Motoette -in forward motion

The bittersweet at Valencia

ValenciaPost Race Review 2011

In the final 18th round of the GP season, Spain’sValencia did not disappoint with an exciting race from start to finish!

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner had to work for his first place finish by just crossing the finish line ahead of Yamaha’s Ben Spies by 15 thousandth of a second, after the talented Texas rider gave him a run for his money in the final few laps of an intense and wet race. Casey’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso had to use some elbow grease to claim his third spot on the podium and for the Championship with a long and fervent battle with Dani Pedrosa for the majority of the race.

Several hours prior to the race all of the GP paddocks gathered on the front straight to pay tribute to Honda Grisini’s Marco Simoncelli. 1993 World Champion and good friend to Marco, Kevin Schwantz was given the honor to ride the #58 Grisini RC212V and lead a procession with all 3 classes for one ceremonial lap. This was the first time in GP history where all the GP classes took to the track simultaneously. The thirteen minute tribute ended with all 3 classes back on the start line with a short fireworks display to mark the end of the ceremony.

It was touching to see riders like Valentino Rossi wearing a #58 T shirt over his leathers holding a sizable flag with the same number as he rode. Loris Capirossi paid his respects with the number 58 on the nose of his Ducati instead of his classic #65 along with a new livery and helmet. It was evident, the number 58 was everywhere at the Spanish circuit and so was Marco’s spirit.

The race, declared last minute as wet, got off to a nail biting start within the first corner when Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista clipped the rear tire of Andrea Dovizioso causing a domino effect with 3 Ducati riders. Fans were completely flabbergasted as they watched Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet hit the tarmac and slide into the gravel one after the other, instantaneously ejecting them out of the race for the season. It was a very demoralizing occurrence, not only for the obvious safety reasons, but in the spirit of Marco, the riders wanted to perform well and complete the race unscathed. I feel this was especially true for Valentino Rossi, I was gutted for him when went down. I think he really wanted to send his good friend that he never got to say good-bye to, a message as one rider to another…

The line up in the first few laps was Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso. Stoner did his standard ritual dance up the raceway, leaving his closest contenders in the dust. This left the other two Repsol riders to hash it out, while Ben Spies just sat back and enjoyed the wrestling match with the two orange bikes that lay just ahead. The back and forth fight for second between Pedrosa and Dovizioso went on for most of the race until Spies, patiently lying in wait, made his move in the 21st lap and passed Pedrosa, allowing him full access to Dovizioso.

With the threat of precipitation starting to spit down, the two rookie riders, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Cardio ab Motoracing’s Karel Abraham were head to head rallying for fifth position and the Rookie of the Year Award. It was a fight to the finish until Abraham brushed the back end of Crutchlow’s M1, sending him off into the kitty litter! The persistent Czech rider managed to reposition his Ducati back on the tarmac and cross the finish line in 8th while hitting himself upside the helmet in a gesture to acknowledge his dumb move!

Cal Crutchlow captured the award and an astonishing 4th place! Way to go Cal!

Ben Spies, now the fastest bike on the track, effortlessly passes Dovizioso and capitalizes on a small mistake Stoner made in the last 4 laps of the race and soon after, passes the Aussie as well. The GP boys stubbornly stayed with their slicks as the rain began to fall, with 3 laps to go, it was fruitless to pit, so Spies and Stoner remained focused and hoped the Bridgestones would hold for just one more lap.

As the two feisty riders rounded the final left corner into the straight and aimed for the finish line, in a last minute effort, Stoner gunned his RC212V and amazingly managed to squeeze a few more cc’s out of the obsolete 800 engine and beat Spies by a fraction of a second!

Filling in for Colin Edwards, AMA Superbike Champion, Josh Hayes did exceptionally well for his first time out on the GP grid, starting out in the last row and working his way up to 7th. Very impressive for a rider dealing with a new, more powerful bike, unfamiliar track and wet weather conditions!

Marco Simoncelli’s teammate Hiroshi Aoyama had an emotional season, first with the devastation to his country in Japan after an earthquake and tsunami hit back in March and now losing his teammate two weeks ago. It would be fair to surmise that the emotional strain left the solo Grisini rider with a heavy heart and last to cross the finish line. This will be the last GP race for Aoyama, he will be joining the World Superbike team next season. I wish him all the best, and congratulations on making the top ten in standings!

And last, but most certainly, not least, it was wonderful to see the final GP race go without error for the retiring Loris Capirossi. Wearing his newly designed leathers and helmet with Marco’s #58 on the front of his Ducati was a very moving vision to behold. Regarded as one of the most personable and friendly riders in the paddock. I personally remember meeting Loris in the garages at Laguna Seca and how kind and agreeable he was to pose with me while we had our picture taken, almost insistent! At that point he became my favorite GP rider and it hasn’t changed since!

I will miss you Loris and I hope that you will be hanging around the GP paddocks in some capacity in the near future!

Cheste, Sunday, November 06, 2011

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 149.2 48’18.645
2 20 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 149.2 +0.015
3 16 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 148.9 +5.936
4 13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 148.8 +8.718
5 11 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 148.7 +9.321
6 10 89 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 148.0 +23.818
7 9 41 Josh HAYES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 147.5 +33.118
8 8 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE CardionABMotoracing Ducati 147.3 +37.952
9 7 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 146.7 +48.953
10 6 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 146.6 +52.501
11 5 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 145.9 +1’06.519
12 4 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 145.8 +1’08.760
Not Classified
    14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati   0 Lap
    19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki   0 Lap
    46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati   0 Lap
    69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati   0 Lap

MotoGP World Standing 2011

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 350
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 260
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 228
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 219
5 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 176
6 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 139
7 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 139
8 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 132
9 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 109
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 98
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 82
12 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 70
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 67
14 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 64
15 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 61
16 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 49
17 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 43
18 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA Yamaha JPN 10
19 Josh HAYES Yamaha USA 9
20 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 7
21 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
22 Shinichi ITO Honda JPN 3

November 8, 2011 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, Hector Barbera, Jorge Lorenzo, Laguna Seca, Loris Capirossi, marco simoncelli, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, Nicky Hayden, phillip Island, Randy De Puniet, San Carlo Honda Grisini, Sepang, superbike, Valencia, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

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