MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2012
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) capped off a dream weekend with his sixth win in a row at his cherished Phillip Island Circuit before a record crowd of his sun-splashed fellow countrymen.
All weekend long it was clear that the reigning world champion was the man to beat and in the end no one could. So certain were the race organisers of his supremacy that they passed out paper crowns to celebrate the king’s final coronation. He did not disappoint.
Though he also did not lead every lap. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa led the first of 27 laps in his quest to keep his championship hopes alive. But in the Honda hairpin on the second lap disaster struck. Pedrosa went into the corner with a bit too much pace and crashed, ending his title hopes. Then it was up to Stoner to fly the Honda flag and he did, proudly.
For the remaining 26 laps he put on a master clinic, easing away from Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner’s lead was never in doubt and when he crossed the line first for the sixth time at Phillip Island, and took his fourth win of the season, he had a cushion of 9.223s.
So dominant has Stoner been at Phillip Island that of the 162 race laps run over the past six years, Stoner has led 160 of them.
Lorenzo would go on to finish second to win the 2012 MotoGP World Championship with Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow third. Pedrosa is guaranteed second in the championship and Stoner third in his final season before retiring.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) battled Stefan Bradl to the very end, along with Yamaha rider Andrea Dovizioso. Theirs was the fight for fourth and it went down to the very end. The trio swapped positions on the final two laps, with Dovizioso taking the spot by .129s over Bautista, with Bradl only .035s behind in sixth.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR) struggled with fairing problems towards the end of the race and finished a lap down in 14th. Still, riding the Honda CBR1000RR-powered FTR he scored points for the sixth race in a row, his most productive stretch of his rookie season. Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol – Suter) celebrated the Moto2 World Championship by finishing a strong third.
Marquez needed only two points in the final two races to secure the title that he came close to winning last year. Rather than play it safe, Marquez attacked from the start.
But early on it was evident that no one was going to match the pace of Pol Espargaro.
Taking the lead on the third of 25 laps, Espargaro set a blistering pace that added a second to his lead on a number of laps. He continued to pull away and crossed the finish line with a gaping 16.811s margin of victory.
The win was his fourth of the year, but it could not prevent Marquez from adding the Moto2 crown to his early 125cc World Championship. Marquez returns to Spain with an insurmountable 39 point lead. And Espargaro is guaranteed second; his lead over Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up), third in the championship, is 72 points. Iannone was forced out of the race with a mechanical issue.
For the locals the day belonged to Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team-Speed Up). The veteran had gone seven years between podiums before finishing second last week in Malaysia. But that was in the rain, his specialty. Today he was narrowly second in the dry; second through fourth were covered by .147s. Marquez got a strong drive out of the final corner to pass Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex) for third and narrowly miss out on beating Westie.
Redding deserved a podium, but had to settle for a secure fourth. Nine seconds back Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) won the battle for fifth in a photo finish over Johnathan Zarco (JiR Moto2 – Motobi), with Simone Corsi (Came IodaRacing Project – FTR) a mere .063s behind.
Tito Rabat (Tuenti Movil HP 40 – Kalex) Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland - Kalex) and Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team –Kalex) finished within .208 secs. of each other to fill out the top ten.
Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0,0 – Suter Honda) chased recently crowned world champion Sandro Cortese almost to the stripe to record a career best second place finish in the Moto3 class.
Cortese and Oliveira cleared out on the seventh lap in the 23-lap race, after a number of riders, including the leaders, were docked ride-through penalties after jumping the start.
Oliveira took his time at the point for two laps late in the race, but Cortese saw that the pace was slowing and re-took the lead on lap 20 of 23, running out the string. Oliveira was strong to the finish to take second. His previous best had been third in Catalunya.
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 – Suter Honda) missed out on third by only .053s. The Phillip Island first-timer moved from sixth to fourth on the penultimate lap, holding off Danny Kent (KTM) at the line. Kent, in turn, just shaded Romano Fenati (Team Italia FMI- FTR Honda) by .002s. Fenati’s team-mate Alessandro Tonucci was seventh.
The season concludes back in Europe, at Valencia, on November 11.
|1||Casey STONER (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|5||Alvaro BAUTISTA (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|6||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|7||Valentino ROSSI (Ducati Team)|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|9||Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)|
|10||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|11||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|12||Hector BARBERA (Pramac Racing Team)|
|13||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|14||Michele PIRRO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)|
|15||Ivan SILVA (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti Movil HP 40)|
|2||Anthony WEST (QMMF Racing Team)|
|3||Marc MARQUEZ (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol)|
|4||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag-CIP)|
|6||Johann ZARCO (JIR Moto2)|
|7||Simone CORSI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|8||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti Movil HP 40)|
|9||Randy KRUMMENACHER (GP Team Switzerland)|
|10||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|11||Jordi TORRES (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2)|
|12||Bradley SMITH (Tech 3 Racin)|
|13||Toni ELIAS (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|14||Xavier SIMEON (Tech 3 Racing)|
|15||Mike DI MEGLIO (Kiefer Racing)|
|1||Sandro CORTESE (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|3||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|4||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Danny KENT (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Romano FENATI (Team Italia FMI)|
|7||Alessandro TONUCCI (Team Italia FMI)|
|8||Efren VAZQUEZ (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|9||Alex MARQUEZ (Ambrogio Next Racing)|
|10||Isaac VINALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|11||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|12||Adrian MARTIN (JHK t-shirt Laglisse)|
|13||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|14||Brad BINDER (RW Racing GP)|
|15||Luis SALOM (RW Racing GP)|