Results and summary of an incident-packed final MotoGP race of the 2012 season at Valencia:
Dani Pedrosa has won the final MotoGP race of 2012, in a race made bizarre by extremely difficult conditions. The Spaniard kept his calm on a drying but still treacherous track, fighting his way through the field after starting from pit lane on slicks, a decision made as he returned from the warm up lap.
The race was other-worldly from start to finish. Before the race had even begun, Jorge Lorenzo's crew chief Ramon Forcada had taken a blow to the head as the team rushed to change tires after the first sighting lap, deciding against wet tires and switching to the slick-shod bike. Lorenzo was one of only four riders who went to the start on slicks, though Pedrosa, Nicky Hayden, Cal Crutchlow, and Karel Abraham all made the decision to swap bikes after the warm up lap and start from pit lane. Pedrosa almost crashed out at the very start, his Repsol Honda spinning up on the slicks in the still greasy pit lane.
The start was hectic, but within a few corners, it was clear that Aleix Espargaro had taken charge, leading the race on the Aspar CRT machine for the first couple of laps. Andrea Dovizioso followed, then took over the lead a couple of laps later, but the early running order would prove meaningless, as the remainder of the grid headed into the pits to swap for slick-shod bikes in the laps that followed.
Once the bike swaps were complete, a new order emerged, with Jorge Lorenzo in the lead, and Dani Pedrosa chasing him. Pedrosa was closing on Lorenzo and starting to push the Yamaha man, as the pair started to close on some backmarkers. Just how hard Pedrosa was pushing became clear when the Repsol Honda man hit a false neutral, running wide and losing touch with Lorenzo.
Lorenzo tried to capitalize on his advantage, pushing hard as he sliced through the back of the field. But his eagerness would prove too much: Lorenzo ran up behind James Ellison through Turns 7 and 8, getting too close on Turn 9, and being forced off the dry line and onto a damp patch. The Spaniard crashed heavily at Turn 10, highsiding nastily but walking away unhurt.
That left Dani Pedrosa the lead, and a gap of over 20 seconds to the men behind. He would not be caught, and went on to win comfortably by a huge margin.
Behind Pedrosa, Katsuyuki Nakasuga had been bravely holding off Cal Crutchlow, but eventually had to succumb to the pressure from the Tech 3 man. But conditions caught Crutchlow out too, the Englishman crashing out of 2nd with 8 laps to go. That left Nakasuga to take 2nd, a fantastic achievement for the man drafted in to replace the injured Ben Spies.
Casey Stoner ended his MotoGP career with a podium, after putting in a late charge to pass Alvaro Bautista in the final laps. Stoner had been cautious throughout the race, but he saw an opportunity as the conditions improved and the race wound to its conclusion. Bautista was forced to settle for 4th, while Michele Pirro scored the best result for a CRT bike, bringing the San Carlo Gresini FTR machine home in 5th. Andrea Dovizioso ended the race in 6th, ahead of Karel Abraham and Danilo Petrucci, the IODA rider equally impressive on the Suter BMW CRT machine. James Ellison was the third CRT machine in the top 10, ending in 9th, and ahead of Valentino Rossi on the Ducati, his career with the Italian factory ending with a whimper, not a bang.
|8||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||IODA-SUTER||48'32.847||1 lap|
|9||77||James ELLISON||ART||48'41.030||1 lap|
|10||46||Valentino ROSSI||DUCATI||48'45.740||1 lap|
|11||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ART||49'23.359||1 lap|
|12||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||48'38.162||2 laps|
|13||73||Hiroshi AOYAMA||BQR||49'13.795||2 laps|
|14||5||Colin EDWARDS||SUTER||48'55.662||3 laps|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||36'01.838||8 laps|
|71||Claudio CORTI||INMOTEC||31'25.346||13 laps|
|8||Hector BARBERA||DUCATI||28'34.853||14 laps|
|99||Jorge LORENZO||YAMAHA||21'18.139||17 laps|
|6||Stefan BRADL||HONDA||15'15.012||21 laps|
|84||Roberto ROLFO||ART||11'14.135||24 laps|
|22||Ivan SILVA||BQR||3'47.152||28 laps|
|69||Nicky HAYDEN||DUCATI||3'47.173||28 laps|