Stoner Wins, Lorenzo Crashes in Wet British Grand Prix

Henny Ray Abrams | June 12, 2011

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner took over the MotoGP World Championship lead by winning the British Grand Prix on a cold, rainy day at Silverstone, while championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) crashed out of his first race in nearly two years. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso was second and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards a courageous third just nine days after fracturing his collarbone in Catalunya.Stoner was pulling away on the ninth lap when Lorenzo high-sided out of third place while caught up in a battle with Dovizioso and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli. Lorenzo fell in the Abbey Corner right, his Yamaha YZR-M1 too badly damaged to continue. It was his first crash out of a race since Malaysia in 2009 on the worst day for Yamaha this year; three corners earlier, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies had crashed out of fifth. The Texan was taken to the medical center for a check-up.Simoncelli wouldn’t last long, crashing on the brakes on the 11th lap. It was his third crash in six races this year. The crash handed third to the recovering Edwards. Edwards had broken his collarbone during Friday practice in Spain, with surgery to plate it a day later.Stoner continued to pull away, lapping through to tenth place to win his 27th MotoGP victory.The margin of victory was 15.169 secs.”That was torture,” Stoner said. “For the last sort of ten laps, the last seven laps I was counting down and they took too long. My hands were freezing, I couldn’t brake properly. I didn’t understand what brake pressure I had.”Stoner said early in the race he was riding blind after being sprayed while making his way into the lead on the second of 20 laps. “I couldn’t see where the wet patches were” for about five laps, he said. “I couldn’t understand anywhere on the track where I needed to be. And after that, the water went away from the inside of my visor and I could actually pick my points and get a bit more confident and that’s when my lap times started to drop and I started to feel more confident.”Once we got a bit of a lead I felt a lot more relaxed and just tried to make sure we didn’t crash in those conditions, because it was so easy.”Stoner’s third consecutive win was the first time a Honda rider had won three races in a row since Rossi did it in 2003. It was also Stoner’s fourth win in six races.After six of 18 races, Stoner leads Lorenzo 116 to 98, with Dovizioso third at 83.”I’m really happy about second position on the podium, because is very difficult for me to be fast like them in the practice, but we never give up,” Dovizioso said.”I knew the race can be like this, so I try to start fast as I can because I knew (Casey) Stoner was really good. But I tried to follow him, but especially I wanted to stay in front of all the riders because the conditions were very over the limit. There was a big wet patch and we lose control of the bike. So I’m really happy about my strategy and my feeling over the first few laps.”The 37-year-old Edwards was wet, cold, tired and sore, but happy to be back on the podium after almost missing the race.”Nine days ago I was going home right after I crashed. I had all my flights changed and everything,” he said. “I really don’t know what to say. I had a good doctor and he did a great job.”The collarbone wasn’t the big issue. I separated my muscles from ribs and that’s really what’s hurting.”As for the conditions, “It was unbearable After ten, eleven laps, can we just throw the checkered flag? because we knew where we were going to finish.” Edwards had a point. The order of the top eight didn’t change for the final ten laps.”It was hard, hard to keep the thing on two wheels. A little tricky in some of those sections.”Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden finished 5.504 secs. behind Edwards in fourth after coming under late pressure from Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista. Bautista closed the gap in the final laps, but Hayden responded with the fastest lap of the race on the 17th of 20.Bautista equaled a career best fifth, one spot and 29 secs. in front of Ducati Marlboro’s Valentino Rossi. Having qualified 13th, Rossi patiently made his way through the field to salvage sixth.Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham (Duc) equaled his best MotoGP finish in seventh.LCR Honda MotoGP’s Toni Elias had his best finish of the season by finishing eighth, though San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Hiroshi Aoyama pressed him to the line.Pramac Racing Team’s Loris Capirossi (Duc) was the final rider on the lead lap. Stoner lapped the final two riders, Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP’s Hector Barbera (Duc) and Pramac Racing Team’s Randy de Puniet.Off the start, Lorenzo led  from Stoner, Dovizioso, Simoncelli, and Spies, with Hayden up to sixth. Then Lorenzo made a mistake on the first lap and let Dovi through, with Stoner pressing. Rossi was down in 12th.Stoner took over at the front early on lap two as the gaps increased behind him. On the next lap Hayden ran off at Abbey, giving up fifth to Spies. Hayden would soon lose another spot to Edwards. The three Americans were together in the order.Early on the fourth lap Simoncelli had a big moment that cost him third as the top four continued to pull away. Spies had Edwards behind him, with Hayden seventh in front of Bautista and Elias. Rossi wasn’t making progress.Simoncelli set the fastest lap on the fifth lap as Stoner pulled his largest gap to this point, 1.356 secs. The lead was solid, but not insurmountable, especially in these conditions.Edwards passed Spies on the sixth lap as Hayden closed the gap with Bautista, and Abraham continued his march.Stoner set a new fast lap on the seventh as his lead stretched to three secs., while Lorenzo was through on Simoncelli and hounding Dovizioso. Edwards was safely in fifth, at 15 secs., while Spies was temporarily safe from Hayden and Bautista.Yamaha’s race turned disastrous in the space of three corners. Spies crashed near the end of the eighth lap, handing sixth to Hayden, while Lorenzo high-sided out of third in the Abbey Corner right early on lap nine.Simoncelli was the next to go, crashing out of turn one on the 10th lap, handing third to the recovering Edwards, while Hayden was now up to fourth and by himself. Bautista was fifth and Rossi was on the move in sixth, though lapping at about the same pace as Hayden.Stoner was two secs. a lap faster than Dovizioso and streaming away while Edwards was alone in third. Hayden was in fourth, but Bautista was gaining speed and lapping a second faster than Hayden who was two secs. in front ending the 14th lap. Hayden responded with his fastest lap of the race on the 15th and doubled his lead on the Spaniard. The Kentuckian would further up the pace.Hayden set the fastest lap of the race on the 17th, but with a gap of 4.5 secs. to Edwards, it was unlikely he could steal the podium from the Texan. And Edwards responded with his own best lap of the race on the 18th to secure the podium.MotoGP Results:1. Casey Stoner (Honda)

2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)

3. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

4. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

5. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)

6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)

7. Karel Abraham (Ducati)

8. Toni Elias (Honda)

9. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)

10. Loris Capirossi (Ducati)

11. Hector Barbera (Ducati)

12. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)



Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.