Marco Melandri could not have dreamed of a better way to finish as MotoGP World Championship runner-up than by ending an excellent season with another victory at Valencia.
His second consecutive win came ahead of his main rival for the coveted position Nicky Hayden and caps his best ever season, with two victories and seven podiums to his name. His team mate Sete Gibernau hands over the number two plate to the youngster in only his third season in the premier class.
Sete, meanwhile suffered another bout of bad luck in the final race of the season. He was better prepared than any other rider, with the fastest time in free practice, qualifying and warm up, but retired on the third lap with an engine problem.
MARCO MELANDRI (1st): “It has been a perfect weekend for me. Not only have we sealed the runner-up spot in the championship but we did it with my second consecutive win. I started the race planning to control my advantage in the standings without pushing too hard but I got a good start and was leading into the first corner. I knew Nicky was very close so I focused on maintaining my rhythm without taking too many risks. There was a point where I thought about letting him past but I was worried that I might find it too difficult to get back in front. I pushed as hard as possible over the final few laps to try and open up a gap and I was able to win. This is like a dream come true.”
SETE GIBERNAU (retired): “I think it’s fair to say that it is difficult to take when you work more and work harder but get less reward. We had another perfect weekend, setting the fastest time in free practice, qualifying and warm up but this morning HRC detected a small oil leak in the engine and decided to change it just to be safe. I realised on the sighting lap that the bike was vibrating and I told the boys but we thought that because it was a new engine everything would be fine. In the race the vibrations got worse with every lap until it broke. It’s a shame to finish the year like this but it is not a disaster for me. We have been competitive at every Grand Prix, I have never let my head drop despite the circumstances and I am sure this will make me stronger for the future.”