VALENCIA, Spain: The Valencia MotoGP brings the curtain down on both the 2012 season and Australian legend Casey Stoner’s glittering career tomorrow.
Although the drivers’ titles have been decided in all categories the season-closer provides fans with a chance to appreciate Stoner’s final race before retirement.
There should also be several all-Spanish battles in front of the home fans as Honda rider Dani Pedrosa gets a last chance to outwit MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo after his crash in Australia handed the Yamaha man his second world title after 2010.
Pedrosa who has won global crowns at 125cc and 250cc levels, has also won five times in Valencia over the past ten years but saw his chances of winning this year’s championship go up in smoke on just the second lap in Australia when he was leading.
The 27-year-old needed to finish ahead of Lorenzo and trailed by only 23 points in the standings at the start but will instead settle for the runner-up spot for the third time after 2007 and 2010.
Meanwhile Stoner, who shocked the sport when he announced he was retiring at the end of the season after winning MotoGP titles in 2007 and 2011, leaves the circuit on a mixed note after declaring this week that he had “lost respect for the sport.” A week after winning at his “home” Phillip Island circuit for the sixth time, Stoner is looking forward to the simple things in life.
“The problem is not my passion, it’s the passion which is missing on the circuit, the one I found as a kid and which made me commit to the sport all these years,” Stoner told www.panorama.it.
“There are many reasons why I’m quitting — one day I will explain everything.” He added: “If I had to say in a few words, I’d say I’ve lost my respect for the championship and I don’t really agree with the direction it has taken.” Although only 27, Stoner says he is happy to spend more time with his wife and daughter Alessandra Maria.
It has also been a modest season for two-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi who is looking for his first win of the campaign on what has been an underperforming Ducati for the Italian.
In Moto2, Spaniard Marc Marquez has already wrapped up the title on a Suter but will come under scrutiny from compatriot Pol Espargaro who despite being certain to finish second overall can finish the season in style and spoil his rival’s final race with victory on his Kalex.
Finally in Moto3, the Spanish stranglehold has been broken by Germany’s Sandro Cortese who has dominated the category and has an insurmountable lead.
The real battle here will be for the runner-up spot as Kalex rider Luis Slalom leads fellow Spaniard Maverick Vinales on a FTR Honda by just nine points.