Pedrosa Jubilant, Stoner Frustrated at Brno

August 27, 2012
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.

Dani Pedrosa celebrating his victory at Brno.
Dani Pedrosa took his third victory of the season in an “unbelievable” final lap pass of Jorge Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa hailed his stunning last gasp Brno MotoGP victory as ‘unbelievable’ as he piled the pressure on fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo in the 2012 title hunt. Barely split by more than two or three-tenths for the entire 22-lap race, Pedrosa came out on top of a thrilling final lap duel to claim his third win of the season.

The pair exchanged the lead four times on the final lap and Pedrosa only clinched a precious victory with a sweeping overtake around the outside of Lorenzo’s factory Yamaha YZR-M1 at the final corner. Pedrosa has now slashed Lorenzo’s title lead to just 13 points with six races remaining and he was jubilant after claiming one of the best victories of his career.

“It was unbelievable because the race was very tight,” said the Repsol Honda rider said. “It was amazing how different riding styles and bikes can be fast but in a different way. Jorge was very strong in the middle of the corner and I was stronger going into the corner. But at the end of the lap times were pretty much the same. It was difficult for me because my bike was sliding a lot in the middle of the corner and it didn’t turn very well. I had to spin with the throttle to make it turn and I knew that Jorge was closing on me a lot. I am just happy also for my team because it is a great victory also for them. On the last lap I knew if I opened the door a little bit he would go inside because he was super close. When he passed me I could see his fairing on my face. It was so close I could see all the stickers so I was really trying to not lose him and be close to him. I tried in the downhill but I wasn’t really strong there so I tried to get a good run up the hill and try to get next to him and try on the brakes into the last chicane and it came out right and I am very happy.”

Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo neck-and-neck at Brno.
Despite a neck-and-neck battle between Pedrosa (26) and Lorenzo (99), the race remained a clean fight.

Pedrosa said strategy goes out of the window in such a close scrap on the final and he added: “In this case you can’t plan anything and you just go for it and try. I am very happy because we had a very clean fight and it was a good spectacle for the fans. Maybe in the past it can be a bit rough but today it was clean.”

With the gap to Lorenzo down to just 13 points, Pedrosa has never been in such a strong position to fight for the title in his seven-year premier class career. But he said it will still be a difficult challenge to overhaul Lorenzo, and when the 2010 world champion has finished a race in 2012 he hasn’t been lower than second.

“It is important to stay focused and keep riding well because when Jorge is not winning he is second and it is hard to catch some points back,” Pedrosa added. “We are doing great so I hope we can keep this going.”

Stoner Frustrated as Injury Ruins Title Hopes 

Casey Stoner couldn’t hide his disappointment and frustration during the Brno pre-event press conference when the Australian conceded his 2012 MotoGP world title hopes have been ended by the right ankle injury he suffered in a high speed qualifying crash at Indianapolis. The Repsol Honda rider flew back to Australia for surgery on the ankle he damaged.

Casey Stoner was frustrated to see his chance at a second consecutive title vanish due to an injured right ankle.
Casey Stoner was visibly disappointed to see his title hopes vanish due to an injured right ankle that forced him to sit Brno out.

Stoner had defied medical advice to keep his title hopes alive with a heroic ride to fourth place in Indianapolis. But later detailed analysis of X-rays and scans from his personal doctors in Australia saw them advise Stoner to withdraw from the Brno race and return to Australia immediately for surgery.

Stoner already trailed Spanish rival Jorge Lorenzo by 39 points and with suggestions in the Brno paddock that he might be sidelined until the Japanese Grand Prix at the Twin Ring Motegi in mid-October, his hopes of retiring at the end of the season as world champion have vanished.

That was tough to take for the double MotoGP world champion, who has won four races in 2012.

He told a packed press conference in the Czech Republic: “I’m disappointed like you would expect. It makes you feel like not even starting the season. When you go this far in, and things haven’t gone perfectly this season, and when you put this much effort in and this late in when we are coming to circuits that suit me better, then to have this sort of disappointment is extremely frustrating, especially in my last year. It’s the way racing goes and you shouldn’t expect anything different but it is a big hit to the heart.”

The damage to Stoner’s right ankle is extensive and he said his doctors were adamant that surgery was his only option. He added: “The plan is to get back to Australia as soon as possible because I have to wait for the inflammation to go down after traveling before the surgery. Everything is lined up for early next week so if the inflammation is down I will get surgery and be on the road to recovery and see how quick I can be back. It is ligament, cartilage, chipped bone and fractures. I’ve done about as much damage as I can do. My doctor is very honest and normally he has no problem with getting me back out there and riding but as soon as he read the report from the US he advised that I didn’t ride in Indy and then we got the discs to him to view and every opinion has come back the same. That’s to get off this foot as soon as possible because if I injured it again it could be a permanent injury and cause a lot of issues.”

Stoner said it was too early to get an understanding of when he will be fit enough to return to action but he wanted to be in action ahead of his final appearance on home soil at Phillip Island on October 28.

“My plan is to come back a race or two before Phillip Island but until I have the surgery I can’t say exactly when I can return. It could be a lot sooner than expected or a lot a later. I have a time line in my head but it may not agree with the doctors or with what happens.”

Stoner said his injury blow would not see him re-consider plans to retire at the end of the season and he added: “I’m not in this championship to wait to finish it perfectly on a big fairytale. If things had been better and we hadn’t had all the dramas we had this year with chatter maybe things would have still ended up the same. I’m not going to keep going next year, I could have a similar issue, be in a really good position and something could go wrong. I’m not going to wait for the fairytale ending. This is a hard sport and it is difficult to stay at the front at the best of times, so I will bow out with the best results I can.”