News 20 Sep 2010

MotoGP: Stoner storms to first victory of 2010 at Aragón

Aussie Casey Stoner returned to victory lane in Spain on Sunday.

Aussie Casey Stoner returned to victory lane in Spain on Sunday.

Casey Stoner took his first victory of the 2010 campaign at Aragón on Sunday, converting his pole position at the Spanish circuit into a well-deserved win. The Ducati Team rider finished 5.148s ahead of Dani Pedrosa, with Nicky Hayden completing the podium for his first top-three result of the year after a magnificent last-lap overtake on championship leader, Jorge Lorenzo.

Starting from pole Stoner held his position going into the first turn, but usual rapid starter Pedrosa dropped to fifth as the riders bunched up in the tight opening curve. The Repsol Honda rider fought back in the early stages of the race however to climb to second behind Stoner, and the gap between the two fluctuated throughout.

The pair were consistently fast for the duration of the race but Stoner managed to pull away towards the end as he achieved what was eventually a comfortable 25 points, with Pedrosa maintaining his good form in second.

“This win is a big relief, to be honest!” Stoner admitted. “We had the first race in Qatar wrapped up until I made a mistake and their have been other opportunities to win this year that I have missed out on through my own errors.

“We have had a lot of problems trying to find the final two or three tenths to run with Dani and Jorge this season but we changed the bike completely this weekend to adjust my position on it and got it working almost how we want it to.

“I had a little slip off in warm-up this morning which was a worry going into the race. I was staying away from every white line that I could over the first few laps but we were able to pick up the pace when we needed to and bring home a win. I want to thank the team, the factory and everybody who has stuck by me – I’m just sorry it took so long!”

For Pedrosa, it was a case of so close, yet so far as he gave chase to Stoner throughout the race.

“I’m pretty happy with second place today even though of course I wanted to win in front of the Spanish fans,” Pedrosa said. “In the first corner I had a slide which lost me a couple of places and then over the next few laps I had to make up some positions before getting behind Casey.

“By this point he was quite a way in front and our pace was similar at this stage so I tried really hard to catch him and managed to close the gap. But then I started to have some rear-wheel slides and it wasn’t possible for me stay with him so I thought: ‘Ok, this is my place today.’

“Our bike here was struggling more with tyre wear than some of the others, but anyway, second place is not bad and the championship is still alive, even though it will be very difficult to catch Lorenzo. I’d like to say thanks to my team who are working really hard, and I want to maintain this momentum because recently we have been fast at every race. I’m looking forward to Honda’s home event at Motegi.”

There were battles all the way through the field and none more entertaining than that between Hayden and Lorenzo for the final podium spot. A fearless overtake on Lorenzo by Hayden on the final lap delivered the American the honours, and ended the Fiat Yamaha rider’s record of having placed on the rostrum at every race so far this season.

“It feels great to be back on the podium and I really enjoyed myself today,” Hayden beamed. “The bike has been working really well all weekend and in the race I was able to get a good start and stay with Jorge. There wasn’t really anywhere I could get a wheel in and over the last couple of laps he pushed hard to get away but I decided that fourth wasn’t good enough for me today.

“I did a bit of a backyard move in the chicane over there and managed to hold him off to the line. It’s nice to be on the podium, it has been a really good weekend for us and for the team, the sponsors and the supporters I’m glad we could be up here today. We’ll try to do it again a few more times before the season’s over!”

Ben Spies notched another impressive result with fifth place as he resisted the challenge of Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed out on the final lap whilst pushing hard in better the American

Valentino Rossi rounded off a tough weekend in sixth place, whilst rookies Marco Simoncelli and Álvaro Bautista completed the top eight with solid displays. Marco Melandri and Aleix Espargaró took top-ten finishes, whilst Randy de Puniet escaped injury when he crashed out on lap 16.

Lorenzo’s advantage at the top of the Championship was cut to 56 points and he now stands on 284 points, with Pedrosa on 228 in second. Stoner’s victory lifts him to third on 155, with Rossi staying fourth and Dovizioso dropping to fifth.

Andrea Iannone took his third win of 2010 in the Moto2 World Championship at Aragón on Sunday with another dominant performance, securing victory from pole position by a margin of 6.203s over second placed Julián Simón. Iannone’s Fimmco Speed Up teammate Gabor Talmacsi completed the podium with championship leader Toni Elías fourth.

The leading quartet managed to avoid a crash at turn one, which was started by Fonsi Nieto, who also collected Alex Baldolini, Mattia Pasini, Ricky Cardús and Yonny Hernández on his way to the gravel trap. All the riders involved were uninjured.

Just as he’d done to take his first win of the season in Mugello, Iannone got away at the front and immediately set about building an insurmountable gap back to his pursuers.

Alex de Angelis was running towards the front when he suffered the disappointment of crashing out having started from the front row, and it was left to Simón, Simone Corsi and Talmacsi to begin the battle for the final two podium spots.

Jules Cluzel and Scott Redding were part of a chasing pack, which Dominique Aegerter later joined, whilst championship leader Elías overcame a difficult grid position of 12th to rise to fifth by the midway point of the race.

All the while at the front Iannone was riding a comfortable race with a solid lead, which stood at as much as eight seconds towards the closing stages. The Italian eventually repeated his wins from pole that came at Mugello and Assen, with Simón holding off Talmacsi’s challenge. It was the Mapfre Aspar rider’s third consecutive second place finish, with Talmacsi taking a well-deserved first podium of the season.

Elías completed an impressive recovery from the third row to end fourth, coming close to catching the final podium spot, with Corsi, Cluzel, Aegerter, Redding and Stefan Bradl following him across the line. Another impressive ride in 10th came from Thomas Lüthi who overcame a difficult qualification position of 20th to again score points.

There was bitter disappointment for British wild card Kev Coghlan however who had enjoyed a good weekend, qualifying in 13th. The Scottish rider suffered mechanical issues that meant he started from Pit Lane and he was later forced to retire from the race.

Elías remains at the top of the standings and is now on 224 points, 76 ahead of Simón who retains second place. Iannone moves into third and is now four points off Simón, with Lüthi fourth and Corsi fifth.

Pol Espargaró took his third win of the season at Aragón on Sunday with a masterful ride that climaxed in a final-lap fight with Nico Terol, who finished the race second and moved to the top of the championship after a highly dramatic 125cc contest.

There was a huge development not just in the race but also the championship at the very start when Randy Krummenacher crashed at turn one on the opening lap and took Marc Márquez down with him. The Swiss rider was able to remount his bike but Márquez, the championship leader going into the race, was not and suffered his first DNF since the second round at Jerez. Krummenacher was later black flagged for the incident.

That left the trio of Espargaró, Terol and Bradley Smith to contend for the podium positions as they pulled away from the remainder of the field, and the two Spaniards slowly began to open up a gap on the Briton.

Espargaró and Terol engaged in an intriguing scrap that saw the pair swap the lead on a number of occasions throughout, as they attempted to outwit one another. At one stage Terol appeared to be pulling away but his rival responded and kept a close check on him going into the final lap.

It was then that Espargaró made a daring bid for victory, going round the outside of Terol and assuming the lead which he held to cross the finish line just 0.050s ahead of the Bancaja Aspar rider, whose team-mate Bradley Smith rode to a lonely third place at 9.410s further back for his third podium of the campaign – his first since Catalunya.

Efrén Vázquez came in fourth at just over 6.5s back, with Sandro Cortese and Tomoyoshi Koyama completing the top six. Esteve Rabat edged Jonas Folger for seventh place by just over a tenth of a second, with Danny Webb and Luis Salom scoring top-ten finishes.

The repercussions of the race result for the championship were that Terol now leads on 208 points, with Espargaró moving into second on 202 whilst Márquez drops to third and remains on 197.

Click here for detailed results