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Pure Racing: Playing For Pride In Valencia

Round 18 - Valencia 9-11 November 2012

Venue:

Ricardo Tormo

Circuit Length:

4.005 Km

Laps:

Moto3 - 24 laps
Moto2 - 27 laps
MotoGP - 30 laps

Lap Records:

125cc - Hector FAUBEL, Aprilia (2007) 1:39.380 = 145.079km/h
Moto2 - Karl ABRAHAM, FTR (2010) 1:36.611 = 149.237km/h
MotoGP - Casey STONER, Ducati (2008) 1:32.582 = 155.732km/h

Previous Winners:

125cc
2011 - Maverick VIŇALES, Aprilia
2010 - Bradley SMITH, Aprilia
2009 - Julian SIMON, Aprilia
2008 - Simone CORSI, Aprilia
2007 - Hector FAUBEL, Aprilia

250cc/Moto2
2011 - Michele PIRRO, Moriwaki
2010 - Karel ABRAHAM, FTR
2009 - Hector BARBERA, Aprilia
2008 - Marco SIMONCELLI, Gilera
2007 - Mika KALLIO, KTM

MotoGP
2011 - Casey STONER, Honda
2010 - Jorge LORENZO, Yamaha
2009 - Dani PEDROSA, Honda
2008 - Casey STONER, Ducati
2007 - Dani PEDROSA, Honda

PURE RACING: PLAYING FOR PRIDE IN VALENCIA

MotoGP: With the title wrapped up at Phillip Island, Jorge Lorenzo will be basking in the Spanish sunshine this weekend as he performs in front of an adoring home crowd. No pressure, only pleasure in store for the man who missed this race last year after his Phillip Island mishap: “It’s a great feeling to be coming home to my Spanish fans as the world champion,” says the Yamaha man from Mallorca. “It’s been a long, tough year and we have all worked so hard to get here, now this weekend will be one to enjoy for us all with less pressure.”

Compatriot Dani Pedrosa will be out to redeem himself after his fall at Phillip Island and finish his best-ever season in the top flight with a memorable performance. Pedrosa has five wins at Valencia on his CV, two of them in MotoGP in 2007 and 2009. “I’m very excited to get to Valencia and race again in front of the Spanish crowd,” says the Repsol Honda rider. “I enjoy riding this track and we’ve had good results there in the past so I want to make this weekend special and fight for the win and finish the season on a high.”

The weekend could hardly be more special for Casey Stoner: it’s his last as a MotoGP rider. The Australian will be thinking back to 2003, when he claimed his first World Championship race win on a 125cc Aprilia at this very track, and planning to book-end his career in the best possible way with his third victory in Valencia in the senior class. “I’ve always had success there, many pole positions and race wins,” he says. “I hope we can be competitive there and with the track going left it should suit our bike – and me – a little better at this point.” Stoner arrives fresh from Abu Dhabi where he took a keen interest in the V8 Supercar racing on the F1 undercard.

Watch out for two stand-in riders looking for stand-out performances this weekend. One is Katsuyuki Nakasuga, the Yamaha test rider, who deputises again for the injured Ben Spies. Nakasuga, 31, has just won the All Japan Superbike title for the second time and he is no stranger to the second factory seat. He was sixth in Valencia last year when he sat in for Jorge Lorenzo, who had damaged his finger at Phillip Island; and he raced at Motegi this year, finishing ninth.

The other substitute is another Japanese rider. That’s the popular Hiroshi Aoyama, who will ride this weekend in place of the injured Yonny Hernandez for the BQR Avintia team. World Champion in the quarter-litre class back in 2009 on a Honda, Aoyama moved up with the Japanese brand into MotoGP in 2010 and 2011, finishing 15th and 10th respectively. Aoyama has endured a testing World Superbike season and he has just been confirmed as an Avintia rider for the 2013 season. “I will give the maximum next season,” said Aoyama, who has just turned 31, “because recent years have not been very good for me. I return with great enthusiasm and eager to show my full potential.”

The top four in the top class – Lorenzo-Pedrosa-Stoner-Dovizioso – are set in stone, but three riders still have a chance of fifth spot overall. Currently in that position is Alvaro Bautista, enjoying a strong finish to his season with seven straight top-five results since Indianapolis; just eight points behind the Spaniard is Valentino Rossi, looking to end his largely fruitless Ducati years on a relative high in what he says will be “a strange weekend”; and six points behind the maestro is Cal Crutchlow, heading to Spain off his second podium of 2012 at the Island.

Moto2: It’s a bullfight in the sun for the Spanish crowd as newly-crowned World Champion Marc Marquez and compatriot Pol Espargaro go head-to-head again. The two local riders have been on the podium together no fewer than 10 times this season; on half of those occasions they have finished 1-2, with Marquez leading 3-2 in that little sub-plot. They are now uncatchable in first and second places, Marquez seeking his ninth win of a wonderful series and Espargaro his fifth.

The real battle is for third place overall and it concerns two riders who toiled at Phillip Island. Andrea Iannone, third at the moment, had his engine cry ‘Enough’ at the Island; he is 11 points ahead of Tom Lüthi, who crashed in Australia to underline the topsy-turvy nature of his season as a whole.

The real story in Moto2, though, is Ant West’s and it’s not a happy one at this stage. The Australian will not ride in Valencia following a one-month ban for failing an anti-doping test earlier this year. Although the Queenslander has a five-day window of appeal his QMMF team has decided to stand him down from Valencia duty and he is replaced by Indonesian Tofan Sucipto.

Moto3: Here too the title is gone, safely on its way to Germany and the address of Herr Sandro Cortese. So the fight is for second place, and again it’s an all-Spanish affair. Last year’s 125cc Valencia winner Maverick Viñales, who DNF’d in Australia on return from his self-imposed exile, is nine points behind Luis Salom, who managed a single point Down Under after a ride-through penalty for jumping the start.

Could Arthus Sissis pull off another spectacular result to round off a highly encouraging rookie year? The young Australian is nine points off a top-10 finish overall, with Efren Vazquez and Jonas Folger ahead of him on 93 to his 84. Sissis has finished in the points 12 times already – including the last seven races on the trot.

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