Lorenzo seals his season

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Fast trio: from left, Rossi, Lorenzo, and Stoner.

New
Moto GP champion Jorge Lorenzo appropriately sealed his title with a
win at the season-ending race at Valencia, in Spain. It was his first
win ever at the track, and he was over the moon: "Winning
here in front of my home crowd at this special track is one of the
happiest moments of my life … I used to be known as a crazy rider
who crashed too much so to demonstrate consistency in this way
(setting a new record for season points) makes me proud."

Lorenzo had to work for the win, as first he got a bad
start, then tangled with Marco Simoncelli and nearly crashed,
dropping back to ninth. He then put his head down and started
clicking past the others, dispatching his Fiat Yamaha team-mate
Valentino Rossi, then quickly catching race leader Casey Stoner,
passing him at about 2/3 distance and motoring off to a comfortable
win.

The
three finished in that order, miles ahead of the rest of the field.
Rossi said, "At
one point I thought I might be able to win but in the later part of
the race I just didn’t have enough strength to stay with Lorenzo and
Stoner, this is a very hard track when you’re not completely fit. I
started to make a few mistakes because I didn’t have enough power to
stop the bike so after a bit I decided it was better to slow down and
keep my third place," while Stoner said that perhaps he’d chosen
the wrong rear tire, but "At the end of the day Jorge had a better
pace than us today and there wasn’t much more we could have done."

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Lightweights: Lorenzo’s fans learn that by severely dieting and reducing heavy clothing, they can float.

The
only other riders to run up front were Nicky Hayden, who’d been
fastest in morning practice and early on was hanging on to Stoner,
and a surprising Dani Pedrosa, still suffering from the shoulder he
badly damaged last month.

Hayden
crashed — "The bike felt good and I was able to make up a few
positions into the first turn, then pass Dani for second place. To
crash just a couple of laps later is frustrating because I had the
pace to be fighting for the podium out there. It is definitely not
the way I wanted to end the season and my guys deserved more after
another great job this weekend" — while Pedrosa ran hard with
Stoner for a while before dropping back, finally finishing seventh,
which at least got him second in the championship. "I was suffering
like hell … I lose the feeling, the strength, it is everything
together, you know. It comes lap by lap together, and finally I just
couldn’t grab the bars."

He’s
apparently suffering some nerve and possibly vascular damage in
addition to the three breaks in his collarbone, so isn’t going to
have a great off-season.

The
last third of the race was enlivened by an entertaining battle
between Ben Spies (who dislocated his left ankle only a week before,
Andrea Dovizioso, and Simoncelli; the three hammered on each other
incessantly but Spies finally broke away a bit and they finished in
that order. The top 10 was rounded out by Pedrosa, Héctor Barberá
(Páginas Amarillas Aspar), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Randy
de Puniet (LCR Honda)

Final
Moto GP Championship standings

1.
Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, Fiat Yamaha, 383 points

2.
Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 245

3.
Valentino Rossi, Italy, Fiat Yamaha, 233

4.
Casey Stoner, Australia, Marlboro Ducati, 225

5.
Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda, 206

6. Ben Spies, U.S.A., Tech 3 Yamaha, 176

7.
Nicky Hayden, U.S.A., Marlboro Ducati, 163

8.
Marco Simoncelli, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 125

9.
Randy de Puniet, France, LCR Honda, 116

10.
Marco Melandri, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 103

11.
Colin Edwards, U.S.A., Tech 3 Yamaha, 103

12.
Hector Barbera, Spain, Páginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati,
90

13. Alvaro Bautista, Spain, Rizla
Suzuki, 85

14. Aleix Espargaro, Spain, Pramac
Ducati, 65

15. Hiroishi Aoyama, Japan, Interwetten
Honda, 53

16. Loris Capirossi, Italy, Rizla
Suzuki, 44

17. Mika Kallio, Finland, Pramac
Ducati, 43

18. Alex de Angelis, San Marino,
Interwetten Honda, 11

19. Roger Lee Hayden, U.S.A., LCR
Honda, 5

20. Kousuke Akiyoshi, Japan,
Interwetten Honda, 4

21. Carlos Checa, Spain, Pramac Ducati,
1

22. Wataru Yoshikawa, Japan, Fiat
Yamaha, 1

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