Overall, the Valencian round will be a special Grand Prix due to the dramatic events in Malaysia. The mourning for Marco Simoncelli’s tragic death will mark this Grand Prix of Comunitat Valenciana, the last of the 2011 season. In the sporting section, the Repsol Honda Team will conclude a good season. Casey Stoner is already the MotoGP World Champion, the Repsol Honda Team and Honda won the teams and constructors classification, respectively, and Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa will fight for the third overall position this weekend.

It is with mixed emotions that Yamaha Factory Racing arrives in Valencia this weekend for the final Grand Prix of the 2011 season. MotoGP’s tragic loss of rising star Marco Simoncelli in Sepang two weeks ago has left all with heavy hearts but determined to put on a good show in honour of their fallen competitor. The race is the last in Yamaha’s 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing so the team will wear the red and white YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery for the last time. 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo continues to recover from surgery to his hand following his injury sustained in Australia. As a result he will not participate in this weekend’s Grand Prix and will be replaced by Japanese Yamaha test rider and All Japan Superbike competitor Katsuyuki Nakasuga.

After the medical checks he underwent today at the USP Institut Universitari Dexeus, rider Repsol Marc Márquez was force to accept that this weekend he will not be able to fight for the Moto2 title in Valencia. The sight of the young rider from Cervera has been improving since he returned from Malaysia but he is not fully recovered yet, so his participation in the Grand Prix of Comunitat Valenciana has been ruled out. Nevertheless, on Thursday afternoon the Repsol rider will go to the Ricardo Tormo circuit because, as the doctors said, there is a thin chance that he might recover the sight suddenly and he is willing to take any opportunity, as thin as it might be, to take part in the last round of the 2011 calendar.

Yamaha Factory rider Ben Spies arrives for the last race of season committed to racing although still recovering from injuries sustained in Phillip Island. The Texan was also recovering from injury for the 2010 season finale at Valencia. Despite the pain he impressed, qualifying sixth and finishing just off the podium in fourth.

The 2011 MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, will compete in Valencia in his 100 Grand Prix of the premiere class, in the very same track where he achieved his first World Championship victory (2003, in 125cc). The Repsol rider, who won again in 2008, could also reach in the Valencian track the record of most poles in one year –twelve– currently held by Mick Doohan since 1997 in 500cc. This number was also reached by Marc Márquez in 2010 in 125cc.

One of the unknowns that will be unveiled in this Grand Prix will be who will take the third place in the final MotoGP classification. Andrea Dovizioso will defend his four-point advantage over his team mate Dani Pedrosa. The Ricardo Tormo circuit (4.005 metres) brings very different memories to those two riders. The Italian, who just achieved another podium in Australia, has never won in the Valencian track, while Dani Pedrosa has victories in all categories.

Márquez wanted to be at the Ricardo Tormo to have the chance to fight for the Moto2 World Championship with Germany’s Stefan Bradl. But although he is progressively improving he will not be completely recovered for Valencia. Under those conditions he must not take any risks, so it will be a strange weekend for Márquez. Despite his disappointment, truth is that since his crash due to the Malaysian marshal’s incompetence, the final battle for the title would not be easy for Márquez. After missing the Malaysian race and after Bradl recovering 20 points, Marc’s only options were to win the race and wait for the German to finish fourteenth or worse. Despite Márquez will finally not be able to try a new feat, the already Rookie of the Year has had an excellent season in his first year in the always difficult Moto2 category, where he has already secured the runner-up position in the World Championship due to his good results.

The Ducati Team is headed for Valencia, where the 2011 MotoGP championship will conclude on Sunday. The weekend’s usual track activities will be touched by the memory of Marco Simoncelli, whose absence will surely weigh heavily on the minds of the paddock regulars and fans. On the other hand, Marco was also emblematic of the great joy and love for this sport that we all share.

It is with this spirit that everyone on the Ducati Team will work as they do their best to prepare for this race on the small, twisty Spanish circuit, which will also host a two-day test on 8-9 October.

VALENCIA CIRCUIT RECORDS

Circuit Record: Casey Stoner (Ducati — 2008), 1:32.582 — 155.732 Km/h
Best Pole: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha — 2006), 1:31.002 — 158.436 Km/h
Circuit Length: 4.005 km
2010 MotoGP Race: 30 laps (120.15 km)
2010 MotoGP Schedule: 2:00 p.m. Local Time

2010 PODIUM: 1st Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd Casey Stoner, 3rd Valentino Rossi
2010 POLE: Casey Stoner (Ducati — 2010), 1:31.799 — 157.060 Km/h