The last of the press releases from Sunday's MotoGP round at Barcelona, from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the post-race debrief from Bridgestone, and a note from Bel-Ray, backers of Tech 3's Moto2 team:
MotoGP RACE REPORT: GRAND PRIX OF CATALUNYA
Stoner gains ground on Lorenzo with comfortable win; Edwards misses race with injury
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 6, 2011 - Defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is hearing the wail of a Honda engine more closely than ever after Casey Stoner won the Grand Prix of Catalunya on June 5, cutting Lorenzo's lead in the MotoGP World Championship to just seven points.
2007 MotoGP World Champion Stoner took the lead from Lorenzo on Lap 1 of the 25-lap race on the Circuit de Catalunya and rode his Repsol Honda to a comfortable, 2.403-second victory over Lorenzo's Yamaha Factory Racing machine. It was Stoner's second consecutive victory and third of the season, and he closed to within 98-91 of leader Lorenzo in the series standings.
"We got a reasonably good start but not as good as Jorge," Stoner said. "I wanted to try to pass him early on but had to wait until the end of the first lap. From this point, I just tried to put in the consistent laps, as we did in the practice sessions, to see if he could stay with me. Fortunately I was able to open up an advantage without pushing too hard or feeling too much pressure."
Lorenzo's Yamaha Factory Racing teammate, American Ben Spies, finished third, 4.291 seconds behind Stoner. It was Spies' first podium finish of the season.
"The bike was great, and I felt good on it and just needed a good result," Spies said. "After the first couple of laps, I realized we had a shot at a podium, so I rode as hard as I could."
The starting grid was missing two of its top riders, 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis GP winner Dani Pedrosa and American veteran Colin Edwards, both recovering from broken collarbones. Pedrosa suffered his injury in a crash with Marco Simoncelli last month at the Grand Prix of France, while Edwards was hurt in a practice crash Friday.
Edwards had surgery Saturday to insert a titanium plate and 13 screws into his shattered right collarbone and wanted to try to start the race Sunday to extend his streak of never missing a Grand Prix during his MotoGP career, which started in 2003. But he was not granted medical clearance by track doctors and saw his streak of 141 consecutive starts end.
Edwards is expected to be back aboard his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine June 10-12 for the Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone. Pedrosa's return remains uncertain.
The other American on the grid, 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, finished eighth on his Ducati.
Once surprise pole sitter Simoncelli was passed by five riders on the first lap, the remaining drama came about midway through the race when very light rain began to fall. Teams began to prepare backup bikes with rain tires, but the skies never opened enough for riders to need to switch to their rain machines.
FARMINGDALE, NJ – June 6, 2011 – Bel-Ray Company, Inc. – Bel-Ray Racing Around the World- Weekend Wrap Up
Round 5 of the 17-Round 2011 Moto2 Championship Series was less than ideal for the Bel-Ray backed Tech3 racing team. After setting a 6th fastest qualifying time, Bradley Smith lost many places on the first lap and found himself in 14th place. Working his way through the field, Smith was just outside the top 10, when he was caught up in a high speed crash involving other competitors. Smith's machine was damaged but he soldiered on and on the final lap was into 8th place when he ran off track in a braking zone. He kept the bike under control but the damage was done and he could only finish 19th place. Teammate Mike DiMeglio has been struggling all season long and round 5 in Cataluyna was no exception. DiMeglio was moving forward early when he went down. He was uninjured but the bike was damaged too much to continue. He was credited with a 30th place finish for the afternoon. The team returns to action this weekend in the United Kingdom.
Catalunya Grand Prix debrief with Hirohide Hamashima
Round 5: Catalunya GP – Post-race debrief
Catalunya Circuit, Tuesday 7 June 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
The Catalunya Grand Prix was affected by rain in one way or other all weekend. First practice on Friday was cut short by eight minutes by rainfall, and the afternoon session was also hit by precipitation mid-way through losing the MotoGP riders a lot of track time. Both the free practice and qualifying on Saturday were run in the dry, but overnight rain left the track dirty and slippery. Heavy rain on Saturday night left the circuit soaked and Sunday morning warm-up was run on wet tyres and made the circuit grip level worse, and finally rainclouds threatened the race at mid-distance with drops making the last few turns greasy. Marco Simoncelli secured his first pole but it was not to be his race as Honda's Casey Stoner dominated from the second lap, followed by Yamaha teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
Why did you choose different rear slick tyre options for Catalunya this year?
"Catalunya is a circuit with high tyre wear and it generates very high temperature in the right shoulders, particularly in the rear tyres because of the long and fast turn three and the last three corners. Because of this, for the last two years we have brought our extra hard compound rear slicks and performance has been good, but looking at last year's race most riders chose the softer option rear for the race even though the track temperature reached 55 degrees Celsius because Catalunya is quite low grip as we have seen this year.
"We listened carefully to the comments of the riders and analysed all the available data and it was apparent that the extra hard compound actually was not needed in terms of durability and riders favoured the grip of the hard compound. So this year we decided to go one step softer with our allocation, choosing the medium and hard compounds so offer riders a softer rear option that would provide a grip advantage and aid with warm-up performance.
"Looking at tyre performance and choices this weekend, aided of course by the lower temperature and the fact that the circuit was more slippery, I am pleased that we revised our tyre options. The medium compound was a popular choice all weekend and in the race, and although Casey won and set the fastest lap on the hard compound rear, as did Andrea in fourth, Jorge, Ben and Valentino finished second, third and fifth respectively using medium rears."
Why was the grip level of the circuit lower this year and what can you say about track condition?
"I believe it is the case that in general the circuit was more slippery this weekend, and many riders felt the same too. I think its general condition of the tarmac is a little worse than last year so this is one point. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the rain meant that the circuit never really had the chance to properly clean during the weekend. Every time it rained, particularly so heavily on Saturday night, the circuit was made dirty again and this leads to it being much more slippery. So at the start of the race the track was already dirty but dry, and when rain drops fell during the race and the riders were on slicks of course it made it very slippery and tricky for them, leading to comments about not having enough grip. Despite the conditions, the total race time was three seconds faster than last year though."