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Full GP Review: Valencia race and postseason test

Full GP Review: Valencia race and postseason test

A comprehensive video review of the most pertinent moments of the past weekend in Valencia.

After a whirlwind schedule of 17 races since the 2008 opener in Qatar, the season approached its final Grand Prix on October 26th. The Valencia circuit was the scene of the action, with the track celebrating its tenth MotoGP race.

Also giving cause for celebration was the money raised by the customary Day of Champions event, held on the pre-race Thursday. All proceeds went to Riders for Health, the official MotoGP charity.

Thursday marked a homecoming for former World Championship runner-up Sete Gibernau, who announced his return for the 2009 season in the Gelete & Pablo Nieto-backed Onde 2000 Ducati team. The new livery for the bike was unveiled in the evening presentation, with Gibernau confirming that he would be testing at the track on Monday.

Continuing the theme of the season, the opening MotoGP Free Practice session in Valencia was hit by rain, with Nicky Hayden topping the timesheet. The American held onto the top spot in the second session, another damp run in Eastern Spain.

Hayden could not, however, take pole position from soon-to-be Ducati teammate Casey Stoner, in a qualifying session that was the only chance for the riders to get some dry track time before raceday. Stoner took his ninth pole of the season, although he had been experiencing problems with his race setup that left him unsure of his potential for victory. 2008 MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi, meanwhile, had what he regarded as a nightmare session, following on from a Friday afternoon crash.

Also struggling in qualifying was Rossi´s Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard qualified low down the order with his special `Lorenzo´s Lands´ livery.

One-off designs were the order of the weekend, with Repsol Honda also commissioning a unique livery for the final race of the year. Departing Honda rider Hayden gave the white RC212V a dirtier feel with a crash in Sunday´s warmup.

The MotoGP Paddock Girls took to the grid for the last time in 2008 at the Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana, before making way for the final race of the season. As he had done in the first race of the year, Stoner romped to victory.

After the 2008 season activities were rounded off at the FIM Awards ceremony, preparations for 2009 got underway on Monday. Stoner was joined by Hayden in the Ducati garage for a positive debut with the Desmosedici GP9, whilst the American´s place in Repsol Honda was taken up by Andrea Dovizioso.

The likes of Niccolo Canepa, Mika Kallio and Yuki Takahashi made their respective debuts as MotoGP riders, with Toni Elias, Marco Melandri and Gibernau all riding for the first time with their new collaborators. Of those staying put, Rossi and Lorenzo both tested the latest prototype of the Yamaha M1, although neither were present for the wet Tuesday.


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