x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Pedrosa wins in Valencia after Stoner error

The Honda rider is one of three Spanish winners on home soil at the final round of the MotoGP season.

Dani Pedrosa capitalised on an error by Casey Stoner to win his home grand prix in Valencia.
Dani Pedrosa capitalised on an error by Casey Stoner to win his home grand prix in Valencia.

Dani Pedrosa finished the motorcycle Grand Prix season off in style with a comfortable win in Valencia in a race that will be remembered for a crash by the pole-sitter Casey Stoner on the warm-up lap that forced him out before the real action had even started. While the Spaniard Pedrosa delighted his home fans by leading from start to finish on his Honda, it was the extraordinary events with Stoner that stood out most from a largely processional race. The Ducati rider had won the previous two races in Australia and Malaysia, and had been a strong favourite to make it a hat-trick after taking the pole by two tenths of a second on Saturday. But the Australian suffered a high-side on his bike as he moved around on his way to the starting grid, lost control of the bike, went down and was unable to continue. Pedrosa, who had qualified second so was effectively starting at the front, took the lead at the start and immediately pulled out a small lead on Toni Elias' Gresini Honda. The world champion Valentino Rossi though moved past Elias on his Yamaha, followed through by teammate Jorge Lorenzo, but neither rider was able to do anything about Pedrosa, who was able to maintain a two second lead throughout proceedings. "All week I was only thinking about the race and I really wantedto win," Pedrosa said. "In practice we struggled a lot so the team did a great job - with Casey out of the race it was more easy but we did a great race so thanks to everybody." Colin Edwards was fourth on the Tech 3 Yamaha bike, ahead of Nicky Hayden's Ducati with Elias completing the top six.

Earlier Hiroshi Aoyama of Japan clinched the last ever 250cc world title when he recovered from running off the track to finish seventh. He needed to finish 11th or higher to secure the championship which will reclassified as Moto2 next year.

The Japanese rider dropped to 11th after his error on lap nine, but fought back through the field. The race was won by the Spaniard Hector Barbera, who overtook Marco Simoncelli to second in the championship. The 125cc champion Julian Simon completed a clean-sweep for the Spaniards on their home circuit when he held off Bradley Smith on the final corner to secure his fourth win in five races. gcaygill@thenational.ae