MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a solid third-place finish in treacherous wet conditions at Le Mans today. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished one place behind the Australian.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) rode to a heroic fifth-place finish, despite suffering the effects of a nasty tumble during yesterday’s qualifying session.
Stoner – who announced last Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the end of this year – looked like he might challenge race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) for the lead during the mid-stages of the race. After reducing the gap on his title rival he found he was unable to maintain his attacking pace once the track began to dry and his rear tyre overheated. During the final laps he came under pressure from Valentino Rossi (Ducati) who was able to sneak past into second place on the final lap.
After four rounds Stoner and Lorenzo have won two races each, but today’s result moves the Spaniard back into the title lead he had held following his success in last month’s season-opening Qatar GP. Eight points now separate the pair with 14 rounds still to go.
During the early laps Pedrosa suffered from a lack of temperature in the rear tyre – an issue that also hampered Stoner – and the Spaniard decided that this was one of those races in which it would be foolish to take too many risks. His decision paid dividends when Yamaha riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso slid off in front of him, promoting him to fourth.
Moto2 World Champion Bradl had another impressive ride, scoring his best MotoGP result despite yesterday’s tumble. The German made a stunning start from 13th on the grid and spent much of the race chasing Pedrosa, then resisted pressure from Nicky Hayden (Ducati) during the later laps.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) was not able to get comfortable in the conditions and opted to settle for a finish rather than risk a crash. He brought his RCV home in tenth place.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had an altogether tougher time on his Fireblade-powered CRT machine. He struggled with electronics issues and could only manage 14th place, a lap down on the winner.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) dominated the soaking Moto2 race, beating Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing – Kalex) by more than six seconds. The final podium place went to Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex).
There were plenty of tumbles in the 26-lap event, but Luthi rode a perfect race, running with the lead pack during the early stages as he waited for his rear tyre to warm up. He then moved into the lead at one-third distance, from where he built a comfortable three-second advantage. He looked safe in first position until he came under pressure from local Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi). The Frenchman was hoping to repeat the feat of compatriot Louis Rossi, who had won the earlier Moto3 race, but he overdid it with four laps to go, crashing out at the Chemin aux Boeufs chicane.
That took the pressure off Luthi who was delighted with his second Moto2 win, following on from his debut success in the class at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix. Corti also rode well, coming through from ninth on the grid to score his first Grand Prix podium result. Redding’s determined ride to third place gave him his first podium since the 2010 Australian Grand Prix.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) crossed the line in fourth place, the Italian dropping back after threatening Redding in the latter stages. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) won a frantic battle for fifth, just beating lap-one leader Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) whose sixth-place finish moved him into the lead of the Honda-powered World Championship, just one point ahead of Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) who was one of today’s fallers. Marquez slid off at the same corner that claimed Zarco while running fourth, just before half distance. Former GP winner Anthony West (QMMF Racing – Moriwaki) had his first points score of the year in seventh position.
Luthi’s dominant victory moves him to within two points of Marquez, who had won two of the first three races.
In the new Moto3 class local Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) won a fairytale victory. The 22-year-old from Le Mans survived the treacherous wet conditions to win by a remarkable 27 seconds after many of his rivals had fallen by the wayside. Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) made it two Honda-powered machines on the podium, the 16-year-old Spaniard finishing in third place, behind Alberto Moncayo (KTM).
Rossi had a charging race from 15th on the grid, the Frenchman keeping his head while many of his rivals lost theirs and fell in front of him. Among the earlier leaders who crashed were Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda), who slid out of first place on laps 16 and 17. Those two tumbles promoted Rossi to first place with eight laps to go.
Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) made it three Hondas in the top four, the 16-year-old Italian rookie fighting Rins for third place until he had a huge moment on the last lap that had him off the track and fighting for control. Antonelli regained the tarmac to score his best Grand Prix finish. Rins’ results was especially impressive since he fractured the little finger in his right hand when he crashed yesterday.
The MotoGP circus now returns southward for the Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya on June 1/2/3.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|3||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|8||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|9||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|11||James ELLISON (Paul Bird Motorsport)|
|12||Mattia PASINI (Speed Master)|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (Team San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|2||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|3||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|4||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|5||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|6||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|7||Anthony WEST (QMMF RAcing Team)|
|8||Max NEUKIRCHNER (Kiefer Racing)|
|9||Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2)|
|10||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|11||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|12||Toni ELIAS (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|13||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|14||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|15||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|1||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|2||Alberto MONCAYO (Bankia Aspar Team)|
|3||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|4||Niccolo` ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|5||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|7||Jasper IWEMA (Moto FGR)|
|8||Alan TECHER (Technomag-CIP-TSR)|
|9||Ivan MORENO (Andalucia JHK Laglisse)|
|10||Giulian PEDONE (Ambrogio Next Racing)|
|11||Jonas FOLGER (IodaRacing Project)|
|12||Marcel SCHROTTER (Mahindra Racing)|
|13||Kevin HANUS (Thomas Sabo GP Team)|
|14||Alessandro TONUCCI(Team Italia FMI)|
|15||Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)|