MotoGP 2011 – Round 13 – Misano
Misano beckons as Stoner begins to pull away
A seventh win of the 2011 campaign at Indianapolis extended Casey Stoner’s lead at the top of the Championship standings to 44 points over defending title holder Jorge Lorenzo, as the Repsol Honda rider further reinforced his already strong claim for this year’s crown. A personal milestone of a 30th premier class GP win for the Australian could also prove to be a pivotal one in the fight for the title come the end of the year, especially after Lorenzo placed fourth. Now the premier class heads directly from the USA to San Marino for the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini as the season enters its final third.
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Lorenzo’s task in retaining his title now seems to be an even tougher one, but he will head to Misano determined to stop the run of three successive victories that has led Stoner to his improved current position. In doing so Lorenzo will need a return to the podium having been off it for the past two rounds, but will garner confidence from his record at Misano where he has placed second for the last three years.
At close quarters in third place is Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), a rider who will be counting on a strong support from the Misano crowd as he looks to improve on fifth from Indianapolis at a track he is yet to score a premier class podium at. His team-mate and last year’s Misano race winner Dani Pedrosa comes into Round 13 off the back of a second place finish at Indianapolis, as he homes in on a strong final third of the campaign.
With his third podium of the year at his home race Ben Spies heads to Misano in fine form. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider currently lies fifth in the Championship, with just five points separating Pedrosa ahead of him and Valentino Rossi behind in sixth. For the seven-times premier class World Champion Indianapolis proved to be one of his most difficult races to date in his first season on the Desmosedici. Gear box issues during the race and an all-round difficult weekend contributed to 10th place, his worst result to date in 2011, although it did stretch his run of points-scoring finishes to 23 races which started in Germany last year on his return from injury.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will both be grateful for the back-to-back races as they aim to immediately put the memory of 14th and 12th placed finishes, respectively, behind them, whilst Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will eye an improvement on seventh from the last round.
Hiroshi Aoyama will tackle the track fully fit for the first time on a MotoGP bike after riding last year’s race whilst still recovering from injury – he scored a top-ten result at Indy – and Héctor Barberá’s (Mapfre Aspar) sole focus will be on erasing the memory of his final-corner crash at Indianapolis when trying to go through on the Japanese rider.
Rizla Suzuki rider Álvaro Bautista converted his recent form into a top-six finish at Indianapolis and will be confident of building on that at Misano, and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will be another rider hoping to carry momentum gained in the States through to the next round. Toni Elías (LCR Honda) stepped on the podium in the premier class at Misano in 2008 and will hope for a boost, whilst Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) and Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) both failed to finish the Indianapolis race so will be intent on strong results, Capirossi in front of a solid fan base. The Italian’s team-mate Randy de Puniet scored his best result of the season so far with eighth at Indy.
Marc Márquez’s fifth win of the season at Indianapolis brought the Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol rider to within 28 points of his main title rival Stefan Bradl, whose sixth placed finish (impressive in itself coming from 22nd on the starting grid) helped the Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider limit the damage considerably after a difficult weekend in America.
The duo stand some way clear of the chasing pack and are focused on their own personal battle for top spot, but just eight points separate five riders from third to seventh in the standings.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) and Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) both had disappointing Indianapolis result by their own high standards and will be hoping for more on home soil, especially San Marinese rider De Angelis. Likewise Italian rider Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) will have his sights set on a strong performance after finishing down in 14th from a front row start at Indy.
Rookie Bradley Smith (Tech 3) recovered from two consecutive DNFs with a solid fourth-placed finish in Indy and will be confident of further progress at Misano, and Swiss rider Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) was another rider who would have expected more in the States but ended the weekend disappointed with 17th. The former 125 World Champion’s quest for a first win in the class continues at Misano.
Julián Simón’s (Mapfre Aspar) injury-blighted season appears to be back on course and the Spaniard will want to keep advancing at a fair pace. First time Moto2 podium finishers Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) and Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) will also be flying high after their Indianapolis exploits, where an all-Spanish podium in the intermediate class was witnessed for the first time. With the two rookies having stepped onto the rostrum there are now 14 different riders who have finished on the podium in Moto2 this year.
Japanese rider Tomoyoshi Koyama, currently competing in the Moto2 class in the CEV Buckler (Spanish National Championship) and a former World Championship 125 regular, will ride in place of the injured Kenan Sofuoglu for the Technomag-CIP team this weekend, after the Turk suffered foot fractures in a practice crash at Indianapolis and required surgery.
There is also provision for a single wild card entrant in the Moto2 class this weekend, with Italian rider Alessandro Andreozzi riding under the Andreozzi Reparto Corse team name on an FTR machine.
Nico Terol (Bankia Aspar) reasserted his control over the 125cc Championship with a win in Indianapolis – his sixth of the season – to re-establish some breathing space at the top of the standings with a 26-point advantage over Johann Zarco (Avant AirAsia Ajo).
Terol’s win from pole was reminiscent of the dominance he had exerted in the opening rounds of the campaign, and his form at Misano over the past two seasons has seen the Spaniard finish twice on both occasions. Neither Terol nor the rest of the current 125cc field has previously won a GP at the Misano circuit.
After finishing second for three straight races Zarco ended the Indy race in fifth, thus losing some ground on Terol and with plenty of work to do in Misano. Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) continues to collect high praise for his performances in his rookie year, and the young Spaniard approaches his first GP at Misano coming off the back of second place at Indianapolis.
Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) is close on the heels of Viñales and will be going for a third straight podium this weekend, whilst fellow German Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) continues to work hard in a bid to recover the form he showed earlier this season. Five wild cards will gain World Championship experience this weekend with Italian riders Alessandro Giorgi (VFT Racing), Manuel Tatasciore (Phonica Racing), Kevin Calia (MGP Racing) and Massimo Parziani (Faenza Racing) and Czech youngster Miroslav Popov (Ellegi Racing) all scheduled to participate.
– Ducati Preview
Sunday’s Grand Prix of San Marino and of the Rimini Riviera be the second home event for the Ducati Team, and it’s an important round for Valentino Rossi, who lives a short distance from the track. He has two wins at the circuit, in 2008 and 2009, as well as a podium last year.
Though it looks rather simple, the Misano track is actually quite technical and slow, with narrow, short-radius corners. The notable exception is the famous “Curvone,” a fast, challenging right-hander.
The Ducati Team will be busy with the hard work of finding the best setup for the Desmosedici, and both riders will be supported as usual by the fans filling the Ducati grandstand in the “Variante Parco,” the first corner after the start-finish straightaway.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team – “We’ll be racing in front of our home fans at Misano, and obviously we’d like to do better than we have at recent races. Indianapolis was very difficult, and we would have preferred to arrive here in better shape, but we’re aware that much of our work is aimed toward the future. For the moment, we must take into account the possibility that our results won’t be satisfying, first for us but also for our fans. We’re all working at our maximum, both at the track and in the company, and in the meantime, we’ll try to do as well as the current situation allows.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team – “Indy was a bad race, but some how, some way, you’ve got to try to get over it and move on. Misano has been a tough track for me, because it seems like I can’t ever get through the first corner. It would be nice to catch a bit of a break, because I don’t feel like we’re always getting the results we deserve. We learned a lot about the new bike in Indy, so I hope we’ve got a good starting point there. We’ll see what the weather’s going to do. Hopefully it won’t be too hot, as that makes things more difficult for us. Anyway, we need to do our best and try to improve our bike.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager – “Misano is a round that means a lot to all of us, and it’s the home race for Valentino. We’ll have many fans there, and we’d like to put both Vale and Nicky in position to get good results. Naturally, we’ll try our best, as we do at every race weekend, although we know that the type of work we’re doing on the bike pays off over the long term. It’s definitely a difficult moment for us because the results aren’t what we’d like, but it’s very gratifying to see the great effort and determination from our riders, the team and everyone at Ducati. We remain focused on our goals, and we’re committed to following the path we’ve laid out to achieve them.”
– HRC Preview
Repsol Honda team-mates Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa head into this weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix fresh off the success of a one-two finish in last Sunday’s Indianapolis GP. Stoner was the clear cut winner, while Pedrosa was a strong second heading to the circuit near Misano Adriatico, where the Spaniard took a dominant win last year on the Repsol Honda RC212V.
Stoner’s seventh victory in 12 races gave him a 42 point lead in the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. The win in Indianapolis was his seventh of the season, third in a row, and fourth from the pole position. It was also his first podium of any kind at “The Brickyard”; he’s now been on the MotoGP podium of all 18 MotoGP circuits. The only other rider who can make that claim is Pedrosa.
Other than being knocked down in the second race of the year in Jerez, Stoner has been on the podium in every race and arrives in Misano riding a career best streak of ten podiums in a row. Stoner has been fast in Misano in the past. In his 2007 world championship-winning season, he won from the pole and was on pole the next year. Last year he started third and finished fifth.
Pedrosa won last year’s race handily. Jetting from the pole position, Pedrosa increased his advantage without opposition and sped to his career best fourth MotoGP win in one season. In Indianapolis, Pedrosa was the race leader until being passed by Stoner on the seventh of 28 laps, after which he secured his runner-up position. By finishing second he moved into fourth in the championship standings, which is impressive considering he’s missed five of the 12 races. Four were missed through an injury that was no fault of his own and the fifth was a fall in the Czech Republic from which he quickly recovered.
Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) is one spot above Pedrosa in the championship. The Italian who considers Misano his home race struggled with tyre grip-both front and rear-in Indianapolis, though he showed his versatility by changing his riding style. That allowed him to increase his pace towards the end of the grand prix; his final lap was his fastest as he rode to a fifth place finish. His best performances at Misano include fourth place finishes the past two years.
The San Carlo Honda Gresini team headquarters are in Faenza, less than an hour from the track. And the home of Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), who was born in Cattolica, is even closer, just six kilometres from the circuit.
Simoncelli will want to put the race at Indianapolis behind him. The ascendant second year MotoGP rider is one of the few who likes the road course of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it didn’t treat him well this year. “Super Sic” was a fighting fourth for the first five laps before traction deficiencies sent him down the order. He would finish an uncharacteristic 12th, his only race finish outside the top ten this season. (He also has four non-finishes).
The best finish for Simoncelli at his home race came in 2008, when he finished sixth in his 250cc World Championship season.
Team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) will be racing in the MotoGP class at Misano for the second time this weekend. Aoyama was at less than full strength last year, having missed five races through injury and returning only for the previous race in Indianapolis. Though success has eluded him in the MotoGP class-he was 12th in 2010-he did finish second in the 2007 250cc race.
Other than Pedrosa, the Honda rider with the most success at Misano over the past three years has been Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V). Elias won last year’s Moto2 race in Misano, one of seven wins that propelled him to the inaugural Moto2 World Championship. And in 2008 he finished third.
Indianapolis was a struggle for Elias, as it was for many riders, with the rear tyre spinning the whole race.
Misano Adriatico first hosted a grand prix in 1980 and will be hosting its 15th GP this season. The track was removed from the calendar following the 1993 season, returning in 2007 with a race won by Stoner. The circuit layout was completely updated and the direction reversed: It now ran clockwise instead of anti-clockwise. That changed the nature of the track, which isn’t a rider favourite for its tight, slow-speed corners that require both hard braking and hard acceleration. The 4.226Km circuit has 16 corners, six left and 10 right, with a longest straightaway of 565m. The MotoGP machines spend much of their time in transition or on the brakes and very little in the sort of fast, sweeping corners the riders favour. What makes the Misano Adriatico circuit a popular destination is that its just up the road from the beaches lining the Adriatic Sea, where team members lament never getting to spend enough time. Honda has won four premier-class GP victories at the seaside venue; Dani Pedrosa in 2010, Mick Doohan in 1991, Pier-Francesco Chili in 1989 and Freddie Spencer in 1984.
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner says: “I’m looking forward to going to San Marino and seeing how competitive we can be. In 2007 and 2008 we were fast there, then I missed 2009 and last year we struggled a little, so we’ve had a mixed bag of results. It’s a nice track, I like the two corners off the end of the back straight, they’re a lot of fun and very fast. I know Dani and Jorge (Lorenzo) will be very fast there, but I’m coming off the back of three wins and in a strong position in the championship, so we’ll see what we can do and I’m confident we can get a good result.”
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “After the good race we had at Indy, we arrive at Misano in a very positive mood. The circuit is so different compared to Indy, but last year we had a very good race there and we will try to repeat this. We must be a little stronger on Saturday and prepare for the race the best we can. Misano is a track where you need good acceleration and hard braking, so this will be our priority to start working on with the bike setting. After the success in America, it’s good to head directly to Misano. I hope we can continue working well with the team and take another step forward.”
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “We arrive in Misano after a disappointing result in Indianapolis but we are determined to turn the page and return on the podium. The conditions in Indianapolis were very demanding, but we managed to record our fastest time on the very last lap. This shows that we are fast and therefore we arrive in Misano stronger and with an extra motivation. We are third in the championship and this is the important point. We will continue fighting and we will give our best every race weekend, because we believe that second position in the World Championship is not impossible. Last year in Misano I finished fourth behind Valentino (Rossi). This year we want to take the next step and get the podium spot. I’m sure that with the experience gained this year, we can be strong at Misano. I don’t live far from Misano and after the podium finish in Mugello I would love to have another good result in front of the Italian crowd.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: “Indianapolis has been hard and difficult. During the warm-up I had deceived myself, but it was a fluke because the feeling was more due to the lower temperature of the asphalt. Then in the race with track temperatures over 50 degrees it was a true disaster. I enjoyed it for only five laps, but it was really too little. It was a shame and I already made a plan to have fun at Misano for the whole race that I hope will be like the first five laps at Indianapolis. This is my goal and I want to do it for myself, but especially for my fans. Misano has never given me great joy, but in life there is always a first time. Surely the circuit is not among my favorites, but the motivations are many and I will give my best of myself. My house is a few kilometres away and the atmosphere will be essential to give me the right charge.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Hiroshi Aoyama says: “The result of Indianapolis has not satisfied me completely. I was happy because the team had found the right feeling for the race and I was in good physical condition, but I have some regrets because with a good start I could have done better. Misano is a circuit with completely different characteristics. It is much more technical and the track is much tighter than Indianapolis. With the positive feelings of last Sunday I am convinced that in Italy I will be able to do very well. I would love to give a good result to the team, which is based just a few kilometres from the circuit.”
– Yamaha Racing
With no rest after a gruelling race weekend in Indianapolis Yamaha Factory Racing head straight back across the Atlantic. The team will begin preparations for the Grand Prix of San Marino at the Misano Adriatico circuit this weekend on Italy’s eastern seaboard. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo has an impressive history in San Marino with an unbroken podium run at Misano, scoring three consecutive second place finishes in the MotoGP class. The Mallorcan rider sits 44 points behind Championship leader Casey Stoner with six rounds remaining.
Ben Spies returns from the USA to Misano with high expectations; the Texan displayed his impressive overtaking skills at last year’s San Marino Grand Prix, recovering from tenth to take a respectable sixth at the line. Spies can also claim a World Superbike race win in 2009 on the twisty, challenging circuit.
Jorge Lorenzo – “I hope to leave the last race behind us. We go straight to Misano now, a track I like and where I have won and got some podiums. My team and I will try to come back to the top and continue fighting for the Championship!”
Ben Spies – “It’s pretty tiring heading back to back across the Atlantic but I have always enjoyed racing at Misano. I had really good fortune there in my World Superbike year and enjoyed some great battles last year in my first MotoGP race on the track. We’re taking the confidence of the podium finish with us from Indianapolis so I’m looking forward to setting up on Friday and tackling the track on a factory bike for the first time.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – “I hope we are able to create something where we can fight at the front, it hasn’t been the case in the last couple of weekends. We know when the bike is right Jorge can fight with the best. We won’t give up and Misano will be our next chance to take something back from Casey.”
Massimo Meregalli – “The team headquarters are just a couple of hundred kilometres away so Misano is one of our ‘home’ races and we are all looking forward to it. Ben’s fight back to the podium in Indianapolis proved that we have a competitive package and we know that Jorge is strong at this circuit and still fighting for the Championship. We will look to find a good set up quickly and I have confidence we can challenge for good results.”
Edwards and Crutchlow head to Misano full of confidence
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow head back across the Atlantic for this weekend’s Misano MotoGP round in high spirits and full of confidence after both collected hard earned points scoring finishes last time out at Indianapolis.
Edwards raced to a superb seventh place finish in front of his home crowd on Sunday to move into eighth place in the World Championship standings and further strengthen the 37-year-old’s bid to finish top non-factory rider this year.
Edwards has a good record at the 2.626 miles circuit with three top 10 finishes in four attempts and he is optimistic that he can continue his consistent streak of form in Sunday’s 28-lap race.
Edwards will be seeking his eighth consecutive top 10 finish of the campaign at the San Marino venue, which is hosting a MotoGP race for the fifth time having returned to the calendar in 2007.
Crutchlow’s debut at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway proved to be a morale-boosting exercise, the British rider succeeding in his quest to end a disappointing string of results with a gutsy ride to 11th.
The 25-year-old is now looking to build on the confidence gained on a circuit where he has winning pedigree. Crutchlow was victorious in the 2009 World Supersport round at Misano and he was just one second away from claiming a stunning podium in the second World Superbike race last year.
This weekend’s race on the Adriatic coast is the start of the final third of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team looking forwar d to forthcoming flyaway trips to Japan, Australia and Malaysia before the season closes in Valencia in early November.
Colin Edwards – “Misano was the first track I ever went to with the Yamaha World Superbike Team way back in 1995, so the circuit has always been a very special place to me with a lot of fond memories. I’ve spent a lot of time in that area around Riccione and the beach when I lived there with my family back in 2004, so Misano is always one of the races I’m most excited about going to. The fans are really passionate and they love MotoGP, so there is always a special buzz around the place. Last weekend in Indianapolis was a tough race, so to take seventh was still a positive result. You always want more but I know the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is getting the maximum out of the package we have. It was obvious in Indianapolis th at we lack a bit of engine performance, but I still beat a lot of guys on factory equipment, so that proves what a good job we are doing. The goal this weekend will be the same as always and that’s to qualify on the second row and finish in the top six. We nearly managed both in Indy, so I’m determined to make sure it will be mission accomplished in Misano.”
Cal Crutchlow – “After the positive result in Indianapolis I’m really looking forward to Misano now. The first objective in Indianapolis was to finish the race and learn more about the bike, and we accomplished that. That’s given my confidence a lift and it wasn’t only good for my morale but it was also good for the morale of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, who have supported me fantastically. Of course we want to be finishing higher, but I was happy with my pace in Indianapolis. I was lapping at the same pace that Dani Pedrosa did on his way to winning the race in 2010, but that shows just how fast the guys are going this year. It is a challenge but one that I am up for and the target this weekend will be to try and get back into the top 10. At least I don’t have to worry about learning the track at Misano and that is a massive bonus before you even start. I just want to get another good result this weekend for all the hard work my crew have been putting in to make it work out for me. I’m sure we can build on last weekend’s result and have another strong ride in Misano.”
– Bridgestone Preview
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
There’s no rest for the MotoGP paddock as it travels from Indianapolis last weekend straight to Rimini and the Adriatic Coast for the San Marino Grand Prix on 4 September.
The Misano World Circuit is twisty and quite stop-start in nature, although there is a very fast section from turns ten to thirteen. Consequently riders spend a lot of time on the brakes meaning that braking stability from the front Bridgestone tyres is crucial. Confidence in rear grip is especially important through turns six, ten and sixteen, which all lead onto sections of straight.
The circuit isn’t particularly demanding of Bridgestone’s tyres, although it is harder on the right shoulder than the left because of its clockwise direction and in particular the complex of turns ten to thirteen which is a high speed right-handed kink called Curvone that leads into a series of increasingly tightening right-handers. Here, high-speed stability and edge grip is at a premium and riders must have the confidence to fully commit.
Last year Bridgestone selected symmetric tyres for Misano but this year the allocation has been revised to use asymmetric rear slicks which offer a softer compound left shoulder for improved warm-up performance and increased rider feeling.
In keeping with the new tyre regulations introduced during the Czech Republic Grand Prix, the medium and hard compound front slicks have again been selected for Misano with the addition of the third soft compound option for cooler conditions.
After a time away, MotoGP returned to Misano in 2007, but the circuit layout was changed slightly at turn three in 2008, increasing the track’s length to 4.226km. Bridgestone has a great track record in Misano since the circuit’s return to the calendar in 2007. Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner took pole and won in 2007 on Bridgestone tyres in the era of tyre competition, in 2008 (last year of tyre competition) and again in 2009 Valentino Rossi set a new lap record on his way to victory, and last year Dani Pedrosa set another new lap record.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Misano will bring mixed memories and emotions for many, including myself, but it is a circuit that Bridgestone have always been strong at with consecutive new lap records in the last three years. In the absence of tyre competition the laptime is our benchmark and, combined with developments to the machines each year, I believe this shows we are not resting on our laurels with tyre development. We always see a very passionate crowd at Misano, and hopefully we will give them a good show as the title fight hots-up with only six races of this season remaining now.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division – “The track surface at Misano is smooth and offers relatively low grip, but it has a twisty layout so the tyres spend a lot of time leant over and don’t have a lot of respite each lap in which to cool down. Ambient conditions are also usually hot so in our compound selection we must strike a tricky balance between grip and durability. This year we have selected asymmetric rear slick tyres for Misano and I believe, based on tyre performance at other races and rider feedback, this will be a step forward in warm-up performance on the left side and rider feeling and confidence, and in achieving the right balance.
“The fast right-handed Curvone corner is where the tyres reach their highest temperature, particularly the rears, and because of the high speed good stability is critical. A strong centre section of the front tyre is also required for good stability under frequent and sometimes heavy braking. It is also important for every element of the bike, rider and tyre package to work well here because with the nature of the track meaning tyres have little time upright in which to cool, it is easier to overheat them.”