Pedrosa Crashes, Lorenzo Cashes

Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, September 14-16, 2012

story and photos courtesy of MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo cashed in on a strange race at San Marino

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo charged to a dominant victory in a dramatic race ahead of Valentino Rossi and Álvaro Bautista at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano it was

It was a problematic start as a partially aborted race-start due to issues with Karel Abraham’s Cardion AB Racing Ducati prompted a re-start. The race was then shortened to 27 laps due to the additional sighting lap, yet in another twist, pole-sitter Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa then also had to start from the back of the grid after wheeling his bike into pit-lane to re-start it, after his team could not resolve a locked front-wheel in the given time.

The story unfolded further and the championship battle took yet another blow, as Pedrosa was taken out in the first few bends by the front wheel of Pramac Racings’ Héctor Barberá, as the Repsol rider was making his way up the field. Afterwards, an apologetic Barberá cited missing his braking marker as the reason he locked up his front wheel, causing him to slide into Pedrosa. At the front it was Lorenzo who had made the best start, followed by a valiant Valentino Rossi on board his Ducati, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.

It was a crash-strewn affair from the beginning as Abraham, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow all tumbled out in the opening laps. Crutchlow’s teammate Dovizioso was sticking to Bradl, as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took Yamaha’s Ben Spies for fifth. With 19 laps remaining Lorenzo had pulled out a lead over Rossi, who was working tirelessly to keep Bradl at bay.

With 12 laps to go Bautista had caught up to the rear wheel of Dovizioso and was looking for a way through. After stalking him for over half the lap he made his way through into fourth to chase Bradl, whom he caught up with two laps later. Bautista looked like a man possessed as he then pushed his way past the German into the final podium spot. Behind the Spaniard, Bradl, Dovizioso and Spies were all closing in with seven laps to go to battle it out for third spot.

With three laps to go Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was forced to retire from the race, as Dovizioso and Spies had made their was past Bradl. And it was Dovizioso who provided the nail-bighting finish, tussling with Bautista until the bitter end. Yet it was Lorenzo who finally took the chequered flag with an ecstatic Rossi in second and Bautista recording his first ever MotoGP podium in third after a photo finish with Dovizioso. Lorenzo’s sixth victory leaves him 38-points clear at the top of the championship, while Rossi’s podium was his best finish on a Ducati in the dry. Behind Dovizioso in fifth was Spies, ahead of Bradl and Ducati’s Nicky Hayden. Repsol Honda’s Rea did well to finish eighth in his first GP race, ahead of Espargaró’s teammate Randy De Puniet and San Carlo’s Michele Pirro.

Marky Marc Márquez

It was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who recorded an emphatic Moto2 win in a shortened re-started race at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano in front of Pol Espargaró and Andrea Iannone.

Following a restart due to an oil-spill by Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea, the Moto2™ grid set off for 14 laps with Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone on pole ahead of Márquez and Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró, the order in which the race initially stopped after three laps. With fresh tyres on this shortened stint riders were able to push hard from the start.

Iannone made good use of his pole as he led into the first bend ahead of Márquez, and Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat. Two laps in Márquez had a wobble coming on the home straight, letting Rabat and Espargaró through. Espargaró soon took advantage to nip into second and pursue the Italian leader, who was pulling out a gap. In the meantime, Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi and Marc VDS Racing Team duo of Mika Kallio and Scott Redding were closing in on Márquez.

However, the championship leader fought back, and took Rabat for third to pursue his main rivals. Further back, JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco muscled his way past Redding, who had overtaken the Frenchman shortly before. On the same lap, QMMF Racing’s Elena Rosell crashed out of the race, as did Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon. Within a further lap, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Yuki Takahashi also put their bikes into the gravel.

With four laps remaining Espargaró and Márquez had caught up to the rear wheel of Iannone, as the three commenced an enthralling fight for the lead. And it was Espargaró who pounced first to lead the trio, with Márquez also squeezing past the Italian into second. In an edge-of-your-seat last lap it was Márquez who prevailed after some tough passing between the Spanish pair, ultimately holding his nerve to cross the finish line first, with Espargaró and Iannone completing the podium. Márquez’s seventh win of the season puts him 53 points clear at the top of the championship. Fourth place went to Kallio, followed by Rabat, Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter, Redding, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Lüthi and Zarco.

Sandro Cortese

In a nail-bighting Moto3™ race at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese who stormed to a thrilling victory ahead of Luis Salom and Romano Fenati.

Cortese got the holeshot into turn one as drama unfolded at the back of the grid, as Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb, Elle 2-Ciati’s Kevin Calia, Technomag-CIP-TSR’s Alan Techer and Ambrogio Next Racing’s Giulian Pedone all crashed out. Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema suffered a similar fate on the next lap as the Dutchman also slid out of the race.

Back on track, Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati was valiantly pushing his way up the field, taking the lead off Cortese. The frantic start to the race however continued further afield as IodaRacing Project’s Luigi Morciano, Team Imperiali Racing’s Stefano Valtulini and Pedone’s teammate Alex Márquez also crashed out.

A few laps on and the race had not settled down with Cortese and Fenati swapping the lead frequently up front, pursued by RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom, San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli and Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira. With 13 laps remaining Fenati and Cortese had pulled out a small gap over the pursuing group, with Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales making his way through the pack.

A few laps later the situation changed with Salom and the followers closing right up to the battling duo up front, with Fenati and Cortese looking to be slowing. With three laps left Cortese made his move on Fenati as the Italian was pushed back to fifth by Oliveira’s teammate Alex Rins, Salom and Viñales. The final laps were the usual battling Moto3 affair as Cortese tried to pull away at the front in the five-man fight. Viñales tried with a last stab up the inside to take the lead but ran wide, with Salom and Fenati taking advantage.

It was ultimately Cortese who took the chequered flag in front of Salom and Fenati. His third victory of the season now gives the German a 46 point lead at the top of the championship table over Viñales. Rins finished fourth after aggressively pushing Viñales wide in the last turn, with the Blusens rider finishing fifth. Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger was sixth, ahead of JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, Antonelli, Oliveira and Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis.

Last-gasp San Marino pole for Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa

In much improved conditions for all three MotoGP qualifying sessions at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who stormed to a thrilling pole position for tomorrow’s premier-class race ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow.

In the first dry session so far, Pedrosa’s lap in the high 1.33s saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo dramatically pushed into second by less than two hundredths. Lorenzo was however happy with his lap and expects a close battle in tomorrow’s race. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow was equally on the pace, with the Brit on provisional pole in the final minutes, before being overtaken by the Spanish duo. This is the fifth time the he will start from the front row, and he will no doubt be looking for his second GP podium tomorrow.

Fourth place went to LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who looks ever more like the complete package on his satellite machine with yet another terrific performance. Lining up next to him in fifth is San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, putting on a good show for the team at its home race. Rounding out the second row is Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, having had one of his best qualifying sessions of the year, fishing just over seven tenths off the top.

Row three is headed by Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who will be disappointed he could not match his teammate in front of his home crowd. This pushed Yamaha’s Ben Spies into seventh, with the American doing well to recover from a crash half way through the session. He headed back out on his second bike, yet was not comfortable with the different set-up of the machine. In ninth, Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea looked unfazed by his lack of track time, as he went consistently quicker on his factory machine on his MotoGP QP debut. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden completed the top ten, putting in the laps despite still suffering from a right hand injury. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished as top CRT, having qualified in 12th. Apart from Spies, the only other crasher was Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, who walked away from the incident unscathed.


It was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who threw down the gauntlet for tomorrow’s race at Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano by taking Moto2™ pole position in front of Pol Espargaró and Scott Redding.

Championship leader Márquez recorded his seventh pole of the season with a 1.38’242, beating Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s compatriot Pol Espargaró into second by less than a tenth. Espargaró had looked to be re-mounting a new challenge in the final minutes, yet crashed out in turn 15 as he lost the front of his machine. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding, who was consistently fast all session could not quite beat the Spaniard, yet was still less than a tenth off the top.

Surprise inclusion in fourth is Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami, who put the hammer down in the latter stages to displace local favourite Andrea Iannone on board his Speed Master machine. Iannone encountered some traffic on his final laps, and finished the afternoon over two-tenths off Márquez. Completing the second row in sixth is Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who re-found some pace as the sun came out to provide the best conditions all weekend.

Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat put his Kalex in seventh, after shadowing Márquez for much of the session. Thai Honda PTT Gresini Moto2’s Ratthapark Wilairot made a surprise visit into the top ten, seemingly getting to grips well with his Suter around the Misano circuit in eight. Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio and Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith complete the top ten.

With riders pushing hard all session there were numerous crashes apart from Espargaró, including this morning’s pace-setter, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrötter, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea and JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, with none of the riders injuring themselves seriously.

The sun came out in time for the Moto3 qualifying practice at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano where Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese took pole position in front of Romano Fenati and Niccolò Antonelli.

Cortese stormed to pole with a time of 1.44’201, the best lap all weekend, thanks to the much-improved weather and track conditions. Lining up next to him in second is Team Italia FMI’s local favourite Romano Fenati, who used the home crowd and track knowledge to his advantage. Completing the front of the grid is another Italian in the form of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Antonelli, getting his second front row start of the season.

Heading up row two in fourth is Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, doing very well to recover from a crash earlier in the session when he hit a bump with his front wheel. In fifth, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom put in a good showing to oust Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jonas Folger into sixth. Folger had looked like one of the men to take pole after his great form in practice, yet could not carry this pace over into the fully dry conditions.

The third row on the grid sees current Italian champion, Team Italia FMI’s Alessandro Tonucci in front in seventh, with yesterday morning’s pace-setter, AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, next to him in eighth after putting in a solid ride. Ninth spot went to Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira with Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis completing the top ten. Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales had a session to forget, as he had to pull in early with a leaking gasket. He went back out on track with 20 min left, yet did not look his usual self as he finished in 11th. Apart from Kent, the only other faller was TT Motion Events Racing’s Niklas Ajo, who managed to re-mount.

Spies goes to Pramac Ducati as Texas race flounders

story and photos by Tim Hailey

Ben Spies is flying off the Yamaha and onto a Pramac Ducati

MotoGP is dominating the midweek news, with the big news coming out of the Ducati camp. American Ben Spies, already announced as leaving Yamaha, will be moving onto a Pramac Ducati alongside Italian Andrea Iannone. Ducati promises the satellite team will have a “direct link with the company, will be supplied with official equipment.”

The Ducati release goes on to say that “This agreement will enable additional important support in the development of the Desmosedici MotoGP project, offering a further opportunity in the process of improving the performance of the Italian bike”….which it must be said need plenty of development and improving. With Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso on the red bikes, Ducati now has a powerhouse rider stable. Under it’s new Audi ownership, there must be a lot of confidence at Ducati in delivering these riders a development curve that keeps everyone happy and doesn’t reflect poorly on the marque.

Eatmyink nailed it with this image back during the Laguna Seca race

All of which means that nailed the future with it’s Spy vs. Spy image back during the Laguna Seca race, showing Spies and Valentino Rossi as the Mad magazine characters, holding their respective marques as bombs to toss at each other. All hail Eatyink!

But as Spies’ MotoGP career continues (many speculated it would not), the expected race in his home state flounders. 1993 500cc world champion and all-around goodguy Kevin Schwantz has filed suit against Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the new Austin track that has seen an uncanny level of confusion between its ownership and the promoters of its racers. MotoGP’s parent company Dorna released the following statement:

“Dorna Sports S.L. entered into a Promoters Contract with 3four Texas MGP LLC in connection with the organization of a FIM MotoGP™ Grand Prix at The Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, on February 11th 2011 to be effective from the 2013 season. Dorna understood that 3four Texas MGP LLC had an agreement with COTA to run the event.

“On the first days of June 2012, Dorna required 3four Texas MGP LLC to provide satisfactory evidence before June 28th about the company having obtained all the necessary rights, licenses and permits related with the availability of the Circuit of the Americas.

“This is a standard procedure when the Promoter is not the owner of the Circuit.

“3four Texas MGP LLC was not able to provide such evidence to Dorna (apparently no agreement had ever been entered into between 3four Texas MGP LLC and COTA, the owner of the circuit) within the term granted for such purposes, and therefore Dorna had no other alternative than to terminate the February 11th 2011 Promoters Contract due to such Event of Default. The termination was effective from July 2nd 2012.

“As Dorna Sports S.L. and the FIM are interested in a FIM MotoGP Grand Prix in Texas, COTA was then offered the opportunity to become the Promoter of such an event through the signing of a Promoters Agreement. Conversations continue at this moment.”

Schwantz is not the first to encounter such a problem with COTA. Google Tavo Hellmund and you’ll find that COTA’s owners are a slippery bunch.

Dani Pedrosa

But wait, there is actually a MotoGP race this week and it is at San Marino. The Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini welcomes the MotoGP grid to Misano this coming weekend with the fight at the top of the premier class turning into a breath-taking spectacle with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa both on blistering form heading into this weekend.

Casey Stoner’s Indy crash will keep him out of the San Marino event

With Pedrosa only 13-points adrift off his Spanish rival, he will undoubtedly be looking to claw back further points with only six races left in the season. Yet Lorenzo will have his say in the matter, having taken the win at Misano last year in dominant fashion. Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner is still recovering from his ankle surgery two weeks ago, and will be replaced by SBK Ten Kate Honda rider Jonathan Rea of Northern Ireland. He has had a total of three test days on the Honda RC213V machine, and will he aiming to put on a good show in his first MotoGP™ outing.

Lorenzo’s current teammate Spies, who last time out had a weekend to forget, will be hoping for a trouble-free outing at the track, and get back to challenging for the podium. He will as usual face the challenge from Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. The British rider not only took his first GP podium in Brno; he also topped the timesheets in the official test, making himself known as a serious threat at the Misano round. His Italian teammate will not wish to be beaten at his home round however, and will most certainly look to get the upper hand once more.

Nicky Hayden returns from his own Indy highside

Ducati Team’s lame duck rider Rossi, who held a private test at the track two weeks ago, will be looking for a positive result at his local circuit, as he seeks to improve the Desmosedici for a good finish to the season. His American teammate Hayden, who missed the last race due to injury, will be back for the Italian race. He has never finished a race there since joining the Ducati Team in 2008. The factory Ducati pair will be gunning to finish ahead of the satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Álvaro Bautista. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Bradl, who last week tested a factory RC213V, came second in the Moto2™ race last year, and will be hoping to challenge for a podium at the team’s home race, albeit with his current satellite machine. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista will however have the same intentions and is likely to try and spoil the party.

The satellite Ducati machines will be back at full strength once more with Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá returning to the frame after recovering from his fractured vertebra, and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham buoyed by his ninth place finish in Brno. The CRT contingent has undergone some changes since Brno, with Spaniard David Salom replacing Iván Silva in the Avintia Blusens team, and Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci lining up on a Suter-BMW machine. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards will continue to race on his Suter bike, and will line up against the regular CRT grid of Power Electronics Aspar duo of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró, San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, Avintia’s Yonny Hernandez and Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison.

As the Moto2 contingent challenge each other once more this weekend in Misano, they will have a mountainous task in trying to catch Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez, with the Spaniard 48 points clear at the top of the championship standings.

Márquez, the winner at the track last year after a hard fought battle, will most certainly be joined up front by Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, who will be keen to impress his home fans. He finished third in last year’s race, and will look to make up for missing out on the podium in Brno. It is however Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró who will be the most driven to reduce the deficit to his Spanish rival, after failing to capitalize on his pole position in the last race. He has not finished higher than fifth in Misano, but will hoping that his outright pace can help him mount a serious challenge to Márquez.

Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who was on blistering form in Brno, will hope for that extra bit of pace to take his second win this season, and to overtake Espargaró into second in the standings. The Marc VDS Racing Team duo of Scott Redding and Mika Kallio, sitting fifth and sixth in the championship table respectively, will look to better their difficult outing at the last race, where Kallio finished seventh and Redding crashed out on the first lap.

Flying the local flag will be NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, the only true local rider from Rimini. He only narrowly missed out on the podium last year in fourth, yet will undoubtedly be a threat, after a solid performance on board his FTR at the last race. Other FTR rider, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, as well as Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti are two other Italians ready to impress, as they seek to climb the rankings with some local support.

Kiefer Racing’s Max Neukirchner, who suffered an injury at the previous round in Brno, will be replaced in the team by Frenchman Mike Di Meglio. Neukirchner, following further medical check-ups was diagnosed with a second break in the middle part of his hand, rendering him unable to race. Di Meglio had been racing for the German MZ Racing Team in Moto2, which he joined before the Mugello round. MZ has not yet named a replacement rider. The Arguiñano Racing Team will also field a replacement for the injured Ricky Cardús in the form of South African rider Steven Odendaal.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese holds a commanding lead over nearest rival Maverick Viñales in Moto3. The German has had a tremendous year since winning his first ever GP at Brno in 2011, finishing on the podium 14 times in the last 19 races. Yet his best ever result at Misano is a fourth last year, which he will most certainly look to improve upon when he takes to the track to defend and extend his lead. Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, now a full 32-points behind the championship leader will know that nothing but the win will do as he seeks to turn the tables in the hunt for top honours. He will however have the resurgent Luis Salom on his RW Racing GP machine to contend with, as the Spaniard continues his upward trend following his first win in Indianapolis.

Whilst the top three in the table have been consistent performers all year, the main danger is likely to come from Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, who recorded a dominant victory last time out in Brno. The German has looked like a man on a mission since switching to the Aspar outfit, and will be aiming to record his third ever GP career win when he lines up on the San Marino track. Another contender will be JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who recorded his last podium to date at the track last year. Having been in the hunt numerous times this year, but ultimately missing out, the Spaniard will be hoping that Misano can lend him some good fortune.

Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, who proved at Mugello that a home advantage works wonders for him, will be among the chargers for the podium, joined by the likes of San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli and his own teammate Alessandro Tonucci. Mahindra Racing will field replacement rider Miroslav Popov in place of the injured Ricardo Moretti, whilst two wildcard riders will join the field in the shape of Team Imperiali Racing’s Stefano Valtulini and Elle 2 Ciatti’s Kevin Calia.