Casey Stoner (#27) landed the 100th victory for his team at Aragon and now leads the series by 44 points.
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner came through for his team on Sunday by posting his eighth win of the season and the team’s 100th victory at the Aragon circuit in Spain. Taking place during the premier of Repsol Honda’s new livery which included special bike graphics and leathers in celebration of the team’s 40th anniversary in MotoGP, it was perfect timing as the Aussie won by more than eight seconds ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa.
“I wanted to get to the front as soon as possible as the bike has been working perfect all weekend and it was our race to lose, so I wanted to try and get out in front and pull a gap,” Stoner said.
Stoner now leads the MotoGP series by 44 points with just four rounds left. Meanwhile Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo snagged his first-ever podium finish at the circuit in third more than 14 seconds off the pace of Stoner.
“We struggled a lot from the beginning of the race, losing positions and having to recover step by step,” said Lorenzo. “We couldn’t get more than a podium; that is the best result we could get today! I didn’t have confidence in the rear and it is impossible to catch Dani on this track. It’s a pity, but at least I got the podium I couldn’t get last year.”
When the light turned green Yamaha’s Ben Spies had a great jump from the outside of the first row and led into Turn 1 ahead of Stoner and Pedrosa. Before the first lap was in the books, however, Stoner and Pedrosa took the advantage from the American and led during the opening lap with Lorenzo, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli all following in fourth through sixth, respectively.
“I knew the start wasn’t going to last long the way Casey and Dani were riding but I felt pretty good in the beginning,” Spies said. “Even when we got to the fourth or fifth lap I thought our advantage to fourth place was growing.”
Ben Spies (above) had a strong start but eventually finished fifth after having problems with grip. Loris Capirossi (#65 below) sustained a dislocated shoulder after colliding with Toni Elias (#24 below).
The first disappointments of the day came from Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who both crashed out on the first lap.
“I made a small but fast slide at the first right turn, and with all the weight on the front I wasn’t able to control the bike and I immediately lost it as the front tire was still not at temperature,” said Dovizioso. “It’s so disappointing to see your race over on Turn 2 of the first lap.”
Frenchman Randy de Puniet also had a rocky start to his 100th GP race when he ran off track in order to avoid Abraham’s crash on Lap 1. Further back Ducati’s Valentino Rossi was last in the field after having to start from pit lane. On Lap 4 Simoncelli shot around Lorenzo for fourth and set his sights on Spies. A few laps later Super Sic got the better of Spies for third place, but on Lap 10 the Italian ran off the track, allowing Spies and Lorenzo to get by.
After starting in 11th, Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista continued to make progress by passing Hayden for sixth on Lap 10. Four laps later Pramac Racing’s Loris Capirossi and LCR Honda’s Toni Elias collided when Elias braked heavily and Capirossi couldn’t stop in time. The crash left Capirossi with a dislocated right shoulder as well as a concussion and contusion on his elbow. On Lap 16 Simoncelli once again pressured Spies for fourth, and on the following lap the Italian reclaimed the position.
“From the 10th lap onwards the tires really dropped off, and then again after another five laps, said Simoncelli. “But Spies was in even worse shape than me, so I was able to fight back to fourth.”
In the end Stoner’s presence up front was never threatened as he crossed the finish line with a sizeable lead ahead of his teammate. Lorenzo, who at one point was back in fifth after being passed by Spies and Simoncelli, rode a strong race in the second half to finish third more than six seconds ahead of Simoncelli. Spies rounded out the top-five finishers, while Bautista performed well at his home race to maintain sixth ahead of Hayden. Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera had a go with Hayden on the penultimate lap for seventh, but the Spaniard was passed by the American and had to settle with eighth. Monster Yamaha Yech 3’s Cal Crutchlow nabbed ninth, while Rossi posted 10th more than 39 seconds behind Stoner.
“It was definitely a difficult race, even if objectively speaking, we could have done a little better than we did,” Rossi said. “Unfortunately, in the race the rear tire was sliding much more than it did in practice. It was almost used up just when I was catching Nicky [Hayden] and his group. That said, we’re still not where we should be.”
Aragon MotoGP Results 2011:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
For the first time in his career Jorge Lorenzo was on the podium at the Aragon circuit after finishing third.
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
6. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
9. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
12. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)
13. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
DNF Toni Elias (Honda)
DNF Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
DNF Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)
DNF Karel Abraham (Ducati)
2011 MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Casey Stoner, 284
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 240
3. Andrea Dovizioso, 185
4. Dani Pedrosa, 170
5. Ben Spies, 146
6. Valentino Rossi, 139
7. Nicky Hayden, 114
8. Marco Simoncelli, 106
9. Colin Edwards, 90
10. Hiroshi Aoyama, 87