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Stoner wins dramatic Valencia GP at the line, Dovizioso seals third in the Championship

Stoner wins dramatic Valencia GP at the line, Dovizioso seals third in the Championship

World Champion Casey Stoner could not have finished the season any better, after winning the final race of the season in Valencia in spectacular fashion in a race to the line with Ben Spies.

With this podium, Stoner celebrates his 16th podium finish of the year, equaling the record for most podiums in a single season in the premier class, previously achieved by Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Alongside Stoner and Spies on the podium was Repsol Honda team mate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished third in the race and also wrapped up third place in the Championship. Dani Pedrosa, who was also fighting for the podium until the last five laps, crossed the finish line in fifth position and finished 2011 MotoGP World Championship in fourth place.

The riders took to the grid with slicks and on the warm up lap, drops of rain appeared, hinting at a potentially thrilling race. Stoner pulled away from the start and at one point had an advantage of nine seconds ahead of team mates Dovizioso and Pedrosa, who were jostling for position until lap 23.

On lap 24, a new race began as it started to rain more heavily. Spies overtook Pedrosa and Dovizioso, and with two laps remaining, Stoner made a mistake after engaging neutral instead of first gear and Spies took the lead. Stoner tracked him closely and then took a slightly different line coming out of the last corner of the final lap, and his Honda RC212V drove him to the finish line first, just 0.015 seconds ahead of the American.

Dovizioso and Pedrosa enjoyed a tough but clean fight however, in the final laps the Andrea adapted to the rain better taking his seventh podium of the year and with it celebrated his best Championship classification in his MotoGP career with third position.

This has been a fantastic season for the Repsol Honda Team who celebrate the 'Triple Crown' after adding the Team Championship (with 528 points compared to Yamaha's 446 points) to the riders' and Constructor's titles already won in Australia. The team will return to the Valencia track on Tuesday in the first official testing day for 2012. Riders Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner will take part in the two day test.

On Tuesday, Stefan Bradl will have the opportunity to ride the World Championship winning RC212V as a gift from HRC for winning the Moto2 Championship. It was planned to invite runner-up Marc Marquez to also ride the bike, but unfortunately due to his injury sustained in Malaysia this is not possible.

Casey Stoner:
"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:
“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 7-8 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:
"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."

MotoGP, 2011, GRAN PREMIO GENERALI DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

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