News & Multimedia

Karel Abraham - Rookie Of The Year

Courtesy of Speed.com

While the battle for official 2011 MotoGP Rookie of the Year honors was not fought in the spotlight as it had been the year before with high-profile debutants Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista, and Hector Barbera, it was even more heated on track.

The season-long joust came down to the final lap of the final race, when Cal Crutchlow survived a (literal) attack from fellow MotoGP newcomer Karel Abraham, the Briton staying upright as the Czech pilot fell to the earth after the two collided in a desperate clash for the honor.

And as such the Dorna's 'Rookie of the Year' title ended up exactly where most everyone figured it would -- to Crutchlow, who continued to do his best to fill the very large boots of Spies, the rider he ably replaced the season prior with the Yamaha World Superbike outfit, scoring three wins and six poles a year after taking the World Supersport crown, and the rider whose seat he claimed again in '11 at Tech3 Racing with Spies graduating up to the official Yamaha squad.

While perhaps not quite at Spies' level in terms of sheer talent, Crutchlow managed to add his already rock-solid CV in 2011 by narrowly defeating his rookie rival.

However, while Crutchlow's performance was pretty much as expected, Abraham's came as something of a revelation.

In six years on the undercard, the 21-year-old Czech racer had never really been much more than a mid-packer (and that might be a bit generous). While he did happen to score a couple of late season Moto2 podiums in 2010 -- including a victory in the season finale -- those results only provided a degree of late justification for his advancement into the premier class in 2011, not as the reason for it. By that point he was already MotoGP-bound despite barely eking his way into the Moto2 Championship top ten with his strong finish.

A fair amount of scoffing and eye rolling took place when Abraham's '11 plans were first announced at a time when the youngster was 0-87 in Grand Prix podium attempts.

In fact, Abraham might have been held up as an prime example of everything wrong with modern day MotoGP racing, clearly buying his way to the upper ranks thanks to the money and influence of his father, Karel Abraham, Sr. owner of the Brno race circuit, the Cardion medical supplies firm, and Jr.'s race team.

However, despite being saddled with satellite Ducati equipment -- a career killer if there every was one -- as opposed to Crutchlow's comparatively sweet-handling Yamaha M1, Abraham acquitted himself quite nicely in the ruthless MotoGP battleground.

Sure, he started off slow, ranking dead last among all finishers in the season opener at Losail. And yes, he took his lumps, tossed around like a rag doll by his unforgiving Desmosedici on a number of occasions. But he also rung up eight top tens and regularly outpaced his considerably more experienced Ducati-mounted rivals, including back-to-back outings where he ranked as the fastest Ducati in qualifying (an impressive second-row sixth at Silverstone followed by a seventh slotting at Assen).

Over the course of his rookie season Abraham proved -- at the very least -- that he belonged and that was statement enough.

Karel Abraham -- SPEED.com's MotoGP Rookie of the Year.

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Karel Abraham - Rookie Of The Year
 
Karel Abraham - Rookie Of The Year
The season-long joust came down to the final lap of the final race, when Cal Crutchlow survived a (literal) attack from fellow MotoGP newcomer Karel Abraham, the Briton staying upright as the Czech pilot fell to the earth after the two collided in a desperate clash for the honor.
Read More
Related Media
Juan Pablo Montoya
 
Pruett's Preview: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio
Juan Montoya has been chasing his second win at Mid-Ohio since he was an IndyCar rookie in 1999. The assortment of numbers involved with the 40-year-old Colombian’s chase for a follow-up victory at the awesome 2.3-mile road course make for an interesting open-wheel time capsule:
Read More
Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational
 
SVRA Schedules "Open Wheel World Challenge" at IMS in 2017
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced an expansion of its events with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway through the “The SVRA Open Wheel World Challenge,” for June 8-11, 2017. The event, planned to occur one week prior to the 2017 Brickyard Invitational, is expected to showcase as many as 500 cars. SVRA officials describe it as an homage to the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford racing. In addition to Formula Ford, any open wheel car, including Formula One, Formula 5000, Indy cars, Indy Lights, Formula Vee, and Formula Junior will be invited. Specific race groups will be established that combine cars of similar speed and will focus on rules for Monoposto, FIA, and SCCA race cars.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
No Catching Dominant Busch at Prolonged Brickyard
Never before had a driver in this NASCAR race been so dominant, but the defending Sprint Cup Series and Brickyard 400 champion had to endure a series of four restarts beginning on Lap 153 that prolonged a 160-lap race 10 additional laps at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart
 
Two Hoosiers, One Final Memorable Moment at The Brickyard
Tony Stewart couldn’t imagine a better farewell, aside from winning, than to invite Jeff Gordon for one more 2.5-mile drive at the track that has meant so much to both NASCAR rivals. Sunday was supposed to be Stewart’s final Brickyard 400. Last year was supposed to be Gordon’s swan song.
Read More
Kyle Busch
 
Kyle Busch Wins 2016 Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver dominated Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard, leading 149 of 170 laps from the pole and surviving four restarts late in his No. 18 Skittles Toyota. He joined Jimmie Johnson (2008-09) as the only driver to repeat in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,289
Reserve one of our hospitality suites for your next event!
To start planning your event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway please fill out our Information Request Form or contact Laura Wyamn at (317) 492-8557 or email at lwyman@brickyard.com.
Latest Tweets
RT @FamilyFeudABC: In case you're wondering how the @IndyCar men drive for so long! #CelebrityFamilyFeud https://t.co/F1z6FaStQd
about 5 hours ago