Spies Captures Maiden MotoGP Victory

ben_spies_assenBen Spies dominated the Assen GP today to take his first MotoGP win by more than 7 seconds. Spies earned his first front row start of the year yesterday during qualifying, and was able to convert his good starting position into a race win.

Spies got a little help during the first lap of the Assen GP. Marco Simoncelli, who scored the pole position, high-sided on the first lap and took down 2010 MotoGP champion, and Spies’ teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. After the crash, Spies was able to build a steady lead over Casey Stoner, the only rider who was able to give Spies a challenge.

But even Stoner couldn’t match the pace of the young American. Spies would end up taking victory by 7.9 seconds.

Stoner’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, was the final man on the podium.

Valentino Rossi had a good day with the GP11.1. Rossi took home fourth at Assen, despite the fact that he finished close to 30 seconds behind Spies. Nicky Hayden, Rossi’s teammate, took fifth.

Jorge Lorenzo was able to remount after his unfortunate accident on lap one to take 6th at the Assen GP.

MotoGP – Race Results – Assen

  1. Spies
  2. Stoner
  3. Dovizioso
  4. Rossi
  5. Hayden
  6. Lorenzo
  7. Edwards
  8. Aoyoma
  9. Simoncelli
  10. Elias

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoGP: Quotes From Silverstone

Casey Stoner took his third consecutive win this weekend at Silverstone, taking the overall lead in the standings ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. Stoner scored his fourth win of the 2011 MotoGP season and now leads Lorenzo by 18 points. Stoner was joined on the podium by his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, and Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards.

Here are some quotes from the top MotoGP riders after the British GP.

casey_stoner_lap_recordCasey Stoner – 1st – “I was just happy to stay up on the bike.”

“At the beginning of the race we didn’t have a great start and I needed to wait for the tires to get up to temperature. In the first few laps when I was behind the other riders I got a lot of spray up inside the visor and it was hard for me to see, or for me to push.

“At this time I was being careful, trying to cover my lines to stop them coming inside, then after five laps my visibility got clearer and the water drained away from my visor and I was able to start doing the lap times we were looking for and started to open up a gap.

“I was just happy to stay up on the bike, it was incredibly cold and I was so nervous as in these conditions it’s so easy to crash! We had a great race today in very tough conditions where anything could have happened, but to come away with a win is fantastic.”

andrea_dovizioso_and_jorge_lorenzoAndrea Dovizioso – 2nd – “A second place that feels like gold.”

“I’m really happy with today’s podium. It’s a second place that feels like gold. The track conditions were very tricky, with much more water than in the warm up this morning. We made a modification on the set up to have more rear grip and then we did a very good strategy. It helped us doing two laps before the race to bring the tires up to temperature quicker. I had a very good start and then I was focused to manage the second position with Casey. I was braking very hard to close the doors to Lorenzo and Simoncelli.

“I had a good rhythm, not to far from Casey’s pace, but he is very strong with these conditions so I preferred to manage my race the best I could. I want to thank my team for the hard work and the support. We need to improve the performance also in qualifying but at the important moment, in the race, we are there. We never give up. With today’s second place we have consolidated the third position in the Championship and reduced the gap to Lorenzo. The season is still long so I’m confident”.

colin_edwards_silverstoneColin Edwards – 3rd – “An Unbelievable Race”

“That was an unbelievable race and to finish on the podium feels amazing. I was happy to qualify eighth but never in a million years did I think I’d be on the podium just over a week after breaking my collarbone. I need to thank Dr Xavier Mir for the repair job he did on my shoulder and also my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because they gave me a phenomenal bike today.

“My shoulder felt great and it was the muscle damage around my ribs that caused me the most pain. But the rain definitely helped because it was a lot less physical than in the dry. I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, just trying to stay smooth and not make any mistakes.

“Conditions were pretty bad and it was a case of working out when and where you could push. I’d have been happy to finish the race and then go home to think about Assen.

“But I saw a few people succumbing to the conditions and I saw P3 on by board and I couldn’t believe it. At that time though there were still eight or nine laps to go and I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet because it was so wet and cold. It was difficult but it was a good way to the end the weekend for the Team after what happened to Cal. Nobody wants to get hurt, but being injured for your home race is really tough to take, so I wish him a quick recovery and hope to see him back in Assen.”

nicky_hayden_silverstoneNicky Hayden – 4th – “I’m Not Dissapointed”

“To be honest, I really liked my chances for a podium in the rain today; if you’d have told me before the race that I could have fourth, I’d have said, ‘No thanks, I can do better,’ but I’m not disappointed with my ride. I didn’t get a great start because the clutch was jumpy, and for the first few laps, it was hard to see and to get heat in the tires.

“I had a big moment on the exit of Turn 1 and actually jarred my shoulder pretty good, but I tried to hang in there. I saw Colin in front of me for the podium, and I really pushed. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had the fastest lap on a Ducati, which is kind of cool even if you don’t get points for it.

“Full respect to Colin a week after breaking his collarbone, but I still don’t like him beating me for the podium! Thanks to the team. It hasn’t been an easy weekend for us, but we kept trying and got a pretty good chunk of points. We’ll take it and move on.”

alvaro_bautista_silverstoneAlvaro Bautista – 5th – “I’m Looking Forward to the Next Race”

“For sure I am very happy today, because we have been able to finish the weekend with a great result. I have to say thank you to my team, they have so much passion for what they do and have helped me get back to my maximum level. With all their help, this has been the first race that I have been able to feel competitive since the injury and I was nearer my limit than I have been all season, so a really big thanks to all of them! The wet warm-up I felt very strong and had good feedback from the whole package, so I was feeling confident for this afternoon. In the race it was important make a good start, I did that and I think I was maybe fifth or sixth, but it was difficult to see because I was splashed a lot by other riders and I couldn’t see too much and had to drop back a bit.

“I tried to get into a good rhythm and as the race wore on I started to ride more comfortably. I saw that a couple of riders crashed due to all the water that was making it very difficult, but I just carried on and did my own thing. I had to have lots of feeling with the brakes and the gas because it was really very difficult conditions and towards the end I saw that Valentino was trying to catch me.

“I pushed a bit more and started to close on Nicky, but he responded and kept the gap, but by then I had increased on Valentino and I then just wanted to finish. Fifth is a good result and now I’m looking forward to getting to the next race and have the same level of confidence and feeling, if not even better!”

Rossi_silverstoneValentino Rossi – 6th –  “The Most Difficult Race This Season”

“Without a doubt, this weekend was the most difficult so far this season, but we at least managed to do a good job of limiting the damage. Considering how we came into the race, sixth place is a fairly positive result that helps us to stay not too far from the top of the standings in fourth, which isn’t bad.

“We knew that my lack of experience here compared to the others would hurt us, but it’s also true that we haven’t managed to improve our set-up as well as we should have. In fact, today Nicky managed to have a nice race and ride well, even setting the fastest lap, which demonstrates that the Ducati is competitive in the wet.

“We didn’t improve enough though, and that made it hard for me, as the bike was difficult to ride and I couldn’t push hard. We’re all responsible, me, the bike, and the team, so together we’ll try to improve and return to the level we were at in Le Mans and Catalunya as soon as possible, and then take another step forward.”

marco_simoncelli_silverstoneMarco Simoncelli – DNF – I Am Distraught, I Am Gutted”

“I am completely distraught because it seems every week we line up ready for a top race and something happens to deny me.

“I had already had a moment in that corner so I tried to be more careful but the front closed and I found myself on the floor waving goodbye to the podium once again.

“I am gutted! I’ll go home with my head down now but tomorrow I have to start looking forward to Assen with the hope that this bad run is over.”

Jorge Lorenzo Position – DNF – “It’s a shame”

lorenzo_silverstone“I feel disappointed because the crash was my own mistake. It’s a shame for the team because they did a very good job all weekend and also my Fan Club who come here to support me. I was riding with confidence, but I had to wait my moment to overtake Andrea.

“I think I could have fought for the victory with Casey. I wasn’t worried that Simoncelli was catching me; I was worried because Casey was going if I didn’t overtake Andrea… then I crashed! Before Casey was chasing me, like a greyhound with a hare but now the situation has reversed. Now we have to go for the victory in Assen! I want to say congratulations to Colin; it has been a good weekend for him. He deserves it after last week”.

Ben Spies Position – DNF – “We Worked So Hard…”

ben_spies_silverstone“I’m so disappointed to finish like this after we worked so hard to be ready for the race. It’s been a challenging weekend for all the guys with the different weather changes but we were ready to race with a really good package. The track was really wet, when I hit the brakes going into turn one the front just dropped away and I hit the wall before I knew it. I hit my back pretty badly, my back protector is really busted up, but it did its job. I’m really sore and will probably need a big cushion for a few days but I’m happy it wasn’t worse. We’ll take a few days to relax and recover then come back fighting at Assen.”

[Compiled From Various Press Releases]

A Note From Dani Pedrosa

dani_pedrosa_collarbone_surgeryFor the first three rounds of the 2011 MotoGP season, Dani Pedrosa was the man to beat. Despite early season corrective surgery, Pedrosa earned three podium finishes, including a win in Portugal, and was second in the point standings behind 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo.

But then came Le Mans, and Pedrosa found himself back in the hospital.

Pedrosa missed the Catalunya GP, and recently announced that he would not be racing at Silverstone. With three consecutive no-point races, Pedrosa’s title hopes are quickly vanishing.

Here’s a note from Dani Pedrosa. (The note was posted on Pedrosa’s blog in Spanish and was translated with the help of Google and my two years of Spanish 101.)

Hi everyone,

After days devoted entirely to recovery, I have decided not to run the Grand Prix of Great Britain. I’ve done everything I could to be on time for Silverstone, but conditions are not right to return yet. I need to feel safe when I start to ride again. I need to that I can fight for victory. I do not want to just run laps.

My recovery is progressing, but we are taking it day by day. I do not want to set deadlines, but clearly, I want to recover as soon as possible to ride the bike again. I have to be calm and follow the recommendations of my doctors to make sure the recovery process goes well.

I’ve driven many times with pain and my experience tells me that I am not able to be competitive. I decided not to risk it and to continue my recovery process so that I can return at my best. It is a time when I have to pay attention to reason, and not just my desire.. I want to return soon, but I want to be able to compete when I do. It is not the time yet.

Thanks again for all your encouragement.

Dani

Pedrosa is currently fourth in the standings. After the Silverstone GP, Pedrosa will have two weeks before the Assen event on June 25th.

[You can see more from Pedrosa’s blog here.]

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

2011 MotoGP Preview: Catalunya

catalunya_gpThe MotoGP riders will return to action this weekend after a two-week break for the fifth round of the 2011 MotoGP season at Catalunya. Jorge Lorenzo will be looking to extend his lead in front of his home crowd, while Casey Stoner will try for his second consecutive victory.

The big story in the MotoGP, however, is Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa will not be racing at Catalunya, his home circuit, because of the injury he suffered during the French GP. Pedrosa has been a constant fixture on the podium this season, but he fractured his collarbone after a crash involving Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans. Pedrosa dropped down to third place after scoring no points in France, and could be passed up again this weekend if Valentino Rossi can find the podium once more.

Rossi scored his first podium of the season at Le Mans and his record at Catalunya shows that he’s clearly capable of repeating the feat this weekend. Rossi has 9 wins across all categories at Catalunya, and another four podiums. Rossi’s worst finish at Catalunya in the premier class was third, but the Doctor did not compete at Catalunya in 2010 due to a broken leg.

“I’m really happy to return to the track, since I had to watch the race from my house last year,” Rossi said. “I’ve always been quite strong at the track, so I have many nice memories, the most recent of which is the 2009 win after a great battle with Lorenzo. We’re very motivated and we’re working really hard on the bike; step-by-step, we can see that we’re making progress. We know there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we need to keep trying to get closer to the front.”

Lorenzo, who took the win at Catalunya in 2010, currently leads the series in points. Lorenzo has 12 points over Casey Stoner. The 2010 champ will be eager to return to the podium this weekend after missing the rostrom for the first time this season at Le Mans.

Andrea Dovizioso will also be a prime contender this weekend. Dovizioso took his first podium at the last race in Le Mans, and is more than capable of doing the same in Barcelona.

Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden will also be vying for the top spots this weekend. Hayden took a podium at Catalunya during his championship season, and looks like he is finally getting a handle on the Ducati machine. Spies has had a disappointing sophomore season so far, but the American is determined to turn things around.

The MotoGP riders should also look out for Marco Simoncelli. After the controversy involving the crash with Dani Pedrosa, a number of riders have spoken out and called Simoncelli “reckless.” If the young Italian can put a win on the board, he might be able to change the conversation.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Yamaha Has High Hopes for Le Mans

Yamaha_m1Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will be heading to Le Mans this weekend for the fourth round of the 2011 MotoGP season. Lorenzo currently leads the series, while Spies will be looking to jump-start his 2011 season with good results at the French circuit.

Lorenzo will be looking to continue his streak of podiums at Le Mans last weekend. Lorenzo took the win at Jerez and a second place finish at both Qatar and Estoril, giving Lorenzo 65 points and the points lead.

Lorenzo took the Le Mans win in 2010 and is looking forward to returning to the French circuit.

“I am coming back to Le Mans, a track I really enjoy and where I won last season,” Lorenzo said. “The people in Le Mans love motorbikes, they love the smell of fuel. We are on the top, but we should be focused on getting as many points as possible. Our main goal is the podium, our fourth podium, and to be in front in Montmeló. This track has a lot of chicanes and is fun for me. The weather is always changing, we have to be careful with the forecast, it can change everything.”

Spies hasn’t had the same good fortune as Lorenzo this season. Spies has crashed out of the last two races, and has only earned a total of 10 points this season. Spies and the Yamaha team had a successful testing session at Estoril, and are confident that they can turn their luck around this weekend.

“I’ve had a really relaxing few days off after Estoril back home in Como, Italy,” Spies said. “I had a good chance to get out on my bicycle and really work off some of the frustration from the race. Having felt so good at the start I really believed we could have delivered some strong results in Portugal. Anyway, we all move on together and as a team we’re coming to France determined to make up for it and really kick off our 2011 season again.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com