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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012

Round 03: Portugal

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
Portugal
Portugal
May 6, 2012

Stoner Dominates Estoril To Take Championship Lead

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) moved into the MotoGP World Championship lead with a brilliant victory in today’s Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) also rode a superb race to finish in third place, just 2.2s behind his team-mate.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team)
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)

Starting from pole position for the first time this year, Stoner resisted relentless pressure from Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) throughout the 28 laps to score his second MotoGP victory in eight days. It was a thrilling encounter with Stoner leading from the first corner of the first lap to the chequered flag, but only just.

The reigning World Champion struggled with tyre chatter in the early laps and had to back off a little, which allowed Lorenzo to close right up on him. The Australian dug deeper, experimenting with different mapping settings and then adjusting his riding technique to deny the Spaniard a chance to attack. At the end he crossed the finish line 1.421s ahead of his great rival. This win was Stoner’s 35th success in the elite class and moved him into the series lead, a single point ahead of Lorenzo.

Pedrosa led into the first corner, but encountered some wheelspin on the exit, which had him fighting for control and allowed both Stoner and Lorenzo past. From there Pedrosa stay in touch with the leaders, but he too had his issues. He was not as fast as he would have liked through the corners and he too suffered some chatter, so he never quite got close enough to challenge his compatriot for second place. However, his third podium result from the first three races of the year keeps him very much in the title hunt. It was also Pedrosa’s 100th podium finish across the MotoGP, 250 and 125 classes.

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had another strong ride to sixth place, though he was hoping for more. The Spaniard could not stop or turn his bike as well as he wanted to and will aim to fix those issues in tomorrow’s tests here, which will be attended by all the top teams.

Rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) once again impressed the MotoGP paddock with a ride that belied his lack of experience in the premier class. The reigning Moto2 World Champion enjoyed himself, starting from the fourth row to chase Valentino Rossi (Ducati) during the early stages and then settling into a lengthy duel with former World Superbike Champion Ben Spies. The pair swapped positions on several occasions, the more experienced Spies eventually winning the contest aboard his factory Yamaha, putting Bradl ninth at the finish.

Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) made something of a breakthrough at Estoril today, scoring his first MotoGP points aboard his Fireblade-powered CRT bike. The Italian was the third CRT machine to get to the chequered flag, in 14th place.

Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) scored his second Moto2 victory of the season following an intense race that climaxed with a breathtaking final-lap encounter with Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex), winner of last weekend’s Jerez round.

Marquez and Espargaro spent much of the race following the impressive Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter). This was all part of Marquez’s plan – to let one of his rivals do the hard work while he tried to preserve his rear tyre for the all-important final few laps. With seven laps to go the two Spaniards moved ahead of the Swiss and the race became a straightforward duel.

Espargaro could match Marquez for outright speed and decided to stay just behind his compatriot, preparing himself for an all-out effort on the last lap. The 20-year-old made his first attack at turn one, passing Marquez on the inside, only to run wide, allowing the series leader to retake the lead. Turn four was exactly the same – Espargaro squeezed ahead through on the entry, only to run wide again. Espargaro tried once again at the very next turn, this time making contact with his teenage rival. Again Marquez held on.

Undaunted, Espargaro tried once more at the ultra-tight chicane, but lost control on the brakes and ran wide, leaving Marquez a clear run to the finish line. Espargaro’s mistake nearly lost him second place to Luthi at the flag, the pair separated by just 0.084s.

Moto2 rookie Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi) scored a brilliant fourth-place finish in only his third race in the Honda-powered series. The Frenchman ran with the leaders during the early stages, eventually slipping back to finish just ahead of former Moto2 race winner Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up).

Iannone finished well clear of a frantic four-way skirmish for sixth between Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – Suter), former Moto2 Word Champion Toni Elias (Mapfre Aspar Team – Suter), Julian Simon (Blusens Avintia – Suter) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex). Positions changed constantly as the group fought their way round this complex racetrack. At the chequered flag De Angelis beat Elias by less than two tenths.

Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) came within 0.055s of scoring his second Moto3 victory of the year at Estoril today. The Spaniard was thwarted in his efforts by Sandro Cortese (KTM), the pair spending the entire race jostling back and forth at the front of the pack. Vinales had the speed through the corners while Cortese enjoyed the advantage on the Portuguese track’s long main straight. On the final lap Cortese retook the lead on the straight and Vinales was unable to find a way past the German as they sped towards the finish line.

Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) was Honda’s next best finisher, taking fifth place after a long battle with fellow Honda rider Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda). Honda’s other top-ten finishers were Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda), Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) and Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) who finished seventh, ninth and tenth.

Last weekend’s runaway Jerez winner Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) did not finish the race. The sensational teenage rookie was contesting fifth place when he was hit by another rider coming back onto the track after an off-track excursion. He was not hurt in the incident. Local favourite Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) had a home Grand Prix to forget, withdrawing in the early stages after starting the race from the front row of the grid.

After two events on consecutive weekends the MotoGP circus now takes a week break before returning for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on May 20.

Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia)zoom
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia)

MotoGP

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: race winner
“In the end it was another fantastic weekend for us. This morning we were more confident but also a little concerned because yesterday afternoon when we had a very similar setting to what we had in FP3 the bike was a bit worse in the warm conditions. In warm-up we didn’t have a big problem with chatter, but in the race, in warmer conditions, we struggled a lot more. This was very difficult to ride with. In the first part of the race I was confident and attacking the track, but I almost lost the front twice due to the chatter. From this point I backed off a little, tried to stay smooth and just wanted to stay in front of Jorge and Dani, but Jorge was coming strong. I had to try and keep my pace and not make too many mistakes, so I was changing the mapping to try and reduce the chatter problem. Towards the end of the race I began to understand how to ride around it, this made things smoother and I found some more pace and was able to bring it home for a great race win.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“It was a really tough race from the beginning. The pace was very, very high from the first lap to the final one. Casey rode a good race, unbelievably strong. I had a big shake in the first braking area, Casey and Jorge overtook me and I lost 1.5 seconds on the first lap. During the race I had some issues in the middle of the corner, I was not fast with corner speed. Each lap I tried to get a little better, to try and modify my riding style, the mapping and my braking points. I tried everything. I managed to match their lap times, but I couldn’t close the gap. Three races on the podium is very good overall, but in three races we missed something, so let’s try it again in the next one. To reach my 100th podium is amazing and shows how fast the time goes. I’m very happy for that and I want to thank all my teams and sponsors during this time and especially Honda because I’ve been with them for my whole career".
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th
“It was a tough race. After practice I thought I had the pace to fight for fourth place, but I didn’t have a good feeling from the front so I was struggling to turn the bike. It cost me a few valuable tenths that made me lose touch with Dovizioso and Crutchlow. Now we will have a close look at the data and try to understand why this happened, as well as working on our weak point, which is braking. Sixth place isn’t a bad result but we should have been much closer to the two Tech3 bikes. We have a test tomorrow and that will be very useful to us.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 9th
“Well... this has been a very hard weekend for us in general. We have struggled a lot with rear grip immediately on Friday morning but Saturday we have found some good adjustments. Unfortunately for the all race we had some issues going into the corners. My start was okay and I could make some good manoeuvres in the beginning but then I was a bit on the limit and in the middle of the race I was losing too much in the corners entries which was always our problem this weekend. Especially in the fast corners I needed to wait to open the throttle and this cost us a lot of time. We have never had this problem before and Spies had a better pace than us during the race, but in the end I can say this was another good weekend.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th
“With eight laps to go I could see on the big screen that Stoner was starting to lap people so I pushed extra hard to the end because I would have been really disappointed to get lapped. I’m happy we made it to the end and I picked up my first points of the season. Today I just tried to stay upright and make the most of what we had underneath us and hopefully in the future we can hope for more than that. I want to thank the team for their hard work here; hopefully we can have some new stuff to work with at Le Mans.”

Moto2

Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: race winner
“That was like a 125 race – really difficult, especially at the end. Early in the race I was trying to save the rear tyre, but even though I did that the grip still wasn’t so great at the end. Step by step I got my confidence, just as I did in practice and qualifying, and I felt very comfortable on the bike. When I got into the lead I tried to push really hard and make a gap but I couldn’t manage it. On the last lap I tried to close the door on Pol and give 100 per cent. It was a great race and I think we are going to enjoy this win.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 2nd
“The race was fun; I was a bit nervous at the end but it was a lot of fun! It was great to fight with Marc like we were on 125s. I tried everything I could on the last lap, but when I tried to pass Marc at the chicane he had the best line so I could not make it past and I ran a bit wide, so that was my chance gone. Anyway, I am happy because we have had three races and three podiums, including my win at Jerez last weekend. We are working for the championship, not for the races, so I think things are going okay. My thanks to the team and everyone around me.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock-Suter: 3rd
“I had a good pace at the start of the race but I always knew the boys were right behind me. So I knew it was going to be really hard, especially because in the beginning I was riding so hard that I wasn’t saving my rear tyre for the end of the race. When they both came past me I tried to push hard to stay with them but it just wasn’t possible. Anyway, I tried my best and we got third place so I am quite happy.”

Moto3

Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: 2nd
“I tried everything I could and we had a very strong race, but in the end we couldn’t quite get the win. The last lap was amazing, but I don’t think that Cortese was polite, he gave me no room. But I won’t worry about that, all I’m thinking about now is the next race and how we can make the bike better and take another win.
Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda): 5th
“I enjoyed my race with Antonelli – we were very close for a lot of laps and it was fun. But the main thing is that we got some points – and some good points – after taking nothing from the first races. This shows that the team and I are moving forward in a good way. I think we can look forward to the rest of the season thinking that we can be strong at the next races.”
Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda): 6th
“Of course I am happy with today’s result. This was my third race in the World Championship and I have taken my second points and also made my best result. It was a tough race, fighting with Vazquez who has much more experience of this track than I do. In the end I couldn’t quite beat him, but we learned a lot this weekend and I can’t wait for the next race at Le Mans.”
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team) & Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team) & Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix
Round 03: Portugal

MotoGP
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3 Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
5 Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6 Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
7 Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team)
8 Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing)
9 Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda Motogp)
10 Hector Barbera (Pramac Racing Team)
11 Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team)
12 Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics Aspar)
13 Randy DE Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar)
14 Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
15 Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project)
Moto2
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc Marquez (Team Catalunyacaixa Repsol)
2 Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)
3 Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock)
4 Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2)
5 Andrea Iannone (Speed Master)
6 Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
7 Toni Elias (Mapfre Aspar Team)
8 Julian Simon (Blusens Avintia)
9 Mika Kallio (Marc Vds Racing Team)
10 Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing)
11 Scott Redding (Marc Vds Racing Team)
12 Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP)
13 Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 Racing)
14 Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team)
15 Ricard Cardus (Arguinano Racing Team)
Moto3
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sandro Cortese (Red Bull Ktm Ajo)
2 Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia)
3 Luis Salom (Rw Racing GP)
4 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Airasia-Sic-Ajo)
5 Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse)
6 Niccolo` Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)
7 Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
8 Danny Kent (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
9 Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology)
10 Jakub Kornfeil (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)
11 Brad Binder (Rw Racing GP)
12 Hector Faubel (Bankia Aspar Team)
13 Arthur Sissis (Red Bull Ktm Ajo)
14 Alberto Moncayo (Bankia Aspar Team)
15 Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0)

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