Honda’s Casey Stoner took over the lead in the championship after nailing his fourth win of the season.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner surged to his fourth win of the 2011 MotoGP season at the Silverstone circuit in Great Britian on Sunday. Conditions were less than ideal, but it didn’t keep Stoner from keeping his excellent form throughout the 20-lap contest. The Aussie took the checkers more than 15 seconds ahead of teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards snagging his first podium finish of the season despite still recovering from a broken collarbone.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo had the lead in the early laps starting from third on the grid as Dovizioso and Stoner trailed.
“At the beginning of the race we didn’t have a great start and I needed to wait for the tires to get up to temperature,” said Stoner. “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.”
Lorenzo made a mistake to allow the two Repsol Honda riders by. The defending champion then entered a battle with San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli for third, eventually losing the feud with the Italian just a few corners later. On Lap 2 both Dovizioso and Stoner went at it for the lead. Dovizioso managed to hold off the Aussie quite well in the beginning, but in the end Stoner had his way with him to secure the lead.
Andrea Dovizioso (#4) made it a 1-2 day for Repsol Honda with second place at the Silverstone circuit.
“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,” Dovizioso said.
At the same time Simoncelli was busy making up time on the two lead Hondas, but a mistake on Lap 4 left the door wide open for Lorenzo to reclaim third.
Steady rain was falling on the circuit, creating hazardous conditions for the paddock as the race progressed. The first crash involved Lorenzo highsiding on Lap 8, making it the first race the Mallocran was unable to finish since 2009. Lorenzo’s accident moved Simoncelli up to third, but the Italian continued to push toward the front where Stoner still kept the lead ahead of Dovizioso.
Just when Simoncelli was entering a battle with Dovizioso for second, he lost the front end under braking on Lap 10. Meanwhile, Stoner stretched his lead to more than 15 seconds ahead of the field while Edwards replaced Simoncelli in the final podium position. Stoner eventually lapped Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera and Pramac Racing’s Randy de Puniet with three laps left, taking a major win to earn the 27th MotoGP victory of his career and establish the lead in the 2011 series.
In his first return since breaking his collarbone American Colin Edwards achieved his first podium of the season.
“I was just happy to stay up on the bike, it was incredibly cold and I was so nervous as in these conditions it’s so easy to crash,” Stoner said. “We had a great race today in very tough conditions where anything could have happened, but to come away with a win is fantastic.”
Dovizioso duplicated his 2010 result at the Silverstone circuit in second, but the major story was Edwards claiming his first podium finish of the season in third.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden set the fastest lap of the entire race, finishing fourth more than 36 seconds behind Stoner. Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista placed fifth in the order – his first top-five finish of the season.
“For sure I am very happy today, because we have been able to finish the weekend with a great result,” Bautista said. “I have to say thank-you to my team, they have so much passion for what they do and have helped me get back to my maximum level.”
Hayden’s Ducati teammate, Valentino Rossi, finished sixth and is currently fourth in the championship standings.
In addition to Lorenzo and Simoncelli crashing out, American Ben Spies also ended his race prematurely on Lap 14, making it a miserable day for the factory Yamaha squad. Before the accident happened Spies was running in the top-six in the first half of the race, and his mistake dropped him two places down in the championship standings to ninth.
Silverstone MotoGP Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)
3. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
5. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)
6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
Suzuki’s Alvaro Buatista had his first top-five finish of the season after breaking his leg during the season opener.
7. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
8. Toni Elias (Honda)
9. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
10. Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
11. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
12. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)
DNF Marco Simoncelli (Honda)
DNF Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
DNF Ben Spies (Yamaha)
2011 MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Casey Stoner, 116
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 98
3. Andrea Dovizioso, 83
4. Valentino Rossi, 68
5. Dani Pedrosa, 61
6. Nicky Hayden, 60
7. Hiroshi Aoyama, 43
8. Colin Edwards, 37
9. Ben Spies, 36
10. Karel Abraham, 33