Stoner Takes Laguna Seca Victory

Stoner_close_upCasey Stoner added a few points to his lead today with his fifth win of the 2011 MotoGP season at Laguna Seca. Stoner battled with Jorge Lorenzo throughout the USGP, but eventually the Australian was able to take the win over his biggest title contender.

Stoner struggled to find the pace throughout the weekend, but the Repsol Honda team worked hard to give him a competitive bike during the MotoGP race.

“All weekend we haven’t been on the pace with Dani and Jorge,” Stoner said. “But we worked on it pretty hard last night and came up with two completely different bikes for the morning warm-up.

“For the race, we felt a little bit more calm, more patient. We just didn’t want to make any silly mistakes. The bike didn’t feel too good with a full tank of fuel, so we really had to be patient. Our bike started to feel better lap by lap.”

Stoner now leads the series by 20 points, but the Repsol Honda rider knows that there is a lot of time left in the 2011 MotoGP season.

“Championship points at this moment… it’s a little difficult,” Stoner said. “They can slip away easily. We’re not winning the championship now. We just want to be there at the end of the season. Jorge is going to be strong at every race. It’s definitely going to be a tough end of the season.”

Lorenzo lead for the majority of the USGP, but Stoner was able to find his way around the 2010 champion with five laps remaining.

“I did my best from the beginning of the race,” Lorenzo said. “I pushed really hard to try to get a good gap… but Casey was super today. Today the best we could get was second.”

Lorenzo, who had a hard crash during the free practice session, will have a few weeks before he hops back on the track to try to best Stoner at BRNO.

“To win the world title,” Lorenzo said. “The important thing is to finish in front of Casey. Today we tried. Things can change. We’ll see.”

Dani Pedrosa took the final spot on the podium today at Laguna Seca. Pedrosa, who now has three races under his belt since his return from injury, was pleased to find the podium in the US.

“I was feeling good at the beginning,” Pedrosa said. “Jorge was pushing very hard. I was trying to stick with them, but by the middle of the race… my arms are not so strong now and my lap times started to drop.

“But I am still very happy. It is my third race back and I’m again on the podium.”

Ben Spies took the fourth place spot ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. The Ducati came cross the line next, with Valentino Rossi taking 6th ahead of Nicky Hayden. Colin Edwards, Hector Barbera, and Hiroshi Aoyoma completed the top 10.

MotoGP Race Results – Laguna Seca

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

You can see photos from the MotoGP action at Laguna Seca here. 

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

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]

Rossi and Hayden Motivated for Catalunya GP

valentino_rossi_le_mansValentino Rossi didn’t get the chance to race at the Catalan Grand Prix in 2010 because of his injury, but The Doctor is back and ready for action. Rossi has taken 9 wins in Catalunya, and says that the Spanish circuit is one of his favorite on the calendar.

“The Catalan Grand Prix is one of the nicest of the season,” Rossi said. “Barcelona is a beautiful city, the track is really nice, probably my second-favourite after Mugello. And as is always the case at Spanish races, the grandstands are filled with enthusiastic fans.”

Rossi scored his first podium at the Le Mans GP and will look to carry that momentum into Spain. Rossi has won in every class at Catalunya, with a total of nine wins and four podiums at the circuit.

“I’m really happy to return to the track, since I had to watch the race from my house last year. 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.”

Nicky Hayden has also seen success at Cataluna. Hayden found the podium in 2006 on his way to his first MotoGP championship. Hayden hasn’t found similar results recently, but is looking forward to changing that this weekend.

“Any race in Spain is huge, and Catalunya is no exception,” Hayden said. “It’s a good track. I made the podium there in 2006, although I haven’t gotten the results I’d like there in recent years, especially last season. I’m looking forward to it.”

After the Catalunya GP, the 2011 MotoGP season really hits its stride with 6 races in 8 weeks.

“The two weeks off have been okay, but I enjoy this part of the season, with back-to-back races,” Hayden said. “The next month and a half is going to be busy, because this is when the season really gets going. Even though our end result wasn’t a lot better in Le Mans, I definitely think we were closer to the front. Ducati hasn’t stopped working over the last couple of weeks, and we’ll see at Barcelona if we can keep going on the right path.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Rossi Tests Ducati GP12 at Mugello

rossi_testing_at_mugelloValentino Rossi got the chance today to climb back aboard Ducati’s 2012 prototype at the Mugello circuit. Rossi did 36 laps aboard the GP12 on the final day of testing for the Ducati team.

This is the second time that Valentino Rossi has tested the GP12. The first time Rossi hopped on the GP12 was at Jerez in early April. (You can see the video of that test here.)

“I’m pleased, because it was a positive test,” said Rossi. “We took full advantage of the time we had, because the track and weather conditions were perfect.”

The Mugello track was recently repaved, which gave Rossi a chance to test the new track before the MotoGP heads to the Italian circuit next month. Mugello is also the circuit where Rossi broke his leg last year.

“I liked the new asphalt a lot,” Rossi said. “The surface is smooth, those holes that I knew so well are now gone, and the grip is fantastic. I must say they’ve done a great job, because if it’s possible, riding here at Mugello is now even better than before.

“I’m happy to have come back here to test after my injury last year, because it was a nice feeling and a good day. We started around 11:00 this morning, and we completed sixty laps in all…

“We tested everything that (technical director Filippo Preziosi) had planned to try, and we’re satisfied because, although we’re still at a pretty early stage, we’re going in the right direction.”

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com