The top 20 MotoGP stories of 2010

MotoGP delivered a new world champion in 2010 as Jorge Lorenzo upstaged his injured team-mate Valentino Rossi to grab the title for Yamaha

The top 20 MotoGP stories of 2010

The changing of the guard in MotoGP proved the catalyst for a big swap for riders over the winter, as Rossi began a new chapter of his career at Ducati.

Here are the 20 most popular MotoGP stories that appeared on AUTOSPORT.com in 2010.

20. Honda signs Stoner for 2011 season
July 9

An unusually busy 'silly season' saw several of MotoGP's top riders changing seats for 2011. Casey Stoner was the first piece of the jigsaw to fall into place, as in July Honda confirmed the long-running rumour that it had enticed him away from Ducati.

19. Rossi still in pain in comeback test
July 7

Valentino Rossi's seemingly charmed run came to an end when he broke his right leg in a practice crash at Mugello. But just four weeks after the crash, he was testing a Superbike at Misano. Despite the test being a painful experience, he managed to get back on the grid for the German Grand Prix 10 days later.

18. Ducati: Rossi's fitness biggest concern
December 22

The broken leg was not Rossi's only injury of the 2010 season. He had previously damaged his shoulder in a motocross accident and, as the year progressed, this turned out to be the more serious problem - so much so that pain from the resultant surgery looked set to hamper his winter testing programme with new team Ducati.

17. Rossi: Fatal crash was unpreventable
September 5

Shoya Tomizawa's tragic death in the Misano Moto2 race stunned the grand prix paddock. Many questions were asked in the aftermath, but the sport's biggest name Rossi was adamant that it had been a freak crash that no rules or safety facilities could have prevented.

16. Rossi emotional over Yamaha exit
August 15

Rossi's decision to join Ducati for 2011 would end his long and hugely successful partnership with Yamaha and, on the day that the new deal was announced, the MotoGP legend admitted that saying goodbye to his current team would be very tough.

15. Stoner calls for Honda unity
September 21

Dani Pedrosa has nt always enjoyed the smoothest relationship with his Honda team-mates, and there were hints of potential tension in the 2011 line-up long before 2010 was over. Stoner took the high ground and said he was determined to work harmoniously with the Spaniard.

14. Rossi wins in Qatar as Stoner crashes
April 11

For three straight years the MotoGP season had started with a Stoner victory in Qatar. But that all changed in 2010, when the Australian crashed out of the lead at Losail, leaving Rossi clear to take the first of what turned out to be just two wins all season.

13. Q & A: Rossi on Ducati deal
August 16

The day after his 2011 Ducati ride was announced, Rossi spoke at length about the reasons for his dramatic decision for the first time. AUTOSPORT was there to hear his thoughts on leaving Yamaha and what he might achieve with Ducati.

12. Yamaha wants 2011 decision by Brno
July 28

Two months of speculation had preceded the Rossi/Ducati announcement, and while many were adamant that the deal was already done, Yamaha remained publicly optimistic that it could retain its champion. But during the summer break, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis admitted that a crunch point was approaching.

11. Rossi: Shoulder worse than expected
November 17

Rossi had considered curtailing his season early to have the surgery needed to end his lingering shoulder issues, but in the end he waited until November. While in hospital, he discovered that the injury had been rather more severe than he had anticipated.

10. Ducati 'must improve for Rossi'
November 10

Rossi did not exactly set the timesheets alight in his eagerly-awaited first test with Ducati, and afterwards the team readily admitted that it needed to make some improvements if the seven-time MotoGP champion was to get the best out of the Desmosedici.

9. Rossi to be on crutches for six weeks
June 5

In the immediate aftermath of Rossi's Mugello crash, a quick return to action seemed highly unlikely, as the surgeon who operated on his leg predicted that he would be relying on crutches until late July.

8. Stoner: Rossi 'not a crippled hero'
July 18

After a swift recovery, Rossi was back in action at the Sachsenring, where he narrowly missed out on a podium finish after a tough battle with Stoner - who felt the excitement over Rossi's comeback form was somewhat excessive...

7. Burgess: No panic over Rossi test pace
November 16

With so much anticipation over Rossi's move to Ducati, his disappointing times in his first test for his new team drew raised eyebrows. But his chief engineer Jerry Burgess, who had followed Rossi out of Yamaha, remained calm.

6. Stoner tops second day at Valencia
November 10

While Rossi had a low-key start to life at Ducati, Stoner kicked off his Honda deal with the quickest time on day two of the crucial post-season Valencia test. With no more running until February, the test was a vital chance for the seat-changers to settle in.

5. Ducati announces two-year Rossi deal
August 15

After months of rumours, it finally became official a few hours after the Czech GP: Rossi was going to Ducati. The company's top brass were thrilled that MotoGP's most famous names were going to be united at last.

4. Lorenzo hits out at 'unfair' Rossi
October 3

The long-running tension between Rossi and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo erupted at Motegi, where the pair made contact as they battled for third place. Both stayed upright, but while Rossi celebrated a podium, Lorenzo was deeply unimpressed.

3. Rossi sidelined with shin bone fracture
June 5

It was the moment that shaped the season. Rossi was already trailing Lorenzo in the championship when he fell in Saturday morning practice at Mugello and sustained the broken leg that would end his title bid and hand his team-mate an open goal.

2. MotoGP grid sizes "a joke" - Stoner
June 28
Stoner was admirably outspoken on a variety of topics during 2010, and with injuries bringing the grid down to 15 by Assen, the Australian struck a chord with fans when he slammed the MotoGP rule-makers for not doing more to get additional bikes into the field.

1. Tomizawa's death overshadows race
September 5

The tragic death of rising star Tomizawa in a horrific crash during the Misano Moto2 race cast a shadow over the 2010 MotoGP season. The 19-year-old Japanese rider had emerged as one of the most exciting talents in the new feeder series and would be sadly missed by the rest of the paddock.

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