Moto GP

Yamaha head to Valencian season finale for Rossi’s final farewell

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With the Triple Crown of Riders', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles wrapped up last weekend in Estoril, the Fiat Yamaha Team heads to the traditional season finale race at Valencia in Spain this weekend for the eighteenth round of the season.

For Jorge Lorenzo it will be a triumphant homecoming to race once more in front of his beloved Spanish fans, this time as World Champion, whilst for nine-time Champion Valentino Rossi it will be an emotional farewell to Yamaha after seven fantastic years.

Lorenzo returned to the top step of the podium for the first time since Brno on Sunday and the 23-year-old World Champion is excited about one final chance to race in front of his home supporters this season. He has taken seven poles, won an incredible eight races and finished off the podium only twice on the way to his first premier-class title this season and the Mallorcan now has the chance to break the record for the most premier-class points scored in a single season; a podium finish will be enough for him to surpass his team-mate's record of 373 points, set with Yamaha in 2008. Surprisingly Lorenzo has never won at Valencia and, with two Spanish wins already under his belt this season, he will be hoping to make it a hat-trick by ending the season in the best possible way this Sunday.

"Finally the end of the season is here and for me it is so special to finish in Spain, with all of my fans," Lorenzo said. "I have already celebrated in Mallorca but this will be the first time I ride in Spain as the World Champion and I am so proud to do so. It has been an incredible season for us and I was so happy to win again last weekend. We have won the Triple Crown now so our targets are complete, but I would like to make a new points record, which I can do if I finish on the podium. I have never won in Valencia so I would really like to try this weekend."

For Rossi and his crew this weekend marks the end of a highly successful partnership with Yamaha, which has spanned 116 races, 46 wins and four World Championships over the last seven years. After Valencia the Italian icon and Yamaha will part company but both sides are keen to make their final show together a memorable one. The 31-year-old has had six podiums at Valencia over his career including two wins, the last of which came during his inaugural Yamaha year in 2004. Last weekend's podium has elevated him back to third in the championship and a top-three finish for Rossi would surely be an outstanding accomplishment considering his injury-plagued season.

"So here we are, my last race with Yamaha and it will be an emotional weekend for all! Of course I would really like to try to win this final race because it would be a great end to this partnership, which has had so many beautiful moments," Rossi said.

"We improved the setting of our bike again in Estoril so I hope we will be in good shape in Valencia, although it hasn't been the best track for me in the last few years. Anyway this is a special weekend so we will do everything that we can. I am third in the championship after Estoril and second is not impossible, although we know Dani is strong in Valencia and he is still 19 points ahead."

The Championship will wrap up in the usual spectacular Spanish style in front of some 130,000 race-day fans, packed into the unique stadium-style surroundings of the track. The layout is characterised by tight corners connected by short straights, whilst the final long looping left-hander and the fast entry to turn one contrast with the chicanes and slow speed corners of the infield.

Main Photo: Valentino Rossi

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