Stoner hails ‘greatest race’ in Spanish MotoGP
JEREZ, Spain (AFP) – Australia’s defending world champion Casey Stoner won the Spanish MotoGP here on Sunday for his first win in the race and said it was the greatest race he had ever ridden.
The Honda rider beat home Spain’s 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha while another Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was third on a Honda in his 100th race.
English rider Cal Crutchlow just failed to edge out Pedrosa for third and recorded his second successive fourth place.
Lorenzo – who was left frustrated in his bid to become the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2001 to win the first two races – retains his lead in the overall standings after winning the race opener in Qatar where Stoner finished third.
Stoner, though, was ecstatic at his victory on a track which he has said he hates and where he had only previously finished on the podium once.
“That is the greatest race I’ve ever done,” said the 26-year-old, who extended his run of 17 successive podium finishes.
“I had a poor start and the conditions were dodgy at first but the bike was working fantastic.
“However, having taken the lead I felt my arm start to pump (he has been suffering from an arm injury) and I thought, oh no!
“Thankfully when I saw the two laps to go marker more blood seemed to flow through my arm and I felt a lot better and strong enough to hold on.”
Lorenzo said he had desperately wanted to deliver victory to his home fans.
“Sadly I was not strong enough today and Casey rode a remarkable race,” he said.
Pedrosa took the lead on the first corner ahead of Lorenzo while Crutchlow overtook Hayden but the Englishman fell back to fifth by the end of the lap.
Stoner produced a wonderful manoeuvre with 25 laps remaining and overtook Pedrosa and Lorenzo to take the lead.
Stoner and Lorenzo had opened up a bit of a gap on third-placed American Nicky Hayden with 22 laps to go, while Pedrosa was struggling to make an impact back in fifth and finding it difficult to pass Andrea Dovizioso.
Two laps later, though, down the straight Pedrosa at last found the speed to move smoothly past both Dovizioso and Hayden to go third but the Spaniard was almost three seconds adrift of Lorenzo.
Lorenzo gradually put the pressure on Stoner and with eight laps remaining the Spaniard was right on the shoulder of the Australian, only to make an error on a corner with six laps to go.
Pedrosa also was starting to cut into the gap with the front two while Crutchlow was impressing in fourth and setting fastest laps at will as he tried to get onto the podium.
However, Stoner fought off Lorenzo’s challenge by posting the fastest time on the penultimate lap while Pedrosa’s charge petered out as he focussed instead on holding off Crutchlow.
“I was a little careful in the beginning,” said Pedrosa, who had never in his six previous races here finished outside the top two.
“I never really found my rhythm and by the time I had passed ‘Dovi’ (Dovizioso) and Nicky (Hayden) the front two were too far ahead.”
Earlier Spanish rider Pol Espargaro had won a rain-shortened Moto2 Grand Prix, while 16-year-old Italian Romano Fenati won the Moto3 race.
The next races are in Portugal next weekend.
Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 157.3 45’33.897
2 20 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 157.2 +0.947
3 16 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 157.1 +2.063
4 13 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 157.1 +2.465
5 11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 156.2 +18.100
6 10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 156.0 +21.395
7 9 6 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 155.6 +28.637
8 8 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 155.6 +28.869
9 7 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 155.3 +34.852
10 6 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 155.3 +35.103
11 5 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 155.1 +38.041
12 4 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Elec. Aspar ART 153.2 +1’12.728
13 3 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda 152.9 +1’18.669
14 2 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 152.3 +1’29.142
15 1 22 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 152.1 +1’32.478
16 5 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Suter 151.7 +1’40.577
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 150.6 1 Lap