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MotoGP set for 2007 finale in Valencia

MotoGP set for 2007 finale in Valencia

The Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of Valencia in Spain, plays host to a transitional moment in MotoGP over the course of the weekend of Sunday November 4th.

The Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste, on the outskirts of Valencia in Spain, plays host to a transitional moment in MotoGP over the course of the weekend of Sunday November 4th. It is there that the MotoGP teams will do battle in the final round of the 2007 season, the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, before shifting their focus to 2008 the following day.

The culmination of a long season will see the final classification confirmed in all three categories; MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc, whilst in the latter the title itself will be decided in what is sure to be an epic battle between team-mates.

In MotoGP there is no doubt who will be lifting the new World Championship trophy designed for the introduction of the 800cc era. Casey Stoner has already been confirmed as this years winner, and has won every race since sealing the title on September 23rd in Japan. The Australian opened his win account in the premier class with victory at Losail in the first race of 2007, and book-ending the season with win number eleven would be the perfect conclusion to his breakthrough year.

The 22 year-olds Ducati team completed a memorable one-two at last years visit to Valencia, an Australian victory setting the scene for things to come. Stepping in for the injured Sete Gibernau in a one-off final appearance in MotoGP, Troy Bayliss took victory from second on the grid, ahead of Loris Capirossi. Stoner retired from the race on lap seven, but has previously been on the top step of the podium in the World Championship with a 125cc win in Valencia back in 2003.

Second and third place are all-but-decided, with Valentino Rossi 24 points ahead of Dani Pedrosa in the overall standings. The Italian returns to the scene of a nightmare race last year, where he conceded the MotoGP World Championship to Nicky Hayden after an early crash, and will be keen to avoid what would be his worst placing in a premier class season. The odds are in his favour, with Pedrosa needing to win his home race something that he has never done in five attempts in the premier class- and hope that Rossi finishes outside the points.

A quartet of riders are in with a mathematical chance of the fourth spot in the overall classification; Marco Melandri, Chris Vermeulen, John Hopkins and Loris Capirossi. Whilst Capirossi will have to depend on the fortunes of others if he is to overcome a 19 point deficit on current fourth placed rider Melandri, the Gresini Honda man and the Rizla Suzuki duo are separated by just five points heading into the final round of the season. Melandri has previously stepped up to the plate at Valencia, taking second place overall in the final race of 2005 courtesy of a win at the Spanish track. Hopkins will be riding his final race for Suzuki, as will Capirossi for Ducati before beginning testing with the Japanese team.

Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Alex Barros complete the current top ten in MotoGP, with Hayden returning to the scene of his crowning moment in MotoGP after a difficult season. Few would begrudge The Kentucky Kid a race victory to end his title defence on a high note, with the American having been one of the most diligent testers and held his head up high over the course of 2007. Barros is probably riding in his final MotoGP race, with no announcement on his future having been made as of yet..

The BMW M Award for combined times in qualifying and the Official Test in Jerez will be decided on the Saturday of the race. Casey Stoner currently leads the way over Rossi by half a second, with a BMW sports car up for grabs in the annual competition.

Following the race, a number of teams will stay on for testing with their 2008 bikes and lineups, with preparation for next season already beginning in earnest.

The final round of the season is also 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzos final appearance in the quarter litre class, having retained his title with a third place in Sepang at the penultimate round. Lorenzo makes the move up to MotoGP next season with Yamaha, but will no doubt not settle for anything less than a win to leave the category that he has dominated over the last two years in style. There is sure to be a huge reception for the Aprilia man at his home race, the first since his winning the title.

The two other riders in the top three are also assured of their places, again ahead of their move up to MotoGP. Andrea Dovizioso has one final attempt to usurp Lorenzo in 250cc before switching to the premier class, whilst Alex de Angelis races at Valencia for the first time since his only 250cc victory to date. The San Marino rider has been confirmed as a new addition to the Gresini Honda team for 2008.

Fifteen points separate Alvaro Bautista and Hector Barbera in the fight for fourth place; two riders providing some local interest in the quarter litre race. Barbera is finishing the season strongly, whilst Bautista has had a phenomenal rookie year since leaving 125cc as World Champion.

Race winner in Sepang Hiroshi Aoyama completes the top six, having taken his second win of the season in the Malaysian round of the championship.

The only category to still have a World Champion to be confirmed, the 125cc class finale could not have been scripted better. Bancaja Aspar team-mates Gabor Talmacsi and Hector Faubel, who hails from Valencia, are separated by just ten points in the battle for the title, which will be decided at their teams home track. Faubel won the race last year, and will need to be at his best if he is to take victory number five of the year and edge out Talmacsi, whose win at Sepang extended the title gap.

Third place is still up for grabs, with Tomoyoshi Koyama holding a fifteen point advantage over Lukas Pesek. The latter recently announced his move up to 250cc with Aprilia, sharing a garage with Thomas Luthi next year.

Simone Corsi and Mattia Pasini round off the top six, with Pasini also set for a switch in cylinder class next year. The Italian will continue with Polaris World, but will start 2008 onboard a factory 250cc Aprilia.

The Circuito de la Comunitat Valenciana was completed in 1999 and held rounds of the MotoGP and Spanish Motorcycle Championships in the same year. The Cheste track has several layouts, running anticlockwise with varying lengths. MotoGP events are held on a 4km track comprising of five right handed corners, eight left handers and a 650m straight. Although the track is regarded as quite small, the pit complex contains 48 garages whilst the stadium style grandstands can seat up to 150,000 spectators. The circuit layout which allows all parts of the circuit to be seen from any stand helps to create a unique atmosphere enjoyed by Spanish and international riders alike and as the last race of the season there is always a party feeling to the Grand Prix, which was voted best GP of 2005 by IRTA.


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