Double podium sees Fiat Yamaha seal triple crown in Valencia as Edwards scores fourth and Spies seventh place.
Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finished second and third in the season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia this afternoon, the ninth time the pair have shared the podium this season. It ensured that Yamaha won the Triple Crown for the second year running after Rossi took the Riders' title, Fiat Yamaha the Teams' and Yamaha the Constructors'. Today's result also sealed Lorenzo the runner-up spot in the Championship in just his second year in MotoGP. Between them the Italian and the Spaniard have taken ten wins and a further seventeen podiums, Yamaha's most successful year ever in MotoGP.
With pole-man Casey Stoner crashing on the warm-up lap the first corner shuffle saw Dani Pedrosa take the lead followed by Toni Elias, Rossi and Lorenzo, who quickly passed Rossi to re-take third. The first few laps were a mini battle between the Yamaha team-mates as Lorenzo fought to hold off Rossi and look for a way past Elias at the same time. He passed his fellow Spaniard in the last sector of lap three and Rossi followed quickly in his footsteps, overtaking Elias on the brakes into turn one on the fourth lap. A huge slide by Lorenzo soon after however left the 22-year-old unbalanced and shaken up and Rossi went through, leaving Lorenzo to take a bit of time to find his rhythm again. The World Champion set off after Pedrosa and for a little while looked like he was gaining but Valencia is a notoriously tricky track to make up ground on and in the end he was content to chase home the Spaniard for second place, his best result at Valencia since 2004. Lorenzo finished just three tenths off Rossi but was delighted to seal second in the championship in front of his home fans.
As well as Yamaha sealing the Triple Crown and filling the first two spots in the championship, a brilliant performance from Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards today saw him take fourth and ensure fifth place in the championship, the top non-factory rider. Yamaha wild-card Ben Spies finished a brilliant seventh in his first MotoGP race on the M1 and James Toseland finished 12th in his farewell race for the team.
Quote from Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing
"It gives me a great personal satisfaction for Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha Team to have achieved "back to back" titles for 2008 and 2009. Our strong performances throughout this year's MotoGP championship are the result of a good cocktail of essential ingredients all being blended together in the right way. The performances of our riders have been incredible. Vale has won his 9th World Championship, making it 4 titles with Yamaha in his 6 seasons with us. Jorge has again surprised and thrilled us all year and made fantastic progress to claim the runner's-up position in only his second MotoGP season. Our engineers have used every single input from our riders' feedback over the past years and throughout this season to develop the YZR-M1 bike into the "bike of reference" in the MotoGP paddock. Our Team staff have worked tirelessly at every test and every Grand Prix to provide the optimum circumstances for our riders to be ready to win. Our corporate staff in Japan and Italy have also provided the essential "base camp" support to provide the back-up for all of the "troops" in the front line. Last but not least, Fiat Auto and our official sponsors and suppliers have also provided the essential support to enable us to go racing in the best possible way. I would like to personally thank everybody for the great team work that has allowed us to achieve all our targets."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2ndTime: +2.630
"I'm really happy about this result because it was fantastic to be able to ride well at Valencia and it's my best finish here since 2004. Of course it would have been better to win but I lost some time at the start battling with Elias and Lorenzo and by that time Pedrosa had gone and at this track it's almost impossible to make up a two second gap. It's not one of our best tracks but after the problems we had all weekend we can be very pleased, we made a great modification in warm-up so thanks to all my guys for this. We've ended the championship on the podium and it's been a great season, another world title and the triple crown for Yamaha, I am very proud. Thank you to Yamaha, all my team, Bridgestone and everyone else, now we will have a little party before we start work on the 2010 bike tomorrow!"
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 3rdTime: +2.913
"I had some good fights at the start and I was feeling quite strong but then I made a big mistake in the slow corner and I was lucky not to crash, so Valentino got by. I was in a bit of pain and I took some time to recover,\ and by then the gap was a bit too big to catch him. Anyway I'm happy to get another podium in Spain and I am so proud to have finished second in the championship; I want to thank everyone, Yamaha, Bridgestone and all my team, because we have worked so hard and this is a great achievement in just our second season. Now I can't wait to start testing the new bike and I look forward to being even stronger next year."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"After two days of struggling with the setting this was a very good race for us. I think the team and the engineers did a very good job to change the bike completely and find a way that worked for Valentino and we're happy to finish second here in Valencia, which has never been one of our best results. Now if we arrive here next year needing a good result, we'll be a bit more confident! It's been a great season, a historic one for Yamaha because we won everything we could and our riders won the most races and the triple crown, it's a season to remember. Now we're looking forward to the next one, which starts tomorrow for us, and we will try to repeat the result!"
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"This was a good end to the championship for us and a good way to celebrate a wonderful season with Jorge and the fantastic job the whole Yamaha team have done this year to win the triple crown. We've shown all season how strong Yamaha is and the job everyone has done has been fantastic. This is my last race with Yamaha so I want to take the chance to thank everyone here, it's been a great eight years and I wish Jorge and all the team all the best for the future."