For the second time this season, Casey Stoner was victorious after complete domination Sunday at the Motegi Grand Prix, Round 14 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship.
The 24-year-old Ducati Team rider was joined on the podium by pole-sitter Andrea Dovizioso and Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi. This was Stoner’s second consecutive win on the Desmo GP10, the Australian also winning at the debut Aragon MotoGP race in Spain two weeks ago.
Aboard the RC212V, Dovizioso took advantage of his pole position, getting through turn 1 first. But on the second turn, Stoner passed the Italian, and went on to lead all 24 laps on the 14-turn circuit. Stoner, who was on soft tires, and would eventually finish 3.868 seconds ahead of Dovi.
Casey Stoner says: “This win feels great. I could have never imagined when I began my first season in Grand Prix at sixteen years of age that I would reach this level and all I can say is that it is an honor to be alongside such great names. I have taken all my MotoGP wins with Ducati and it is down to their fantastic support, hard work and above all their belief in me that this has been possible. Once again we put in maximum effort all weekend here to find some stability in the hard braking and acceleration zones at this circuit, which has been a massive challenge for us.”
“We tried something in warm-up this morning that didn’t quite work so we took a bit of a lucky dip for the race and it paid off. Once I got out in front I knew we had a chance to win but it wasn’t without fighting for it because Andrea (Dovizioso) rode a great race to push me all the way to the last lap. It’s a big win for me, especially because it’s my first at this circuit and that means a lot.”
Getting into third was the current championship leader, Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, followed by Rossi on the Yamaha M1. On the second lap, the Americans Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden both went off the track at Turn 5, but were able to safely get back on track, although at the back of the 16-rider grid, and finish the race.
Stoner and Dovizioso stayed up front for the entire race, as Rossi battled intensely with his teammate. Rossi took Lorenzo with on lap 5 before the hairpin at the Twin Ring Motegi. Lorenzo and Rossi would swap the lead numerous times, but Rossi got him at the end for the final podium spot.
The two battled so tightly that they actually rubbed numerous times while going into some of Motegi’s tightest turns. This was the second race of the season that Lorenzo didn’t finish on the box.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Spies began picking off riders one-by-one, and finished the race in eight place. The man who went off the track with Spies, Hayden, would finish in 12th on his Ducati Team GP10. Spies’ teammate, Colin Edwards, was riding like the Edwards of years ago, the Texan having his best finish of the season with fifth, taking the spot from sixth-place finisher Marco Simoncelli on the San Carlo Gresini Honda.
With three laps to go, Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi ran off the track, and then staled his GSVR. The Italian would not finish the race.
The field was short a rider, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard went down hard at turn 7 during practice on Friday, and returned to his home country to undergo surgery on his left shoulder, which sustained a double fracture to the collarbone.
He’s hoping to make it back for Sepang, and with four races remaining, he still has a slim shot at taking the title from Lorenzo. Lorenzo now holds a 69-point lead over Pedrosa.
The riders return on track next week the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang for the second of three back-to-back races.
2010 Japan Grand Prix, Motegi Results:
1. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 43’12.266
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team + 3.868
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 5.707
4. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 6.221
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 27.092
6. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 30.021
7. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 31.826
8. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 35.572
9. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP + 47.564
10. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP + 49.598
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 49.999
12. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team + 50.703
13. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team + 51.422
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team + 52.843
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team + 1’14.668
Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP, DNF
Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team
MotoGP Championship Points (after 14 of 18 rounds):
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 297
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 228
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 180
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 159
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 156
6. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 139
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 129
8. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 88
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 84
10. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 81
11. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 79
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 69
13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 58
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 52
15. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 41
16. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 35
17. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 34
18. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 11
19. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
20. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Fiat Yamaha Team 1