Result and summary of the final MotoGP round of 2009 at Valencia:
Results and summary of the last ever 250cc race, in which the World Champion is crowned:
Results and summary of the 125cc race at Valencia:
Alex Debon went out for a test lap, but was in too much pain. So the final 250 race ever will start with a different polesitter. Debon qualified on pole, but because he won't be starting, Marco Simoncelli will be starting from pole, alongside Hector Barbera, Ratthapark Wilairot and Hiroshi Aoyama, who moves up onto the front row.
Sadly, our regular photographer Scott Jones couldn't make it to Valencia. Fortunately, we ran into Israeli TV commentator Tammy Gorali, who also happens to be a pretty mean snapper herself. She was kind enough to allow us to use some of the shots she took today during qualifying.
The 800cc formula is dead. MotoGP is set to return to 1000cc from 2012, according to a proposal submitted to the Grand Prix Commission at Valencia today. The 800cc bikes have received a deluge of criticism, almost from the moment they were introduced, and that deluge has finally buried them.
The decision has hinged upon a change of mind by the MSMA, the manufacturers association. So far, the manufacturers have been opposed to any changes to the MotoGP formula, partly because high costs of entry created a barrier to new entrants in the class, allowing the existing participants to dominate the class. But the high costs have taken their toll even on the existing manufacturers, and with the future of Suzuki in the class in doubt under the current rules, and even doubt about just how long Honda was prepared to continue, a change was almost inevitable. 2012 is the earliest date it is possible to make the change, as the current 5 year contract that exists between Dorna, the FIM and the MSMA expires at the end of 2011. That contract states that no changes may be made to the engine capacity without a unanimous decision by all of the manufacturers in the MSMA.
The reduction in testing has been a double-edged sword in MotoGP, allowing costs to be cut on the one hand, but punishing the six rookies due to enter the class for the 2010 season. With so many rookies coming, the factories - or at least one of them - have been keen to bend the rules to help the incomers adapt to MotoGP. The request for more testing for the rookies faced a lot of opposition, and up until this morning, it looked like it would be denied.
Once in the Grand Prix Commission, held at Valencia this afternoon, things swung the other way. At the request of Suzuki, the MSMA put the request to the Permanent Bureau (consisting of Dorna CEO and FIM president Vito Ippolito), bypassing the Grand Prix Commission, and the Permanent Bureau approved one extra test to be held at Estoril in the middle of November. This was a compromise proposal, as the MSMA had initially requested one extra test for the rookies, plus one day extra prior to the three official MotoGP tests to be held at Sepang and Qatar in February and March of 2010. The Permanent Bureau rejected the extra day of testing for the rookies at the three official tests, but allowed two days of testing at Estoril.
Results of qualifying for the 250 class at Valencia:
Results of qualifying practice for the MotoGP class:
Results of Qualifying Practice for the 125cc class:
Mike di Meglio topped the timesheets in the second session of free practice for the 250cc class, relegating the Valencian riders into a battle for 2nd. Alex Debon was the fastest of the local boys, edging out Hector Barbera by just fifteen hundredths of a second. Championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama finished the session in 4th, in good shape for this afternoon's qualifying. Marco Simoncelli, the only man capable of denying Aoyama the final 250 crown, had a more difficult time, ending the session in 8th.
The testing limits imposed at the beginning of the season have caused much debate throughout the year. The number of winter tests were cut to just 6 days in total (plus 2 days after the final Grand Prix at Valencia) in order to restrict engine mileage and severely cut costs. But since the announcement that there will be six new riders entering the MotoGP class next season, lobbying has started for extra testing time to allow the rookies to get up to speed.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Herve Poncharal had previously expressed his opposition to the extra tests for the rookies, despite having Ben Spies joining Monster Tech 3 as a rookie for 2010. MotoMatters.com caught up with Poncharal to ask him to explain his opposition.
Herve Poncharal: At the moment this is an MSMA proposal [to allow two extra days of testing for the rookies, MM] that will be on the agenda of this weekend's Grand Prix Commission. Me personally, as Monster Tech 3 Yamaha owner, I am against it. We will talk about it in the IRTA committee meeting to give an official position in the Grand Prix Commission. I have a feeling the committee will reject it, but it is only a feeling.