Spoiler Alert: 2011 Indianapolis MotoGP results below
The 17-rider MotoGP grid arrived at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with anticipation of competing on the refurbished circuit, IMS paving turns 5 through 16 this summer due to bumps.
But complaints quickly surfaced, most regarding the slick surface of revamped area of the 2.6-mile circuit.
And the man who called the IMS circuit his “least favorite” on the 18-race schedule quickly became the most lethal component at the Red Bull Indy Grand Prix. This pilot was Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner; after grabbing the pole with a new lap record of 1:38.850, the Australian dominated at Indy MotoGP, taking his seventh victory of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.
Joining Stoner on the podium at the second and final race in the states, including Laguna Seca, a race also won by the 25-year old, were his teammate Dani Pedorsa and the American Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1).
The race was not only Stoner’s seventh victory in 12 rounds, but also his third consecutive win (Laguna Seca, Brno). Following the race, Stoner discussed the challenges he endured during the 28-lap Indy MotoGP.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “I was trying not to look at my lap counter. I was basically just going around and around and trying to make sure the gap stayed right and I did everything right, because, yeah, I knew this race was going to be hard. It ended up being very true. We were struggling again, you know.
“Last four or five laps, I was starting to get tired. You know, it’s difficult to stay with concentration, and I had to pick my pace up every now and then just to get my concentration levels back and sort of stay focused to the end. The whole weekend has been pretty good for us. We can’t complain. The track has been very difficult to ride and very difficult to understand. But the team managed to get the bike sorted, and we managed to ride this track pretty well this weekend.
“So we started off the race pretty average. We got a good start, but going into Turn 2, I didn’t have my brakes hot enough and I almost tagged the back of Dani. So I ran wide and then Jorge came past me.
“I knew that this track was going to be hard to overtake on, so I didn’t really want to lose many spots, as many as I could. From there I was just trying to get past Jorge. He was riding well; he was covering his lines well. There wasn’t many opportunities. But once I got past, we were able to sort of start chasing down Dani and then sort of holding the lap times we knew he could. But it wasn’t an easy race right from the start, and a lot of hard work to get what we have.”
The race wasn’t easy because his teammate Pedrosa was the one who got to the front first, the Spaniard taking the lead heading into the first turn. Stoner would not get into the lead until the seventh lap, but once in first he remained unchallenged, eventually finishing 4.828 seconds ahead of Pedrosa.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “After (Saturday) qualifying, we had to work a lot. I don’t know, really Casey was very fast, and I wasn’t really, really fast yesterday. And I took one second, so it’s not so common, but, you know, I knew for the race pace I was not there, so I tried to do my best race.
“And I start well; I did a good couple first laps, then Casey came by, and he starts to pull away. But I kept focus on my rhythm and I was doing quite decent laps, so happy with the performance. The bike was working well for the whole race. So thanks to the team for that.
“We did a good improvement from Saturday. Also, to keeping the tires safe, you know, because if you push too hard, then the front starts to close a lot and then you had to – I wanted to keep the tires safe for the end of the race. And finally 20 points is not so bad after the crash of the last race.”
Spies would finish in a lonely third, 10.603 behind Stoner. Spies, who started from second on the grid, got a bad start, getting shuffled back to ninth. But the Texan fought through the field, taking third from his teammate Jorge Lorenzo on the 16th lap, remaining there to the end.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “It was a tough race, for sure. Didn’t make the greatest start, but then when me and Dovi made contact, it made my race pretty miserable. But in the end, we made some good passes. We came from a long way back to get a great result. So I’m happy with how the race went. Besides that, there’s always should have, could have, would have, but that’s how it goes.
“We had to kind of reset the brain after the first five turns and just try to stay focused on picking people off. We had to make some creative passes out there because it was quite tough getting it done in the straightaway. So we did what we could and we got a third place in front of the home crowd. So I’m happy, and now we fly across the pond and do it all over next weekend. So we’ll try to take some of this confidence and do Misano.”
Lorenzo would finish fourth, almost six seconds behind teammate Spies, with the third and final Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso rounding out the top five.
Sixth went to Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista, the Spaniard battling his way from a tenth-place start on the grid. He would finish over 30 seconds behind Stoner, and nine seconds ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards.
Pramac Racing Ducati’s Randy de Puniet finished in eight, followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Hiroshi Aoyama and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi. The nine-time World Champions Rossi crashed in qualifying, starting on the grid in 14th; the Italian struggled throughout Indy, continuing a trend during his frustrating debut on the Ducati.
As for DNFs, there were many upsets, but no crashes; the first to retire was Pramac Racing’s Loris Capiross (12 laps to go), followed by Cardion AB Ducati’s Karel Abraham (eight laps to go), and then Mapfre Ducati’s Hector Barbera on the final lap.
The third and final American on the 2011 MotoGP grid, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, struggled with front-end grip on the Ducati, and finished last in 14th.
With his win, Stoner now has 243 points, 44 ahead of reigning MotoGP Champion Lorenzo. Dovizioso resides in third with 174 points.
The 2011 MotoGP Championship now heads to Misano for Round 13 of 18.
2011 Indy MotoGP Results:
|1.||25||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||151.1||46’52.786|
|2.||20||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||150.8||+4.828|
|3.||16||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||150.5||+10.603|
|4.||13||1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||150.2||+16.576|
|5.||11||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||150.2||+17.202|
|6.||10||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||149.5||+30.447|
|7.||9||5||Colin EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||149.0||+39.690|
|8.||8||14||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||148.3||+53.416|
|9.||7||7||Hiroshi AOYAMA||JPN||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||148.3||+53.790|
|10.||6||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||148.2||+55.345|
|11.||5||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||148.1||+57.184|
|12.||4||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||147.9||+1’00.141|
|13.||3||24||Toni ELIAS||SPA||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||147.8||+1’02.169|
|14.||2||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||138.0||2 Laps|
|8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP||Ducati||148.3||1 Lap|
|17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||146.2||8 Laps|
|65||Loris CAPIROSSI||ITA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||145.6||12 Laps|