The Racing Capital
of the World
April 27, 2012 | By Paul Kelly
A preview of the Grand Prix of Spain MotoGP World Championship event April 29:
Jorge Lorenzo passed reigning World Champion Casey Stoner with three laps remaining and held on for victory Sunday, April 8 in the Grand Prix of Qatar, the 2012 season opener.
2010 World Champion Lorenzo, from Spain, rode his factory Yamaha to victory by .852 of a second over Dani Pedrosa, Stoner’s teammate at Repsol Honda. Stoner ended up third, 2.908 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden led the American contingent, finishing sixth on a factory Ducati after chasing a tough fight with Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera over the closing laps.
Jorge Lorenzo: Spaniard Lorenzo surprised many by winning the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar from the pole since reigning World Champion Casey Stoner led all three preseason tests. Lorenzo’s Yamaha M1 chassis appears to avoid the “chatter” vibration problem under braking and acceleration that is plaguing the Honda RC213V machines of Stoner and Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa. The good times could keep rolling for Lorenzo at Jerez, as he has won this race the last two years.
Cal Crutchlow: Brit Crutchlow was among the top six in all three preseason tests on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, and he backed it up by finishing fourth at Qatar. Crutchlow could be the breakthrough rider in the premier class during his second season in MotoGP.
Casey Stoner: Australian Stoner led all three preseason tests but faded to a disappointing third on his Repsol Honda at the Grand Prix of Qatar after suffering from painful arm pump over the closing laps. The team’s RC213V also is suffering from troublesome “chatter” vibration under braking and acceleration. History indicates Jerez isn’t a good spot for Stoner to rebound, either. His best finish at Jerez is third, in 2009.
Valentino Rossi: After suffering through the first winless season of his career in 2011, Italian Rossi’s troubles continue at Ducati. He finished 10th at Qatar and called the Ducati GP12 “unrideable” in a stunning diatribe to the Italian media after the race. Rossi had a controversial collision with Casey Stoner last season at Jerez that eliminated Stoner from the race.
BY THE NUMBERS
Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi is scheduled to make his 200th career start in the premier class at this event. Only Alex Barros (245) and Loris Capirossi (217) have made more starts … Casey Stoner has recorded 16 consecutive podium finishes, the fourth-longest streak in 500cc/MotoGP history. The last time Stoner finished outside of the top three was this event last year … If Moto3 points leader Maverick Vinales of Spain wins this event, he will become the youngest rider ever to win four consecutive Grand Prix events. Vinales, 17, won the last two races of the 2011 season … Romano Fenati of Italy finished second in his Grand Prix debut in the Moto3 class at Qatar. He’s the first rider to finish on the podium in his debut across all classes since Noriyuki Haga placed third in the 500cc class in the 1998 season opener at Suzuka, Japan.