MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa finished first and third, respectively, in the tensely fought Spanish Grand Prix on the partially wet and treacherous Jerez Circuit in southern Spain.
For Stoner, the win was his first at the Andalucian circuit and well-deserved. After a hectic first few laps that saw serial maneuvers, not always gentlemanly, Stoner made his way to the front on a track littered with patches of wet tarmac. Once there, he was joined by Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, the winner of the past two races in Jerez, who was eager to make it three in a row.
Lorenzo closed the gap by half a second on the 18th of 27 laps when Stoner made a mistake, running wide as a result of a return of his arm pump issues, and the battle was truly joined. But on the final lap, Stoner went to the whip and pulled out his first victory of the season, and 41st grand prix win of his career, by a deceptive .947s.
Pedrosa had led early in the race, then fell back before mounting a charge. Fifth on the sixth lap, he jumped two places to third on lap seven and was never off the podium. But it was also never easy. To keep alive his record of never finishing off the podium in the MotoGP class in Jerez, Pedrosa had to hold off the advances of Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow, who was never far from the Spaniard’s shadow.
But just as Stoner had done to win the race, Pedrosa never relented in his quest to take third and significantly cut the gap to Lorenzo in second. Had the race been a few more laps the order could have changed, but Pedrosa was happy to give Honda a one-three finish.
Stoner now sits second in the championship to Lorenzo by four points, 41 to 45. Pedrosa is a close third with 36.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) improved on his finish in Qatar by riding to a mostly lonely sixth place. The Spaniard had an early battle before establishing a comfort level that allowed him to move swiftly forward, after which he found himself alone for most of the race.
In his second MotoGP race, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) battled veteran Nicky Hayden (Ducati) to the flag. The race was educational for the young German, whose learning curve shot up this weekend with practice, qualifying, and the race all held in less than ideal conditions. Yet in the race, he was not intimidated by mixing it up with a former world champion and passed Hayden on the final lap to finish seventh, one spot better than he had done in Qatar.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had an electrical problem on his still developing FTR-Honda CRT machine that forced an early retirement while he was in a points-paying position. The fact that he was more competitive than he had been in Qatar was taken as a positive and the electrical issue is easily resolved. Pirro is looking forward to getting back on track in less than a week’s time to continue the crucial development of the CRT machine.
Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex ) won his first Moto2 race by being in the lead the lap before the race was stopped by rain on the 18th of 26 laps. Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) was second at the stoppage and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) was third.
The race began under threatening skies on a not entirely dry track. From the start the battle was fearsome, with the leader in peril from one corner to the next and multiple lead changes.
The lead combatants were Espargaro, Luthi, and Marquez, with Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) also in the mix.
Luthi took the lead from Marquez ending lap 14, then it went back to Marquez a lap later as rain began to fall on different parts of the track. By now the riders were aware that the race might be stopped as they approached the two-thirds mark needed to make it official.
Espargaro bowled his way into second on the 16th lap to take Luthi for second and on the 17th lap the Spaniard would make what was the decisive move on Marquez in turn six. That set the order for the end of lap 17 at Espargaro, Marquez, Luthi, with a gap to Redding who was hounded by Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex) in a career best fifth place.
Marquez took the lead in the Dry Sack curve on the 18th lap and was in the lead when the red flag came out shortly after he had crossed the line. With scoring reverting a lap, Espargaro, 20, had his first Moto2 win and first win since taking the 125cc race at Aragon in 2010.
Marquez continues to lead the world championship with 45 points to 41 for Espargaro. Luthi takes over third with 27 points.
Marquez takes the championship lead with 25 points to 20 for Iannone and 16 for Espargaro.
Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI, Honda-FTR) made history by becoming the third youngest grand prix winner in only his second grand prix in a hectic and incident-filled Moto3 race on a mostly dry track with wet patches.
From tenth on the grid, Fenati flew into contention right from the start, finishing the first of 23 laps in fourth place. By then three riders had crashed and many more would fall victim to the irregular wet spots.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0, Suter-Honda) took the lead on the fourth lap after teammate Miguel Oliveira crashed, with Fenati taking over second. The 2012 Spanish 125cc champion controlled the race and built up a lead of over 3.5s before running off the track on lap eight, allowing Luis Rossi and Fenati to close up, with Rossi passing through the stadium section.
Rossi was the first of the leaders to drop out, falling in turn one on the tenth lap, leaving the battle to Rins and Fenati. Then Fenati went through in the Dry Sack corner at the end of the back straight.
Rins battled until crashing on the 14th lap. That put Fenati into the lead by 18.281 secs. With such a big lead the Italian could have backed off, but he didn’t. Instead he set one fast lap after another, stretching his lead to an impressive 36.139s at the end of the 23-lap race.
The 16-year-old becomes the third youngest winner after Brit Scott Redding and fellow Italian Marco Melandri.
The win was the first for an Italian in the smallest category since Andrea Iannone won in Catalunya in 2009 and many believe signals the beginning of the Italian resurgence from the ground up.
The win put Fenati in the championship lead with 45 to 35 for Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia, FTR-Honda) and 33 for second place finisher Luis Salom. A miscue on the second lap dropped Vinales to 28th, from where he’d charge back to a sixth place finish.
Salom took second from Rins on the penultimate lap, with Rins falling to a close fourth behind Sandro Cortese at the flag.
Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology, Honda) was alone in fifth after a physically demanding race. The Frenchman was on crutches as the result of a broken bone in his foot in Qatar and found the pain to be increasingly distracting. Still, fifth place was a worthy finish in such difficult conditions.
Now the teams pack up for the five-hour drive northwest to Estoril for next weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix, the third round of the championship.
|1||Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|5||Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|7||Stefan Bradl (Lcr Honda MotoGP)|
|8||Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team)|
|9||Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team)|
|10||Hector Barbera (Pramac Racing Team)|
|11||Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|12||Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|14||Mattia Pasini (Speed Master)|
|15||Ivan Silva (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 Hp Tuenti)|
|2||Marc Marquez (Team Catalunyacaixa Repsol)|
|3||Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|4||Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|6||Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|7||Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|8||Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP)|
|9||Toni Elias (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|10||Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2)|
|11||Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing)|
|12||Alex DE Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|13||Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 Racing)|
|14||Andrea Iannone (Speed Master)|
|15||Gino Rea (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)|
|1||Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI)|
|2||Luis Salom (RW Racing GP)|
|3||Sandro Cortese (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology)|
|6||Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia)|
|7||Alberto Moncayo (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|8||Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|9||Hector Faubel (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|10||Zulfahmi Khairuddin / Mal / Airasia-Sic-Ajo)|
|11||Alessandro Tonucci (Team Italia FMI)|
|12||Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|13||Ivan Moreno (Andalucia JHK Laglisse)|
|14||Alan Techer (Technomag-Cip-TSR)|
|15||Giulian Pedone (Ambrogio Next Racing)|