Dani Pedrosa wins dramatic MotoGP season finale

Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa has won a dramatic final MotoGP of the season, holding on for victory at Valencia.

In what was a race mixed by a rain shower prior to the start, the Repsol Honda driver led home first time podium finisher Katsuyuki Nakasuga and retiring MotoGP great Casey Stoner.

The race was declared wet before the start, despite a dry line having formed. Only Yamaha’s world champion Jorge Lorenzo, his team-mate Nakasuga, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl chose the softer option slick tyres. All others started on the hard wets. However, in a twist unseen this season, Pedrosa, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista decided to start from pit-lane after their sighting lap, with all of them switching to a bike with slick tyres.

At the start, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró led the early exchanges, becoming the first CRT bike to lead a Grand Prix. Within three laps, however, Lorenzo was in front and looked to have nailed the strategy.

But the track quickly dried and many riders that started on wets came into the pits to switch bikes (to slicks), the first of which being Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá and Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso.

The race looked like it would settle down from that point, but it only got more interesting, with riders falling off their bikes left, right and centre.

Hayden, Iván Silva, Roberto Rolfo crashed out of contention, while Bradl saw a potential podium slid into the gravel trap early.

The biggest news of the race, though, was a huge crash for Lorenzo, who highsided off his Yamaha as he was passing back markers. He was lucky to walk away from the crash.

This left Pedrosa in the lead, who also had his work cut out getting past the slower riders. Once through, it was a (slippery) Sunday ride to victory for the pole-sitter.

Second place would have gone to pit-lane starter Crutchlow but was caught out by the conditions and fell off his Yamaha.

Wildcard Nakasuga inherited second place, securing the first podium finish of 2012 for a Japanese rider.

Bautista was third after Crutchlow’s exit, although Stoner caught and passed him on the penultimate lap.

Race result, Valencia

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 149.0 48’23.819
2 20 21 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA JPN Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 147.0 +37.661
3 16 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 145.9 +1’00.633
4 13 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 145.8 +1’02.811
5 11 51 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 144.6 +1’26.608
6 10 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 144.5 +1’30.423
7 9 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 144.4 +1’31.789
8 8 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 143.5 1 Lap
9 7 77 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 143.1 1 Lap
10 6 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 142.9 1 Lap
11 5 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 141.1 1 Lap
12 4 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 138.3 2 Laps
13 3 73 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Avintia Blusens BQR 136.7 2 Laps
14 2 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 132.6 3 Laps
Not Classified
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 146.7 8 Laps
71 Claudio CORTI ITA Avintia Blusens Inmotec 130.0 13 Laps
8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 134.5 14 Laps
99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 146.6 17 Laps
6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 141.8 21 Laps
84 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 128.3 24 Laps
22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 126.9 28 Laps
69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 126.9 28 Laps

Final championship table

Pos. Rider Points
1 Jorge LORENZO 350
2 Dani PEDROSA 332
3 Casey STONER 254
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO 218
5 Alvaro BAUTISTA 178
6 Valentino ROSSI 163
8 Stefan BRADL 135
9 Nicky HAYDEN 122
10 Ben SPIES 88
11 Hector BARBERA 83
12 Aleix ESPARGARO 74
13 Randy DE PUNIET 62
14 Karel ABRAHAM 59
15 Michele PIRRO 43
16 James ELLISON 35
17 Yonny HERNANDEZ 28
18 Katsuyuki NAKASUGA 27
19 Danilo PETRUCCI 27
20 Colin EDWARDS 27
21 Jonathan REA 17
22 Mattia PASINI 13
23 Ivan SILVA 12
24 Toni ELIAS 10
25 Hiroshi AOYAMA 3
26 Steve RAPP 2
27 David SALOM 1


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