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Big wreck disrupts the opening lap of the Valencia MotoGP... and everyone walks away

Albert Gea / Reuters

Honda's MotoGP rider Dani Pedrosa (26) of Spain leads the pack during the first lap as Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista (blue) of Spain falls from his bike during the Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack near Valencia, Spain on Nov. 6, 2011.

Today’s race was preceded by a tribute to fellow MotoGP racer, Marco Simoncelli, who was killed just two weeks ago at the Malaysian Grand Prix. All the racers participated in a parade lap and two minutes of applause in honor of Simoncelli.

These pictures are incredible. For those of us who ride, we know it’s particularly amazing that nobody was seriously injured. I wonder how much the Simoncelli tribute might have been on everyone’s mind as the racers entered the first turn. I’ve always thought that riding a motorcycle is a little like swimming. It’s difficult to do if you think about the mechanics of it and are worried about the danger.

Albert Gea / Reuters

Team Ducati riders Randy De Puniet (14), Nicky Hayden (69), and Valentino Rosssi (46) and Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista (19) lose control in the first turn of the first lap.

Alberto Saiz / AP

Ducati rider Nicky Hayden from US, slides through the gravel on the first turn.

AP reports

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.

With three laps to go, Stoner was overtaken by another rider when he 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 (Spies) 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." Read more ...


Alberto Saiz / AP

Casey Stoner steers his Honda to victory during Spain's Valencia Motorcycle Grand Prix on Nov. 6, 2011.

Related story: Simoncelli dies after accident at Malaysian MotoGP


Watch the video below if you want to experience what it’s like to ride one of these powerful machines.

Ride with Tim Rhotig on a Kawasaki ZX-10R during a lap on the famous Nurgurgring Grand Prix race track near Nurburg, Germany.