MotoGP: An Unfitting Goodbye to the Portuguese GP

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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:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
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
Not Classified
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