With fair weather conditions over Estoril, MotoGP dodged the rain bullet and had a dry race for Sunday’s Portuguese GP. Noting that the Ducati rain dance had failed, our attention shifted to the inter-Yamaha rivalry that is brewing between Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, and Andrea Dovizioso. With the American ailing in the factory Yamaha Racing team, both Crutchlow and Dovi are keen to take his spot for next season, as virtually all of the rider contracts are up this season. Cal has so far shined brighter than the Italian, starting today again on the front row.
With that battle set to go throughout the 2012 MotoGP Championship, more pressing issues included the absence of Colin Edwards, who broke his collarbone after getting struck by Randy de Puniet’s crashing Aprilia ART. Having won at every track except Estoril, the last bit of business for the Portuguese had to do with Casey Stoner, who was looking to complete his mantle of circuit wins with Estoril.
With MotoGP reducing its races on the Iberian Peninsula for the foreseeable future, this weekend marked the last time the premier class would race in Portugal. Click past the jump for race spoilers and results.
Heading into the first turn, it was Dani Pedrosa who lead teammate Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Ben Spies, Cal Crutchlow, and Andrea Dovizioso. Having a bobble a few turns later, the Spaniard lost his position, watching both Stoner and Lorenzo get by him. Despite a mid-race push, Stoner maintained a comfortable lead over the two other riders, with there being no adjustment to the order from that point further.
Several cat naps later, the only real battle on the track was between the two Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders, though Crutchlow’s mistake in the endgame of the race saw the Brit run wide, and kiss goodbye to any chance of him putting pressure on Dovi to the line. Other points of interest included the embarrassment that rookie Stefan Bradl handed Ben Spies, as the rookie lead the factory Yamaha rider for the majority of the race. Meanwhile Valentino Rossi seemed satisfied with what would normally be a disappointing seventh place finish.
Perhaps the biggest parade-lap race we have seen this season, it is perhaps best that Estoril does not remain on the calendar. MotoGP action comes next from Le Mans, in two weeks’ time.
Race Results from the Portuguese GP at Estoril, Portugal:
|1||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||–|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+1.421|
|3||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+3.621|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+13.846|
|5||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+16.690|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||+21.884|
|7||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+26.797|
|8||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+33.262|
|9||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||+35.867|
|10||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||+53.363|
|11||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+1’02.630|
|12||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’20.736|
|13||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’23.483|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||+1’37.905|
|15||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||1 Lap|
|Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||5 Laps|
|James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||10 Laps|
|Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||12 Laps|
|Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||17 Laps|
|Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||17 Laps|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved