Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon:
After nearly a year off the top step of the podium, Casey Stoner finally added another victory to his tally, winning the MotoGP race at Motorland Aragon with relative ease.
The Marlboro Ducatis had been strong all weekend, Nicky Hayden's fastest time in the morning warm up underlining just how good the Ducatis were at the brand new Spanish circuit, following as it did Casey Stoner's pole position and fastest times in two of the three free practice sessions. Off the line, Stoner had only Jorge Lorenzo to contend with, the Fiat Yamaha rider diving up the inside and into the lead in the first section, but before the riders dropped down what the locals are referring to as the "Sacacorchos" - Spanish for Corkscrew - Stoner was back and into the lead.
From there, it looked like Stoner had it in the bag, as Lorenzo could not match Stoner's pace. But Lorenzo was not the only Spanish rider the Marlboro Ducati man had to fear, as Dani Pedrosa was on a charge forward. The Repsol Honda rider had nearly highsided in the first corner, applying the throttle just a fraction too aggressively, a rear-wheel slide throwing Pedrosa out of the saddle, and dropping the Spaniard to 5th. But there was no denying his pace, and Pedrosa picked riders off one at a time, all at the same place: Down the back straight, just before the final turn. A combination of Honda power and Pedrosa's exceptional ability to get drive out of corners made the Spaniard an irresistible force, taking Ben Spies, Nicky Hayden and Jorge Lorenzo one lap at a time.
But there was one rider to go, and by the time Pedrosa had picked off everyone between himself and Casey Stoner, the Marlboro Ducati rider had just too much margin over the Repsol man for Pedrosa to be able to close down. Every time Pedrosa closed, Stoner responded, their natural pace almost perfectly in balance. Stoner ended the day victorious, while Pedrosa took comfort in the points haul he had recovered from Lorenzo.
Pedrosa was helped along by Stoner's teammate, Nicky Hayden. The American had been tracking Lorenzo over almost the entire race, always close, but seemingly never close enough to pass. But as the laps ticked off, a fierce determination grew in Hayden not to finish 4th again, something he had already done 4 times this season. Whenever Hayden tried to pass Lorenzo down the back straight, the Spaniard had held the inside line, and kept the American behind him. In the end, Hayden resorted to what he later described as a "hokey, backyard kind of move" to get past. "That's the kind of move you'd use to get past your brothers!" He quipped. Coming on the final lap, it left Lorenzo with no chance to respond, and secured Hayden his first podium of the year for Ducati.
Lorenzo ended the day in 4th, upset at not being competitive but satisfied to have defended his title lead, giving up exactly what he could safely afford to lose in the championship, and still have a comfortable lead as the title race winds down. He had finished, and at a track where the Yamahas had a blindingly obvious power deficit, he had managed to score 13 points.
Behind Lorenzo, Ben Spies and Andrea Dovizioso had fought out a similar tussle to the one taking place between Lorenzo and Hayden. Here, too, an American triumphed, Spies crossing the line in 5th. Dovizioso, however, did not end the day in 6th, as the Repsol Honda rider crashed out on the last lap. Dovizioso's crash bumped Valentino Rossi up to 6th, though the Fiat Yamaha rider - and reigning World Champion - finished over 27 seconds behind Casey Stoner. Rossi continues to struggle with his shoulder, and with setup, and will need to find a solution if he is to win again before he leaves Yamaha at the end of the season.
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||HONDA||40'38.333||1 lap|
|14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||27'59.238||8 laps|