2011 MotoGP Le Mans Sunday Post-Race Press Releases

The press releases from the teams after Sunday's MotoGP race at  Le Mans:


Race long battle sees Bautista narrowly miss top-nine finish

Publish Date: Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rizla Suzuki's Álvaro Bautista produced another strong performance as he fought fairing-to-fairing right to the chequered flag at Le Mans today.

Bautista got off the line well at the start of the race, but was boxed in on the first couple of corners and found himself relegated to last place by the end of the first lap. Bautista composed himself and set about catching and passing the riders in front of him and on lap five he got involved in a five man battle that would carry on until the end of the race. Bautista picked each rider off over the middle section of the race to move up to ninth place, but a mistake later on saw him lose two places. The battling Spaniard was then hit from behind by Loris Capirossi, as Bautista also came together with Hector Barbera – an incident that saw Capirossi crash out. This caused Bautista to lose time to the pack and although he fought back to the group, he didn't have enough laps for another attack and had to settle for 12th place, just 0.463 seconds from ninth position.

Over 88,000 enthusiastic French fans watched the race at trackside, as the storm clouds that threatened stayed away and allowed for a dry race. Honda's Casey Stoner completed a dominant weekend's work by winning the race by over 14 seconds from team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo still leads the riders' standing after four rounds.

Rizla Suzuki will now travel to Spain for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship that sees the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona stage race five in this season's calendar on Sunday 5th June.

Álvaro Bautista:

"This is my first race this year because in Estoril I raced alone, but today I was able to fight with other riders! We managed to finish the race and get more kilometres under our belts, but I did not have the same feeling today as we had yesterday. I felt like I had no good rear grip in the exit of the corner and the bike was spinning a lot and I struggled to stay with the group going for places in the top-10. I made a mistake when I tried to pass Abraham later on as I touched the gear lever and went into neutral and lost some time, and I also had a bit of an incident with Loris and Hector. I tried to catch the group at the end, but it was very difficult to get past them. This is another race completed and I felt more competitive than in Estoril. This race was good for getting the racing feeling back and being able to overtake other riders and fight with them. I did many overtakes under braking and enjoyed the race very much – but not the result! I think if my rhythm had been better I could have finished in the top-10.

"I want to thank all my team, because it has been a difficult weekend with some strange weather conditions, we tried to do the best we could and make a good bike for these conditions."

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

"This weekend has been a successful second step for Álvaro's recovery, and the fact that he's ridden the bike in Estoril and here in Le Mans is a great result in itself – compared to what most people involved in MotoGP thought would happen. The general consensus was to come back at Catalunya, and that was as good as we could expect. Now we have two race-weekends under our belt, his first battle with other riders since Valencia last year and a good platform to really start our season. In Barcelona – the Rizla Suzuki goes well there, the rider will be back to full strength and we're all looking forward to it!"


Stoner triumphs in Le Mans as records fall on new rear tyre

Round 4: French GP – Race

Le Mans Circuit, Sunday 15 May 2011

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Soft, Medium

Casey Stoner completed his master class today with a dominant victory on Bridgestone's new soft rear tyre, setting a provisional new lap record and setting a new record total race time by a staggering 25seconds.

As the track temperature was lower under overcast skies, every rider today chose the new soft rear slick alongside the harder front tyre. On just the fourth lap of the race, Stoner dipped under the lap record and proceeded to deliver a string of consistent laps in the 1m 33second bracket to set his fastest total race time. Marco Simoncelli also went faster than the existing lap record but it was Dani Pedrosa who was the fastest man overall, setting the new lap record at 1m 33.617 seconds to go some 0.6seconds faster than the previous benchmark.

Stoner led from the second lap and, after an intense battle with Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa in the first half, pulled away from the field. Further back the sailing was not so smooth however. As Pedrosa slipped into the clutches of Simoncelli in third, the two came together entering turn nine and Pedrosa crashed, breaking his collarbone. Simoncelli was given a ride-through penalty for the incident that dropped him to an eventual fifth.

A battle for fourth was already raging between Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi and the demise of the two Hondas promoted this to a fight for second, which was ultimately claimed by Dovizioso in his best result of the season just ahead of Rossi in his first podium finish aboard the Ducati.

Taka Horio – General Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

"Casey rode a fantastic race today and has shown remarkable pace all weekend, so many congratulations to him and the Repsol Honda Team. It is also good for the fans and the sport to see Valentino on the podium for the first time with Ducati. I'd also like to wish Dani a fast and uncomplicated recovery from his injury today and hope that he can return to the championship soon. It is good to see a record number of MotoGP spectators for Le Mans today which is a sign of the appeal and strength of the championship, and I am pleased Bridgestone can support such an exciting series."

Masao Azuma – Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport

"All weekend I have been pleased with the performance and consistency of our new soft rear tyre, and in the race it again showed its strength. Outright performance was good with the top three riders under the existing lap record, and durability and consistency were also satisfying. Eighteen of Casey's laps were faster than the existing lap record, and in addition to his new total race time record, the top four riders were all faster than last year's winning total race time."

Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner

"I made a terrible start but I was pretty aggressive into the first corner so didn't lose too much. At the start Dani was being conservative with the left side of his tyres but my tyres came up to temperature faster than his so I wanted to get past and make an advantage. Once I got past him I tried to stay consistent but Dani stayed with me so I had to keep lifting the pace and every time he matched my pace. Then I took a small advantage and was able to sustain those laptimes to the end. It's been an awesome weekend and I'm really happy with the way the bike is working."


BARBERÁ CAPS FRENCH WEEKEND WITH CREDITABLE NINTH PLACE FINISH

MAPFRE Aspar rider shows talent on decisive day at Le Mans, earning second top ten finish of the season

In the end, a repeat of last year's Spanish treble at Le Mans wasn't to be. Riders from Spain were victorious in the 125cc and Moto2 races in France, but in MotoGP the win went to Casey Stoner. The Australian battled with teammate Dani Pedrosa off the line, and the two broke free early on. It was a strange race, with five crashes -one for Pedrosa. Andrea Dovizioso finished second, whilst Ducati's Valentino Rossi took his first podium for the Italian manufacturer.

With grit and desire, Héctor Barberá turned a difficult weekend around with a positive Sunday result. A crash in Estoril at the previous round had dented his morale, and the Spaniard was having trouble feeling comfortable on his Ducati. However, he made amends on race day. Starting from fourteenth, the MAPFRE Aspar rider had a small run-off on the opening lap, and was on a mission to regain places. As part of a battle with Bautista, Elías and Abraham, he managed to take the chequered flag in ninth -leaving Le Mans on a high.

9th Héctor Barberá: "This was possibly the most fun race that I've had so far this season. We know our options after looking at the practice sessions, and it was entertaining to be riding around with four other riders for most of the race. We were overtaking one another constantly. I think that I could have given a bit more, if I hadn't have made a mistake on lap one. I had Hayden in sight and intended to follow him for as long as possible in order to keep my pace up, but I ran off track and ended up down in last. From then on I had to change my strategy, as I had to regain places any way that I could. I was lucky enough to do so and move up to ninth. I leave Le Mans with a good feeling, because we had a successful end to a difficult weekend. We also manager to regain confidence after the disaster at Estoril. I feel good physically and mentally, and this result gives me a boost in morale that will take us to Montmeló ready to give our all."


Stoner and Dovizioso complete fantastic Repsol Honda 1-2, but despair for Pedrosa

The Repsol Honda team has experienced the best and worst sides of racing in the Grand Prix of France. Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso reached the first and second steps of the podium, but at the same time in the circuit medical centre, team mate Dani Pedrosa discovered his right collarbone was broken.

It was the second victory of the season for Casey Stoner who was untouchable throughout the whole weekend at Le Mans, and the first podium of the season for Andrea Dovizioso. Dani Pedrosa, who set the new circuit record with a time of 1'33.617 on his 9th lap, was also fighting for a podium finish when on lap 18, a risky manoeuvre from Marco Simoncelli sent him into the gravel. Casey increased the gap at the front and Andrea showed his best performance to fight for second position with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

This is the third time this season the Repsol Honda team sees two of its three riders reach the podium, after also doing so in Qatar and Estoril with Stoner and Pedrosa. With this result, Jorge Lorenzo still leads the Championship with Stoner 12 points behind in second, Pedrosa 17 points behind in third and Dovizioso 28 points behind in fourth.

Dani Pedrosa left the circuit immediately after the race in order to check in Barcelona if a new operation will be necessary.

CASEY STONER – 1st – 2nd in Championship, 66 points

"The whole weekend has gone so well for us, arriving here from the Portugal test with the bike almost the same and we have improved small things here and there and only needed to adjust the set up for this circuit. We went into the race confident, at the beginning of the race Dani was very fast and he was difficult to pass as he as being cautious. When I overtook him I thought I might be able to take some advantage but he was able to match my times and follow me for some laps, so I continued to push more than I prefer to and eventually I put a gap between us. From this point the race came to me and I was able to focus on my consistency and win. A big thanks to the team and everyone for all their hard work, but my thoughts are with Dani at this moment, I hope he can recover soon as he is a very strong contender for this Championship".

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 2nd – 4th in Championship, 50 points

"I'm really happy with the second position today, it's so important for the Championship and it arrives after a start of the season, where we didn't get the results we expected. We did a very good job with the team since the beginning of the weekend and I knew I could fight for the podium, but I didn't expect second place. I had a great battle with Valentino and to beat him always has a special taste, and it's a good fun to get the podium after a hard fight. I was losing a lot in two areas but I was strong in braking, so I made a good strategy and once I overtook him, I pushed 100 percent not to have him too close especially in turns 10 and 11, where he was faster. Concerning the race, I had a good start, Lorenzo's strong overtaking slowed me down a little, but then I pushed to recover the gap. We had good pace, but we need to be faster. We have to keep on working to reduce the gap to stay with the front riders from the beginning. Dani today was very unlucky and I hope he can recover soon."

DANI PEDROSA – DNF – 3rd in Championship, 61 points

"I was having a good race, the goal was to ensure another podium and I had it in my grasp. But it counts for nothing. Simoncelli overtook me, I passed him back and I had the better line, he just came into me releasing the brakes and I could do nothing. I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation and now I'm hurt again. It is very unfair, I don't deserve it".


ELIAS TAKES POSITIVE 11TH IN A THRILLING FRENCH GP

Le Mans, 15 May: In a thrilling 28-lap race LCR Honda MotoGP rider Toni Elias finished 11th in today's French Grand Prix at a cloudy "24 heures circuit du Mans" which saw Stoner taking his second victory. Toni Elias had a tough time in qualifying, ending yesterday afternoon's session in 17th, albeit only 2.280s down on pole position but the Spaniard took a good start from the last spot on the grid engaging a close battle with a 4-rider group.

At 15 laps to go, when he was leading the group, Elias had a small highside banging his foot on the bike but he stayed on proceeding his positive race and gaining further 5 points in the world standing. Elias will return on track for his home GP in Catalunya on the 5th of June.

Elias - 11th: "We have been afraid about the warm up of the tyres because the track temperature was colder compared to the practices but at the end it was not so bad. Our rear traction problem is not solved yet but now I can see progressive improvements and I want to thank the team for their good work. When I was leading the small group in the back I thought that I could catch Aoyama but suddenly I have suffered a bike shaking banging my feet on the fairing. My leather security airbag activated and I could not ride properly for a couple of laps till it went down. After that I pushed to catch the group again but could not finish in the top ten. Anyway it has been a positive week end and I hope to see a further improvements at my home GP".


Edwards and Crutchlow battle for top six in Le Mans

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team ended its home race at the historic Le Mans circuit pondering what might have been after Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both crashed out of contention for a top six finish in a pulsating French MotoGP race today.

Edwards battled to a determined 13th place finish after he'd tumbled out of seventh position at the first chicane on lap 14. The Texan had produced a stunning early charge to keep himself in contention with a group featuring Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, but lost the front-end of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 at the first left-hander.

Edwards lost his left footpeg in the slow speed fall but remounted and returned to the pits. Thanks to the quick work of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, he was quickly back on track and able to score three World Championship points that keep him inside the top ten of the overall rankings after four rounds.

Crutchlow's bid to claim a career best premier class finish was ended on the sixth of 28-laps while he was lying in ninth position and building up his speed to launch an attack on 2009 World Superbike champion and former Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Ben Spies.

Crutchlow was only 0.2s behind Spies when he lost the front-end at Turn 6. Determined to get back in the race, Crutchlow's hopes of fighting his way back into the points were ended by a minor throttle issue that prevented him from continuing.

Colin Edwards 13th - 21 points

"I got one of the best starts I'v e had in a long time and I just flew off the line but it was the usual jostle for position at the first corner. I got a bit of clear track in front of me and I could see Valentino was coming back to me a little bit and Dovizioso and Lorenzo were also just in front of him. I rode at my absolute maximum to try and stay with them because I really wanted to get a top six for Tech 3 and for Monster. I was losing four of five bike lengths though coming onto the back straight and then I'd also lose a bit more time at the next chicane because I wasn't that fast through there. I could see the gap was staying at 1.5s and there was nothing I could do. I wasn't making mistakes but neither were they, so I could see them but just not get close enough. When I crashed it didn't feel like I was doing anything too stupid. I was on the same line and I didn't get in there too hot. Normally you get a bit of warning when the front is going to tuck, but I had nothing. I was already looking through at the next corner and then I was down. I broke the footpeg off but came back to the pits and went out again and salvaged a couple of points, which might prove valuable at the end of the year."

Cal Crutchlow DNF – 21 points

"I'm pretty disappointed because looking at how the race panned out I could have been in sixth place because when I crashed I was having a good battle with Ben. I'd caught him quite easily and was looking forward to a good race when I made a stupid little mistake in Turn 6. I touched the kerb and I lost the front. I literally fell off the side of the bike and that was it. It is disappointing because I had the pace to get another top eight, but these things can happen when you're pushing so hard in a competitive class like MotoGP. I managed to get back on the bike but there was a problem with the throttle, so it was impossible for me to carry on. I showed my raw speed all weekend so I'm not going to be too hard on myself, though I was desperate to get a good result for Tech 3 and Monster."

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager

"The whole weekend has been really good and as usual and it was just a shame that we couldn't get the results that Colin and Cal's speed deserved. But both of them are always giving their absolute maximum and that is all I can ask. In the race Cal didn't get such a good start, but he recovered and was right behind Ben. From that moment we thought he could have had a strong race but unfortunately a little mistake cost him a lot. When you see Ben finishing sixth, then you can't help wonder whether Cal could have scored his best result in MotoGP. Colin was very fast and very aggressive. He was looking strong for a top six finish, but then also he crashed. It is strange because our two guys don't usually c rash and yet both of them have crashed on the same day in our home race. That's a pity but we will stay positive. They were both fast during the race and we move to Barcelona in confident mood. We wanted to do better for the French fans who came to support Tech 3 and for our sponsors Monster, who have done another amazing job in supporting the Le Mans event."


DE PUNIET AND CAPIREX OUT AT LE MANS GRAND PRIX. CONCENTRATION NOW GOES TO BARCELONA ROUND

The unbelievable happened in Le Mans in Sunday's fourth grand prix of the season. Really a lot of anger and bad luck at the Pramac Racing garage. It all started during the warm up, when Casey Stoner, Honda Hrc, has become the protagonist of a argument with De Puniet on track, guilty of having cut the road. The Australian has responded with a punch on the Frenchman shoulder, but fortunately everything was clear out when the two riders meet after warm up. Randy apologized with Casey for putting on his way, and the same has done the Australian with the Frenchman about his reaction.

In the race, things did not go well at all. De Puniet race lasted only a few turns: the front of his bike let him down and he felt not even concluding the first lap. A pity as Randy wanted to do well in front of his own crowed. Loris Capirossi, however, was the victim of an error of Bautista, who hit the green and white rider with only seven laps left in the race. These things happen, but from the next appointment, in Barcelona, the Pramac Racing Team will try to straighten the season up as it didn't start in the best ways.

Fabiano Sterlacchini - Technical Director Pramac Racing

"Today, unfortunately, there is nothing to say. Randy crashed by himself, he lost the front of the bike and he fell after a lap. Really a shame, we could have a good race. Loris, instead, tried to stay in the group, but all of a sudden Bautista lowered his speed and Loris couldn't manage to avoid touching him and found himself on the ground. Now Loris has the arm bandaged, but we hope that isn't nothing serious".

Loris Capirossi – Pramac Racing Team – DNF

"So much, so much bad luck today. I was waiting for the end of the race to attack the group, I had the chance to recover some positions. Then Bautista has slowed suddenly as he was fighting as well with another rider and I couldn't avoid to touch him and this made me fall. There is always something wrong, unfortunately. Now there is little to say, this race has to be soon forgot. Next round at Barcelona, hoping that luck will assist us."

Randy De Puniet – Pramac Racing Team – DNF

"I do not know what to say, I do not understand how I managed to fall like this. It's been very strange, the front has suddenly lost the grip and I slipped. I'm disappointed, I am angry: I wanted to do well in this race. Tomorrow I'll only have in mind the next GP in Barcelona, but now I cannot forget what happened today. I'm sorry about what happened this morning with Casey. I was adjusting the brake, thinking that I had no one behind. Then, suddenly, I saw Casey coming behind me at full speed, I tried to leave the road to him, but unfortunately I went where he was pointing. I'm sorry and even if his reaction was not the best, for me it's all put in the past and I have nothing wrong against him."


Lorenzo Extends Championship Lead in Le Mans

The Grand Prix of France at Le Mans was today witness to yet another incident packed race played out in front of the packed grandstands. World Champion Jorge Lorenzo suffered a low side in the morning warm up, sustaining a minor injury to his finger but was otherwise unhurt

Lorenzo held his grid position off the line as the race got underway, battling up to fourth with 14 laps to go and taking Dovizioso on the second corner for the position. Having managed to close the gap to the second and third riders, a mistake caused him to run wide and lose ground, eventually crossing the line still in fourth. With previous closest championship rival Dani Pedrosa crashing out of the race, the results mean Lorenzo has now extended his lead in the Championship to 78, 12 points clear of second place.

Ben Spies leaves France happy to have put the misfortunes of the previous two rounds behind him. The Texan also kept grid position off the line but made two small mistakes in the first laps, losing time to those in front. Consistent race pace saw him close down on Colin Edwards in fifth until an unfortunate crash by the fellow Texan caused Spies to run wide to avoid collision. He recovered and managed to fight off Nicky Hayden to eventually take sixth. The result doubles his point score to 20, placing him in 12th position, only 2 points from Marco Simoncelli in eighth.

Jorge Lorenzo

Position : 4th Time: +21.075

"I think the race has been good in general for us and the results and points are good for the Championship. Obviously I would like to fight with Casey and the other best riders for victory but at this moment it's really hard. What I can do is try to finish with the best result possible, take the maximum from our bike as it is now and wait for future improvements."

Ben Spies

Position : 6th Time: 31.609

"It was a pretty exciting race. I made two mistakes on the first two laps and lost touch with Colin and Valentino. I tried to ride as hard as I could and was reeling in Colin until unfortunately he crashed; his bike slid across the track so I had to avoid it which allowed Nicky to get up to the back of me. We diced around a bit then I was able to get around him and go on my way. We got a sixth place result which is good for the points."

Wilco Zeelenberg

Team Manager

"It's been a very tough race here in France but the final result is not so bad. I'm not talking about the fourth position but the fact we are now leading the Championship by 12 points. I think it's very important to look ahead, we've got a lot to discuss after this weekend and will be looking for big improvements moving forward."

Massimo Meregalli

Team Director

"A really strange weekend for the Team here at Le Mans; the race had a lot of incidents. For us it was a really important result, we got a lot of points and Jorge is still leading the Championship. Ben got a positive result and took some valuable points as well. Now we have to work to be ready for the Catalunya Grand Prix in three weeks time."


Top ten finish for Karel Abraham at Le Mans

The Czech motorcycle rider Karel Abraham completed successful race and finished in tenth position in the Grand Prix of France.

Karel Abraham had a good start and fought with four other riders for the ninth position. While Loris Capirossi crashed out of the race, Karel Abraham overtook two riders and finished tenth, just 0,183 seconds ahead of Toni Elias and 0,307 seconds ahead of Alvaro Bautista.

"It was a great race. I fought with four other riders and finished tenth," said Karel Abraham immediately after his return to the garage of the Cardion AB Motoracing team. "I am satisfied with the result of the race."

"Gap between me and the winner of the race was bigger than I expected," continued Karel Abraham who finished more than one minute behind the winner of the Grand Prix of France. "I hope that in the next race I will be able to do even better," added.

Karel Abraham and members of Cardion AB Motoracing team are now heading back to the Czech Republic.


DUCATI MARLBORO TEAM ON THE PODIUM WITH ROSSI, HAYDEN SEVENTH

The French Grand Prix saw Valentino Rossi score his first podium finish aboard a Ducati, following a race that was marked by excitement and surprises. Nicky Hayden started from the fourth row, but advanced to seventh place by the finish.

The Italian celebrated his third-place finish after a weekend of hard work and constant improvement, during which he and his crew progressively improved the bike's setup until finding a good compromise for the race. Sixth at the end of the first lap, Rossi stayed just a few tenths from Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso, who fought over fourth place until an incident between Pedrosa and Simoncelli with ten laps remaining. At that point, the trio began battling over second place, and in the end, Valentino finished third, behind Dovizioso and winner Casey Stoner.

Nicky Hayden fought over sixth place with Ben Spies, and although he had to concede the position to his compatriot in the end, he was pleased with the progress made over the course of the weekend.

In two days, on May 17, Valentino Rossi will be in action at Silverstone Circuit aboard a Ducati 1198, as the English track inaugurates a new paddock wing.

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team) 3rd

"We're very pleased with this podium because we're on the right path, and especially because I had fun today. I rode the Desmosedici well, I was fast in the technical parts of the track, I felt good from start to finish and I had good lap times. This morning we made a last change to the setting together with Jeremy and the guys from Ducati, and it helped cut another couple of tenths. I knew I could beat Lorenzo, so that was my goal. I also passed Dovi at one point, but I got a little confused and made a move on the penultimate lap instead of the last one. I lost my concentration momentarily, but in short, he got me again. Anyway, it's fine like this; I'm happy for myself, for my team, for Filippo (Preziosi), and for all the boys at Ducati. This result boosts our morale. We still have to keep working and improving though, because there's more to be done. I also have to improve and keep adapting my style to the Ducati, because I'm still not riding it as I should, but in the meanwhile, we'll enjoy today's nice race and podium."

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team) 7th

"We didn't do ourselves any favors by starting 10th, but actually, we made a little step forward with the bike today. I got a decent start but was just really tight and lost some time. As the race got going, I was able to move up a bit and slowly bring back Spies and Colin. Colin crashed, but once I got in front of Ben, I wasn't really able to get down in the 34s and get away like I needed to. Seventh isn't a great result for us, but I would say that overall, it's probably been our best weekend yet. When the track was cold, I was able to go quite fast—always in the top five in those conditions. I hoped for better in the race, but I'm looking forward to the next stretch; we're about to really get into the season."

Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)

"We're satisfied with this weekend because we've already benefited from the first changes that we've made according to Vale's requests. We had a nice race, maintained a good pace and took part in a nice battle. The team worked very well on the setup, which we changed every session and took a step forward each time—including one in the morning warm-up. We still have work to do, because this is only the start; there's still a gap to make up, but anyway, we're going in a promising direction. Nicky also confirmed that his feeling with the motorcycle has improved, and he made good progress on the bike over the course of the weekend."


UNINTENTIONAL INCIDENT!

Marco Simoncelli and his team are disappointed this afternoon. An incident in the Le Mans race has left a bad taste in the mouths of the Team San Carlo Honda Gresini –not least because of the resulting injury to Dani Pedrosa. It also led to the missing out on a praiseworthy podium for rider Marco Simoncelli. Previous controversies over the past few weeks perhaps led to the punishment for an unintentional incident. The team are disappointed to have missed out on second place after a great race, and reiterate that the collision was unintentional on Simoncelli's part.

Marco Simoncelli (5th) "I am unhappy about what happened, because a result that was within my reach was denied and above all because of the fact that Pedrosa is hurt. In my opinion the incident went like this: Pedrosa was having a bit of difficulty –I had pulled alongside him and passed him on the previous three laps. When he passed me back I was not intentionally trying to resist, and my telemetry shows that I got on the brakes at the same point as on previous laps. I think that he had hit the brakes well before the corner, and I found myself on the outside of him and in front on the entry to the corner. I didn't want to back off, so I left him with a metre between myself and the kerb in order to go in. I saw that it was tight, so I tried to adjust my position. That was when he touched my back wheel and went down. I repeat that I am unhappy about it, and I want to avoid any controversy regarding penalisation, but I believe that my ride through was a result of all the talk over the past few days. Now I have to focus on Barcelona."

Hiroshi Aoyama (8th) "I am fairly satisfied, because I was feeling good on the bike. Despite this, the lap times were slightly slower than we were expecting. I have taken more points in the standings, and I am confident about Barcelona."

Fausto Gresini "I believe in the good intentions of our riders. This was a racing incident that could happen at any time, and in which Marco had passed Pedrosa. I think he was not responsible for causing the accident. We are obviously very displeased, above all with the fact that Dani is injured. It wasn't intentional, and I think that all the controversy beforehand has fanned the flames of an unpleasant situation. Marco really deserved a podium and second place. Unfortunately, for various reasons it didn't happen, but we will make that our goal for Barcelona. Aoyama did well and continues to pick up points and make progress."

2011

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Comments

I have a feeling this is the first year Ducati have stopped going backwards. Casey's last 2 finishes here were 5th and a dnf, considering the progress Honda have made since mugello last year, it looks on paper a better performance than anything Casey could produce on the ducati, with considerably more development/testing time at this track.. Though it is early days considering the race weekends are basically extended tests for ducati.. Rossi/Burgess always improved even if slowly at times, it is their signature dish, you'd have to be half mad to think they wont continue to do so.

I don't recall Ducati throwing everything *including* the kitchen sink trying to make the Desmo more ridable until this year, IIRC Ducati didn't treat their riders well, but seeing as Rossi is in the team it would be political suicide to not bend over backwards according to his demands.

Rossi's podium was ironically a gift from his BFF let's not forget!

I found this extented quote somewhere -- not an excuse in sight. I found the first part oxymornic... Huh... like being partially preganant or something

Rossi: "They are the complete opposite. What is good with the Yamaha is quite bad with Ducati and what is quite bad with Ducati is good with Yamaha".

I Like this part -I have never seen Rossi so happy with a win let alone a 3rd
(that should of been a 5th - he might of caught Pedrosa?)

"It is interesting because in one race like this you learn more than in five days of testing. I think I rode the Ducati like never before".

>> "But one race like this together with Yamaha and Honda is like gold to understand the limit of the bike and in which way you have to ride to go at the maximum. I felt the bike in the right way, so we have to work more. We need more time but we are in a good way.”