MotoGP Valencia: Race Report and Results, Pedrosa Wins as Stoner Doesn’t Even Start the Race


What Happens When Warm-Ups Are Dangerous

8:52am EST — Dani Pedrosa won the final 2009 MotoGP race, the GP of Valencia, with Valentino Rossi finishing second, and Jorge Lorenzo finishing off the podium.  Colin Edwards finished fourth, Nicky Hayden, in a return to form, sixth, and American wildcard and recent World Superbike champion Ben Spies seventh.

Stoner would have started the final race of the 2009 season on pole after dominating qualifying, with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo filling out the first row.  However, Stoner crashed out on the warm-up lap and did not start the race.  That left Pedrosa to make a quick start, and Tony Elias had moved up to second, around a good portion of the field.  Pedrosa led Elias, Lorenzo, Rossi, and Edwards, though Lorenzo quickly passed Elias for second by the third lap.  Spies lost a position on the start, and remained in tenth for the early laps.  By L4, Rossi had passed his teammate and begun chasing down Pedrosa, who was 2.4 seconds ahead in the lead.

Rossi set fastest lap on L5, and had reduced the gap by .3 in that one lap.  With Stoner out, the lead was available.  On L6, Pedrosa led Rossi, Lorenzo, Elias, and Edwards as the top five.  Sixth place qualifier and Stoner teammate Hayden was still sixth, and fellow American Spies had fallen another position to eleventh, then twelfth, as Rossi halved Pedrosa’s lead with Lorenzo close behind.  By L8, though, Pedrosa had increased the gap to Rossi to two seconds again, and Lorenzo was another second back.

By L12 the field had generally settled down, with Pedrosa leading, the Rossi two seconds back, Lorenzo another two seconds, then Edwards eight second behind Lorenzo, and Elias finishing out the top five, one second behind Edwards.  The standing remained the same at the halfway mark, though Pedrosa’s lead had increased somewhat to nearly three seconds over Rossi.  While the top three were spread out, fourth through sixth were much closer together.  Edwards, Hayden, and Hayden were twelve seconds back from Lorenzo, but less than two seconds separated Edwards and Hayden, while Elias was only about eight tenths behind Hayden. Spies had moved back up to tenth.

By L18, Spies was in his starting position, in a large group ranging from seventh (Dovizioso) to eleventh (Kallio) and all within a second and a half on track.  It, by L19, was the raciest group on the circuit, as all other riders had a second or two or ten of clear track in front and behind them.

With ten laps to go, the top five were the same, with Pedrosa leading Rossi, Lorenzo, Edwards, and Hayden, showing the speed of the Ducati at Valencia (and Hayden’s recent mastery of that bike) after a season in which only Stoner could keep it in the top five.  By L21, Spies had moved up to eighth, with Dovizioso seven tenths in front of him.  Lorenzo was starting to catch up Rossi a bit at the front as well, with the gap falling to under a second and a half with eight laps to go.  Two laps later, the gap had remained essentially the same between the teammates, but Spies was only a tenth behind Dovizioso, with de Puniet six tenths back.

On that lap, Spies was around him and into seventh.  Pedrosa still led, with a 3.7 second gap to Rossi, just one second ahead of Lorenzo with three to go.  On the last lap, Lorenzo had brought the gap down to less than a second, but did not quite have enough to make it around Rossi, and finished third, .228 behind.  Pedrosa won after leading from the start.

Final Positions for the 2009 MotoGP Valencia GP: (courtesy of the official MotoGP website)
1. Pedrosa
2. Rossi +2.630
3. Lorenzo +2.913
4. Edwards +32.515
5. Hayden +34.585
6. Elias +34.888
7. Spies +37.706
8. Dovizioso +38.364
9. Kallio +42.941
10. de Angelis +43.089
11. de Puniet +46.018
12. Toseland +50.226
13. Espargaro +57.168
14. Capirossi +1:06.887
15. Vermeulen +1:11.701
16. Talmasci +1:14.405
17. Melandri +1:33.425
Stoner

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