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Lorenzo closes title season with first Valencia victory
7 November 2010
Jorge Lorenzo brought his title-winning MotoGP season to a perfect conclusion by fighting through the field for his first ever victory in front of his home Spanish fans at the Valencia finale.
Some chaotic early laps saw Lorenzo twice tangle with rookie Marco Simoncelli, leaving the Fiat Yamaha rider shaking his head in fury - and almost on the floor - as the 23-year-old dropped as far back as eighth in the early stages.
Lorenzo then regained his composure and climbed back up the order, passing Simoncelli for fourth on lap 7 of 30.
That left Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi ahead of him.
Stoner, seeking to end his four-year career at Ducati with a 24th Desmosedici victory, had been in command from turn one, with Pedrosa pulling a brave outbraking move to vault into second at turn two.
But the Repsol Honda rider's injured shoulder began to take its toll and he faded backwards from lap ten onwards.
Lorenzo seized second from Rossi under braking on lap 12, by which time the leading trio were separated by just 0.6sec.
Stoner held firm and, of the three, it was Rossi who broke first - losing ground from lap 21.
Lorenzo looked ever stronger and made his victory pass on Stoner into turn two with seven laps remaining. Stoner couldn't retaliate and Lorenzo took his ninth win by 4.576sec.
Lorenzo finishes the 2010 season with 383 points, taking the points record off Rossi, whom Lorenzo also joins on a record 16 podiums in a single year. "Today has been the craziest race in all my life!" said Lorenzo.
Stoner, who won Ducati's first and only MotoGP World Championship in his first (2007) season with the team, finished four-seconds clear of Rossi for his ninth rostrum of the year and last before joining the factory Honda team.
Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi had been unable to match the pace of Stoner and Lorenzo throughout the weekend, but rallied back from a slow start - he was eighth on lap one - to claim a podium finish on his final M1 ride.
The Italian superstar, switching to Ducati for 2011, marked the end of his seven years at Yamaha - during which time he won four world championships and 46 races for Yamaha - by wearing a yellow "Bye Bye Baby" t-shirt.
Rossi stopped on his slow down lap and hugged the front of his M1 is a scene similar to the aftermath of his first M1 win, on his Yamaha debut, at Welkom 2004.
Rookie of the Year Ben Spies, who replaces Rossi next season, began the race level on points with fellow American Nicky Hayden for sixth in the championship, a position that automatically went in Spies' favour after Hayden crashed out of second place early in the race.
The Ducati rider lost the front through the third-gear first turn, while Spies rode to fourth on his final appearance for Tech 3 after carving past Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli in the closing stages.
Former title contender Pedrosa finished seventh, while Hector Barbera gave the Aspar Ducati team eighth place at the end of the team's first MotoGP season.
Fellow rookie Alvaro Bautista was ninth for Suzuki, while Randy de Puniet's 200th grand prix, and last for LCR Honda, ended with tenth position. The Frenchman will ride for Pramac Ducati next season.
Aleix Espargaro, starting his final MotoGP race before switching to Moto2 next year, signed off with eleventh in front of experienced rivals Colin Edwards (Tech 3) and Marco Melandri (Gresini).
Former MotoGP title runner-up Melandri was making his last premier-class appearance before moving to World Superbike.
Fellow Italian Loris Capirossi retired with a technical problem from his final Suzuki race, and what looks like being the last race for Suzuki as a two-rider team. Capirossi will switch to Pramac Ducati next year.
Hiroshi Aoyama gave Interwetten 14th in the team's final race, while Carlos Checa's second and final stand-in appearance for Pramac brought one world championship point for 15th and last.
A test session, when Valentino Rossi will make his Ducati debut and Casey Stoner his first factory Honda appearance, will be held at Valencia on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Valencia Grand Prix:
10. de Puniet