MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
A day after one of the worst crashes of his career, Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode brilliantly to outshine team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) in the Dutch TT on a sunny day in northern Holland, made sunnier by Stoner moving back into a tie for the MotoGP World Championship points lead.
Stoner had suffered what he referred to as one of his worst ever crashes when he hit a slick spot in Friday morning practice. The fall pitched him hard onto his chronically injured left scaphoid, left arm, and his head, and also his knee, which he said felt like it had a knife in it. But in the final minutes of the rain-interrupted qualifying session, Stoner uncorked the lap of the weekend to take the pole position.
When the race began, under warm, sunny skies, Pedrosa and pole-sitter Stoner cleared off, and by the first corner championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) was out of the race, the victim of an over-exuberant Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V). Bautista had charged into the first turn of the race with too much pace, lost the front end and collected Lorenzo as he slid to his left.
Race Direction cited Bautista for riding in an “irresponsible manner.” His penalty is that he will have to start at the back of the MotoGP grid at next weekend’s German GP at the Sachsenring. The San Carlo Honda Gresini team appealed the penalty, but the FIM Stewards confirmed the decision, which is final.
While much of the rest of the field had to check up, the Honda riders quickly pulled away to decide the race between themselves. Pedrosa was never able to lose the Australian with Stoner a constant threat on his tailpiece.
Stoner made his move for the lead in the sixth gear Hoge Heide slight kink on lap 17 of 26. Within three laps he had put the lead to over 1.5s and from there cruised home to victory.
The margin of victory was 4.965s.
The win was the world champion’s third of the year and the 36th of his career, putting him one behind the legendary “Mike the Bike” Hailwood for fourth all-time in the premier class.
It also moved him into a tie with Lorenzo atop the points standings with 140 after seven of 18 races, though Stoner said Lorenzo’s misfortune was not how he wanted to get back into the championship chase. Pedrosa is third with 121 points.
The Repsol Honda one-two finish also strengthened the lead of the Repsol Honda team in the Team’s championship with 261 points to 188 for Yamaha.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) failed to finish a race for the first time in his rookie MotoGP season. Bradl was in fifth on the second lap when he lost the front end in turn 10 and fell, unhurt. It was doubly heart-breaking since he had earned his best ever grid position on Friday and was looking for a career best MotoGP finish.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) finished a career best ninth and nearly eighth in the fight for supremacy among the CRT set. Pirro engaged with the more experienced Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet for most of the race. When Espargaro retired with a mechanical issue, Pirro moved up a spot with an eye on eighth. But de Puniet was able to break away with five laps to go. Still, Pirro was ecstatic to have finished so high up the order. Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) won his third race of the season with a last lap pass of Andrea Iannone (Speed Master, Speed Up) in the Moto2 race.
Iannone had taken the lead on the fourth of 24 laps and by then the tenor of the championship had changed dramatically. Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock, Suter) crashed on the first lap with Thai rider Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto 2, Suter). Wilairot was able to rejoin the race, only to crash again.
And a lap later Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti, Kalex) crashed out of the lead. That was the opening Marquez needed to maximise his championship position, but first he would have to get by Iannone.
Iannone stretched his lead to over a second on the eighth lap. Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Kalex) was second in front of the charging Marquez, with early leader Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CPI, Suter) now fourth.
By lap 14 Iannone had a cushion of 3.33 secs., but hehad damaged his tyres with his early pace. The lead dropped by nearly a second in the next two laps and on the 17th Marquez ran the fastest lap of the race.
With four laps to go Marquez was on Iannone and looking for a way past. The pair bumped fairings in the fast Ruskenhoek right kink on the 22nd lap as Marquez was into the lead, but only briefly; Iannone took it back in the next sweeping left.
The next lap was a replay, though without the contact. As it had the lap before, the lap ended with Iannone in front. But not for long.
Marquez went into the lead on the final lap with Iannone unable to match his pace; his tyres would not allow it. Iannone made his bid for glory in the Stekkenwal right, but overshot it and killed his drive. That gave Marquez a touch of breathing room which he expanded to .405s at the end. It was his third win in a row in Assen.
Redding finished third one race after finishing second in his home grand prix at Silverstone, coming out the best of a three-rider scrap with fourth place finisher Tito Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti, Kalex) and Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing, FTR). It was especially gratifying for Redding, the tall Briton who had had machine problems during the weekend, as well as a crash. Redding waited until Rabat gave him an opening, which he seized to score his second podium in as many weeks.
De Angelis finished fifth in his first ride since swapping his Suter chassis for an FTR. The change paid off with the San Marinese scoring his best finish of the season.
Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing, Tech 3) finished a close sixth, also his best finish of the year, while Aegerter dropped to seventh.
Marquez leaves Assen and heads to the Sachsenring with 127 points to 104 for Iannone, who leapfrogged Espargaro and Luthi for second. The two riders who crashed remain tied for third with 96 points.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) won the most thrilling Moto3 race of the season with a crafty move when another rider faltered entering the final chicane on the last lap. A photo finish for second determined Sandro Cortese (KTM) was narrowly ahead of Danny Kent (KTM) and Luis Salom (KTM).
The race began as a ten-rider rolling scrum that eventually winnowed itself down to the final five, then four. Despite starting sixth, his worst of the season, Vinales was in the mix from the start, leading most of the laps, though never secure as challenges were constantly made to his supremacy.
Vinales was in third on the final lap behind the team-mates, Kent and Cortese, and plotting his move. First came the bid for second in the Ruskenhoek fast kink right, where he nearly ran off the track, but he was soon by Kent and chasing Cortese. At this point positions meant very little, with the race certain to be determined in the final chicane.
As they approached the right-hander entering the chicane, the lead quartet was tightly packed with the race now a lottery. Vinales entered the corner in third, but when Salom missed a shift and ran wide left Vinales deftly threaded the needle between the Spaniard and Kent to take the lead and win handily, by .831s. Cortese was second with Kent earning his first podium in third by .001s over Luis Salom.
Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany, FTR-Honda) had been a contender until the final lap when he lost touch with the lead pack to finish a secure fifth. Next was Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0, Suter-Honda), also alone with Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology, Honda) leading home a pack of six riders in seventh.
By winning his fourth race of the year, and third in a row, Vinales opened up a seven point lead on Cortese, 130 to 123, after seven of 17 races.
|1||Casey STONER / AUS / Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|6||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|7||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|8||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|9||Michele PIRRO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|10||Mattia PASINI (Speed Master)|
|11||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|12||Ivan SILVA (Avintia Blusens)|
|13||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|14||James ELLISON (Paul Bird Motorsport)|
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|2||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|3||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|4||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|5||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|6||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|7||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|8||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|9||Toni ELIAS (Mapfre Aspar Team)|
|10||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|11||Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)|
|12||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|13||Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 Racing)|
|14||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|15||Mike DI MEGLIO (Master Speed Up)|
|1||Maverick VINALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|3||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|5||Louis ROSSI (Racing Team Germany)|
|6||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|7||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|8||Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)|
|9||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)|
|10||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|11||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|12||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|13||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|14||Toni FINSTERBUSCH (Cresto Guide MZ Racing)|
|15||Hector FAUBEL (Bankia Aspar Team)|