Dani Pedrosa thrilled a massive home crowd of 132,500 with a Valencia victory that snatched second place in the world championship from injured rival Valentino Rossi.
The Repsol Honda rider, who had started from pole position for the fourth consecutive race, totally controlled the race once he had passed world champion Casey Stoner under braking for turn one on lap six.
Pedrosa was able to stretch out an advantage and hold Aussie Stoner at bay, as the factory Ducati rider had no response to try and close out a phenomenal season with an 11th victory.
Pedrosa’s victory was only his second of a turbulent year, as he’s had to contend with the early season poor performance on the factory Honda RC212V, and also the inconsistent performance of Michelin tyres.
His victory made him the first rider to win races in all three GP classes at the Valencia circuit and he said: “I’m very happy. The race was very difficult. I was pushing all of the time and very hard. The pace was very fast, so I must say thanks to the team because they worked really good and really hard all the weekend. The tyres were perfect and also the bike. So I must be happy on that point. But about second place in the championship. I didn’t expect that, so after this difficult season, second place is not really, really bad.
Pedrosa and Stoner set a blistering pace throughout, with the Spaniard breaking the 990cc lap record on the fifth lap with an impressive 1.32.748. That beat Loris Capirossi’s 2006 record by nearly 0.2s.
Pedrosa said he was surprised by the pace and added: “We were going very fast all the time. I didn’t expect that pace. But I had to push very hard at the beginning to catch Casey. Then I tried my maximum. So I was really focused on my job. I had to push because he was pushing behind me all the time, so the pace was very fast. At the end the tyres started to move quite a lot. I was riding trying to get more grip. So I’m very happy about the result, because we pushed this weekend very hard to get it and finally we won the race and for my team it is very important, also for Michelin.
Pedrosa said he had no idea that Rossi had retired having battled bravely to score the point he needed to secure second in the series behind Stoner.
Rossi’s retirement with three broken bones in his right hand gave Pedrosa second by a point and he said: “I was happy about the race. I was very slow on the lap coming in. And then when I arrived back to the pits, they told me that I was second. So that was another surprise.”
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