MotoGPValenciaNovember 6, 2011
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencian Grand Prix Race Results

Stoner Wins 2011 Finale With Dazzling Drag-Race Finish

Qualifying >>

World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a thrilling, last-gasp victory at rain-dampened Valencia this afternoon, passing rival Ben Spies (Yamaha) just one metre before the finish line to score his tenth success of the season by just 0.015s. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) completed the podium in third place to take third overall in the 2011 MotoGP series ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who finished the last race of MotoGP’s 800cc era in fifth position.

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team) Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

This last weekend of the 2011 season was a sombre affair, with the entire paddock honouring the memory of MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli who lost his life at the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Motorcycles, riding gear and team trucks all carried Simoncelli’s famous number 58 logo, and many of the tens of thousands of fans present also wore tributes to the popular Italian. Following this morning’s warm-up session all three classes – MotoGP, Moto2 and 125s – honored the former 250 World Champion’s memory by riding a lap together behind 1993 500 World Champion Kevin Schwantz, one of Simoncelli’s childhood heroes.

“We had all the bikes out there because Marco would’ve wanted all that noise and that’s what we wanted too,” said Schwantz who rode Simoncelli’s number 58 San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V.

The race itself was run in treacherous, changeable conditions and started with a four bike pile-up at the first corner that sidelined Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) and Ducati riders Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet. None of the fallers sustained anything worse than bumps and bruises.

Stoner – who was crowned World Champion at last month’s Australian GP – was out front from the moment the lights went out and kept building his advantage, despite drizzle falling around much of the track. By half distance he was already 9.9s ahead and victory seemed assured. But then the drizzle turned into rain and suddenly Stoner was being caught by Spies and Dovizioso. As leader of the race, it was more difficult for the Australian to judge the conditions than for the riders chasing him. In three laps his lead had shrunk to 2.5s and with three laps remaining he was a mere three tenths ahead of Spies. The Texan pounced on the penultimate lap when Stoner hit a neutral and it seemed like Spies was going to hold a slender advantage to the flag. But halfway through the final lap Stoner decided he wasn’t prepared to accept defeat, so he started pushing harder and taking risks. By the final corner he was right behind Spies and then used the awesome acceleration of his RC212V to out-drag his rival to the finish line.

The victory was his 16th podium finish from 17 races, equalling the record held by Rossi and 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who is still recovering from a finger injury sustained at Phillip Island three weeks ago. It has been a mostly perfect season for Stoner, whose only non-podium finish came at the soaking Spanish GP where he was taken out by Rossi.

Dovizioso and Pedrosa went into today’s season finale separated by just four points in their contest for third overall in the series and spent the first two-thirds of the race disputing second place, swapping the position on numerous occasions, while Spies watched and waited just behind. Dovizioso knows that Pedrosa is faster round this track, so he did everything in his power to overtake the Spaniard and stay ahead. Their duel was finally decided when heavier rain arrived and Pedrosa eased off. Thus Dovizioso secured third overall in his final race with Honda.

Pedrosa crossed the finish line in fifth spot, after Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) came past him on the final lap. The Spaniard – winner of the 2007 and 2009 Valencia MotoGP races – didn’t feel as comfortable as usual today, especially when the rain got heavier. He thus eased his pace to ensure a safe finish and complete the series fourth overall.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) made a fantastic start from the fifth row of the grid and was lucky not to get involved in the first-corner pile-up. He ran a good, consistent pace throughout much of the race, but like many riders he struggled to find grip when the rain intensified. He finished his last race with the LCR team in tenth place.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) had a challenging final race in the MotoGP class, coming home 12th and last after struggling all weekend to find confidence in the difficult conditions.

Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki) won the final Moto2 race of the year, also run in tricky damp conditions. It was an emotional victory for team owner Fausto Gresini, who had earlier watched Pirro’s team-mate Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki) take the lead, only to suffer a heavy fall. The Japanese was battered and bruised in the tumble, but not seriously hurt.

Pirro took over the lead when Takahashi fell on lap six and stayed in front for the rest of the race, gradually easing ahead to win by six seconds while many other riders slid off behind him. The action was typically hectic behind, with Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP-Suter), Yonny Hernandez (Blusens-STX-FTR) and Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 B-Tech 3) involved in an entertaining battle for much of the race. But Hernandez and Simeon made mistakes, leaving Kallio and Aegerter to dispute second and third. Former 250 and 125 GP winner Kallio came out on top to score his first podium since moving to Moto2 at the end of last year following two seasons in MotoGP. Aegerter’s third place was his first top-three finish and won him a pre-podium haircut from his team!

Anthony West (MZ) won a busy contest for fourth, crossing the line a fraction ahead of Kenny Noyes (Avintia-STX FTR), Hernandez, Mike Di Meglio (Tech 3 Racing-Tech 3) and Simeon. The foursome was separated by just over a second.

Max Neukirchner (MZ), Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2-Suter) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master-Suter) finished the race with their own three-way battle for eighth place. The trio was covered by 1.6 seconds at the flag.

Neither of the season’s two Moto2 title challengers featured in today’s results. Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) was unable to ride this weekend because he is still suffering double vision, a legacy of his big tumble at Sepang two weeks ago. His withdrawal from the event immediately made Bradl World Champion, but the German wasn’t able to celebrate today with another win. Instead he too tumbled out. Incredibly, Bradl has yet to finish a race at the Spanish circuit.

There is no rest for the MotoGP and Moto2 paddock. Testing for the 2012 season commences here tomorrow, with Moto2 riders taking to the track. On Tuesday and Wednesday it’s the turn of MotoGP riders, who will be riding their new 1000cc machines in preparation for next year’s new-look World Championship.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: race winner
“My heart was in my throat! We did such a good job all the race and then it started to rain heavily. Being the first one to arrive to the conditions on the track, I wasn’t sure how hard to push so I slowed up to ensure I finished the race and I thought if they come past I can stay with them. Then coming onto the back straight I made a slight mistake when I went into neutral instead of first gear and Ben came past me. I tried to stay with him but he was riding very well, fast and smooth and he looked confident in the conditions, more so than me. In the first half of the final lap he made a nice gap but I knew we were quick in the second half of the lap. I thought to myself, we haven’t been able to take any risks all season, this is the time to take one and see what we can do. I knew I had a better exit line out of the final turn and I kept my head down and went for the line. It’s amazing to win this on the finish line, I’ve had it done to me in the past a few times, but I’ve never done it to anyone else! I’m sorry for Ben, he rode a great race. A big thanks to my team for all their hard work this year.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I’m so happy with third place in the Championship, it’s a great achievement born from a lot hard work throughout the year. Before arriving here I knew I only had a few opportunities to arrive in front of Dani, because he has been always so fast here. Dani was faster than me also in this race weekend so I had to make a good strategy to beat him. Considering that I had a soft front tyre, I knew I couldn’t push hard for 30 laps, I tried to stop him when I was in front of him, then every time he overtook me, I tried to pass him immediately. It was a good battle and with the rain at coming with seven to eight laps to go I wanted to push harder for the win because I’m good in these tricky conditions. However, third position in the Championship was too important so I decided not to take any additional risks. Thanks to my team for these three years spent together. I’m very pleased to finish my career at Honda with third in the Championship, my best result so far in MotoGP. On the final lap I thought of Marco and in the end I succeeded here on a track where I have always struggled. Marco helped me in this challenging mission, Ciao Marco.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): 5th
“It wasn’t an easy race. I did my best, trying hard but I wasn’t feeling good on the bike, I was rigid and didn’t ride very well. But especially in the end with more water on the track I struggled a lot as in Australia, so this is something I will try to improve with my riding in the future. I had a good battle with Andrea and in the last laps I lost a place to Cal Crutchlow, but I couldn’t do any more. Andrea and I were on a soft front tyre and we were maybe struggling a little more than Ben or Cal who were on a hard front, but it’s not an excuse. I just want to move forward and think about next year and the test we have on Tuesday. It has been a tough year, but we will try to take the positives from here and be optimistic for the 2012.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 10th
“Well… First it was very tough to line up without Marco today and we will always remember him. I took an incredible start from 13th on the grid and I could have gone for the fifth place, but Nicky got into my way and he was involved in the crash in the first corner. From the beginning to the middle of the race we had a good pace just 1.5s slower than Casey in the front, but later on, when it started to rain, I didn’t feel safe as I started to lose rear grip in corner entry so my lap times dropped down and I managed to finish tenth. This season was very tough for me, but in the meantime I learnt a lot: now I hope to start with a new challenge with more luck and the same I also wish to Lucio and the LCR Team.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 12th
“My final race in MotoGP was another very tough one. I didn’t have confidence in the bike because of the chatter problem we have had all weekend and couldn’t push it like I wanted. It was a real shame but I just want to thank the team and the sponsors for giving me the opportunity to contest my second season in MotoGP. Obviously I would have liked to have done better but the guys in the team have worked hard and I would like to wish them a fond farewell.”

Michele Pirro, Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki: race winner
“This is a special victory for me and for my team, after the tragedy of what happened to Marco at the last race. It hasn’t been an easy weekend and the race was the same – a bit dry, a bit wet, a bit dry, a bit wet – so it was very tough out there. But I think Marco rode with me today. I would like to dedicate this victory to Marco, to his family and to the team.”

Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter: 2nd
“Finally we got our first Moto2 podium. We didn’t expect this season to be so difficult. I struggled a lot in the beginning, but step by step we found a way to set up the bike and step by step I found a way to ride it. Over the last four or five races we have made real progress – the results got better and my confidence improved. This weekend we made the step onto the podium. It’s an important result after the last two years when my feeling riding bikes wasn’t so good. I hope to continue like this in 2012.”

Dominique Aegerter, Technomag-CIP, Suter: 3rd
“I’m so happy with this first podium. We have been so close to the top guys at several races this year. This weekend was difficult – in the race it rained a little less and then a little more. Anyway, I’m happy to be here and it’s a great way to end the season. Thanks to everyone and I hope we can continue with more good results next year.”

Marc Marquez, Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter: DNS
“I could not ride the bike this weekend because if I see double it can be dangerous for me and all the other riders. The damage is a stretched muscle inside the right eye. Sure I was unlucky at Sepang because the crash wasn’t our mistake. Of course I wanted to ride and try to win the championship, but I think I did a good job in my first year in Moto2 and the team also did a very good job. Second place isn’t so bad, but Bradl did a better job than us, so we say congratulations to him and next year we need to learn from our mistakes.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 18
Valencian Grand Prix

1 Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA (Yamaha Factory Racing)
7 Josh HAYES (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
9 Loris CAPIROSSI (Pramac Racing Team )
10 Toni ELIAS (LCR Honda MotoGP)
11 Hector BARBERA (Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP)
12 Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team) & Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team) & Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
1 Michele PIRRO (Gresini Racing Moto2)
2 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
3 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
4 Anthony WEST (MZ Racing Team)
5 Kenny NOYES (Avintia-STX)
6 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Blusens-STX)
7 Mike DI MEGLIO (Tech 3 Racing)
8 Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 B)
9 Max NEUKIRCHNER (MZ Racing Team)
10 Julian SIMON (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)
11 Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
12 Alex DE ANGELIS (JIR Moto2)
13 Jules CLUZEL (NGM Forward Racing)
14 Pol ESPARGARO (HP Tuenti Speed Up)
15 Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)
1 Maverick VINALES (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
2 Nicolas TEROL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
3 Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
4 Efren VAZQUEZ (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
5 Jonas FOLGER (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
6 Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia Banca Civica)
7 Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP )
8 Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)
9 Luigi MORCIANO (Team Italia FMI)
10 Louis ROSSI (Matteoni Racing)
11 Manuel TATASCIORE (Phonica Racing)
12 Marcel SCHROTTER (Mahindra Racing)
13 Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)
14 John McPHEE (Racing Steps Foundation KRP)
15 Giulian PEDONE (Phonica Racing)

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