2011 Jerez MotoGP
After the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez Sunday, there were two major upsets.
The first involved the MotoGP Championship Points race, and the second the man who is no longer on top of that points’ race: Casey Stoner.
The Repsol Honda rider, who totally dominated at the opening round of 2011 MotoGP in Qatar, continued the trend when events began at Jerez; Stoner set the pace in the Free Practice sessions, breaking circuit-lap record, and then placed his Honda RC212V on the pole.
Stoner had a good start, getting out front of the MotoGP pack first. He led until 22 laps remained, when the Australian was passed by San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli.
As Stoner began to fight for the lead again, Ducati Team rider Valentino Rossi was having the best ride of the 2011 MotoGP season. On the eighth lap, Rossi caught up to Stoner after moving up from 11th on the grid.
But when Rossi made an attempt to pass Stoner at the end of the front straight heading into turn one, he crashed. Rossi was on the inside line, and after passing Stoner he turned in too early, folding the front-end of the Ducati GP11.
When he began sliding, he took out Stoner’s RC212V, both bikes becoming tangled with Rossi still underneath his machine. But after both remounted their prototypes, Valentino Rossi was able to finish fifth after a bunch of other crashes at the wet Jerez MotoGP Circuit, the Italian garnering 11 points.
But it was a different story for Stoner; he suffered a DNF, and moved from first to third in the points race with 25 points, 20 points behind the man who won at Jerez, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi is in fifth with 20 points.
After the MotoGP race, Rossi went and publicly apologized to Stoner. Rossi also openely took the blame for the Jerez crash.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11) says: “Today in the wet we had a great chance for me to make my first podium with Ducati, or even to get my first win. I felt good, both with the bike and my shoulder, because I could brake where I wanted to rather than where I’m forced to in the dry, since I still don’t have the necessary strength.
“The bike is very fast in the wet. I was advancing really well, and I’m sorry to have made that mistake and thrown away such an opportunity. While braking for the first corner, I entered a bit long, and although I tried to stay to the inside, I lost the front and couldn’t stay up.
“I’m sorry, because I also took out Stoner, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. I apologized to him, and I’m truly sorry; it was a mistake. It’s a shame because we really could have gotten some satisfaction, but we’ll keep trying. We’re still not so fast in the dry, but we’re working hard. Anyway today’s fifth place gave us eleven points that are very important in the championship.”
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V) says: “We made a good start to the race, we understood the tyres weren’t the best and they were trying to spin, so we needed to back off quite a bit.
“Rossi came up the inside and wasn’t able to stay on the bike and took me out. It was not the best day for us for sure, after such a good weekend. We’re very disappointed with this result. I believe we would have been there at the end because it was a long race with many people crashing which is why we were being quiet.
“For sure, I would prefer if Valentino did it away from the cameras and would say something to me quietly without always having to have proof. For sure Valentino doesn’t do this for himself, he just wants to show to everybody that he has apologized. Yes it’s a nice gesture, it’s very good, but it still doesn’t change the result today, so we’ll see what happens in the next races.”