2011 Catalunya MotoGP Race Result: Controlling Race Gives Comfortable Victory

Results and summary of the MotoGP race in Barcelona:

After dominating for almost all of the weekend, Casey Stoner has taken another convincing victory at Barcelona, to close the gap to Jorge Lorenzo in the championship race.

The only part of the weekend in which Stoner did not dominate was qualifying, Marco Simoncelli grabbing a sensational pole on Saturday afternoon, much to the distaste of the local Spanish fans. But Simoncelli's pole did him little good, the San Carlo Gresini rider getting his factory Honda off the line slowly, and soon swamped by the first two rows of the grid.

First into turn 1 was Jorge Lorenzo, the Spaniard getting a rocket start, blasting past Casey Stoner and into the lead. Lorenzo's lead would last all of one lap, though, Stoner using the superior acceleration of the Honda out of the final corner and fired past into the lead. Lorenzo pushed the Australian for the first 5 laps, but then Stoner started to pull a gap.

Stoner appeared to have the win in the bag from then on, but shortly after the halfway mark, darkening skies threatened to shake the race up. Bikes shod with rain tires were warmed in pit lane, and Stoner eased up his pace enough to allow Lorenzo to start catching him. But once it was clear that the rain was going to hold off, Stoner picked up the pace again and was gone. Stoner cruised home unthreatened to take the win, leaving Lorenzo to settle for 2nd.

Ben Spies had followed his teammate off the line, but could never quite keep Lorenzo in sight, riding a sound race to score his first podium of the year after a couple of hard races. Andrea Dovizioso held off a charging Valentino Rossi relatively comfortably to finish in 4th, leaving Rossi to take 5th, ahead of Marco Simoncelli. Simoncelli had closed on Rossi for a while, but faded in the latter stages, incapable of closing. Cal Crutchlow rode another creditable race to finish in 7th, with only factory bikes ahead of him and the factory Ducati of Nicky Hayden behind him in 8th.

Stoner's win now gives him 26 premier class victories, taking him ahead of the legendary Kevin Schwantz. More importantly for Stoner, it also closes the gap to Lorenzo to just 7 points, tightening the title race up as we enter the busiest part of the season.

Results:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 43'19.779  
2 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 43'22.182 2.403
3 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 43'24.070 4.291
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 43'25.034 5.255
5 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 43'27.150 7.371
6 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 43'31.610 11.831
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 43'46.262 26.483
8 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 43'53.022 33.243
9 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 44'02.871 43.092
10 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 44'02.892 43.113
11 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 44'04.003 44.224
12 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 44'05.018 45.239
13 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 44'18.047 58.268
Not Classified
  14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 5'23.714 22 laps
  7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 5'24.395 22 laps
2011
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Comments

Great ride for Casey, he rides the Honda sorta like he used to ride the Duc.

Best lap Hayden 2010: 1'44.390

Best lap Hayden 2011: 1'44.263

Best lap Stoner 2010: 1'43.276

Best lap Rossi 2011: 1'43.709

Apart from that, nice to see Spies picking up speed again, hopefully we see more of that. Also nice to see 2 Yams on the podium and not a Honda white wash.

Duc speed:

Stoner 2010 race time: 43'27.761 for 3rd place
Rossi 2011 race time: 43'27.15 for 5th place

Stoner had a better outright best lap, but for race distance practically the same. Maybe Rossi and Burgess are making some progress...

Thanks for the more telling stat, rather than the most favourable depending on your favourite rider :-}
Much trickier conditions this year also..

but the race is 3s faster than in 2010.
For the first time Rossi is closer than 15s from the winner, and also qualified less than 1 second away from the pole so there is definitely improvement in his performances since the beginning of the season.
However I would not say there is much progress compared to last year, he is yet to be faster than Stoner's pace from 2010 and not challenging for wins or even podiums (nor poles) in regular conditions.
Right now the best Ducati rider is close to be competitive for 3rd place and the rest of the Ducatis are still competing for the last points (4 Ducatis in the last 6 spots, thank you Suzuki and Elias LCR Honda) as always.
Plus there are still lots of front end crashes among the Duc riders.

Thats the honda, Jorge, who is the true benchmark for this year(same bike), was slower than last years race, most likely due to conditions(last years race in the middle of summer). If Rossi was faster than the last years fastest duke then it's hard to come with anything that makes it look like a backward step. Still a long way to the honda though..

I know you can make stats suit what ever argument you want, so I will add these to the mix.

Qatar, VR's fastest lap was roughly .7 of a second slower than the winners fastest lap (he did say his shoulder was costing him some time) while Nicky was roughly 1.3 seconds slower.

Estoril, again VR .7 slower, NH 1.2 seconds slower.
Le Mans, VR .6 slower, NH 1.1 slower.
Catalunya VR .7 slower, NH 1.2 slower.

I would of thought Nicky being on the Duke for the 3rd year would be a little more competitive and I also think that the guys winning the races are managing the gap to 2nd and not running off in the distance to conserve fuel.

Intense up front,but the battles further down were riveting. Young Karel Abraham's battle with Loris was a definite highlight.
Ben Spies shut a lot of mouths in this race as expected and I expect it to continue.
Casey on hard rubber just proved himself yet again as arguably the best of the modern era. I thoroughly enjoyed the podium. No drama,no clownfare.
Yamaha are right there,and they certainly have the riders. George is one tough and canny nut on a GP bike.
# 1 well carried.

That's either a joke or I'll have a double of what you're drinking.

Another dull race in a what is increasingly becoming the norm. I was praying for it to rain in the hope of actually seeing something that equated as racing. The top 6 or 7 didn't change from about the 3rd lap onwards. If you are a Stoner fanboy then it might have been exciting, but any neutrals watching probably turned over by less than half race distance.

When both the off-track activity and the qualifying are far more exciting than the race, then it can't be good for the future of MotoGP.

I bet Bernie Ecclestone was wetting himself.

....it's funny. At times you predict a boring race and then pops out a lovely one. This one was in for some sparkle and hardly no passes (at the front). Everyone raced well and kept the position.
Good news no injuries (in the race).

Stoner 5 seconds ahead of the next Honda.
Lorenzo 2 seconds ahead of next Yamaha.
Rossi 26 seconds ahead of next Ducati.

You can make statistics suit whatever you wan't, but PITBULLs comment of Stoner sure gave me a good laugh. Bit troubling if he actually meant it... :/

A fully healthy Dani wins this one, no doubt. He probably wins Qatar too, but lets give credit to Stoner; he's taking advantage of the situation well.

What makes you so sure Dani would've won? Dani struggled last year at Catalunya and he was easily outpaced by Stoner in Le Mans a couple of weeks ago too

By looking at the gap from Stoner to Dovi, and also looking how close Lorenzo could keep. IMO Honda is clearly the best bike atm.

Last year Dani had brake problems at the start, came back pretty quickly from 11th to finish 2nd. This year there hasn't been a race Pedrosa hasn't been affected by the shoulder (yes including Estoril even how minimal it was there). In Le Mans Stoner had a blinding pace looking at how Dovi was 15 seconds behind and even then Dani kept tabs with him half a race before the shoulder problems took over. Today Stoner's pace wasn't anything special, very workmanlike performance.

I also believe Dani would've dominated the end of last season without the crash in Motegi. Judging how Dovi harassed the winner in Motegi and Sepang, Dani wins those, and probably Valencia too. All in all, I think Dovi is fairly good indicator for these guys, consistent, and consistently slower than the two.

Look at the Stoner - Lorenzo gap over the course of the race. Stoner picked a gap he was comfortable with in the iffy conditions then put it on autopilot the rest of the way, doing no more than required to keep Lorenzo at a safe distance.

Stoner's gap to Dovi was determined by how fast Lorenzo could ride, not Stoner. Pedrosa changes that but as he wasn't on the track we never find out what he could do.

Well I predict if Mick Doohan was 15 years younger he would have won it, no doubt. Doohan isn't 15 years younger and Dani didn't race so you can only compare the riders who lined up on the grid and move on to the next race.

Oh, and one last thing

"Thoroughly enjoyable" Sorry, but only a fanboy could say this after a race where there was one (1 !) overtake in the top 8 after lap 3! I mean C'mon! This was one of the worst "races" in a long long time.

Black Night said it best! ha ha

"I got up in the early morning for this?"...I was asking myself.

Pedrosa was sorely missed! If he was racing, he'd have surely won his home GP. It'd been a Honda 1, 2 and Yamaha 3.

Boring race.

I found that race not too exciting.Was hopeful that Rossi,Dovi and Spies would come together and make the race more interesting.Unfortunately we have too many Motogp races like that.
But it was good to see Spies finishing in a position more becoming of his ability. In Qatar and Estoril Rossi was 16.5 secs behind the winner,14.5 secs in France, and now 7.5 secs in Barcelona,which indicates some improvement.But i think Ducati have still a long way to go.

I keep saying this but Yamaha and Ducati need to throw some more parts at their riders. This year, which should have been good so far, has largely been boring as hell.

Even though there weren't many passes after the first lap or so this wasn't exactly a runaway race with a win of 20+ seconds. Good to see Ben on the podium and if anyone wants to bitch about TC and electronics making riding so easy then they didn't see the slow motion shots on Eurosports of Stoner and Crutchlow sliding the back tires leaving huge black marks!

How is it more enjoyable to watch two riders lapping around 2 seconds between each other, than if the gap was 20 seconds? Completely the same thing. As a matter of fact, it would've been far more enjoyable to watch Stoner push to get the 20-second lead in the first place.

O I don't know how about when the sprinkles of rain came and Lorenzo cut the lead in half in a lap or the gap between Spies and Dovi fluctuating back in forth between .400 of a second to just over a second in places. Seeing what would happen in the end since Stoner had gone with a different compound rear tire than Lorenzo who at least had him in sight. Maybe I'm too caught up in the little things like that of racing instead of just bitching and complaining.

Good thing Simoncelli reconciled with Race Direction. It was nice to have political correctness before HRC turned the wick down.

I wonder how much longer it will take before Simoncelli realizes that offense is the best defense against the megalomania that fuels MotoGP. He ingratiated himself to race direction which only made his humiliation by HRC that much more enjoyable to his detractors.

And the rain drops spoiled Sic attacking Rossi. I really wanted to see what SuperSic would try to pull over his own hero.

Other than that, it seems that Lorenzo's speed and consitency have gone entirely unnoticed. That's how he got under Rossi's skin early in 2010 and then carried on to dominate and win the title. Le Mans might have been a messy and busy weekend, but once more he resumed scoring as many points as possible. And he still leads the title race. If the M1 suddenly finds an extra tenth or two, the whole field should watch out.

In Pedrosa's absence, Stoner has to keep racking up the wins and hope people get in Lorenzo's way more often than not. 26, huh? Not shabby at all.

It was good to see Spies up the front and putting down competitive times. The fact that his team put new forks on the front that he had not ridden on, right before the race show's how good of a job he just did.

The biggest thing coming from this ride for him seems to me to be that his team of engineers etc that he brought in from AMA, WSBK and ex- MotoGP are starting to get their head around being in Moto GP. Spies did so well on the Tech 3 bike because he had an established and experienced team around him with the exception of Tom Housewoth (In Moto GP anyway), and the support and guidance of Edwards and Poncheral.

It's a very different situation for him in the Factory team, so this is very positive indeed. It would seem there is no substitute for experience in Moto GP, even for the engineers.

I was loving watching Casey pushing before and after the threat of rain to get away from Lorenzo.
Up until today I was missing how hard he HAD to ride the red bike.
It looks like he's getting comfortable on the orange bike. Ominous is the word I would use.

Casey, please remember next weekend that the people you can't hear are loving your work. You can only hear the ungrateful idiots.

This isn't going to go over well...

But did anyone else get the impression that Simoncelli's bike seemed to all of a sudden lose 20hp right as he was about to catch Rossi late in the race?

I hate to bring up the rider size/weight debate again, but he lost so much pace/ground so quickly after catching Rossi relatively steadily that it almost HAD to be a tire or fuel map issue. Did his bike notice the emptying tank and kick into limp home mode?

I know Hayden has complained in the past about fading at the end of races when his bike switches to the fuel conservation map. Is that what we were seeing from Simoncelli?

Sadly, this is the only thing I can think of to discuss about this utterly boring race.

Oh, except the great battle at the back. Wish the cameras would have just focused on that for the entire race.

Apparently he decided he was pushing to hard in the conditions and decided to settle for 6th, at least that's what he has said in the press.

Personally I think the lack of pace can be explained by a simple equation;

Super Sic + Rossi
--------------------
Rain + Race Direction

= equal parts fear & self preservation

I was thinking the same. Marco said he couldn't get into his rhythm. He got past Nicky pretty hard (and fair). Was something other then racing occupying his brain after that? Visions of pitchforks and burning motor-homes I'd imagine.

Seems every division and league has had some rider on rider contact lately. GPs, WSBK, Moto2, 125s, BSB.

Simo made a 'spinning' gesture to the camera from his pit after the race, and on the podium I noticed Lorenzo talking to a Repsol Honda person and making the same spinning sign in a quizzical manner, then nodding at the Respol dude's response. So, wheelspin was Simo's problem, either due to tyre or set-up issues.

In relation to the above comments about Marco.

In an un-edited statment from MCN.COM.AU , Marco said he had a cluch slipping issue to start with which may be what the hand jestures were about.

Also the fuel usage issue affects light and heavy riders, at Le Mans Stoner who rode "harder than I felt comfortable with" ran out of fuel before the end of the parade lap. In Spain he led with "comfortable pace" had no fuel problems.

Rossi said last year the best way to stop the bikes from 'leaning out' at the end of a race was to sit behind someone for the first 10 laps, letting them punch a hole in the air and you saving fuel.

Max speed is identical for Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo if you look at the average max for the 5 best laps (http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/2011/CAT/MotoGP/RAC/AverageSpe...).

Simoncelli or Dovi are not going slower but the new engine evolutions from Yamaha and Ducati have pretty much closed the gap with Honda concerning maximum speed.

The difference is not the Honda, it's Stoner, it was obvious in the race with 2 Yamahas on the podium.

Stoner was on 'cruise control' after passing Jorge and there is no doubt in my mind that he could have gone much faster if someone was pushing him. Sadly, at this point, no one can! IMHO . . . Dani can push Casy, but can not consistently beat him! Look at the testing/race times . . . Casey is faster!

Vale/Ducati: he is definitely closer to the front, BUT . . . I think the numbers are slightly misleading. Casey was NOT pushing hard, while Vale was. If Casey had been pushing, the time between Vale and the front would have been alot more. With that said, Vale was much closer to the Yamaha's, which is more of a benchmark then the lightspeed Casey!

Spies: its about time he has a solid race. I'm not sure what has been happening to him, in the last few races (David, any clues there?), but this is the first race that he looked 'Spies-Like'. Looking forward to more from him.

Moto 2: come on Marc . . . get a better start and NOT be in 12th place after the first lap! Someone has got to take it to Bradl!

...by a third of a second.
In total he rode 6 laps faster than anybody else (i.e. faster than Lorenzo's best lap), he may have been pushing enough at some point to get a good gap and reach a reasonable max speed at least 5 times during the race.
Obviously once the gap was there and the rain started to drop, he was just managing the gap so I agree his race time would have been faster if he had been pushed.
I really think that with their new engines Yamaha and Ducati have similar top speeds than Honda, we will see if it stays like this at Silverstone that would definitely be a proof.