Lorenzo Wins, Stoner Crashes in Jerez

lorenzo_at_JerezJorge Lorenzo won his first race of the 2011 season today in front of his home crowd at the Jerez circuit. Lorenzo was joined by Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden on the podium.

It was a wet race in Jerez, which caused slippery and unpredictable conditions. Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Marco Simoncelli, and Ben Spies all took turns riding through the gravel today. Out of a 17 rider race, only 12 were able to cross the finish line. The accident filled race left Jorge Lorenzo alone at the top, as he claimed victory 19 seconds ahead of his closest competitor.

Behind Pedrosa there was another 10 second gap until Nicky Hayden and Hiroshima Aoyoma crossed the line in third and fourth.

Casey Stoner, who was the race winner in Qatar, was the clear favorite for today’s race. Stoner started from pole position and was having a good race until an incident with Valentino Rossi left him on the side of the track.

Stoner had to call it quits for the day, while Rossi was able to remount and finish fifth. Stoner’s DNF drops him to third in the overall standings behind Lorenzo and his teammate Pedrosa.

MotoGP Jerez Race Results

  1. Lorenzo
  2. Pedrosa
  3. Hayden
  4. Aoyoma
  5. Rossi
  6. Barbera
  7. Abraham
  8. Crutchlow
  9. Elias
  10. Hopkins

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Philip Oettl Wins First Red Bull Rookies Cup Race

red_bull_rookies_cup_jerez_race_1Philip Oettl is in his second year in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, but today was his first win in the series. Oettl won the Red Bull Rookies Cup season opener after a fantastic battle around the Jerez track with Brad Binder.

Brad Binder led for the majority of the race, but with a lap and a half left, Oettl made a fantastic out-braking move to take the lead.

Oettl started from the second place spot, but a poor start dropped him down to the middle of the pack.

“It wasn’t a great start.” said Oettl. “I had to work hard in the opening laps to get back up into 2nd but then I was happy and I could find a good rhythm. It just kept going as fast as I could without making any mistakes and the bike was working very well so I felt good about catching Brad. As I caught him I was thinking that I would have to pass him on the brakes into the last corner but then I had the chance at the end of the back straight and I took it.”

Binder was a little disappointed that he couldn’t hold on for the race win, but he’s confident about his chances during tomorrow’s race.

“It was a quick pace, I was trying so hard and the bike started moving around a lot,” said Binder. “It was really sliding and getting worse as the race went on, I just couldn’t go any quicker. I know Philipp was coming and when he got alongside me at the end of the straight I though I could still get around on the brakes but he just moved me over and I had to go straight on. That was it. We’ll try some changes for tomorrows race and I’ll have a go at winning it.”

The rest of the Rookies couldn’t keep up with the top pair’s pace, as both Binder and Oettl put in laps more than a second faster than their qualifying times.

Red Bull Rookies Cup Race Results – Race 1 – Jerez

  1. Philipp Oettl (GER)
  2. Brad Binder (RSA) +0.567
  3. Alan Techer (FRA) +14.692
  4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) +22.052
  5. Florian Alt (GER) +27.579
  6. Arthur Sissis (AUS) +29.964
  7. Xavier Pinsach (ESP) +30.054
  8. Aaron España (ESP) +30.214
  9. Javier Orellana (GBR) +40.625
  10. Lukas Trautmann (AUT) +40.703

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

John Hopkins Deserves MotoGP Ride

John_Hopkins_Rizla_SuzukiJohn Hopkins will spend the majority of the 2011 racing season in the British Superbike series, but his performance over the last few days in Jerez has shown that he is capable of competing in the MotoGP.

Hopkins is currently filling in for an injured Alvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki team. Hopkins spent two years on a MotoGP motorcycle, but this weekend in Jerez is the first time this season that he has ridden the Suzuki GSV-R on a competitive track. He isn’t at the top of the time sheets, but Hopkins is showing he still has what it takes to compete at the premier level.

“These two days have demonstrated two things. One that John Hopkins still deserves to be riding at the top level of the sport, and secondly, that Suzuki has done a great job to develop the GSV-R into a package that – without any adjustments at all – has allowed John to qualify the bike so competitively,” said Paul Denning, manager of the Rizla Suzuki team. ”

Over two years away from riding a MotoGP machine – and the amount of braking force and mechanical grip that they have compared to production bikes – means that John’s timing is inevitably a bit off and also that whilst he’s very fit, there is a difference between normal fitness and MotoGP racing fitness,” Denning added. “The 27-laps tomorrow will be tough, but irrespective of what happens in the race itself, John has done a fantastic job so far and we couldn’t have wished for a better stand-in for Álvaro.”

Hopkins qualified in 14th place, 1.5 seconds behind the pace setter. But considering that the Repsol Honda team is lapping more than a second ahead of most of the MotoGP grid, Bautista’s time is rather impressive.

“I don’t really know where to start,” Hopkins said. “It’s been a good day and we’ve taken everything step-by-step to get where we are.

“I am very pleased and it feels so awesome to be back out there, especially in front of the Jerez crowd. I’m having so much fun on the motorcycle and really excited about riding, I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and try and get the best result possible. Obviously the goal is to try and get into the top 10 and if we can that would be great. Most importantly though I want to go out and enjoy myself and put on a good show for the fans and the sponsors and especially for the team for all the faith that they’ve put in to me – I hope I can reward them with a good result.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Dani Pedrosa to Have Surgery After Jerez

Dani_Pedrosa_Shoulder_InjuryDani Pedrosa and the Repsol Honda team have decided that the best course of action to heal Pedrosa’s shoulder is to have surgery on the injury after the Jerez race. The good news, however, is that after the Jerez race, Pedrosa will have nearly a month to recover before the next MotoGP round in Portugal.

Pedrosa underwent surgery on his shoulder last October, and was confident that the 2011 MotoGP season would be smooth sailing. But after feeling constant pain in Qatar, the Repsol Honda rider decided to have his shoulder re-examined.

Doctors found that Pedrosa had intermittent compression of the subclavian artery, which can cause pain, numbness, and a loss of strength in his arm.

Pedrosa will have to fight through the pain this weekend, but hopefully the surgery will put Pedrosa back at 100% for the remainder of the 2011 MotoGP season.

“It’s never pleasant to have an operation, but we’ve been looking for an answer for a lot of time about the effects of this injury and I’m calmed because I finally know what has happened,” Pedrosa said. “Now, we are in Jerez and I want to concentrate on the race, working with my team in the best possible way to prepare the Grand Prix.

“This race is special, the fans are always there to give you an extra point and I hope it helps me, as always. I like the track, I’ve had always good results here and I face the weekend with the aim to do my best in my current conditions.”

Pedrosa will have a titanium plate and screws removed from his collar bone during the operation. He will begin rehab immediately, and is aiming to be ready for the third round of the 2011 MotoGP season in Portugal on May 1st.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoGP Jerez Statistics: History Favors Rossi

Jerez_CircuitThis weekend the MotoGP riders will square off in Jerez for the second round of the 2011 MotoGP season. It is the first European round of the 2011 season, and a favorite among the MotoGP paddock.

Valentino Rossi – The Spanish GP may be a favorite among riders, but the Jerez circuit has been especially kind to Valentino Rossi.

Rossi has earned 6 premier class wins at the Jerez track. Two additional victories in the 125cc and 250cc classes give “the Doctor” 8 total wins at Jerez. Rossi has also earned a few podium finishes at the Spanish track. Out of his 11 starts in Jerez, Rossi has only been off of the podium twice.

Jorge Lorenzo – But Rossi isn’t the only person who holds the Jerez track in a special place. His former teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, also has fond memories of Jerez.

Lorenzo made his MotoGP debut in the 125cc class at Jerez. Lorenzo missed the opening qualifying session because he was too young, but he turned 15 before Q2 and got his first chance to race in front of 100,000 fans.

Lorenzo earned the pole position in 2008 and 2009, but it wasn’t until last year that he took his first premier class victory ahead of Dani Pedrosa.

Dani Pedrosa – Pedrosa has raced at Jerez 5 times, and each time he has either won or come in second. He scored a 2nd place finish on his MotoGP debut in 2006, and took his first Jerez win in 2008. Pedrosa led every lap during the 2010 race, but was overtaken by Lorenzo on the final lap.

Casey Stoner – Stoner hasn’t had as good of luck at Jerez, but with the way that he’s racing this season, that could easily change this weekend. Stoner has only one podium finish at Jerez, which came in 2009.

Loris Capirossi – If anyone knows the Jerez track like the back of their hand it’s Loris Capirossi. Capirossi has raced on the Spanish circuit 22 times. But despite his experience at the Jerez track, Capirossi has only mustered up one victory.

A few other stats from around the grid.

  • This will be Cal Crutchlow’s first time at the circuit.
  • Nicky Hayden’s one Jerez victory came during his 2006 championship campaign.
  • Andrea Dovizios has never finished above 8th at Jerez.
  • Toni Elias won the Jerez race last year for the Moto2 class.

The Jerez circuit has been home to some fantastic MotoGP races, and we will likely witness one more this weekend.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com