Valencian GP: Repsol Honda race report

Strong Ride Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa completed the 2008 MotoGP World Championship with a strong ride to second place in front of 117,000 sun-blessed fans at Valencia this afternoon. The Spanish star, who qualified second...

Strong Ride

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa completed the 2008 MotoGP World Championship with a strong ride to second place in front of 117,000 sun-blessed fans at Valencia this afternoon. The Spanish star, who qualified second fastest yesterday, led into the first corner and then held second place for the rest of the race, pulling clear of his pursuers but not quite able to go with race-winner Casey Stoner.

Today's result gave Pedrosa his 11th podium result of 2008. During this year's 18-race calendar the former 125 and 250 World Champion won two races (Jerez and Catalunya), finished second on five occasions and third on four occasions. He also led the World Championship before falling at July's German GP and breaking bones in his left hand.

Pedrosa, team-mate Nicky Hayden and their RC212Vs wore a special one-off livery today to celebrate Repsol's 40 years of motorsport sponsorship. The paintwork was based on the livery used on the company's first rally cars in 1969. Repsol moved into motorcycle sponsorship two years later with Derbi riders Angel Nieto, who won the 1971 125 World Championship, and Barry Sheene, who was 33rd in that year's 250 World Championship. Since then Repsol has won an amazing 33 World Championships with Nieto, Sheene, Mick Doohan, Alex Criville, Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa.

Dani Pedrosa, finished 2nd, 3rd in World Championship

"I am happy with second place today. I pushed Casey as hard as I could but he had something a little extra and he managed the gap very well. We worked hard all weekend, so my thanks to my team and also to Repsol, the bike I rode today was one of the best-looking bikes I've ridden. The crowd was great, it was fantastic to see so many fans here, packing the grandstands and obviously really enjoying the spectacle and pushing us along. Overall, I am also happy with the last few races, because we were able to come back from a difficult period during the middle of the season. We changed tyres and I came in for some criticism, but finally we got back on the pace at the last few races, running close to the front in the wet and in the dry. It hasn't been the easiest of years. I broke my right hand during preseason testing, I broke my left hand in Germany and I injured my left knee at Phillip Island. These injuries caused me to lose my rhythm and they interrupted our development work, while everyone else was racing and improving their bikes. I have had to push really hard to come back from all these injuries. Tomorrow we start testing for 2009 -- I am looking forward to it because things are going well now. I hope to have a good off-season and stay healthy."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Today was very difficult because Casey was so fast. Dani did a good job, taking second position in the last race. During the race we gathered plenty of data which will be useful in our preparation for 2009, which begins here tomorrow, with two days of testing. My thanks to Dani and to all members of the team staff for all their hard work this season."

'I Liked My First Bike Better'

Repsol Honda RC212V rider Nicky Hayden had high hopes of a strong final ride with his team at Valencia today after an impressive performance in practice and qualifying. The 2006 MotoGP World Champion topped the first three practice sessions, qualified on the front row and was determined to go out in style, but following a high-speed tumble during morning warm-up he could do no better than fifth.

After two days of on-and-off rainfall, the sun finally shone at Valencia today, with close to 120,000 fans thronging the track's grandstands. Hayden didn't get away from the grid as cleanly as he had hoped and ended the first lap in fourth spot. He got up to third for four laps but then slipped to fifth, a position which he then held to the flag.

Hayden, team-mate Dani Pedrosa and their RCVS wore a special one-off livery today that celebrates Repsol's 40 years of motorsport sponsorship, using the same livery that featured on the company's first rally cars in 1969. Repsol moved into motorcycle sponsorship two years later with Derbi riders Angel Nieto, who won the 1971 125 World Championship, and Barry Sheene, who took 33rd in that year's 250 World Championship. Since then Repsol has won an amazing 33 World Championships with Nieto, Sheene, Mick Doohan, Alex Criville, Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa.

Nicky Hayden, finished 5th, 6th in World Championship

"We started out the weekend like a bit of a fairytale -- fastest in the first three sessions, so we were off to a good start, I think the conditions were better for us then. Yesterday afternoon we were third and on the front row, then this morning we had a big off which probably didn't help things. I just lost the front at turn nine, maybe conditions were a bit too cool for that front tyre. I had to swap bikes for the race and my crew had to change a lot of stuff: callipers, swingarm and so on. My other bike didn't feel so smooth. It wasn't too bad but I definitely liked my first bike better, but that was my fault. In the race I didn't quite get the start I wanted and those guys were just quicker in the beginning, my rhythm wasn't quick enough. It obviously would've been better to finish my last race with Honda a bit stronger. I rode hard this weekend, now I'm looking forward to doing something different. I have to finish off by saying thanks to my team, to Honda, to Michelin and to everybody here. They made me a world champ, I'm grateful to them all."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Nicky had quite a heavy crash this morning, but in the race he pushed as hard as he could. He did a good job this weekend. He was fastest in three practice sessions, qualified on the front row of the grid and I know he very much wanted to finish on the podium. My thanks to Nicky for a wonderful six seasons with Repsol Honda, my thanks also to the team and to Michelin."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Alex Criville , Mick Doohan , Casey Stoner , Angel Nieto , Dani Pedrosa , Phillip Island