MotoGP 2010 Aragon Results
Stoner runs away, and Lorenzo misses the podium
Round 13 of the 2010 MotoGP season brought with it a number of surprises in what has been a predictable year. The inaugural race in Aragon, complete with 70,000 delirious Spanish racing fans, had more twists than a Chubby Checker revival. These included Casey Stoner winning his first race since Round 16 of last season; Nicky Hayden making his first podium appearance since Indianapolis last year; and Jorge Lorenzo failing to podium for the first time since Valencia last year. The only result of any lasting importance involved Lorenzo, whose dream of completing the greatest season in premier class history went bust, leaving him with no aspiration beyond simply winning the 2010 championship. Oh well …
Aragon now joins Losail and Phillip Island in the “Ducati-friendly” family of circuits, not necessarily a compliment in MotoGP circles. The Japanese giants Yamaha and Honda might prefer to take their chances elsewhere next season. Yamaha failed to put a rider on the podium for the first time since forever, while Honda could manage only two bikes in the top eight. And Spain, one of whose homeboys had won every race since Qatar, is reportedly considering ceding the entire region to France, so thorough is its disgust with today’s outcome.
Before the race started, I was speculating about the motivation for the factory riders. Jorge Lorenzo needed simply to finish the race, preferably in the top three. Dani Pedrosa needed to win the race, but in any event to finish ahead of Lorenzo. Casey Stoner needed to become relevant again, having seen his status fall this year from “contender” to “afterthought”. Nicky Hayden needed a podium, and to pick up some points on Ben Spies. And Andrea Dovizioso must have simply wanted a little respect.
From the get-go, it was the Ducatis’ day. Stoner led from wire to wire, and spent much of the day only a second in front of Pedrosa. By Lap 18, he had extended his lead to three seconds, and his first 2010 win was assured. Pedrosa, off to an uncharacteristically slow start, and desperately in need of a third consecutive win, made it back as far as second place but was unable to overtake the Australian and his 2009 front fork. Lorenzo, whose bike was quick neither in the turns nor on the straights, looked content to finish third, but failed to account for a determined Nicky Hayden, who tailed him all day. In the best move of the day, and one of the best all season, Hayden went through on Lorenzo on the next-to-last turn of the last lap and held on for his first podium of the year.
American riders Hayden and rookie Ben Spies, while not strong enough to compete for a win, were WAY strong enough to compete for Top Five bragging rights. There is no question that Lorenzo wanted to hold onto third today; Hayden simply out-raced him at the end. Spies had his own problems, with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, breathing down his neck all day and doggedly lining him up for the last few laps. Spies refused to fold, and Dovizioso finally crashed out late on Lap 23, allowing the American another Top Five finish in his luminous Rookie of the Year campaign. Spies will be a baller next season on the factory Yamaha.
Lorenzo Still Controls the Big Picture
While today’s race had its moments and some pretty high entertainment value, the championship race remained more or less unchanged. Lorenzo’s lead over Pedrosa for the title has now shrunk to a forbidding 56 points with five races remaining. Stoner’s win today advanced him from a distant fifth to a distant third. Valentino Rossi – remember him? – struggled with his shoulder again this weekend, qualifying seventh and finishing sixth, but remained in fourth place for the season.
Dovizioso was the big loser today, as his crash dropped him from third to fifth for the year. I get the feeling he’s feeling dejected over his impending demotion to the Gresini satellite Honda team for next season, despite his strong start this year. Nicky Hayden may have decided not to be the only non-Suzuki factory rider lagging Ben Spies for the year, and now trails him by a mere six points. For the factory dogs, Rule #1 is beat your teammate. Rule #2 is beat those pokey satellite guys.
The other big loser today was yours truly, whose predictions, from the weather to the podium, were dead on arrival. The weather was perfect, contrary to the forecast at midweek. I had projected Pedrosa (second), Lorenzo (fourth) and Dovizioso (DNF) on the podium, with no thought given to Stoner or Hayden. Despite feeling way more confident about what may transpire in Motegi in two weeks, I’m going to avoid any predictions. No point in leading with my chin.
Elsewhere on the Grid
Rookie Marco Simoncelli continued his steady improvement this season with another solid seventh place finish. Alvaro Bautista, who earlier in the week announced that his Rizla Suzuki was fully tuned and ready to go, managed to edge out Marco Melandri, Aleix Espargaro and Hector Barbera in a hectic dash for eighth place; such moral victories are about all that’s available to MotoGP’s poor relations.
Midway through the race, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha senior Colin Edwards was seen “battling” with Hiro Aoyama and Mika Kallio for 12th position, a contest he eventually won, earning a rousing “So, what?” from Yamaha Racing ayatollah Lin Jarvis. Despite his precipitous decline this season, Edwards has signed a new deal with the French team for next season. Personally, I’m starting to miss James Toseland.
Over at Moto2
The junior league took another step toward its own anticlimactic conclusion to the 2010 season this week as Andrea Iannone won from the pole for the third time, having done so previously at Mugello and Assen. Joining him on the podium were Julian Simon and our old buddy Gabor Talmacsi, with series leader Toni Elias and Simone Corsi rounding out the Top Five. The race featured the usual Lap One pileup in which five racers crashed, leaving four down for the count, though uninjured. British teenager Scott Redding managed an eighth place finish two weeks after being involved in the accident in which Shoya Tomizawa lost his life.
The Top Ten Moto2 standings for the season:
|Moto2 Championship Top Ten Standings After Twelve Rounds|
|1||Toni Elias||Fiat Yamaha||224|
|3||Andrea Iannone||Speed Up||144|
|6||Gabor Talmacsi||Speed Up||95|
|9||Yuki Takahashi||Tech 3||76|
|10||Sergio Gadea||Pons Kalex||59|
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