MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) maintained his World Championship challenge with a strong ride to second place behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in this afternoon’s Italian Grand Prix.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) enjoyed a remarkable ride to fourth place, missing out on his first premier-class podium by just 0.046 seconds.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) had a challenging end to a difficult weekend, completing the race in eighth place after running off the track during the middle stages of the race
Pedrosa tried everything he knew to deal with Lorenzo. However, his fellow Spaniard was too strong today and he had to be satisfied with second place, which continues his unbroken run of a podium finish at all nine races so far. With nine races done and nine to go, Pedrosa sits second overall, 19 points behind Lorenzo.
After scoring a brilliant pole position yesterday, Pedrosa led into the first corner, but ran wide and Lorenzo slipped through on the inside. During the early stages Pedrosa kept up the pressure and even closed the gap with a new lap record just before half-distance. After that the former 125 and 250 World Champion had some issues with wheelspin and rear chatter, so he was unable to give chase to Lorenzo, who gradually built an insurmountable advantage.
Bradl’s ride was simply astonishing. This was the reigning Moto2 World Championship’s ninth race on a big bike, but he held third for much of the 23 laps, keeping the vastly experienced Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) behind him, lap after lap. Dovizioso did eventually find a way past, but even then Bradl did not give up, fighting back and then shrugging off a last-lap attack from Nicky Hayden (Ducati) to cross the line just behind his Italian rival. It was his best MotoGP result so far, bettering fifth-place finishes in France and in last Sunday’s German GP.
Stoner had an unhappier time. He struggled throughout practice to get heat into his rear tyre, qualifying fifth quickest. After a steady start to the race he started chasing down the leading group, only to run off the track at the Correntaio right-hander just before half-distance. He was unable to make the corner after experiencing some headshake exiting the previous corner, which knocked the brakes pads away from his RCV’s front disc brakes, so he had no brakes when he first squeezed the lever. A long ride through the gravel trap relegated him to tenth place, from which he recovered two positions.
Stoner stays third in the championship, now 37 points behind Lorenzo. Interestingly, he has so far only used two of his allocation of six engines, while most other riders are already on their third or fourth engines. Tomorrow Pedrosa and Stoner will test a new RC213V, an early prototype of the 2013 machine, which they will be able to race this year if they like the improvements engineered into the bike by HRC.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) rode conservatively to a tenth place, giving the Spaniard a useful points haul after a torrid two days of practice during which he slid off on three occasions.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) was a non-finisher, going out with the same technical glitch that ended his Qatar and German GPs.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) stormed to a brilliant victory in the Moto2 race, bringing the home crowd to its feet as he stole the lead from Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) at the start of the final lap. The Italian took his second victory of the year – his first came at Catalunya – by just 0.90s.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) finished third, less than a second back and just 0.128s ahead of Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3). Championship leader Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) came home in fifth spot, his first finish off the podium this year, but the Spaniard still holds a comfortable lead in the thrilling Honda-powered series: 34 points ahead of Espargaro and Iannone, who are now tied on points.
It was a typically hard-fought Moto2 race, with some breathtaking passes and some fascinating slipstreaming battles on Mugello’s long main straight.
Marquez was the early leader, then Luthi went ahead and then Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex), the Japanese rider having his best in a while. But being in front meant little at this stage, with up to a dozen riders breathing down the leader’s neck.
Espargaro made it to the front for the first time on lap 14 of 21 after tangling with Luthi in the first esses. A lap later Marquez’s challenge went awry when he nearly lost it at the same spot. After that he decided to score points, rather than risk a crash.
Espargaro was in astonishing form over the next few laps, building a 1.3s lead in just two laps. But local hero Iannone had the Spaniard in his sights and remorselessly closed the gap. Espargaro was also suffering from the right ankle injury he sustained yesterday when he was taken out by another rider.
Iannone dived inside Espargaro at turn one on the final lap, while Luthi ran wide and lost crucial metres on the leaders, which nearly took him back into the clutches of Smith.
Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex) rode a brilliant race, crossing the line a fraction of a second behind Marquez after being down in tenth place at quarter distance. Nakagami ended up seventh, just 4.4s behind the race winner.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) won a brilliant Moto3 race – one of the best races so far from the already reliably entertaining new category. The first three riders over the finish line were covered by just seven hundredths of a second!
Spanish teenager Vinales beat Italian teenager Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) by a slender 0.02s, with Sandro Cortese (KTM) in third, a further 0.051s back. His fifth victory of the year moved Vinales to within nine points of Cortese, who had taken the championship lead at last Sunday’s German GP.
Six of the first eight bikes home were Honda-powered bikes, with Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) leading the second group in fourth place, just ahead of Danny Kent (KTM), then Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) in sixth and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in seventh. Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) led home the third group in eighth position.
The race for the lead was a classic Mugello slipstreaming battle, with seven riders in the front-running group, chopping and changing at every corner. Then at three-quarters distance Vinales upped his pace, dragging Fenati and Cortese with him.
Cortese grabbed the lead as the trio attacked turn one for the 20th and last time, only to be immediately muscled back to third by the two Honda riders. Fenati now led, but Vinales swept back in front at Arrabbiata One. Cortese dived back into second place at the final turn and then it was a drag race to the chequered flag, won by Vinales by millimetres.
The Moto2 and Moto3 races now begin their summer break, while MotoGP reconvenes in the United States for the US GP at Laguna Seca on July 29. The smaller classes are back in action alongside the premier category at Indianapolis on August 19.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|5||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|6||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|8||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|9||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|11||Ben SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|14||James ELLISON (Paul Bird Motorsport)|
|15||Mattia PASINI (Speed Master)|
|1||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|2||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|3||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|4||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|5||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|6||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|7||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|8||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|9||Claudio CORTI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|10||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|11||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|12||Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)|
|13||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|14||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|15||Ricard CARDUS (Arguinano Racing Team)|
|1||Maverick VINALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|2||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|3||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Niccolo` ANTONELLI (San Carlo Gresini Moto3)|
|5||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK Laglisse)|
|7||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|8||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|9||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (AirAsia-Sic-Ajo)|
|10||Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|11||Niklas AJO (TT Motion Events Racing)|
|12||Alexis MASBOU (Caretta Technology)|
|13||Adrian MARTIN (JHK Laglisse)|
|14||Kevin CALIA (Elle 2 Ciatti)|
|15||Michael Ruben RINALDI (Racing Team Gabrielli)|