The 2009 MotoGP title may have already been decided in Valentino Rossi's favour, but the final round of the season at Valencia will still witness numbers of scores to settle, a few farewells and one very special debutant.

Third place in the Malaysian Grand Prix was all Rossi needed to clinch a ninth world title, the Italian staving off the attentions of young Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to add to his trophy collection.

Nonetheless, while the popular Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo circuit won't play host to the title decider, there is still much to be disputed right down to the wire.

First and foremost, Lorenzo is still under threat for his runners-up spot in the standings, although the Spaniard needs just a single point on home ground to ensure a 1-2 result for Yamaha.

Should he retire from the race though, Ducati's Casey Stoner could be primed to snatch the position off him. The Australian has been in outstanding form since returning from illness, winning the last two races at Phillip Island and Sepang to move himself 25 points behind Lorenzo. While it will take some fate to snatch the position off Lorenzo, Stoner - who won at Valencia last season - is still well placed to at least hold his end of the bargain.

Stoner himself remains under pressure though, from fourth place Dani Pedrosa, who, after finishing second in Malaysia, heads to his home event brimming with confidence. A multiple winner on grand prix machinery at Valencia - including two years ago in MotoGP -, Pedrosa is just eleven points adrift of Stoner in the standings.

Naturally, Rossi is also likely to be in the hunt for race victory, although he freely admits the circuit hasn't been so kind to both himself and the Yamaha team in the past. Indeed, the 30 year old has won twice in 2003 and 2004 but also lost the title to Nicky Hayden when he crashed three years ago. The master of mind games will want to end his Championship year with a victory just to let the chasing trio know what lies ahead in 2010.

Battles further down the field remain similarly close, with fifth in the standings being disputed by Andrea Dovizioso and Colin Edwards. Having won his maiden race with Repsol Honda this season, Dovizioso is determined not to lose out to a satellite rider, but the ultra consistent Edwards remains poised four points behind on the Tech 3 Yamaha.

Things are even closer further back as any one of six riders could still finish seventh in the standings. Covering seventh down to 12th position, just seven points split Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi, Alex de Angelis, Toni Elias, Chris Vermeulen and Randy de Puniet. Even Nicky Hayden in 13th is still mathematically able to catapult himself up the order.

For many, Melandri would be considered most deserving of the position after his mighty efforts with minnows Hayate, one that has seen him revive his reputation and help the team hint at what Kawasaki could have been capable of had it now withdrawn from the series.

He currently stands equal on points with Suzuki's Capirossi, who has slipped back with a few disappointing performances recently.

Nonetheless, with both riders securing rides in 2010 (Melandri with Gresini Honda and Capirossi with Suzuki again), they will want to keep currently unemployed de Angelis and Elias, as well as World Superbike returnee Vermeulen, at bay.

The trio sits just three points further back in ninth, tenth and eleventh respectively, with the Gresini pair in particular hoping to use the season finale event as a chance to show prospective employers what they're capable of.

Meanwhile, having scored in every race this season, Vermeulen will bid farewell to MotoGP at the end of this weekend after being signed to front Kawasaki's World Superbike effort - a chance to overhaul re-signed team-mate Capirossi will be seen as a fitting exit from the team.

Also World Superbike bound in 2010 will be James Toseland, who brings his disappointing two-year tenure with Tech 3 Yamaha to an end at Valencia. A last chance to impress before he bids to become the first rider to win three World Superbike titles with three different manufacturers, Toseland will also be keen to bridge the five points to Hayden in 13th.

Coming in the other direction, however, will be Ben Spies, the American making his long-awaited MotoGP debut for Yamaha ahead of his full-time assault with Tech 3 in 2010. A high-profile debut for the Texan, who is seen as a potential future champion, the newly crowned World Superbike title winner will have much attention surrounding him over the weekend, although expectations on an unfamiliar bike have been kept fairly low.

Elsewhere, Mika Kallio will consolidate his 'rookie' title by attempting to finally break into the top six, while he will once again be joined by future team-mate Aleix Espargaro after Niccolo Canepa was forced to withdraw through injury.

Beyond the end of the MotoGP season, Valencia will also see the final ever 250cc race ahead of its metamorphosis into Moto2.

It is appropriate then that the two-stroke machines that have provided so much entertainment for nearly five decades bow out with the only Championship battle going all the way to the final round on Sunday.

Next year the 250 cc two-strokes will be replaced by 600cc four-strokes in the new Moto2 class but they are going down with a typical fight that has been the hallmark of their enormous part in the history of grand prix racing.

The 27 lap race on Sunday will be no exception. Hiroshi Aoyama's nail biting win in Malaysia has given the Scot Honda rider a precious 21 point lead over current World Champion Marco Simoncelli. It was such an important win for the Japanese rider because Simoncelli had been closing the gap riding the M?tis Gilera. Since failing to score in the opening two rounds, the Italian grabbed ten podium finishes including six wins but third place in Malaysia after a photo finish has handed back the advantage back to Aoyama.

The 125 cc Championship has already been decided but the 24 lap should provide another great battle between Aspar team-mates World Champion Julian Simon and runner-up Bradley Smith.


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