MotoGP: A Slithering in the Championship at the Italian GP

07/16/2012 @ 1:35 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Under Tuscan skies, MotoGP ends its three-consecutive race weekends in Mugello, Italy — one of the most favorite stops on the Championship calendar each season. With Casey Stoner struggling at the Italian track, and Jorge Lorenzo dominating, a clear move in the Championship points seemed destined for the Italian GP. Adding a curve ball to the equation though was Repsol Honda man Dani Pedrosa, who sat on the pole-position, and who also showed a renewed promise to contend for the Championship title.

With the battle at the front of the Championship heating up, the battle between the best of the rest was also coming to a head — especially over the empty seat in the factory Yamaha squad. Said to be held up by one Mr. Valentino Rossi, waiting in the wings are also Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, and Cal Crutchlow. With the American said to have an edge on keeping his seat, mostly due to the checks Yamaha USA writes, Spies’ abysmal season seems almost all but forgiven. Though anything can happen before MotoGP makes its next stop, in the USA at Laguna Seca.

Meanwhile still in Italy, the Italian GP was largely a processional race. Lorenzo took the lead into the first turn, and the Spaniard never looked back. Though a pack of four other riders (Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Hayden, and Bradl) would trail him, Lorenzo slowly made his gap, and finished a comfortable race. With Pedrosa getting around Dovizioso quickly into the game, the Repsol Honda rider would also have a comfortable finish, though he felt the pressure from Dovizioso and Bradl for some time more before that.

The group would eventually lose Hayden, who at one point was almost in the clutches of a charging Casey Stoner, though the American would make a stellar push forward back to the group that was racing for third. Running off the track, Stoner took himself out of the equation, as the Australian just never found a setup he was comfortable with on his Honda RC213V on the Italian track.

With Dovi mixing it up with a very potent Stefan Bradl, the more experienced Tech 3 rider eventually robbed the rookie of his first MotoGP podium finish, though it was a tough-fought fight for that position. Nicky Hayden would join the duo, and for a fraction of a lap seemed to have a fourth-place finish tied-up on the final lap.

Leaving the door open for Bradl to respond, Bradl’s tough pass left Nicky running wide as Bradl went through. Hayden’s charge would cost him thrice, as both Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow got around the American in the process as well — Rossi a corner later, and Crutchlow just ahead of the final turn.

Languishing throughout the race was Ben Spies, who was dealing with a suspected bout of food poisoning. Said just to be concentrating on not making a milkshake in his helmet, the Italian GP is just another bullet point on a laundry list of bad breaks the factory Yamaha rider has had to endure this season. Whether the worst luck in the history of modern man, or a symptom of a greater issue, the fact remains that another horrendous result for Spies just muddles the future further on his retention at the Yamaha squad.

With two satellite riders consistently out-doing him on the track, for whatever reason it may be, Yamaha surely has to be weighing its options carefully, and the fact that Spies hasn’t signed a contract already just adds further credence to the Japanese company weighing all its possible choices.

In other news, the debate is still raging as to what was more ridiculous: Jorge Lorenzo’s “black mamba” parc fermé celebration, or Michele Pirro’s attempt to shortcut nearly half the track (which resulted in him being black-flagged) after pitting on the first lap. Cast your vote in the comments.

Race Results from the Italian GP at Mugello, Italy:

1Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha41’37.477
2Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda+5.223
3Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+10.665
4Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda+10.711
5Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+11.695
6Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+12.060
7Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+12.235
8Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda+30.617
9Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+31.728
10Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+34.589
11Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+57.862
12Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART+59.963
13Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+1’11.200
14James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART+1’11.458
15Mattia PASINIITASpeed MasterART+1’11.828
16Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR1 Lap
Not Classified
Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter13 Laps
Yonny HERNANDEZCOLAvintia BlusensBQR14 Laps
Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda20 Laps
Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

  • Damo

    Riders sure seem to get food poisoning much more than normal people…

  • Philip

    As retarded as he looked, I actually liked the Black Mamba strikes. Lorenzo ~ Kobe if Stoner ~ LeBron in terms of killer instinct and outright skill. So my vote goes to Mr. Pirro.

  • I thought that PF mamba strike was fun. And, honestly, he DECIMATED the field. Lorenzo sure was the man of the day. Wow.

    As for Spies … I like him as a rider. That said, luck or whatever notwithstanding, it’s all about results at the end of the day. He’s not delivering. I’m thinkin’ that Dovi should have that seat.

  • Calisdad

    Oh- so that’s what that was. He needs Steve O to show him how it’s really done.

    Great race on his part. He should stick to racing and maybe start some victory skits after he’s won 6 more championships. Vale should be pleased tho- imitation and flattery and all.

    Mr Pirro was black flagged for ‘an illegal manouver’. Now if he was on a factory Honda it would have been legalized before the race was over.