Casey Stoner led wire to wire in Estoril yesterday to take his second win of the season, finally bagging a win at every track on the current MotoGP schedule.
The Australian pulled out a 1.6-second lead on the first lap and never relinquished the lead after securing the first position before the second corner of the 13-turn circuit. Only for a few moments in the middle of the race did Jorge Lorenzo look as if he could present a challenge to Stoner, but ultimately he had to settle for second place. Dani Pedrosa held onto third throughout the race after a big slide in the first turn.
Even though the Number-1 Respol rider still had issues with chatter, his sizeable lead in the opening laps allowed enough of a cushion to keep Lorenzo at bay during the middle of the race.
“In those middle laps we didn’t feel good; I didn’t feel confident to push. I was trying a bunch of different maps on the bike to try and get the bike working better on the exits so we didn’t chatter so much,” said Stoner. “I found a little bit different way to ride. So for the last ten laps I started to feel a little better with the bike. Started to have a little bit less chatter, and for the last few laps we tried to push a little bit more. We were able to open up just enough of a gap to bring it home comfortably.”
Lorenzo rode a nearly mistake-free race, but was only within striking distance for a few laps. Without a doubt the Spaniard was quicker than Stoner in the last section of the circuit, but Stoner was always able to pull a gap down the front straightaway to negate Lorenzo’s efforts in Turn 13. Late in the race a slight wheelie out of the last corner was all that was needed to seal Fuera’s fate as the runner-up for the second weekend in a row.
“I’m very happy with second because it was a nightmare during all the weekend until we solved all the problems we had. So the bike was very good. The only problem was on the start I burned the clutch. So on the first two laps Casey goes on the straights,” said Lorerenzo as he described clutch slippage on the straightaways. “But after the bike was very well. The only problem was Casey had something more. He was with more energy, and I had no energy to try and pass him.”
After Pedrosa’s slide in the first corner he seemed to be stuck in third place as the lead trio pulled away from the rest of field. He was never far behind, but never close enough to make a challenges to Lorenzo for second place.
“I had a tough first lap because I couldn’t warm up the tire well. From the first corner I had a big slide, and in the first lap I think I lost already one second’” said the Honda racer. “From then I was 0.5 to .06 behind Jorge. It was hard for me to manage because I was losing a lot in the corner speed. I was trying to recover everything in the braking, but I was not comfortable riding like this.”
Andrea Dovizioso finally finished ahead of his Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow to take his highest finishing position of the year in fourth place. The pair spent the majority of the race in close quarters until Crutchlow ran wide on off the track in Turn-6. This gave Dovizioso some breathing room to the finish, as Crutchlow held onto fifth place.
Alvro Baustista put his San Carlo Honda into sixth place, well ahead of the Factory Ducati of Valentino Rossi. Ben Spies went backwards from the second row to finish a disappointing eighth. Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera rounded out the top ten respectively.
Aleix Espargaro once again was the top finishing CRT entry with another twelfth-place finish. For the first time a CRT bike was lapped, occurring without issue when Danilo Petrucci went a lap down.
Stoner now leaves Estoril with the points lead with 66 points to Lorenzo’s 65. Pedrosa trails in third, 14 points back from the lead, and Cal Crutchlow holds onto a two-point lead over his teammate Dovizioso with 37 championship points.
2012 MotoGP Estoril Results
1. Casey Stoner (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +1.421
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +3.621
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) +13.846
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) +16.690
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda) +21.884
7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati) +26.797
8. Ben Spies (Yamaha) +33.262
9. Stefan Bradl (Honda) +35.867
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati) +53.363
11. Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +1’02.630
12. Aleix Espargaro (ART) +1’20.736
13. Randy de Puniet (ART) +1’23.483
14. Michele Pirro (FTR) +1’37.905
15. Danilo Petrucci (Loda) +1 Lap