Published on 06 Nov 2011 by Toni M.
Andrea Dovizioso managed to beat Dani Pedrosa for third place in the standings (the Spaniard missed three races due to his shoulder injury) and will be moving to Yamaha Tech3. Cal Crutchlow was awarded the 2011 Rookie of the Year award tonight at the FIM Awards Ceremony. Three riders will not be coming back to MotoGP in 2012, Loris Capirossi who is retiring, but we may see him as a Dorna safety delegate next season, Toni Elias who may return to Moto2 instead going to World Superbikes and Hiroshi Aoyama who has already has ride in WSBK.
Here’s what the rest of the riders had to say about the final race of the 2011 season at Valencia.
Andrea Dovizioso - 3rd
“I’m so happy with third place in the Championship, it’s a great achievement born from a lot hard work throughout the year. Before arriving here I knew I only had a few opportunities to arrive in front of Dani, because he has been always so fast here. Dani was faster than me also in this race weekend so I had to make a good strategy to beat him. Considering that I had a soft front tyre, I knew I couldn’t push hard for 30 laps, I tried to stop him when I was in front of him, then every time he overtook me, I tried to pass him immediately. It was a good battle and with the rain at coming with 7-8 laps to go, I wanted to push harder for the win because I’m good in these tricky conditions however, third position in the Championship was too important so I decided not to take any additional risks. Thanks to my team for these three years spent together, I’m very pleased to finish my career at Honda with third in the Championship, my best result so far in MotoGP. On the final lap I thought of Marco and in the end I succeeded here on a track where I have always struggled. Marco helped me in this challenging mission, Ciao Marco.”
Cal Crutchlow - 4th
“That was a pretty dramatic way to finish the season and I am obviously thrilled to win the Rookie of the Year title. But I’m equally happy to have finished in fourth place because that was an incredibly difficult race. I’m not sure what happened at the first corner but I came out of it in sixth place and just pushed as hard as I could. It was a really intense battle with Karel right to the end and both of us were giving it everything we had. The track was so greasy it felt like you could crash so easily and when the rain started getting heavier I just got my head down again and kept pushing. I started to catch Dani really fast and I wasn’t sure if he had a problem or whether I was pushing too hard. I slowed down because of that and Karel caught me back up, so it came down to the last lap and he obviously made a small mistake. He hit me from behind but I managed to stay on and to finish t he season with my best ever result is a great way to start planning for 2012. This year has been an incredible learning experience and we have a lot to work on for next season, but I feel confident I can make the step to the next level. I can hold my held up high and now I am looking forward to getting my first experience of the Yamaha 1000cc bike on Tuesday.”
Dani Pedrosa - 5th
“It wasn’t an easy race. I did my best, trying hard but I wasn’t feeling good on the bike, I was rigid and didn’t ride very well. But especially in the end with more water on the track I struggled a lot as in Australia, so this is something I will try to improve with my riding in the future. I had a good battle with Andrea and in the last laps I lost a place to Cal Crutchlow, but I couldn’t do any more. Andrea and I were on a soft front tyre and we were maybe struggling a little more than Ben or Cal who were on a hard front, but it’s not an excuse. I just want to move forward and think about next year and the test we have on Tuesday. It has been a tough year, but we will try to take the positives from here and be optimistic for the 2012.”
Katsuyuki Nakasuga - 6th
“I was really surprised with sixth position in the race! In the beginning I was very nervous because of the weather condition so my main target was to complete the race. I am used to Japanese races which only last 30 minutes so I was worried that I might not be able to keep my concentration for nearly double the time. Finally I’m very happy, the last five laps were quite risky because it wasn’t easy to go faster but I had nothing to lose so I wanted to push as hard as I could. It’s been amazing to experiment with a real Grand Prix race, not only can I use this for future development riding but I’m very pleased with the good result. The weather maybe helped me, but I am happy and enjoying the moment.”
Josh Hayes - 7th
“It was a very exciting and difficult race but certainly an experience I will never forget. I had a joke with my crew that I should have packed up at lunch after I was fastest in the warm-up! The conditions were really difficult with the rain but riding the Yamaha YZR-M1 with the carbon brakes and Bridgestone tyres was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. The bike felt perfect each time I went out of the pits and it is a real bonus to finish inside the top 10. It i s not exactly how I wanted to do it with so many guys going down at the first corner but I am happy with my race and how I rode. It was a successful race for me and I managed to beat a lot of experienced riders, which is something to be proud of. Riding a MotoGP is definitely something I would like to do again in my career. I want to send a big thank you to everybody who helped me be here. Yamaha US, GYTR, YES and of course Hervé Poncharal gave me a great opportunity and everybody has been so nice to me. Hopefully people enjoyed seeing me out on track, because I definitely enjoyed being out there.”
Karel Abraham - 8th
“The race was perfect. It was a good battle between me and Cal. I think everybody injoyed it. I had hoped that Dani will slow Cal a little bit and I will make some gap.I knew that he will try to overtake me in that corner, but I was too fast and touched his rear tire. What can I say. I’m so sorry because It was a very good race. Plus, it could have be my best result of the year and I could get award for the best rookie. It’s a shame, but things like this happen. This season has been quite unlucky for us, but I believe that we will have more luck next season. If I would managed well in the races we had full of back luck, I could easily have twenty more points. I have a big respect for this bike, but I’m looking forward to test it. Every change of the class or a motorcyle meant progress for me and I’m hoping that this time it will be the same.
Loris Capirossi - 9th
“What can I say, now it’s really finished. The race was complicated by the rain, and in the last laps I couldn’t push because I risked crashing. I wanted to end my career in a good way honoring Marco. I gave my best. Thanks to all the people that have supported me. Now I’m retired!”
Toni Elias - 10th
“Well… First it was very tough to line up without Marco today and we will always remember him. I took an incredible start from the 13th spot and I could have gone for the fifth place but Nicky got into my way and he was involved in the crash in the first corner. From the beginning to the middle of the race we had a good pace just 1.5s slower than Casey in the front but later on, when it started to rain, I did feel safe as I started to lose rear grip in corner entry so my lap time dropped down and I managed to finish tenth. This season was very tough for me but in the mean time I learnt a lot: now I hope to start with a new challenge with more luck and the same I also wish to Lucio and the LCR Team”.
Hector Barbera - 11th
“Today was a tough race for me, because of the track conditions and because of my collarbone and rib injuries which have still not fully healed. I also had a loose clutch on the opening couple of laps, which only added to my problems. I had to ease off the clutch very gradually, and every gear change was very brusque. That was another factor that impeded my ability to ride at my best. I am disappointed, because I wanted a good result at home. The position wasn’t really important, but I wanted to enjoy myself and I ended up riding more or less by myself. I have had a lot of positive times this season, and other times in which things haven’t gone my way –like with the injury. I prefer to focus on the positives, and this season I have continued to learn a lot about the premier class. Despite all the ups and downs, this has been a gratifying year in which we saw how –with hard work- you can get to where we want to be.”
Hiroshi Aoyama - 12th
“My final race in MotoGP was another very tough one. I didn’t have confidence in the bike because of the chatter problem we have had all weekend and couldn’t push it like I wanted. It was a real shame but I just want to thank the team and the sponsors for giving me the opportunity to contest my second season in MotoGP. Obviously I would have liked to have done better but the guys in the team have worked hard and I would like to wish them a fond farewell.”