MotoGP: 2010 Catalunya Results
Lorenzo earns the hat trick after Pedrosa's Turn 1 gaffe
The Gran Premio Aperol de Catalunya looked as if it would be a duel between Fiat Yamaha icon-elect Jorge Lorenzo and Team Ducati’s Casey Stoner. Both previous winners had been fast all weekend, and qualified one-two. But when the green flag dropped, the Repsol Honda duo of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso instantly materialized at the front. Pedrosa’s challenge lasted until Turn 1, as he went in white-hot, took a small detour, and found himself in ninth position heading for Turn 2. Dovizioso stayed glued to leader Lorenzo’s rear tire until Lap 14 when he, too, succumbed to the pressure and went low-side, eventually finishing 14th.
And so it goes. Once Dovi crashed, the race was over, giving Lorenzo three wins in a row, five-wins-in-seven-races for the year, and a 52 point stranglehold on the 2010 MotoGP World Championship. Were he so inclined, which he’s not, Lorenzo could go on holiday today, not return to racing until August 13, and still be in the lead and favored for the championship. Pedrosa, who fought his way back from his early error, finished second again today, garnered another 20 points, and fell further behind Lorenzo. Dovizioso, with the hardest two points he’s ever earned, maintained his firm grip on third place for the year and still leads fourth place Nicky Hayden by 22 points.
This might have been one of those days when Dani Pedrosa was untouchable, just like the way he was last year at Laguna Seca and again this year at Mugello. He made up an enormous amount of time, and expended a lot of rubber, coming back from his Turn 1 soiree, and was, by the end of the race, hot on Lorenzo’s tail. If this race had a soundtrack, the start would have featured Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy”, as both Pedrosa and Dovizioso were pressing early on. They are clearly the poster children for the “Anybody But Lorenzo” faction among MotoGP fans, and appear to be feeling the strain. During the 60 seconds of Lap 4 when Dovizioso actually led Lorenzo, one had the strong feeling that it wasn’t going to last.
For the second week in a row, the podium featured Lorenzo flanked by Pedrosa and Casey Stoner. Stoner, for his part, had a solid race, other than a brief walkabout at Turn 1 of Lap 6, which dropped him from third to fifth, for awhile. He made it back to the podium, after punking Randy de Puniet on Lap 9 and Dovizioso crashed on Lap 14. De Puniet, with his best finish of the year in fourth place, was once again the top satellite rider on the grid. One suspects he is quite pleased with his front row start and 13 point day, despite, for the seventh consecutive round, having more success in the qualifying practice than during the race itself. Kudos, too, to today’s fifth place finisher, one Alvaro Bautista, still mending from injuries suffered before Round 3 at Le Mans, who pushed his Rizla Suzuki all the way up from the nine hole to steal another top five finish from fellow rookie Ben Spies.
Some Outstanding Efforts Today…
Bautista and teammate Loris Capirossi breathed a bit of life back into the Suzuki program today, as Capirossi’s seventh place finish gave the team 20 points for the day. Heading into today’s race, the two had accounted for only thirty points in the previous six rounds.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Spies, who had been dawdling in 10th place as recently as Lap 13, put on a great second half of the race to finish as the top American on a July 4th that was generally unkind to the Yank contingent.
Perhaps the most courageous ride of the day was turned in by San Carlo Honda’s Marco Melandri, who climbed from a qualifying spot of 14th to finish a very respectable ninth. The amazing thing about his outing today is that he accomplished it a week after dislocating his shoulder AND FRACTURING HIS STERNUM in a practice crash at Assen. I wasn’t even aware it was possible to fracture one’s sternum, and there was Melandri, pushing his Honda all over the track and missing out on eighth place by only 1/10 of a second. Bravo, Marco!
…and a Few That Weren’t So Hot
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who earlier in the season appeared ready to re-join the championship conversation, experienced his second irrelevant race in a row, following up his uninspired seventh place finish at Assen with an eighth place run today that could have easily been a ninth. Although he improved his starting position by three spots, he was a non-factor all weekend, and seems to have suffered from Stoner’s recent awakening from the dead. He’s tied for fourth place for the season with Randy de Puniet, but de Puniet seems to have found his groove while Hayden appears to be slipping.
Pramac Racing’s Aleix Espargaro enjoyed a frustrating weekend, as his eighth place qualifying run was taken down to 12th when he was caught cutting a corner in his best qualifying lap. From there, he proceeded to crash out of the race on Lap 6. And while no riders like to crash, Spanish riders HATE crashing in Spanish races. Improving rookie Marco Simoncelli crashed, too, on Lap 14, right before Dovizioso, on a lap that was brutal for the Italian contingent.
Today’s Big News
The biggest news of the day wasn’t Valentino Rossi announcing his defection to Ducati beginning in 2011, which, um, hasn’t yet been announced. No, the big news of the day, obviously, was the result of the shootout for last place between Interwetten Honda replacement rider Kousouke Akiyoshi and Fiat Yamaha sub Wataru Yoshikawa, and it wasn’t even close. Akiyoshi obliterated Yoshikawa, finishing a mere minute and nine seconds behind Lorenzo and a full 26 seconds ahead of Yoshikawa. Interwetten celebrated Akiyoshi’s stunning accomplishment by dropping him and naming Alex de Angelis to carry the team’s colors, beginning at the Sachsenring, until Aoyama is fit to return.
|MotoGP Championship Top Ten Standings After Five Rounds|
|1||Jorge Lorenzo||Fiat Yamaha||165|
|2||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||113|
|3||Andrea Dovizioso||Repsol Honda||91|
|4||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Marlboro||69|
|5||Randy De Puniet||LCR Honda||69|
|6||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||67|
|7||Valentino Rossi||Fiat Yamaha||61|
|8||Ben Spies||Tech 3 Yamaha||59|
|9||Marco Melandri||San Carlo Gresini Honda||39|
|10||Marco Simoncelli||San Carlo Gresini Honda||39|
Over at Moto2
The junior class celebrated another exhilarating contest today, with something for every taste and budget. There was a demolition derby crash at Turn 1 on Lap 1 that left nine riders seeing stars, including contenders Shoya Tomizawa and Sergio Gadea.
There was Yuki “Crash” Takahashi, late of the premier class, winning his first Moto2 race by a full five seconds. There were the second through sixth place finishers separated by a mere 2.4 seconds. And there was a spectacular crash at the finish line, as substitute rider Carmelo Morales, attempting to pull a late fast one on Antonio Banderas’ rider Kenny Noyes, tagged Noyes’ rear wheel and went high-side, crossing the finish line separately from his bike. Noyes finished in seventh position, while Morales, who actually crossed the finish line a fraction of a second after Noyes, was classified as, well, Not Classified, being judged to have failed to “finish” the race. Talk about kicking a man when he’s down!
|Moto2 Catalunya Top Eight Results|
|1||Yuki Takahashi||Tech 3|
|Moto2 Championship Top Eight Standings After Seven Rounds|
|5||Andrea Iannone||Speed Up|
|8||Yuki Takahashi||Tech 3|
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