Aragon podium with Dani Pedrosa (center) in first, Jorge Lorenzo (left) in second and Andrea Dovizioso (right) in third.
Conditions improved dramatically for Sunday’s MotoGP race at Aragon, so it was under a cloudless sky that Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa
secured his fourth win of the season. The Spaniard put in a commanding performance, beating rival Jorge Lorenzo
of Yamaha Factory Racing by over six seconds and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso
prevailed in a three rider battle for the final spot on the rostrum.
“I remained calm and was able to focus, Jorge began very fast in the early laps but I was able to stay with him and then after a few laps I saw I could increase the pace and I passed him and tried to find my own rhythm,” said Pedrosa. “I had a few issues with the clutch into the corners, switching down, as I did yesterday, but overall the bike was working well so thanks to all my team for their hard work last night and to my fans and family for their support, this victory is for them all.”
Lorenzo and Pedrosa came off the start well and soon after were building a small gap on the field in the fight for the lead. Lorenzo held steady out front for the opening laps, but by Lap 6 the Repsol rider made a clean pass and never looked back. Lorenzo remained on Pedrosa’s rear tire for a period, but after bobbling and almost going down, the Mallorcan settled into a manageable race pace in an effort to finish with second place points rather than risk falling out entirely in a bid for the lead.
Lorenzo led through the early laps of the contest, but once Pedrosa passed for the lead, he couldn't be caught.
“I was thinking to try for the win at the beginning of the race and if that was not possible then second place was the best possible result for the Championship,” said Lorenzo. “Dani had a better pace in the end, I was stronger at the start then little by little I was a bit slower, the tires were slipping a lot and I couldn’t follow him. I nearly crashed in one corner and decided then to stay in second place and wait for the end of the race.”
Though the battle for third was close between Dovizioso, his teammate Cal Crutchlow
, Yamaha’s Ben Spies
, and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl the four riders were too far from Lorenzo to challenge for second after the opening laps. Spies rode with confidence off the start, slotting into third in the early laps and holding there for much of the early part of the contest. The Monster Yamaha duo was right behind though, tussling with Bradl through nearly every turn. On Lap 4, Bradl ran into trouble when his bike slid out from underneath him. He was unable to return to the race, earning him his second DNF of the season. Dovi and Crutchlow still trailed Spies after Bradl’s crash, and held in the fourth and fifth spots until after mid-race. With 13 laps remaining, Dovi moved past his teammate after Crutchlow ran just off track into a patch of grass, slowing enough to allow the Italian an easy move to fourth. Four laps later, Dovi was able to push past Spies into third. Crutchlow was still hungry for a podium finish though and he too got past Spies a few laps later. He and Dovi proceeded to battle for third right to the finish, passing and re-passing one another a number of times in the final laps. Crutchlow ultimately took fourth, just a fraction of a second behind Dovizioso. Spies held steady, uncontested from behind, in fifth.
Andrea Dovizioso (4) made it past Ben Spies (11) and his teammate Cal Crutchlow to take third at Aragon.
“It was a very strategic race for me because right from the start I was quite slow in a few corners so I had to work very hard to stay in front of Ben and Cal,” said Dovizioso. “I knew Cal would be pushing very hard at the end of the race because a few times we have battled together like this and I have beaten him, so I knew he would not be giving up without a fight. He tried in the same place on the last two laps but at that point he couldn't stop the bike and I had a better exit speed to immediately take the third position back. And I know I am very strong on the brakes, so going to the last corner I was confident I could keep him behind me.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista
rode a lonely race and finished in sixth followed by Repsol replacement rider Jonathan Rea in seventh. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi
took eighth after battling back from last place, following an incident where he was pushed off track by Rea early in the race. Heading into a turn, Rossi was on the outside of Rea near the edge of the track.By the time had come to lean into the turn, it was too late for Rossi to make the attempt and remain safely in competition so he opted to sit up. Luckily there was a portion of unused track right in front of him, so he was able to loop around and rejoin the field, albeit at the back of the pack. Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham followed the Doctor in ninth and Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar lead the CRT field finishing in 10th.
Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden had a frightening moment on Lap 2 of the contest, running off track after losing grip. He was unable to slow the bike enough before reaching the barrier and hit the wall head on. Hayden was thrown from his bike and flipped through the air over the wall and was promptly taken to the medical center for examination. The latest report following the race confirmed that he had not lost conscious and remained able to move his body.
Lorenzo remains the points leader with an advantage of 33 over Pedrosa. The injured Casey Stoner holds to third, but has lost hope of defending his championship title when he returns, trailing Lorenzo by 104. Dovizioso sits in fourth and has a real shot of moving past Stoner into third overall if he’s able to finish ahead of the Australian rider when he returns. Crutchlow remains in fifth followed by Rossi in sixth.
MotoGP Aragon Results 2012:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
4. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
7. Jonathan Rea (Honda)
8. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
9. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART)
11. Randy de Puniet (ART)
12. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
13. Yonny Hernandez (BQR)
14. James Ellison (ART)
15. Michele Pirro (FTR)
16. Mattia Pasini (ART)
17. Danilio Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
18. Colin Edwards (Suter)
MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 290
2. Dani Pedrosa, 257
3. Casey Stoner, 186
4. Andrea Dovizioso, 179
5. Cal Crutchlow, 135
6. Valentino Rossi, 128
7. Alvaro Bautista, 128
8. Stefan Bradl, 115
9. Nicky Hayden, 93
10. Ben Spies, 88