Stoner Gains Ground With Victory; Edwards' Start Streak Ends
Defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is hearing the wail of a Honda engine more closely than ever after Casey Stoner won the Grand Prix of Catalunya on June 5, cutting Lorenzo’s lead in the MotoGP World Championship to just seven points.
2007 MotoGP World Champion Stoner took the lead from Lorenzo on Lap 1 of the 25-lap race on the Circuit de Catalunya and rode his Repsol Honda to a comfortable, 2.403-second victory over Lorenzo’s Yamaha Factory Racing machine. It was Stoner’s second consecutive victory and third of the season, and he closed to within 98-91 of leader Lorenzo in the series standings.
“We got a reasonably good start but not as good as Jorge,” Stoner said. “I wanted to try to pass him early on but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point, I just tried to put in the consistent laps, as we did in the practice sessions, to see if he could stay with me. Fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure.”
Lorenzo’s Yamaha Factory Racing teammate, American Ben Spies, finished third, 4.291 seconds behind Stoner. It was Spies’ first podium finish of the season.
“The bike was great, and I felt good on it and just needed a good result,” Spies said. “After the first couple of laps, I realized we had a shot at a podium, so I rode as hard as I could.”
The starting grid was missing two of its top riders, 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa and American veteran Colin Edwards, both recovering from broken collarbones. Pedrosa suffered his injury in a crash with Marco Simoncelli last month at the Grand Prix of France, while Edwards was hurt in a practice crash Friday.
Edwards had surgery Saturday to insert a titanium plate and 13 screws into his shattered right collarbone and wanted to try to start the race Sunday to extend his streak of never missing a Grand Prix during his MotoGP career, which started in 2003. But he was not granted medical clearance by track doctors and saw his streak of 141 consecutive starts end.
Edwards is expected to be back aboard his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine June 10-12 for the Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone. Pedrosa’s return remains uncertain.
The other American on the grid, 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, finished eighth on his Ducati.
Once surprise pole sitter Simoncelli was passed by five riders on the first lap, the remaining drama came about midway through the race when very light rain began to fall. Teams began to prepare backup bikes with rain tires, but the skies never opened enough for riders to need to switch to their rain machines.
BARCELONA, Spain – Results of the 25-lap Grand Prix of Catalunya MotoGP race, with position, rider, country, motorcycle, time behind winner. All riders on Bridgestone tires:
1. Casey Stoner Australia Ducati
2. Jorge Lorenzo Spain Yamaha +2.403
3. Ben Spies United States Yamaha +4.291
4. Andrea Dovizioso Italy Honda +5.255
5. Valentino Rossi Italy Ducati +7.371
6. Marco Simoncelli Italy Honda +11.831
7. Cal Crutchlow Great Britain Yamaha +26.483
8. Nicky Hayden United States Ducati +33.243
9. Loris Capirossi Italy Ducati +43.092
10. Karel Abraham Czech Republic Ducati +43.113
11. Hector Barbera Spain Ducati +44.224
12. Alvaro Bautista Spain Suzuki +45.239
13. Toni Elias Spain Honda +58.268
NC Randy de Puniet France Ducati +22 laps
NC Hiroshi Aoyama Japan Honda +22 laps
NC – Not classified
Fastest lap: Stoner, 1:43.084, Lap 5; Pole lap: Simoncelli, 1:42.413
Riders: Lorenzo 98, Stoner 91, Dovizioso 63, Pedrosa 61, Rossi 58, Hayden 47, Spies 36, Aoyama 36, Simoncelli 32, Crutchlow 30, Barbera 26, Abraham 24, Edwards 21, Elias 20, Capirossi 16, Bautista 11, De Puniet 6, Hopkins 6.
Manufacturers: Honda 120, Yamaha 98, Ducati 63, Suzuki 17.
CASEY STONER (Repsol Honda Team, winner): “We got a reasonably good start but not as good as Jorge. I wanted to try to pass him early on but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point, I just tried to put in the consistent laps, as we did in the practice sessions, to see if he could stay with me. Fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure. I was really happy; the bike was feeling fantastic. And then it started to rain. There was enough rain there to make you think that it will affect the bike, and in the last corner there was enough rain to make the track slippery. As I was always the first to arrive to the wet area of the track, I watched what the others were doing, and if they had started to catch me, then I would push. And if I start to pull an advantage, then I would back off a little. I'm just happy I kept the bike upright at this stage, and I want to thank all my team at Repsol Honda for all the hard work this weekend.”
JORGE LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing, second): “I’m really happy with the result. I gave it the maximum! I overtook Casey on the start, but I knew he could overtake me. I tried to stay with him and not to lose his back wheel for as long as possible. At the end, it started to rain a little and it was tough to keep concentration in the last sector, but we managed it. We are still leading the championship, so let’s see what happens in Silverstone.”
BEN SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing, third): “We just kept pushing and pushing, and we were slowly catching up to Jorge, not necessarily to try and catch and pass him but to stay away from Andrea. The bike was great, and I felt good on it and just needed a good result. After the first couple of laps, I realized we had a shot at a podium, so I rode as hard as I could. The tire was a good choice for us today. We did what we came here to accomplish, and that’s good enough. Big thanks to the team who worked hard to deliver a great package this weekend. Bring on Silverstone!”
MORE AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Team, eighth): “I thought I could do better than that. I actually got a good start and the tires came right in, so the first couple laps I thought we might be on for a good result. We used up the tire really quickly, though, and almost immediately I was spinning a lot, especially in the long corners. We had some ideas to maybe help that, but we couldn’t try them in the morning because it was wet, and it was too much of a gamble to try in the race. The rest of the bike felt really good. When the raindrops came, you definitely had to stay on your toes. I ended up in eighth, where we qualified, which I’m not thrilled with since normally we’ve been able to move up in the races. It will be a short week, so we need to understand the data and see what we get in Silverstone.”
COLIN EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3, did not start): “I’m a little bit disappointed with the decision not to let me ride because while it’s not a lifelong ambition never to miss a MotoGP race, it was a run I was pretty proud of. I understand the decision, but my shoulder feels great. Dr. Xavier Mir has done an amazing job on my collarbone because it was smashed, but it was never my intention to do the full race. I just wanted to start, do a couple of laps and pull in. I only considered it because I was here in Barcelona, and