NOT only did Australian Casey Stoner score his eight win of the Season at the Motorland Circuit in Alcaniz, Aragon last Sunday but he also notched up the 100th win for Repsol Honda since its 1995 inauguration.
The Repsol Honda trio of Stoner, Pedrosa and Dovizioso were seen riding in a special livery created for the Grand Prix of Aragon. After two days of hot and humid conditions, a cancelled afternoon on Friday due to unforeseen technical problems with a failing electrical generator, Stoner set out on an extended Saturday session to practise and eventually qualify on pole position after smashing the qualifying record with a time of 1’48.451 for Sunday’s race.
Sunday saw a change in the weather with cold track temperatures and high and gusty wind conditions, conditions that were thought to cause difficulties for the riders on the rollercoaster Aragon track. As the starting lights illuminated, the front row of Stoner, Pedrosa and Spies got away in that order to and through the first left-hand corner of the race with Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Simoncelli close behind.
Czech rider Karel Abraham of Ducati Cardion had a heavy crash in turn one giving him a light head concussion and resulting in him spending the night in hospital as a precaution. One corner later saw the second victim of the day, the fall of Repsol rider Andrea Dovizioso, a low side slide caused by the loss of grip on tyres that were not up to full race temperature.
The race continued with Stoner and Pedrosa pulling away, leaving Spies and Simoncelli to battle it out for a possible third place. Lorenzo who had been patiently watching this battle, waited for the safest moment and he passed Simoncelli on lap 10 before pouncing on Ben Spies four laps later to confirm his third spot on the podium behind team-mate and fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa.
Back in the field a battle with Spaniard Toni Elias of LCR Honda and Pramac Ducati rider Loris Capirossi ended in tears after Capirossi collided with Elias just seven laps from the finish. Capirossi, who has signalled his retirement from racing at the end of the season, is now in doubt for the next round in Japan after the resultant dislocation on his “famous” right shoulder after the heavy fall. Due to engine change rulings, the popular Valentino Rossi had to start from the pit lane 10 seconds after the race start but doggedly fought back to finish in a respectable ninth place.
Ducati have suffered many handling difficulties since 2010, but now are working hard to speed up the development when the bikes return to 1000cc for the 2012 season. Casey Stoner’s eighth win takes him to 284 points, 44 ahead of 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and 99 points clear of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
The 2011 performance of Repsol Honda has been outstanding, but one cannot write of Lorenzo and Factory Yamaha with four races left on the calendar and 100 possible points available. It was another exciting race in the Moto2 class after Briton Scott Redding led from pole position but it ended up in another fine performance from up and coming superstar, Spaniard Marc Marquez, after he had a fierce battle with Italian Andrea Ionnone of Speed Master Racing and Simone Corsi of Ioda Racing Project, the final podium order.
Marquez is looking on form to challenge championship leader Stefan Bradl in what is now turning into a two horse race for the title. Bradl, who leads Marquez by six points with 221, leads at the moment with huge pressure from the young Spaniard. The fantastic race in 125cc class which saw 13 retirements ended with Spaniard Nicolas Terol of Bankia Aspar winning 6.711 seconds ahead of, championship contender, Frenchman Johann Zarco of Avant-AirAsia-Ajo with third going to Spaniard Maverick Vinales.
This is also the order of the Championship table. Terol leads with 241 points, 36 points ahead of Zarco and 64 ahead of rookie Vinales who is having remarkable world debut after winning the CEV Buckler Spanish Championships last year. Racing moves east to Japan after the race was rescheduled due to the sad earthquake disaster the country suffered earlier this year. It will be held at Montegi on October 2nd.
Racing will eventually return to the Spanish Peninsular at Valencia on November 6th after Japan, Australia and Malaysia’
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