2011 season to wrap up in Valencia with Lorenzo absent

Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana
Preview | Wed, 2 November 2011

The 2011 MotoGP season will come to a conclusion this weekend with the Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana, when the final round of the campaign will take place at the famous Ricardo Tormo circuit.

Primarily the thoughts of the entire MotoGP community remain with the family and friends of Marco Simoncelli, whose funeral took place last week in the Italian rider's hometown of Coriano. The Gresini Team has confirmed it will be present at this weekend's Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana with the team garage set up and displaying Simoncelli's bike in tribute.

As the riders refocus on riding once again and with Casey Stoner already having been crowned World Champion, there still remain a number of positions to be decided in the final standings.

Jorge Lorenzo will not ride this weekend as he continues to recover from surgery to a finger injury he received following a crash in Phillip Island. The Yamaha Factory racing rider is assured of runner-up spot in the overall classification regardless of the results of others at Valencia, and Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga will stand in for the Spaniard as he did in Malaysia. The Mallorcan?s participation in next week's Official MotoGP test is still to be determined.

Third place remains a closely contested position with Repsol Honda team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa just four points apart. The Italian will be keen to sign off from his time in the factory Honda outfit with a strong result and final classification, before he moves onto the Tech 3 team in 2012.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) will expect to be back to full fitness after a tough weekend at Sepang, and the American looks set to seal fifth in the standings, although Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) can still challenge him. Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden could also still finish ahead of his Ducati colleague.

Colin Edwards will be absent this weekend as he continues to recover from the injuries he sustained in Malaysia, and will be replaced in Valencia by American superbike champion Josh Hayes. Edwards' fellow American will also remain in Valencia for the Test on Tuesday and Wednesday. Cal Crutchlow, on the second Tech 3 machine, leads Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) by a single point in the race for the Rookie of the Year title.

This weekend will also see Loris Capirossi take part in his final Grand Prix, bringing to an end his illustrious 22-year World Championship career which will have spanned 328 race starts by the time the Italian takes to the starting grid for Sunday's race.

Preparations for the 2012 season will continue on Tuesday, as the traditional Valencia Test takes place with manufacturers pushing on with the development of their prototypes ahead of the introduction of the new 1000cc engine capacity limit next season.

Stefan Bradl is poised to take the Moto2 World Championship crown this weekend, and a result of 13th place or better will deliver the German rider his first title.

Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) leads Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) by 23 points going into the final round of the campaign, and knows that barring any major mishaps he will collect the intermediate class title.

Marquez's bad luck in crashing in FP1 at Sepang ruled the Spaniard out of the race as he suffered from vision problems due to a heavy knock to the head in the fall, and his participation this weekend is still pending confirmation as he continues to recover at home close to Barcelona.

With the title to be decided between those two, third place in the final standings remains wide open with Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) leading Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) by just two points. Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) could catch the pair and comes into this weekend off the back of his first ever intermediate win (at Sepang), but is 19 points adrift of De Angelis.

Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) looks set to take sixth place in the final standings, and Bradley Smith's (Tech 3 Racing) fitness will undergo a last-minute assessment as he recovers from a cracked collarbone which he picked up in a crash at the same spot as Marquez in the opening practice session in Malaysia.

Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP), Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) Aleix Espargaro (Pons HP 40) and Pol Espargaro (HP Tuenti Speed Up) are all separated by just six points as all five riders battle for the last three positions inside the top ten.

Ricky Cardus (QMMF Racing Team) will be replaced by Nasser Al Malki this weekend after picking up an injury in Malaysia, and there will be two Spanish wildcard riders. Elena Rosell will again ride for the Mapfre Aspar team and Oscar Climent will ride under the Team Climent banner.

Nico Terol heads into this weekend the firm favourite to clinch the last-ever 125cc World Championship title, as the final edition of the two-stroke category is decided in the last round of the 2011 season.

The Spaniard leads Frenchman Johann Zarco by 20 points at the top of the standings, and knows that a finish of 11th or higher in Valencia will deliver him his first World title. This is the fifth time that the 125cc title will have been settled at the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia since the track became the final venue on the calendar back in 2002.

Zarco's impressive ride from 15th on the grid to third in the race in the previous round in Malaysia ensured that, with Terol placing fifth at Sepang, the fight for the crown would go to the bitter end, but it appears the Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider will now have to settle for runner-up spot behind his Bankia Aspar rival who stepped on the podium in last year's Valencia race.

If the battle for first and second looks almost done and dusted, the scrap for third is extremely close. Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) currently leads rookie Maverick Vinales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) by just two points, and the pair will be steeled for strong displays. Vinales' win at Sepang, his third of his debut year, was Aprilia's 15th of the year in the 125cc class - a new record for most wins in the category by a manufacturer. Vinales will also pick up the Michel Metraux Trophy on Sunday evening having been voted the best performer in the class by his fellow riders.

Hector Faubel (Bankia Aspar) will aim for a strong sign off to the season in his home race, which he has twice won before in the 125cc class, and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) still holds a slim chance of taking the Spaniard's top-five spot in the overall classification with a strong result.

Efren Vazquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) and Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) are both assured of top-ten finishes this season, whilst Alberto Moncayo (Andalucia Banca Civica) and Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) will contest the final spot within the top ten.

Manuel Tatasciore (Phonica Racing) continues in the place of the injured Simone Grotzkyj, and there will be five wildcard riders on track this weekend. Danish youngster Emil Meyer Petersen (Nordgren Racing), Spaniards Daniel Ruiz (Larresport) and Juan F Guevara (Team Murcia Pramac), Brit John McPhee (Racing Steps Foundation KRP) and German Kevin Hanus (Team Hanusch) will all gain valuable World Championship experience.