Pedrosa wins, Lorenzo gains #1 at Deutschland

MotoGP eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, July 6-8, 2012

Dani Pedrosa

The MotoGP™ classes encountered glorious sunshine, torrential rain and an incredibly dramatic last lap at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring, where Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa took his first victory of the season in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.

It was Pedrosa who got the best start as he led into turn one ahead of teammate Casey Stoner and the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo. The grid was tightly bunched early on, with Stoner soon passing his teammate for the lead, as the Australian looked to have more pace in the opening stages.

With 27 laps to go, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro retired with a mechanical issue, while a lap later Spies ran wide and let Lorenzo into third, to chase down the Repsol Hondas. As Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini crashed out of the race with 25 laps left, Spies’ mistake had let the tussling Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair catch up, with Dovizioso and Crutchlow switching places as they looked for a way past Spies. Two laps on, the pair made it past Spies, who looked to be slowing, as the Repsol Honda pair started to pull out a gap at the front.

With 12 laps left, Pedrosa made his move past Stoner into turn one, shortly after which the Austrian had a big wobble on his bike trying to keep up with the Spaniard. However, this was just momentary, as Stoner continued to stick to Pedrosa’s rear wheel. With just seven laps remaining the three-way Yamaha tussle was getting ever more fierce as Crutchlow continued to look for a way past Dovizioso in fourth. It was however not to be as the Brit out-braked himself going into turn one and ran into the gravel. He managed to keep his bike upright and re-joined behind San Carlo’s Álvaro Bautista, leaving Spies and Dovizioso to fight it out alone.

The last few laps were a thrilling affair as Stoner and Pedrosa were neck and neck, but there was huge drama in the final turns as Stoner crashed out chasing down the Spaniard. After the race Stoner was highly critical of the track marshals, claiming they did not help him get back on track. “I had planned to go for my ‘win or bin’ effort in the last corner, not that one!” said Stoner.

Pedrosa was setting a record pace as he fought hard for his maiden win of the season, and crossed the finish line first in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded his third podium this season. This result puts Lorenzo 14 points clear in the championship with Pedrosa now in second, a further four points ahead of Stoner in third. The first non-podium finisher was Ben Spies in fourth, followed by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Bradl and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, whose sixth place was his best dry result this season. Bautista, Crutchlow, Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá and Ducati’s Hayden complete the top ten, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished as top CRT bike in 11th.

“Well, things can change completely in one race,” Lorenzo said. “In Holland, we had a 25-point advantage then suddenly zero, one engine less, and we were very disappointed. Then today we had some luck from Casey’s (Stoner) unfortunate crash. I would have been happy to have finished in third position because today the bike and the rear tire was not so good. The race was very tough; I always seem to finish second here. I would have preferred not to crash in Assen and for Casey not to crash here, but that is racing sometimes. We struggled a little all weekend with the changing weather, so we must be happy with the end result.”

“I’m really very happy with this win,” said Pedrosa. “We finally made it happen, and it’s great not only for me but also for my team that never gave up, for my family and fans that have been pushing and supporting me all this time when we were taking second and third places but missing out on the victory. The podiums we had this season were very important, but I really wanted to give a victory to my team, and it arrived today at a circuit that I always enjoy. It’s been a really hard day, though. Casey had a superb race also and put a lot of pressure on me at the end, but I knew that I had the pace and that we both would need to fight for the victory until the last turn. I tried to brake hard, close all the doors and to take the win. Finally. It is a great feeling and sure will give us a lot of motivation for the next races. It’s also good for the championship, but we will not relax. Victory this season has not been easy for any of us, so we have to keep pushing as we do.”

“I am really happy to finish on the podium again, and it is a great feeling to do it here because this track has never been the best for me,” said Crutchlow. “It was the same in Assen last week, so to be on the podium there and also here at the Sachsenring shows the fantastic job that we are all doing in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. Of course, we have to consider ourselves a little bit fortunate today to finish third because of Casey’s (Stoner) crash. But it proved how crucial it was for me to remain at the front of the battle with Cal (Crutchlow) and Ben (Spies) for the whole race. If I had let them overtake me, then perhaps I would not have been third. I am happy because I rode an intelligent race today. Now I go to my home race in Mugello with a lot of confidence, and the goal will be to battle for the podium again.”

“It was a frustrating race, but I guess we have to be happy with a top five,” said Spies. “We had a lot more potential, but we did the best we could with the setup we had. We didn’t have enough edge grip and acceleration, so I had to sit behind Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and Cal (Crutchlow) and wait. I could see Cal was getting a little impatient and wanting to pass Dovi, so I was hoping he would and maybe clear a spot for me to get by. I had a good pace but not enough to out-brake them so had to play a waiting game.”

“I’m really frustrated to have been in a big battle like that, only to arrive at the end of it,” said Hayden. “For the most part, I felt just as fast as the other riders in the group, and even faster in places, until about the last five laps. Then I think I was hurt by the combination of the tire going off and me trying too hard at the end. I really started to spin and lost the rear a couple times on entry. We had tried a couple of things in the warm-up, and considering the lack of dry time this weekend, the bike was decent. In parts of the track, I was fast. But I had troubles getting into and out of the last corner, as well as braking for Turn 1. To arrive 10th, when fifth was just over a second in front, is hard for a racer to take. I can’t be too happy with that one, but we’ll get another shot in a week at Mugello.”

“I had a great start,” said Colin Edwards. “Got to the first corner, but (Hector) Barbera wouldn’t let me have it. So he comes up on the inside and pushes out, and a couple of others got me there. I put my head down and started putting laps together, tried not make any mistakes. We had a big problem in the beginning of the race with the traction control. Just steps too fast out, and it’s just not very friendly. I spent the next few laps playing with the traction control, trying to get something more to get it to be smoother. Then (Aleix) Espargaro was in front of me, and I saw that I was catching little by little on to him. I passed him, then he passed me and finally passed him again and made it stick. I could see (Randy) de Puniet was coming back little by little, but I just didn’t have enough time left.”


Marky Marc Márquez

Amid warm and sunny conditions at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring it was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who extended his championship lead in the Moto2™ category as he took victory ahead of Mika Kallio and Alex de Angelis.

At the start it was Márquez who took the holeshot followed by Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio and Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón. Kallio’s teammate Scott Redding crashed out in the first set of bends as he made contact with Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías. With 24 laps remaining, Elías too crashed out of the race, while Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone continued to heap ever more pressure on Márquez in second. A lap later, Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró did tremendously well to save a near crash, though he did drop back some positions. To add to the excitement, with 21 laps to go Iannone made his pass on Márquez, with the Spaniard taking him back almost immediately. On the same lap, JiR Moto2’s Brazilian youngster Eric Granado crashed after running off into the gravel.

Following this there was drama at the front as Iannone crashed out pushing too hard into turn one, though he was able to re-join the race in 26th. With 15 laps remaining, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis made a move on Kallio at turn 12, but the Finn got the better drive out of the corner and re-took second. A few laps later De Angelis had another go and made it stick that time, as Espargaró started to hunt down the front three. GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher crashed out of the race on the same lap, yet was unhurt in the incident.

The pack had settled down in the latter stages, however it was Kallio who provided a last gasp of excitement two laps before the end as he passed De Angelis into turn one to take second place. De Angelis tried to retake him in the final corner yet ran wide, with the Finn having the better drive out of the bend.

Ultimately it was Márquez who took the chequered flag for his fourth win this year, with Kallio and De Angelis both taking their first podium of the season. Márquez now leads the championship by 43 points ahead of Espargaró, who finished fourth. They were followed by Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith and Xavier Siméon, Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti and CIP-Technomag’s Dominique Aegerter.

After the skies opened just before the Moto3™ race at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese who coped best with some difficult track conditions to take his first home win ahead of Alexis Masbou and Luis Salom.

JHK Laglisse’s Adrián Martín got the holeshot ahead of Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller with Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Danny Kent in tow. Most riders looked very tentative at the start, yet Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi made his way through the field and soon came up behind Miller and Martín.

Just before the race had run half its distance, the sun had come out with all its force, creating a quick-drying line.

With 14 laps left, Ambrogio Next Racing’s Giulian Pedone retired from the race, while a lap later RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom went past Rossi in turn one to take second spot. Miller’s teammate Alexis Masbou was a man on a mission as he carved his way through the pack on the drying line. With ten laps left there was heartache for German fans as IodaRacing Team’s Jonas Folger’s race was ended with a bike issue, as was Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema. With seven laps to go Martín was caught out as he crashed heading into turn seven, but walked away unscathed.

The latter stages of the race also saw Salom’s teammate Binder crash out at turn 11, while a group of Masbou, Cortese and Salom had formed at the front. In the meantime, Danny Kent had returned to the pits with a bike issue, while Faubel’s teammate Alberto Moncayo also suffered a mechanical problem. With two laps to go, Mahindra Racing’s Marcel Schrotter made it the second German rider out of the race with a crash.

In the final two laps there was drama at the front as Rossi retired with a mechanical issue from fifth, as Cortese diced with Masbou for the win. And it was ultimately the local Cortese who kept his nerve to become the first German to win at the newly-built Sachsenring and retake the lead in the championship, with Masbou taking his first ever Grand Prix podium and Salom completing the top three. This result now puts Cortese at the top of the championship standings, 18 points ahead of Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, who finished in 17th. Behind the winning trio were Miller, JHK Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Faubel, Freudenberg Racing Team’s wildcard Luca Gruenwald, Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis and Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil.

Stoner takes wet Deutschland pole

All three MotoGP™ classes were met with heavy rainfall and torrid conditions for qualifying at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring, during which Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner made use of a briefly drying track in the final minutes to snatch pole position in the premier-class ahead of Ben Spies and Dani Pedrosa.

Stoner, who had suffered an engine fault at the start of the session, left it very late to set a time in the high 1.31s, which was just enough to displace Yamaha Factory Racing’s Spies onto second on the grid. Completing the front row is Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa, who had been the early pace setter throughout yesterday’s free practice.

Row two is headed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who also pulled some terrific laps out of the bag in the final minutes of qualifying. Yamaha’s joint-championship leader Lorenzo starts in fifth, and will be hoping for a good start in tomorrow’s race to do battle with Stoner at the front. Lorenzo had been one of the riders completing the most laps in the session, yet admitted to making a mistake using up too much tyre before the final hot laps began. Lining up next to him is LCR Honda MotoGP’s local favourite Stefan Bradl, who had led the majority of the session, yet still managed to put in a great showing for his home crow in sixth.

Heading up the third row is Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who had been looking like a front row contender in the early part of the session, yet was pushed down the order in the final seconds. Next to him in eighth is Crutchlow’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso after a somewhat subdued qualifying session for the Italian’s standards.

Ducati’s Valentino Rossi is a surprise starter in ninth, as the wet conditions have usually favoured the Italian this season. He sighted set-up issues with his bike, which he hopes to rectify before the race. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró completes the top ten after a great outing on his ART machine, qualifying as the top CRT bike. Because of the penalty obtained after his crash in the last race in Assen, San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid.

The tricky conditions caught out many of the riders, which saw San Carlo’s Michele Pirro, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá crash out. Most of them managed to re-join later in the session and sustained no serious injuries.

Defending World Champion Stoner suddenly pulled even with Jorge Lorenzo atop the MotoGP World Championship standings with a victory Saturday, June 30 in TT Assen, as Lorenzo failed to finish for the first time this season after being taken out in the first turn by a reckless Alvaro Bautista. Dani Pedrosa finished second, with Andrea Dovizioso passing American Ben Spies on the final lap for the third spot on the podium. Lorenzo and Stoner are tied at 140 points each.

San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Bautista will start from the rear of the grid Sunday at the Sachsenring as a penalty levied by Race Direction for taking out points leader Lorenzo in Turn 1 of the first lap of TT Assen on Saturday, June 30. Bautista tried to dive under fellow Spaniard Lorenzo at excessive speed and lost the front end of his Honda, falling, sliding and wiping out Lorenzo.

2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Pedrosa has quietly produced a strong start to the 2012 season on his Repsol Honda. He is third in the standings, just 19 points behind co-leaders Lorenzo and Stoner. Pedrosa is winless in 2012 but has finished on the podium in six of seven races. That consistency should be rewarded with a two-year contract extension from Honda, to be signed either this weekend or next weekend at the Italian Grand Prix.

Italian rookie Michele Pirro is a success story in the new, production-based Claiming Rule Teams formula. The veteran San Carlo Gresini team has developed the FTR-Honda chassis-engine package well during the season, helping Pirro finish in the top 15 in the last five races. Pirro produced his best result of the season, ninth, on Saturday, June 30 at TT Assen. He has climbed to third among CRT bikes in the standings and 14th overall, just behind MotoGP veterans Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet.

American veteran Colin Edwards has endured a miserable season on Claiming Rule Teams production-based machinery, as he is tied for 19th in the MotoGP standings. His NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW has been plagued by electronic glitches since preseason testing, and problems with the “black box” have caused “The Texas Tornado” to not finish two of the last three races. But fixes to the electronics helped Edwards climb to 13th overall and the second-quickest CRT bike during practice Friday, July 6 at the Sachsenring.

Marky Marc Márquez

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez overcame difficult track conditions at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring to take pole position for tomorrow’s Moto2™ race ahead of Julián Simón and Mika Kallio.

The session had started in drying conditions after the MotoGP™ bikes had created a dryer racing line, however rain began to fall again soon after. Yet in a near identical situation to their premier-class counterparts, the rain stopped towards the end of qualifying, which is when the riders were frantically competing for their hot lap.

And it was Márquez who coped best with the conditions as he set the pole time of 1.34’503, just narrowly pushing Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón into second on the grid. Completing the front row is Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio, who had one of his best qualifying sessions to date.

Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon will start from fourth, despite crashing out on his final hot lap, with Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea putting in a stunning performance to start alongside him. Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi also coped well on the wet track, and will start tomorrow’s race from sixth.

QMMF Racing Team’s wet-weather specialist Anthony West gave his team something to smile about as he managed seventh spot, ahead of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis. In ninth, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was unable to fight for higher positions as he crashed out with 16 minutes to go, yet managed to keep his place in front of Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone.

The Pons 40 HP Tuenti team did not have the best afternoon, with Pol Espargaró only managing 17th and Axel Pons crashing out. Arguiñano Racing Team’s Ricky Cardus was also caught out by the weather as he suffered a highside, yet was unhurt in the incident.

In torrential rain during Moto3™ qualifying at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese who produced a wet-riding master-class to grab pole position ahead of Danny Kent and Adrián Martín.

Before this afternoon’s qualifying, the Moto3™ grid had been spared from the rain, meaning this was the first opportunity to test their bikes in such conditions. Heavy rain was present from the start, as all riders took to the track with immense caution in the early stages.

Cortese, who had been way down the timesheets, left it right until the end to set a stunning pole lap of 1.42’989, which saw him finish over 1.4s off his second-placed teammate Kent. Kent narrowly ousted JHK Laglisse’s Adrián Martín, who put in one of his best performances of the season to complete the front row.

Caretta Technology’s Jack Miller, known for his prowess in the rain, will head up row two, ahead of Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil, who has been one of the most consistent performers all weekend. RW Racing GP’s Brad Binder rounds out the second row, after narrowly ousting Le Mans wet-race winner, Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi, into seventh.

IodaRacing Team’s Jonas Folger, who has endured a difficult season so far, will be very pleased with his eighth place in front of his home crowd, as he finished ahead of Binder’s teammate Luis Salom and Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou.

Championship leader, Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, failed to get to grips with the wet weather and the set-up of his bike, and will start from 24th on the grid, while Jerez wet-race winner Romano Fenati, on board his Team Italia FMI machine, looked to have a problem with his bike as he finished last in 35th place. Whilst many riders ran off track during the session, the only crasher was Freudenberg Racing Team’s wildcard Luca Gruenwald, who escaped without any serious injuries.

Germany on tap for MotoGP

As the MotoGP™ field contests its second of three races in successive weekends, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner, both points even at the top of the MotoGP™ championship table, were joined by Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and Mattia Pasini at the press conference on Thursday marking the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at the Sachsenring.

Lorenzo, who was taken out in the first corner at the last Grand Prix in Assen by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista and sustained a sprained left ankle, has not taken a victory at the Sachsenring, but will be hoping to do so in order to regain the championship lead from his Australian rival. He commented: “When I crashed in Assen I just felt some pain, but after a few hours it swelled up, and when I went to the doctor in Barcelona they told me my ligaments were stretched, and I still cannot put the foot on the ground. But I hope tomorrow it will be ok on the bike, because you put less force on your feet. We’ll have to see how I feel.”

He is also trying to remain upbeat after the last race, and is in fact using it as extra motivation: “It was a negative weekend. We didn’t complete the race, got no points and have one engine less. It will be difficult to recover this engine – I think almost impossible. The only way to get it back is if the other brands want me to have this engine, so I think it could be quite difficult. But anyway, the rules are the rules, and I want to stick to the rules. The situation is much more difficult than before Assen, but I like difficult things. I now have even more motivation to keep working and to keep trying to win races.”

Stoner, who clawed back a vital 25 points after Lorenzo’s crash with a dominant win last time out, is aiming to continue this run of form. Having also crashed at Assen during a practice session, the Australian commented that he now had no ill effects: “Assen was a pretty tough weekend for us as far as injuries and other thing were concerned, but over these last days everything has healed up quite a bit more and hopefully we won’t have any problems this weekend. This track physically isn’t quite as hard as Assen. Here it’s a little bit gentler on the body, so I think we should be ok.”

The one-time winner here also shared his thoughts on the German track, where tyres will be key: “There are only a few areas you can use full throttle, especially now on the 1000. There is so much partial throttle here as you spend a lot of time on the edge of the tyre, which puts a lot of wear and tear on it. And then when you do want to open the throttle there’s usually not a lot there – you’ve either got too much temperature or the compound’s so hard – to compensate for the time you have on the edge – that you have no grip. It’s a challenging circuit but we’ve had pretty good success here in the past.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded his second podium of the season on-board his satellite Yamaha, is looking ever more comfortable on board his machine and is hoping to close the gap to his factory counterparts: “The last three races we’ve been quite fast. We did our first podium in Barcelona, we had the possibility to fight for the podium in Silverstone but I crashed, and then we got the podium in Assen. We are fast, but this is not enough. As you can see, Lorenzo is using more of the potential of the bike, so it means we can make it better. This is our target. My feeling with the bike improves every time. Our bike is really close to the factory bike and Yamaha gives us lots of support, so I think we have the possibility to stay with them.”

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl has high expectations heaped on him by an excited home crowd, which has suffered a lack of German riders in the premier-class in recent years. The German however is also putting plenty of pressure on himself: “To come here as a MotoGP rider is something special, but it also means I have to perform on the bike and this is what I like to do. Just finishing tenth all the time, as I said at the start of the season, gives us no reason to be here – so it’s a more a stressful weekend for me. But we can manage that and I’m looking forward to seeing the circuit on a MotoGP bike.”

“I don’t like to speak about it [his crash at Assen] because it was a stupid mistake, but I hope I have learned from it and hope I can do better for the future. It’s [Sachsenring] not one of my favourite circuits, but I like being here in Germany.”

Completing the pre-race press conference was Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini, who has so far been a solid performer with his ART machine. He said: “It’s a great season for me with a great opportunity in MotoGP. In MotoGP you have the best riders in the world, so to be here is not bad. Sure it’s CRT and not a factory, but I’m giving 100% to fight for this championship. Now we’ll hope to make a step to finish as top CRT. It’s a great track for me as I won here in 2006 and I’ve had some podiums in the 250cc class.”

Earlier in the day, the Sachsenring grid was already roaring with activity as current and former MotoGP riders gathered for a photo opportunity to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the German track. Over 50 vehicles that have raced at the track over the past 85 years were on display.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’ Cal Crutchlow was present on his YZR-M1 alongside Phil Read on his 1968 250cc Yamaha, whilst LCR Honda MotoGP’s German rookie Stefan Bradl rode his bike alongside his father Helmut on his own Honda NSR 250cc for a short run down the main straight. After completing the run, they each got a taste of a different era, by switching bikes to return to the grid. MotoGP Legends such as Angel Nieto, Jim Redman and Anton Mang were also in attendance.

courtesy of MotoGP