MotoGP: Stoner cruises to Catalunya GP win
Casey Stoner took his 26th victory in the premier class at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, with last year’s race winner Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) finishing in second followed by teammate American Ben Spies in third.
Despite missing out on pole position, Repsol Honda rider Stoner took the lead in the second corner and faced no challengers for the entire 25-lap race. Reigning MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo finished just under two-and-a-half seconds behind him across the finish line, cutting the Mallorcan’s championship lead over the Australian to just seven points.
Lorenzo got a great start and was first into turn one, but he could not hold off Stoner, who passed the reigning World Champion in the second corner and held the lead. Ben Spies started from fourth and quickly moved in to third position, where he remained until he crossed the finish line for his first podium finish for Yamaha Factory Racing this year.
With 12 laps to go, drops of rain hit the track under threatening skies and the white flag was produced, allowing riders the option to change bikes for the anticipated downpour, though the rain drops stopped shortly after and none of the riders left the track.
Stoner’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso passed Ducati Team Valentino Rossi early in the race to pursue Spies, but remained in fourth position until the finish, where he crossed just under a second behind the American. Valentino Rossi crossed the line in fifth place. The seven time premier class Champion last won at the Montmeló circuit in 2009, when he beat his then team mate Lorenzo with a memorable pass on the Spaniard at the very last corner.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) started from his first pole in his MotoGP class career, but was unable to sustain the previous day’s momentum and finished in sixth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had a good race after a solid weekend. The British rookie passed Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) on the brakes going into the first corner on lap 10, and eventually finished the race in seventh, in front of the Kentucky Kid. The veteran Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) crossed the line in ninth, in front of Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing), who completed the top ten finishers.
Hiroshi Aoyama of the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team and Frenchman Randy de Puniet of Pramac Racing both crashed out of the race in the same corner early on. Both walked away from the tangle unharmed.
Both Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) were absent due to injuries that prevented them from lining up on the grid for the race. Edwards wanted to make the start so as not to put an end to his 141 consecutive premier class start run, but was denied after a medical exam declared him unfit to race.
Pole position starter and championship leader Stefan Bradl took a dominating third win of the season in the Moto2 race, giving him a 43-point lead in the standings. The young Marc Márquez steadily made his way through the field at his home track to finish second, and Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) who started from the front row for only the second time in his career, produced his first podium finish of his GP career with a third place. Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) finished in fourth.
A sunny start saw the German Bradl leading the field, pursued by Aleix Espargaró of the Pons HP 40 team off the start. Fellow Spaniard Julián Simón overtook Espargaró with 11 laps to go, but a determined Espargaró was in top form in front of his home crowd, and put up a fight and took back the position.
Dominique Aegerter of Technomag-CIP lowsided with eight laps to go, and team mate Kenan Sofuoglu was involved in a spectacular crash that took out Julián Simón three quarters into the race. Sofuoglu appeared to have made contact with the rear wheel of Simón, sending the Spanish rider into a highside and taking him out of the race. Simón sustained a fractured right tibia and fibula in the crash. Following the incident it was confirmed that a hearing organised by Race Direction will be held this Thursday (June 9th).
Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) crashed out along with last year’s Catalunya race winner Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) with 18 laps to go. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) managed to avoid being collected in the crash, but later ran off in the last lap to finish the race in 19th.
The battle for fifth was close, with Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) finally nabbing the spot, just in front of Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) in sixth and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) in seventh. Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) followed in eighth, in front of Yonny Hernández (Blusens-STX). German rider Max Neukirchner (MZ Racing) completed the top ten.
The close racing produced several more non-finishers, including Axel Pons (Pons HP 40), American rider Kenny Noyes (Avintia-STX), Javier Forés (Mapfre Aspar), Mike di Meglio (Tech 3) and Robertino Pietri (Italtrans Racing). Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG) did not start after crashing in the morning warm up session.
Catalunya MotoGP result:
1 C Stoner (Aus) Honda 43mins 19.779secs
2 J Lorenzo (Spn) Yamaha 43:22.182
3 B Spies (US) Yamaha 43:24.070
4 A Dovizioso (Ita) Honda 43:25.034
5 V Rossi (Ita) Ducati 43:27.150
6 M Simoncelli (Ita) Honda 43:31.610
7 C Crutchlow (GB) Yamaha 43:46.262
8 N Hayden (US) Ducati 43:53.022
9 L Capirossi (Ita) Ducati 44:02.871
10 K Abraham (Cz) Ducati 44:02.892
11 H Barbera (Spn) Ducati 44:04.003
12 A Bautista (Spn) Suzuki 44:05.018
13 T Elias (Spn) Honda 44:18.047
1 J Lorenzo (Sp) Yamaha 98
2 C Stoner (Aus) Honda 91
3 A Dovizioso (It) Honda 63
4 D Pedrosa (Sp) Honda 61
5 V Rossi (It) Ducati 58
6 N Hayden (US) Ducati 47
7 B Spies (US) Yamaha 36
8 H Aoyama (Jpn) Honda 36
9 M Simoncelli (It) Honda 32
10 C Crutchlow (GB) Yamaha 30
11 H Barbera (Sp) Ducati 26
12 K Abraham (Cze) Ducati 24
13 C Edwards (US) Yamaha 21
14 T Elias (Sp) Honda 20
15 L Capirossi (It) Ducati 16
16 A Bautista (Sp) Suzuki 11
17 R de Puniet (Fr) Ducati 6
18 J Hopkins (US) Suzuki 6
1 S Bradl (Ger) Kalex 41 minutes, 38.888 seconds
2 M Marquez (Spn) Suter @ 4.141 seconds
3 A Espargaro (Spn) Kalex @ 8.409
1 S Bradl (Ger) Kalex 102 points
2 S Corsi (Ita) FTR 59
3 A Iannone (Ita) Suter 49
1 N Terol (Spn) Aprilia 42 minutes 29.647 seconds
2 M Vinales (Spn) Aprilia @10.356 seconds
3 J Folger (Ger) Aprilia @15.260
1 N Terol (Spn) Aprilia 120 points
2 S Cortese (Ger) Aprilia 72
3 J Folger (Ger) Aprilia, 68