Stoner ties for world title lead after pivotal Assen victory //
POSTED: 01 Jul 2012 | SECTION: MotoGP News | POSTED BY:Alex Gobert
The result saw Stoner move back into a tie for the MotoGP World Championship points lead, assisted by the shock first turn exit by Jorge Lorenzo as he was taken down by Alvaro Bautista.
Stoner had suffered what he referred to as one of his worst ever crashes when he hit a slick spot in Friday morning practice. The fall pitched him hard onto his chronically injured left scaphoid, left arm, and his head, and also his knee.
When the race began, under warm, sunny skies, Pedrosa and pole-sitter Stoner cleared off, and by the first corner championship leader Lorenzo was out.
Bautista had charged into the first turn of the race with too much pace, lost the front end and collected Lorenzo as he slid to his left. Race direction cited Bautista for riding in an ‘irresponsible manner’.
His penalty is that he will have to start at the back of the MotoGP grid at next weekend’s German GP at the Sachsenring. The San Carlo Honda Gresini team appealed the penalty, but the FIM stewards confirmed the decision, which is final.
While much of the rest of the field had to check up, the Honda riders quickly pulled away to decide the race between themselves. Pedrosa was never able to lose the Australian with Stoner a constant threat on his tailpiece.
Stoner made his move for the lead in the sixth gear Hoge Heide slight kink on lap 17 of 26. Within three laps he had put the lead to over 1.5s and from there cruised home to victory. The margin of victory was 4.965s.
The win was the world champion’s third of the year and the 36th of his career, putting him one behind the legendary Mike Hailwood for fourth all-time in the premier class.
It also moved him into a tie with Lorenzo atop the points standings with 140 after seven of 18 races, though Stoner said Lorenzo’s misfortune was not how he wanted to get back into the championship chase. Pedrosa is third with 121 points.
“To take pole position and now the win is really incredible,” Stoner said. “A big thanks to my whole team who never gave up. My plan was to get a better start than I actually did, take some advantage and use the energy I had to try and make a gap and try to hold on to the end.
“We also knew that whichever position we were in, we had to preserve the rear tyre. Choosing the softer tyre, there was a big chance that we would destroy it and have nothing left for the end of the race. When I saw Dani was running at a reasonable pace and we were pulling away from the others, I decided to stay there and watch him to save the tyres and my energy as much as I could.
“With nine, 10 laps remaining, I knew we wouldn’t suffer a big drop in tyre performance, I still felt good, so I decided to pass him and see if I could pull a gap.
“It was a tough race, I had a lot of arm pump as I had to compensate for my injuries from the crash yesterday, but my fitness was good and the bike was working well in general. I’m sorry for Jorge. Nobody wants to take points over a competitor in this manner, but as we can see, one race can change everything.”
Behind Stoner and Lorenzo in the race was a determined Andrea Dovizioso, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider out-pacing Yamaha factory rider Ben Spies.
Spaniard Marc Marquez extended his lead in the Moto2 World Championship at Assen, fighting hard in the closing stages of the race to snatch victory from Andrea Iannone.
The pair went back and forth in the final laps, before Marquez finally made his move stick with half a lap to run. Scott Redding made it two podiums in a row with third.
Queenslander Anthony West battled to a promising 21st position, featuring constantly around that position all weekend long in a slight performance improvement. Moto2 newcomer Damian Cudlin was forced out on debut in the final laps of the race.
Maverick Vinales won an incredibly close Moto3 race at Assen, with the top four all crossing the finish line within a second after 22 nail-biting laps. Sandro Cortese was second, with Danny Kent claiming a solid third.
South Australian Arthur Sissis was 16th after a difficult weekend, while countryman Jack Miller was excluded from the results.