The highs and lows of another stunning MotoGP season draw to a close this Sunday at the traditional season-ending finale at Valencia in Spain. The Fiat Yamaha Team of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo have swept all before them this year, dominating the season by taking ten race wins between them and putting on some of the most entertaining racing displays of recent years. Rossi clinched his ninth World Championship title last time out in Malaysia and, with the Teams’ title already in the bag and Yamaha looking odds-on to confirm the Manufacturers’ title this weekend, the Japanese marque is hoping to take its second consecutive ‘Triple Crown,’ the third since Rossi joined in 2004.
A ninth world title shows that Rossi’s star shows no sign of waning yet but the 30-year-old admitted in Sepang that this season has been one of his toughest, due largely to his determined young team-mate. His six wins this year are less than he has taken in any of his other eight championship-winning seasons but he will be determined to try to increase that by one and round off the season on the highest possible note this weekend by finishing on top of the podium. The Italian hero admits that the tight and twisty track is not one of his favourites but he has two wins to his name there and a further three podiums, including third place last year.
Lorenzo’s second season in MotoGP has been even more spectacular than his first, with four wins and some stunning battles with his much older and more experienced team-mate. The 22-year-old has never won at the Ricardo Tormo circuit but has some great memories from the track, having finished as runner-up in 2005 before clinching the first of his two 250cc titles there in 2006. The Mallorcan needs just one point from this last race in order to confirm second place in the championship, which he says will be more than enough of a prize for him in just his second MotoGP season, but he, too is determined to end the year on a high note and will be aiming for the podium at the very least.
The championship will wrap up in the usual spectacular Spanish style in front of some 130,000 race-day fans, packed into the unique stadium-style surroundings of the track. The layout is characterised by a never-ending burst of tight corners connected by short straights, whilst the long penultimate looping left-hander and the fast entry to turn one contrast with the otherwise geometric flip-flop chicanes and slow speed corners of the infield.
“I am very happy to be going to the final race with the championship won and the pressure off, now we can just enjoy ourselves. It’s been a fantastic year and now we just have one more weekend before we start work for 2010. Valencia hasn’t been a great track for me in the past and I’ve had some bad times there, but at the moment we’re in great shape and our bike is working well everywhere we go, so I hope it will be the same at Valencia. It’s a great place to finish and the atmosphere is amazing, so we will just do our best and hope for another good race to end off a great season. On Monday we will start working on the new M1 and I’m very excited to try it!”
“Valencia is an amazing place to finish the Championship, at home, with your fans. I’ve never got a victory here and I know that it’s not one of the best tracks for Yamaha, but I am confident that I can try to change that and finish the championship in the best possible way. The last two races haven’t been great for me and I really want to get over that. Furthermore, I need one point to become ‘vice-champion’ and I would really like to do that with a podium or a win. That’s my aim in Valencia. My best race here was in 2005, when I finished in second place but I think my best memory was in 2006 when I won the championship there. 2009 has been an amazing year for me and for Yamaha and I am looking forward to celebrating with my fans at a home race.”
“We’re finally at the end of the championship and it’s great to be going there with our job completed and the championship won. Sepang was a great moment for everyone, the culmination of a lot of hard work from everyone and another incredible effort from Valentino, who never stops trying to be the best. It would be great to finish the season with a good result so we will be working as hard as ever this weekend, and then on Monday we will begin work on our 2010 campaign with a two day test with the new evolution M1.”
“We’re prepared for a good last race! The championship already has its winner but our job isn’t finished yet, we need to score at least one point in Valencia in order to make sure Jorge finishes second in the championship. In theory it shouldn’t be a difficult task but anything can happen and our aim now is to finish the season in the best way – on the podium. Racing in Spain will give Jorge extra motivation and I have no doubt that we will put on another great show for the MotoGP fans, as we have all season!”