Casey Stoner ended the 2008 season as he began, victorious onboard the Ducati Desmosedici GP8. The Australian took the win at the Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana in emphatic fashion, breaking away from pole for triumph number six of the year.
Runner-up in the overall standings, Stoner was riding for pride in the final race of the campaign, once again competing through the discomfort of a scaphoid injury that will be treated almost immediately following Monday and Tuesday’s post-race test. Setting circuit records along the way, Stoner eventually crossed the line some 3.390 seconds clear of any challenge to his superiority.
2007 race winner at Valencia, Dani Pedrosa was unable to repeat the feat in 2008 –despite his best attempts. The Repsol Honda rider had taken the holeshot after his trademark speedy start off the line, but was left taking a back seat to Stoner as the pace quickened. Nonetheless, the Spaniard treated the home fans to another podium finish, his eleventh of the year.
Valentino Rossi had claimed on Saturday that he was not fast on race or qualifying tires in the dry at Valencia, but proved himself wrong with his own mercurial performance with the Yamaha M1. The 2008 World Champion also added a further notch to his podium tally with third place, his ninth in succession and sixteenth of the campaign.
One week on from his first MotoGP podium, Andrea Dovizioso earned fourth place in a similarly closely-fought battle to that of Sepang with Nicky Hayden. The JiR Team Scot rider got a chance to further inspect the factory bike with which he will test on Monday and Tuesday, edging out his American rival but unable to take the Rookie of the Year prize. He handed his satellite machine to his replacement, Yuki Takahashi, on returning to the garage.
Moving from Repsol Honda to Ducati for 2009, Hayden fell short in his quest to end his stay on Japanese machinery to a final victory. Starting from the front row –like Pedrosa running a special white retro livery & leathers combination for the race- `The Kentucky Kid´ dropped to fifth as he once again lost out to Dovizioso.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards came home sixth, ahead of Shinya Nakano, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi and Alex de Angelis. All eighteen of the MotoGP riders completed the 30 lap race, held in front of 119,788 spectators.
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