Dani Pedrosa (#26) earned his third win of the season after capitalizing on the errors of his teammates.
During a drama-filled MotoGP
race at the Motegi circuit Repsol Honda
’s Dani Pedrosa
crossed the finish line first to record his third victory of the season. The Spaniard was one of the few frontrunners who managed to stay on track as crashes, run-offs and false starts led to a tumultuous 24-lap contest in Japan.
"I'm super happy with this victory, for the team that has been working so well, for HRC because this is the first win in Motegi with the Repsol Honda Team and for myself because it is the first time I've won here in MotoGP after doing so in 125cc and 250cc,” said Pedrosa.
Pedrosa finished more than seven seconds ahead of Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo
, with championship leader Casey Stoner
recovering from an early incident to cross the line more than 18 seconds off the pace in third.
Stoner got a great start from pole and led the field into Turn 1 ahead of Pedrosa, Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, Lorenzo, San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli
and Rizla Suzuki
’s Alvaro Bautista. It was quickly determined, however, that Dovi, Simoncelli and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow had all jumped the start – forcing the trio to do a ride through penalty on Lap 6.
Jorge Lorenzo was one of the few top-seven riders who performed flawlessly at Motegi and finished second.
“I made a stupid mistake on the start line,” said Simoncelli. “The red light was slow to go out and out of the corner of my eye I saw Dovizioso move and let the clutch out just a tiny bit, but enough to be given a ride-through penalty. You can't afford to make this kind of error.”
It was a short day for Ducati
’s Valentino Rossi
after the Italian crashed on the opening lap. Rossi’s crash also forced Yamaha’s Ben Spies
wide, resulting in the first of many run-offs throughout the match. On Lap 2 Dovizioso executed a pass on Pedrosa to overtake the 26-year-old for runner-up.
Up front Stoner looked to have the race well managed until Lap 5 when the Aussie temporarily lost his brakes, forcing him off the track.
“I went for the brakes and there was nothing there, so I had to pump them up a couple of times,” said Stoner. “When I pumped it the second time it flicked me up over the front and I was lucky to stay on the bike. Thankfully I avoided hitting the wall at the end of the gravel trap but this pretty much ended our race.”
Stoner eventually recovered down in seventh as Dovizioso took the lead, but the Italian’s eager start would come back to haunt him as he lost the lead due to his ride through penalty. Shortly afterward Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera crashed out, with Ducati’s Nicky Hayden
also running off track while running fourth.
Honda's Casey Stoner (#27) recovered from a brake problem to finish on the podium in third.
The lead then fell in the hands of Pedrosa who had a free track ahead of him and a decent gap Lorenzo. Following Stoner’s run-off and some of the ride through penalties, Bautista was sitting in a podium position. Behind the lead trio, however, Stoner was quickly making up ground as Super Sic and Dovi resumed the race after their penalties with a tight battle until the finish. A few laps later Bautista was passed by Stoner, and at the end of Lap 13 the Spaniard lost the front end.
Meanwhile Monster Yamaha
Tech 3’s Colin Edwards
, Hayden and Spies were running eighth through tenth respectively behind San Carlo Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama. Despite recently suffering from food poisoning, Spies continued to fight back from his early clash with Rossi to advance into eighth on Lap 18. The American continued to battle with Edwards until Spies passed his fellow countrymen with five laps remaining.
Ultimately Pedrosa never let up on the reins until crossing the finish line. Meanwhile it was a flawless race for Lorenzo, who finished second well ahead of Stoner to reduce his deficit on the leader by 40 points with just three rounds left.
“I didn’t expect such a strange race, Casey going wide and Dovi having a ride through,” Lorenzo said. “I thought it was possible to fight with Dani but he got better and better, I think he was inspired today and at a very high level of riding.”
After serving his ride through penalty, Simoncelli made a pass on Dovizioso during the penultimate lap to snag fourth just more than a tenth ahead. Meanwhile Spies produced a typical comeback performance to finish sixth, as Hayden and Edwards rounded out the top-eight finishers.
Motegi MotoGP Results 2011:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Casey Stoner (Honda)
4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)
5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)
6. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
After jumping the start Marco Simoncelli made a pass on Andrea Dovizioso during the penultimate lap for fourth.
8. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
9. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
10. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)
11. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
12. Kousuke Akiyoshi (Honda)
13. Shinichi Ito (Honda)
DNF Toni Elias (Honda)
DNF Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)
DNF Hector Barbera (Ducati)
DNF Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
2011 MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Casey Stoner, 300
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 260
3. Andrea Dovizioso, 196
4. Dani Pedrosa, 195
5. Ben Spies, 156
6. Valentino Rossi, 139
7. Nicky Hayden, 123
8. Marco Simoncelli, 119
9. Colin Edwards, 98
10. Hiroshi Aoyama, 94
Speed Masters’ Andrea Iannone earned his third victory of the season this Sunday at the Motegi circuit. The Italian was engaged in a race long battle with Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez and finished less than two seconds ahead of the Spaniard.
“I’m really happy with the result we achieved today,” said Iannone. “I knew this was going to be a difficult and very fast race, but we had a good setting for our Suter MMXI and we managed to keep a consistent pace from the start till the end of the race.”
Meanwhile Interwetten Paddock Moto2’s Thomas Luthi scored the final podium spot after posting strong results all weekend in both practice and qualifying.
“The key to finally end up on the podium was I had a good pace all weekend and we finally found a good pace and set out straight from the beginning on Friday and I could keep going like that, so it was a great feeling,” said Luthi.
Iannone had the holeshot to start the race ahead of Marquez and Luthi. Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s briefly entered the battle for the front alongside Marquez and Luthi, but was eventually pushed aside. In the end Bradl had to settle for fourth place – a result which leaves him one point behind Marquez in the championship. Ioda Racing Project’s Simone Corsi rounded out the top-five finishers in Japan, with JiR Moto2’s Alex de Angelis and Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith crossing the line earning sixth and seventh, respectively.
Motegi Moto2 Results 2011:
1. Andrea Iannone (Suter)
2. Marc Marquez (Suter)
3. Thomas Luthi (Suter)
4. Stefan Bradl (Kalex)
5. Simone Corsi (FTR)
After a race long battle Andrea Iannone won his third race of the year ahead of Marc Marquez.
6. Alex de Angelis (Motobi)
7. Bradley Smith (Tech 3)
8. Dominique Aegerter (Suter)
9. Esteve Rabat (FTR)
10. Mika Kallio (Suter)
11. Xavier Simeon (Tech 3)
12. Anthony West (MZ-RE Honda)
13. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki)
14. Mattia Pasini (FTR)
15. Pol Espargaro (FTR)
2011 Moto2 Championship Points:
1. Marz Marquez, 235
2. Stefan Bradl, 234
3. Andrea Iannone, 157
4. Alex de Angelis, 132
5. Simone Corsi, 126
6. Bradley Smith, 121
7. Thomas Luthi, 121
8. Esteve Rabat, 74
9. Yuki Takahashi, 71
10. Aleix Espargaro, 65