Yesterday’s MotoGP at Valencia proved to be a wet and wild one, with 2012 champion, Jorge Lorenzo, crashing out just a few laps before the end as a result of the rainy conditions. Eventually, it was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who took the final victory of the season, but not without an interesting start to his race.
The patchy and drying track caused turmoil from the outset, with last minute tyre calls going out across the grid. For the most part, teams decided on the wets, but Lorenzo took a chance and opted for slicks. It only took the warm up lap for Pedrosa to realise he should have made the same decision and he headed to the pits for a change over, instead of returning to the grid.
By the time the lights hit green, the Spanish rider was still missing from the pole position, but his decision gave him the opportunity to miss out on stopping later on in the race, as many riders did, to alter their bikes to their dry set-up. Lorenzo was initially in eleventh position, but it didn’t take long for his tyres to warm up and allow him to power forward into fifth. By the end of the third lap, he’d even managed to move straight into the lead, which he managed to keep hold of until his mishap on a wet area of the track, which forced him to crash out, landing on his back out on the gravel.
In Lorenzo’s absence, the lead was taken by Aleix Espargaro – giving him the title of the first CRT rider in MotoGP history to be out in front. Once out on the dry however, he couldn’t quite keep up with the pace and he was lapped. Lorenzo wasn’t the only victim to the conditions, with Cal Crutchlow sliding off track just seven laps from the end, when he was in second place. This proved very fortunate for Katsuyaki Nakasaga, who was acting as Yamaha stand-in for an injured Ben Spies; he managed to take Crutchlow’s second place which he kept hold of until the flag.
WIth just one lap to go, Casey Stoner powered up from the middle of the track, determined to end his MotoGP career with a podium finish. In the end, he achieved his goal, winding up in third place. In his final race for Ducati, Valentino Rossi could only mange a tenth place finish. He now heads to Yamaha for 2013, no doubt hoping for much better results than those he managed this year. By the end of the race then, Pedrosa was out in front with the victory, followed by Nakasaga in second and Stoner in third, bringing the 2012 MotoGP season to an eventful close.