Stoner Powers to Valencia Win
“We couldn't ask for much more than to finish the season like this. It's been a very difficult season for us, there's been a lot of ups, a lot of downs, but we were competitive here last year and in the warm-up everything felt good and we were ready for this. It's fantastic to finish like this,” said Stoner after the race.
The Ducati rider had a slow start and was overtaken by Spaniard Dani Pedrosa after the first corner. Italian Valentino Rossi – who has already secured his 5th MotoGP title after the Motegi Grand Prix - started the race from 11th but quickly got into 7th place and trailing Loris Capirossi for 6th. Up front, Stoner regained first place after the first lap and started to build a comfortable lead in front of 2nd place and local favorite Dani Pedrosa.
Rossi then started to gain position after position in the race and, after passing Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden everyone was already thinking the Italian would 'kill' another race. Nevertheless, Pedrosa kept his cool and even extended his advantage over the Yamaha rider in the remaining laps, making the Top 3 practically untouchable until the finish line.
“I started running wide a little bit, and I was lucky that I had a bit of a buffer at the front, because then I had to start carrying more corner speed. I couldn't brake at the same points - by the end of the race I was braking probably 50, 60 metres earlier going into the first turn than I was at the beginning. It was hard work to keep the lap times going, but we managed to do it,” explained Stoner his comfortable gap at the finish line.
The Australian eventually finished 3.4 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, while Rossi lost his pace at the middle of the race and came in third overall, more than 12 seconds behind winner Stoner. The Valencia podium changed nothing in the overall classification, as all 5 riders have already secured their position by season's finale. Yamaha won all 3 titles this year, riders, teams and manufacturers.