MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
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.
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.
|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)|
|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)|
|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)|