MotoGP Race Preview: Grand Prix Of San Marino
A preview of the Grand Prix of San Marino MotoGP World Championship event Sept. 16:
Race: Grand Prix of San Marino
Date: Sunday, Sept. 16
Round: Thirteenth of 18 races in 2012
Circuit: Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Misano, Italy
Distance: 28 laps on 16-turn, 2.626-mile circuit
2011 Winner: Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha
2012 Points Leader: Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha
U.S. Riders: Nicky Hayden, ninth, 84 points; Ben Spies, 10th, 66; Colin Edwards, 17th, 17.
TV: MotoGP: 8 a.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 16, SPEED. Moto2: 4:30 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Sept. 16, SPEED. Moto3: Noon (ET) Tuesday, Sept. 18, SPEED.
Dani Pedrosa edged championship rival Jorge Lorenzo by .178 of a second to prevail in a scintillating last-lap duel Aug. 26 in the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Automotodrom Brno. Pedrosa trimmed Lorenzo’s lead in the MotoGP World Championship to just 13 points with six races remaining
The victory was the third of the season for Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa, who also won the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Spaniards Pedrosa and Lorenzo rarely were separated by more than a second during the 22-lap race.
Dani Pedrosa: Pedrosa has won two consecutive races on his Repsol Honda to pull to within 13 points of series leader and fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa will start from the pole at this event after edging Lorenzo by .018 of a second in qualifying Sept. 15. He won the last time he started from the pole, on Aug. 19 in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jonathan Rea: Northern Irishman Rea is getting the career opportunity of a lifetime, replacing injured World Champion Casey Stoner on a Repsol Honda in his MotoGP debut. This race could be an audition for a Honda satellite ride in MotoGP next season for World Superbike race winner Rea, who qualified ninth for this race.
Valentino Rossi: A season of despair continues at Ducati for seven-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. He has finished in the top five only once since placing a season-best second in May at the Grand Prix of France. Rossi never has found a solution for poor front-end grip on his Ducati and is leaving the team after this season to rejoin Yamaha.
Nicky Hayden: 2006 World Champion Hayden is attempting a comeback at this event from a broken right hand and concussion suffered in a big accident during qualifying last month at his home event, the Red Bull Indianapolis GP. He qualified 10th for this race, indicating his hand lacked strength and was in pain.
NEWS and NUMBERS
Northern Irishman Jonathan Rea will replace the injured Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda at this event. Rea, making his MotoGP debut, is a World Superbike race winner for Honda this season … Two riders who missed the Czech Republic Grand Prix on Aug. 26 due to injury, Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera, will return to ride their Ducatis at this event … This is the first MotoGP race at Misano, located just a few miles from the home of Marco Simoncelli, since Simoncelli’s tragic death in a racing accident last October at Sepang, Malaysia … Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, locked in a battle for the World Championship, have traded the top two finishing positions in four of the last five races this season … Cal Crutchlow became the first British rider in 12 years to finish on the podium in a premier-class race by finishing third Aug. 26 at the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic. The last podium finisher before Crutchlow was Jeremy McWilliams, who was third in 2000 at the British Grand Prix … American Ben Spies is scheduled to make his 50th career MotoGP start at this event.