Race Results – MotoGP 2011 – Round Ten – Laguna Seca
Stoner storms to victory at Laguna Seca
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner took victory over Jorge Lorenzo at the Red Bull US Grand Prix race at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit, his fifth win of 2011 to further strengthen his lead in the World Championship rankings.
In front of a crowd of over 52,000 passionate fans, the MotoGP field lined up under the California sunshine for the start of the Red Bull US Grand Prix. Yamaha Factory rider Lorenzo had a great launch from pole position leading into turn one with the three Repsol Hondas tracking close behind, with Dani Pedrosa heading the trio. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) had a strong start and followed a tight fifth behind the Hondas until he crashed exiting turn 5 on lap seven, ending the race for the Italian.
While Lorenzo led the race, behind him Stoner was picking up steam, first passing his team mate Pedrosa on lap 18 of the 32 lap race, then ticking off fast laps to reel in the race leader. The Australian caught up to the Spaniard and proceeded to pressure him for several laps, finally making his move around the outside of Lorenzo, driving out of the last corner to take the lead with six laps to go. Stoner immediately put down the hammer and pulled away, crossing the finish with a five and a half second lead to take his fifth win of the 2011 season.
Local hero Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) had a poor start at his home track, fighting his way past Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) in the early laps of the race, then scrapping with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) to end the race in fourth position, the highest placing American on home turf.
Dovizioso crossed the line in fifth place, ahead of the battle for sixth between the Ducati Team riders Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden. Hayden lost out to the Italian, crossing the line on his GP11 seven tenths behind the GP11.1 of his teammate.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was unable to improve the feeling of his bike after citing struggles with it after qualifying the day before, ending the race what is sure to be a disappointing eighth place in front of a huge following of loyal fans at the circuit. Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) finished in ninth, one place behind his qualifying position and Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) met his top ten goal, finishing in tenth. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) finished eleventh, in front of Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) who is still struggling with pain from injuries, and Toni Elías (LCR Honda) in thirteenth.
Cal Crutchlow crashed out on lap three, the British rider hugely disappointed after qualifying ahead of his team mate Colin Edwards at the Texan’s home track, followed by Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) who fell on lap 13, while Ben Bostrom rode off the track after missing a gear on lap six, decided not to re-enter the race and retiring the LCR Honda to the garages.
|MotoGP Race – Rnd 7 – Assen||MotoGP Championship|
- Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team
- Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing +5.634
- Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team +9.467
- Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing +20.562
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team +20.885
- Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team +30.351
- Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team +31.031
- Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +45.502
- Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team Ducati +51.549
- Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini +1’08.850
- Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati +1’09.132
- Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 1 Lap
- Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda 1 Lap
Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki 19 Laps
Ben BOSTROM USA LCR Honda 24 Laps
Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda 26 Laps
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 29 Laps
|1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 193|
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 173
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 143
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 110
5 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 108
6 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 98
7 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 94
8 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 67
9 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 63
10 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 60
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 56
12 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 46
13 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 39
14 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 38
15 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 34
16 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 26
17 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 15
18 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 3
– HRC Report
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner stormed to one of the greatest wins of his career with a tactically brilliant race on a warm, sunny day in the U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) was second with Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa third.
Stoner’s fifth MotoGP win of the season, and 28th overall, was an ominous sign for the competition. With the exception of 2009, when the race was won by Pedrosa, every winner at Laguna Seca has gone on to win the MotoGP World Championship, including Stoner in 2007.
Stoner kept alive his amazing record of a podium finish in every race he’s completed this season.
The Australian now goes into the summer break with a 20 point lead over Lorenzo, 193 to 173. Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, today’s fifth place finisher, is third with 143 points, and Pedrosa moved up to fourth in the championship, despite missing three races.
In the race Lorenzo led from the start with Pedrosa and Stoner chasing, with Dovi just off the back in fourth.
Pedrosa and Stoner kept the Yamaha rider honest, not letting him break away for the first half. The first major change of the order came on the 18th of 32 laps when Stoner passed Pedrosa in the Corkscrew, the track’s signature corner. Then it was on to Lorenzo who was nearly a second in front.
Stoner stalked and waited, not wanting to make a rash move on the 3.610Km track that rewards momentum and punishes mistakes.
There was nothing between Lorenzo and Stoner on the 23rd lap as they crossed the line separated by only .212s.
Then came Stoner’s move, which was brilliant and unexpected. He went around Lorenzo on the outside on the gas over the turn one crested kink at about 265 Km/h on the 27th lap.
Almost immediately Stoner began to pull out a gap. When the 27th lap ended his lead was already .789s. By the second split of the 28th lap his lead was over a second and when the lap ended, with four to go, the lead was 1.544s.
The eventual margin of victory was 5.634s.
Pedrosa was alone in third on the physically demanding circuit. He said the pace at the beginning was quite high and as the race wore on it became too much and he had to settle for third. Still, it was his second podium in a row following his comeback to race three races ago in Italy.
Dovizioso seemed secure in fourth for much of the race. He maintained a five second cushion until the second half when Ben Spies (Yamaha) began to close in. As the race neared its conclusion Spies got closer and closer and made a pass in the final corner ending the 29th lap.
Dovizioso didn’t let the Texan get away and chased him to the flag only to come up short by .680s.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) had a difficult start to the race from 14th on the grid. The Japanese rider made a number of passes on a track known to be difficult to pass on and finished the day with a top ten finish.
The final Honda finisher was LCR Honda MotoGP rider Toni Elias in 13th. Elias ran off the track at one point and when he returned he didn’t have any confidence in the front end.
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli continued to have problems in Monterey. The Italian failed to finish the race for the second year in a row, crashing, unhurt, out of fifth place on the seventh lap. The problem was a lack of front end feel, which gave him warning two laps before he fell.
And Ben Bostrom failed to complete the race in his MotoGP debut. The American had struggled with the carbon brakes on the LCR Honda MotoGP Honda RC212V and ran long in the second turn at the end of the front straight. The 37-year-old American Superbike rider continued for another lap before pitting, preferring to preserve the LCR Honda for another day.
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: Race winner
“All weekend we’ve been struggling a little so we weren’t too confident that we could run with Jorge and Dani in the race. However, this morning in warm-up we found something I was a little happier with. Before the race I felt relaxed, confident and generally calm, we started a little slower to get the tyres warm gently, but also with a full tank of fuel, the bike didn’t feel that great. So I was patient and took my time, staying with Jorge and Dani to control the gap and make sure they didn’t get too far away. I felt I had more speed, but decided to wait and watch. I saw Dani struggling a bit and he started to drop back from Jorge so I had to attack at this point. Once I caught up to Jorge, I watched to see if he made a mistake and kept the pressure on him, then chose my moment to make the move and was able to slowly open up a gap and bring the race home. It’s really fantastic to come from such a difficult weekend and get a great win and I’m very thankful to all my team.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“I’m very happy with another podium, the second after my come back from injury. I could have predicted this result before coming to Laguna because I knew it would be physically very tough for me and it has been great to keep up with the pace of Casey and Jorge in these past two races. Today, by the middle of the race, I was very tired, almost finished, I couldn’t get my left arm strong enough and here at this track you don’t rest for a moment, so I had to drop. It’s been quite difficult to set up the bike this weekend, I had a lack of grip generally, but the team worked very well. Now we have some holidays and it will be good for me to have some days off to rest and relax my muscles and be back training to arrive fully fit to Brno.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 5th
“We knew that it was going to be a tough race because this track is short, with very strong braking and it’s also very demanding. I made a good start and I was able to move into fourth position. In the first laps I pushed hard to stay with Casey, Dani and Lorenzo. I was losing a lot in some corners, such as turn three and turn 11, and to recover I was pushing in the other areas. I used up a lot of energy and I couldn’t be consistent for the 32 laps. I’m disappointed because today we had the speed to fight for a good result, in fact I lapped two-tenths behind the fastest lap, but I couldn’t be consistent. I lost the battle with Spies and this is the first time I’ve lost a battle this year. The good point is that we were able to be fast. Now we have to focus and continue working. We are third in the championship and we want to keep on fighting. We will take advantage of the three week break to recharge the batteries and return in Brno more determined. My congratulations go to Casey and Dani.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 10th
“Starting from 14th place is never easy so I had to make a few passes before I could get into my true rhythm. I am partly satisfied to have finished, tenth but it was a tough race because I am still not physically fit. My intention was to make it to the end and I am happy I did that because this was my first race here at Laguna. Now we have a short break and I hope I can come back stronger in the next race at Brno, ready to fight for a good result.”
Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 13th
“In this morning warm-up we have changed rear set up of the bike and I felt immediately better. As always I took a good start but on this track you get stuck if you start from the last row so I pushed but in the first corner I went a bit wide. I was 12th when I suddenly lost the front running off into the gravel. I could rejoin the race, but I was last and for the rest of the race I felt like I was lapping on a frozen surface. We have finished the race in 13th position but the situation is still very tough for us”.
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: DNF
“I am really disappointed. I don’t know whether I would have caught Pedrosa if I’d stayed in the race, it’s impossible to say, but I could have definitely had a battle with Dovizioso and Spies so it’s a real shame. We had worked so well and managed to improve from session to session, but I realised early in the race that the front was giving me more trouble than it had in practice. It closed in turn seven on the first lap, which is a strange place for it to go, and then again two laps later in turn eight. All we can do right now is dust ourselves down and head to Brno looking to do our best again.”
Ben Bostrom, LCR Honda MotoGP: DNF
“I took a good start and immediately felt very comfortable on the bike. I improved my lap time of one second from the practice so I was very optimistic to see that so early in the race. As I was riding so much faster I started to be uncomfortable in the first corner when I had to change down the gears and after few laps I made a mistake running off the track into the gravel. It took me three seconds to rejoin the race, but I wanted to continue but the next lap I had the same problem. So I have decided to enter the pits even if the bike was fantastic. Honestly I was thinking about my race and didn’t want to crash this bike. Once again I want to thank MJM (Michael Jordan Motorsports), Lucio (Cecchinello) and all the guys here: it was an incredible experience for me!”
– Yamaha Report
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo put in a superhuman effort today for the Grand Prix of U.S.A, battling for victory with Championship rival Casey Stoner to finish second on the podium. Lorenzo made a strong start from pole and led the GP field for an impressive 26 lap run before conceding to Stoner as the effects of yesterday’s massive crash took its toll on his energy levels.
Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Ben Spies had a less than perfect start from the grid, initially dropping to seventh behind Valentino Rossi on the first laps of the race. Rossi was eventually dispatched by the Texan on lap three, freeing him to focus on Dovizioso ahead. Spies put in an incredible ride to close a gap of over five seconds and take fourth with just three laps to go.
The weekend’s results leave Lorenzo heading into the short holiday break trailing Championship leader Stoner by 20 points. Team mate Spies will arrive at Brno still in sixth place in the standings but now just 12 points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position : 2nd Time: +5.634
“Well first of all I’m lucky to be in the second position, after the crash yesterday I thought it wasn’t possible to race for a little while. After qualifying I hoped I might be able to fight till the end for victory but sometimes expectations are not reality. Casey was faster today, I couldn’t match his pace at the end. My physical condition is not so perfect which makes us a bit slow as well. Second is ok, we are only 20 points behind Casey and we’ll try again next time.”
Ben Spies / Position : 4th Time: +20.562
“I got a really good start but going uphill to the steep part of the track basically we didn’t have enough power. I got stuck behind Valentino, I tried to get around as quick as I could but he’s really good on the brakes so it was pretty tough but I did the best I could. Once we got around him it was quite a big gap to Dovizioso but I just kept my head down and kept going. I’m happy we were able to track him down and get fourth. It was a really good race for us it just got spoilt in the first five hundred feet. I would have liked to have been on the podium as I think we had a package to fight with Dani, I guess that’s racing and I gave it 100% as always.”
Wilco Zeelenberg / Team Manager
“A spectacular race by Jorge with a great 20 points secured. It is obvious we wanted to win this one but I think yesterday’s crash gave us not the best physical condition for a 32 lap race. At the end of the day, to take 20 points after a crash like that is not so bad. We’ll take some rest now and head to Brno recovered and in fighting form ready to challenge Casey again.”
Massimo Meregalli / Team Director
“We leave here with some good points; second position is the best that Jorge could achieve considering his condition, which is very important for the Championship. Unfortunately Ben lost too much time behind Valentino, then when he was able to pass him there was already a big gap to the front guys. He did really well and caught Dovizioso to finish fourth which is good for him and for his standings. We’re looking forward to the next one already in Brno, the team have worked really hard this weekend and it’s been a special time to celebrate our 50th anniversary of Grand Prix racing with everybody here at Laguna.”
– Ducati Report
Valentino Rossi finished in sixth place at Laguna Seca, one spot ahead of his teammate Nicky Hayden. The two Ducati Team riders lapped at a good pace, even if it wasn’t quite enough to stay with the faster group.
The team worked very hard on both the GP11 and the GP11.1, and they’ll continue the development of the 800cc bikes during the next round at Brno, in the Czech Republic, which will follow a short two-week break. On the Monday after that race, the season’s second official test for the team riders will take place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 6th
“We worked well this weekend. We started from a better position than we have in recent races, and I got a good launch on the start and tried to stay with the leaders. I did a lap in the mid-’22s, but then I closed the front twice in a row on the bumps in Turn 5 and nearly crashed. I still had a tough race after that, because Nicky stayed glued to me and didn’t give me a chance to breathe. We obviously don’t want to be fighting for sixth place, but we’re having some problems at the moment and we have to try and do our best with what we have. We’re losing too much on corner entry, where I’m very slow because I don’t have enough feeling, but Ducati is working and we must stay focused and positive, making progress step by step. In the short term, we have to make up those missing tenths in order to stay with the group with Spies, Sic and Dovizioso. Then we’ll think about the others.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) 7th
“I’ve won this race before, so I’m not going to jump up and down celebrating seventh place. We knew it was going to be tough, and crashing in qualifying didn’t help. I got a decent start, but I didn’t get to go with that second group like I had hoped. It was kind of like the Sachsenring: a good battle with Valentino, but thirty seconds behind the front. Vale was no faster than me, but he’s a racer: he doesn’t make mistakes and give you anything. A couple of times I thought I might be able to go up the inside, but I’m not just going to close my eyes and knock us both down trying for sixth place. People who think he’s not trying are crazy. I saw his right foot come off the peg a couple of times when he almost went down. We’ll take two weeks off, regroup and go to Brno. Now is no time to be negative. I believe in my team and Ducati, and I really think we’re still going to have a good season.”
Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)
“I think the guys on the team and both of our riders deserve a big thank-you for what they did this weekend. The two crews were ready to give Vale and Nicky both the GP11 and the GP11.1, and they worked without a moment’s break in both directions, which was an enormous effort that allowed us to collect a lot of data for the engineers back at the office. With Vale we continued focusing on the setup of the GP11.1, thinking toward the future. Vale was able to improve over the course of the weekend, and in the race he made the most of the package that’s currently available to him. Nicky did comparative tests between the two bikes. Then for his home round he opted to race with the one that he knew better, although he liked a number of aspects about the new bike, which he’ll try again at Brno.”
– Suzuki Report
Rizla Suzuki’s Álvaro Bautista ended today’s U.S. Grand Prix in the gravel after crashing out on the 14th lap of this afternoon’s race.
Bautista made a confident start from 12th on the grid and had moved up a place by the end of lap one. He produced a couple of very strong passes over the next few laps to move into eighth place and join the battle for sixth between the two Ducati’s of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. Bautista closed the gap on the pair and it looked like the crowd was in for a repeat of last week’s exciting battle between the three, but unfortunately Bautista low-sided his Suzuki GSV-R and, although he remounted his bike, he was unable to get it restarted and had to retire from the race.
The crowd of 52,670 that gathered on the hillsides that surround the Laguna Seca circuit were again treated to bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine, as they witnessed current championship leader Casey Stoner take his fifth victory of the season on a Factory Honda. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was second with Dani Pedrosa filling the final podium place.
Rizla Suzuki and Bautista now embark on a short summer break before resuming the 2011 season at Brno in the Czech Republic on Sunday 14th August, when Bautista will be joined by John Hopkins who is making a wild-card appearance at the eastern European circuit.
Álvaro Bautista: “I am very, very disappointed after today and really frustrated because although we did a really good job all weekend, we didn’t get the result we deserved and I crashed. We tried many different things here this weekend and used a completely different setting to last year and we managed to get the same good feeling as we had in Germany. This is the best I have felt on a bike in my MotoGP career so I know things are moving in the right direction. I think we made a mistake on Friday and Saturday, because we didn’t try the soft front tyre in the afternoons. I think the hard tyre here wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t give me the feeling I wanted in the corners – the grip wasn’t too bad, but it just didn’t transmit enough information. For the race I started with a hard front and I now think it was a mistake not to use a soft one. I got a good start, but some riders closed up in front of me and I couldn’t get past, but I did make up one place on the first lap. I overtook some other guys and got behind the Ducati’s, but I was a bit far away and had to catch them up. My rhythm was really good and I had a lot of confidence in the bike, but I lost the front without any reason and crashed. I had entered that corner at the same speed and in the same place in previous laps so I don’t know what happened. I am happy with the work we did this weekend and pleased with my level on the bike. Before the crash I was fighting for sixth or seventh and I know we can be there now and we have to keep working at this level and higher in the next races We now have some time to relax and charge our batteries, so we can be full gas for Brno.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “I am really disappointed today for everyone at Suzuki, Rizla, the team itself and of course for Álvaro. Starting from 12th was never going to make the job easy, but a very aggressive first couple of laps, and then settling in to a good rhythm saw him right back in the fight and another entertaining duel with the Factory Ducati’s was on the cards. Equally, once the race settled down, our lap-times were not so different from Dovizioso and Spies battling for fourth, so despite today’s’ disappointment there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend at Laguna Seca. We’ll be arriving in Brno with two riders and looking to keep the positive momentum going!”