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

Race Direction Summons Simoncelli to “Draw Line” Under Le Mans Incident

marco_simoncelli_and_dani_pedrosaMarco Simoncelli met with race direction today on the eve of the Catalunya GP to discuss the incident that occurred in Le Mans. No further penalty was handed out as Race Direction just wanted to “draw a line” under the penalty to make sure that Simoncelli was aware of his mistake.

Here is the statement from the MotoGP Race Direction:

“The purpose of the meeting was to give all the parties the opportunity to discuss the incident at the French MotoGP in Le Mans that resulted in Marco Simoncelli being penalized with a ride through penalty and to draw a line under it.

“The Race Direction informed Simoncelli that they wished to ensure that he was aware of his mistake and to avoid any repetition in the future.

“Simoncelli responded that in the interval after the French Grand Prix he had had time for reflection and regretted the statements he had made in the heat of the moment immediately after the Grand Prix. He also recognized that he had made an error of judgment and stated that in future he would try to evaluate situations better and be a little more cautious.”

Simoncelli met with Race Director Paul Butler, FIM representative Claude Danis, Dorna Representative Javier Alonso, and IRTA Riders Safety delegate Franco Uncini. San Carlo Honda Gresini Team Principal Fausto Gresini was also present at the meeting.

The MotoGP riders will take to the track tomorrow for the first day of the Catalunya GP. Dani Pedrosa, who was injured in the crash in question, will not be partaking in his home Grand Prix. Pedrosa had surgery on his collarbone after the accident, and is not yet in racing condition.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Simoncelli Tops Estoril Testing Session

marco_simoncelli_testMarco Simoncelli topped the timesheets during the testing session held at Estoril the day after the Portugal GP. Simoncelli was happy with his test results, but was a little disappointed that he couldn’t find that speed during the race.

“I’m obviously satisfied after this test, but I’m also angry because we showed again that yesterday we could have ridden with the first group,” said Simoncelli. “We tried something new that could definitely help us in the future and the new Bridgestone tire for 2012, and I’m quite happy with that too.”

Simoncelli completed 90 laps while working on his new settings, and eventually brought his lap time to 1’36.211, just over a tenth of a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo. Lorenzo was the second fastest rider today as he racked up more than 90 laps around the Estoril track.

Valentino Rossi also put a lot of work in today, doing 82 laps during the testing session. Rossi was fifth fastest for the day behind Casey Stoner and Cal Colin Edwards, but more importantly, the number of laps he rode shows that his shoulder is becoming less of a hindrance.

“We finally chose the new chassis and now we have a clear direction to follow,” said Rossi. “We also made some changes to the engine and now I’m more confident with the bike. Unfortunately the rivals also made great improvements and our gap is still too big to the front. The shoulder is good now, but of course after the first 50 laps I was a bit tired and I had no chance to try the new Bridgestone tyres in a good shape. Anyway the feeling with that is great.”

Dani Pedrosa, on the other hand, couldn’t handle the pain in his shoulder. Pedrosa, who won the Estoril race, only put in a handful of laps before calling it quits.

MotoGP Estoril Testing Session Results

  1. Simoncelli – San Carlo Honda Gresini 1:36.211
  2. Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing +0.105
  3. Stoner – Repsol Honda Team +0.391
  4. Crutchlow – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.639
  5. Rossi – Ducati Marlboro Team +1.171
  6. Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +1.199
  7. Spies – Yamaha Factory Racing +1.210
  8. Dovizioso – Repsol Honda Team +1.249
  9. Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team +1.252
  10. Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team +1.468

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoGP Friday Free Practice Results From Estoril

marco_simoncelli_estorilAfter a month of waiting, the third round of the MotoGP has begun. Marco Simoncelli topped both testing sessions today, beating out Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo.

Simoncelli has been one of the fastest riders on the track throughout the season, but he doesn’t have the points to show for it. Simoncelli was leading in Jerez when he crashed out, losing a chance to score prime points. But the Gresini Honda rider is on pace to challenge for the podium again this weekend.

Simoncelli scored a 1’38.032 lap in FP1, then bettered that time during the second free practice session as temperatures began to heat up, ending the day with a 1’37.663 lap time.

The first free practice session saw three Honda riders at the top, but Jorge Lorenzo was able to squeeze into second place during FP2. Lorenzo finished .06 seconds behind Simoncelli, and just .003 seconds ahead of Dani Pedrosa.

The Friday free practice session showed that Valentino Rossi was in good form. Rossi finished the second free practice session .439 seconds behind the leader. Casey Stoner finished with exactly the same time as the doctor.

Andrea Dovizioso, Colin Edwards, and Ben Spies also showed competitive lap times around the Portugal circuit, as each rider finished within a second of Simoncelli.

MotoGP – Estoril – FP1 Results

  1. Marco SIMONCELLI – San Carlo Honda Gresini – 1’38.032
  2. Casey STONER – Repsol Honda Team
  3. Dani PEDROSA – Repsol Honda Team
  4. Jorge LORENZO – Yamaha Factory Racing
  5. Valentino ROSSI – Ducati Team
  6. Andrea DOVIZIOSO – Repsol Honda Team
  7. Colin EDWARDS – Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  8. Ben SPIES – Yamaha Factory Racing
  9. Hector BARBERA – Mapfre Aspar Team
  10. Randy DE PUNIET – Pramac Racing Team

MotoGP – Estoril – FP2 Results

  1. Marco SIMONCELLI – San Carlo Honda Gresini – 1’37.663
  2. Jorge LORENZO – Yamaha Factory Racing
  3. Dani PEDROSA – Repsol Honda Team
  4. Valentino ROSSI – Ducati Team
  5. Casey STONER – Repsol Honda Team
  6. Colin EDWARDS – Monster Yamaha Tech 3
  7. Karel ABRAHAM – Cardion AB Motoracing
  8. Ben SPIES – Yamaha Factory Racing
  9. Nicky HAYDEN – Ducati Team
  10. Hector BARBERA – Mapfre Aspar Team

The MotoGP riders will have one more free practice session tomorrow before qualifying.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Simoncelli Sets the Fastest Time at Sepang

marco_simoncelliMarco Simoncelli was saving the best for last. The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider claimed the best time during the final day of testing, which was also the fastest time out of all three days.

Simoncelli set a lap time of 2’00.757 on the second of 42 laps today, coming within .239 seconds of Valentino Rossi’s track record at Sepang.

“I’m really happy,” Simoncelli said after the test. “I was very firm this morning and I managed to set this extraordinary time… The team worked perfectly with the new entries… Of course this is only the first test so we must continue to work.” (Translated from Italian with the help of Google Translate.)

Three other riders joined Simoncelli under the 2’01 mark. Casey Stoner was just .05 seconds back. Stoner’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso also broke the 2’01 barrier, giving the Repsol Honda team another fantastic day at Sepang.

2010 Champion Jorge Lorenzo was also happy with his Sepang test, finishing in third on the final day, .08 seconds behind the pace setter. The Fiat Yamaha team was also pleased with the performance of Ben Spies who finished fifth for the day.

Valentino Rossi continued to better his time on day three, but he is still being cautious on his recovering shoulder. Rossi finished a second behind Simoncelli, 10th for the day.

MotoGP Sepang Test – Day 3 Times

  1. Simoncelli – San Carlo Honda Gresini – 2:00.757
  2. Stoner – Repsol Honda Team +0.054
  3. Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing +0.088
  4. Dovizioso – Repsol Honda Team +0.188
  5. Spies – Yamaha Factory Racing +0.245
  6. Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team +0.484
  7. Aoyama – San Carlo Honda Gresini +0.596
  8. Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team +0.777
  9. Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +0.89
  10. Rossi – Ducati Marlboro Team +1.085

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com