Farewell, MotoGP 2011: Spectacular Spies, Stoner the “Stealer”, Celebrating Super Sic.

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Riders of all classes, led by ex-champ Kevin Scwantz, line up at the grid to pay tribute to Marco Simoncelli.

To say that the ultimate race weekend of MotoGP 2011 was emotional would be the understatement of the year.

For the first time in several years of following MotoGP, I’ve to say that it was the most difficult season-ender to sit through, as we racing fans not only have to bid our final farewell to the racing hurricane that was Marco Simoncelli, but also to the era of 125cc and 800cc spec motorbikes.

Here’s a fantastic tribute to the man they called Super Sic: Riders of all classes participated in a tribute lap around the Valencia circuit, spearheaded by former champion Kevin Scwhantz, who wore Marco’s no.58:

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On to the racing: Terol was crowned the last 125cc Champion, and although Bradl suffered a crash early on in the Moto2 race, the result was moot and academic, as the withdrawal of his closest rival, Marc Marquez due to injury, meant that the German was the new Moto2 Champion.

A lot of the fans, me included, assumed that already-crowned MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner would ride off into the sunset by himself for the main race, and while he did take an unsurprising early lead, the main talking point during the 1st half of the race was the dramatic T1 crash that took out Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista, LCR’s Randy De Puniet, and Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. Fans of The Doctor can only look on in dismay as they abandoned hopes of a decent finish to quite a dismal season for the icon. C’est la vie.

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However, during the 2nd part of the race, the trifecta of Honda (Stoner in 1st, Dovisiozo in 2nd, Pedrosa in 3rd) was shattered by a charging Ben Spies of Yamaha, as he broke free from the shackles of 4th to overtake the 2 battling Hondas and, shocker of the day, managed to catch the seemingly cruising Stoner to take the race lead as the number of laps remaining continue to dwindle. Viewers were left at the edge of their seats as we all await on whether Spies can reach the chequered flag first and what Stoner can come up with. Remarkably, the 2011 Champion brandished his mettle as he beat the Yamaha to the line by a mere 0.015 second-photo finish! Quite a crazy end to a season of undeniable rollercoaster-type highs and lows.

Interestingly, Casey Stoner now holds the record of winning the first and last races of the 800cc era (2007-2011) in MotoGP. Show-off.

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To break up all the drama, have a photo of Ben Spies “planking” atop his Yamaha:

Spies making productive use of his downtime. Hmm.

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Until next season then, fellow crazy fans. Meanwhile, may we all live our lives as if we are racing without fear or regrets.

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