Casey Stoner managed his fifth consecutive win at Phillip Island to claim the 2011 MotoGP title at his home circuit.
The final round of the 2011 MotoGP
Championship at Phillip Island couldn’t have gone better for Honda and its front man – Casey Stoner
. The Australian took a dominant victory to wrap up the title two rounds early, doing so with an all-Honda
podium that featured San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli securing one of his best performances to date in second.
In front of 43,880 fans Stoner celebrated both his birthday and his championship success with his ninth victory of the season as the paddock waved goodbye to the 800cc era. The Honda podium was rounded out by Andrea Dovizioso
, who returned to the top-three for the first time since Brno as he helped provide Honda with the 2011 Manufacturers title.
"I don't think anyone could plan things to happen better than they have today,” said Stoner. “The race was incredibly difficult, the conditions we're very tough. I came into the last turn and the rain started hard. I nearly lost control and thought for sure I was going to end up in the gravel. I managed to control it and maintain the gap to everyone and thankfully bring it home for the win, but it was a little bit nerve-racking for sure.”
The race started with Stoner getting an excellent start from pole position ahead of Ducati
’s Nicky Hayden, Simoncelli, Dovizioso, Rizla Suzuki
’s Alvaro Bautista and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Two of the biggest names in the field were entirely absent from the starting grid as Yamaha teammates Jorge Lorenzo
and Ben Spies
sat out the race.
Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo (above) and Ben Spies (below) sat out the round due to injury.
Lorenzo suffered a hand injury during warm-up, forcing him to undergo plastic surgery to repair the damage. Meanwhile Spies sustained lasting effects from a hard hit to the head during his qualifying crash on Saturday. Stoner’s lead was never in question as he began opening a slight advantage ahead of the field. On Lap 4 Honda occupied the top-four positions, which led to inter-warfare amongst Honda riders as Simoncelli moved into second with Dovizioso pressuring his Italian compatriot.
Halfway into the contest weather became as issue. On Lap 13 Stoner barely held it together up front as rain pummeled the riders. Pedrosa had now found his way past Dovizioso for third as Bautista, Hayden and Monster Yamaha
Tech 3’s Colin Edwards were running fifth through seventh, respectively.
Later in the race Dovi surged ahead and managed to grab second from Super Sic, but it was only for a moment as Simoncelli posted some impressive laps near the end to advance. Grip became a major problem in the rain as Pedrosa had to abandon a fight for the podium due to his front tire degradation.
“I think we could have finished in second position but when Dani [Pedrosa] overtook me in the middle of the race we lost contact with Simoncelli,” said Dovizioso. “I retook the position when the rain came, but on the final lap I didn't have enough grip to push hard in the last few corners.”
In the final lap Stoner persevered through the poor weather, keeping Simoncelli out of striking distance to snatch the victory and overall title. Super Sic proved his potential by
San Carlo Honda's Marco Simoncelli (#58) posted a strong ride in second after holding off Andrea Dovizioso in the rain.
holding off Dovi under horrible conditions to claim second by just more than two-tenths of a second.
“I had been second for the whole race and I didn't want to give up on it until the end,” said Simoncelli. “It was nice to finish directly behind the new World Champion.”
Meanwhile Pedrosa missed the podium by more than 10 seconds after having difficulties with grip near the end.
“I overtook Andrea [Dovizioso] and fought with him but the front tire was finished in the last laps,” Pedrosa said. “When I tried to pull away I was losing the front, so I couldn't keep him behind and then the rain arrived. It's not been a good weekend for me.”
The day was a wash for Ducati’s Valentino Rossi
, who crashed out on the 14th lap as heavy rain entered the mix. This is the second consecutive race that Rossi has recorded a DNF. Rossi’s teammate Hayden was involved in a number of battles early on, but the rain also jeopardized his pace and he eventually finished in seventh. This is the first time since 2006 that Ducati has failed to make it on the podium at Phillip Island.
“Conditions were really tough today, with wind and rain off-and-on at different parts of the track,” Hayden said. “My start actually wasn’t amazing, but I think everybody else got away worse than I did. I was in a good position, but I really had no grip at the rear from the very beginning, and although I tried as hard as I could, I couldn’t defend much when guys started coming past.”
Phillip Island MotoGP Results 2011:
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)
Poor traction prevented Dani Pedrosa from challenging for a podium position at Phillip Island.
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
6. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Toni Elias (Honda)
9. Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
10. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
DNF Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)
DNF Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
DNF Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
DNF Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
2011 MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Casey Stoner, 325
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 260
3. Andrea Dovizioso, 212
4. Dani Pedrosa, 208
5. Ben Spies, 156
6. Marco Simoncelli, 139
7. Valentino Rossi, 139
8. Nicky Hayden, 132
9. Colin Edwards, 109
10. Hiroshi Aoyama, 94
Alex de Angelis notched his second victory of the season at Phillip Island after making a late pass on Stefan Bradl.
For the second consecutive year JiR Moto2’s Alex de Angelis claimed the win at the Australian Grand Prix. The 26-year-old finished 1.3 seconds ahead of Viessmann Kiefer Racing’s Stefan Bradl after a tense battle that last the majority of the 25-lap contest. Meanwhile Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez rounded out the podium in third after making a spectacular comeback from last on the grid. Bradl now leads the championship by only three points with two rounds left.
De Angelis grabbed the lead early from pole position and led ahead of Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding and HP Tuenti Speed Up’s Pol Espargaro. At the end of the opening lap Redding moved into the lead, which he kept until Lap 5 when Bradl overtook the Brit. From there the German rider held the top position until the final lap when De Angelis made his charge. Meanwhile Marquez had a terrific start that put him in the middle of the field. From there the Spaniard shot through the pack until he became involved in a battle for third with Italtrans Racing’s Claudio Corti. In the end De Angelis scored his second win of the season with a final-lap pass on Bradl. Marquez charged past Cordi on Lap 17 and eventually finished third, as Corti and Espargaro rounded out the top-five.
Phillip Island Moto2 Results 2011:
1. Alex de Angelis (Motobi)
2. Stefan Bradl (Kalex)
3. Marc Marquez (Suter)
4. Claudio Corti (Suter)
5. Pol Espargaro (FTR)
6. Kenan Sofuoglu (Suter)
After starting the Moto2 race from last on the grid Marc Marquez led a stunning comeback to finish on the podium in third.
7. Scott Redding (Suter)
8. Andrea Iannone (Suter)
9. Mike di Meglio (Tech 3)
10. Yuki Takahashi (Moriwaki)
11. Thomas Luthi (Suter)
12. Dominique Aegerter (Suter)
13. Aleix Espargaro (Pons Kalex)
14. Michele Pirro (Moriwaki)
15. Simone Corsi (FTR)
2011 Moto2 Championship Points:
1. Stefan Bradl, 254
2. Marc Marquez, 251
3. Andrea Iannone, 165
4. Alex de Angelis, 157
5. Simone Corsi, 127
6. Thomas Luthi, 126
7. Bradley Smith, 121
8. Yuki Takahashi, 77
9. Esteve Rabat, 74
10. Aleix Espargaro, 68