— Lorenzo records emphatic home-victory at Catalunya GP
On a weekend that featured tremendous races in all three MotoGP™ classes, it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who stormed to victory in the premier-class at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in front of his home crowd ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
After a wet morning warm-up, the field got away in dry conditions this afternoon, and it was Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa who got the holeshot from the second row, hotly pursued by Yamaha´s Ben Spies, who also had a tremendous start from fourth. Lorenzo pushed his way past Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner into third, as the whole grid was tightly bunched in the first lap.
Within a few corners, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso muscled his way past Stoner, who subsequently ran wide a lap later, also letting through the Italian’s teammate Cal Crutchlow. With 23 laps left, Spies, who looked to have the superior pace over Pedrosa, made a move on the Spaniard, yet ran wide and dropped his bike in the dirt. This put paid to what had been his most promising start to a race this season.
With 21 laps remaining, the front five of Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Crutchlow and Stoner started to pull out a gap to the following group, led by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista. On the same lap, Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez ran off track, yet managed to avoid the gravel trap.
Two laps later Lorenzo went past Pedrosa on the brakes down the home straight, while Stoner took Crutchlow for fourth shortly after. Further down the field, Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi passed LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl for seventh, and started pursuing Bautista. Spies, who did manage to remount after his crash, had made his way back to 12th at this point.
Pedrosa made use of superior drive on the straight with 14 laps left, as he passed Lorenzo in the slipstream, yet could not shake him on the ensuing lap. One lap later, Lorenzo was too late on the brakes into the first turn, letting Dovizioso close the gap once more, and making yet more work for himself to catch his compatriot at the front.
Dovizioso had a moment eleven laps before the end, dropping off the pace just briefly, while Crutchlow ran very deep into the first corner in his battle for fourth. Stoner, Pedrosa and Bradl were the only bikes in the top ten with the hard compound rear tyre, yet at the half way point there was no obvious advantage, as Lorenzo, on the softer compound, was slowly closing the gap to the Spanish Repsol Honda rider.
With just six laps remaining, Lorenzo was right on the rear wheel of Pedrosa, as the pair were involved in a nail-biting tussle for the lead. It was the Repsol rider who subsequently made a mistake with a big wheelie, which allowed Lorenzo past in the following corner. Behind the pair, Dovizioso, Stoner and Crutchlow where involved in a battle for third, whilst they were followed further down by Bautista and Rossi fighting it out for sixth.
With three laps to go, Lorenzo started to open up a small advantage, while Crutchlow was on the back of Stoner’s rear wheel, though was struggling to find a way past. The final lap however, saw the Australian drop the Brit and hunt down Dovizioso.
Yet in the end it was Lorenzo who took the chequered flag by over five seconds from Pedrosa, with Dovizioso holding off Stoner to take his first podium this year. The reigning world champion finished fourth, which is the first time he hasn’t stood on the podium since Jerez last year. The top ten were completed by Cal Crutchlow, Álvaro Bautista, Valentino Rossi, Stefan Bradl, Ducati’s Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies. Top CRT honour went to local rider Aleix Espargaró on board his Power Electronics Aspar machine.
Lorenzo now has a 20 point lead in the championship over Stoner, with Pedrosa a further ten points behind.
Race Result – Round 5
1 Jorge Lorenzo 43’07.681 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa +5.003 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Andrea Dovizioso +9.361 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Casey Stoner +9.544 AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
5 Cal Crutchlow +12.506 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Alvaro Bautista +13.948 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
7 Valentino Rossi +17.555 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Stefan Bradl +23.478 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden +30.410 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Ben Spies +32.897 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
11 Hector Barbera +36.144 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Karel Abraham +56.229 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
13 Aleix Espargaro +1’08.054 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Michelle Pirro +1’08.775 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
15 Randy De Puniet +1’10.483 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
16 James Ellison +1’13.090 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
17 Mattia Pasini +1’20.903 ITA ART Speed Master
18 Yonny Hernandez +1’21.235 COL BQR-FTR BQR
19 Danilo Petrucci +1’41.207 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
20 Ivan Silva +1’41.888 SPA BQR-FTR BQR
21 Colin Edwards + 1 lap USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
1 Jorge Lorenzo 115 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Casey Stoner 95 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Dani Pedrosa 85 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 60 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Cal Crutchlow 56 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Valentino Rossi 51 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Alvaro Bautista 45 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
8 Stefan Bradl 43 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden 40 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Hector Barbera 31 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
11 Ben Spies 24 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
12 Aleix Espargaro 15 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 7 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Mattia Pasini 6 pts ITA ART Speed Master
15 Michelle Pirro 6 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 James Ellison 5 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
17 Danilo Petrucci 4 pts ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
18 Colin Edwards 4 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Karel Abraham 4 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
20 Yonny Hernandez 3 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
21 Ivan Silva 1 pts SPA BQR-FTR BQR
22 Chris Vermeulen 0 pts AUS SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
— Moto 2
At the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya it was Andrea Iannone who took his first victory of the season in a thrilling Moto2™ race in front of Tom Lüthi and Marc Márquez.
Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Márquez took the holeshot, as an almighty scrap for second place ensued behind. Turn one already saw S/Master Speed Up’s Mike di Meglio, Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón, Federal Oil Gresini’s Gino Rea and Italtrans Racing’s Claudio Corti involved in a crash, with only Corti making it back out on track. None of the riders were hurt.
Márquez’s good jump from the line was short lived as Speed Master’s Iannone took advantage of the Spaniard running wide. He led the initial stages from Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías, in front of Márquez and Interwetten-Paddock’s Lüthi. Elías soon took second with a bold move, though was immediately taken by Márquez, who hunted down Iannone.
With 18 laps to go, Lüthi had made it into third, and a group with Iannone, Márquez and the Swiss rider soon started pulling out a led. On the same lap, Technomag-CIP’s Roberto Rolfo received a ride through penalty after a jump-start.
The scrap at the front was getting fierce with 18 laps left as Márquez passed Iannone down the straight, though the Italian stuck to the Spaniards rear wheel and took him back two laps later. Lüthi took advantage of this and put in a brave move on Márquez to take second. The scrap did however let Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s championship leader Pol Espargaró catch up to the back, making it a four way battle 11 laps from the end.
One lap later, Márquez retook Lüthi on the home straight to hunt down the Italian at the front. The pursuing group was being led by Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat ahead of Aegerter, Elías, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi and the Marc VDS Racing Team pair of Scott Redding and Mika Kallio.
Back at the front with nine laps to go Márquez got past Iannone on the straight, yet the Italian fought straight back and re-took him three corners later. Yet with seven laps to go Iannone ran wide, letting the Spaniard through once more. This was again short lived as the Italian fought back and re-took the lead. On the same lap, Elías crashed out of sixth place, yet walked away unscathed.
With five laps left, Espargaró started his charge through the pack, as he went past Lüthi to take third. However, with three laps remaining Lüthi overtook the local down the strait, as the four at the front were involved in an engrossing battle at the front.
With three laps left there was huge drama for the home crowd, as Lüthi went past Márquez, who subsequently almost lost the front of his bike. As he saved a near crash, he pulled back in front of Espargaró who was thrown off his bike in a violent fashion. He fortunately escaped any serious injury, though was visibly upset at loosing out in front of his home fans.
The last lap was equally as tense, as Lüthi, who had passed Iannone for the lead, was re-taken by the Italian in a brave move into turn one. The pair tussled fairing-to-fairing in the last lap, yet it was Iannone who held his nerve to take the win ahead of the Swiss rider and Marc Márquez. The top ten were completed by Esteve Rabat, Simone Corsi, Italtrans’ Takaaki Nakagami, Dominique Aegerter, GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher, Mika Kallio and Scott Redding.
The crash involving Espargaró and Márquez was subsequently investigated by Race Direction, which issued Márquez with 60-second penalty, relegating him to 23th spot. His team however appealed the penalty with the FIM Stewards, who did not confirm the decision, meaning it was consequently overturned. This leaves Márquez in second place in the championship, two points behind Lüthi. Protocol dictates that an appeal may be lodged with the FIM CDI.
— Moto 3
Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales won his home race from pole position at the Moto3™ round of the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya in dominant fashion, in front of Sandro Cortese and Miguel Oliveira.
Having started in dry conditions, it was AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin who got the holeshot, yet it was Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi who bravely pushed his way to the front in turn two, to lead the opening stages. Pole-sitter Viñales did not get a great start, as he was passed down to fourth by Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese.
RW Racing GP’s Luis Salóm also struggled at the start as he dropped to 11th place, while Bankia Aspar Team’s Hector Faubel was making his way up to the front group. An initial tussle ensued between Rossi, Cortese, Viñales, as well as Khairuddin, which was soon joined by JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who had a tremendous start.
Khairuddin led for a lap, yet was passed on the home straight by Viñales and Rossi. The Malaysian rider soon appeared to be struggling, as more riders passed him after running wide. With 18 laps to go, Viñales, Rossi and Vázquez started to pull out a small lead, ahead of the following group led by Cortese.
With 13 laps to go the leading group had grown to seven riders fighting it out, with Viñales leading from Rossi, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Márquez, Vázquez, Márquez’s teammate Miguel Oliveira, Cortese and Faubel. Viñales soon put the hammer down and was starting to pull away slightly, as he left the pursuing six to fight it out, with Cortese and Rossi passing aggressively going into turn one.
With 11 laps left, Team Italia FMI’s Alessandro Tonucci crashed out of the race, putting an end to his bid for points. A few laps later, Khairuddin, who came onto the straight in eighth place, pulled a stunning move into turn one to take second, though was pushed back to third a lap later by Rossi.
There was drama seven laps from the end as Vázquez crashed out of the fight for second, while Oliveira’s teammate Alex Rins also crashed out of his home race. Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou had joined the group and was making a bid for second place five laps before the end, although positions kept swapping frequently throughout. A lap before it was misery for Mahindra Racing Team, as Danny Webb crashed out and Marcel Schrotter retired with a mechanical issue.
With three laps remaining, the fight for final podium positions was fierce, with none of the Moto3 chargers wishing to budge. Adding yet another twist, Rossi’s exhaust was dangling off his bike, while early-season sensation, Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, caught up to the back of the group.
After a thrilling last lap, during which eight riders were scrapping it out for the final two podium spots, it was Viñales who took the chequered flag by over seven seconds ahead of Cortese and Oliveira, who recorded his first ever top three spot. They were closely followed by Louis Rossi, Alexis Masbou, Alex Márquez, Hector Faubel, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Romano Fenati, with Luis Salóm completing the top ten.
With his victory, Viñales has now closed the gap to championship leader Cortese to seven points.
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo claimed a superfluous victory in dominant form today in the Grand Prix of Catalunya, his third win of the season. Starting from second on the grid, the Championship leader tucked in behind team mate Ben Spies on the first corner, and held third until a mistake by Spies on lap two promoted him to second behind Dani Pedrosa. The two local heroes then battled it out exchanging the lead until six laps from the end where Lorenzo put the hammer down, moving into first and building a lead of over five seconds the line. This second consecutive victory puts him 20 points clear of closest rival Casey Stoner in the Championship standings and Yamaha nine points clear of Honda at the top of the Constructors Championship standings.
Fellow Yamaha Factory rider Spies made a fantastic start to the race, shooting from fourth on the grid to slot in behind Pedrosa in second on the first corner. After two laps sitting on the race leader’s back wheel the Texan made to pass but unfortunately ran wide and crashed. He was able to rejoin in last position and worked tirelessly to take ten places and move through the pack to tenth at the line. The result delivered six points, leaving him in 11th place in the standings ahead of Silverstone in two weeks time.
The team will now remain in Catalunya for a one day test tomorrow before moving to Aragon for a further one day test on Wednesday.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 1st – Time: 43’07.681
“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. Thank you so much to Yamaha and my team for working hard to make a great bike for today’s victory.”
Ben Spies / Position 10th – Time: +32.897
“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.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“This is our third victory and a very important win for Jorge at his home track. It’s also a very important moment of the season to have three victories and two second place finishes under the belt. It looks like we have a very strong package for the rest of the season and we will test new items tomorrow to make it even stronger. Jorge rode brilliantly and his team also worked extremely hard over the weekend to deliver the win.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“A fabulous race from Jorge, he ran the best race possible. He could control Dani until he decided to pass and go. Ben had a really good start and an impressive first two laps showing good feeling and fighting spirit. Unfortunately the crash happened but it was very important for us to see that his confidence was back. Tomorrow we will test some new things; some of them are very interesting to make us even more competitive. We are also really looking forward to Silverstone.”
Dovizioso storms to first Yamaha podium in Catalunya
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated its first MotoGP podium in nearly a year today after Andrea Dovizioso claimed a fantastic third place in the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya.
The Italian rider produced a display full of skill and determination in the early stages of the 25-lap race after he’d swept into third place on the third lap.
It was a position Dovizioso wasn’t to relinquish for the remainder of the race and for the opening 10 laps, he pressurised Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa while they battled for the lead in front of a partisan home crowd of nearly 80,000 fans.
A small mistake on lap 14 ended his stunning pursuit of Lorenzo and Pedrosa but Dovizioso rode a flawless second half of the race to keep hard charging Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow and reigning World Champion Casey Stoner at bay.
Stoner exerted intense pressure on Dovizioso on the final lap but he demonstrated ice cool concentration to claim his first Yamaha rostrum by less than 0.2s. Today’s outstanding performance from Dovizioso gave the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team its first podium since Colin Edwards was third in the British Grand Prix almost one year ago.
Today’s race perfectly illustrated the strength of the Monster Yamaha Tech Team’s line line-up in 2012, with Crutchlow claiming his fourth top five finish of the campaign.
The British rider started from the front row of the grid for the third time this season and like in Jerez and Le Mans, the 26-year-old produced an epic effort to try and secure his maiden MotoGP rostrum.
Crutchlow shadowed Stoner throughout but despite piling on the pressure he couldn’t force the Australian into making a mistake and he settled for fifth place. Crutchlow remains in the top five in the overall World Championship rankings heading to his home race at Silverstone on June 7.
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 3rd – Time: +9.361
“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 and to finish third is great for the whole Team. Now we can go to Silverstone with a lot of confidence.”
Cal Crutchlow / Position 5th – Time: +12.506
“I’d have liked to have battled for the podium at the end and I think if I could have passed Casey I could have gone with Andrea. I was strong in some parts of the track and Casey in others, so each time I’d close up, he would be able to pull away and manage the gap. I couldn’t do anything else to get by him but he’s not the World Champion for nothing. He rode brilliantly and I’ve got to be happy to be so close to him on a track I’ve only raced on twice now. I struggled for a bit of rear grip at the end and that cost me a bit of time but I qualified on the front row and finished in the top five, so there are so many positives to take away from this weekend. Now I’m really looking forward to my home race at Silverstone where I hope to be battling for the podium again in front of my own fans.”
Herve Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“Today was a fantastic advert for MotoGP with an exciting race and for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team it was obviously fantastic to be on the podium. We have been very close to this result before this season but it is so difficult to finish in the top three when you have Casey, Dani and Jorge lining up on the grid. But we were confident today because all weekend Andrea and Cal have been at the front and we had worked a lot on tyre management. Both of them got a good start and managed to stay in the leading group and Andrea did an amazing job to stay with Dani and Jorge. He made a small mistake, which scared us a little bit, but he recovered and rode brilliantly to keep Casey and Cal behind him. The last lap was nerve-wracking because Casey was pushing so hard, but Andrea remained very cool under pressure and to be on the podium is amazing, particularly in the dry. Andrea demonstrated what a top talent he is today and we look forward to see him fighting for the podium a lot more now. Cal also rode a great race and he was always pushing for the podium, which proves how strong our line-up is this season. To be right behind a rider as strong as Casey for so long is a great achievement and we are sure he will be battling for the podium again at his home race in Silverstone. Big congratulations also to Jorge and Yamaha. The YZR-M1 is a very competitive machine and we are grateful for the support Yamaha has given Tech 3 so we can fight for the front row and podium each weekend.”
— HRC Report
Local hero Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) rode to a determined second-place finish in today’s Catalan Grand Prix after a long battle with compatriot Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) had a tough race, crossing the line in fourth place, just behind Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha).
Following a wet morning warm-up, Stoner started from pole, but it was the fast-away Pedrosa who shot through from the second row to lead into turn one. The Spaniard stayed there for the first half dozen laps, except for a split second on lap three when Ben Spies (Yamaha) came past, ran wide and slid off. Lorenzo, however, was soon shadowing Pedrosa and moved ahead on lap seven. For the next few minutes Pedrosa bided his time, then moved ahead once more at the start of lap 12. For a while it looked like he might have made the race his own, but Lorenzo fought back after running wide at turn one and was able to take Pedrosa when the Honda rider ran wide at turn ten with five laps to go.
Reigning World Champion Stoner was never quite able to get on terms with the leading pair. Fifth at the end of the first lap he moved into fourth a few laps later, but was unable to make further progress due to issues with chatter and a rear tyre that did not work the way he had hoped. He spent the rest of the race behind Dovizioso, closing right up on the Italian in the final couple of laps, but he was unable to find a way past. This was the Australian’s first race finish off the podium since he joined Honda for the 2011 MotoGP season.
Pedrosa and Stoner were the only factory riders to choose the hard compound Bridgestone rear for this race because during practice they found the medium tyre ran too hot. Their factory Yamaha and Ducati rivals all went for the medium rear.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) had a strong race from the third row of the grid, coming through to a sixth-place finish after completing the first lap in tenth place. This result was the same as he scored at Jerez and Estoril, but this was his best race so far on the Honda because he was closer to the front than before.
MotoGP Rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) finished eighth following a brilliant showing in the early laps when he showed brilliant fighting spirit while battling with much more experienced rivals. From mid-distance the reigning Moto2 World Champion found himself all alone and he ended the race almost five seconds behind Valentino Rossi (Ducati).
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) enjoyed a great battle with several fellow CRT riders, eventually crossing the line in 14th for the third consecutive race. The Italian finished second best CRT, less than a second behind top CRT finisher Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) won a thrilling Moto2 race, beating Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter) by a fraction of a second on the last lap. Third-place finisher Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) was in the leading group all the way until he had a moment with two laps remaining which then had him in collision with Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HPvTuenti-Kalex) who crashed out. Marquez was later given a one-minute penalty for the incident, which put him 23rd in the final result.
The leading trio were very evenly matched, with overtaking opportunities hard to find in this ultra-close, Honda-powered series. Iannone led for much of the way, Marquez occasionally managing to grab the lead, only for Iannone to immediately snatch it back. Luthi did not make such a good start and took several laps to get with the leaders. Espargaro joined the lead group at half-distance, but found it difficult to make passes once he was there.
With three laps to go Luthi passed Marquez into turn ten, Marquez then almost crashed mid-corner and ran wide. When he came back on line he collided with Espargaro who was trying to pass on the inside. Espargaro had a heavy fall, but escaped with bruising.
That left Iannone and Luthi out on their own, with Marquez out of the fight, but still a very safe third. Luthi got ahead with one lap to go, then it was Iannone again. On the final lap Luthi made another move at turn ten, passing the Italian, but he could not hold his line and ran wide, allowing Iannone back into the lead. The pair crossed the line separated by just 0.08s.
Marquez finished a further 1.1s seconds back.
Luthi’s result – his fourth consecutive podium – moved him into the championship lead, 17 points in front of Espargaro and Iannone. Marquez is now fourth after no scores here and at Le Mans a fortnight ago.
Esteve Rabat (Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex) won the contest for fourth, 11 seconds behind Marquez, and was then promoted to third following Marquez’s penalty.
Rabat was followed over the line by Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR), Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team-Kalex), Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP Suter) and Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland – Kalex).
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) scored a crushing victory in the Moto3 race, at one point more than ten seconds ahead of the pack disputing second place. During the final few hundred metres the brilliant Spanish teenager slowed to cruise over the finish line 7.7s ahead of second-placed Sandro Cortese (KTM).
Vinales, who started the race from pole, spent the early laps in the thick of the group disputing the lead, then at half distance he got his head down and made the break. While his rivals argued over the same piece of tarmac, Vinales made the best use of the clear road to rapidly build a winning advantage.
The contest for second was a real thriller, with up to eight riders swapping positions at every corner. Cortese crossed the line just 0.1s ahead of podium first-timer Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda), who was a fraction ahead of Le Mans winner Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) who had led the early laps.
Just 0.593s separated second place from ninth place, with Honda riders showing well in the group. Alexis Masbou (Caretta Technology – Honda) was fifth, wild card (and younger brother of
Marc) Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) sixth and Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) ninth after coming through from 17th on the first lap.
Vinales’ second victory of the year puts him second in the World Championship chase, seven points behind Cortese.
Honda MotoGP rider quotes
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“A second place is always a second, but I really wanted to win today, so 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. We cannot be happy today, but I have to congratulate my team because they worked very hard this weekend and we have to keep pushing for the next races to start winning soon.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 4th
“I’m a little disappointed, we gave it everything at the end, but we just didn’t have the pace, especially in the beginning with the hard tyre. It seemed that only Dani could really make that tyre work today and he made it work better than us. With the performance we had during the weekend we expected to be a little stronger throughout the race, we knew the beginning was going to be tough, but we believed that towards the end we would be able to run a higher pace. We weren’t sure if the softer tyre was going to be a problem for us so we took the safer option today. We thought we had a better bike and better pace, but it didn’t come together. Still we came home with some points and we have the test here tomorrow to work on the chatter issues so I’m sure we’ll be back fighting at the top again soon.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th
“It is a shame that I didn’t get a perfect start. It’s bad enough being on the third row, but I managed to lose positions from there and had a tough battle to recover, especially with Valentino. The most pleasing thing about the fight with Rossi was that I passed him in the same place he passed Lorenzo for the win in 2009. Unfortunately the guys at the front had got too far ahead and by the time I was lapping at the same pace as them the tyres were dropping off and I couldn’t catch them. Next time we have to try hard to get a better position on the grid and make a better start but for now I am satisfied. It’s the same result as Jerez and Estoril, but with a much smaller gap to the podium and now we have the opportunity to build on it in the test tomorrow.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 8th
“In the first part of the race I could follow the top riders and I was very aggressive. But as soon as the tyres started to work properly we had some issue and it started spinning too much. We were on the hard tyre considering the last two days track temperature while the most of the guys in front were on the soft ones. Unfortunately the spinning started very early because we did not have enough edge grip compared to the other riders and we were also expecting to have more dry grip, but at the end it was not there. I am a bit frustrated because my potential and the bike package were there but we could not use the tyre correctly. Eighth position is still okay and in tomorrow’s testing day we are looking forward to improve the bike for future races”.
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th
“We always get a good start, but unlike the others I don’t seem to be able to push hard on fresh tyres. Over the rest of the race my pace is consistent so we need to work on not losing so much ground at the start of the race. I am sure we could have finished as the top CRT here today, but anyway this is still a good result and I had a lot of fun overtaking. I have to say a special thanks to the team, who are working round the clock to give me the means to do well. I do what I can and I am sure that if we continue to believe we will get our rewards.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Andrea Iannone, Speed Master – Speed Up: race winner
“I am delighted with this victory. It was very difficult because Thomas and Marc were both extremely fast. My plan was to be there all the way and keep a strong rhythm. I want to thank the team for their hard work, especially for getting the bike so good after warm-up. And I hope that this victory and the sound of the Italian national anthem have put a smile on the faces of all the people in Italy affected by the earthquakes.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: 2nd
“That was very tough, especially with the heat. The big point for me was losing some positions after the start, so I was quite scared that Marc and Andrea might break away. So I pushed hard and fought back, got into third and stayed there because there was no chance to make any passes. Marc tried and found the same thing. I tried hard to preserve my rear tyre for the end, but I soon understood that I wouldn’t have much traction for the last few laps. It was a nice fight, but when I passed Andrea on the last lap I couldn’t hold my line, which was a pity. I tried everything to win – I didn’t think about the championship.”
Esteve Rabat, Pons 40 HP Tuenti – Kalex: 3rd
“I am very happy with my second podium in Moto2, even though this time I wasn’t able to go to the podium to celebrate. Today the gap to the winner was a bit big and we must work to reduce it in the next races. Practice here did not go as expected, but in the race I made a step forward and if the opening laps had been better I might have been with the top four. The early laps were a big fight and when I escaped the first group were already far away. The end result makes me happy and hopeful for the upcoming races, but with the clear understanding we need to keep working hard to fight for the podium regularly.”
Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes
Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: race winner
“It was a little bit of a difficult race, because I was on my own up front for a long time. I pushed as hard as possible in order to get ahead. I wanted to escape anyway that I could and I kept my focus in every moment. It looked difficult at the start to get away, because the track was not in great condition and I didn’t know whether it was going to rain or not. However, when I saw the sun come out I decided to push. When I tried to break away from other riders slipstreaming me, I began to make a real gap. At one point I had a two-lap spell in which I really extended my advantage, when I really went all-out and achieved my best laps. I used the mindset that I had the others close behind and didn’t lose focus.”
Miguel Oliveira, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter-Honda: 3rd
“That was a difficult race, because of the high temperatures that we have had here. In my group we were all going slower than Maverick, so he was able to escape. I had a battle with Efrén Vázquez and my teammate Álex Rins, and it was then that I lost ground. On the final lap I gave my all in order to get that podium, and I was able to do that. A first podium is always something special, and I’m sure that I won’t forget it. We are very consistent and I think that we will only improve as the season goes on. We have to carry on in the same way as up to now.”
Louis Rossi, Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda: 4th
“That was a very exciting race and also very important because it shows that we have taken another step forward after my win at Le Mans in the wet, because now we can fight for the podium in the dry. That’s the most important thing. At the start I was alone with Vinales, then everyone else came back at us. At the end I was fighting with Oliveira and we were so, so close to being on the podium.”
— Ducati Report
After a warm-up session that was affected by mixed conditions, with just enough rain to render it useless, the Catalan Grand Prix took place in the dry, though with cooler temperatures than had marked the previous two days.
Valentino Rossi finished seventh, still far from the type of results for which both he and the Ducati Team are working so hard, but there were very promising signs in today’s lap times and in the gaps to the top positions, as the Italian ran at a competitive pace for much of the 25-lap race.
Hayden, seventh at the finish, was also fast in the early stages, only to be slowed when he lost feeling in his right hand.
The Ducati Team will remain in Barcelona tomorrow for an official one-day test, during which they’ll confirm the progress made over the weekend and carry out additional checks with the settings, chassis, and electronics. Another test will be held on Wednesday at the Aragon track.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“Today went pretty well, and in some ways, it was the best dry race of the year so far: I finished closer to the group in front of me, and the gap in lap times was about half a second, which is the smallest that we’ve had so far. Of course we’re still only talking about a seventh-place finish, but nonetheless we reached our current potential in the dry. At a certain point in the race, I thought I could catch and pass Bautista, who himself wasn’t far from Stoner and the others. Unfortunately, toward the end I lost performance from my rear tyre, which we tend to stress too much since I oversteer with it in the corners when the front needs some help. Now we have two days of important testing, and we’ll try the aluminium swingarm again, along with some setup ideas in an effort to gain a bit more front grip, to help the bike to corner better. We hope to take another small step, because the riders who were ahead of me today weren’t ‘too far’ ahead.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 9th
“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 okay 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. Hopefully it won’t come up in the tests, because I think we can make some improvements.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“I’m satisfied with the work we did this weekend, and with the capability of the team, which let us make some real advances in today’s race. Following the Mugello test, we wanted to check some things that we had introduced there. The team was prepared to use the new electronics package, whereas the aluminium swingarm will require more testing. In today’s race, Valentino reduced the gap to the front to about a half-second per lap, which is still significant in absolute terms, but in any case it’s a step forward considering how big our disadvantage has been in the dry until now. Seventh place isn’t a result that either we or he can be satisfied with, but his times and his pace for much of the race were promising. Unfortunately, Nicky’s race was affected by a physical problem, but over the course of weekend he also did some good work that helped him to obtain his best qualifying position at this track since he’s been with Ducati, and that’s another positive sign. We’ll try the swingarm again tomorrow, along with some bike settings, continuing in the direction we’ve taken.”
After winning the Claiming Rules Team (CRT) class at the French Grand Prix last month, PBM UK rider James Ellison was once again in the thick of the action in today’s Catalunya Grand Prix as he battled to a 16th place finish in round five of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
Aboard the PBM UK Aprilia ART at the track just outside Barcelona, the 31-year-old rider from Kendal qualified on row six of the grid as fourth fastest CRT bike and made a good start to the race. Briefly leading the CRT class in the opening stages, the former World Endurance and double European champion continued to battle with the leading runners and at the chequered flag, he claimed fourth place in the CRT class and just missed out on adding to his World Championship points.
What was particularly encouraging was the fact that Ellison was only five seconds behind the leading CRT bike of Aleix Espargaro at the end of the 25-lap race which shows what considerable progress the Penrith-based team is making in their first season in the MotoGP World Championship.
Next up is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks’ time whereby not only will Ellison be in action in the MotoGP race at his home track, the team’s British Superbike Championship riders Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton will be contesting the ‘Silverstone 200’ support race on board their Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10Rs.
James Ellison: “I was happy with my pace but disappointed not to get into the points and stay with the leading trio of CRT bikes at the end. It didn’t help that I was missing gears down the straights so that is something we are going to look into. On a good lap I could close right in but then the problem would reoccur and I lost the time I’d made up. I’d like to say a big thanks to the team as they worked their butts off to get the bike ready after warm up where I crashed and we are now looking forward to testing the bike tomorrow. All things considered it was a good, solid race and I can’t wait for Silverstone to see the home fans!”
Phil Borley Technical Director: “That was James’ best dry race performance and proved that we’re now becoming very competitive with the other CRT bikes. He had a gearbox issue which stopped him challenging later on and also, he hurt his leg during the warm up crash but it’s a shame we didn’t get into the World Championship points. This is a big step forward for us in the dry and we are now looking towards Silverstone where we will get the full allocation of front tyre options which will also help us improve.”
Ellison will be joined by Shane Byrne at tomorrow’s test in Catalunya where the two riders will compare data and feedback aboard the Aprilia ART in a bid to develop the planned all-British project further.
— Appeal Decision
Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya: decision of the Race Direction and FIM Stewards
On Sunday 03 June during the Moto2 Race, rider Marc MARQUEZ (SPA) rode in an irresponsible manner causing danger to rider Pol ESPARGARO (SPA) which is an infringement of the article 1.21.2 of the 2012 FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.
The Race Direction decided to impose on the rider a time penalty of 1 minute to be added on his race time.
An appeal has been lodged with the FIM Stewards.
The FIM Stewards did not confirm the decision of the Race Direction and cancelled the penalty.
An appeal may now be lodged with the FIM CDI.
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 28-28°C; Track 38-39°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo extended his championship lead after emerging victorious from an exciting duel with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa.
Pedrosa got a great start from the second row to lead for the opening laps and after swapping the lead with Lorenzo a couple of times, Lorenzo made the decisive pass with six laps remaining and sped away to win by 5.003 seconds. Rounding out the top three and scoring a maiden podium with his new team was Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso who finished two-tenths of a second ahead of Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner. Power Electronics Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro put in a great performance at his home circuit to be the first CRT rider across the line in 13th.
Rain began to fall early on Sunday and affected the morning warm-up session and though conditions for the race were dry, the earlier precipitation and the relatively mild track temperatures due to cloud cover resulted in lower grip levels than experienced on Friday and Saturday. Underlining the importance of optimum braking stability at Catalunya, all riders opted for the hard compound front slick tyre, with most of the riders selecting this option in the new specification, while most riders opted for the softer asymmetric rear slick tyre.
Jorge Lorenzo’s third victory of the season increases his points lead over Casey Stoner to 20 points, while Dani Pedrosa’s second place means he closes to within ten points of his teammate in the standings.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Today we saw an intense battle for the race victory and I would like to congratulate Yamaha and Jorge Lorenzo for taking the win in front of his passionate home crowd. Track conditions for the race suffered a little due to the cooler temperatures and morning rain but the wide operating temperature range of our 2012 specification tyres meant that both rear slick tyre options were used to good effect in the race. Our attention now turns to the tests at Catalunya tomorrow and Aragon on Wednesday which we will be supporting.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The weather conditions for today were quite different from yesterday with track temperatures for the race around 15°C cooler than Friday and Saturday, though tyre durability was still an important factor for today’s race. As I expected, the softer rear slick tyre was selected by most riders for the race, though both rear slick tyres performed well over the race distance and the new specification front tyre was once again preferred by most riders which is very positive news ahead of its full introduction at the next race at Silverstone. Overall, I am pleased that our tyres performed so well at this circuit and stood up to the tough conditions here at Catalunya.”
Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Today’s conditions were very difficult to race in. At the beginning of the race I was third and it was important to keep a good pace without making any mistakes while I was behind Ben and Dani. Later in the race I waited for my opportunity and could see Dani was slowing down, so when he made a mistake I profited from it and then pushed to the maximum to take the win.”