Catalunya MotoGP Insider: Honda

June 6, 2011
Scott Mathews
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There are few people worthy of getting an audience with Mathews but he makes himself available on occasion to the racers of the Grand Prix paddock. If they’re lucky, he might even mention their name. He’s Scott Mathews, and he’s bringing you the inside scoop on MotoGP.

Casey Stoner led each of the 25 laps at Catalunya with little protest from his competition.
Stoner made it two in a row at Catalunya as he continues putting pressure on Lorenzo in the 2011 championship.

Casey Stoner piled the pressure on reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo with a second successive dominant victory in the 2011 MotoGP world championship in Catalunya. Stoner’s third win of the campaign saw him cut Lorenzo’s lead to seven points with the Spaniard putting up a gallant fight in second position. Lorenzo got the holeshot but was quickly passed by Stoner’s Repsol Honda RC212V machine as the Australian surged to his 26th MotoGP victory.

Stoner, who has now won three out of five races in 2011, said: “I 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.”

Stoner had little trouble streaking away from Lorenzo and his only nervous moments came when rain started to fall on lap 13. “The rain was only falling at the last three corners, but being the first one to arrive on track is always a perilous situation,” said Stoner. “When you get an advantage in the race you don’t really want to go and put it in the gravel. I saw the white flags basically round the whole circuit but it was only really raining in the last section. It wasn’t nice seeing the spots and it doesn’t do a lot for your confidence, so I tried to back it off a little bit to see what everybody else thought of

Casey Stoner enjoying the 26th MotoGP victory of his career at Catalunya.
The Aussie will have a chance at winning three MotoGP races in a row for the first time in his career at Silverstone.

those flags and if they were going to keep pushing then so would I. It is definitely not the best to be first so I tried to pace myself against everybody else to make sure I didn’t take any risks.”

Stoner now heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend chasing a hat-trick of wins for the first time in his HRC career. He had a nightmare on Ducati’s GP10 at the Northamptonshire track a year ago and finished fifth. But he’s confident he will be fighting for another win in Sunday’s race, which is the sixth round of the 2011 campaign and the second of a run of six races in eight weeks.

“Last year at Silverstone was a disastrous weekend; the bike just fell to pieces on the start with the clutch and wouldn’t get off the line. I was bit worried the first couple of laps that there would be oil coming out of the clutch. But as I got going I was really fast but I started to get some arm pump and struggled although I set one of the fastest laps of the race towards the end. I was very happy from how far back I came last year so for this year I hope I don’t have a start like I did last year and I think I can be pretty competitive there. The circuit is nice and the Honda works well there.”

San Carlo Hondas Marco Simoncelli finished sixth despite starting from first on the grid.
San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli has been in talks with Honda over a two-year factory deal.

Simoncelli Contract Talks with Honda

Honda has kicked off talks with Italian star Marco Simoncelli over a new two-year factory deal. Although the former 250GP world champion rides for the satellite San Carlo Gresini Honda squad, he is a fully supported factory rider and his contract is direct with HRC in Japan.

Simoncelli has established himself now as one of the world’s top riders and team boss Fausto Gresini said: “We are working now on making sure that we can keep Marco for the future. Marco is very happy to stay in my team. He’s not in the factory team but he is a factory rider and it is important that he stays a factory rider, so we are starting to talk to Honda. There are many details to discuss but we are confident.”

Marco Simoncelli remorseful over Pedrosa collision Marco Simoncelli has moved to calm the storm of controversy surrounding his collision with Dani Pedrosa in the recent French Grand Prix by admitting his

Marco Simoncelli - Estoril 2011
In reference to his collision with Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans, Simoncelli stated: “I have realized where I have gone wrong and in the future I will try at certain times to evaluate the situation better and be a little more cautious.”

aggressive overtake was wrong. In the initial aftermath of the Le Mans incident that left Pedrosa nursing a broken right collarbone, the San Carlo Gresini Honda rider protested his innocence, despite several of his rivals accusing him over be too aggressive. The break between Le Mans and Catalunya appears to have given Simoncelli ample time to reflect on the collision.

Simoncelli has vowed to adopt a more cautious approach in a similar situation in the future and he said: “I have had time over the two-week break to think about the race at Le Mans. I am still disappointed with what happened to Dani and I hope that he has recovered from his injury in time for this weekend. I am also disappointed because Honda were unable to celebrate having four bikes in the top four positions at the French Grand Prix. Overall on reflection I have realized where I have gone wrong and in the future I will try at certain times to evaluate the situation better and be a little more cautious.”

The Italian started the Catalunya race from pole position but was unable to challenge for a top-five finish. A poor start had Super Sic finishing behind his compatriot Valentino Rossi, with a sixth-place result.

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