Jorge Lorenzo celebrating his sixth win of the season at Misano. He now has a 38 point advantage over Dani Pedrosa.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo led an incident packed MotoGP contest at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, eventually taking his sixth win of the season and extending his championship points lead to 38 over Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi was elated with his second-place finish, the best he’s ever posted on the Ducati in dry conditions. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista also claimed a professional milestone, taking his first every premier-class podium in third. Bautista’s achievement was sweetened by the fact that Misano is San Carlo’s home race as well as the team of the late Marco Simoncelli, providing a fitting tribute to “SuperSic” on the first MotoGP race to run at the circuit since it was renamed in his honor.
Proceedings got off to a rocky start when Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham faced mechanical issues on the starting line. He threw a hand up just before the start and forced officials to throw a yellow flag. A number of riders didn’t catch the signal in time and cranked the throttle, quickly realizing that something was amiss when jumping past the others who remained steady in place. Luckily no one was hurt, but the contest was delayed for a period while teams came back to the grid to check their respective machines. Riders then went out for a second sighting lap and lined-up for the restart.
Pedrosa, who originally had pole position, ran into trouble removing the front tire warmer just before the second sighting lap and was unable to get the issue resolved in the allotted time. When riders regrouped for the second official start, the Spaniard had been relegated to the back of the grid after being penalized by officials for the delay.
“It was total chaos and many things happened at the same time,” said Pedrosa. “It all began with the restart because the procedure was not at all clear. Nobody knew if it was one minute, three minutes, warmers on or off… We were also getting different information about the number of laps, 26, 27… Then suddenly we were told it was 1 minute to the start of the race, with no board signage, nothing. The mechanics were rushing to prepare and when they tried to take off the warmers my front wheel was somehow locked, they tried to unlocked it but they weren’t able to and due to the 1 minute warning —where they are not allowed to touch the bike anymore— they put me to the back of the grid.”
Things only got worse for Pedrosa once the race was underway.
Dani Pedrosa spent most of the contest at Misano in his garage after crashing out in the first lap of the race.
Pushing hard to make up as much ground as possible through the first lap, Pedrosa had made it to mid-pack when Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera attempted to slot in behind the Repsol rider and made contact. Both Pedrosa and Barbera slid out of the competition when the Ducati rider clipped the RC213V’s rear tire. It was a significant blow to Pedrosa’s shot at the championship, allowing Lorenzo to build a much more comfortable gap in the lead.
“I tried to remain focused, not make any mistake on the first lap, make clear moves to overtake riders and I was 8th or 9th by the sixth corner when Barberá hit me from behind, and that was it,” added Pedrosa. “I’m very upset because even it’s easy to say now, I think I could have had a chance to win this race, even starting from the last place on the grid. Now the Championship is obviously more uphill for me, but I will continue the same way. We have done everything we could so far, the bike is working well and I’m riding well, too. So it’s not over for me; there are still 5 races to go and we will do our best.”
While winning a MotoGP race is never easy, Lorenzo went on to make it look that way by commanding the front early and building a gap on the pack through the remainder of the contest.
“It’s been a very tough weekend because Dani and I have been very close in the qualifying and the warm up,” said Lorenzo. “Unfortunately today he had really bad luck, first with the lights at the beginning of the race and then Hector took him out. This was really unfortunate for him. In Holland we were unlucky and today he was unlucky, anything can happen in these races. We have to be happy with our result and the point advantage we now have, for sure we are much more calm now than before the race.”
Surprisingly though, the closest rider to the Mallorcan was Rossi, who got to second after a fantastic start, never giving up position throughout the race. Rossi’s struggled immensely all year, earning just one podium finish at Le Mans in rainy conditions. Ducati equipped The Doctor with a new frame and swingarm for the contest in an effort to improve performance and that, coupled with the misfortune of some of the other riders on grid, helped Rossi earn his first dry weather podium all year.
Valentino Rossi (46) got to second after a good start and held steady for his first dry podium finish all season.
Through much of the first half of the contest, LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl gave chase to Rossi for second, keeping right on the Ducati’s rear tire, but toward the end he began to slip as Bautista, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies pushed ahead for position. Bautista began his campaign for the podium from sixth early on, getting past Spies with 21 laps remaining into fifth. He continued to chip away at the gap to fourth, getting around Dovi 10 laps later. Soon after, the Gresini rider challenged Bradl and found a line to third, which he maintained until the final lap when Dovi began to push hard for position. The two battled through the last turns, coming down the straight to the finish nearly side-by-side. Bautista came out on top by just 0.003 seconds.
“It is always nice to finish on the podium but especially for me today with this being my first in MotoGP,” said Bautista. “Above all this is a very special weekend for me and the team because our memories of Marco are so strong coming here to the circuit named in his honour. After a few tough races we have worked well here and managed to fight for the podium at last. I am so happy for the team and for Marco because I am sure that wherever he is right now he was pushing us along. I could feel his hand on my shoulder today and I realised at the end that my name had come loose from my leathers so you could say it was Marco that was with us today.”
Dovi’s teammate, Cal Crutchlow, started from the grid in third and seemed to have positive momentum on his side, coming from his first premier class podium finish in the previous round at Brno. Unfortunately for the British rider, his chance at a second consecutive rostrum was ended when he crashed out of competition early on, losing his front end and skidding off track. A number of other riders also exited the race including Abraham, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro and Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini.
Spies was afforded a break from his bad luck this season, putting in a solid and competitive run to finish in fifth. Bradl ended the day in sixth and was followed by Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden. Hayden is still running on an injured hand and was unsure prior to the race whether he’d compete at all. Pedrosa’s teammate Jonathan Rea, filling in for the injured Casey Stoner, had a few slight wobbles during the contest but held steady to finish ahead of the CRT field in eighth. Espargaro’s teammate Randy de Puniet headed up the CRT effort in ninth, followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro in tenth.
Pedrosa has a long road to ahead of him if he hopes to cut the 38 point gap Lorenzo now has in the lead. Stoner remains third overall and Dovi reduced his deficit on the Australian rider to 23 points in fourth. Crutchlow remains fifth, but now has Rossi just two points back in sixth and Bautista four points back in seventh.
MotoGP Misano Results 2012:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
3. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
6. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
9. Randy de Puniet (ART)
10. Michele Pirro (FTR)
11. Colin Edwards (Suter)
12. Yonny Hernandez (BQR)
13. James Ellison (ART)
14. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
15. David Salom (BQR)
MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 270
2. Dani Pedrosa, 232
3. Casey Stoner, 186
4. Andrea Dovizioso, 163
5. Cal Crutchlow, 122
6. Valentino Rossi, 120
7. Alvaro Bautista, 118
8. Stefan Bradl, 115
9. Nicky Hayden, 93
10. Ben Spies, 77