Stoner strolls to sixth win in Spanish sunshine2008-10-26 04:40
Casey Stoner ended the 2008 season as he began, victorious onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP8. The Australian took the win at the Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana in emphatic fashion, breaking away from pole for triumph number six of the year.
Runner-up in the overall standings, Stoner was riding for pride in the final race of the campaign, once again competing through the discomfort of a scaphoid injury that will be treated almost immediately following Monday and Tuesday's post-race test. Setting circuit records along the way, Stoner eventually crossed the line some 3.390 seconds clear of any challenge to his superiority.
2007 racewinner at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa was unable to repeat the feat in 2008 —despite his best attempts. The Repsol Honda rider had taken the holeshot after his trademark speedy start off the line, but was left taking a back seat to Stoner as the pace quickened. Nonetheless, the Spaniard treated the home fans to another podium finish, his eleventh of the year.
Valentino Rossi had claimed on Saturday that he was not fast on race or qualifying tyres in the dry at Valencia, but proved himself wrong with his own mercurial performance with the Yamaha M1. The 2008 World Champion also added a further notch to his podium tally with third place, his ninth in succession and sixteenth of the campaign.
One week on from his first MotoGP podium, Andrea Dovizioso earned fourth place in a similarly closely-fought battle to that of Sepang with Nicky Hayden. The JiR Team Scot rider got a chance to further inspect the factory bike with which he will test on Monday and Tuesday, edging out his American rival but unable to take the Rookie of the Year prize. He handed his satellite machine to his replacement, Yuki Takahashi, on returning to the garage.
Moving from Repsol Honda to Ducati for 2009, Hayden fell short in his quest to end his stay on Japanese machinery to a final victory. Starting from the front row —like Pedrosa running a special white retro livery & leathers combination for the race- 'The Kentucky Kid' dropped to fifth as he once again lost out to Dovizioso.
Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards came home sixth, ahead of Shinya Nakano, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi and Alex de Angelis. All eighteen of the MotoGP riders completed the 30 lap race, held in front of 119,788 spectators.
Casey Stoner- Race Winner
"I couldn't ask for much more! It was a very difficult season with lots of ups and lots of downs. I'm looking forward to testing the new bike —it's the reason that we've kept on riding- but another two good results is great. Yesterday we couldn't find a good setup, but working after doing the qualifying laps and in the warmup got us ready for the race."
2008 250cc World Champion Marco Simoncelli brought his title-winning season to a perfect conclusion in Valencia, taking victory from pole position at the Spanish track. The Metis Gilera rider faced stiff competition from Mika Kallio in the duo's final duel in the quarter-litre class, but a last lap fall from the Finn left the Italian with room to breathe on the final corners of 2008 campaign.
Running a special livery to commemorate his title triumph, Simoncelli made the most of the superior drive of his Gilera RSA keep distance between himself and the Red Bull KTM man, but his sixth win of the year seemed to be under threat as Kallio continued to set new lap records. A memorable race for Simoncelli was one to forget for Kallio, who tests an 800cc bike for the first time on Monday for Ducati.
Yuki Takahashi, another rider heading to the premier class for 2009, took advantage of Kallio's fall from nearly five seconds behind, moving up into the runner-up spot. The JiR Team Scot man gave his 250cc team a happy sendoff with his third rostrum of the year.
Alvaro Bautista completed the podium at his home race, having had a bad start to the Valencia date. He was held up early on by Simoncelli's teammate Roberto Locatelli, who was on a tear for fourth —his best result of the year.
Falls for Alex Debon and Julian Simon moved several riders in the top ten up places, with Hiroshi Aoyama the highest placing KTM rider in the factory's final 250cc race. Hector Faubel took his best placing of the season, whilst Aleix Espargaro, Ratthapark Wilairot, Mattia Pasini and Thomas Luthi also made their mark. Kallio remounted for eleventh place.
Simone Corsi closed the 125cc season with a fourth victory of the year on Sunday morning, assuring the Italian the runner-up spot in the 2008 World Championship. Corsi held his nerve in the face of challenges from Jack&Jones WRB teammate Nico Terol and World Champion Mike di Meglio over the duration of the race, eventually taking the chequered flag first in an exciting sprint to the line.
The race had begun with a near-collision between Corsi and Terol off the line, setting the tone for the forthcoming 24 laps. After Corsi and Di Meglio seemed to have broken away, an increased pace from a trailing trio and a mistake from the titlist let Terol back into the game. He held on to complete Jack&Jones WRB's first one-two in the class.
Di Meglio had run wide on the penultimate lap, although kept his cool to limit the damage. The Frenchman rounded off the podium —his eighth time on the rostrum in 2008.
Just outside the top three, despite his best efforts, Bradley Smith placed fourth in his final race for Polaris World Aprilia. In a top five separated from the rest of the field by some twenty seconds, Sandro Cortese was also denied a podium finish as the pace was upped on the final laps.
Andrea Iannone, Tomoyoshi Koyama, Scott Redding, Pablo Nieto and Esteve Rabat made up the remainder of the top ten, with Nieto participating in his final Grand Prix before taking up a managerial role in MotoGP next season. There was no positive departure for 2007 World Champion Gabor Talmacsi, however, as the Hungarian was forced to retire from the race due to a mechanical problem. He took third in the season's overall standings.
Early frontrunners Stefan Bradl and Sergio Gadea also DNF'ed when Bradl fell, taking the home rider with him.
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