The Repsol Honda team took two of the rostrum spots at Estoril, with Pedrosa taking the win ahead of Lorenzo and Stoner scoring third.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa claimed victory at Estoril, closing the gap on MotoGP championship rival Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa spoiled Lorenzo’s perfect record at the Portugal Grand Prix in the premier class, snatching victory in the closing laps. Lorenzo settled for second with Repsol’s second title contender, Casey Stoner, rebounding from his disappointing Jerez DNF with a third-place finish.
The Estoril race wasn’t without incident, including a major DNF on Lap 1. Off the initial start Lorenzo jumped out the front from pole position, with Pedrosa in tow. Also up front were Marco Simoncelli, Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, with all three riders were forced to save wobbling machines in the congested opening corners. Simoncelli, who was one of the faster riders in qualifying and practice, then high-sided his Gresini Honda in Turn 4. The Italian also crashed during Estoril qualifying while on pace for a potential pole position time and crashed out of previous GP while en route to an uncontested victory. Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera also ended up in the gravel next to Simoncelli on the opening Estoril lap.
Once the damage of the Lap 1 was sorted out, Lorenzo held the lead, the points leader entering the race with a record of three consecutive victories at the Portuguese circuit. Pedrosa had his rival well within reach, pacing in second, while Stoner trailed in third. Valentino Rossi turned a ninth-place grid position into fourth-place by the end of the first lap, The Doctor was followed by Dovizioso and Yamaha’s Ben Spies.
Dani Pedrosa kept Lorenzo in his sights, making a move in the final laps and then checking out for the win.
The racing was mostly processional from there out. Pedrosa was content to keep the lead Yamaha in his sights, making a move in the closing laps. Once past his fellow Spaniard, Pedrosa opened up a three-second gap motoring on to the win – including peeling off the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate circuit. Stoner couldn’t mark a challenge on the leading pair, finishing third and seven seconds adrift of the leader.
The closest battle of the day came over fourth, with Rossi getting stalked by Dovizioso. The third Repsol rider made a move on the final lap, nicking Rossi at the finish by two hundreths of a second. Dovizioso’s finish gave the Repsol juggernaut three out of the top four positions.
Spies worked backwards from the start, the Texan struggling and eventually crashing out of the race. The satellite Yamahas fared better, with Colin Edwards sixth and Cal Crutchlow earning another top-10 finish in eighth. Crutchlow was bested by the top-finishing satellite Honda, Gresini’s Hiroshi Aoyama.
American Nicky Hayden was ninth aboard the factory Ducati, with Pramac Racing’s Randy de Puniet rounding out the top 10. Toni Elias, the 2006 Estoril GP winner, was 11th on the LCR Honda followed by Pramac’s Loris Capirossi. Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista finished in the points, a moral victory considering the Spaniard’s return from a broken femur.
Pedrosa’s victory, returning to race-winning form after surgery between rounds, narrows Lorenzo’s points lead to just four. The third-place Stoner lost more ground, sitting a full 24 points behind Lorenzo in the title hunt.
Round 4 of the MotoGP championship will commence May 13-15 at Le Mans.
2011 MotoGP Estoril Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +3.051
3. Casey Stoner (Honda) +7.658
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +16.53
5. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) +16.555
6. Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +32.575
7. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda) +38.749
8. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha +40.912
9. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +54.887
10. Randy de Puniet (Ducati) +59.697
11. Toni Elias (Honda) +1’00.374
12. Loris Capirossi (Ducati) +1’01.793
13. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) +1’24.370
DNF Ben Spies (Yamaha) +16 Laps
DNF Karel Abraham (Ducati) +27 Laps
DNF Marco Simoncelli (Honda) +28 Laps
DNF Hector Barbera (Ducati) +28 Laps
2011 MotoGP Points:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 65
2. Dani Pedrosa, 61
3. Casey Stoner, 41
4. Valentino Rossi, 31
5. Nicky Hayden, 30
6. Andrea Dovizioso, 30
7. Hiroshi Aoyama, 28
8. Cal Crutchlow, 21
9. Colin Edwards, 18
10. Hector Barbera, 14
Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s Stefan Bradl scored his second Moto2 victory of the season at Estoril. The packed 37-rider field saw the German pilot duel with Julian Simon in the race, the Mapfre Aspar rider relegated to second by a mere 0.147 seconds. Gresini Racing’s Yuki Takahashi completed the Portuguese Moto2 podium.
Two usual suspsects to challenge Bradle both suffered incidents at Estoril, spoiling their points take. Interwetten’s Thomas Luthi set the fastest lap of the race and was looking to vie for the win, but crashed out of the contention for a DNF. Suter rider Andrea Iannone was also tallying a podium-worthy result, until a crash also ruined things, though the he managed to remount and finish in 13th.
Bradl extends a championship points lead to 13 over Iannone with the Estoril victory. Simon vaults up to third in the points with his second-place result. Luthi lost significant ground on Bradl with his costly DNF, dropping down to fourth in the points 25 points down on the leader.
2011 Moto2 Estoril Results:
1. Stefan Bradl (Kalex)
2. Julian Simon (Suter) +0.147
3. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki) +6.188
4. Dominique Aegerter (Suter) +16.822
5. Simone Corsi (FTR) +17.076
6. Pol Espargaro (FTR) +25.956
7. Randy Krummenacher (Kalex) +26.102
8. Alex Baldolini (Suter) +26.333
9. Mike di Meglio (Tech 3) +26.636
10. Esteve Rabat (FTR) +29.077
11. Claudio Corti (Suter) +39.637
12. Alex de Angelis (Motobi) +39.913
13. Andrea Ianonne (Suter) +42.466
14. Ricard Cardus (Moriwaki) +47.382
15. Axel Pons (Pons Kalex) +47.406
17. Kenny Noyes (FTR) +52.538
20. Mattia Pasini (FTR) +56.08
22. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki) +1’04.890
29. Bradley Smith (Tech 3) +2 Laps
DNF Thomas Luthi (Suter) +22 Laps
2011 Moto2 Championship Points:
1. Stefan Bradl, 61
2. Andrea Iannone, 48
3. Simone Corsi, 37
4. Thomas Luthi, 36
5. Julian Simon, 36
6. Yuki Takahashi, 27
7. Alex de Angelis, 26
8. Bradley Smith, 20
9. Dominique Aegerter, 16
10. Michele Pirro, ITA 15