Photography by Mark Wernham
Spain’s Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo Circuit is the traditional season-ending stop for the MotoGP World Championship. Emotions ran high all weekend. Grand Prix legend Kevin Schwantz led a fireworks-capped tribute lap to the late Marco Simoncelli. Pretty Spanish umbrella girls smiled on the grid. New world champions were crowned: Stefan Bradl in Moto2 and Nico Terol in 125.
In the premier class, the Ducatis of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet didn’t even make it through Turn 1, having been punted off-track by Alvaro Bautista’s skidding Suzuki. When the rain came in force during the final laps of the race, American Ben Spies tore past Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner, only to get blown away in the final meters before the start/finish line by the bullet-like Repsol Honda of Stoner, far and away the dominant figure this year.
The 2012 season kicks off with the Grand Prix of Qatar at the Losail Circuit on March 20.