VALENCIA TO PASS THE MOTOGP TORCH FROM 2008 TO 2009 The city of Valencia plays host to the final Grand Prix of the 2008 MotoGP season this Sunday, with the World Championship 'podium' already decided. After seventeen rounds of eighteen around...
VALENCIA TO PASS THE MOTOGP TORCH FROM 2008 TO 2009
The city of Valencia plays host to the final Grand Prix of the 2008 MotoGP season this Sunday, with the World Championship 'podium' already decided. After seventeen rounds of eighteen around the globe, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa are already assured of the top three positions in this year's edition of motorcycle racing's elite series.
However, the visit to the Ricardo Tormo circuit promises the usual levels of excitement and intrigue, with one of the largest and most passionate race-day crowds roaring on their favourite riders from the grandstands that surround the entire circuit. Not only that, but the two days following the race have become a traditional first outing for the new team line-ups that will form the grid in the upcoming season.
The first target for the Ducati Marlboro Team, though, is preparing to defend second place in the constructors' championship, which they currently occupy but with only a single-point advantage over Honda.
Both Casey Stoner and Marco Melandri know what it is like to celebrate on top of the podium at Valencia, the Australian having clinched his first win there in the 125cc race in 2003 and the Italian claiming first place in the 250 race in 2002 and in MotoGP in 2005.
LIVIO SUPPO, MotoGP Project Director
"Hopefully we can finish the season at Valencia with a good result that allows us to hang on to second place in the Constructors' Championship. It's a big ask because Dani (Pedrosa) is very strong at this track and he arrives on the back of a very good race, whilst Nicky has always been fast at Valencia and the characteristics of the track should suit the satellite Hondas. We hope Casey's wrist problem isn't as prohibitive here so that he can have a good race for himself and for us! It will also be Marco's last race with us. It would be really nice to finish off a tough season on a high at a circuit where he has already won in MotoGP."
CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team) 2nd in the championship on 255 points (-98)
"The last race tends to make you reflect on the whole season and I think we can be proud of ourselves, even though there have been highs and lows. We didn't win the championship but we fought hard for it, making up and then losing a lot of ground, staying together through all of it and always giving our best. We'll try to keep that going at Valencia, a track I have always liked because even though it is tight and twisty it does flow well, with some long corners where you can keep the speed of the bike up. Valencia is also the place where I took my first victory and where I rode the Ducati for the very first time back in 2006. This year we'll ride the GP9 on the day after the race and I really can't wait for that. I hope the wrist doesn't give me the same problems I had at Sepang so that I can be in shape for a good race on Sunday and two solid days of testing on Monday and Tuesday."
MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team) 17th in the championship on 51 points (-306)
"Valencia is one of those circuits that aren't really suited to MotoGP because it is so slow and narrow, with lots of second or even first gear corners. You have to have a really good set-up in order to enjoy it. I've had good races there in the past, both in 250 and MotoGP, and in general it's a track I like because it takes me back to my childhood, when I rode minibikes. Obviously I can't say I'm too confident about this weekend after recent results but you never know. It would be great to finish the season and my time with Ducati with a good result."
This weekend the Valencia circuit, named after Spanish rider Ricardo Tormo, celebrates its tenth year on the World Championship calendar since being officially opened in 1999 by the King of Spain. It is an unusual circuit, built within a stadium style complex that makes it possible to see virtually any part of the circuit from any seat in the house. Whilst on the one hand this makes it a great venue for the fans, the track layout is constantly forced back on itself, making for a series of tight corners separated by short straights that require plenty of low revs and provide little opportunity to fully open the throttle. Unlike most circuits, it also runs anti-clockwise.
Circuit Record: Dani Pedrosa (Honda - 2007) 1'31.748 - 155.453 km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha - 2006) 1'31.002- 158.436 km/h
Circuit Length: 4.005km
MotoGP Race 2008: 30 laps (120.15 km)
MotoGP Timetable 2008: 14:00 CET