Motoette -in forward motion

MotoGP riders exit stage right at the treacherous Phillip Island’s Grand Prix

Phillip Island Iveco MotoGP Post Race Review 2011:

Holy cow what at race! Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner blew the socks off his competitors with a domineering pre race weekend that led him to a ninth first place podium win and the 2011 World Championship title! The stars couldn’t have lined up any better with his victory taking place in his homeland of Australia and on his 26th Birthday! Not that it’s worth mentioning, but he now leads by 65 points in standings! Another astonishing win was San Carlo Honda Grisini’s Marco Simoncelli, with a well-earned 2nd place on the podium after some heavy head to head combat with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso coming in third.

Casey:

“I don’t think anyone could plan things to happen better than they have today,” said Stoner. “The race was incredibly difficult, the conditions we’re very tough. I came into the last turn and the rain started hard. I nearly lost control and thought for sure I was going to end up in the gravel. I managed to control it and maintain the gap to everyone and thankfully bring it home for the win, but it was a little bit nerve-racking for sure.”

Marco:

“I am delighted! It was a really tough race with changeable conditions throughout and every time I saw raindrops on my visor I was unsure whether I could push or not. I managed to put a little gap on Dovizioso and Pedrosa but when the rain came Dovizioso was able to catch me and make a pass. I managed to stay with him and follow his lines so when the track was dry again on the last lap I was able to throw everything at him and make the pass.”

Andrea:

“It was a difficult race as we expected, this track is very tricky, as are the weather conditions. To return on the podium and arrive in front of Dani here at Phillip Island is a very good result for us and it was our target before getting here. I think we could have even finished in second position but when Dani overtook me in the middle of the race we lost contact with Simoncelli, then I retook the position when the rain came, but on the final lap I didn’t have enough grip to push hard in the last few corners.”

The three-day race weekend in southern Melbourne’s Phillip Island in some respects was as unpredictable as the atmospheric weather conditions it presented. With a shocking crash by Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo in the last lap of the warm up and teammate Ben Spies going down in qualifying on Saturday, leaving Yamaha’s paddock garage doors shut tight for race day. Lorenzo took off a good portion of his ring finger on his left hand, which forced him to withdrawal from the race and head off to a plastic surgeon to try and salvage his finger. The disappointed Mallorcan had a successful surgery, but will most likely miss this weekends Sepang race and possibly the crowning Valencia on November 4th.

After sustaining a nasty head slap on the tarmac the day prior, Spies attempted to take to the track on race day with the morning warm up, but regrettably decided it was too risky to participate in the race and bowed out.

Another rider to go down pre race wasAustralia’s Damian Cudlin, who was to substitute for Mapfre Aspar’s Hector Barbera. The fledging GP rider went down for the count in the FP3 round, leaving a sparse 14 spots for the start line.

In front of almost 44,000 fans, Sunday’s 27 lap race started off with a bang as the poised riders waited on the grid for the green flag to disappear while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow received assistance on a last-minute jump-start on his M1.  On cooled tyres, Casey Stoner, once again, found his comfort zone out in front leading the pack. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden had no issue casting his Desmosedici off the grid and right behind the magnificent Aussie with Simoncelli, Andrea Dovizioso, Alvaro Bautista and Dani Pedrosa in the wake.

From the on set, it was clear Stoner was going to be racing against himself as he pulled away within the first lap with a 1.3 second lead over Hayden, in second position. By the second lap Simoncelli flawlessly passed Hayden, but furthered the gap to Stoner with a 3.3 second gap by the 4th go around. Hayden continued to drop back, this time behind Dovizioso in fourth.

Meanwhile, as the looming clouds move in, Simoncelli created a nice cushion between the two riders, but Dovizioso worked diligently to gain on him with every lap that passed. With Simoncelli holding his own, the four riders hammer it out for 3rd with Valentino Rossi closing up behind.

The customary fickle coastal weather was right on cue with breezy partly sunny skies fast turning to a strong chance of precipitation. While the paddocks prepared for the white flag in the 8th lap, the GP boys continued to battle it out on the damp tarmac. Another cluster of bikes to duke it out for 10th was Karel Abraham, Cal Crutclow, Hiroshi Aoyama and Loris Capirossi with Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet looking great with a sizable gap in 8th and 9th.

As the rain drops began to fall in the 10th lap, the white flag was raised, but the premiere riders took little notice of the pit lanes as the battles drew on. While Simoncelli and Dovizioso were at each others throats up front, Pedrosa was feeling a little left out and crashed their party by stealing third in the 12th lap.

Simultaneously, Rossi kicked in the overdrive on his updated GP11.1 and passed his teammate Nicky Hayden before rallying on in hot pursuit of Alvaro Bautista for 5th position. Rossi went for broke and attempted to pass the flaxen tipped Spaniard, but slid out and off the track in the process, giving the crowd a gasp and thinking, how the hell did that happen??

Off in the distance, Stoner pressed on towards the checkered flag with nothing standing between him and the championship but the precarious wet weather. The other two Repsol riders went at it again while Karel Abraham and Randy de Puniet temporarily took a detour off and then back onto the track with the periodic rain showers cascading over the land down under.

Wet, dry, wet, dry, was the scene as the “flag to flag” race end closed down, making the tarmac more like a slip and slide than hard asphalt. Three victims of circumstance to be affected were Hiroshi Aoyama, Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow in the last few laps, ejecting them from a virtually completed race.

Hayden and Capirossi didn’t want to take any chances and pitted in the last two laps for the change-up from slick to wet while Dovizioso threw caution to the wind and squeezed down the throttle to pass Simoncelli after leaving his teammate, Pedrosa in the dust. The two Honda’s did a paint exchange a few more times before the industrious Simoncelli took the bull by the horns and passed Dovi in the last lap to claim his first ever GP second place win. Toni Elias and Loris Capirossi were lapped by the three podium winners, but managed to stay up right for the finish.

In the final lap everyone came to their feet in anticipation to witness the home-grown Casey Stoner create history and cross the finish line to clinch the World title for the second time, including his parents and expectant wife in the paddocks. It most definitely was a day to remember for the new World Champion, Casey Stoner.

Don’t put that remote down just yet, because this Friday on October 21st the GP teams will be back at it for the 17th round at the Shell Advance Malaysia Grand Prix. The first practice round to commence on Friday morning at 10:10am (GMT+8)

Phillip Island, Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pos. Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Km/h Time/Gap
1 25 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 171.4 42’02.425
2 20 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 171.3 +2.210
3 16 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 171.2 +2.454
4 13 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 170.5 +13.160
5 11 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 169.3 +30.886
6 10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 168.1 +48.800
7 9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 166.4 +1’16.314
8 8 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 164.9 1 Lap
9 7 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 164.6 1 Lap
10 6 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE CardionABMotoracing Ducati 156.1 2 Laps
Not Classified
    19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 171.9 4 Laps
    7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 170.6 4 Laps
    35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 170.6 4 Laps
    46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 172.2 14 Laps

MotoGP World Standing 2011

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Casey STONER Honda AUS 325
2 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 260
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Honda ITA 212
4 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 208
5 Ben SPIES Yamaha USA 156
6 Marco SIMONCELLI Honda ITA 139
7 Valentino ROSSI Ducati ITA 139
8 Nicky HAYDEN Ducati USA 132
9 Colin EDWARDS Yamaha USA 109
10 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 94
11 Hector BARBERA Ducati SPA 77
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA Suzuki SPA 67
13 Cal CRUTCHLOW Yamaha GBR 57
14 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 56
15 Toni ELIAS Honda SPA 55
16 Randy DE PUNIET Ducati FRA 49
17 Loris CAPIROSSI Ducati ITA 36
18 Kousuke AKIYOSHI Honda JPN 7
19 John HOPKINS Suzuki USA 6
20 Shinichi ITO Honda JPN 3
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October 17, 2011 - Posted by | Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, Colin Edwards, Dani Pedrosa, Ducati, girlracer, history of MotoGP, Jorge Lorenzo, Loris Capirossi, marco simoncelli, MotoGP, motorcycle racing, Nicky Hayden, phillip Island, Randy De Puniet, Valencia, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha

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