Lorenzo mugs Mugello field

Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, Mugello, Italy, July 2-3, 2011

Jorge Lorenzo leads at Mugello

A fantastic race saw Jorge Lorenzo stalk down Casey Stoner to clinch his second win of the season at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, while Andrea Dovizioso passed his Repsol Honda team mate on the last lap to finish second.

Stoner started from pole position to break from the field early and looked set to have victory in the bag, until with 9 laps remaining, Lorenzo began to chip away at the Australian’s more than 2 second lead, finally catching and taking over the lead with six laps to go. The Spaniard’s win closes the World Championship standing lead of Casey Stoner to 19 points.

Dovizioso hunted down and passed Stoner on the very last lap to grab second position in front of his home crowd. The Italian remains third in the Championship with 119 points, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) with 91.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) battled with San Carlo Honda Gresini Team’s Marco Simoncelli for fourth position, both of whom started on the front row. The two made multiple late braking passes on one another until the American got the better of the Italian on the last lap.

A five man battle for sixth between Rossi, Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) ensued throughout the race, with Barberá dueling with Rossi at the front of the pack. Rossi broke away at 11 laps to go, putting his GP11.1 in the sixth spot, ahead of the Ducati of Barberá in seventh.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who dominated the Italian Grand Prix last year, was eighth across the line after starting from the same grid position on his return to racing having missed the last three GPs through injury. The Spaniard finished just in front of Edwards and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who had an early run off to finish in tenth. Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) retired to the pits with front tire issues, the second race in a row he has suffered with the similar problems.

Lorenzo interview


Marky Marc Márquez keeps his nose ahead of Stefan Bradl

A thrilling three way battle for firstin Moto2 ensued between pole position starter Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing), with the young Catalan rider emerging victorious, making him the youngest ever rider to take back to back victories in the intermediate class in the World Championship. He has now won three of the last five races.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) made a mistake early to drop back to fifth, but quickly made his way back to the race elbow to elbow, assuming the lead several times and finally finishing second in a breathless last lap which saw all three lead at various points on the track. Smith moved down to third from the lead after a close pass by Marquez literally pushed him wide, the third place his third successive podium of the 2011 season.

Fourth place finisher Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) started from second on the grid and ran as high as second in the race, touching elbows with Bradl on at least one occasion, while last year’s race winner Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) suffered enough tire wear in the last few laps to take him out of the battle for fourth with De Angelis to finish fifth.

Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) headed up the battle for sixth, in front of Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project), Max Neukirchner (MZ Racing), Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) and Technomag-CIP duo Kenan Sofuoglu and Dominique Aegerter in tenth and eleventh.

Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) crashed out of 7th place but kept his FTR Moto2 machine running and re-entered the field to finish 28th.

Nico Terol

Nicolás Terol (Bankia Aspar) had a stunning return to competition after missing the last race in Assen due to injury, shooting off the second row to lead the start of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM 125cc race with first time pole man Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) moving quickly into second, chasing his first GP victory.

The two broke away from the rest of the field, pursued by the pack of Spanish riders Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo), Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar), Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), and Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team), and two German riders Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) and Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport).

With ten laps to go, pressure from Zarco caused Terol to run wide, and the Frenchman took over the lead. The Spanish rider sat back until the final corner, driving out of it to pass Zarco on the home straight despite the Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider swerving to break the draft. The win is the fifth for Terol of 2011, adding Mugello to the list of his previous wins at Losail, Jerez, Estoril and Catalunya.

16 year old Viñales dueled with Vázquez for the third spot on the podium, finally beating him across the line to take his fourth consecutive podium of the season, and moving into third place overall in the Championship.

Folger crashed out of the pack of seven riders tussling for third on lap 17, handing his second place in the Championship over to Zarco.


Stoner storms to Mugello pole

Casey Stoner races past my name in Mugello

Casey Stoner put in a blistering fast lap to grab pole position for the start of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM race at Mugello, his 27th pole position in the premier class. American Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) will join the Australian on the front row.

With uncertain weather conditions threatening, the MotoGP grid hurried to put down as many laps as possible and the Australian on the Repsol Honda set a new circuit record of 1’48.034 in the first half of the session, to qualify him almost half a second faster than Spies on his Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1. The American managed to qualify second on the grid with a time of 1’48.479 at only his second visit to the Tuscan circuit.

Spies edged out Simoncelli by just 0.006s, who was unable to counter with a quicker attempt as rain began to fall in earnest with 25 minutes remaining in the hour long qualifying session.

Andrea Dovizioso will start his Repsol Honda on Sunday from the head of the second row, after setting a time of 1’48.694 – a 0.394s improvement over his best time set in FP1. The Italian was 0.062s quicker than Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who set an earlier lap record in FP3. The Mallorcan’s qualifying time of 1’48.756 was over half a second slower than his earlier record breaking best time. Completing the second row will be Colin Edwards on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, trailing Lorenzo by 0.218s.

Edward’s team mate Cal Crutchlow leads row three and is the last of the field within a second of the record breaking lap of Stoner. He is joined by last year’s race winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), who returns to racing after his 3 race absence due to injury, and the first Ducati Team finisher in the bunch ridden by Nicky Hayden. The Kentucky Kid’s team mate Valentino Rossi finished the session in 12th.

Stoner interview

Marky Marc Márquez

Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) took his second pole position of the 2011 season in a rainy qualifying ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Moto2 race. The 125cc World Champion set a fast lap of 2’05.312 at the end of a heated time battle, beating out Alex de Angelis of the JiR Moto2 team by 0.585s and Tech 3 Racing’s Smith by 1.305s. Smith, who posted a time of 2’06.617, will take his first front row Moto2 start in Sunday’s race.

Belgian rider Xavier Simeon (Tech 3 B) will lead the second row after a qualifying time of 2’06.757, with Randy Krummenacher (GP Team Switzerland Kiefer Racing) and Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) joining him on the second row of the grid.

Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) appeared set to challenge for pole position until his bike slowed in the last part of a final hot lap, leaving the German rider in seventh in the dying seconds of the session. Mattia Pasini (Ioda Racing Project), who held the top time in qualifying at the halfway point, finished the session in eighth while Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) completes row three in ninth.

Axel Pons (Pons HP 40) did not participate in the qualifying session and will miss the race following a crash with Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda Singha-SAG) in FP3.

Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco will start from pole position for the first time in his career on Sunday, after a rain-hit qualifying session prevented the majority of the 125cc riders from improving on their provisional times. The Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider set his best time of the weekend in the few early dry laps of the qualifying session. His time of 1’58.988 was over a second and a half faster than second place starter Luis Salom (RW Racing GP), who will start for the second time this season from the front row, and nearly two seconds ahead of third position starter Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team).

Light and intermittent showers left the circuit in varying degrees of dampness during the early part of the 40 minute single cylinder class qualifying session, later turning heavier just before the end, allowing the field only the first minutes to set their fastest times.

Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) posted a time of 2’01.026 to put him in fourth position and at the head of the second row, he will be accompanied by the Championship leader Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar) who was quickest in the dry morning session but was taken by surprise with the arrival of rain, which had been forecast for later in the afternoon. Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) posted a top six time of 2’01.093 and completes row two.

Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) and Bankia Aspar duo Héctor Faubel and Adrián Martín make up an all Spanish row three, with Italian Louis Rossi (Matteoni Racing) leading row four joined by Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) and Danny Webb (Mahindra Racing).

Simoncelli , Dovizioso split practices at Mugello

Marco Simoncelli

Marco Simoncelli’s last minute fast lap in Friday morning’s free practice put him on top of the pack for the day, ahead of Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso on the first day of action at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. Dovizioso topped a rain marred second practice session.

The top three riders were within one tenth of a second of each other in the morning session, with the Italian from Cattolica setting the fastest time of the day with a 1’48.987, while the second session was hindered by a light rain that was not enough to warrant rain tyres, and yet too slippery to push for fast laps on slicks until the last five minutes, thus leaving the MotoGP field unable to make the most of the second free practice.

Simoncelli’s morning lap on his San Carlo Honda Gresini Team bike was 0.040s faster than the best from Casey Stoner, who did not participate in the second session, and 0.101s ahead of Andrea Dovizioso for the day. The fastest Yamaha in the session was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, who set a fourth quickest time of 1’49.251, just slightly more than a tenth of a second ahead of team mate Ben Spies.

Colin Edwards posted the sixth fastest time of the day on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike, followed by Dani Pedrosa, who returns to racing after a 3 round absence due to a fractured a collarbone sustained at Le Mans. The Repsol Honda rider won the race here last year, leading every lap from pole position.

Friday’s swiftest Ducati was that of Nicky Hayden, who posted a time of 1’50.203, while team mate Valentino Rossi suffered an electrical problem. The Italian pulled off the track in FP1 and was assisted by track marshals who pushed his Ducati to the pits, leaving him 13th in the timings.

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) completed the top ten times of the session.

Marc Márquez remained the fastest Moto2 rider, topping the dry afternoon session despite rain falling earlier in afternoon. The Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol rider and winner at Assen last weekend posted a lap time of 1’53.241, nearly half a second over his best morning time despite lower track temperatures.

Championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) were again second and third fastest, although they were much closer to the Spaniard in the afternoon session, respectively 0.121s and 0.230s behind Márquez compared to their margins of 0.319s and 0.583s of the earlier practice.

Italian Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) went over a second faster in FP2, bettering his position to from sixth to fourth for the day, and nearly half a second faster than the fifth of Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing).

Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) was sixth, just ahead of Tech 3 Racing Team mates Bradley Smith and Mike di Meglio. The British rider, who crashed out of the morning practice, was able to make up some of his lost time to place seventh, while his French team mate bettered his morning time by 0.752s, moving into eighth.

Randy Krummenacher (Switzerland Team GP Kiefer Racing) followed in ninth by a mere 0.002s behind di Meglio, and Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) placed tenth for the day, completing the first ten riders who were all within a second of each other.

Finishing just outside the top ten was Italian Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing Moto2) in 11th, with the next Italian riders placing 21st, 22nd and 23rd for the day, respectively Raffaele De Rosa (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2), Mattia Pasini (IODA Racing Project) and Simone Corsi (IODA Racing Project).

Bankia Aspar’s Nico Terol resumed his position at the top of the timings in the 125cc field. The Spaniard was followed by Avant-AirAsia-Ajo team members Johann Zarco and Efrén Vázquez.

World Championship leader Terol resumed his lead position after missing the race at Assen due to injury to his right hand. The Spaniard was 0.864s faster than Zarco, who crashed out at the end of the dry free practice session, and one second faster than Vázquez.

The three lead a top ten dominated by Spanish and German riders, with Sandro Cortese (Intact-Racing Team Germany) riding his Aprilia fourth quickest with a time of 1’59.879, lone British rider Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport) 0.564s behind the German in fifth, Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) sixth, Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo MotorSport) seventh, team mates Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar Team) and Adrian Martín eighth and ninth fastest, and Spaniard Alberto Moncayo (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) completing the top ten.

The fastest Italian rider in the single cylinder class was local wildcard rider Massimo Parziani (Faenza Racing), who posted the 12th fastest time, just 0.068s behind Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team’s Sergio Gadea, who topped the later rain affected afternoon session.

MotoGP moves on to Mugello

Casey Stoner leads the MotoGP circus into Italy

The second wave of back-to-back rounds will be completed this weekend as the eighth instalment of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship takes place at the Mugello circuit. The Gran Premio d’Italia TIM takes place immediately after the Assen outing, as the campaign maintains its intense pace.

Having stretched his Championship lead to 28 points after seven rounds, Casey Stoner’s position at the head of the standings continues to look ever stronger and the Repsol Honda rider will aim to continue his impressive form in Italy. Second place at Assen was Stoner’s 49th premier class podium, and the Australian will become only the 12th rider of all time to make 50 the next time he steps onto the rostrum.

The man in pursuit of Stoner is Jorge Lorenzo, and the Yamaha Factory Racing rider is already contemplating a sizeable gap to his rival. The reigning World Champion managed to salvage sixth place in Assen having crashed on the opening lap through no fault of his own, and a timely first premier class win at Mugello would boost Lorenzo’s challenge. Aiming to impress a home crowd however will be Andrea Dovizioso, and the Repsol Honda rider has finished the last two rounds on the podium to close the gap to Lorenzo in second to just nine points.

Sharp focus will fall on Valentino Rossi and his Ducati Team this weekend as the Borgo Panigale factory and Italian rider approach a hugely significant home race together. Having finished 30 seconds off race winner at Assen Ben Spies, there is still plenty of work to do, but Mugello is a track at which Rossi has an unparalleled record – between 2002 and 2008 he won for seven successive years. Last year’s Mugello GP was the site of the leg injury which brought to an end Rossi’s 230-race starting run, and the scene is set for a special weekend for the Italian.

Another major point of interest at Mugello will be the return to action of Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda rider, who fractured a collarbone at Le Mans and who has subsequently missed the previous three rounds, confirmed on Monday that he would ride in Italy and Mugello was the scene of the first of his four wins in 2010 as he took a flag-to-flag victory from pole position.

Ben Spies arrives in Italy fresh from celebrating his first MotoGP win at Assen, a victory which marked a number of milestones, one of them being that he became the first American to win a race since Nicky Hayden did so at Laguna Seca in 2006. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider also became the first rider to take a maiden MotoGP win since Dovizioso (Donington, 2009).
Spies’ compatriot Nicky Hayden will aim for a strong home display for Ducati, whilst Hiroshi Aoyama returns to the San Carlo Honda Gresini garage after filling in for Pedrosa at Repsol Honda in Assen. Aoyama’s team-mate Marco Simoncelli will be desperate for a first premier class podium in front of a fervent home crowd (for both rider and team), a result that has so far eluded him despite having started from the front row for the past five races (including poles at Catalunya and Assen).

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow have both been in impressive form, the latter will be riding at Mugello for the first time in his rookie season, whilst Toni Elías’ LCR Honda team are preparing for their home race. Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and rookie Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) will all seek improvements in fortunes and results after Assen, whilst for Pramac Racing pair Loris Capirossi and Randy de Puniet the emphasis will be on a strong home result for their team – Capirossi’s participation is awaiting confirmation after he missed the Assen race following a heavy fall in qualifying.

Stefan Bradl (above) remains the man to catch in Moto2 as the intermediate category prepares for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM this weekend, despite the German’s first DNF of the season at Assen in the previous round.

A crash with four laps remaining at the Cathedral registered the first non-scoring round of the 2011 campaign for the Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider, who nevertheless holds a 57-point lead at the top of the standings going into Round 8 this weekend. His closest pursuant is Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), race winner at Assen and leader of the closely-bunched chasing pack.

One of a plethora of Italian riders in the class hoping for a strong home result (and still in search of his first Moto2 win) will be Simone Corsi, the Ioda Racing rider who sits just three points behind Márquez and who won the 125 Mugello race in 2008, whilst Bradley Smith (Tech 3) is a man in form. With third place at Assen – his second successive podium – Smith became the first British rider to take back-to-back podiums in the intermediate class since Tom Herron in 1978.

Level on points in fifth and sixth positions respectively are Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) and Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), with Italians Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) and Michele Pirro (Gresini Racing) and San Marinese Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) all inside the top ten and hoping to capitalise on strong support this weekend. Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP) became the first Turkish rider to stand on a Grand Prix podium at Assen and will expect the result to have laid the way for more of the same.

Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar) continues to be an absentee as he recovers from a broken leg with Jordi Torres lined up as a potential substitute for the Spaniard, as was the case at Silverstone.

There will also be a wild card addition to the field in the shape of Italian rider Mattia Tarozzi (Faenza Racing), who will be on a Suter machine.

What appeared to be an ever-increasing gulf between Nico Terol (above) and the rest of the 125cc field has been narrowed down considerably in the past two rounds of the 2011 campaign, with the Championship leader having finished eighth at Silverstone and having missed the Assen race due to injury. After the Catalunya round Terol had held a substantial 48-point lead at the summit of the standings – that now stands at 27 points.

A crash in the qualifying session at Assen resulted in a damaged tendon in the right hand for Terol, an injury that required surgery and which forced him to miss the race. The successful operation means that the Spaniard will be back in action this weekend at Mugello, where the opening free practice session will give a clearer indication of his level of fitness. He has finished second in the 125cc race at Mugello for the past two years.

In his absence second-placed Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) was unable to capitalise greatly on the opportunity, placing eighth in the shortened Assen race, with Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) and Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) now level on 94 points each in the standings having finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Netherlands.

Moving up to fifth place in the Championship after victory at Assen, rookie Maverick Viñales continues to be the sensation of the category in his debut season. The Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing rider, aged just 16, took his second GP win in only his seventh race, becoming the youngest rider ever to complete the clean sweep of pole position, race win and fastest lap.

Luis Salom (RW Racing) took his first GP podium in his 35th start at Assen, moving up the Championship in the process, and Efrén Vázquez (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) and Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) will both want to add to the solitary podium finishes they have each achieved this year. Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) stood on the podium at Mugello in the Moto2 class last season, and comes into this round off the back of a rostrum finish at Assen – his second of the season. Danny Kent meanwhile continues his impressive debut campaign for the Red Bull Ajo Motorsport team.

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) is set to make his return from injury after missing the last two rounds through injury, whilst Norwegian rider Sturla Fagerhaug continues in place of the injured Sarath Kumar on the WTR-Ten10 Racing Team.

There will also be three wild card riders; Italian duo Kevin Calia (MGP Racing) and Massimo Parziani (Faenza Racing) and Czech youngster Miroslav Popov (Ellegi Racing).

The Gran Premio d’Italia TIM gets underway at 9.15am local time on Friday morning, when the 125cc category commences its first free practice session.

courtesy of MotoGP