Spoiler Alert: Laguna Seca MotoGP results below
When the 2011 MotoGP Championship descended on American shores this weekend at Laguna Seca in California, three riders immediately stormed to the top of the time sheets – the Repsol Honda duo of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.
The three pilots broke away from the remaining riders by almost a half second during all three-practice sessions and qualifying. But at the end of FP3, Lorenzo suffered a huge high side. With much fear looming in the Spaniard’s horizon after slapping the pavement from 10 feet in the air, he piloted the Yamaha YZR-M1 to his second pole position of 2011 MotoGP.
And from there it looked to be another winning story for Lorenzo as he chased a third consecutive Laguna Seca win. Lorenzo took the lead early, but with six laps to go, Stoner made the race-winning pass.
Stoner immediately began placing much space on Lorenzo, eventually finishing over five seconds ahead of the Spaniard. Taking the final podium spot at the shortest track on the MotoGP schedule (2.243 mile) was Pedrosa.
This was Stoner’s second win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; his first came in 2007 en-route to his only MotoGP Championship.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "I had a lot of confidence. We found something during warm up and knew we could run with these guys. I had something inside, knowing I wouldn’t let (Lorenzo) get away….I was waiting until later in the race. I was behind Jorge and realized I could go a little faster. I waited a few laps to see if he’d make a mistake, or see if he’d do something. So I decided to go and put the hammer down as much as I could. We managed to pull a nice gap; very happy, I love this track and the atmosphere and happy to win here again."
When the 32-lap race got underway Sunday at Laguna Seca, the usual Lion of Laguna, Jorge Lorenzo, took the holeshot aboard the YZR-M1 decked out in red and white Yamaha livery. Following Lorenzo was Pedrosa, Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini), Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team), Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team).
Within a few laps, Lorenzo was over two seconds ahead of the 18-rider grid, which shrunk to 13 by the time Round 10 at Laguna was in the MotoGP history books. Initially, the grid swelled to 18 when Ben Bostrom joined as a Wildcard rider for LCR Honda. But before the race went green, the grid was back to 17 riders due to the absence of Pramac Racing Ducati’s Randy de Puniet.
The sole Frenchman on the 2011 MotoGP grid crashed at Turn 5 in warm-up, and wasn’t cleared to race due to back issues.
As Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Stoner began pulling away up front, the first pass of the race came at Turn 5 on the third lap, when the American Spies took Rossi at Turn 5 after some battling.
A lap later the first crash occurred when the Brit Cal Crutchlow low-sided at Andretti Hairpin. By the time 25 laps remained, Marco Simoncelli also crashed, giving Spies the fifth position. There would be one more crash at 2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP; Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista would also hit the pavement at Andretti Hairpin with 19 laps remaining.
Although Ben Bostrom didn’t crash, he ended his day early with 22 laps remaining. Bostrom ran off the track a few times due to "rider error," and decided to call it a day.
The race remained the same until Stoner passed Pedrosa with 15 to go. The Australian then set his eyes on Lorenzo, catching and passing the Spaniard with six laps remaining. He would eventuall finish 5.634 seconds ahead of Lorenzo, with Pedrosa a further 9.467 seconds behind.
Spies, who was riding with a hurt hand from a qualifying crash, put his three AMA Superbike wins to work while battling with Dovi. The Texan took Dovi with two laps to go, finishing fourth. Rossi held off a charge from Hayden to take fifth.
After taking his fifth win of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, Stoner now has 193 points with eight rounds remaining. He is 20 points ahead of Lorenzo; Dovi has 143, Pedrosa 110 and Rossi 109.
The MotoGP grid now takes a three-week break before resuming at Brno Aug. 12-14.
2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP Results
|1.||25||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||158.0||43’52.145|
|2.||20||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||157.7||+5.634|
|3.||16||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||157.4||+9.467|
|4.||13||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||156.8||+20.562|
|5.||11||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||156.8||+20.885|
|6.||10||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||156.2||+30.351|
|7.||9||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||156.2||+31.031|
|8.||8||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||155.3||+45.502|
|9.||7||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||155.0||+51.549|
|10.||6||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||154.0||+1’08.850|
|11.||5||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||154.0||+1’09.132|
|12.||4||65||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||152.3||1 Lap|
|13.||3||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||150.9||1 Lap|
|19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||155.5||19 Laps|
|23||Ben BOSTROM||USA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||142.6||24 Laps|
|58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||155.6||26 Laps|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||150.8||29 Laps|