Press releases after the race from the MotoGP teams at Jerez:
PRUDENCE AND MATURITY TAKE HÉCTOR BARBERÁ TO SIXTH AT JEREZ
MAPFRE Aspar rider keeps his Ducati upright for the 27 lap Spanish Grand Prix, earning his best MotoGP result to date
The Spanish MotoGP round in Jerez always provides excitement, and the 2011 edition was no exception. Rain provided uncertainty for the MotoGP riders, with tricky track conditions to contend with throughout the race. Nine riders fell victim to crashes, a figure nearly half of the current grid. Stoner took off strongly at the start, but couldn't escape. Lorenzo, Simoncelli and Rossi latched onto the Australian and made it a four-way battle, until Rossi made an ill-advised move and took Stoner to the ground with him. Rossi continued, Stoner was out, and Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa made it a Spanish one-two in a great race. Ducati rider Nicky Hayden rounded off the podium places.
Héctor Barberá adapted well to the change in conditions at the Circuito de Jerez, and was one of the riders to stay upright. The MAPFRE Aspar rider had not felt truly comfortable in practice, and had qualified thirteenth on Saturday. The condition of the track as the race started was a great unknown, and from lap five the Spaniard realised that the surface was extremely slippery. That meant exercising caution rather than risking a crash, although some of his rivals didn't use the same strategy. There were many crashes, but Barberá gradually moved up the order and crossed the line in sixth. It was his best finish in the premier class, and a bright note on a strange weekend.
The next MotoGP race, round three, takes place in Portugal in three weeks time.
6th Héctor Barberá: "We had a very strange race today. After five laps I realised that the bike couldn't have slid about more if I had tried. I knew that the wet conditions would be a handicap, and the asphalt had very little grip. I decided to brave it out and try to use my skill to keep upright. I thing that it was the weirdest race of my life, and I was able to get my best result in MotoGP. I don't really know how to express how I feel, but I am happy. This result is going to be very good for us, and it is a morale boost for us in a weekend that hadn't gone quite as we had hoped. Maybe I didn't ride as fast as I had intended, but seeing so many riders hit the deck made me think that it was better to be prudent. I suppose the majority of us riders thought the same. I feel comfortable with the way I am riding, and it is the first time that I have felt so good in the wet as a MotoGP rider."
Hopkins scores amazing top-10 on MotoGP return
Publish Date: Sunday, April 03, 2011
Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins raced his Suzuki GSV-R to a stunning top-10 finish at Jerez today in his first MotoGP race since 2008.
Hopkins started from 14th on the grid and got a good start that promoted him up the field on the first lap. As the riders settled down he became part of a six-rider battle for eighth place and was regularly trading positions as the race developed. With the final few laps looming Hopkins had extreme grip issues, causing him to lose some hard earned positions, but he still managed to keep a steady momentum and, as other riders were struggling to stay upright, Hopkins rode a smooth and controlled last part of the race to secure a well deserved 10th position for the Rizla Suzuki team.
A crowd of 123,750 fans braved the rain that started to fall on the Jerez circuit from early in the morning. An eventful race saw many riders crash and re-mount in the difficult conditions and early leaders Casey Stoner and Marco Simoncelli crash out of the race completely – along with three other riders who were unable to continue after crashing. Local hero and current World Champion Jorge Lorenzo rode to a convincing victory of over 19 seconds from compatriot Dani Pedrosa.
Rizla Suzuki will next be in action at the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril on Sunday 1st May, although nothing has yet been confirmed as to who will replace regular rider Álvaro Bautista if he is unable to compete due to the injury he sustained at Qatar.
"Well, I finished where I wanted to – I certainly wanted to get into the top-10! That was the goal for the whole weekend, but I did wonder if it was going to be a reality when I started on Friday. We pushed right from the start of practice and chipped away little-by-little to bring the lap-time down and just went about the job as professionally as possible. My main target at the start of the race was to try and jump up as many places as possible and get up into the group, because I knew that if I was in there I would be able to follow some guys and do the lap-times. We made up some positions early on, although I dropped back a few places and made a few mistakes - including a huge moment in turn three when I lost the rear and hit the paint - the bike was 90º sideways underneath me, when I should have been going forward! I was able to keep it upright and hang on to a group that included a couple of Ducati's and some other guys in a battle for eighth. Then suddenly the tyres dropped off a lot, but this was my first time in the wet for a while on a MotoGP bike and I'd never used the Bridgestone wets, so we didn't have the electronics set completely in the right way and I chewed up the tyre way too much at the beginning of the race. I dropped off the pace quite dramatically for the last part of the race and I saw many riders crashing, so I knew I was close to the top-10, but my main aim was to finish and bring the bike home.
"It has been an amazing weekend and I'm so grateful – again – to Rizla Suzuki for giving me this great opportunity, it's been great and I've really enjoyed it, just to see everybody in the GP paddock has been awesome! Hopefully in the future you'll see more of me here, but for now I need to concentrate on the BSB championship and we'll see what happens. I once again want to say how thankful I am for this chance and it was great to see my ‘away-from-home family' in the Suzuki garage again!"
Paul Denning – Team Manager:
"John said to me yesterday that a top-10 would be a dream result in his comeback ride and to achieve it was richly deserved. He's not put a wheel wrong all weekend, made no mistakes and shown clearly both his potential and that of the GSV-R. The race itself was crazy and just to keep the bike on two wheels for the last third of the race was an achievement in itself. It's actually a shame that we used up the tyres more quickly than some of our competitors, because for the first 10-laps John was in a six-way battle for eighth place and quite comfortably matching the lap-times and manoeuvres of those around him. It's the first time the 2011 bike has been used in the wet so the data from today should allow Suzuki and the team to make the bike a little more user friendly on the tyres. I would like to pass on my personal thanks to John for the fantastic job he did here in Jerez, he showed true professionalism and it was a pleasure to have him back in the team.
"It was also great to have Álvaro here this weekend to support the team; we really appreciate his efforts to drive down from Madrid. He's looking well and the recovery is going in the right direction. We hope to make an announcement regarding our plans at the next two races as soon as possible."
RAIN COMPLICATED FIRST EUROPEAN MOTOGP
Suprises in Jerez de la Frontera, where the rain shuffle the cards in comparison to the two days of free practice and qualifying. For Randy De Puniet, who had recorded some good lap times, as he registered the fifth fastest lap time in FP3 on saturday morning. In race, after an imperfect start that relegated him to13th position, the Frenchman was able to climb over six opponents. For him the race finished at the 16th lap due to a slip on the wet surface. Loris Capirossi, instead, completed the race with the eleventh final position. In addition to the pain at the right shoulder, the Italian found the same problems in the front part of the bike. Then a technical problem, a defected spark plug, obligated the rider from Emilia to grit his teeth until the end of the race. Next event for Ducati Pramac passes from Estoril, the third race of the World Championship.
Fabiano Sterlacchini - Pramac Racing Technical Director
"Really a shame, we could have a good race, because some of the fastest riders have fallen into the first laps. Loris started quite well, but after a few laps he had a technical problem. The sound of his engine in the main straight line was too strange and we realized that something was wrong, but we have shown to him to continue his race doing everything possible. When he returned to the garage, we took the parts of the bike down and we saw that a candle was broken. Also a pity for Randy, he has made a very positive weekend until the race".
Loris Capirossi - Pramac Racing Team - 11th in the race - 16th in MotoGP standing
"I see today as a positive day even if I finished so far from the first positions as I had to ride with a a broken spark plug. We could have done better, we understood some things, we will try to put them in practice for Estoril. The break arrive at the right time, in fact, I'll go to Monaco tomorrow for a consultation with the head of the hospital. I hope I will be able to begin soon therapy on the shoulder to face the next race in the best possible way".
Randy De Puniet - DNF
"I'm disappointed and angry about what happened. I had a bad start, I was relegated in the last positions. Then I started pushing, I was doing well, until I found major problems with the front wheel. I tried to change the mapping, but I was not able to do it. I found it extremely difficult to manage the bike and when I slipped I couldn't manage to restart the bike. Now I only have to think about doing well at Estoril, because this beginning of the championship hasn't been good at all".
Lorenzo Delivers a Master Class in Wet Riding to Claim Victory in Spain
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo used his M1 to deliver a master class in wet riding today, delivering a flawless performance to take victory in front of his home crowd at Jerez. The second race of the 2011 MotoGP Championship was played out on treacherous track conditions that claimed a number of victims over the 27 laps. Slipping comfortably into second in the first lap Lorenzo stayed in contention in the top three for several laps, keeping calm and graduating to first position as rivals Stoner, Rossi and Simoncelli all crashed out of contention. A steady rhythm and inch perfect lines finally saw the reigning World Champion take the chequered flag, his first ever professional race career win in the wet.
Team mate Ben Spies was denied his first MotoGP podium as a factory rider with just three laps remaining of the race. Having initially dropped to sixth from the start grid Spies' riding style was on a par with Lorenzo, laying down smooth consistent laps on a track that was wet in some places and drying in others. Having gained half a second a lap on second place man Pedrosa he caught and passed him, raising the possibility of a Yamaha one two on the podium. Disaster then struck on turn five as slippery conditions and worn race tyres brought the Texan's race to a premature end, losing the front and sliding off the track.
Lorenzo's victory propels him to the top of the MotoGP Championship standings with a tally of 45 points, nine points clear of Pedrosa in second. Spies heads to the next round in Estoril in four weeks time having dropped to 12th in the standings with ten points and looking to make up for today's disappointment.
Position : 1st Time: 50'49.046
"It has been one of my most patience races. It's a great victory, which we needed and I feel so good. This is also the first time I have won in wet conditions, the first time ever! Now we are working to improve our bike, taking as much points as possible on the way. The King of Spain said to me that he would bring me good luck after our meeting last February in Madrid, he was right! With the competition so high this year I never imagined I would be leader after two races. I am so happy to have won this weekend, especially as my friends from Yamaha Indonesia came all the way here to support us; ‘Semakin di Depan' means ‘One Step Ahead' which was true today!"
Position : DNF Time:
"I don't think of it as a race today, it was more attrition. Once we moved into fourth behind Nicky I knew I could get past so just waited for the right moment. Dani was only a few seconds ahead of me and I thought for sure we could get on the podium. I slowly started to catch him, Jorge was obviously going to win but we could go one two. I put it all out there and caught Dani. As soon as I passed him I knew that we had second place under control, he wouldn't be able to get back by but I needed to not make any mistakes. Every corner after I passed him I slowed down, taking it easy then all of a sudden I was on the floor. Obviously it was my mistake, but looking at the data I was going slower than I had all race. It was one of those things; I think the tyres were the limiting factor today. I think it was a great show for the crowd though!"
"A fantastic result and a fantastic race, it was very, very hard for the rider but he brought it home safely and under control; the best scenario that we could have imagined. I feel sorry for Ben, a one and two finish would have been really nice but unfortunately he went off, let's see for the next race. For Jorge leading the Championship after two rounds as we did last year and with the competition we have at the moment is a dream. We're looking forward to the next round at Estoril which is a favourite track for him too."
"It could have been a perfect weekend, unfortunately for a little crash it wasn't. Jorge gave an impressive race, he showed his maturity; he thought through his tactics and deserved the race win. Ben was also clever, waiting and taking his time to get to second. Unfortunately in the wet like this a little mistake can compromise a race. I'm sorry for him with just two laps to go he deserved the podium. The team has worked very hard this weekend on both sides of the garage to deliver very competitive set ups for both riders, a great performance by the crews. For sure we go to Estoril with a good motivation, it's a good circuit for Yamaha, and a good circuit for Jorge so we go with good prospects."
Edwards and Crutchlow fight for podium in Jerez thriller
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both mounted a brilliant challenge for the podium in an incident-packed and dramatic Spanish MotoGP race at the Jerez circuit in Spain today.
The 27-lap race got underway under grey and gloomy skies and conditions proved to be some of the most challenging imaginable as light rain fell throughout a pulsating encounter, the conditions though contributing to a memorable afternoon for a crowd of close to 125,000 fans.
Despite only having 20-minutes of wet track time on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 before the start of the race, Crutchlow thr ived in the tricky conditions and on lap 12 he moved into fifth position in a crash-strewn opening half to the race.. Sensing he could fight for a sensational maiden podium, Crutchlow launched a terrific pursuit of Nicky Hayden and was less than two seconds behind the American when he crashed at Turn 9 on lap 20.
Crutchlow was able to remount and still finish ahead of Toni Elias, John Hopkins, Andrea Dovizioso and Loris Capirossi to claim his first MotoGP top ten with a superb eighth position.
Crutchlow's fall moved team-mate Edwards into fifth position and the American produced a stunning series of fast laps to hunt down compatriot Hayden. With Ben Spies tumbling out of second on lap 25, Edwards seized third place just moments later and looked certain to claim his first podium since the 2009 British Grand Prix at Donington Park when he suffered late heartache.
Ha ving caught and passed Hayden, Edwards had quickly opened up a 2.5s advantage at the start of the last lap when he was forced off the track at the first corner by a minor technical issue and had to retire.
Cal Crutchlow 8th – 13 points
"I never thought I'd crash in MotoGP and still get a top ten 10! That was an unbelievable race and not one of the easiest I've had in my career. The conditions were so unpredictable that it was hard to get any grip and I was having lots of moments with the front and rear tyre, but so was everybody else. I could see people were making mistakes but I just tried to keep my head. When I got into fifth I felt pretty comfortable though I wanted it to rain again because the tyres were wearing pretty fast. I was gaining on Nicky really quick and he was in fourth, so there's no doubt the way I was catching him that I was thinking about a podium. I've nothing to lose so I was pushing and I went down at Turn 9. I actually lost the rear but then pushed the front and I was down. I'm not going to be too hard on myself crashing when I was battling for a podium in MotoGP. I'm happy because before this morning I'd never tried the bike in the rain, so to be where I was is a good sign. I was in the top ten in the wet and dry on a track I'd never seen before Thursday, so I'm making good progress."
Colin Edwards DNF
"That's pretty tough to take because getting a podium in MotoGP is not something you get chance to get every week. The race was unbelievable because it was all about who could keep it on two wheels the longest. I was quite a way back at one stage but just didn't want to do anything stupid and crash and I just felt more and more confident to push. N icky came back to me really quickly and I knew I'd have no problem passing him because he was in trouble with his tyres. I didn't have a lot more grip but I pulled away from him and the podium was right in front of me. The bike didn't feel great coming out of the last corner to start the last lap and by the time I got to the first corner it just stopped. Obviously I'm disappointed but I can't change what happened. I wanted that podium for my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because they are awesome. But we move on and try to bounce back at Estoril."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
"That was an incredible race today. We knew in those conditions it would be very hectic, but I never thought so much would go on during the race. Cal and Colin started well and pushed hard and halfway through they were both inside the top six. With more crashes we were getting near er and nearer to the front and we started to dream of a podium but then Cal unfortunately crashed. It was a mistake and it was a pity as he could have had a really strong result in just his second race as a rookie in the World Championship. But the good point was that he picked up the bike and continued to push hard to finish eighth. I am really upset and sorry for what happened to Colin. He was one of the fastest guys out there and once Ben crashed he got third and he was easily quicker than Nicky. Unfortunately a technical problem didn't allow him to finish the race. This is really a pity as I think it would have been a very strong result for the team. Colin did not deserve that as he rode a really strong race, but that's racing. But I feel a bit bitter about how he was denied through no fault of his own."
Fantastic podium finish for Pedrosa, disappointment for Stoner and Dovizioso
Dani Pedrosa continues to maintain a great romance with the Jerez circuit, but Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso still have a score to settle with it.
The Spanish rider achieved a fantastic second place in the Grand Prix of Spain, while Stoner was forced to withdraw after being taken out by Valentino Rossi in a collision on the eighth lap. Andrea Dovizioso finished twelfth - and last due to traction problems with the rear tyre, he entered the pits with 10 laps to go and rejoined the track in order to gain some points.
The race, held in the rain after two days of dry practice sessions, has been a real test of survival. Casey took the lead from pole with Andrea in fourth place and Dani, engulfed by the group at the start, was delayed and dropped down to eleventh position. The Australian remained in front until lap six when he was overtaken by Simoncelli, then two laps later he was knocked to the ground - pulled down by Valentino Rossi in his fall.
Dani Pedrosa, who will undergo surgery tomorrow on his injured left arm, leaves Jerez with another podium finish, sixth in this circuit in his six years in MotoGP, and the second podium this season which puts him second in the World Championship standings - 9 points behind Jorge Lorenzo, the new leader in the Championship with his win today. Casey is third overall and Andrea seventh.
DANI PEDROSA – Race position: 2nd – World Championship position: 2nd with 36 points
"It's been a very difficult race. At the start, many riders overtook me and I thought "that's it". Anyway, I knew there were 27 laps and the situation was difficult for the tyres. I was a little nervous after my bad start, but when I realised that in the first lap I was faster than in the warm up, I calmed down and started to improve. I took a good pace and had to ride at maximum concentration in order not to not make any mistakes, it was very easy to crash. Some riders started falling down and it was a matter of resisting there. I tried to catch Lorenzo when I saw that his gap was about a second, but at 10 laps to go the tyres were almost finished; I couldn't even open the throttle on the straight because the track was very slippery. When Spies crashed, my gap with Nicky was big enough to keep the second place and I crossed the finish line very very happy. It's been a t ough weekend for the arm injury, today I also had numbness and lack of strength, but to ride in wet has helped me because it's not as aggressive as in dry conditions. To leave Jerez with a second place finish, after the third place in Qatar, is amazing. We are 9 points behind the Championship leader and it's a good gap to resume the Championship again in Estoril. On Friday we considered whether it was worth racing here or better to pull out thinking about the operation. So this second place is amazing. We've been doing great, but now comes the hard time, the surgery. Nobody likes to undergo surgery, but this time I almost wish for it because I want to end the pain and problems and start competing fully fit".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – Race position: 12th – World Championship position: 7th with 17 points
"I am very disappointed with what happened today. We have to understand exactly the reason why, but I felt the rear tyre was not working properly, moreover the set up of the traction control was not perfect for today's situation and this made things worse. The traction control was too "low", the bike was spinning a lot and the tyres overheated. With ten laps to go I felt it was dangerous to go ahead so I entered the pit lane to change tyre and finish the race to get some points. It was a real pity because we have always been competitive in the wet and today it could have been a good occasion to achieve a good result. In the warm up everything was fine and I had no issues".
CASEY STONER – Race position: DNF – World championship position: 3rd with 25 points
"We made a good start to the race and the bike felt good for the first few laps, then the tyres seemed to move a little so we tried to conserve them in case it rained again. I really wanted the chance to fight the Spanish riders here in a dry race, so it was disappointing for me that that it was wet. However, we were competitive here in the wet and dry and this is very important for us - at a track that hasn't been that great for me in the past. After so much hard work I hate to have a race like this because the team did a great job all weekend and now we go home empty handed. With the accident, I heard Valentino arriving and I wasn't worried about anyone passing me at that point in the race so I gave him plenty of room. It was a racing incident and there's not much we can do, what is more frustrating is the reaction of the stewards and their assistance for Valentino and not for me, it was unbelievable. I want to just get to the next race now in Estoril, where I'm sure we can be competitive again".
UNLUCKY SIMONCELLI MISSES VICTORY CHANCE AS AOYAMA FIGHTS FOR PODIUM
It was a day of 'so near yet so far' for Team San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli, who came close to his first ever MotoGP victory at Jerez today. 'Super Sic' started from the second row but battled his way to the front of the field in precarious wet conditions to open up a clear lead, before eventually succumbing to an unfortunate crash. The Italian got minimal help from the marshalls as he tried to restart his bike, a fate that also became certain other riders in the race. Meanwhile his team-mate Hiro Aoyama managed to stay on board in the treacherous conditions to being his bike home just 0.4 seconds away from the podium.
Marco Simoncelli (DNF) "I am really disappointed! I knew after the first five laps that the tyres were struggling but I managed to hold my advantage over Lorenzo. Unfortunately I lost the front in turn one and the rear came round on me – I tried to get it back under control but I couldn't manage it. It happens in racing and even though I am disappointed I am also happy to have shown again that I am a contender this year. The most frustrating thing about today though was that I got no help at all from the marshals, unlike other riders today. The bike was okay and if I could have had some help I am sure I could have still had a good race. That is not good but as I said before I showed I can run with the best today and that's the main thing we'll take away with us. A major result is around the corner."
Hiroshi Aoyama (4th) "The situation was really tricky today but we have taken a solid result from a tough race. A lot of riders went down but I was able to manage the situation at the most critical points. I am pleased but not totally satisfied because with a bit more conviction early in the race I could have passed some slower riders and I'm sure that would have put me on the podium. We have to wait until next time but this is a great confidence boost for me and the team, who have done a great job to give me a competitive bike in the wet conditions."
Fausto Gresini "For a moment today we thought we might be celebrating a win! Marco had the pace and he took the lead with conviction, he was in control of the race and he deserved to win it! It is a shame and the thing I am most annoyed about is the way he didn't get any help from the marshals, which was given to others! I don't want to get involved in controversy but I think there should be a criteria of equality for all riders. Marco showed once again that he is able to run with the front guys and he's going to be fun to watch. Hiro rode a good race to finish just four tenths off the podium. Maybe hif he'd have pushed harder at the start he could have done it but it is a good result and it backs up our belief that he can have a good season."
ELIAS SCORES HIS FIRST POINTS OF THE SEASON IN THE WET AT JEREZ
Jerez, 3 April: after two days of summer weather, the first round of 2011 season at Jerez de la Frontera was run on the wet today with track temperature of 15 degrees only. The 27-lap race has started at 14:00 local time with the premier class riders lining up under cloudy skies at the South Spain race track which saw Lorenzo winning ahead Pedrosa and Hayden.
Despite the bad conditions the LCR Honda MotoGP racer Toni Elias started from the last spot on the grid ending the race with a positive 9th position. The Spaniard has the capability to keep his pace till the last lap while some of his "colleagues" crashed out because of the slippery surface. Thanks to his determination Elias has gained his first 7 points in the official standing but needs further set up adjustments to improve his performances aboard the RC212V. LCR Team will be back on track on the 1st of May for the Portoguese GP.
Elias – 9th: "Honestly I am not happy about the performance as my feeling on the bike was still bad but the 9th position in these conditions is a positive result for me and the Team. I know I have been lucky because many riders crashed out and I was capable to end the race although the tyres situation was very difficult for everybody because we just had the warm up session on the wet. However we must continue our good job to improve our future performances....I am aware of this and want to thank my Team for their efforts".