MotoGPJapanOctober 2, 2011
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi Race Results

Pedrosa Celebrates Honda’s Home Grand Prix With A Win

Qualifying >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode brilliantly in the Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi, Honda’s home course, to win his third race of the year in the most action-packed race of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) was a distant second with Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) recovering from an early off-track excursion to finish an important third.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) were two of the riders swept up in the excitement. Both were accused of jumping the start by race officials and both made miraculous comebacks after serving ridethrough penalties. They engaged in a fierce battle over the final third of the race with Simoncelli passing his fellow Italian on the penultimate lap to take fourth.

Stoner finished the day leading Lorenzo by 40 points, 300 to 260, with three races, including Stoner’s home grand prix at Phillip Island, remaining. Dovizioso holds 196 points, one more than the ascendant Pedrosa.

The victory was an important one for Pedrosa and Honda, as well as the Japanese people, who were immensely grateful that the entire MotoGP field had supported their home race nearly seven months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the region northeast of Motegi, and forced the postponement of the race from its original April date. The Japanese fans showed their appreciation with signs, flags, and t-shirts thanking those who attended the race.

It was also Pedrosa’s first MotoGP win at Motegi, to go along with victories in the 250cc and 125cc class.

The race began under cool, overcast skies with Stoner bolting into the lead as race officials determined that Simoncelli and Dovizioso, along with Cal Crutchlow, had jumped the start.

Stoner was in the lead and controlling the pace until he hit a bump over the crest on the back straight on the fifth lap, sending the front end into a violent wobble. The shaking of the front end knocked the brake pads out of place, which isn’t uncommon. When the championship leader went to brake at the end of the fastest straightaway, he had to grab the lever twice and still ran off the track and into the gravel, calling on his vast dirt track experience to stay upright. He rejoined the race in seventh place and began an impressive resurgence.

Dovi was in the lead at the end of the lap from Pedrosa and Lorenzo, and Simoncelli, but by now the riders had been informed that they had to serve their penalties, which they did ending the sixth lap.

Ending the seventh lap, the first flying lap after the penalties, Pedrosa was in front of Lorenzo, who was putting him under pressure, but not for long.

Pedrosa set a new circuit record of 1:46.090 mins. on the 11th lap and, two laps later, Stoner moved into third with a pass of Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) on the brakes into turn 11, the same corner where Stoner had earlier run off. Now Stoner was in a podium position, but ten seconds behind Lorenzo and not entirely confident in his front brakes.

Bautista crashed soon afterwards, handing fourth to Dovizioso and fifth to Simoncelli. The rivals battled to the finish, with Simoncelli making his pass by sliding up the inside of Dovi at the end of the back straight on lap 23 of 24.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) rode to an emotional ninth place in front of his fellow countrymen. Aoyama was one of the few riders who made it through the race without drama, though he didn’t have the same feel for his tyres that he’d had a day earlier. Part of it could be attributed to the track temperature, which was cooler than expected.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) ran as high as an encouraging sixth place before dropping back to settle into seventh. The Spaniard was on course to take his best result of the season when his day ended abruptly. Under hard braking into turn five, he hit a bump, the front end unsettled, and he fell.

Wild card Kousuke Akiyoshi (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) won the battle of the Honda test riders by beating Shinichi Ito (Team HRC RC212V) for 12th. Ito, in what is likely his last race, finished 13th. But just finishing the race for Ito was a victory, not only for himself, but for those in his home region which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.

Marc Marquez (Team CaixaCatalunya Repsol-Suter) took over the Moto2 World Championship lead, though he didn’t win the race. The victory, his third of the season, went to Italian Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Suter), who was in control for most of the race and recovered from a late-race miscue to speed to victory.

The margin of victory over Marquez was 1.999s.

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 - Suter) was third from Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing – Kalex), who fell out of the championship lead which he’d held since the British Grand Prix back in June.

With three races remaining, Marquez now leads the title chase by a single point, 235 to 234. Iannone is a solid third at 157 points.

This race didn’t have the usual frantic activity that characterises the Honda-powered Moto2 class. Iannone got the jump on the field from Marquez and the battle for the lead was fought between those two, and not very fervently.

Marquez first took the lead out of the final corner on the seventh lap with a smooth draft pass at the stripe, with Iannone striking back two laps later.

Behind them Bradl was fighting with Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project – FTR) as others had eyes on the final podium spot.

There was little drama at the front until the 19th lap when Iannone slowed dramatically going into turn five, allowing Marquez to easily move back to the front. The engine had temporarily cut out, but soon re-fired. Within a corner or two Iannone put it behind and stalked the Spaniard at record pace. Iannone made his move into turn 11 on the 20th lap, a clean move on the inside on the brakes that put him in the lead.

Iannone set the fastest lap of the race, a new race record, on the 21st. By then he had nearly a second and would increase it on the final lap as he sped to victory.

Luthi started the final lap in third ahead of Corsi, Bradl and de Angelis, but Bradl wasn’t finished. He and Corsi swapped the spots with Bradl taking control when the Italian ran wide in turn nine. Then Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2-Motobi) attacked Corsi, which gave Bradl some breathing room and a secure fourth place finish. Corsi was fifth and de Angelis sixth. The MotoGP World Championship now has a weekend off before resuming for the second and third flyaways in Australian and Malaysia. The action then returns to Europe for the season finale at Valencia, Spain, on November 6.

Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini) Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): Race winner
“I'm super happy with this victory, for the team that has been working so well, for HRC, because this is the first win in Motegi with the Repsol Honda Team, and for myself, because it is the first time I've won here in MotoGP after doing so in 125cc and 250cc. The race was strange at the beginning. With Stoner and Dovi really fast on the first few laps, they pulled away and then Casey had some problem and Andrea had a ridethrough due to his jump start. I was alone in front with Lorenzo very close, but I tried to put my head down and push every lap to pull away. I'm really happy because at this track I've had a mix of good and bad results and some bad injuries, so come back one year later and win in MotoGP is fantastic.”

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“The whole weekend had gone so well for us and even the start of the race we got a great start and everything felt good in the first laps and I was able to pull a small advantage. Andrea was riding very well on the soft tyre compound and we knew ours would work well towards the end of the race, so the pace we had at that stage I was very comfortable with. As I came out of the back straight I got a wobble on the bike, we hit the big bump and as the front came down it practically shook the bars out of my hands; I was lucky to hold on. I went for the brakes and there was nothing there, so I had to pump them up a couple of times, when I pumped it the second time if flicked me up over the front and I was lucky to stay on the bike. Thankfully I avoided hitting the wall at the end of the gravel trap but this pretty much ended our race. It's really disappointing as we had the bike to win here to day, but in the end I guess I should be thankful that we were able to climb back up to a podium spot after other peoples misfortunes and mistakes on track. I'm looking forward to going to Phillip Island now and to see what we can achieve there. I've got a Championship lead to protect, but I also want to win races which is why I'm disappointed here today.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 4th
“I made a stupid mistake on the start line. The red light was slow to go out and out of the corner of my eye I saw Dovizioso move and let the clutch out just a tiny bit, but enough to be given a ride-through penalty. You can't afford to make this kind of error. I am angry with myself and kicking myself especially after the race I put together following the penalty. Today could have been a great day for us, the podium was there for the taking and maybe even more than that. I had great fun on the last few laps with Dovizioso though – yet another battle between us – and I am happy to have beaten him. It was great!”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th
“I cannot believe it. I have never had a false start in my career and it happened today, in a race where I felt that I could fight for the win. I don’t know why the bike moved a little before the green light, but I realised it immediately and expected the ridethrough. In the first laps I had a good feeling and I was pushing hard because I knew I was the only rider up there with soft tyres; in my opinion this was the right choice today and I was catching Casey. Then Casey went wide and I found myself leading the race, but unfortunately it didn’t last long. When I rejoined the race after the ridethrough I pushed hard but it’s not the same as when you are fighting for the victory. In the last five laps the rear tyre started to drop off and I was no longer able to be fast in the middle of the corner. Meanwhile, Simoncelli had recovered and was behind me. I did all I could to defend my position but I wasn't able to. I’m really disappointed as I’m sure today I could have fought for the win. We can see the final gap to Dani is similar to the time it took to do the ridethrough. I’m sorry for the team, we did a great job and I felt competitive. It’s also a shame for the championship points. Anyway, I look forward to Phillip Island because once again I showed to be fast.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 9th
“It was a difficult race. Unfortunately I didn't have the grip to push as I wanted. Yesterday was much better and I am struggling to explain why it didn't happen today. It is very strange but the change in track temperature definitely didn't help because I am struggling for confidence in the front as it is. We will make up for it in the next race.”

Shinichi Ito, Team HRC: 13th
“First of all, I'd like to say big a very big thank you to Honda. They gave me this possibility to race a MotoGP machine again and through this I hope I brought courage to the victims of the East Japan disaster. My target for this race was to simply take the checkered flag and I achieved this. Considering that today was no ordinary race, I'm very happy with the result. I had a physical problem after Friday's crash, so the first part of the race was difficult for me. I reminded myself the main reason for participating and I knew I could not give up. After that, in the last part I managed faster laps and I'm happy with this. The experience of today will contribute towards my training for the 1000cc machine test. At this moment I don't have any plans to participate in another motorcycle race, but if I take part in another race category, such as GT300 Japanese Car Championship, I would like to do so with a Honda machine.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: DNF
“Well, first I am very disappointed because we could fight for the seventh position taking the best result so far. The adjustments we made this morning after the warm-up session made the bike more stable, and even today I took a very good start from the back of the pack. With my pace I could have obtained a brilliant result for me and the guys, but in turn five, which is a very hard braking point, I hit a bump and I lost the front crashing down. By the way, I would like to thanks the guys for their efforts and I am looking forward to racing in Phillip Island.”

Andrea Iannone, Speed Master-Suter: Race winner
“I’m really happy with the result we achieved today. I knew this was going to be a difficult and very fast race, but we had a good setting for our Suter MMXI and we managed to keep a consistent pace from the start till the end of the race. I got scared when the bike turned off with few laps to go, but luckily its performance went back to normal straight away. I really have to thank the team for the work they’ve done during the weekend: we managed to find a good solution since the qualifying session and we improved. I hope that from here on we can work in this way and keep up this level of competitiveness. I’d also like to congratulate (Marc) Marquez and (Thomas) Luthi, they were some tough rivals.”

Marc Marquez, Team CaixaCatalunya Repsol-Suter: 2nd
“It was a difficult race. Maybe here we did not find the perfect setup, but the team did a very good job, improving during the weekend. Today (Andrea) Iannone was a bit faster and I tried to do my best to win the race, but it is true that in the last laps I thought a bit more about the championship and I saw on the board ten laps before the end that they said ‘P2 OK.’ Today it was a tough race for us, but to finish in second place when we do not have a perfect setup is a very good result.”

Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Suter: 3rd
“Yes, the key to finally end up on the podium was I had a good pace all weekend and we finally found a good pace and set out straight from the beginning on Friday and I could keep going like that, so it was a great feeling. I could make a good feeling for the bike. And in the race it was a bit difficult in the beginning; I had some trouble with the front end, with the full fuel tank. Maybe after mid-distance of the race it was coming much better. I pushed and finally ended up on the podium and I’m very happy for that. It’s really a long time ago. So that’s to the team, it’s really good to be back up on the podium.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 15
Japan Grand Prix at Motegi

1 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Marco SIMONCELLI (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)
7 Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
8 Colin EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9 Hiroshi AOYAMA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
10 Randy DE PUNIET (Pramac Racing Team)
11 Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
12 Kousuke AKIYOSHI (LCR Honda MotoGP)
13 Shinichi ITO (Honda Racing Team)
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) & Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team) & Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)
1 Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)
2 Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)
3 Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2)
4 Stefan BRADL (Viessmann Kiefer Racing)
5 Simone CORSI (Ioda Racing Project)
6 Alex DE ANGELIS (JIR Moto2)
7 Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)
8 Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)
9 Esteve RABAT (Blusens-STX)
10 Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
11 Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 B)
12 Anthony WEST (MZ Racing Team)
13 Michele PIRRO (Gresini Racing Moto2)
14 Mattia PASINI (Ioda Racing Project)
15 Pol ESPARGARO (HP Tuenti Speed Up)
1 Johann ZARCO (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo)
2 Nicolas TEROL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
3 Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
4 Maverick VINALES (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing)
5 Sandro CORTESE (Intact-Racing Team Germany)
6 Jonas FOLGER (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
7 Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia Banca Civica)
8 Adrian MARTIN (Bankia Aspar Team 125cc)
9 Danny KENT (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport)
10 Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)
11 Jakub KORNFEIL (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
12 Marcel SCHROTTER (Mahindra Racing)
13 Jasper IWEMA (Ongetta-Abbink Metaal)
14 Harry STAFFORD (Ongetta-Centro Seta)
15 Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Airasia-Sic-Ajo)

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