Perfect victory at Aragon for Stoner
Casey Stoner took another 25 points home at the Gran Premio de Aragón as the Australian took his eighth win of the 2011 season, with Dani Pedrosa crossing the line second and Jorge Lorenzo third.
Stoner’s victory at the MotorLand circuit on Sunday gave Repsol Honda their 100th GP win as well as putting the Australian 44 points clear of defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).
Dani Pedrosa finished the round in second place behind his team mate, while Lorenzo made his way to the final podium spot. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) crossed the line 6 seconds behind Lorenzo to take fourth, a strong finish for the Italian despite running off track during his first attempt at passing the YZR-M1 of Ben Spies. Spies had a great start off the outside of the first row, leading into turn one in front of fellow front row starters Stoner and Pedrosa, but the two Repsol Honda riders passed him by lap two, and the American finished the race in fifth place.
Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) crossed the line sixth from an eleventh place start, passing Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) on lap 10 and holding the position to the finish line. Hayden and Héctor Barberá had a scrap for seventh, with the American passing the Mapfre Aspar rider on the penultimate lap.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) finished ninth, ahead of Valentino Rossi who started his Ducati Team machine from Pit Lane having used his seventh engine of the season in the warm up, with Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) in 11th.
A first lap crash for Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) caused Randy De Puniet to run off track to avoid the Czech rider, the Frenchman rejoining the race to finish 12th. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) also fell on the first lap and was unable to rejoin, while Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) collided with Toni Elías (LCR Honda) on lap 15, both riders going down in the gravel.
Spanish star Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) took the hole shot from pole position, with Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) immediately challenging for the lead, Redding taking over at the front by the end of lap one and Bradl taking over on lap four.
Meanwhile Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) made his way up to the lead pack off his tenth place start, along with Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) and Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2), which then marked the start of a breathtaking five-way fight for first position. Márquez broke from the pack on lap 13, but not without Iannone making it very difficult for the young Spaniard to get away.
The fight for second then commenced, with Iannone eventually crossing the line a tenth of a second ahead of fellow countryman Corsi, while De Angelis followed by half a second to take fourth. Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) was fifth ahead of Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing), and Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) who made a great comeback to take seventh, after dropping down into 16th position on lap 8.
Bradl dropped out of the leading pack by lap 16 with what appeared to be mechanical issues to finish the race in eighth, the lower than expected finish further denting the German rider’s Championship lead, with Márquez now trailing by just 6 points.
Ninth place went to Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP) after a video image was required to determine his position in front of Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) in tenth, the two crossing the line so closely it appeared simultaneous, while Redding finished 15th after dropping out of the lead group on lap 9.
With wind gusts up to 30kph, the single cylinder class race commenced with Bankia Aspar’s Nico Terol heading first into turn one at the MotorLand circuit pulling an immediate gap on the rest of the field and holding it to cross the line over 6 seconds ahead of second place finisher Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo).
A poor start from Zarco off the second row once again saw the Frenchman desperate to make his way up to the front, finally breaking from the pack to catch pole starter Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) with whom he then scrapped with for the second podium spot the entire race. Their battle lasted until the last lap when Faubel made a late braking pass in the second to last corner and lost the front, crashing out spectacularly and handing second to Zarco and third to Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), who had run the race in a lonely fourth position.
A thrilling race long battle for fifth place, which turned into fourth after Faubel’s DNF, saw Luis Salom (RW Racing GP) finish ahead of Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) and Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) in eighth, the pack of five finishing with just fractions of a second between each other and requiring a video image to determine sixth and seventh positions. Directly after the finish however, both Salom and Cortese were penalised for passing under a yellow flag and were therefore reclassified as finishing fifth and seventh, while Vázquez and Kent were moved to fourth and sixth respectively.
Adrián Martín (Bankia Aspar) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) completed the top ten, ahead of eleventh place finisher Marcel Schrötter (Mahindra Racing) and Luigi Morciano (Team Italia FMI) in 12th.