Casey Stoner finishes title year with win
VALENCIA, Spain -- Australian Casey Stoner finished his championship-winning year by overtaking Ben Spies down the final straight to win the season-ending Valencia MotoGP on Sunday.
The world champion, who clinched the title on Oct. 16, finished in 48 minutes, 18.645 seconds. Spies, an American, was only 0.015 seconds behind in light rain on the 2.5-mile Comunitat Valenciana Circuit.
Italy's Andrea Dovizioso was third.
Stoner raced away after his 12th pole of the season and was 10 seconds ahead of Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, who finished fifth.
Riders did a lap of honor and gathered on the track to pay tribute to Italian rider Marco Simoncelli, who died in an accident at the Malaysia GP two weeks ago.
With three laps to go, Spies overtook Stoner when the Australian rider ran wide at a corner.
"Because I was in the lead I was also the first one to hit the rain and I wasn't sure how much to push," Stoner said. "Ben got past me and looked confident in the conditions so I said to myself, 'OK, I'll push and risk it,' and I'm very happy."
Stoner came in atop the standings with 350 points, a commanding lead over second place Jorge Lorenzo of Spain (260), who was not fit to race due to a finger injury. Dovizioso was third with 228 points.
Loris Capirossi said goodbye to MotoGP and embraced a visibly moved Stoner in front of the Honda 125cc on which the Italian had won his first world title 21 years ago.
Michele Pirro of Italy won the Moto2 category in 46 minutes, 22.205 seconds, beating Mika Kallio of Finland, who finished second, and third-place Dominique Aegerter of Switzerland.
Pirro dedicated his win to Simoncelli, saying the Italian had been his inspiration.
"I think Marco helped me today," Pirro said.
Stefan Bradl of Germany finished on top of the Moto2 standings with 274 points, Spain's Marc Marquez was second (251) and Andrea Iannone of Italy third (177).
Nicolas Terol of Spain won the 125cc category world championship at his hometown circuit, riding his Aprilia into second place behind winner Maverick Vinales of Spain.
Spain's Hector Faubel came in third in a race that was preceded by tributes to Simoncelli.
"Right now I don't even believe it, it has been a very difficult year for me," said Terol, who finished with 302 points overall.
Johann Zarco of France was second with 262 and Vinales third with 248.
Vinales won the race in 41:44.138.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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