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GP Week : Issue 34
>>Moto GPValencia procession at Valencia – a sinuous 4.005-km circuit with few passing opportunities and every chance to run away. The Australian started from pole position, took the lead from off-the-line flyer Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) on the second corner, and proceeded to pull away in masterly fashion. Pedrosa followed along as best he could, the gap stretching to a second after just six of the 30 laps, and continuing to grow slowly but steadily until it was more than five seconds with three laps to go. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) C was one of a handful of riders who disproved the rule that passing doesn’t happen much at the stadium track, packed into a small area and surrounded by grandstands, packed with more than 117,000 people. Problems in qualifying left the 2008 champion on the fourth row of the grid, and he managed to push his way through to third by the sixth lap, after finishing the first one in seventh. But even he could do nothing about the metronomic progress of those in front, and he too was obliged to watch as Pedrosa gradually moved away ahead of him. Stoner explained how the race had not been without tension, at least from within his fairing bubble. All riders were short of set-up time, because the three free practice hours had ranged from sodden to damp, and the qualifying hour was also interrupted by a light but troublesome shower. Race day was sunny, and morning warm-up the only chance to finalise settings and tyre choices. “I don’t think anybody knew how the race would be,”he said. “In warm-up I seemed to destroy my tyre, so I was worried. I decided to go as hard as I could and see how long it lasted. In the end, everything worked perfectly.” Pedrosa was happy with second, after mid-season problems and switching from Michelin to Bridgestone with five races to go. “We came back from a bad period. When I changed tyres I had many critics, but in the last three races we have been back in the top group.” Rossi spoke of a difficult weekend. “We completely messed up the dry qualifying, and I knew it would be hard to win from the fourth row. But I got a great start and overtook a lot of guys at the beginning to arrive in third. But unfortunately I was not as fast as Dani. We have some work to do, but to be on the podium was a gift to the guys in the garage.” With Bridgestone filling the podium, Andrea Dovizioso was again the top Michelin finisher, the Scot Honda rider more than 10 seconds behind. For a second race the satellite Honda had beaten Hayden’s similarly shod factory Honda, to the American’s distress, after he had been fastest in the wet practice, and starting from the front row of the grid. Nicky was riding his second bike after crashing in warm-up, and said: “My other bike didn’t feel so smooth. I didn’t quite get the start, and those guys were just quicker in the beginning.” Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha) was sixth after a flying start, two seconds ahead of Shinya Nakano (San Carlos Honda) in his last race. Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) had been off form through practice, but gained some strength later in the race to come through to eighth after running 11th earlier on. There was no change in top title positions: Rossi 373, Stoner 280, Pedrosa 249, then Lorenzo holding on to top rookie (and top Michelin) spot from Dovizioso by 190 to 174. Hayden was sixth on 155. ASEY Stoner claimed his and Ducati’s sixth win of the season in a yawn-fest of a 31