With 17 races already disputed and one left this Sunday, the Circuito Ricardo Tormo brings an end to the 2008 season of the World MotoGP Championship this weekend, and it does so with the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, which is...
With 17 races already disputed and one left this Sunday, the Circuito Ricardo Tormo brings an end to the 2008 season of the World MotoGP Championship this weekend, and it does so with the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, which is celebrating ten years in the international calendar this year.
After the excellent performance by the two Repsol Honda Team riders in Malaysia, Dani Pedrosa finished in second position and Nicky Hayden fourth, the two go to Valencia ready to say farewell to the 2008 season with a good result. Pedrosa won this GP last year, and Hayden was proclaimed World MotoGP Champion at this track the year before, in 2006. So the two of them admit to having a very special relationship with this track in Valencia. Moreover Hayden also wants to say farewell to the team he has been with for the last 6 years with a good result.
Julian Simon is another that wants to say goodbye to his team and the 250cc category with a podium finish. Something that has eluded him all season. He has been very close to one in the last few races -- 4th in Japan and Australia -- and it seemed more than likely in Malaysia last weekend but an engine problem on his KTM ruined the whole weekend" work. Simon was in the leading group halfway through the race, alongside Aoyama, Bautista and Simoncelli, but the mechanical problem meant that Simon had to go back to the pits. In Valencia Simon will have his last chance to get a podium in this category because next year he will return to 125cc.
In the 125cc category only Esteve Rabat will defend the Repsol team colours this weekend. His teammate Marc Marquez was injured last weekend, in the first free practice session on the Friday morning in Malaysia. He was ruled out of the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valencia by the doctors last weekend but he should be completely recovered in three weeks time. Esteve Rabat, who did not finish the race in Sepang last weekend after falling two laps from the end of the race was fighting to get among the points at that exact moment, says that Valencia is one of his favourite circuits, and in front of Spanish fans will be out to end the season with a good result.
Dani Pedrosa >>
"I am really looking forward to Valencia. There will be many Spanish fans there and the Spanish crowd want a Spanish winner! The Circuito Ricardo Tormo is quite short but it's a great track for the fans because they can see the whole lap.
The place is laid out a bit like a stadium, so the atmosphere is fantastic, especially since it's the last race of the year. I especially enjoy this race, it's always great to ride in front of so many Spanish fans, you can really feel their support. The track is dominated by left-handers, so the left side of the tyres have quite a hard time. There are a lot of corners in quite a short lap with quite a few changes of direction, so it is very important to have an agile bike. You need to vary your riding style around this track, adjusting your technique according to each corner. Rear grip plays a crucial role, especially edge grip. The conditions are quite cool, so we usually go for intermediate compound tyres."
Nicky Hayden >>
"One more try at 'em! I really love Valencia and I love the atmosphere, it's always special to race in front of a Spanish crowd. I don't want to sound soft but it will be an emotional weekend.
This team has been family the last six years -- I was 21 years old when I showed up in Europe from Kentucky! We've had a good run together. I'm really grateful for the opportunity Honda gave me. Not a lot of people can say they rode factory Hondas for nine years. From the RC51 on, I've ridden some of the baddest bikes ever and worked with some great engineers. We'll be hoping we can go out strong. Valencia has got a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. I like the way they built the track inside a natural bowl. I like big, fast, flowing tracks too, but I like how Valencia is all right there, you really feel the energy. It's the last race of the year, so everyone goes all out. On the map it looks like a go-kart track but it doesn't feel like that riding it. You need a bike that gets round corners better than it goes in a straight line and you've got to be aggressive."
Julian Simon >>
"The Gran Premio de Valencia is going to be pecial for me, because it will be my last race on the 250cc bike. And it is a race in Spain, in front of lots of fans and so I am dying to ride there.
This circuit suits the bike, it is a good one for me too. We are going to give it our best shot and try and get a good result, a podium finish has been out of my reach so far but I have been close in the last few races and I have demonstrated that we can be up with the leaders. It would be great to say farewell to this category from the podium in front of my Spanish fans, to thank them for all their support and at the same time thank my team for all their good work too."
Esteve Rabat >>
"I really like the Circuito Ricardo Tormo de Cheste, I remember that last year I put in a good performance. I foughtback and you could say that it was my best race ever.
I hope that I can do the same again, put in a good race and finish the season on a high. And racing in Spain is always something special, because you have your family and friends close to you, and all the fans too, it" different to what you find in other countries. I have not trained in Valencia for a year because I broke my collar-bone in the pre-season and I could not ride there, but it is a circuit that I like, and I think the bike will work well there."