Pedrosa secures victory in thrilling final MotoGP race of 2012

Drying track plays havoc with riders leading to crash-laden race

Dani Pedrosa clinched victory in the final race of this year’s MotoGP Championship to the delight of his home fans at the GP Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana that saw drying track conditions cause trouble for a lot of riders. Pedrosa’s victory was evenvmore sweeter following the Spaniard’s decision to switching tires after the sighting la meaning he had to start the race from pit lane.

I'm really happy with this win. I'd like to thank all the Repsol Honda Team!

Dani Pedrosa

The race got underway with the pack of riders struggling for grip on the drying , and newly laid, asphalt on the Ricardo Tormo circuit and, the surprise of many riders, it was CRT rider Aleix Espargaro who shot to the from on his Power Electronics Aspar machine. The majority of the factory riders showed their experience in not pushing too hard in the first few laps while Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Ducati Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all changed to slicks on the sigthing lap like Pedrosa.

Race positions began shakeout more realistically after the first five to six laps when all riders had made the change to their dry setup machines and by the time this happened it was newly-crowned MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo in the lead on his Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 and being chased in second by Pedrosa who surged through the field with a masterclass in riding and in third place was Yamaha Factory Racing’s stand in rider for Ben Spies, Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

The first rider to retire was Ivan Silva (Avintia Blusens) within the first five laps but it wasn’t long before the second retirement came in the form of Roberto Rolfo on the Speedmaster machine. The crashes continued to come within the first 10 laps with Hayden going down then being quickly followed by LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl who was chasing Nakasuga in third. Back at the front Lorenzo continued to lead Pedrosa while the top CRT was Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini) who was circulating in 7th

Valentino Rossi wasn’t having a good race on his final time out on his Ducati Racing GP12 and was in 9th place with Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner in 8th. Back at the front Lorenzo was starting to lose some time to Pedrosa while Crutchlow was starting to pressure Nakasuga for third place but the Japanese rider was holding out and wasn’t easy to pass but Crutchlow got the better of the factory rider moving into the second third of the race.

Katsuyuki Nakasuga
Katsuyuki Nakasuga

Photo by: Yamaha MotoGP

The turning point at the front came at the halfway point of the race when Lorenzo had a massive crash while being comfortably in the lead when his bike highsided him into the air and leaving no chance for the Spaniard to re-join. While Lorenzo walked away from the crash the race lead was gifted to Pedrosa who was now in an easy first place ahead of Crutchlow and Nakasuga. The race incidents continued to happen with Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera going off track while Randy De Puniet (Power Electronics) also had to re-join the race after an off-track excursion.

Claudio Corti crashed out on the Avintia Blusens machine in just his first race in the MotoGP class while there was also bad luck for Crutchlow who crashed out of second place with just 7 laps to go promoting Nakasuga back to second place and Bautista into third with Stoner then in with a realistic chance of a podium on his final race in MotoGP. The last number of laps saw Stoner putting in a big effort to catch Bautista and he did so on the penultimate lap. Pedrosa crossed the line to take the victory to the delight of his home fans while the Yamaha Factory Racing team were delighted with Nakasuga’s second place and Stoner was also delighted with his third place.

Beaming with his race win from pit lane, Pedrosa spoke with glee about his victory. He said, "After Márquez's race, I thought I should do something similar! But seriously, I'm really happy with this win, it was very difficult at the start to make the decision with tires. I saw Jorge on slicks on the grid and I was pretty sure with my decision, but standing there the track was drying up very quickly and before the start I didn't know if it would be better to forget about the pole and start from the pits or go out on wets and stop after 4 or 5 laps. In the last corner of the sighting lap, the instinct told me to get in immediately.

I started from the pit lane and I managed to be fast from the beginning, I caught Jorge and then I made a mistake and lost three seconds again, but one lap later he also made a mistake and crashed out. From this point another race began for me. It was tough to maintain concentration with such conditions and a big advantage, so I planned the second half of the race like a practice session, taking the corners, the lines, lap by lap. It's a great end of the season and I'd like to thank all the Repsol Honda Team!" Pedrosa added.

Thrilled with his podium finish Nakasuga said, “I’m so very happy with this result, the conditions were very difficult today. It was a tough race but the team were amazing and I have to thank them for making the best choice for my set up for the race. It is like a dream or a miracle for me to be on the podium as the qualifying was not so good. I want to thank Yamaha for giving me this special opportunity to race here in MotoGP, it has been amazing.”

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Repsol Media

Stoner spoke highly of his Repsol Honda team when talking about the last podium of his MotoGP career. "Considering everything that happened today, we're very happy with a podium,” said the two-time MotoGP World Champion who continued, “My motivation wasn't particularly high today as I haven't wanted to push in the wet and haven't felt comfortable on the bike. I just didn't want to take any risks of crashing and damaging my ankle again so I was very cautious and this isn't how I like to ride. Even with the choice of going with the wets, not the slick tires at the beginning of the race, I took the easy option which really isn't me. When I saw the slicks had a big advantage, we came in and changed bikes and went back out and pushed as hard as we could, without taking unnecessary risks. In the end we were able to chase down Alvaro and take the last spot on the podium in our last race.

My team are like my second family, we've been through a lot of ups and downs together and it's going to be difficult not to see them every week. I'm sorry for them and for everyone who has supported me for so long but this is the way it is and it's time to say goodbye. Thank you to all the people who have supported us over the years and all our sponsors, and to everyone in the Repsol Honda Team,” Stoner added.

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Series MOTOGP
Article type Race reports
Tags featured, hatch, honda, nakasuga, pedrosa, repsol, stoner, valencia, yamaha