Moto GP

Repsol Honda men all set for 2010 Grand Finale

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The 2010 MotoGP World Championship comes to an end this weekend at Valencia, the sport's traditional grand finale. Valencia is one of the most popular MotoGP rounds of the year, with a weekend crowd exceeding 200,000 and a spine-tingling atmosphere, thanks to the track's unique stadium-style grandstand layout and the fervent local fans.

Although the MotoGP world title was decided at last month's Malaysian Grand Prix, the fight for victory at Valencia will be as intense as ever, with every rider on the grid determined to finish the season in the best-possible style before commencing their winter testing programmes at Valencia next week.

Dani Pedrosa has as much to prove as anyone at the end of what has been his best season in MotoGP. The Spaniard had an outside chance of this year's world title until he crashed and broke his left collarbone at last month's Japanese Grand Prix. Going into Motegi Pedrosa had scored two wins and two second places at the previous four races to close the gap on eventual champ Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), but his injury forced him to miss the next three races. He raced again at Estoril last weekend, finishing a brave eighth, his left shoulder and arm still causing him pain and numbness.

This weekend Pedrosa's aim is simple ‰ÛÒ to hold onto second place in the championship. The former 125 and 250 World Champion has a remarkable record at Valencia, with five GP victories across three classes, thanks to his inch-perfect riding around a tight, sinuous racetrack that pay big rewards for accuracy. He won the 125 GP in 2002, the 250 GP in 2004 and 2005 and the MotoGP event in 2007 and again last year.

"In a couple of days I will get back on the bike again at Valencia and I really hope to feel better than I did on Sunday in Estoril," Pedrosa said.

"The last medical checks I had this week have shown that the nerves are not affected and this is positive, even though I'm feeling the same symptoms of numbness. I went to Clinica Dexeus to have an electromyography scan in my left arm from the neck to the hand. It showed that the nerves are OK, so I will continue having physiotherapy and I hope that gradually the lack of feeling passes.

"Despite the circumstances, I'm going to Valencia in a good mood because this is a track I love and the atmosphere there is always special. Last year we had a great race, so I want to get a good result regardless of my physical condition. We have a new sponsor this weekend from Honda in Indonesia. When I visited Indonesia this year I was really amazed by how many people follow MotoGP there. They are very passionate and knowledgeable about the championship, so it's good that this new sponsor on the Repsol Honda machine can create a link with this country," the Repsol Honda rider concluded.

Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso is fighting to achieve his best-ever championship position in the elite class. With seven podium finishes to his credit so far this year (including three from the last four races), Dovizioso currently lies fifth overall, just ten points behind fourth-placed Casey Stoner (Ducati), the 2007 World Champion. Dovizioso needs a great result at Valencia if he is to overhaul the Australian and he is looking forward to the weekend and then starting off-season testing alongside his MotoGP rivals on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I'm very happy that we were back on the podium in Estoril. It means we are competitive and that we can go to Valencia with the target of fighting for fourth position in the World Championship," Dovizioso said.

"Valencia is quite a slow and twisty track which makes it a technical and challenging circuit which isn't easy to ride. It's not one of my favourite circuits on the calendar but that's really not important ‰ÛÒ because we are determined to have a very good race on Sunday and finish off the year as strongly as possible. The Valencia weekend is a special event, not only because it is the final round of the season but also because on Tuesday and Wednesday after the Grand Prix there are two important days of testing in preparation for the 2011 season. I'm really looking forward to getting the maximum out of these two days of testing before we head into the long winter break."

Both Repsol Honda men will carry the logo of an important new team sponsor for the first time at Valencia. "One Heart" is the slogan of Astra Honda, Honda's subsidiary operating company in Indonesia, which plans to increase motorcycle production in this important market to four million machines by the end of next year. This new partnership will continue throughout the 2011 MotoGP season.

Main Photo: Dani Pedrosa

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