The final race of the 2012 MotoGP season, at Valencia, was seriously affected by uncertain weather.
After the wet warm-up session, in which Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden had found a good rain setting, the precipitation stopped and the MotoGP race started with a track that was only damp.
Most of the riders began the race with rain tyres, though a small group risked slicks, returning to the garages to change bikes just before the lights went out. That group, which was obliged to start from pit lane, included the eventual winner, Dani Pedrosa, and Nicky Hayden. The American was caught out by the tricky conditions and crashed before he was able to take advantage of having made the right choice.
Valentino Rossi started with rain tyres and was in fourth place when, 25 laps from the end, he re-entered pit lane to switch bikes. With the dry tyres, he no longer felt at home and was only able to finish in tenth place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 10th
“It’s really a shame that the last race with Ducati finished this way. Things went well this morning in the wet warm-up, and in similar conditions, it would have been possible to do a nice result. Instead, this half-and-half situation was truly difficult. In the end the right choice was to use the slick tyres, but my bike on the grid had a very different setting from the other one, so I didn’t feel like switching. With the rain tyres, I felt fine at first, but then when it was necessary to switch, the situation became more complicated. There was a thin dry line, but I couldn’t put the bike where I wanted and as soon as I would go off that line, it was very risky. I could only try to finish. I would have liked to finish these two years with Ducati better. They were two difficult seasons, but I nonetheless leave behind many people that I enjoyed working with, and with whom it was nice to go racing.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNF
“It’s a shame to end a difficult season in a bad way, but at least I’m 100 per cent okay from the crash. On the grid, it was a really close call between slick tyres and rain tyres. If the track had been warm, it would clearly have been better to start on slicks, but the cold surface temperature made it close. On the warm-up lap, Lorenzo was going faster than us on slicks, so in my opinion, it was the right decision to come in and switch bikes and start from pit lane. After that, it was okay on the dry line, but to make passes, you had to go out where it was treacherous. I got behind Petrucci and couldn’t find a way past. I was waiting to go by him on the front straightaway, but I got a little bit wide in the last corner and hit a patch. I went down so quickly that there was no way to save it. Next season starts now, so hopefully things will be better.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“Today we lost an opportunity to have a nice race, both with Nicky and with Vale, and although that can happen in such uncertain conditions, we’re obviously not happy. Nicky switched bikes immediately, like Pedrosa, who won in the end, but he was done in by the slippery asphalt. Vale went well in the early laps, while he was on the rain tyres, but he didn’t feel good with the slicks. He tried until the end, without ever being able to push hard enough. We would have liked to finish differently, but anyway, we tried until the end.”