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Following Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo’s World Championship triumph at the last round in Australia, racing honours are the only thing at stake as the MotoGP™ contingent heads into its final round at the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valencia this weekend.
Three riders in particular will be desperate to end the season with a win. Lorenzo will be hoping to end his second title-winning season in style in front of his home fans, yet will face a tremendous test from the Repsol Honda Team duo. For Casey Stoner this will be his last ever GP before he heads into retirement, and the hard charging Australian will want to sign off with a win. And if his dominant form in Phillip Island is anything to go by, he will undoubtedly head into the race as one of the favourites. Yet his teammate Dani Pedrosa could prove an equally tough challenger, wishing to make up for his costly error last time out in Phillip Island. He may have lost the chance of fighting for a title, yet will be sure to take the challenge to Lorenzo and Stoner, as the three “aliens” go head to head for the last ever time in MotoGP.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso has third place out of reach in the table as Valencia awaits, yet has fourth place securely tied up. This lends to a significantly different race approach to his teammate Cal Crutchlow, who still stands a mathematical chance of taking fifth in the championship. The Brit comes fresh off a fantastic performance in Phillip Island, which saw him take his second ever GP podium, and he will no doubt be looking for a repeat in Spain. In his way is first and foremost San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who has had an upturn in form in the latter part of the season, and will have the added benefit of his home support. He will however be well aware of his first corner incident from last year, which took out three other bikes, so might air on the cautious side in the first few laps.
Involved in the hunt for fifth and also in last year’s crash is Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi. For him it will be his last ever weekend on the Desmosedici, and the Italian has stated he will continue putting in his best until the end to achieve a better result, and try to end the season in fifth. His teammate Nicky Hayden, who was in fact injured in last year’s Valencia crash, will aim to finish the race strongly, and head into the off season test period injury free. Mixing it up with factory bikes will be LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl once more, who also comes off the back of a strong outing in Phillip Island. The German will be crowned Rookie of the Year this weekend, and will hope do so in conjunction with a good result. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá will conclude a difficult and injury hit year on their satellite Ducatis in Valencia as well, and will hope for a top ten result to end on a positive.
The CRT field rounds off its inaugural year with Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró currently favourite to be crowned “champion” in the new category. His teammate Randy de Puniet would have to overturn a difficult 11 point deficit to take top honours, yet will no doubt be giving it his all as usual. Lining up alongside them will be NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, Speed Master’s Roberto Rolfo, San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison and Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva.
There will be two replacement riders in Valencia, with Yamaha test rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga substituting for the injured Ben Spies, and past-GP rider Hiroshi Aoyama making a return in place of the injured Yonny Hernandez in the Avintia team. Nakasuga was only recently crowned All Japan Superbike Champion, and will be hoping to make a strong impact in the ultimate GP race in Spain.
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