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Defending champion Stoner wins thrilling MotoGP finale

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-06

Australia's Casey Stoner beat US rider Ben Spies to the finish line to win the last race of the Motorcycling Grand Prix season in Valencia on Sunday and secure his position as world champion.

AFP - Australian world champion Casey Stoner won the last race of the season the Valencia MotoGp here on Sunday edging Ben Spies on the line.

Stoner - winning his 10th race of the season - had led for most of the 30-lap race before Spies took the lead with three laps remaining.

However, Stoner showed his battling qualities and regained the lead on the line to deny the American his second win of the campaign in the first race since the tragic death of Marco Simoncelli in Malaysia a fortnight ago.

Stoner, winning his 33rd career Grand Prix, admitted it had been one of his most memorable races,

"I had a massive lead and was managing that but as soon as more rain came I wasn't willing to push and take risks," said the 26-year-old Australian.

"I made a mistake and went into neutral and Ben came past and rode a good few laps. I didn't know how I could get past him but I realised I could get a much better drive out of the last corner so I tried to get as close as I could.

"It was the last lap of the last race of the year so I thought, 'Let's just go for it' - and I got it. It was one of the hairiest races of my career."

Spies said that the wet surface had not allowed him to open up a sizeable gap on Stoner.

"We made a huge charge at the end," said Spies, who won at Assen earlier in the season.

"But once we got ahead the track was really slick and we took it more carefully so as to avoid making mistakes.

"Casey took a couple of risks towards the end and they paid off."

Italian Andrea Dovizioso took third spot and ensured he finished third in the overall standings on his farewell from the Honda team.

"I could have taken some risks towards the end of the race, but third in the championships was too important for me," said Dovizioso, who joins Yamaha next season.

"I am really pleased to have finished third in the championship and it was thanks to my strategy here that we beat Dani (Pedrosa) because without one we could not have beaten him."

Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo of Spain, the 2010 champion who missed the race as he recovers from finger surgery afer crashing in the Australian GP warm-up at Phillip Island, finished second overall.

The whole complexion of the race was turned on its head right at the start with four riders going out.

Valentino Rossi - who was wearing a special helmet in tribute to Simoncelli - his Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet went out after Alvaro Bautista clipped the back of Dovizioso's Honda.

Bautista then slid along the track and took the other three riders out.

"Bautista told me that Dovizioso came over on him and he couldn't do anything about it," said Hayden.

"It is a sad way to end the season as we all really wanted to race and we thought we could put up a good fight today.

"I am pretty frustrated at same time, big let down for not just me but everyone.

"It's been a tough season and it ended sourly."

Bautista for his part confirmed that Dovizioso had given him no room to manouevre.

"It was a shame that happened but I had no option, no space to adjust my position. Thankfully nobody was harmed," he said.

Behind the leaders veteran Italian Loris Capirossi rode a steady race in what was his final appearance on the circuit as the three-time world champion - twice in the 125cc category in 1990/91 and the 250cc in 1998 - cantered along to finish in mid-division.
 

Date created : 2011-11-06

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