Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa won his seventh MotoGP of the year in the season finale today at Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain, the Spaniard starting from pit late to do so after making a last-minute decision to change to slicks in a race that started in damp conditions but with a drying race line.
Pedrosa wasn’t alone in making the choice to go to slicks after the warm-up lap and he was joined by Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow in starting from pit lane. Meanwhile, on the grid, newly crowned World Champion Jorge Lorenzo made the wise decision after the sighting lap to go with slicks and remained on the front row. Those who who opted for rain tires would start quickly but would end up having to pit to change motorcycles as the track dried quickly.
Lorenzo’s decision eventually put him at the front after just three laps, the same lap the likes of Casey Stoner started to make their way to the pits to change motorcycles.
Pedrosa was on the move throughout and he trailed Lorenzo by just under five seconds on the 13th lap when the Yamaha man had a spectacular highside while trying to find away around James Ellison, the Brit getting lapped.
With Lorenzo walking away from the horrific highside, Pedrosa took the lead and from there he was never headed as he easily beat Ben Spies replacement rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga by 37.661 seconds.
Stoner was able to march through the pack to finish third in what was the final Grand Prix of his career, the Aussie passing San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista on the final lap.
Fifth place went to San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro in the highest every finish by a CRT machine in a MotoGP.
Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizisio finished sixth with Cardion AB Motoracings Karel Abraham ending up seventh. Danilo Petrucci, Ellision and Marlboro Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who started on rain tires and pitted for slicks in his final GP on a Ducati, rounded out the top 10.
Hayden went out of the race early with a crash and he wasn’t alone. Amongst the big names to also go out with a crash were Stefan Bradl and Cal Cruthlow, the latter crashing out of a certain second place with just seven laps to go.
With his win and Lorenzo’s non-finish, Pedrosa closed the gap to the World Champion and ended the season 18 points adrift. Stoner ended his career third in the title chase with Doviziso taking fourth. Bautista ended up fifth with Rossi holding off the non-scoring Crutchlow in the battle for sixth in the title chase. Hayden ended the year in ninth.
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Katsuyuki Nakasuga (Yamaha)
3. Casey Stoner (Honda)
4. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
5. Michele Pirro (FTR)
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
7. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
8. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
9. James Ellison (ART)
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)