Motoette -in forward motion

Spies creates some elbow room at the Cathedral

Iveco’s TT Assen Post Race Review

Under a canopy of an all too familiar heavily clouded threatening skies, Yamaha Factory rookie rider Ben Spies soared his red and white 50th anniversary M1 over the finish line; giving the American his first ever podium win as a premiere rider. The rain-soaked tarmac has seemed to be a constant in the 2011 season and the Dutch circuit was no exception, with wet and dry conditions playing with the riders and their teams all weekend long.

Ben Spies surprised everyone with his aggressive move to the front of the pack within the first two turns even though he fared well in the free practice rounds and placed in the front row on the grid. Destined for success as a Factory rider, Spies was finding his religion at the “Cathedral of Motorcycling” throughout the entirety of the race with a praising several second lead over star Honda rider, Casey Stoner, who came in second. Spies saying: “It was strange because it was one of the most comfortable races I’ve had, and it resulted in a win. I had a good feeling with the bike at the start of the race so I pushed to make a gap. Even after I was 3 or 4 seconds ahead of Casey, when he pushed to try to catch me, I still had some reserve I could use, so I could speed up if I needed to.”

The Aussie rider claimed he blew the line right out of the start by slipping the clutch in the first left hander causing him to drop back. After Stoner witnessed Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and San Carlo Grisini Honda’s Marco Simoncelli go down in an entanglement on the first turn, he made an executive decision to ride the race in “stay safe” mode, not wanting to push it. His mind-set could have been due to the uncharacteristic crash he had in Friday’s free practice and his struggle to find a comfortable set up on his RC212V for the remainder of the weekend after feeling a little beat up from the experience.  “Today we would have liked to challenge for the win but the way this weekend has gone for us I’m really very happy for a podium finish and to take some valuable points, said Stoner. “Yesterday we weren’t happy with the bike the set up, so today we made some changes and tried to get some more feeling, but unfortunately in the warm up we didn’t get a proper chance to try it, which meant we started the race with a set up we didn’t really know.”

Stoner’s Factory teammate, Andrea Dovizioso did another repeat as well, also downing his RC212V on Friday’s free practice, but bounced back with third on the podium on race day. The Italian rider paced well in his usual tried and true manner, but did have a sizable gap behind Stoner. The content Andrea said; “I’m really happy with today’s podium. It’s a good result for the Championship and also it has come after a complicated race weekend. The track conditions were tough. When we were on the grid, the weather was still unpredictable and the track was not completely dry, so we went for a safe tyre selection, choosing the soft front tyre. This choice influenced my race because when I tried to stay with Casey, I was losing the front and I couldn’t push harder. This is my only disappointment today.”

The 26 lap race started out with a bang with four riders going down in the first lap of the classified dry race. It seems Simoncelli is as out of control as his hair is on the tarmac when he incited another crash, this time with Jorge Lorenzo. The reigning World Champion was visibly infuriated with an early end to a promising race and it didn’t help that the probable cause was by the impressive, but klutzy Simoncelli. A guy who probably isn’t winning any popularity contests by his contenders this season, making it four for seven!! Both were able to remount their bikes, but had to start over, working their way back up the line. Lorenzo was most effective in his determination to regain his composure and was duly rewarded by placing 6th, from a 13th position. The shaken Lorenzo stated: “I thought he learned from the past, from the controversy he created, like what happened with Dani (Pedrosa), but it’s clear that he doesn’t learn at the moment. I hope he learns in the future but at this moment I don’t have any respect for him because he is causing a risk to all the riders.”

Simoncelli, with his under tail flapping in the wind, had a more challenging time removing himself from the rear, but did manage to place 9th towards the end of the race. With another astonishing first row start from the grid, the unruly rider couldn’t hold his bike in an up right position once again, this time placing the blame on a cold tyre. “I tried to overtake Lorenzo in the second turn and I didn’t feel that I took too high a risk, but I lost the rear because of the cold tyre – without throttle – in the middle of the corner and I crashed. I took Lorenzo in the crash and I’m sorry for him.”

Two downed riders to immediately follow was Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham and Pramac’s Randy de Puniet after less than two laps into the race, both having to claim a DFN. The trademark “all smiles” Czech rider could not find much to grin about after the disappointing blow and was hoping to capitalize on the progression of the race weekend at Silverstone with a 7th place. With head in hands, de Puniet could not conceal his frustration in another bad outcome for the 2011 season. The French rider is now 3rd from the bottom in standings with 10 points and 126 points short of lead rider, Casey Stoner. With Teammate veteran rider, Loris Capirossi out after bashing his head in the free practice rounds, it has not been a good year for the Pramac Team…enough said.

Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi looked like it was going to be another work in progress with the new GP11.1 this weekend with his lagging test results and 11th pole position. But the resilient Italian found the spirit within his newfangled machine, not to mention a more stable rear end, and brought home a 4th place win for he and his team! It was a pretty uneventful race for Rossi, with the exception of a brief tussle with recovering Cal Crutchlow. The British Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider unexpectedly pitted in the 11th lap with what turned out not to be a problem with his injured collar-bone, but a shredded front tire, putting him out the of the race for a second time! The mohawed Rossi said: “The weekend was positive overall, because we got confirmation that this bike is better in many ways, especially with regard to the rear end, which is now much more stable. On the other hand, we also know that we must keep working because we still have a gap to the competition to make up. It’s not as big as the time we lost today in terms of seconds, but it’s still there. Still, we’re all trying really hard, and we must continue to do so.”

Teammate Nicky Hayden vacillated back and forth like the Dutch weather conditions, but managed to place his best time in dry conditions with his new step 2 chassis set up. The constantly perfecting Hayden felt he made a few mistakes but was happy with his 5th place results and looks onward to a drier and warmer Mugello. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s super sonic Colin Edwards did not make the podium this time around, but hung in there for a 7th place after he started to drop back for some unexplained reason in the 20th lap.

With the gaps between the riders widening and the race action lessening, it left little room for any hand to hand combat in the final minutes of the race. Hiroshi Aoyama rode for the recovering Dani Pedrosa and placed 8th after holding back the ensuing Marco Simoncelli and LCR Honda’s Toni Elias, who passed the checkered flag right after Simoncelli, in 10th. Rizla Suzuki’s “highlighted” Alvaro Bautista walked away feeling pretty low with his 11th place position. The Spanish rider had difficulty in establishing the set up with his GSV-R after Friday’s FP2 round was cancelled when a Moto2 rider left a long stream of fluids on the tarmac prior.

First place winner, Ben Spies lapped Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera and Kousuke Akiyoshi, who represented San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Hiroshi Aoyama. Both riders brought up the rear in 12th and the final 13th positions.

Assen, Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 169.7 41’44.659
2 20 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 169.2 +7.697
3 16 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 167.9 +27.506
4 13 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 167.7 +30.684
5 11 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 166.9 +43.172
6 10 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 166.8 +44.536
7 9 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 165.2 +1’08.112
8 8 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Repsol Honda Team Honda 165.1 +1’10.753
9 7 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 164.2 +1’24.925
10 6 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 164.1 +1’26.216
11 5 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 163.3 +1’38.466
12 4 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati 161.5 1 Lap
13 3 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 158.5 1 Lap
14 2 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 151.6 2 Laps
Not Classified
    14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 145.4 25 Laps
    17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE CardionABMotoracing Ducati   0 Lap

MotoGP World Standing 2011

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 136
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 108
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 99
4 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 81
5 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 71
6 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 61
7 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 61
8 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 51
9 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 46
10 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 39
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 35
12 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 34
13 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 33
14 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 32
15 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 27
16 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 22
17 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 10
18 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
19 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 3
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June 26, 2011 - Posted by | Andrea Dovizioso, Assen, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, girlracer, history of MotoGP, Jorge Lorenzo, marco simoncelli, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, Nicky Hayden, Silverstone, Valentino Rossi

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