Repsol Honda rider and defending world champion Casey Stoner won his first MotoGP race of the 2012 season at Jerez this weekend. The Australian native held off Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who had to settle for second place. Repsol Honda’s second rider, Dani Pedrosa, earned a podium finish coming in third place. Lorenzo pressured Stoner late in the race, showing intention to take the inside line and attempt a pass, but Stoner defended well and didn’t allow the Spaniard to ever take the lead.
“We managed the race for the conditions of the circuit and as they improved I pushed a little more,” said Stoner. “The bike on a whole felt much better than in qualifying. I did get some arm pump again but thankfully not to the extent I had it in Qatar. Considering the weekend in general and how fast Dani and Jorge are at this track, to win here is something very special for me”.
Stoner had a somewhat slow start, finding himself fifth after the opening corners. Teammate Pedrosa led for the opening two laps and was trailed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. Stoner advanced to second place by Lap 2 and took the lead in Lap 3 where he remained for the rest of the race.
Lorenzo was tenacious though and never trailed the Aussie by more than a second, despite difficulty in adapting to the dry track that still had wet spots from previous rain.
“Today I knew it would be a very important decision on the grid to choose the right front tire,” said Lorenzo. “Finally we chose the soft one, unfortunately we were wrong and had a lot of problems during the race, I wasn’t as confident as in practice.”
During the final laps, the Yamaha rider looked as if he would try to take an inside line on Stoner for the pass, but Stoner never drifted wide enough to give Lorenzo a suitable chance. The two riders maintained a comfortable gap from third place finisher Pedrosa, who had to fight off pressure from Crutchlow.
The British rider kept close to Pedrosa after charging back from sixth place in Lap 8 where he overtook teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden to settle into fourth. Crutchlow and Pedrosa easily maintained their positions until the checkered flag, creating a gap of over 18 seconds between them and the nearest rider.
Once in fifth place, Dovizioso held position for 20 laps. Alvaro Bautista of San Carlo Honda Gresini did much the same in sixth place, as did Stefan Bradl of LCR Honda MotoGP for seventh.
Valentino Rossi had a difficult race at Jerez, finishing in ninth place behind teammate Nicky Hayden.
Hayden held third place for four laps early in the race, but the Ducati rider started to slip back and eventually fell to eighth in front of teammate Valentino Rossi. The Doctor occupied the nine and ten spots for most of the race, unable to improve his position. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies also had a difficult day, holding seventh during Lap 1 and then sliding back to take 11th.
Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the fastest CRT rider coming in at 12th after taking position from teammate Randy De Puniet during the final laps. The Frenchman suffered from mechanical issues with two laps remaining which kept him from finishing the race.
Currently Jorge Lorenzo maintains his points lead overall, but with the win at Jerez, Stoner has bumped Dani Pedrosa from second place overall. There is a mere four points now separating the Aussie and the Spaniard. Crutchlow and Dovizioso remain in fourth and fifth overall and Hayden has switched positions with Bautista, leaving him in seventh. Rossi is now tied with Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera for 9th at 13 points.
2012 MotoGP Jerez Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +0.947
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +2.063
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) +2.465
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) +18.100
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) +21.395
7. Stefan Bradl (Honda) +28.637
8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +28.869
9. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) +34.852
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) +35.103
11. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +38.041
12. Aleix Espargaro (ART) +1:12.728
13. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda) +1:18.669
14. Mattia Pasini (ART) +1:29.142
15. Ivan Silva (BQR) +1:32.478
16. Colin Edwards (Suter) +1:40.577
17. Karel Abraham (Ducati) 1 Lap
Randy De Puniet (ART) 2 Laps
James Ellison (ART) 3 Laps
Michele Pirro (FTR) 9 Laps
Yonny Hernandez (BQR)