Stoner Again in Aragon

Cycle News Staff | September 18, 2011

Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner extended his championship lead to 44 points by romping to his eighth win of the season at Motorland Aragon in Spain. Teammate Dani Pedrosa was a distant second and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo an almost as distant third.Yamaha’s Ben Spies jumped into the lead from third on the grid, but Stoner wasn’t having it. Racing in special Repsol livery to commemorate the Spanish oil giant’s more than 40 years in motorsports, the Australian quickly made his way to the front and disappeared. Setting lap times that the others could only dream of, he streamed into the distance to win by 8.162 sec.The win was Stoner’s eighth of the season, second in a row at Aragon, and fifth from the pole position. With four races remaining, Stoner leads Lorenzo 284 to 240 in the MotoGP World Championship. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed on the first lap, sits third with 185 points, now only 15 in front of teammate Pedrosa.The win was also the 100th in grand prix racing since Repsol became Honda’s main sponsor in the 500cc class in 1995. The roster of Repsol Honda winners includes Mick Doohan, Alex Criville, Valentino Rossi, Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, Tohru Ukawa, and Tady Okada.”Everything’s been really good,” Stoner said of the Aragon weekend.

“From the start the bike’s been fantastic out of the box. We had to change a little bit, because in the afternoon sessions – we only got one of ‘em – the track conditions were a little different. We managed to find a pretty good setup for that. But then today it comes out a lot colder. The wind’s a lot stronger and we changed the screen on my bike to get a little bit lower, to be better in the wind, and just a few things. In general, the bike worked really well for us today.”Didn’t get the best start, but managed to work our way through and have a fantastic race. Can’t thank the team enough. they’ve been fantastic all year. Every time I turn up at the track pretty much we’re on pace. There’s only been a few races this year we’ve struggled and very, very happy to come away with a win today.”

Pedrosa’s ride was as lonely as Stoner’s. The Spaniard also passed Spies on the first lap and pulled away to spend the 23-lap race by himself. His gap to Lorenzo was 6.047 sec.”I try my best, obviously,” Pedrosa said. “It was, the whole weekend in the first section I was not too fast. I lost always a couple tenths there. And, yeah, this was a place for Casey to be faster than me. I tried to improve it, but I wasn’t able to really do it.”Finally, second place, which is not so bad. Obviously like to win, but, yeah, it was also quite fun part of the race because the tires really dropped down and they were spinning a lot when you are on the edge. Yeah, couple slides there, but able to finish second, so pretty good.”Lorenzo was the one rider who had to fight for his podium. The Majorcan was an early fourth before being passed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli on the fourth lap. Not long after Simoncelli began to pressure Spies, then hanging onto third.On the tenth lap Simoncelli passed Spies to take the final podium spot, with Lorenzo hanging on in fifth, but the Italian was soon to make a blunder. Entering the left hand turn 12, Simoncelli ran wide and onto the concrete run-off, allowing the slower Yamahas to re-pass him. Lorenzo had the 13th fastest top speed, Spies the 14th of the 15 riders who made it through the speed traps.Lorenzo sped past his teammate on the 14th lap, motioning to the rear of his bike for Spies to go with him. The Texan couldn’t, and early on the 18th lap Spies lost fourth to Simoncelli. At the flag he’d fallen back over seven seconds.”The third position was the best position we could get today and we made it, no?” Lorenzo said. “You know, we passed from the glory of Misano to the total disaster this weekend. Maybe this track is the worst track for the Yamaha, so we struggle a lot in the speed, mainly. And, to finish third is a fantastic result, so I want to enjoy it with the people who came here and cheered for us.”There were spirited battles further back, starting with sixth. Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista took the spot from Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden, who was an early fifth before dropping back as far as eighth. Hayden reclaimed one spot to finish seventh in front of Mapfre Aspar MotoGP’s Hector Barbera as the first Ducati.Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow won the three-way battle for ninth with a late pass of Ducati Marlboro’s Valentino Rossi. Rossi had been forced to start from the pit lane, ten seconds after the lights went out, after exceeding his engine allocation and fitting a seventh engine to his Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1. Rossi took advantage of a first lap crash involving Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati) and Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati) to immediately move into the points. Next he interjected himself into the battle for ninth that included – in addition to Crutchlow – San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Hiroshi Aoyama, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards, Pramac Racing Ducati’s Loris Capirossi, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Toni Elias. Capirossi ran into the back of Elias on the 17th lap, taking both out.Rossi had made his way up to ninth until Crutchlow passed his idol to take the spot and hold him off to the finish. Rossi was tenth, Aoyama 11th, de Puniet recovered to take 12th, with Edwards 13th.


MotoGP: 1. Casey Stoner (Honda)

2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)

5. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

6. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)

7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

8. Hector Barbera (Ducati)

9. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)

10. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)

11. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)

12. Randy de Puniet (Ducati)

13. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)