Dani's delight at treacherous Valencia

Jorge Lorenzo goes head over heels, allowing Dani Pedrosa to steal the win. Photo: BBCIn the last round of 2012, Dani Pedrosa won the Valencia MotoGP as Casey Stoner ended his grand prix career with a podium finish and World Champion Jorge Lorenzo suffered a massive crash. Dani Pedrosa eased to victory ahead of Yamaha's test rider, Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Casey Stoner, who passed Alvaro Bautista with two laps remaining.

Briton Cal Crutchlow crashed out from a seemingly solid second position, having been around half a minute behind Pedrosa and the same time ahead of Nakasuga. With seven laps remaining, he momentarily lost the front end of his Yamaha Tech 3 as he leaned over and was pitched off. He hung on and was alongside the speeding bike for a worrying moment before it veered off into the barriers. Thankfully he avoided injury.

The race was officially declared wet. Almost every rider opted for wet tyres, with Lorenzo a notable exception, having chosen to be on slicks. The tarmac was still wet and patchy at the start, but with a dry line appearing, several riders - Repsol Honda's pole sitter Pedrosa among them - had a change of heart on the warm-up lap and opted to change to bikes with slicks and start from the pitlane. Yamaha test rider Nakasuga - riding as Lorenzo's teammate, deputising for the injured Ben Spies - went with slicks at the start and was vindicated with his first podium finish. 

However the tale did not end as well for Lorenzo who dropped to sixth from the second grid spot after a very cautious start on slicks. Aleix Espargaro with the CRT bike on wets, had a fantastic start to take the lead from 10th spot. He then steadily made his way through the field as his tyres warmed on the drying track, and found himself in the lead by the fifth lap as Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso came in for slick bikes. By lap 10 however, Pedrosa, the faster rider, had caught up with his Spanish compatriot, promising an intriguing battle at the front of the field.

It was not to be though, when, with 17 laps remaining, Lorenzo ran wide onto the damp patches lapping CRT contender James Ellison, and had a massive high side, destroying the Yamaha and flinging the new World Champion unceremoniously into the gravel. Gresini's Michele Pirro was fifth, the best ever result for a CRT rider, followed by Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso, Karel Abraham, CRT's Danilo Petrucci and Ellison. Valentino Rossi followed them, completing his last ride for Ducati in the process.


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