of his four-year career with Ducati in second. His pole time was untouchable, but his secret was that it wasn’t a viable race pace. He’d led as long as he could, and tried to hang on for a late race charge, but he knew he didn’t have the pace.”I mean we started that race and things felt a little bit difficult with the bike,” he said. “Things may have looked good yesterday in qualifying and practice, but we knew we were far from where we wanted to be. So we tried everything in morning warm-up couldn’t find a good solution and for the race it was kinda similar. We weren’t really running the lap times we thought we could. If we’re running the lap times we thought we could, we might’ve have been able to make a big enough gap that Jorge (Lorenzo), with his trouble back in the pack, might not have been able to catch us. But the way it worked out, Dani (Pedrosa) pulled me and from the rest of the race I just saw plus-0, plus-.1 on my pit board, so I was braking as late as I could just trying to to hold everybody off.”I feel we did a pretty good job we were still running a fast enough pace to pull away from the rest of the group, just Jorge today was too fast and it was just a matter of time that he was going to pass me.”My hat’s off to Jorge. He deserves this world championship and this win today. So we did everything we could and a big thanks to Ducati for these last four years. It’s been great.”Teammate Nicky Hayden had a less satisfying end to his season. Hayden was chasing Stoner in second on the second lap when he lost the front end and crashed in the third gear first turn left.”I got a good start, I got into second, felt like I had the pace to stay with Stoner,” Hayden said. “Wasn’t easy, but I thought I got to try.”Turn one, the front let go quite early and I had no warning and I was down. No excuse. I have to say rider error. It’s frustrating because the bike was a lot better than this morning, when we were fastest.”Hayden’s crash handed sixth in the championship to fourth place finisher Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who he was tied with when the race began.Rossi fell off the pace sooner than the others and finished a lonely third, 4.4 secs. behind Stoner and 8.645 up on fourth place.”Yes, I’m so happy about this result,” one of his better at the Valencia track, where he typically struggles. “The podium is good for the last race with Yamaha and was a great race for me comparing with the bad practice; we improve a lot the setting for this afternoon. Unfortunately, I miss the start, but straight away I can push a lot, I have a great grip. I did some good overtaking and at one point of the race I think also is possible to win when I was behind Casey. But after, yes, Jorge arrive and I think he ride better than anybody today. He deserves the race and has a little bit better pace than us.”Here, also, I lose power for the last laps so I’m at 100%. I need too much effort for stop the bike in the last laps. I start to arrive always wide behind Casey and Jorge so I have to slow down a bit, but this third place is good for say thanks to Yamaha for these seven seasons, great seven seasons. Especially a lot of fun, so thanks to everybody. Was a great, great experience.”Fourth position went to the late closing Spies. As he’s done much of the year, the Texan got faster as the race progressed. For the first half he watched three Hondas fighting in front of him before throwing himself into the mix.On the 27th of 30 laps Simoncelli went up the inside of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso to take fourth, then Dovi came back past and opened the door for Spies who moved by both up to fourth. Spies would lose the spot into turn one, with Dovi powering his way through to re-take the spot, but just briefly. Spies took Dovi into the Mick Doohan corner to re-take fourth, while Simoncelli sat in sixth where he’d finish.Over the last three laps Spies put 1.5 secs. on Dovi, with Simoncelli a similar distance adrift.Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was a lonely seventh after running as high as second in the early going. Despite the finish, he maintained second in the championship, with Rossi third. Lorenzo finished with 383, Pedrosa 245, and Rossi 233. Stoner ended with 225.Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Ducati) passed Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) for eighth on the final lap. LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet was tenth.Next came Aleix Espargaro in his last ride on the Pramac Racing Ducati. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards passed Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) on the final lap to take 12th.The final two finishers were Hiroshi Aoyama, in his final ride on the Interwetten Honda, and Carlos Checa, who scored a point on the Pramac Racing Ducati in place of the injured Mika KallioMotoGP Results:

1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha

2. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati

3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha

4. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha

5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Honda

6. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Honda

7. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda

8. Hector Barbera (SPA) Ducati

9. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Suzuki

10. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Honda

11. Alvaro Espargaro (SPA) Ducati

12. Colin Edwards (USA) Yamaha

13. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda

14. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Honda

15. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.