Dani Pedrosa did very well at Valencia and won his home grand prix in style. This was the 18th and the last race of the 2007 MotoGP season, and for once, Stoner was unable to romp away from the rest of them. Pedrosa started from pole position (for the fourth consecutive race!) and while it was Stoner was lead the pack initially, Pedrosa managed to get past him on the sixth lap of the 30-lap race, and there was no catching the young Spaniard after that.
In winning the last MotoGP of the season, Pedrosa also relegated Rossi to third place overall in the world championship. Rossi, who was riding well despite a broken hand, had to retire due to engine trouble. Stoner put in a super-consistent performance as usual, making no mistakes anywhere, and rode to second place, with John Hopkins (who moves to Kawasaki next year) taking third.
Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen took fourth, fifth and sixth places respectively. Brazilian veteran, Alex Barros, making his 276th and final grand prix appearance, finished in style to take seventh place, while Nicky Hayden – who was earlier fighting for fourth place with Melandri but ultimately had to fall back – could only finish down in eighth. Randy de Puniet in ninth and Toni Elias in tenth place rounded off the top ten. Another GP veteran, Carlos Checa also put in his final MotoGP appearance, finishing in 12th place.
After the race, a terribly disappointed Rossi said, ‘I did everything I could in order to be on the grid today, because I wanted to try and confirm my second place in the championship, which I think I deserved. I was riding very fast, even though my bike was not perfect. When I got into 14th place, I told myself that my task was done, but I was feeling quite good and I wanted to try to pass some more riders. Unfortunately however I felt that I had a problem with my bike and I was forced to come in.’
Yamaha team director, Davide Brivio said ‘We would like to say sorry to Valentino because he made a great effort to race with his broken hand. Unfortunately, a technical problem stopped him from getting the second place and we're very sad about this. Our engineers are doing everything they can to understand what happened today. We have decided to send the engine back to Japan for further investigation.’
The saga will, of course, continue in 2008. It’s now been officially confirmed that Rossi will race on Bridgestones next year, even though his teammate Jorge Lorenzo will use Michelins. The Fiat Yamaha Team will continue to operate and race as one team, though Lorenzo and Rossi will have separate enclosures to maintain confidentiality pertaining to tyre-related data!
With a new breed of fast, young riders coming to MotoGP next year – riders who are possibly even hungrier than Rossi for the world title – The Doctor will finally have to pull out all stops and reach deep into his vast reserves of talent if he wants to win the world championship one last time. Yes indeed, 2008 should be one hell of a MotoGP season!
HUGE collection of 2007 MotoGP hi-res wallpaper!
Rossi's Honda NSR500: One for the road!
First pic: 2008 Cagiva Mito 125...
KTM RC8 ready to take on everyone!
MotoGP: Barry Sheene livery for Vermeulen's bike...
The 2007 MotoGP season: Who was to blame? What went wrong?