Despite a drizzle in the morning, the weather held for MotoGP’s race session in Catalunya. With Casey Stoner sitting on pole, the reigning-World Champion knew he had a bevy of Yamahas to content with come race day, with the big question being whether the softer tire option would prove to be a calculated gamble for the riders running it. With a number of Spaniards calling the greater Barcelona area home though, Stoner’s pole-position advantage was anything but a guarantee of a good result.
Off the line, it was one very speedy Dani Pedrosa who cut through the traffic, going from fifth to first by the first turn of the race. Followed closely by Ben Spies, Jorge Lorenzo, and Casey Stoner, Pedrosa’s lead was hotly contested. The first to test the Spaniard was the American Spies, who desperately needed to turn-around a string of poor results this season.
Making it around the Repsol Honda man down the front straight, Spies ultimately went wide though the turn while on the brakes. Pushing to the edge of the track, and into the dirt/grass, Spies’ Yamaha ultimately ended up on its side. Remounting, Spies salvaged the day with some points, but finished a disappointing tenth place.
Pedrosa would hang onto the lead for a few more laps, though another Yamaha would enter the fray, this time by fellow countryman Lorenzo. Again passing the Spaniard down the long Catalan straight, Lorenzo’s Yamaha took over the race from the Honda for another cluster of laps. Letting Pedrosa go past with 14 laps to go, Lorenzo studied, stalked, and devoured his pray — taking back the lead with 6 laps to go, and never looking back from that point forth.
Finishing second, Pedrosa ran a good race, despite some electrical issues with his bike, as well as being on the harder compound tire. While the Catalan had to contend with the factory Yamahas, it was his Australian teammate who had to deal with the satellite tuning forks, as Casey Stoner found himself wedged between Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow.
With Dovi running with the front group for the first part of the race, the Italian ultimately dropped back after a small mistake cost him some time. With Cal unable to get around Casey, the Englishman fell off the back of his fellow Commonwealther, leaving Stoner to put pressure on Dovi right until the end of the race. Able to fend off the twice-a-champion, Dovizioso gave Tech 3 its first podium in nearly a year, adding yet another feather in the Italian’s cap, as he makes a bid for a seat in the factory team next season.
Making his return to the series after breaking his collarbone in a freak crash at Estoril, Colin Edwards had an unfortunate technical malfunction, and had to pull his BMW/Suter into the garage. He’ll get his revenge soon though, as MotoGP returns in just two weeks’ time, as the British Grand Prix at Silverstone adds the next chapter to the 2012 MotoGP Championship story.
Race Results from the Catalan GP at Barcelona, Spain:
|1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||–|
|2||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+5.003|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+9.361|
|4||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+9.544|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+12.506|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||+13.948|
|7||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+17.555|
|8||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||+23.478|
|9||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+30.410|
|10||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+32.897|
|11||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||+36.144|
|12||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||+56.229|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’08.054|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||+1’08.775|
|15||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’10.483|
|16||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||+1’13.090|
|17||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||+1’20.903|
|18||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||+1’21.235|
|19||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||+1’41.207|
|20||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||+1’41.888|
|RET||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||1 Lap|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing