2010 season finale in Valencia The Ricardo Tormo Circuit hosts the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana this weekend for the 12th year running, and what has since 2002 been the traditional season-ending round. The 18th instalment of...
2010 season finale in Valencia
The Ricardo Tormo Circuit hosts the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana this weekend for the 12th year running, and what has since 2002 been the traditional season-ending round. The 18th instalment of the 2010 MotoGP campaign will see runner-up to already-crowned Champion Jorge Lorenzo decided, with Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi the candidates still able to take the honour.
Despite having wrapped up the title with three rounds to spare Lorenzo is still hungry for victories, as proven with his eighth of the season last time out at Estoril. The Fiat Yamaha rider is also on course to set a new record for the highest number of points scored in a single season in the MotoGP class as well as equal a number of other milestones, with the added incentive that Valencia is just one of three circuits on the current calendar at which he has not won in any class. He did finish on the podium last year however and will now aim to go one better.
The man with the most success at the venue is Pedrosa, last year's race winner and with five victories in total across the premier (twice), 250cc (twice) and 125cc classes. The Repsol Honda rider currently has the best chance of finishing second in the Championship, holding a 19-point advantage over third-placed Rossi, but he is still recovering from his collarbone injury having only made his return to racing in Portugal having sat out three races.
Rossi has winning form at Valencia from 2003 and 2004, but is yet to taste victory on an 800cc machine there. The Italian, along with Lorenzo, will be aiming to deliver Yamaha their first win in the format, and came close last year in finishing second.
Leading Ducati rider in the standings Casey Stoner took his first GP win at Valencia in the 125cc class back in 2003, and in 2008 the Australian won from pole. Along with Rossi he will be looking for an end-of-season victory to bring the latest chapter in his premier class career to a winning close, whilst just behind him in the standings Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) will be aiming to snatch fourth spot.
Rookie of the Year Ben Spies is desperate to ride despite dislocating an ankle last weekend in Portugal, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider keen to depart the satellite team for the factory set-up with what would be a third podium of his debut season. He placed seventh as a one-off entry in last year's race, and level on points in the Championship is fellow American Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) who will also be searching for a rostrum finale to 2010. The Kentucky Kid was fifth last year in his first ride at the track on a Desmosedici, and has fond memories of clinching the 2006 title there.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) came agonisingly close to a first premier class podium at Estoril and will aim to seal that at a track he won on in 2008, his 250cc title-winning year, while LCR Honda's French rider Randy de Puniet will mark a personal milestone with his 200th Grand Prix start. Carlos Checa also rides in his second race with the Pramac Racing team, and the three-practice session format used at Estoril will again be implemented this weekend.
With a day's rest on Monday the preparations for the 2011 season will get underway on Tuesday and Wednesday following the GP, with the Official two-day Test scheduled to take place.