Lorenzo wins in Valencia and Rossi takes third on Yamaha farewell
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo signed off his victorious season in style today, taking his ninth win in front of his home fans at Valencia. Valentino Rossi finished third on his 117th and final appearance for Yamaha, bringing to a close a wonderful seven-year partnership with his YZR-M1.
Lorenzo and Rossi both dropped places at the start, the Mallorcan slipping to fifth and the Italian right back to ninth in the race to the first corner. Lorenzo soon began looking for a way past Marco Simoncelli but almost crashed in the process, somehow making a spectacular save but dropping several places to ninth. Rossi meanwhile made it up to fourth by the end of the third lap and was on the hunt for third, trying to get by his determined fellow Italian Simoncelli.
On lap six Rossi moved into third and Lorenzo, who had brilliantly recovered his composure after his near-miss to gain back the places he had lost, followed him through next time around to take fourth, with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in front of the Yamaha pair. At one third of race distance Rossi and Lorenzo dispatched Pedrosa and then it was Lorenzo's turn to pass his team-mate, moving into second behind Stoner. Rossi tried his best to go with him but the shoulder that has plagued him all season stopped him riding at the maximum on the twisty track and he dropped off, content to at least finish on the podium for one final time with Yamaha.
Lorenzo was unstoppable by this stage and the cool-headed 23-year-old stormed ahead of Stoner on lap 23 to take a final win on home soil. His win today brings his season points-tally to 383, a new record for a rider in a premier-class season.
Rossi's final podium for Yamaha secured third place in the standings and the Italian bid an emotional farewell to his beloved M1, stopping on the cool down lap to kiss his bike in an echo of the first of his 46 Yamaha wins, at Welkom back in 2004 when the 'Yamaha and Rossi' story first began.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1st - Time: 46'44.622
"Coming here to Valencia I really wanted to win one more time in this fantastic season, in front of my home fans. In the practices I was fast all weekend, but it seemed like Casey was even faster. I made a good start today but in the second corner trying to pass Casey I got overtaken by three or four riders, then I had a hard fight with Simoncelli when I nearly fell! I kept calm after that and concentrated and then lap-by-lap I recovered. I had a wonderful fight with Casey at the end. Winning here in front of my home crowd at this special track is one of the happiest moments of my life. We are proud to have got the record for the most number of points with 383, I used to be known as a crazy rider who crashed too much so to demonstrate consistency in this way makes me proud. Thanks to Yamaha and everyone involved for a fantastic season - now we have time to celebrate tonight before we start working for 2011 on Tuesday. Finally I want to say goodbye and good luck to Valentino - I am looking forward to racing him next year!"
Valentino Rossi - Position: 3rd - Time: +8.998
"Honestly I'm happy with this final result with Yamaha, because we had a difficult weekend here. I didn't get a good start but I realised straight away that I was much faster today and that my bike felt good. At one point I thought I might be able to win but in the later part of the race I just didn't have enough strength to stay with Lorenzo and Stoner, this is a very hard track when you're not completely fit. I started to make a few mistakes because I didn't have enough power to stop the bike so after a bit I decided it was better to slow down and keep my third place. Arriving on the podium was my way to say thank you to my bike, to Yamaha and to all the people who have worked with me in these seven seasons. It's been a great experience and I have enjoyed it so much. 46 is a great number of wins - of course I wanted more but I think I can be happy with what I have done here. We have finished the season strongly with five podiums in a row and after such a difficult season we can feel happy about how we have ended. It's been a wonderful seven years, great fun with a special atmosphere, many fantastic victories and four world championships. I stopped with my bike after the race today just like I did at Welkom when this story began, it was the right way to say goodbye to 'her'. Thank you to everyone, we have wonderful memories."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"Number 99 with nine wins in 2010 - it sounds a bit strange but we are so happy with that! I think it was the best race of the season for us. It proved that Jorge is the rightful champion because he beat everybody after slipping to ninth place, like his team-mate Valentino has done in so many races. What can I say except that we have the best rider on the best bike! Well done to Jorge and to all the team for a great job this season."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"I think we had a very good race with Valentino after a difficult weekend. The team worked really hard and we finally found a good setting for the race. Unfortunately Valentino's physical condition, when all the riders are on the limit, meant he had to pay the price today and couldn't fight right to the end but we were very competitive and that's what we wanted for our last race. This is the last race with Yamaha for many of us, including me; my nineteen-year experience with Yamaha finishes here. I just want to thank Yamaha and everybody who worked together with us, they have been years that I will never forget."