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Lorenzo wins in Valencia, Stoner is second and Rossi takes third...World Champion Jorge Lorenzo signed off his victorious season in style today, taking his ninth win in front of his home fans at Valencia. Valentino Rossi finished third on his 117th and final appearance for Yamaha, bringing to a close a wonderful seven-year partnership with his YZR-M1.
Marco Simoncelli but almost crashed in the process, somehow making a spectacular save but dropping several places to ninth. Rossi meanwhile made it up to fourth by the end of the third lap and was on the hunt for third, trying to get by his determined fellow Italian Simoncelli.
On lap six Rossi moved into third and Lorenzo, who had brilliantly recovered his composure after his near-miss to gain back the places he had lost, followed him through next time around to take fourth, with Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner in front of the Yamaha pair. At one third of race distance Rossi and Lorenzo dispatched Pedrosa and then it was Lorenzo's turn to pass his team-mate, moving into second behind Stoner. Rossi tried his best to go with him but the shoulder that has plagued him all season stopped him riding at the maximum on the twisty track and he dropped off, content to at least finish on the podium for one final time with Yamaha.
Lorenzo was unstoppable by this stage and the cool-headed 23-year-old stormed ahead of Stoner on lap 23 to take a final win on home soil. His win today brings his season points-tally to 383, a new record for a rider in a premier-class season.
Rossi's final podium for Yamaha secured third place in the standings and the Italian bid an emotional farewell to his beloved M1, stopping on the cool down lap to kiss his bike in an echo of the first of his 46 Yamaha wins, at Welkom back in 2004 when the вАШYamaha and Rossi' story first began.
"Coming here to Valencia I really wanted to win one more time in this fantastic season, in front of my home fans. In the practices I was fast all weekend, but it seemed like Casey was even faster. I made a good start today but in the second corner trying to pass Casey I got overtaken by three or four riders, then I had a hard fight with Simoncelli when I nearly fell! I kept calm after that and concentrated and then lap-by-lap I recovered. I had a wonderful fight with Casey at the end. Winning here in front of my home crowd at this special track is one of the happiest moments of my life. We are proud to have got the record for the most number of points with 383, I used to be known as a crazy rider who crashed too much so to demonstrate consistency in this way makes me proud. Thanks to Yamaha and everyone involved for a fantastic season - now we have time to celebrate tonight before we start working for 2011 on Tuesday. Finally I want to say goodbye and good luck to Valentino - I am looking forward to racing him next year!" - Jorge Lorenzo.
вАЬWe had a big decision to make in terms of the tyre choice today but we went for the hard compound and maybe in hindsight it cost us. It is difficult to say because maybe the softer option wouldn't have worked as well in the final stages so we could have ended up second either way. At the end of the day Jorge had a better pace than us today and there wasn't much more we could have done. It is nice to bring this era to a close on the podium and I think that is fitting. I have so many great memories of these past few years with Ducati, from my first win at Qatar in 2007 and that race in Barcelona the same year, to the title success at Motegi and my wins at Phillip Island. I also especially remember my return to action in Portugal last year. I have enjoyed every single victory on the Ducati so much and I want to thank them for so many great years together. I leave behind a lot of people that I will miss, like Filippo, Vitto and the others but even though we will be rivals on the track from now on our personal relationship will stay the same. I also want to thank all the Ducati fans for their support over these past four yearsвАЭ - Casey Stoner.
"Honestly I'm happy with this final result with Yamaha, because we had a difficult weekend here. I didn't get a good start but I realised straight away that I was much faster today and that my bike felt good. At one point I thought I might be able to win but in the later part of the race I just didn't have enough strength to stay with Lorenzo and Stoner, this is a very hard track when you're not completely fit. I started to make a few mistakes because I didn't have enough power to stop the bike so after a bit I decided it was better to slow down and keep my third place. Arriving on the podium was my way to say thank you to my bike, to Yamaha and to all the people who have worked with me in these seven seasons. It's been a great experience and I have enjoyed it so much. 46 is a great number of wins - of course I wanted more but I think I can be happy with what I have done here. We have finished the season strongly with five podiums in a row and after such a difficult season we can feel happy about how we have ended. It's been a wonderful seven years, great fun with a special atmosphere, many fantastic victories and four world championships. I stopped with my bike after the race today just like I did at Welkom when this story began, it was the right way to say goodbye to вАШher'. Thank you to everyone, we have wonderful memories" - Valentino Rossi.
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