Valencia Grand Prix





Sunday November 6, 2011

Though Casey Stoner took the title from defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo in Australia, the 2011 MotoGP season officially came to a close this weekend in Valencia. And even though he already held the title, Stoner still managed to snag another first place win making this his tenth of the season.

But main focus of all of the riders wasn't just to finish the season strong; many of the riders wanted to make this race one to remember in tribute to Marco Simoncelli who lost his life in the Sepang race. Before the final race of the season on Sunday morning, the riders from all three categories were invited to take a lap together on the Valencia track in memory of the fallen rider. Marco Simoncelli's San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V bike was ridden by 1993 World Champion Kevin Schwantz to lead the procession.



With all of the emotion in the air, the final race was all but a boring one. Though Stoner pulled away from the pack early on in the race and even held a nine point gap ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa who were battling it out until the 23rd lap, rain threw a wrench in all of the rider's plans.

But some of the riders didn't even make it to the second lap much less the 23rd. As the riders rushed around the first corner of the race, Alvaro Bautista, Randy de Puniet, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi were all involved in a crash that would take each of them out of the race before it had barely begun.



Dovizioso and Pedrosa managed to miss the wreckage and began to battle it out for third place in the point standings. Though Lorenzo was forced to sit out of this race due to a hand injury, the Spaniard already secured second place in the 2011 series.

Though the race had begun as a dry one but fat drops of rain began to fall on lap 24 and washed away all expectations. Ben Spies took advantage of the change in the track conditions and was able to pass Dovizioso and Pedrosa. Stoner began to slow to avoid a crash and ensure that he finished the race. But going into the back straight, Stoner slipped up and shifting into neutral rather than into first gear. Already close behind, Spies overtook Stoner for the lead. After the race, Stoner stated, "I tried to stay with (Spies) but he was riding very well, fast and smooth and he looked confident in the conditions, more so than me." But Stoner knew that this was his moment to push himself and take risks. In the last former of the final lap, Stoner took a slightly better line than the American and took the win on the finish line by a mere 0.015 seconds.

But Spies had an amazing race and conquered the elements well in order to take second place in the final race of the season, which gave the American fifth overall.

The rain also caused Pedrosa to slow in the final laps, which gave Dovizioso the advantage. Dovizioso was able to take third place, finishing off the podium and giving him third place in the standings with Pedrosa in fifth.



The battle for Rookie of the Year was also a tight one that went all the way down to the finish line. Karel Abraham and Cal Crutchlow kept right on each other with Abraham looking to take the award. But in the final lap, the Czech rider went down, handing over the Rookie of the Year title to Crutchlow who finished the race in fourth. Luckily, Abraham was still able to pick it up and rejoin the race to finish in eighth place just ahead of retiring Loris Capirossi.

This race was an emotional one for Capirossi for more than one reason. Not only would it be his final MotoGP race of his 22 year long career, the Italian rider was close to Marco Simoncelli and carried the late rider's number 58 in his honor.



Just ahead of Capirossi were Lorenzo's replacement Katsuyuki Nakasuga taking sixth place and Josh Hayes, who was filling in for Colin Edwards, coming in seventh. Toni Elias finished off the top ten finishes of the race with Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama being the final two to cross the finish line.

After the race, the 2011 season was finished off with the traditional Awards Ceremony, which took place at the Auditori Mar Rojo de L'Oceanogrfic in the Ciutat de les Artes I les Ciencies on Sunday evening. Of course, Stoner was presented with the 2011 FIM MotoGP World Championship trophy alongside the Rookie of the Year, Moto2 and 125cc awards.


Photos via MotoGP.com.

Race Results

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 Casey STONER Aus Repsol Honda Team Honda 149.2 48'18.645
2 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 149.2 +0.015
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 148.9 +5.936
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 148.8 +8.718
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 148.7 +9.321
6 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 148.0 23.818
7 Josh HAYES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 147.5 +33.118
8 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 147.3 +37.952
9 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 146.7 +48.953
10 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 146.6 +52.501
11 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 145.9 +1'06.519
12 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 145.8 +1'08.760
Randy DE PUNIET FRA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 0 Lap
Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 0 Lap
Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 0 Lap
Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 0 Lap

2011 Final Series Standings
Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda Aus 350
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 260
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 228
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 219
5 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 176
6 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 139
7 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 139
8 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 132
9 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 109
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 98
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 82
12 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 70
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 67
14 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 64
15 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 61
16 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 49
17 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 43
18 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamaha JPN 10
19 Josh HAYES Yamaha USA 9
20 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 7
21 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
22 Shinichi ITO Honda JPN 3

This season wraps up the 800cc era of MotoGP and testing has already begun for the 2012 season. After such a crazy 2011 season, you can bet that we'll be tuning in to watch in 2012. We hope that you will join us and keep updated with our motorcycle news, rider profiles and race results. Until then, check out BikeBandit.com's MotoGP gear and accessories to help curb your MotoGP addiction.

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