Stoner Dominates At Catalunya MotoGP, Closes In On Points Lead

Honda Racing Press Release

Australian ace Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) rocketed to a dominant victory at Catalunya. His third win of the year and his second consecutive success moves him to within seven points of series leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who finished in second place.

motogp, moto gp racing, motorcycle gp, catalunya motogp, 2011 catalunya motogp, motogp 2011 catalunya, 2011 honda motogp, honda, honda motogp, honda racing, repsol hondaLorenzo’s team-mate Ben Spies completed the podium just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V). Pole position man Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) came home in sixth spot.

Stoner was the clear favorite after setting a lightning-fast race pace throughout the two days of practice. Even though he missed out on pole position – because he didn’t have the set-up to fully exploit the extra grip of the softer tyres – the 2007 World Champion was confident he could be more than competitive today.

Second behind Lorenzo at the end of the first lap, Stoner took the lead at the start of lap two and stayed in front for the rest of the 25-lap race. He steadily built an advantage until the midway point when he sensibly eased his pace as light rainfall affected the final section of the Catalunya track. Lorenzo – who was able to gauge his pace in the treacherous conditions according to Stoner – closed the gap from more than two seconds to 1.8 seconds, but as soon as the rain stopped Stoner re-established his advantage. At one point he was almost four seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Finally he crossed the finish line 2.4s ahead.

Dovizioso had a highly competitive, but slightly frustrating race. He was in fourth place almost from start to finish, chasing Spies throughout, but never quite getting close enough to mount an assault on the American. Dovizioso had Valentino Rossi (Ducati) briefly get ahead of him in the early stages and spent the remainder of the race sandwiched between Spies and Rossi, playing the tricky game of simultaneously attacking and defending. The result moves the Italian into third place overall ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) who missed this race after breaking his right collarbone at Le Mans three weeks ago.

Yesterday Simoncelli scored the first pole position of his MotoGP career and much was expected of the lanky Italian in today’s race. But he got swamped by his rivals in the rush to the first corner and ended the first lap down in seventh. Simoncelli was able to overcome Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and get close to Rossi, but in the end he had to settle for a sixth-place finish.

Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) had another difficult outing, crossing the line all alone in 13th position. The reigning Moto2 World Champion raced a modified chassis for the first time, but struggled with both front and rear grip and will try bigger changes for next weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) crashed out on lap four, taking Randy de Puniet (Ducati) with him. Neither rider was injured in the accident.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex) increased his points advantage in the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship with his third victory from five races. It was another perfectly composed showing from the 21-year-old German who led all but one lap of the 23-lap race. Behind Bradl, the action was typically fraught with several riders tumbling out of the group battling for the lower rostrum positions.

Those incidents split the leading pack, leaving Bradl more than four seconds ahead of Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) at the finish, with Aleix Espargaro (Pons HP40-Pons Kalex) achieving his first Grand Prix podium a further four seconds in arrears.

Bradl led from pole position, but soon came under attack from Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2-Suter) who squeezed into the lead on lap two. The following lap Bradl was back in front again and although he was only metres ahead of the pursuing pack for much of the race, he never put a wheel wrong.

Things were very different behind the leader. Simon and Espargaro led the charge, disputing second place just ahead of Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP-Suter). Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP-Suter) was the big improver of the race, coming through from 17th on the grid to take third from Espargaro on lap 15. The following lap he was poised to pounce on Simon, but instead he clipped Simon’s rear end at turn 11 and both men went down heavily. Sofuoglu ran over the Spaniard who was later diagnosed with a broken tibia and fibula. Aegerter had fallen without injury a few corners earlier.

Those two incidents promoted Marquez to second and put Espargaro back in third. Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project-FTR) finished alone in fourth place, while four riders fought over fifth. That particular battle was won by Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing-Kalex), the young Swiss just ahead of Alex De Angelis (JIR Moto2-Motobi), Esteve Rabat (Blusens STX-FTR) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter).

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2-Suter) and Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki) escaped serious injury when they both fell at high speed on lap six, after Luthi lost control, taking Takahashi with him.

After today’s Catalan GP the paddock is already packing up in preparation for the northward trip over the English Channel for the coming weekend’s British GP at Silverstone.


Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: winner
“We got a reasonably good start, but not as good as Jorge. I wanted to try to pass him early on, but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point I just tried to put in the consistent laps as we did in the practice sessions to see if he could stay with me. Fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure. I was really happy, the bike was feeling fantastic and then it started to rain. There was enough rain there to make you think that it will affect the bike, and in the last corner there was enough rain to make the track slippery. As I was always the first to arrive to the wet area of the track, I watched what the others were doing [from the information displayed on his pit board] and if they had started to catch me then I would push and if I start to pull an advantage then I would back off a little. I’m just happy I kept the bike upright at this stage and I want to thank all my team at Repsol Honda for all the hard work this weekend. We now head to Silverstone next week where we’ll also be looking to fight for victory. I just hope Dani can make a return there also and I wish him a fast recovery.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 4th
“After the warm-up session in the wet, the conditions during the race were tricky, especially when it started to rain with 12 laps to go. I didn’t have a perfect start and this complicated the race. In the first laps with a full tank, I didn’t have good stability in the front. With the hard tyres the traction was not so good compared to Lorenzo, Spies and Rossi who were riding with soft tyres. Even if we improved compared to Le Mans in terms of lap times, I’m not happy finishing fourth, five seconds behind the winner. Today we were fast and I think that with a good start we could have at least fought for the podium. I’m sorry for my team as they worked hard during the whole weekend. Now I look forward to next weekend’s race in Silverstone, a circuit that I like and where I hope to get a good result.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th
“I don’t know if I held the clutch too long at the start, but it slipped and a lot of riders passed me, costing me a lot of time. After that I was unable to get back into the rhythm I had during practice and I was struggling, even though the pace in general was slower. I had a gap of over a second to the guys in front of me and I got it back down to three tenths to Valentino, but after a few laps I was taking too many chances in certain areas where it was a little damp and decided to pull my oars in and bring the bike home. Overall the weekend has been positive because after the pole yesterday sixth place doesn’t feel great but I have to think back to how I felt arriving here in Barcelona and be satisfied. I achieved the first of my three objectives from yesterday, which was to finish, so we will try for the other two in the next race.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 13th
“It was one of the worst races of my career because we could not even match yesterday’s lap times. We probably took the wrong direction as we have lost front grip and rear grip was really poor for the whole race. At the end we scored some points, but I feel bad for me, for the team and for my fans. There’s something wrong and we need a radical change because we all deserve a better result. We are working hard since the winter test and we will continue this way.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: DNF
“It hasn’t been a good weekend for us and today I made a mistake. I crashed and took de Puniet with me, but it was completely my fault. I don’t know what to say other than I want to get to Silverstone and forget about this Grand Prix.”

Moto2 rider quotes

Stefan Bradl, Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex: winner
“We made a very bad start to the weekend. We were struggling especially in all the long corner here, where we had problems with edge grip, so I was sliding too much. On Saturday morning I was very upset because it seemed like we couldn’t find the right way. But then we improved the situation step by step and in qualifying it was great feeling because I enjoyed riding the bike once again. The race wasn’t easy. Simon was pushing very hard and the lap times weren’t coming so easily. I concentrated on myself. It was a great feeling to lead the whole race and make a gap on the others. It was a difficult weekend but now we are happy.”

Marc Marquez, Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter: 2nd
“We didn’t start the weekend very well. I made a mistake and crashed on my third lap of first practice, which meant we lost 45 minutes of set-up time, so I have to say sorry to my team. We made the bike better step by step and we had some more settings to try in morning warm-up, but the rain stopped that. I knew I was not the fastest guy out there so I concentrated on getting a good start and tried to pass a few people in the first laps. Second position is like a victory for us this weekend and I want to say thank you to my team.”

Aleix Espargaro, Pons HP40-Pons Kalex: 3rd
“This is my fifth year in the World Championships and my first podium, so I am really, really happy to be here, especially at my home race. It is like a dream. The race was really difficult. I couldn’t find the same grip as I found yesterday, which made things difficult. When I saw Marquez and Sofuoglu arriving, I knew it would be a tough race, but then there were a few crashes and everything changed. I hope this is just the beginning for me – now we need to keep working.”

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