Jorge Lorenzo ended his stunning 2010 campaign in style at Valencia today, the new MotoGP world champion claiming a victory that saw him set a new premier class point-scoring record.
The Fiat Yamaha rode a majestic race after he nearly crashed following an early tangle with Marco Simoncelli after a sluggish start dropped him to fifth on the opening lap.
Lorenzo was trying to overtake Simoncelli’s San Carlo Gresini Honda at the final corner on lap two when he hit the back of the Italian’s RC212V machine.
Lorenzo toppled off the side of his YZR-M1 but somehow managed to regain control. He dropped back to seventh place but having kept his composure, he then embarked on a brilliant fightback.
He did finally pass Simoncelli for fourth place on lap seven and he then swept by a fading Dani Pedrosa to take third on lap ten.
He needed just two more laps to dispose of nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi before stalking leader Casey Stoner until lap 23 when he made his decisive attack.
Stoner was unable to retaliate as he desperately tried to win on his final appearance for Ducati and Lorenzo pulled away to register his ninth win of the season. It took his points tally to 383, which beat Rossi’s record of 373 set in a dominant 2008.
Stoner had threatened one of his trademark runaway victories when he grabbed the holeshot. But it was clear that he didn’t have the pace to burst away from the field with Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa able to stick with him. When Rossi and Lorenzo both took Pedrosa on lap ten, Stoner was still 0.8s clear but the Fiat Yamaha duo quickly closed him down.
Rossi finished over eight seconds behind Lorenzo for the second race in succession as he ended his glittering Yamaha career in third.
Rossi put up a rousing fight but it was obvious on lap 21 that he was struggling to match Lorenzo and Stoner’s speed. He’d dropped over a second adrift of Stoner at that stage and just a lap later he was two seconds behind the fight for the lead.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Ben Spies closed an outstanding rookie campaign with fourth after he produced a scintillating last ten laps to beat Honda trio Pedrosa, Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Texan’s brilliant display on worn tyres secured him sixth overall in the championship with American rival Nicky Hayden blowing his hopes on only the third lap.
Hayden and Spies started the 30-lap race tied on 163-points and Hayden looked favourite to take sixth when he made a brilliant start.
He moved from fourth to second on the opening lap while 2009 World Superbike champion Spies was languishing outside of the top six.
But Hayden lost the front-end of his factory Ducati GP10 at the first corner on lap three.
Dovizioso claimed fifth with Simoncelli rounding out the top six. Pedrosa faded to seventh with his damaged left collarbone preventing him from sustaining his podium challenge.