MotoGP Race Report: Grand Prix of Catalunya
INDIANAPOLIS, Sunday, June 3, 2012 – Jorge Lorenzo extended his lead in the MotoGP World Championship with a victory Sunday, June 3 in the Grand Prix of Catalunya, his third win of the 2012 season.
But unlike his last win, a lights-to-flag march of domination in a wet race May 20 at Le Mans, this triumph came after a tough fight in dry conditions.
2010 World Champion Lorenzo beat fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa to the finish by 5.003 seconds on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine. Andrea Dovizioso held off reigning World Champion Casey Stoner for third, ending Stoner’s streak of 19 consecutive top-three finishes dating back to May 2011.
“I’m really happy with this victory, as it was a very tough weekend,” Lorenzo said. “We performed a lot better than yesterday, as in qualifying it was very hot. The grip on the track after the rain this morning was also not so great.”
Dovizioso’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate, Cal Crutchlow, rounded out the top five.
Lorenzo increased his lead over Stoner in the standings to 20 points, 115-95, with the victory. 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Lorenzo has finished second or better in all five races this season.
Spanish rivals Lorenzo and Pedrosa rode in tandem during this race after American Ben Spies fell out of the lead on Lap 3. On Lap 7, Lorenzo passed Pedrosa for the lead under braking on the long front straightaway at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain.
But five laps later, Pedrosa returned the favor on Lorenzo, taking the lead on the front straight. Lorenzo hung on Pedrosa’s rear wheel for the ensuing lap but was late in the brakes in Turn 1 on the next lap, running wide to the edge of the track and handing a lead of 1.1 seconds to Pedrosa.
Lorenzo then chewed into Pedrosa’s lead, capitalizing on better grip after choosing a softer tire compound than Pedrosa.
On Lap 20, Lorenzo had closed to the rear wheel of Pedrosa. They rode in lockstep around the track before Pedrosa popped a big wheelie exiting a corner. That slight mistake allowed Lorenzo to power past in the next corner and take a lead he never would surrender.
It was a tough race for American riders.
2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden finished ninth on his Ducati Team machine, slowed by a loss of feeling in his hand during the race. 2010 Rookie of the Year Spies crashed on Lap 3 when he drifted wide into the dirt right after passing Pedrosa for the lead. Spies remounted his Yamaha Factory Racing machine and rode through the field to finish 10th.
Colin Edwards wasn’t classified after his NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW shut down on the final lap, ending a race plagued by various mechanical problems.
The next race is the British Grand Prix on June 17 at Silverstone. The Red Bull Indianapolis GP is the 11th of 18 races this season, Sunday, Aug. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
PODIUM FINISHER QUOTES
JORGE LORENZO (Winner, Yamaha Factory Racing): “I’m really happy with this victory, as it was a very tough weekend. We performed a lot better than yesterday, as in qualifying it was very hot. The grip on the track after the rain this morning was also not so great. At the beginning of the race when I was following Ben and Dani, it was very easy to make a mistake under braking and touch them, so I waited calmly for my opportunity. When Ben made a mistake, I moved up. I followed Dani and watched him. He slowed his pace and eventually made a mistake, so I was able to pass him then give it full throttle.”
DANI PEDROSA (Second, Repsol Honda Team): “A second place is always a second, but I really wanted to win today. I cannot feel happy. We've worked very hard during the practice sessions to be ready to win, but finally we couldn't make it, so it's a little bit disappointing. I pushed as much as I could, but in the final laps I had some issues to stay on the racing line. I pushed my best in the middle of the race. I tried to attack, but with 10 laps remaining, I couldn't keep the pace. It was hard to control the bike on braking and in the exit of the corners, so I was defensive because I knew my corner speed was not so good. I made a mistake, and I had a big wheelie, so Jorge got past me and I couldn't follow him.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Third, Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “I am really happy to get my first podium for Yamaha, and this is a fantastic reward for all the effort my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew has put in since I came to this team. We have been building up to this result for a while now, but it is great to be battling at the front in MotoGP on a satellite machine, and I'm sure nobody expected us to be doing this so early. It was a very hard race because there wasn't a lot of grip, but I am really happy because I was able to fight very close to Pedrosa and Lorenzo, who are so strong on this track. I was only losing one- or two-tenths, and this is very positive. Maybe I could have stayed with them and fought for the win, but I made a small mistake, and that cost me a lot of time. I found my pace again, but in the final laps Casey and Cal caught me, but I was determined to finish on the podium. I could hear Casey's bike and knew he was looking to attack, but I tried to give my maximum while not making a mistake.”
AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Team, ninth): “It was very difficult for me because I started having a problem with my hand going to sleep. I felt it a little bit in qualifying yesterday, so we did some treatment last night with the team physio, but the problem returned in the race. I’ve had it happen a couple of other times in my career, and around here, with so much hard braking, I could hardly feel the brake lever or the throttle. On the straightaway, I could move my fingers and get some feeling back, but then it would return. My pace was OK in the beginning, but after that group got away, I really just tried to bring the bike home without crashing since I couldn't feel how hard I was braking.”
BEN SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing, 10th): “I’m more disappointed for the team than for me because I felt good with the bike, and we definitely had a bike to be on the podium today. I just made one mistake in the race and blew our chance. We were going good in the beginning, but I was getting impatient with Dani. He was holding me up, but I couldn’t make the pass on the straight, so I had to go for it on the brakes and unfortunately got out onto the edge of the track. I got up, and we got back into it, and our pace was pretty good. Unfortunately, it was too late to get back to the front.”
COLIN EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing, not classified): “I went out there today and did my best. Started changing the gears, going up through the gearbox, and the clutch started slipping and I wasn’t going anywhere. Everybody passed me on the straight into Turn 1. I got going, and the bike just felt so different than it did yesterday: Tires reacting differently to the cooler temperature, couldn’t get them to stick in the bike. It just felt so stiff. The only way to steer the bike was with the throttle. Getting in the corner, we were lacking a lot of grip. I had to ride a lot different to how I did yesterday to try to survive and managed by slowly trying to keep the pace. The tire dropped off, and I dropped off a bit. And coming out of Turn 11, with five or six laps to go, it just kind of stopped, full throttle but no rpms, nothing was happening and I knew something broke, so I thought: “Well, the bike is still going, so I’ll try to survive the last couple of laps in case something happens and I can get points.” In the last lap on Turn 4, it just quit completely, and I would do about 3 miles an hour no matter what I did with the throttle. It wouldn’t even make it to the finish line, so I just came in the pits.”
Riders: Jorge Lorenzo 115, Casey Stoner 95, Dani Pedrosa 85, Andrea Dovizioso 60, Cal Crutchlow 56, Valentino Rossi 51, Alvaro Bautista 45, Stefan Bradl 43, Nicky Hayden 40, Hector Barbera 31, Ben Spies 24, Aleix Espargaro 15, Randy de Puniet 7, Mattia Pasini 6, Michele Pirro 6, James Ellison 5, Karel Abraham 4, Colin Edwards 4, Danilo Petrucci 4, Yonny Hernandez 3, Ivan Silva 1.
Manufacturers: Yamaha 115, Honda 106, Ducati 56, ART 19, FTR 6, Suter 4, Ioda 4, BQR-FTR 2, BQR 2.
MotoGP SUPPORT CLASS WINNERS
Moto2: Andrea Iannone, Italy, Speed Master Speed Up-Honda.
Moto3: Maverick Vinales, Spain, Blusens Avintia FTR Honda.
2012 tickets: Tickets for the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP event, scheduled for Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are on sale now at www.imstix.com, by calling (800) 822-INDY or (317) 492-6700 or by visiting the IMS Ticket Office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.
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