MotoGP preview: Grand Prix of Valencia
MotoGP PREVIEW: GRAND PRIX OF VALENCIA
EVENT: Grand Prix of Valencia
WHERE: Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, Cheste, Spain. Circuit is 2.489 miles (4.005 km), with 14 turns. Race is 30 laps.
WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 7. It is the 18th of 18 events this season.
2009 RACE WINNER: Dani Pedrosa, by 2.630 seconds over Valentino Rossi
2009 POLE WINNER: Casey Stoner, 1 minute, 32.256 seconds
U.S. TV: MotoGP race, 8-9 a.m. (ET), Sunday, Nov. 7, SPEED (live). Moto2: 5-6 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Nov. 7, SPEED (delayed). 125cc: 1:30-2:30 p.m. (ET), Tuesday, Nov. 9, SPEED (delayed).
THE AMERICANS: U.S. riders Ben Spies (Longview, Texas, Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Nicky Hayden (Owensboro, Ky., Ducati Team) and Colin Edwards (Houston, Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will compete in the MotoGP race. Spies and Hayden are tied for sixth in the MotoGP World Championship standings, with Edwards 11th. Kenny Noyes (Borrego Springs, Calif., Jack&Jones by Antonio Banderas) will compete in the Moto2 race. Noyes is tied for 25th in the Moto2 World Championship standings.
•Ben Spies (after practice Friday): "I'm happy with the way today ended because I'm sixth, but really close to Colin in third. I felt good this morning before I crashed. I was on the soft front tire, and it is the one I don't like so much. I was happy to make it through the whole session on it, but I got a bit too greedy and lost the front going into the second corner. I knew if I'd have swallowed some pride and slowed down or come in for the hard tire, it wouldn't have happened. At least I didn't aggravate the ankle, which is getting better as each day passes. Earlier this week it was really painful, and I'm having a couple of issues back-shifting gears. But it is not going to be a problem for the race. I'm having lots of physio, and when I'm not on the bike I'm using an ice pack a lot. But after the crash in Estoril and what happened this morning, I needed to have a good session this afternoon just to build up some confidence, and that's what I managed. I'm really happy too because my fastest lap was on the 25th lap on the hard rear tire option, so we've obviously got a good race setting already. Every change we made to the bike made it a bit better, so with a few more tweaks overnight we should be looking even stronger."
•Nicky Hayden (after practice Friday): "Obviously, today was not how we hoped to start the last race of the season. We started this morning quite good. I was fastest in the first minutes of the session, I think, and then third, second ... at least near the front. But then it was very difficult to really improve from there. I think did a low 34 in my first run, but I didn't find a lot of time since then, so we have to try and understand why. Anyway, to be honest, the position is not good, for sure. But we are not so far away in the lap times apart from the first two, so we will see what we can do tomorrow to improve. It was nice having two full sessions today. We will regroup tomorrow and try to improve. I love this track; I love this race, so it's a long way from over. We'll keep pushing."
•Colin Edwards (after practice Friday): "I'm really happy to have made such a good start. I was only 11th this morning but knew my guys had a handle on how to improve the bike, and this afternoon it just felt so easy. All the problems I've had all year with the bike not turning and running wide disappeared. I could get into the corner hard on the brakes, carry lots of lean angle, open the throttle, and the bike would just turn like it should do. It's all too little too late, but I didn't feel like I was out there taking a lot of risks, and I was nearly six-tenths faster this afternoon. Every lap I did was between 33.4 and 33.6, and that's consistently over half-a-second faster than what I was able to do here last year. I kept the same hard tire for the whole session and just switched it between the bikes and my best time was on the 20th lap, so I'm really happy with the tire performance, too, and think I could be in for a really strong weekend to finish the season."
THEY SAID IT: "So here we are, my last race with Yamaha, and it will be an emotional weekend for all. Of course, I would really like to try to win this final race because it would be a great end to this partnership, which has had so many beautiful moments." - Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi, about ending his seven-year stint at Yamaha after this weekend to move to the Ducati Team in 2011
FAST FACTS: This will be the final ride on their current teams for MotoGP standouts Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Ben Spies. Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi is moving to Ducati in 2011 after seven seasons with Yamaha, 2007 MotoGP World Champion Stoner is leaving Ducati for Honda, and American rookie standout is moving from the satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team for the factory Yamaha team … Valencia is one of just three current circuits where new MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has not won in any class during his Grand Prix career. The others are Sachsenring and Aragon … Lorenzo needs to score 16 points at this race to set a record for the most points in one season, breaking Rossi's record of 373 in 2008 … 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa is the only rider with victories at Valencia in MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc … The World Championship is available in just one class, 125cc, as Jorge Lorenzo and Toni Elias clinched the title in MotoGP and Moto2, respectively, on Oct. 10 at the Grand Prix of Malaysia. 125cc points leader Marc Marquez must finish eighth or better to clinch the world title. Marquez leads fellow Spaniard Nicolas Terol by 17 points … Marquez can become the second-youngest World Champion in Grand Prix history, at 17 years, 263 days.