Aussie Casey Stoner snagged another win in the 2011 MotoGP series at Aragon and is a clear favorite for the title.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner praised teammate Dani Pedrosa’s development skills after he continued his relentless charge to the 2011 MotoGP world title at the Motorland Aragon track on Sunday. The Australian dominated the 23-lap encounter to win for the eighth time this season in another processional MotoGP race. And the 25-year-old, who has now won 31 races to equal the number of wins recorded by American legend Eddie Lawson, said his startling success in 2011 had been helped by the development work carried out by Spanish teammate Pedrosa on the RC212V.
“I respect Dani a lot as a racer and the work that he did with this bike is evident,” Stoner said. “I only rode it last year so I only changed a few settings. This is why I also wanted his opinion with the 1000. I don’t think that any bike should be developed around one rider. I think it is evident that the Honda has improved over the last few years and Dani, being their strongest rider, I’m sure most of the development was coming from him, so it is a big credit to Dani that the bike is working so well now.”
Meanwhile Pedrosa recently dismissed criticism from senior Honda management, who believe the Spaniard played a major role in the incident that destroyed his 2011 MotoGP world title hopes. Pedrosa broke his right collarbone and missed three races after he was involved in a controversial collision with fellow factory Honda rider Marco Simoncelli in Le Mans. Simoncelli’s tactics were crucified for being too aggressive, but HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto said in a recent interview that Pedrosa wasn’t completely blameless.
Casey Stoner: “I respect Dani [Pedrosa] a lot as a racer and the work that he did with this bike is evident. I think that Honda has improved over the last few years and Dani, being their strongest rider, I’m sure most of the development was coming from him, so it is a big credit to Dani that the bike is working so well now.”
The Japanese boss said Pedrosa should not have engaged Simoncelli in a battle after having been overtaken by the Italian, who was clearly faster at that stage of the race. And he said a rider fighting for a championship shouldn’t commit such errors of judgment. Even if Pedrosa had settled for third, he would have still been leading the points.
“Nakamoto hasn’t said anything like that to me,” said Pedrosa. “But my opinion of what happened won’t change.”
In the championship picture Stoner’s latest triumph moved him 44-points clear of closest title rival, Jorge Lorenzo, with just four races remaining. The next race is at the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan where Stoner won on the Ducati GP10 last season. The Japanese round is followed by his home race at Phillip Island, where Stoner has never been beaten in the 800cc era.
He is an overwhelming favorite to clinch the title for the second time.
“It is a really healthy situation at this moment, but anything can happen and Jorge is there week in and week out. If I make any mistakes he will pounce, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t make any mistakes. But like every weekend I’ll be going out there and trying to win and not settle for positions just to make sure we get points. But it can still turn around very quickly.”
Assessing his prospects ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, Stoner added: “It is somewhere I’ve always done reasonably well at and it is very challenging with a lot of braking and acceleration points. It is pretty important to have a good bike on the brakes and good for acceleration. We had a fantastic race there last year and probably one of my best. It was a hard race to win and I think this year with the Honda we should be competitive.”