MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored a magnificent and crucial victory at Brno this afternoon, defeating World Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in a breathtaking last-lap duel.
Pedrosa’s second win in eight days confirms that he is on the charge and reduces Lorenzo’s series advantage to 13 points with six races remaining.
With Pedrosa’s team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) absent due to an injury sustained at last weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix, the two Spaniards were in a class of their own today, quickly pulling clear of the pack and settling into a tense duel. Throughout the 22 laps they were never separated by more than half a second, the pair usually just a few metres apart around the majestic Czech circuit.
Lorenzo led into the first corner from pole position, with Pedrosa right behind him. From there on the pair traded fastest laps, Pedrosa taking the lead for the first time at turn three on lap 12. He stayed there until the last lap when Lorenzo managed to get pass on the inside at turn seven. Half a lap later, as they sped up the hill towards the final esses, Pedrosa was able to use his Honda’s superior power to retake the lead. Lorenzo then tried to go round the outside into the esses, but that pushed him wide and Pedrosa was ahead once more. He crossed the line 0.178s in front, triggering jubilant celebrations in the Repsol Honda camp.
Pedrosa’s third victory of the year (following wins at the Sachsenring and Indianapolis) is also his 11th podium finish from the first 12 races. So far the only race he has finished outside the top three was the rain-lashed French GP, which he finished in fourth position.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) had a great ride to fifth place, the reigning Moto2 World Champion enjoying a mid-race skirmish with Valentino Rossi (Ducati). Earlier in the race he had lost some time when Rossi’s machine started smoking, throwing oil onto his visor. Once back in the groove the German was fast and consistent, moving past several riders to record another strong result in what is turning out to be a very impressive rookie MotoGP season.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) ran with Bradl and Rossi, also getting the better of the Ducati rider, but the Spaniard was unable to run Bradl’s pace and he finished the race four seconds behind his fellow RCV rider in sixth place. Bautista believes that today’s cooler conditions caused him some issues with front-end chatter and rear-end grip.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had another challenging weekend, but his crew worked hard to solve their problems and the Italian was able to score some points in 14th place, a morale booster following several DNFs at recent events.
Stoner is currently in Australia awaiting surgery on his right ankle, which sustained complex ligament, cartilage and bone damage when he crashed heavily during Indy GP qualifying nine days ago. He heroically rode to fourth place in the race but on arrival at Brno he was told by his Australian surgeon that he risked doing permanent damage if he continued riding. Thus Stoner flew to Australia the same day and will undergo an operation within the next few days, once the swelling has subsided.
In the Moto2 class Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) won a tense four-way tussle with Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter), Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) to take his sixth victory of 2012 in the always thrilling Honda-powered series. Marquez’s winning margin over Luthi was just 0.061s, while the four riders were covered by just half a second. With six races to go, Marquez heads Espargaro by 48 points.
The ever-impressive Marquez played his hand perfectly, spending nearly all the race in second place, while Luthi did all the leading. Right behind them Espargaro and Iannone swapped places frequently. Both of them briefly made it into second place but didn’t quite have the pace to stay there.
Marquez made his winning move at turn three with three laps to go, sweeping past Luthi, backing into the corner and yet keeping his Suter perfectly on line. Luthi was able to stay with the 19-year-old and tried everything he knew to retake the lead but couldn’t quite make it.
The duel between Espargaro and Iannone was just as intense, and complicated somewhat when Espargaro made a pass under yellow flags. He was ordered to drop back to fourth to escape punishment and although he tried everything to get back on terms with the leading duo – including setting the fastest lap – he could not get close enough to attack. Espargaro finished less than three tenths behind Luthi, with last year’s Brno winner Iannone less than a tenth further back in fourth.
Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) led the rest of the pack, finishing just ahead of Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR) who rode a brave race after taking a big tumble yesterday. Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi) was top rookie in seventh, just in front of Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex). Just 1.2 seconds separated Kallio in ninth from Corsi in fifth.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) had a tough ride to fourth place in today’s opening race, the 11th round of the 17-event Moto3 series. The 19-lap race got underway on a partially damp track, so there were plenty of position changes in the early stages as some riders were braver than others in the treacherous conditions.
All but two riders chose slick tyres despite damp patches all round the track, but title rivals Vinales and Sandro Cortese (KTM) made steady starts, fully aware of what they would be throwing away if they crashed out.
The man who made the best of the drying circuit was Jonas Folger, who took the lead on lap four from Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda), one of the two riders who had started on rain tyres. Vazquez finished the race in 25th position. At the end Folger crossed the line almost six seconds ahead of fellow KTM rider Luis Salom. It was rookie Folger’s first Grand Prix victory, just two races after he had switched teams.
Cortese lost out to Salom at the final esses, but won his duel with Vinales to finish third and further extend his championship lead over Vinales to 32 points. Vinales did everything he knew how, but he lacked top-end performance at a track where horsepower has always counted.
The next two Honda riders were both rookies and both of them finished fractions of a second behind Vinales: Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in fifth and local star Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) in sixth. Kornfeil’s result was his best so far, but also a bit of a disappointment because he had held second place for much of the race, before being overcome by Cortese, Vinales and others.
Spanish GP winner Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) finished eighth, just ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda).
MotoGP riders will stay on at Brno for a day of testing tomorrow. The paddock reconvenes at Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix on September 16.
|1||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|7||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|8||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|9||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|10||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|11||Toni ELIAS (Pramac Racing Team)|
|12||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Avintia Blusens)|
|13||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||James ELLISON (Paul Bird Motorsport)|
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten-Paddock)|
|3||Pol ESPARGARO (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|4||Andrea IANNONE (Speed Master)|
|5||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|6||Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|7||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|8||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racing)|
|9||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|10||Esteve RABAT (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|11||Julian SIMON (Blusens Avintia)|
|12||Nicolas TEROL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|13||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|14||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|15||Axel PONS (Pons 40 HP Tuenti)|
|1||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|2||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|
|3||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Maverick VINALES (Blusens Avintia)|
|5||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|7||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|8||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|9||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|10||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|11||Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|12||Alberto MONCAYO (Andalucia JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|13||Adrian MARTIN (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|14||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||John McPHEE (Racing Steps Foundation KRP)|