Stoner takes points lead with Estoril win

Casey Stoner leads Jorge Lorenzo at Estoril

Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner made it two wins in a row to take the lead in the MotoGP championship with victory at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.

Having led from the start, the reigning World Champion never gave up the lead, as he put in another dominant performance at the Portuguese circuit, ahead of championship rival, Factory Yamaha Team’s Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner’s win now means he has won at every track on the current MotoGP calendar in the premier class.

It’s a dragon! Lorenzo dives into a corner at Estoril

The Australian pulled out a gap early on, but Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa did not give up without the fight, as they slowly closed in on the leader throughout the race. It was however Stoner who put the hammer down in the final laps, to take victory and the championship lead. “In the end, it was another fantastic weekend for us,” said Stoner. “This morning we were more confident but also a little concerned because yesterday afternoon when we had a very similar setting to FP3, the bike was a little bit worse in the warm conditions. In warm-up we didn’t have a big problem with chatter, but then for the race, under the warmer conditions, we struggled a lot more. This was very difficult to ride with. I was changing the mapping to try and reduce the chatter problem. Toward the end of the race, I began to understand how to ride around it.”

That’s some hard front braking! Dani Pedrosa lifts that ass up at Estoril

“I’m happy with this second position because I was expecting to fight for third or fourth and not the victory,” said Lorezo. “The bike improved a lot from the practices, so it was possible. I had two problems. At the start, I used a lot of clutch and burnt it. So for two or three laps, it was burning, and I lost a lot of distance from Casey. Also at the end, Casey was very strong. After this, everything was working well and I made a fastest lap, which is not very common for me. We are just one point behind Casey. Hopefully we can improve something on the bike (in testing) tomorrow and be in front again.”

“It’s been a really tough race from the beginning,” said Pedrosa. “The pace was very, very high from the first lap to the final one. Casey did a good race, unbelievably strong. I had a big shake in the first braking area; Casey and Jorge overtook me, and I lost 1.5 seconds on the first lap. Three races on the podium is very good overall, but in three races we missed something. So let’s try it again in the next one.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso fought a race-long battle with teammate Cal Crutchlow, and came out on top for the first time this season finishing in fourth. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista put in another solid performance to take sixth place, finishing ahead of Ducati Team´s Valentino Rossi, who recorded his best finish of the season. Despite still not being near the front, Rossi has stated that he is starting to feel more comfortable on-board his Desmosedici.

After showing promising form all weekend, Yamaha’s Ben Spies had another disappointing race, finishing down in eighth after running wide early on in the race. He displaced LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl into ninth, ahead of Pramac Racing’s Héctor Barberá in tenth. “Very mixed emotions today,” said Spies. “This is actually the first time in three years that I’ve finished a race here. As I told the team, I made four or five big mistakes during the race; they cost me time and places. It was a rough race, but I’m continuing to build my confidence. I don’t enjoy Estoril, so I’m happy to have finished. Now we go to Le Mans, which is a great event with an amazing crowd but another track I don’t love so much. I’m happy with the bike and its performance, so we’ll continue to build my confidence and improve the results.”

“Starting from the first lap, there was an electrical problem, and the bike didn’t know where it was on the track,” said 11th place Nicky Hayden, giving us vital insight into the sophistication of MotoGP electronics. “I tried my best to ride around the problem and not make mistakes. It’s really a shame to work hard all weekend but not be able to take advantage of it with a result in the race. The team did a great job overnight, and I felt so much better this morning in the warm-up. I almost matched my qualifying lap and was pretty consistent. Of course I’m not saying I was going to fight for the win, but it would have been nice to at least have a decent race.”

Aleix Espargaró leads the CRT pack

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró took top CRT spot for a second race in succession. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernández all crashed out in the race, while Hernández’s teammate Iván Silva pulled into the pits early on after suffering pain from his earlier warm-up crash. Paul Bird Motorsport’s difficult start to the season continued, as Briton James Ellison retired with a mechanical issue on his ART bike.

Marky Marc Marquez is kicking some Moto2 ass this year

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Marquez took Moto2 victory at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril after a phenomenal last-lap battle with compatriot Pol Espargaró.

Márquez took the holeshot and led the opening stages from Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, as Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Espargaró and JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco made their way to the front. It was however Lüthi who took the lead early on, which he held for most of the race. The relentless efforts of Spanish pair Marquez and Espargaró meant that they soon re-caught the Swiss rider, and went past his for the lead. They went on to provided one of the best last-lap battles seen in Moto2, as the pair swapped positions numerous times in the final minute, with Marquez coming out on top after a mistake by Espargaró going into the final chicane.

This makes it two wins from three races for Márquez to extend his championship lead. Lüthi took the final spot on the podium, followed by Zarco, Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex De Angelis. Rounding out the top ten are Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías, Blusens Avintia´s Julián Simón, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Mika Kallio and Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith.

There were numerous crashed throughout the race including NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Yuki Takahashi, Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Axel Pons, his teammate Esteve Rabat, Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi and S/Master Speed Up’s Mike Di Meglio. Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea went into the pits with an electrical problem, and subsequently had to retire.

Sandro Cortese leads Moto3 to the checkers

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese took victory in a thrilling battle to the line with rival Maverick Viñales in the Moto3 class at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.

It was Cortese who got the holeshot and led into the first corner, ahead of Blusens Avintia’s Viñales. After the typical Moto3 melee of 34 bikes swapping places in the opening laps, a leading group containing Cortese, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom, JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, Viñales and Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent started to pull away early on.

In the latter stages of the race, Cortese moved past Viñales at the end of the straight to take the lead, though could not shake the young Spaniard, as the two were wheel to wheel for the final three laps. Salom, then lying in fourth, also took the fight to Air-Asia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin in front, as he pushed past him on the first bend with two laps to go.

The last lap was a nail-biting affair as Viñales and Cortese touched fairings throughout, yet it was the German who won the drag to the line after the final bend, to take his first victory of the season and the lead in the championship. The last step on the podium went to Salom, who manage to hold Khairuddin at bay to secure third. The top ten were rounded out by Efrén Vázquez, San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins, Danny Kent, Caretta-Technology’s Alexis Masbou and Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil.


Stoner storms to Estoril pole

Amid mostly sunny conditions near the Atlantic coast, it was Repsol Honda Team´s Casey Stoner who got his first pole position of the season in the MotoGP™ qualifying session for the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa.

In a frantic final four minutes, Stoner´s time of 1.37´188 was enough to oust Pedrosa into second place on the grid, who will be looking to repeat his win here last year. Finishing off the front row of the grid is Monster Yamaha Tech 3´s revelation of the season Cal Crutchlow, who secured his second front-row start in three races.

Heading the second row is Yamaha Factory Racing´s Jorge Lorenzo, who was very unhappy with his performance in the session, as it is the first time in his MotoGP career that he has not started on the front row at Estoril.

Behind him in fifth, his teammate Ben Spies left it late to put in his fast lap, after struggling with traffic throughout the session, which saw him almost collide with Speed Master´s Mattia Pasini. Rounding out the second row is San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Álvaro Bautista, who has been the quiet performer this weekend, getting ever more comfortable on his Honda. Seventh place went to Crutchlow´s teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who has been out-qualified by the Brit for the third time in a row.

Behind him, Pramac Racing´s Héctor Barberá took the honours for top Ducati in eighth place, in front of Ducati Team rider Valentino Rossi in ninth. While this position will be hardly satisfying for Rossi, he will take heart from being less than a second off the front. Rounding out the top ten is Rossi´s teammate Nicky Hayden, who could not repeat his front-row heroics from Jerez. Top CRT finisher was Power Electronics Aspar´s Aleix Espargaró in 12th.

The session was red flagged 11 minutes before the end as Power Electronics Aspar´s Randy de Puniet lost the front end of his bike, taking out Colin Edwards on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing bike. Edwards suffered a broken collarbone, while de Puniet has abrasion to one of his fingers and contusions to his left shoulder. The session was resumed shortly after. Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva fortunately saved his near crash, by pulling off a tremendous save on his CRT bike late on in the session, as it tried to buck him off.

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol´s Marc Márquez securely cemented his favourite tag with a dominant qualifying performance to take Moto2 pole position at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.

In dry and sunny conditions the Spanish championship leader stormed to top spot with a time of 1.40´934, beating close rival, Interwetten-Paddock´s Tom Lüthi, into second by just over two tenths. Marc VDS Racing Team´s Briton Scott Redding continued his good form of the weekend by taking the final spot on the front row.

JiR Moto2´s rookie Johann Zarco, who has impressed all season, heads up the second row of the grid, a mere three hundredths off Redding, while Jerez race-winner, Pons 40 HP Tuenti´s Pol Espargaró sits outside of him in fifth. Resurgent Italian Andrea Iannone overcame yesterday´s bike issues, to round out the second row in sixth on his Speed Master machine.

Blusens Avintia´s Julián Simón is starting to gel with his Suter chassis, finishing just over five-tenths off the front, in front of 2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elías aboard his Mapfre Aspar Team machine. NGM Mobile Forward Racing´s Alex de Angelis low-sided his bike with 18 minutes to go in the session, but had already set the ninth fastest time. He walked away unscathed. Rounding out the top ten is Technomag-CIP´s Dominique Aegerter.

S/Master Speed Up´s Mike Di Meglio suffered his second crash of the day as he was pushing for a fast lap late in the final minute, yet suffered no ill effects.

Moto3 qualifying at Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril got underway in sunny conditions with Red Bull KTM Ajo´s Sandro Cortese taking his second pole position of the season ahead of Maverick Viñales.

With a lap of 1.47´145, Cortese confirmed himself as one of the favourites for tomorrow´s race, starting in front of Blusens Avintia´s championship favourite Maverick Viñales, who was just over three tenths behind. Rounding out the front row of grid is Estrella Galicia 0,0´s local hero Miguel Oliveira, who gave the home crowd something to celebrate.

Fourth on the grid is Red Bull KMT Ajo rider Danny Kent, who has found his confidence again after his Jerez crash. He starts ahead of AirAsia-Sic-Ajo´s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who is starting to make headway after a subdued start to the season. The second row is completed by championship leader, Team Italia FMI´s Romano Fenati, who continues to impress in his maiden year.

RW Racing GP´s Luis Salom starts tomorrow´s race in seventh, having set a time just over a second off the front, ousting JHK T-Shirt Laglisse´s Efrén Vázquez into eighth. Vázquez crashed out in turn nine on his final hot-lap, yet walked away unscathed. Finishing off the third row is Bankia Aspar Team´s Héctor Faubel, while Caretta Technology´s Alexis Masbou rounds out the top ten.

Bankia Aspar Team´s Alberto Moncayo had a difficult session with his bike stopping at the end of pit lane with a mechanical problem towards the end of the session. He starts from 17th.

The Moto3™ class has some notable absentees, as IodaRacing Project´s Jonas Folger is still suffering from glandular fever and has been replaced this weekend by Italian rider Armando Pontone, while TT Motion Events Racing´s Niklas Ajo is replaced by Spain´s Joan Olive, after the Finn was banned following an altercation with a race official at the last round.

Italian Manuel Tatasciore replaces Caretta Technology´s Jack Miller this weekend, after the Australian fractured his collarbone in Jerez.

Stoner throws down gauntlet in Estoril practice

After early damp conditions threatened to throw the day´s practice sessions into disarray, the weather steadied and the track dried out to play host to some fantastic free practice action in the afternoon across all three MotoGP™ classes at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril.

It was reigning World Champion Casey Stoner who threw down the gauntlet for this weekend by setting the fastest time of the day in the second MotoGP practice session. Stoner´s lap of 1.38´396 put him just three tenths ahead of Yamaha Factory Racing´s Ben Spies, who has worked tirelessly all day to get his season back on track, after some disappointing performances in the previous rounds.

Rounding out the top three is Monster Yamaha Tech 3´s Cal Crutchlow, who continues to impress on his satellite Yamaha, finishing just over two-hundredths off Spies. Stoner´s team mate Dani Pedrosa set the fourth fastest time of the day, as he looks to repeat his victory at the track from the previous year.

In fifth, Yamaha´s birthday-boy Jorge Lorenzo was having a subdued session at the track where he has taken three victories in the past four outings. Behind him, San Carlo Honda Gresini´s Álvaro Bautista set the sixth fastest time just over half a second off Stoner, as he continues to get to grips with his satellite Honda.

Ducati Team´s Nicky Hayden, who will be looking to repeat his front row start last time out at Jerez, occupies seventh place. He finished in front of Pramac Racing´s Héctor Barberá, who once again got the better of Hayden´s teammate Valentino Rossi, who could not finish any higher than ninth, despite a good showing in the morning session. Completing the top ten is Tech 3´s Andrea Dovizioso, who remained in the pits for quite some time with a bike issue.

Top CRT honour went to Power Electronics Aspar rider Randy de Puniet, who is looking to improve on his DNF in Jerez. Came IodaRacing Project´s Danilo Petrucci had to end his session early with a mechanical issue as well.

In the second practice session of the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril it was Marc VDS Racing Team´s Scott Redding who set the weekend´s benchmark by topping the combined Moto2 timesheets ahead of Marc Márquez.

With a time of 1.41´775, the consistently lapping Redding set the fastest time of the day, in front of Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol´s Márquez, just two tenths behind.

Third place is occupied by Interwetten-Paddock´s Tom Lüthi, who is looking for his first win of the season at the Portuguese track. Behind him in fourth is the surprise of the day in the form of Mapfre Aspar Team´s 2010 Moto2 World Champion Toni Elías, who is beginning to rekindle some of his previous form.

Jerez race-winner, Pons 40 HP Tuenti rider Pol Espargaró, could not repeat his feat in the morning session where he finished first, yet still managed a strong showing in fifth, just over half a second behind Redding. He finished in front of Tech 3 Racing´s Bradley Smith, who will be looking for a stronger performance this weekend after a slightly disappointing outing in Jerez.

Seventh place went to NGM Mobile Forward Racing´s Alex de Angelis, ahead of Technomag-CIP´s Dominique Aegerter and JiR Moto2´s French rookie Johann Zarco. Rounding out the top ten is Redding´s teammate Mika Kallio, just under a second off the top.

Thai Honda Gresini Moto2´s Ratthapark Wilairot crashed with 22 minutes remaining, while S/Master Speed Up´s Mike Di Meglio followed suit with seven minutes to go. Both were unhurt and managed to return to the pits.

The Moto3 class enjoyed a dry, but windy afternoon free practice session at the Grande Prémio de Portugal Circuito Estoril, where Estrella Galicia 0,0´s local rider Miguel Oliveira topped the timesheets ahead of Red Bull KMT Ajo´s Sandro Cortese.

With a time of 1.48´497, Oliveira laid down the marker for the weekend and gave home fans something to cheer about, with Germany´s Cortese closely behind by less than two hundredths.

RW Racing GP´s Luis Salom, who has been consistently fast this season so far, set the third fastest time of the session just under four tenths behind Cortese. He managed to oust Blusens Avintia´s pre-season championship favourite Maverick Viñales into fourth.

Fifth spot is occupied by Caretta Racing´s Alexis Masbou, with Team Italia FMI´s championship leader and rookie sensation Romano Fenati in sixth. Cortese´s teammate Danny Kent managed seventh, sitting just over a second off the front.

Completing the top ten are Racing Team Germany´s Louis Rossi, JHK T-Shirt Laglisse´s Adrian Martín and Kent´s teammate Arthur Sissis.

Wild card entry, Thomas Sabo GP Team´s Kevin Hanus from Germany, crashed out of the session with 15 minutes to go, yet walked away unhurt.

IodaRacing Project´s Jonas Folger is still suffering from glandular fever and has been replaced this weekend by Italian rider Armando Pontone, while TT Motion Events Racing´s Niklas Ajo is replaced by Spain´s Joan Olivé, after the Finn was banned following an altercation with a race official at the last round. Caretta Technology´s Jack Miller is replaced this weekend by Italian Manuel Tatasciore, after the Australian fractured his collarbone in Jerez.

courtesy of MotoGP

2012 Jerez test

2012 Sepang test