Repsol Honda and the Spanish corporate hope for the future, Dani Pedrosa, took victory in the last Moto GP of 2007 at Valencia, in front of the usual hysterically supportive home-town crowd.
Casey Stoner and his Marlboro Ducati, who clinched the title three races ago, took a hard-fought second, while John Hopkins got his fourth podium of the year in his last race for Rizla Suzuki (he’s signed with Kawasaki for 2008).
Pedrosa’s win and Valentino Rossi’s misfortune – a huge high-side in qualifying left him with three broken bones in his right hand and wrist, and although he started the race he had the additional misfortune of an engine problem forcing him out of the race – gave Pedrosa second in the ’07 title chance, a mere one point ahead of the Italian.
Hopkins’ third place gave him and his Suzuki team fourth overall (Hopkins’ best result yet), so that was four different nationalities and bikes in the first four places – can’t complain about that kind of competition. Fifth was a customer Honda in the capable hands of Marco Melandri, who’ll be joining Stoner at Ducati for 2008.
The remainder of the top 10 for the season are Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki), Loris Capirossi (Ducati), Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda), Colin Edwards (Fiat Team Yamaha), and Alex Barros (Pramac D’Antin Ducati). And yes, that makes three Ducatis in the top 10 – a very impressive result indeed, one that gave the Italian factory the manufacturer’s championship as well as the rider’s title this year.
Defending champion Hayden had a bad day; it appeared that his tire went off relatively early and although he started well enough he drifted back during the second half of the race, a double disappointment in that he loves the Valencia track and it’s where he clinched his title in 2006. He’d had problems getting his bike to work well all weekend, and will no doubt be glad to see the end of a troubled season.