Stoner Wins and Takes Points Lead in a wet 2011 Silverstone MotoGP

Honda MotoGP News Release
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) made light of atrocious conditions in the British Grand Prix to achieve his third consecutive victory and take the World Championship lead.

Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner Wins SilverstoneTeam-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode a well-judged race to make it a one-two for the Repsol Honda team. Last man on the podium was Colin Edwards (Yamaha).

Stoner gave the crowd a masterful display of inch-perfect wet-weather riding, taking the lead on lap two and never relinquishing it. Despite persistent heavy rain, blustery wind and rivers of water running across the track, Stoner never put a wheel wrong.

In addition to several aquaplaning scares during the race, he struggled during the early laps to see where he was going because water had got inside his visor while he was behind Dovizioso on lap one. His other issue was keeping the tyres warm – whenever he eased his pace the tyres cooled and lost some grip, so he had to stay on the limit throughout.

By half distance Stoner was 5.7s ahead of his team-mate. With three laps to go he started lapping other riders – a very rare event in MotoGP – and by the time the chequered flag came out he was 15s in front of Dovizioso.

This was the Australian’s fourth win from the first six races of 2011 and the success moved him into the World Championship lead, 18 points ahead of reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) who crashed out of third place just before halfway.

Dovizioso started brilliantly to lead the first lap, then after Stoner came past he had his hands full as he battled with Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V), who had both qualified on the front row alongside pole-sitter Stoner. Dovizioso then found himself all alone after Lorenzo fell and then Simoncelli, the Italian tumbling as he braked for the first turn at the start of lap 11. Simoncelli was a victim of the deep standing water at various parts of the track which caused many a scare during the 20 laps. From that point on Dovizioso was able to control his position to take his second podium result of 2011.

This was Stoner and Dovizioso’s second one-two of 2011, following their identical performance at last month’s French GP.

The rain was good news for Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) who has struggled in the dry so far this year but was able to score his best result of in eighth place, just four tenths of a second ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V).

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex) won his fourth Moto2 race of the year, giving a superb display, similar to Stoner’s. The young German led from the start and won the race by 7.6s to extend his lead in the Honda-powered series to a remarkable 62 points.

Bradl had two riders come past him during the first seven laps, but Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Suter), who took the lead on lap one, couldn’t maintain his pace, and Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project-FTR), who passed Bradl on lap six, only lasted another lap before he fell.

Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing-Tech 3) gave the sodden crowd something to cheer about as he came through from 28th on the grid to finish second, the rookie’s first Moto2 podium result. A brilliant first two laps moved Smith into 12th and he kept moving forward from there. While many slower riders fell by the wayside, the former 125 winner found grip where others found none. Vision was a problem as he came through the pack in the early laps, but once he had worked his way closer to the front he felt more and more comfortable.

Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki) won the contest for the final podium position, crossing the line almost five seconds down on Smith and five ahead of last year’s Silverstone winner Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing-Suter).

After Redding had led the first three laps the Briton began to slip back, defending each position as he went, ultimately crossing the finish line in fourth for his best result of the year so far. Esteve Rabat (Blusens STX-FTR) was fifth, his best finish in Moto2.

After scoring a win and second place at the last two races, Marc Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol-Suter) had a day to forget. The Spaniard grabbed his first Moto2 pole yesterday, but fell at the final turn in this morning’s wet warm-up session. His bike stayed on two wheels and arced across the track until it rammed into the pit wall at speed giving the reigning 125 World Champion’s pit crew a frantic two hours getting the bike fixed for the race start. In the race Marquez fell again.
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: race winner
“At the beginning of the race we didn’t have a great start and I needed to wait for the tyres to get up to temperature. In the first few laps when I was behind the other riders I got a lot of spray up inside the visor and it was hard for me to see, or for me to push. At this time I was being careful, trying to cover my lines to stop them coming inside, then after five laps my visibility got clearer and the water drained away from my visor and I was able to start doing the lap times we were looking for and started to open a gap. I was just happy to stay up on the bike, it was incredibly cold and I was so nervous, because in these conditions it’s so easy to crash! We had a great race today in very tough conditions where anything could have happened, but to come away with a win is fantastic.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“I’m really happy with today’s podium. It’s a second place that feels like gold. The track conditions were very tricky, with much more water than in warm-up this morning. We made a modification on the set-up to have more rear grip and then we did a very good strategy. It helped us doing two sighting laps before the race to bring the tyres up to temperature quicker. I had a very good start and then I was focused to manage the second position with Casey. I was braking very hard to close the door to Lorenzo and Simoncelli. I had a good rhythm, not too far from Casey’s pace, but he is very strong with these conditions so I preferred to manage my race the best I could. I want to thank my team for the hard work and the support. We need to improve the performance also in qualifying, but at the important moment, in the race, we are there. We never give up. With today’s second place we have consolidated third position in the championship and reduced the gap to Lorenzo. The season is still long so I’m confident.”

Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th
“I am quite happy as I was hoping for a wet race to finish in the top ten. I could not have finished in the same position in the dry as we are still struggling with bike set-up. Anyway this is a positive weekend for me and the team because we have scored further points. I knew I could fight for a better position battling with Rossi and Abraham, but after some laps I had problems with my helmet: the visibility was not clear and a couple of times I had to open the visor. I think I took a brave start from 14th spot but I went wide in the first corner: luckily I was capable to rejoin the track proceeding with my race.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 9th
“It was difficult to get a feeling for the bike in the wet conditions in morning warm-up, but as the laps went by in the race I felt more and more comfortable. The end result isn’t particularly satisfying, but we got good experience on a wet track that will help us find a good set-up in the future. Hopefully we can do better next time out.”

Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: DNF
“I am completely distraught because it seems every week we line up ready for a top race and something happens to deny me. I had already had a moment in that corner so I tried to be more careful, but the front closed and I found myself on the floor waving goodbye to the podium once again. I am gutted! I’ll go home with my head down now, but tomorrow I have to start looking forward to Assen with the hope that this bad run is over.”

Stefan Bradl, Viessmann Kiefer Racing-Kalex: race winner
“That was such a tough race in really difficult conditions. I always prefer a dry race, so to win today is really great for us. I focused on myself and my own race and didn’t care what the others were doing. The difficult part was to stay concentrated for the whole race. Things are going well for us, but we still have a long way to go and we will continue working in the same way.”

Bradley Smith, Tech 3 Racing-Tech 3: 2nd
“Starting from 28th I knew I had to make a good start. Going into Turn Three I went right around the outside of about five people and just kept making moves. In the pack the spray was really bad and I couldn’t see anything, so I just got my head down and went for it. I had a really good pace, but I had nothing for Stefan. I tried to keep a fast pace and put some pressure on him but he was cool and never really made a mistake that gave me a chance.”

Michele Pirro, Gresini Racing Moto2-Moriwaki: 3rd
“The situation at the start of the race was really difficult because the track was so wet and I didn’t have much confidence. I managed to stay calm and lap after lap my feeling improved and I made up ground. I am really happy because I had never been to this circuit before and this is a really important result for the team. Hopefully it is the first of many! Thanks to the team and the sponsors. I’m really happy!”

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