MotoGP: The Championship Gets Framed at the Spanish GP

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With a damp but drying track, MotoGP got underway at Jerez, Spain this weekend with Jorge Lorenzo sitting once again at the pole position. A favorite to win at the Spanish track, Lorenzo’s bid for his second race win of the season would surely be challenged by fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa. Always unable to count out Casey Stoner, and with Nicky Hayden and Cal Crutchlow mixing things up at the front, the Spanish GP promised to have some good close racing, and its results will surely frame the discussion about who the contenders are the 2012 MotoGP Championship.

Getting a patent-pending rocket start when the lights went out, Spaniard Dani Pedrosa lead the charge through the first turns, followed by Lorenzo, Crutchlow, Hayden, and Ben Spies. As the pace set in, that front group pulled away, leaving Spies to deal with his “bad day at the office,” which saw the American struggling for feel with his Yamaha YZR-M1.

Finding his way through the traffic, Stoner took over at the front group, with Lorenzo stalking close behind him. As that pair would breakaway, the battle became heated with Hayden leading Dovizioso, Pedrosa, and Crutchlow. Hayden would unfortunately not have the pace though, and slowly dropped all the way down the field to eighth — a result that does not reflect the race he ran, and is surely a disappointment to the the Ducati Corse team.

Eventually closing the gap to the front, Pedrosa & Crutchlow were not able to reconnect with Lorenzo and Stoner, but made for another good Honda vs. Yamaha battle at the front of the race track. While surely looking for a better result, Crutchlow finished a strong race, decimating his teammate, and adding further credence to his claim for Ben Spies’s seat in the factory team.

With Spies finishing 11th in the group battling for 9th, the result is another disappointment for the American, who took full-blame for the day’s results. Battling with Valentino Rossi, Hector Barbera, and Randy de Puniet, The Doctor would be the victor in that four-way battle, though by only a small margin.

Contending with the ailing Spies, and satellite Ducati of Barbera, Rossi even had to worry about the CRT of de Puniet’s being in the battle. Beating Barbera at the line, Rossi’s ninth-place finish puts him in contact with his teammate on the score sheet, though both the six-second gap and racing perspective tell a much different story.

Unfortunately for Randy de Puniet, the Power Electronics Aspar Aprilia ART died on the final lap, leaving the Frenchman on the side of the track in what could have been a very strong finish for the claiming-rule team. MotoGP racing returns next weekend, as the paddock heads to Estoril for the Portuguese GP.

Race Results from the Spanish GP at Jerez, Spain:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +0.947
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +2.063
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +2.465
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +18.100
6 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +21.395
7 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +28.637
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati +28.869
9 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati +34.852
10 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati +35.103
11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +38.041
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART +1’12.728
13 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda +1’18.669
14 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART +1’29.142
15 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR +1’32.478
16 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter +1’40.577
17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 1 Lap
Not Classified
Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 2 Laps
James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 3 Laps
Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 9 Laps
Not Starting
Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR 0 Lap

Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved