News 9 Nov 2009

MotoGP: Triple crown for Yamaha in Spain, Spies silences critics


Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo finished second and third in the season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia this afternoon, the ninth time the pair have shared the podium this season. It ensured that Yamaha won the Triple Crown for the second year running after Rossi took the Riders’ title, Fiat Yamaha the Teams’ and Yamaha the Constructors’. Today’s result also sealed Lorenzo the runner-up spot in the Championship in just his second year in MotoGP. Between them the Italian and the Spaniard have taken ten wins and a further seventeen podiums, Yamaha’s most successful year ever in MotoGP.

With pole-man Casey Stoner crashing on the warm-up lap the first corner shuffle saw Dani Pedrosa take the lead followed by Toni Elias, Rossi and Lorenzo, who quickly passed Rossi to re-take third. The first few laps were a mini battle between the Yamaha team-mates as Lorenzo fought to hold off Rossi and look for a way past Elias at the same time. He passed his fellow Spaniard in the last sector of lap three and Rossi followed quickly in his footsteps, overtaking Elias on the brakes into turn one on the fourth lap. A huge slide by Lorenzo soon after however left the 22-year-old unbalanced and shaken up and Rossi went through, leaving Lorenzo to take a bit of time to find his rhythm again. The World Champion set off after Pedrosa and for a little while looked like he was gaining but Valencia is a notoriously tricky track to make up ground on and in the end he was content to chase home the Spaniard for second place, his best result at Valencia since 2004. Lorenzo finished just three tenths off Rossi but was delighted to seal second in the championship in front of his home fans.

As well as Yamaha sealing the Triple Crown and filling the first two spots in the championship, a brilliant performance from Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards today saw him take fourth and ensure fifth place in the championship, the top non-factory rider. Yamaha wild-card Ben Spies finished a brilliant seventh in his first MotoGP race on the M1 and James Toseland finished 12th in his farewell race for the team.

Quote from Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing
“It gives me a great personal satisfaction for Yamaha and the Fiat Yamaha Team to have achieved “back to back” titles for 2008 and 2009. Our strong performances throughout this year’s MotoGP championship are the result of a good cocktail of essential ingredients all being blended together in the right way. The performances of our riders have been incredible. Vale has won his 9th World Championship, making it 4 titles with Yamaha in his 6 seasons with us. Jorge has again surprised and thrilled us all year and made fantastic progress to claim the runner’s-up position in only his second MotoGP season. Our engineers have used every single input from our riders’ feedback over the past years and throughout this season to develop the YZR-M1 bike into the “bike of reference” in the MotoGP paddock. Our Team staff have worked tirelessly at every test and every Grand Prix to provide the optimum circumstances for our riders to be ready to win. Our corporate staff in Japan and Italy have also provided the essential “base camp” support to provide the back-up for all of the “troops” in the front line. Last but not least, Fiat Auto and our official sponsors and suppliers have also provided the essential support to enable us to go racing in the best possible way. I would like to personally thank everybody for the great team work that has allowed us to achieve all our targets.”

Valentino Rossi – Position: 2nd Time: +2.630
“I’m really happy about this result because it was fantastic to be able to ride well at Valencia and it’s my best finish here since 2004. Of course it would have been better to win but I lost some time at the start battling with Elias and Lorenzo and by that time Pedrosa had gone and at this track it’s almost impossible to make up a two second gap. It’s not one of our best tracks but after the problems we had all weekend we can be very pleased, we made a great modification in warm-up so thanks to all my guys for this. We’ve ended the championship on the podium and it’s been a great season, another world title and the triple crown for Yamaha, I am very proud. Thank you to Yamaha, all my team, Bridgestone and everyone else, now we will have a little party before we start work on the 2010 bike tomorrow!”

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 3rd Time: +2.913
“I had some good fights at the start and I was feeling quite strong but then I made a big mistake in the slow corner and I was lucky not to crash, so Valentino got by. I was in a bit of pain and I took some time to recover,\ and by then the gap was a bit too big to catch him. Anyway I’m happy to get another podium in Spain and I am so proud to have finished second in the championship; I want to thank everyone, Yamaha, Bridgestone and all my team, because we have worked so hard and this is a great achievement in just our second season. Now I can’t wait to start testing the new bike and I look forward to being even stronger next year.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“After two days of struggling with the setting this was a very good race for us. I think the team and the engineers did a very good job to change the bike completely and find a way that worked for Valentino and we’re happy to finish second here in Valencia, which has never been one of our best results. Now if we arrive here next year needing a good result, we’ll be a bit more confident! It’s been a great season, a historic one for Yamaha because we won everything we could and our riders won the most races and the triple crown, it’s a season to remember. Now we’re looking forward to the next one, which starts tomorrow for us, and we will try to repeat the result!”

Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“This was a good end to the championship for us and a good way to celebrate a wonderful season with Jorge and the fantastic job the whole Yamaha team have done this year to win the triple crown. We’ve shown all season how strong Yamaha is and the job everyone has done has been fantastic. This is my last race with Yamaha so I want to take the chance to thank everyone here, it’s been a great eight years and I wish Jorge and all the team all the best for the future.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards produced a stunning final race in Valencia today to clinch a dramatic fifth place in the final 2009 MotoGP world championship standings.

Starting from fifth on the grid in front of 94,177 vocal Spanish fans, all eyes were on the Texan and his fight for fifth in the points-standings with Andrea Dovizioso.

In sunny but blustery conditions, the Texas Tornado held fifth place until lap seven when he passed Toni Elias to move into fourth. At the time, Dovizioso was back in 11th.

Edwards maintained an impressive pace to sit comfortably in fourth position and remain on course for fifth overall. But Dovizoso then produced a dazzling charge through the field to move into seventh position on lap 16.

That meant fifth place would go to Dovizioso with no further position changes. But there was one final dramatic twist in arguably Edwards’ best ever MotoGP campaign, thanks to new Monster Yamaha Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies.

The Texan’s brilliant Yamaha debut ended with him passing Dovizioso on lap 25, a move that secured Edwards his hard earned but thoroughly deserved fifth place in the final points tally.

British rider James Toseland produced a gallant ride in his final appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team that saw him in contention for a top ten finish throughout the 30-lap encounter.

A stunning start and skilled overtaking on the first lap saw him climb into 11th position and he was lock ed in a thrilling dice with Spies, Dovizioso, Mika Kallio, Alex de Angelis and Marco Melandri in the first half of the race.

But a small rear tyre issue prevented Toseland from maintaining his fast and consistent pace and he slipped back to finish 12th.

Colin Edwards – Position: 4th Time: +32.515
“Things really fell my way today but over the course of the season I feel like I really deserve fifth place in the championship. At best I was thinking I could finish fifth in the race but then I saw Casey wasn’t on the grid and immediately I thought ‘well, there’s some more points up for grabs.’ I got a great start and the bike was working awesome but those three out front were untouchable. I don’t know how they do it, what they’ve got or what they eat for breakfast, but I couldn’t run their pace. In the middle of the race I couldn’t carry the corner speed I wanted to so I tried to smooth myself out and just rode out of my skin. I was doing the best I could but wasn’t sure where Dovizioso was. It turns out Ben got by him and that point proved crucial. I gave him a big bug after the race and anything he wants me to buy him, he can have it. I’m glad he adapted so quickly to the Yamaha because him riding so well is what got me that fifth overall and I’m really looking forward to working with him. To finish fifth in the championship is a great feeling when you look at the talent in front of me. I was consistent all season and feel like I rode some of my best races to get this final position. I’m happy for myself and for my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. We are a really close unit and they always give me 100 per cent, so hopefully they can take a lot of satisfaction out of this result as well. I wish James all the best for the future too and am convinced he can carry on Yamaha’s success in World Superbikes.”

James Toseland – Position: 12th Time: +50.226
“I really enjoyed my last race. I wanted to give my team everything I had and I’m proud to say I did that. I had a good first few laps and took a few risks with not a lot of temperature in the tyres and got myself into a good position. But unfortunately on about lap 15 the rear tyre turned on the rim and I wasn’t able to keep the pace and stay in the bunch that were battling for seventh place. I’d like to congratulate Colin for fifth in the championship because he has done a brilliant job. I’d like to thank everybody working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team for all the effort and support they have given me. I’ve had an absolutely fantastic time with them and I’ll take a lot of interest in how they perform in the future. I’ve made a lot of friends in MotoGP and at Tech 3 and the team will always hold a special place in my heart. Now I’ve got to look to the futu re and I do so relishing a new challenge with Yamaha.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“I can’t congratulate Colin enough for the amazing job he has done this season. To finish behind those four guys is an incredible feat and one that gives the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team a lot of pride to have been involved in helping achieving fifth position in the championship for him. He has been consistent all year long and hardly ever outside the top six, and I would say this has been his best ever season. I’m so happy he is still with us next year because he brings so much to the team. Not just in terms of his results but his personality has been a great asset to the team, Yamaha and MotoGP. The sport needs more people like Colin and I can’t wait for next season when we have the full Texan team. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Ben. What he did this weekend w as amazing. By passing Dovizioso as well he did a great favour to Colin and a great job for our team. I also want pass on my heartfelt thanks to James for all his hard work since he joined us at the end of 2007. We’ve had some up and downs but he brought a lot to the team. He is a true gentleman and he has been one of the hardest working and highly motivated riders ever to be at Tech 3. He has plenty to proud of in MotoGP. He is staying in the Yamaha family and I would like to wish him all the best in 2010. I’m sure he will keep Yamaha on top in World Superbikes.”

Ben Spies made a good job of silencing any critics he may have today as he set about putting his mark on the GP field ahead of his racing year in 2010. Starting from ninth on the grid he had a good start to hold his position until Marco Melandri passed him towards the end of the first lap. As he got used to his race tires and settled into his pace he dropped further until lap eight where he held 12th behind Andrea Dovizioso. As lap 11 got under way the American wildcard tucked in and got down to business, taking Melandri for 11th and beginning to chase down Mika Kallio. He caught him on lap 17 to take 10th then swiftly dispatched De Angelis on the next lap for ninth.

By lap 19 Spies was turning in a 1’34.1 second lap, quick enough to be running with Colin Edwards in fourth. The speed enabled him to catch Randy De Puniet by lap 21 for eighth and close in on Dovizioso in seventh. With six laps to go, he capitalized on a mistake as the Repsol Honda rider ran wide, passing on the inside to take seventh and hold it to the line, claiming his first top ten MotoGP race finish for Yamaha.

Ben Spies Sterilgarda Yamaha Team – Position: 7th Time: +37.706
“It was a good day. We got a good start which something I didn’t think was going to happen. For the first six or seven laps I wasn’t really on it, I wasn’t used to the way the tires come in so I was halfway taking it easy and halfway getting pushed around because I didn’t want to do anything silly. Once we got into a rhythm I got to follow some people and it was ok, then I slowly started to pass some people and got my eyes set on the guys in front. Once I got passed Dovizioso I could see Nicky Hayden and Tony Elias up ahead. I knew I wasn’t going to catch them but I tried to keep my pace going and was able to keep it steady. It’s been a dream first weekend for us, to get seventh on a track I don’t particularly favour is pretty cool, the feeling is the same as winning a superbike race. I’m happy we’ve kept the bike off the ground and made solid progress all weekend which was our number one goal. I just want to thank Yamaha for giving me this opportunity, and all the sponsors that helped put this together for the weekend, especially Sterilgarda, BM Group, Fimer, Parts Europe and everybody else who made it possible to get this thing going, I think we did a good job for them.”

Massimo Meregalli, Sterilgarda Yamaha Team Manager
“Another impressive weekend from Ben. He improved steadily in all the sessions, we knew this morning that he would finish the race higher than he started. I think soon he’ll pick up full confidence in the bike and tires and in time will reach his full potential on the track. I’m pretty sure that next week he’ll improve some more and get closer to the pace. I know he’s a very clever rider and he’s going to achieve his goals in MotoGP. I too want to thank all the sponsors who made it possible for us to come and race here this weekend, Sterilgarda, BM Group, Fimer, Parts Europe and everyone else have been brilliant.”