Casey Stoner ended his victory drought by snatching the win at Aragon ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden.
Casey Stoner ended his long victory drought in MotoGP in emphatic fashion at the Motorland Aragon track yesterday. The Australian was never threatened once he quickly disposed of Jorge Lorenzo on the opening lap as he won for the first time since the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang last October. Relief was etched all over Stoner’s face as he’d found it difficult throughout 2010 to get Ducati’s factory GP10 into a winning position. His confidence was badly knocked by a crash out of the lead in the first race in Qatar and when he tumbled out of contention for a podium in Le Mans, his title hopes had all but evaporated after just three rounds. But the 24-year-old stormed to his 21st premier class win with relative ease and he was surprised that he’d been able to lead every lap.
“When Jorge came past he was meaning business,” Stoner said. “I thought I got pretty good drive coming up that hill and I didn’t what to be too hard on the right hand side of the tire because a lot of people have gone down this weekend. He must have been really confident with that right hand side of the tire. I decided to get back ahead of him as quick as I could and just blocked my lines for a couple of laps until I saw I could pull a small advantage and then just sat at those lap times until I needed to go quicker.”
Stoner’s only likely threat came from in-form Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa. He cut Stoner’s lead to just over 0.8s on Lap 10 before grip issues blunted his challenge. Stoner though had obviously feared Pedrosa was going to emerge as major threat when he said: “When he started to close down two tenths a lap I tried to increase the pace a little bit but he still increased again, so I pushed again and equaled his pace and started to be consistent. He dropped back so after this I knew I could drop my times and increase the gap.”
Stoner was thrilled to have finally ended his winless run that was close to reaching a full year in just three weeks time.
“This win is a big relief to be honest,” Stoner said. “We had the first race in Qatar wrapped up until I made a mistake and there have been other opportunities to win this year that I have missed out on through my own errors. We have had a lot of problems trying to find the final two or three tenths to run with Dani and Jorge this season but we changed the bike completely this weekend to adjust my position on it and got it working almost how we want it to. This was a new track and understanding where the grip was helped me. There were a few points that were difficult and suited my style but in general I just finally got back those few tenths and got everything working well. The biggest improvement in the bike was a little bit of front feeling, but more grip on the rear. The bike was more stable and gave me a lot more grip.”
Valentino Rossi might miss the final two races of the MotoGP campaign in Estoril and Valencia to undergo surgery on his badly damaged right shoulder.Rossi hinted that he would opt for surgery after the forthcoming series of back-to-back flyaway races in Japan, Malaysia and Australia after he slumped to a frustrating and disappointing sixth-place in Spain. The 31-year-old was never in serious contention for only his fourth podium finish of the season.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi struggled at the Spanish circuit with his shoulder and is not sure if he will compete in the remaining races for 2010.
“This was a very difficult race for us,” Rossi said. “We had a lot of problems all weekend and I was very slow in the race. I had to try to arrive to the end but I couldn’t do better than sixth. All the Yamahas have suffered here but my shoulder problems made it even worse for me and this, combined with the problems with our package at this track, made it extra hard. It is both my shoulder and the bike here because in this track everybody on the M1 had some problems, including Jorge. The big problem for me is that I cannot ride like I want and we made a setting for the race for less pain and not for the best performance.”
Rossi said his shoulder had been more painful than in previous races because he had opted not to take painkillers ahead of the 23-lap encounter.
“I raced without any painkillers because I decided to have a little bit of pain and not take anything. But even without pain I don’t have any more power, so it is not just a pain problem. My real problem is the power in the shoulder, not the pain.”
If Rossi does opt to have surgery then it will definitely mean he won’t make his Ducati debut until next February at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Jorge Lorenzo was on track to score another podium victory but was overtaken on the final lap by Nicky Hayden.
Jorge Lorenzo saw his hopes of extending his 100 percent podium record in the 2010 MotoGP world championship ended in late drama at the Motorland Aragon circuit. The Fiat Yamaha rider briefly led the 23-lap race on the opening lap before he was powerless to prevent a fast starting Casey Stoner from surging into the lead. Unable to match Stoner’s impressive pace, Lorenzo was then relegated to third when Dani Pedrosa swept by on Lap 3. But having never been out of the top-three as he looked on course to register his 13th rostrum of the campaign, Lorenzo was passed by Nicky Hayden’s factory Ducati on the final lap. Hayden’s bold clinical move at the final chicane cost Lorenzo another three-points as he saw his title lead reduced to 56-points with Pedrosa finishing second. But the 23-year-old has now gone four races without a win and he never looked like seriously challenging for his first success since the Brno round in mid-August. The double world 250GP champion blamed a lack of top speed with his factory Yamaha YZR-M1, but a rear grip issue also slowed him.
“My start was very good, but during the race I struggled a lot with Nicky always behind me and very close,” Lorenzo said. “We can’t be happy with the result and I am disappointed to finish my podium run, but the most important thing is that we did finish and we still took points for our championship. We have five more races to go and, although this is a complicated moment for us and we have some things to address, I am confident that we can improve again.”
Asked what he thought about Hayden’s late move he added: “What he did is allowed. For sure it is not the best podium he will have in his career because he was always taking profit of my pace. But Race Direction can’t say to Nicky not to do that. If I close the door more maybe he will try anyway and maybe we’ll crash. For me it was okay to take fourth. I didn’t want to take so many risks to close the door on him and risk crashing.”
Ben Spies showed master skills in late braking and stunning overtakes to continue his hugely impressive rookie MotoGP campaign at the new Motorland Aragon track in Spain. The reigning World Superbike champion was engaged in a classic scrap with factory Honda rider Andrea Rookie Ben Spies was happy after he put in another solid
Rookie Ben Spies was happy after he put in another solid performance for fifth-place ahead of Valentino Rossi.
performance for fifth-place ahead of Valentino Rossi. Dovizioso for the final 10 laps. The pair exchanged overtakes in an engrossing fight, which looked to have swung the Italian’s way when he passed Spies on the penultimate lap. Spies though refused to cave in and settle for sixth, the 26-year-old launching a brilliant counter attack to pass Dovizioso at the first corner on the final lap. The pair then exchanged overtakes before Dovizioso crashed out at Turn 12. Spies looked as thrilled with fifth as he did with his podium finishes in Silverstone and Indianapolis as he overcame a huge top speed deficit to keep a tenacious Dovizioso at bay.
“That was a really good race,” Spies said. “I like racing like that and I told the crew afterwards that even if I’d had have finished sixth it would have been the funniest race of the year for me. We started going at it with four laps to go and it was fun. I wish it didn’t end with him crashing and I’m sure he’s mad he fell down but we were having a blast. We kept it clean and close and he just made a small mistake on the last lap. I must admit I wasn’t too far away from making one myself because it was getting pretty hectic. Dovi wasn’t willing to give up at all but it was a clean battle and one I really enjoyed. On the last lap I got him at Turn 1 and then he got me back at Turn 8. Going into Turn 11 I passed him but got in deep and when we went back to Turn 12 I was ahead of him but I didn’t have the right line. So he had to go around me but unfortunately he fell and that’s a shame because he rode great. I did too, and for a while I was pulling back Nicky and Jorge, but fifth is still a great result. I wasn’t far behind Jorge and I beat Valentino again and I was the top non-factory rider again. And the points are good for my championship so I’m looking forward to this big final run of races with a lot of confidence.”
American Nicky Hayden made it a great day for Ducati by landing his first podium of the ’10 season behind Pedrosa.
Nicky Hayden was in a jubilant mood after scoring only his second Ducati podium with a brilliant last lap overtake on world championship favorite Jorge Lorenzo at the Motorland Aragon. The Kentucky rider spent the entire race shadowing Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine before he attacked on the final lap to clinch his first podium since his home race in Indianapolis 13 months ago. Hayden said afterwards it was his determination not to finish fourth for the fifth time this season that spurred him to make the last lap assault on Lorenzo. In doing so he cost Lorenzo his 100 percent podium record in 2010.
“It feels great to be back on the podium and I really enjoyed myself today,” Hayden said. “The bike has been working really well all weekend and in the race I was able to get a good start and stay with Jorge. There wasn’t really anywhere I could get a wheel in and over the last couple of laps he pushed hard to get away but I decided that fourth wasn’t good enough for me. I did a bit of a backyard move in the chicane over there and managed to hold him off to the line. I’ve been fourth a lot this year and that last lap I had to make it happen. I knew he wasn’t going to let me through by making a mistake. It was really important for me to make it happen. In Qatar I made a pretty good move on Dovizioso to do it but I didn’t get to the line. I couldn’t just wait and follow him home in fourth though.”
Hayden denied he had left his attack so late so that he wouldn’t face a counter attack from the Spaniard.
And he said it hadn’t crossed his mind about making a move that might have taken out Lorenzo in front of a partisan home crowd of 70,124 fans.
“I do think when you’re fighting for a title you deserve that respect. I’ve fought for titles and those guys deserve maybe a little bit. It is the right thing to do but I got sponsors and a team that support me, so you can’t give it to him.”
Asked why Ducati’s GP10 had gelled so well with the challenging Motorland Aragon track, Hayden said: “It was easy on the tires and the Big Bang engine worked quite well around here. It was quite smooth in those last corners. I don’t know if the track suited our bike so much as much as it is a track that suits Casey and me. It is fast and flowing with blind entries and some undulation like tracks we’ve gone well on in the past. The track is quite smooth too, and Casey and I have struggled a lot this year on the bumps.”
Despite his early mistake, Dani Pedrosa has cut Lorenzo’s lead in the championship even further and now remains 56 points behind the leader with five races left.
Dani Pedrosa was left to rue a first corner mistake that dented his hopes of recording a third successive MotoGP victory at the Motorland Aragon track. The Repsol Honda was looking to fight his way to the front by the fast starting Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo when he had a big rear tire slide exiting the first corner. He lost two places and dropped back down to fifth, and by the time he’d climbed back in to second-place on the third lap, Stoner was already streaking away to notch his first win in 11 months. Pedrosa, who had dominated the recent Indianapolis and Misano races, cut Lorenzo’s championship lead to 56-points with just five races remaining.
“I’m pretty happy with second-place even though of course I wanted to win in front of the Spanish fans,” Pedrosa said. “In the first corner I had a slide which lost me a couple of places and then over the next few laps I had to make up some positions before getting behind Casey. By this point he was quite a way in front and our pace was similar at this stage so I tried really hard to catch him and managed to close the gap. But then I started to have some rear-wheel slides and it wasn’t possible for me stay with him so I thought: ‘Ok, this is my place today.’ Our bike here was struggling more with tire wear than some of the others, but anyway, second-place is not bad and the championship is still alive, even though it will be very difficult to catch Lorenzo.”
Andrea Dovizioso was left cursing a missed podium opportunity after two early mistakes and a last lap crash in an eventful Motorland Aragon MotoGP race. The Italian made big mistakes in successive laps at Turn 10 to sit only seventh in the early stages. He passed Marco Simoncelli on Lap 5 to take sixth spot, and from the halfway stage got embroiled in a fight with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider, Ben Spies. The Repsol Honda rider looked like denying the Texan a
Pedrosa’s teamamte, Andrea Dovizioso, was in a tense battle with Ben Spies when he crashed out at Turn 12.
heroic fifth spot when he attacked on the penultimate lap. But Spies was not to be outdone, and he duly fought back with a daring move on the brakes at the first corner on the final lap. Dovizioso once again got his RC212V back in front at Turn 8 before Spies retaliated again at Turn 11. But just as their epic tussle reached a thrilling climax in front of a crowd of just over 70,000 fans, Dovizioso crashed out at Turn 12.
“Of course I’m really disappointed things ended in this way because my pace in the middle of the race was very good and the battle with Spies was exciting,” Dovizioso said. “During the battle with Spies we overtook each other three or four times in the last laps and it was fun. But the crash spoiled the day. It happened between Turns 12 and 13. Spies went in too deep and I tried to overtake him on the inside. That meant I was carrying a little bit more speed through the change of direction and as I flicked from left to right I highsided. I’m really disappointed because we have lost third position in the championship, which is still our target even though scoring zero points makes this more difficult. I am really angry also for the mistakes in the first two laps. I made a mistake in Turn 10 on both laps and I lost contact with Dani, Casey and Lorenzo and this is the reason why I couldn’t fight for third. I had the pace to fight for third and in the second half of the race Spies and I were faster than Hayden and Lorenzo. I was close to them at the beginning and that’s why I’m really disappointed. The good thing is I had good pace.”
Colin Edwards has signed a new Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha deal at the Motorland Aragon track in Spain today. The Texan’s new contract means he will partner British rider and former World Supersport champion, Cal Crutchlow, in the 2011 MotoGP world championship. The 36-year-old has raced for Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 squad since 2008, and during that period the popular American has produced his best form in the MotoGP class. He finished top non-factory rider last season and is currently 11th in the 2010 rankings with a best result of seventh position in Laguna Seca, Brno and Misano. The Tech 3 squad is hoping the double World Superbike champion’s wealth of experience will be an invaluable asset in helping Crutchlow adapt to MotoGP next season.
Colin Edwards, seen here leading Ben Spies, finished in a frustrating 12th-place after renewing his contract with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 for another year.
Edwards, who finished in a disappointing 12th-place in today’s Motorland Aragon race in his 100th appearance for Yamaha, said: “I am delighted to have signed a new one-year contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. I want to say a big thanks to Yamaha and to Tech 3 for their unwavering support. I am honored to continue my long and successful relationship with Yamaha, Herve Poncharal and all at Tech 3. I love the team and feel like part of a big family and I’m thrilled that our adventure together is continuing next year. I’m excited at the challenge of competing in the MotoGP world championship again, and still being competitive in probably the strongest field in its history. I am also looking forward to working with and helping out Cal Crutchlow next season. I’d like to think I helped James Toseland and Ben Spies adapt when they arrived in MotoGP, and I will be doing my utmost to do the same for Cal if he needs any advice. I think all of us can look forward to an exciting 2011 together.”
Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal said: “I am thrilled to have reached a new agreement with Colin for the 2011 MotoGP world championship. His appetite and passion for racing is stronger than ever and he has been an incredible asset for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. He is a great character but he has consistently proven that he remains one of the fastest riders in the world and I am glad to the Tech 3 story with Colin will go on for at least another year. I believe with Colin’s experience and boundless enthusiasm and Cal’s hunger and desire to succeed in MotoGP that the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team can already look forward to 2011 with tremendous optimism.”