Lorenzo and Spies Deliver Double Podium in Catalunya
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies made it a double celebration today, taking second and third on the podium for the Grand Prix of Catalunya. World Champion Lorenzo grabbed the hole-shot off the line and team mate Spies shut the door neatly on Valentino Rossi to take third as they dropped into the first corner. The end of lap one saw Casey Stoner take the lead at the end of the straight, Lorenzo tucking in behind him and holding until the line for his fourth podium of the season. A white flag to signal some rain on the track caused some concern with 13 laps to go but was not severe enough to cause any rider to pit in and change to wet tyres.
Spies delivered the same consistent race pace in evidence from the beginning of the weekend, secure in third position from the first corner to the chequered flag. The Texan built a lead of around a second from Andrea Dovizioso for the duration of the race to claim his first podium for the Factory Yamaha Team.
The riders head straight to Silverstone now for a back-to-back race, Lorenzo still leading the championship with a seven point advantage over Casey Stoner. Team mate Spies jumps an impressive five places up the standings to seventh with 36 points, eleven points behind fellow American Nicky Hayden in sixth.
Position 2nd Time +2.403
“I’m really happy with the result, I gave it the maximum! I overtook Casey on the start but I knew he could overtake me. I tried to stay with him and not to lose his back wheel for as long as possible. At the end it started to rain a little and it was tough to keep concentration in the last sector but we managed it. We are still leading the championship so let’s see what happens in Silverstone.”
Position 3rd Time +4.291
“We just kept pushing and pushing and we were slowly catching up to Jorge, not necessarily to try and catch and pass him but to stay away from Andrea. The bike was great and I felt good on it and just needed a good result. After the first couple of laps I realised we had a shot at a podium so I rode as hard as I could. The tyre was a good choice for us today; we did what we came here to accomplish and that’s good enough. Big thanks to the team who worked hard to deliver a great package this weekend, bring on Silverstone!”
Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Not a very spectacular race but second and third places are of course very important to us. We closed the gap we feel this weekend even if it was difficult circumstances. We said at the beginning it’s important to finish every race on the podium. We need to solve some more issues and make some more steps but we are definitely heading in the right direction. I’m very happy for Jorge that he finished on the podium in front of his home crowd and for Ben for bouncing back from a difficult start to the year with his first podium.”
Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“This weekend started well from Friday and everyday was better. To get both riders on the podium is a great success for the team. We were not so far from the leaders having worked hard and improved the bike a lot. We are optimistic thinking about the Silverstone race as that was also a good race last year for Yamaha.”
Super Seventh for Crutchlow, Edwards Targets Silverstone Return
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow heads to his crucial home race at Silverstone next weekend brimming with confidence after he stormed to a career best MotoGP result in the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya today.
Starting from the second row of the grid, the British rider quickly gained momentum on Bridgetone’s hard rear tyre and a series of consistently fast laps saw him easily reel in the factory Ducati of 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden. He eventually passed the American on lap ten and was able to comfortably pull away, despite some nervous moments from the halfway stage as spots of rain started to fall on the Montmelo circuit.
Crutchlow was preparing for his first experience of the flag-to-flag format, but the light rain abated and he rode to a brilliant seventh place. The result, which moves Crutchlow into the top ten in the World Championship rankings on 30-points, sets him up perfectly for a strong showing in front of his home crowd at the British Grand Prix next weekend.
Crutchlow will be joined at Silverstone by Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards, who will attempt to compete in the sixth round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.
Edwards returned to the Catalunya track this morning having undergone successful surgery to insert a titanium plate and 13 screws in the right collarbone he broke in a heavy crash during Friday’s second free practice session. Edwards has already gained closed to full movement in his right shoulder and in a brave attempt to continue his proud record of never missing a race in his MotoGP career, Edwards planned to start the 25-lap clash and retire after two laps.
But after medical checks prior to the race, medical staff declared him unfit to start, though the 37-year-old is confident he will have no problems riding in Silverstone this weekend after a few days of rest.
Position 7th Time +26.483
That’s my best result in MotoGP and of course I’m happy, but I’d rather have got a result like that in a more entertaining race. It was just a test of concentration for most of the race once I’d passed Nicky and it was quite lonely. I caught him really quickly but once I got by I’d used up my rear tyre trying to chase him down because I struggled for grip after that. When the spots of rain came it was quite difficult. The white flags were being waved like there was a monsoon but there was only rain in the last three corners. Part of me was looking forward to having a flag-to-flag race because it might have given me a chance of fighting with the group at the front, but the rain never got worse than a few spots on the visor. I still managed to pull away from Nicky but I finished 26 seconds behind Casey, and that is not too bad considering I’d never seen this place before. If I hadn’t backed off a little I’m sure I could have finished about 20 seconds back and that was good enough for the top six last year. Sixth to eighth position is where I’m at the moment but it is a good confidence boost as well to finish as the top non-factory rider. Nobody can ride this package harder than I am at the moment and now I’m looking forward to Silverstone. I’m sure the support is going to be incredible and I’m really looking forward to it.”
“I’m a little bit disappointed with the decision not to let me ride because while it’s not a lifelong ambition never to miss a MotoGP race, it was a run I was pretty proud of. I understand the decision but my shoulder feels great. Dr Xavier Mir has done an amazing job on my collarbone because it was smashed, but it was never my intention to do the full race. I just wanted to start, do a couple of laps and pull in. I only considered it because I was here in Barcelona and it seemed pointless breaking the streak. But I’m too big and too old to get upset and I’m going to rest up now and concentrate on getting ready for Silverstone. I know I can race next weekend and I’m already looking forward to it. I can’t remember the last time I missed a race and I definitely don’t like watching on TV, so I’m desperate to get back working with my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“Seventh is a good result for Cal and the best we can hope for. The six in front of him are on all factory machinery and I think even with a better start, it would have been a big ask for him to fight with Simoncelli. But to chase down Nicky on a factory bike, pass him and then pull away quite comfortably, is still a big scalp for Cal. It is easy to forget he is a rookie but seventh is his best result so far and it couldn’t have come at a better time with his home race at Silverstone coming next weekend. We are also looking forward to having Colin back in action at Silverstone. I can understand his desire to ride today and at 37 with all he’s achieved in his career, his determination and commitment is amazing. But we have to remember he was only operated on yesterday and he respects the decision of the medical staff. He will be stronger at Silverstone and it will be great to see Colin and Cal back on track together doing their best for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.”
Tough Race for Bautista in Spain
Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista was left frustrated at the end of today’s Catalan Grand Prix after the Spaniard finished his home race in 12th position.
Bautista had looked competitive all weekend and after heavy overnight rain had soaked the track this morning, he continued with his good form in the wet warm-up session to record the seventh quickest time. The rain stayed away and the track dried in time for this afternoon’s race and as the 25-lap spectacle got underway Bautista consolidated his ninth place grid start. He held on to that until the 14th lap, but as light rain started to fall in the last part of the circuit he couldn’t get the grip he wanted to keep the position and came under pressure from three other riders. Bautista battled all the way to the line but was unable to hold off the attacks and eventually bought his Rizla Suzuki GSV-R home safely in 12th.
Today’s overcast skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of an excitable crowd of over 81,000 fans at trackside. They saw Casey Stoner on a Honda race to victory ahead of home favourite and current World Champion and Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo.
Rizla Suzuki and Bautista will not have to wait long to get back in to action as they head across the English Channel for the British round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, to be held at Silverstone next Sunday.
“I am very frustrated with today because nobody really expected this result. All weekend we have been more competitive than we were in the race, and also in the wet this morning we went very well. I don’t know what happened in the race, but I just didn’t have the same feeling as I did in the practice. I felt like I had less grip from the bike and it was difficult to stop the bike and enter into the corners. I fought for a top-10 position, but when it started to rain in the last part of the track I wasn’t able to go very fast through there and lost some time to the other guys around me. We have to continue working and put this behind us, I’m very disappointed with what happened here, because as I said I didn’t expect this. We now have some races in a row so it will be good to get in a rhythm and it will help me to recover to my full potential on the bike.”
“Today’s result is disappointing – it’s as simple as that – and it’s especially upsetting for Alvaro who has worked hard to get back to a decent level of fitness. After qualifying ninth and running very strongly in this morning’s wet warm-up, we were looking for a much more competitive race, but we didn’t produce the grip levels that we did yesterday and it looked like a very tough race. On the positive side it’s another finish and physically he is ready to take that next step up: Luckily we don’t have to wait long now to get to Silverstone and help him move things forward.”
2011 MotoGP Spain Results
1. Casey Stoner
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Ben Spies
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Valentino Rossi
6. Marco Simoncelli
7. Cal Crutchlow
8. Nicky Hayden
9. Loris Capirossi
10. Karel Abraham
11. Hector Barbera
12. Alvaro Bautista
13. Toni Elias
MotoGP World Points Standings
1. Jorge Lorenzo 98
2. Casey Stoner 91
3. Andrea Dovizioso 63
4. Daniel Pedrosa 61
5. Valentino Rossi 58
6. Nicky Hayden 47
7. Ben Spies 36
8. Hiroshi Aoyama 36
9. Marco Simoncelli 32
10. Cal Crutchlow 30
11. Hector Barbera 26
12. Karel Abraham 24
13. Colin Edwards 21
14. Toni Elias 20
15. Loris Capirossi 16
16. Alvaro Bautista 11