2011 Laguna Seca MotoGP Race Result: Tense Three-Way Battle Settled In Final Laps

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca:

Casey Stoner has taken a convincing victory at Laguna Seca, holding back through the first part of the race before making a charge to pass teammate Dani Pedrosa and early leader Jorge Lorenzo and going on to take the win. The win sees Stoner extend his championship lead to 20 points again going into the summer break.

Stoner's chances did not look particularly good off the line. Polesitter Jorge Lorenzo - walking very stiffly indeed after his monster highside during qualifying yesterday - got off the line superbly and won the drag through Turn 1 and into the Andretti Hairpin. Dani Pedrosa couldn't quite get his usual rocket start, but still managed to sneak ahead of Casey Stoner to hit the hairpin in 2nd, while a mistake with the electronics setup saw Ben Spies get swamped as the bikes headed into the hairpin, dropping from 4th down to 7th behind Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi.

Lorenzo took off from the start, but Pedrosa followed in hot pursuit. Stoner looked at first like his mediocre form from practice was continuing, for though he posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 3, he could only just keep the two Spaniards within reach. Pedrosa hung on Lorenzo's tail for the first half of the race, looking for a way past but never finding one. At the halfway mark, Pedrosa's strength started to wane, his fitness fading just as Stoner's bike started to come good. The Australian and his crew had found something in the morning warmup which worked as the fuel load started to come down, so Stoner's struggles to get the bike turned in the early laps disappeared as the race went on.

With the fuel load lightening and the bike coming better and better, Stoner closed the gap to Pedrosa and on lap 18, sliced inside him at the top of the Corkscrew to take 2nd. Not satisfied with cutting his potential points loss to Lorenzo from 9 back to 5, Stoner then set about chasing down his only serious rival for the title. Within 4 laps, Stoner was with Lorenzo, and harrying the Spaniard wherever he could. Lorenzo defended as best he could, pushing hard to avoid giving Stoner a chance. But as the pair entered the final corner on lap 26, Stoner was finally in position to get the drive onto the straight that would give him the chance to pass the Yamaha. Stoner fired out of Turn 11, passing Lorenzo around the outside of Turn 1, the fastest and scariest part of the track. Turning into the Andretti Hairpin, Stoner closed the door, leaving Lorenzo with no option but to concede defeat.

Holding Stoner off had taken its toll of Lorenzo's battered body. Once he saw Stoner come past, Lorenzo focused on coming home in one piece and limiting the damage to his championship. Stoner went on to pull a huge gap, maintaining his punishing pace until the gap had grown to over 3 seconds, then backing off slightly to secure a comfortable win. His victory over Lorenzo means he extends his championship lead out to 20 points again, but the recent resurgence of Lorenzo means the title is likely to go down to the wire. 

Dani Pedrosa came home a distant 3rd behind Lorenzo, while Ben Spies worked his way through traffic - helped by yet another race crash by Marco Simoncelli - to make it up into 4th, just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, who looked to have that position in the bag until he faded late in the race. Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden fought a tense, race-long battle, with Hayden looking for a way past his teammate but never able to find one. A disappointed Hayden was forced to settle for 7th behind Rossi, joking afterwards that he would make sure to ask Rossi to let him by at Indianapolis in late August.

Colin Edwards was the first satellite bike home, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider finishing 8th at his home Grand Prix, while Hector Barbera faded after a strong start to end the race in 9th. Hiroshi Aoyama rounded out the top 10, just nipping ahead of Karel Abraham in the final corner, demoting the Cardion AB rider to 11th. Loris Capirossi and Toni Elias were both lapped by the front runners, while Alvaro Bautista, Cal Crutchlow and Simoncelli all crashed out during the race. US wildcard Ben Bostrom pulled into the pits with a technical problem after running off the track.

The riders now have a couple of weekends off before heading to Brno, in the Czech Republic. 

Results:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 43'52.145  
2 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 43'57.779 5.634
3 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 44'01.612 9.467
4 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 44'12.707 20.562
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 44'13.030 20.885
6 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 44'22.496 30.351
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 44'23.176 31.031
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 44'37.647 45.502
9 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 44'43.694 51.549
10 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 45'00.995 1'08.850
11 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 45'01.277 1'09.132
12 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 44'05.129 1 lap
13 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 44'29.962 1 lap
Not Classified
  19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 18'06.782 19 laps
  23 Ben BOSTROM HONDA 12'09.042 24 laps
  58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 8'21.101 26 laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 4'18.554 29 laps

 

2011
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Total votes: 84

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Comments

at some 250 km/h was one of the most beautiful moves I've ever seen in bike racing. Or all racing.

What a race.

Total votes: 131

Sorry, but one has to question your experience in bike racing (as a spectator) ...

Stoner´s move was good but nothing extremely sensational or unique (think about Jorge and his very similar overtakings in 250s and even MotoGP). In general this race was as boring as the race in 2008. As an objective and realistic spectator one has to say that one, two or three overtakings between the first two or three race leading riders are not enough to be stamped "what a race".

The same with Laguna 2008; I watched the race yesterday (attunement for today) and realized how monotonous the last ~20 laps were. It is typically for (unconscious) human beings to sugarcoat past experiences; de facto it is (was) essential for human brains to function this way: "paint" a beautiful (unrealistic) picture of our past in order to survive/forget/etc. ...

This race was OK but nothing special, Sachsenring was a different level (the race itself and how extremely well the directing / camera flow etc. was).

Total votes: 136

I can't believe the people that complain about boring races. Usually "exciting" races are exciting because the riders are being sloppy and making mistakes. When you are riding at this level and on the limit you aren't going to get 20 overtakes for the lead. Stoner caught Lorenzo because he was faster. He then overtakes him. Stoner was still faster so he pulls away. What else do you expect? If Jorge was able to go back around Stoner he probably would not have been caught in the first place.

Total votes: 129

You can't believe that people complain about boring races, really?
Do you think everyone enjoys single-file parades?

I'm not commenting on today's race, but I think, "It was a boring race" is a perfectly legitimate lament.

Total votes: 117

it's the hunt; not always the kill.

Total votes: 121

I'm questioning your assessment, Chris.
If this was boring for you, you are a hard person to please.
Watching the Honda bucking and shaking as Stoner chased down a smooth and consistent Jorge, after stalking and disposing of Dani. Wondering if my tip (Jorge) would get run down, or whether Casey would bin it as he swept into the corkscrew on the ragged edge lap after lap. And the outside pass on Jorge was a delightful piece of riding - beautiful control at high speed.
But then, I'm a Hitchcock thriller kind of guy - subtlety works for me.

Total votes: 116

have a self entitled grammar police. I didn't know we had the GP satisfaction police here, or a bike racing watching experience police, for Christ's sake.

Anyhow, I don't need NASCAR like passing and position swapping to enjoy a GP. To watch the top three battle it out so close to the edge and costly crashes already amazes me. I can only wonder what kind of mix between talent, bravery and perfectly tuned senses it takes to race like they do, even if they are not going back and forth all the time. That SuperSic, so obviously fast and talented, has had a near miserable time trying to join them makes it even more impressive.

Stoner's move on Lorenzo was great. He didn't fly by a mile long straight on a bike with 20 more hp, he had to stick it on the outside of a 150mph+ turn while being milimetrically precise in passing Lorenzo without leaving the door open for him to come back and also not lose his braking spot and end tumbling all over the gravel/sand trap. Or who knows it's a much easier move than I believe and we actually get to see it all the time?

Total votes: 108

Laguna is one of those tracks that is so stunningly beautiful, technical and hypnotising that I could watch a race with not a single overtake and still not be disappointed for investing the time to watch it. Watching the bikes come down the corkscrew single file in the first lap was breathtaking.

Total votes: 127

Last time was the contoversial 2008 race which became a 'snorefest' post lap 20 or so. This one was tight as nails with about 4 to go. Casey's pass on Dani into the corkscrew was the best corkscrew pass I've ever seen. No risk to himself nor his antagonist. George was amazing. No doubt he had some physical issues to keep under clutch. A superb ride from a superb#1. Ben,in my opinion, yet again blew the start, but a great comeback. He was'nt about to finish behind Rossi and Hayden,was he? Great race all round.
I was a little upset that # 19 lost it. Alvaro was looking good.
One day when Stoner hangs out his 100 win banner in Assen, I guess the shot of him passing Dani into the corkscrew overlapping the 'around the outside' pass on George into Turn 1,may grace it. HA HA. 2 amazing passes in one race.
Won't happen. By now any fool should realise he's about racing and not popularity. Well done and great racing all of you Laguna 2011.

Total votes: 121

... the ongoing debate about Casey being a great rider but not a great racer. He managed his race superbly. He passed Dani right on time to avoid Lorenzo's escape. I also loved the pass on Lorenzo. Jorge is one rider that rarely loses his line so you need this kind of gutsy maneuver. Great race by Casey and great to see on him the Championship hunger that we saw on Lorenzo on recent races. Hard for Ducati to figure out whether the GP 11 or the GP 11.1 is the way to go. They finished 6 tenths of a second apart. Two great races in a row, IMHO

Total votes: 120

It also proves that a previous seasons experience ( or more, i.e. , DP ) is advantageous in setting up the Honda ..........

Maybe this was the break through race for # 27.

Total votes: 121

Yes indeed, we need to remember that every track that Stoner goes to is new to him on the Honda (except Qatar, Sepang and Valencia of course). Pedrosa has been on the 800 Honda since 2007, and the 800 Honda was supposedly designed around Pedrosa. It's the second year on the Honda for both Dovizioso and Simoncelli. And Lorenzo has been on the Yamaha since 2008, Spies since 2010. So Stoner and his (mostly) ex-Ducati team are clearly still learning how to set up the Honda. Which is probably just as well for his competitors, who otherwise might not see which he went...

Total votes: 115

David, can you try and find out what went on within the Ducati camp during the race?

In the pits afterwards, Rossi was doing his best to give his teammate a hug and make him feel better about something or other, but Nicky walked away shaking his head. And it didn't appear to be only that he wasn't on the podium that was a problem.

I'm hearing of rumours of team orders at Ducati, but I find that unlikely. Was there some issue between the two of them on the track? Nicky spent a long time right behind Vale and should have had opportunities to pass, did they have a "moment" or something? There wasn't anything on the telecast I saw.

Total votes: 114

Excellent summary of the race, David.

Nicky is nothing if not professional, so I doubt we'll hear anything directly from his mouth (until his post-career autobiography, of course ;-) There may not be that much behind it at all, but, at least to me, it certainly did appear as an apologetic gesture of sorts by Rossi.

What has surprised me in the last two races has be the durability of the softer-option tyres. From the lap times, I can't seen any evidence of any late-race tyre-related issues from either Bautista last week and any of the the Ducatis, Spies etc. this week.

I wonder if Lorenzo has regrets on tyre selection.

Total votes: 107

Someone just asked Nicky this very question on Twitter - "what happened between u and Rossi after the race?"

Nicky's response - "Nothing we was joking bout at Indy he gotta let me thru"

There's nothing sinister going on, IMO Nicky was just a bit "miffed" that he couldn't get past him.

It looked harmless to me.

Total votes: 119

Re: Rossi and Hayden... Sheesh. Nicky looked disappointed because like any great racer, he wasn't happy getting 7th (he always looks fed up after races finishing in this sort of position, especially at his home race!). Rossi was just making light of the race to him and Nicky overtaking each other, and Hayden playfully said "well at Indy it's my turn!"

That is it. These ridiculous "team order" conspiraces have come from people that hate Valentino Rossi, that is all! Jeez!

Total votes: 109

Rossi sure did get awfully excited over a 6th place finish....and was awfully elated to beat Hayden....something just didn't look quite right from the half way point on...Hayden was pushing Rossi and all of a sudden he wasn't...conspiracy or not...

Total votes: 103

It's nothing to do with being a Rossi hater. I like Rossi as much as anybody. The rumours are that Nicky has told journo's in the paddock that he wasn't allowed to overtake. Why do you assume I'm a Rossi hater making up a story?

I don't actually believe Rossi would ask for that to happen anyway. I believe Ducati would do it, but not Rossi.

I was asking David if he's heard anything of it, that is all. Stop turning it into a love/hate Rossi thing. That's just dumb.

Speaking of Rossi... he was 25 seconds slower than Stoner was last year. Hayden was 14 seconds slower than last year. Some serious questions need to be asked at Ducati. And that's not Rossi bashing... it's just fact.

Total votes: 118

... less would have put Rossi in a fight with JLo for 2nd. I know it's theoretical (temperature differences, etc...) but something doesn't add up in the Marlboro Ducati garage, I don't understand this.

Total votes: 118

I'm not claiming it's a conspiracy (but then I wouldn't be surprised if it were true) but with Ducati's CEO there in the box the whole time, it would give credence to the theory that there was a "set plan" for Rossi to finish as high as he could. Having the top boss right there in the paddock-box sends a clear message to each and every person, whatever that message may be.

Edit: oh and that was an awful patronizing gesture by Rossi at the end hugging Nicky. Can anyone honestly think how Rossi would react if Hayden had beaten him and then went to hug him saying "ahh it's just a race!" ?

Total votes: 112

Curious to learn what was up with Spies. He looked mighty unhappy when he was gesticulating about something coming down the straight…

Total votes: 108

aha, thanks for that.

Total votes: 117

Good line about the hunt, rather than the kill. The excitement was in watching Stoner close the gap and then pass Dani & Jorge. Then hoping Stoner could bring it home.
Noted Rossi go up to Hayden and appear to offer commiserations, if not apology?
Was also amazed at just how knackered Rossi was after the race. He looked like he had just competed on a pushie!!!
Stoner's elation, (basing this on his comments) appeared to be in finding a solution to the problem he's had in recent races.
Forget his exact words but he said something about ".....the problem we've known about"
Presume this is related to tyre grip issues???

Total votes: 112

well done casey! he has learnt his race-craft (post 2008?) and the honda makes it easier to have a plan. on the ducati, all he had to do was push and push to keep the heat in the tires. now he can work a plan and execute to precision. hats off!

Total votes: 112

I really don't understand you guys constantly talking about this mythical lack of racecraft you think Casey has suffered from. Did you not see him win in the 125's and 250's? On non-factory bikes? He gave KTM their first GP win. He banged fairings for a few years in the lower classes and did very well. You just don't manage that without having any racecraft.

Can we please put this garbage to bed? It is patently ridiculous. How can anybody reach the pinnacle of motorcycle racing without any racecraft? The concept is so stupid it isn't even funny. It just makes those who say it look daft.

Total votes: 131

Don't you think that the post race contributions on this site are becoming more and more about stoner worship or Stoner bashing?

Total votes: 129

I think it's more Stoner worship and attack of anything that may be construed as not Stoner worship, with a few Spies and Hayden apologists chiming in now and again.

Total votes: 117

true, now that we have moved past the chronicles of rossi's struggles with the ducati and where that fault lies (shoulder, bike, rider...etc), seems the soul of the comments here are firmly focused on stoner's love/hate relationship with the fans. not a bad prospect so long as the racing is as exciting as sachsenring and laguna!

Total votes: 116

...winning 4 of them are the reason he's been mentioned so often. I don't feel the urge to discuss Barberá, Aoyama or Capirex recently. Do you?

Total votes: 134

When stoner rides a race like that i think he deserves all the 'worship' he can get. if/when any other rider does the same thing im sure they'll get just as much worship on the internet. (because im sure they really really care)

Total votes: 118

Like McCarthyism, you can find anything if you look hard enough for it.
Bashers, worshippers, cold-blooded objectivists, unabashed fans, and lovers of the racing.
It's all there in about equal parts.

There was a lot said late last year about Stoner, his lack of racecraft, how he couldn't stay upright on the Ducati, how he couldn't develop the bike, etc etc etc.
All that came from one camp, and Burgess has now admitted that some of his comments were ill-founded.
So there's some history here, and I would just love it if we could ignore all that crap and just go racing.
As they say, when the flag drops, the bullshit stops.

I admired the inside block pass on Dani, and the brave outside pass on Jorge. I guess if you are looking hard enough for a worship example, you will find it there. If you are looking for great racing, you'd find that there too, but maybe if you only looking for the worship example, you don't end up seeing the comments about the great racing.

IMHO most people don't read news of any type particularly critically, and tend to apply their own bias to interpreting what's written even if it is written objectively, so it's no surprise we will see a wide range of interpretations about any given story.......

Total votes: 121

the race was good, Stoner don't happy with being behind from pedrosa and decided to overtake in the corkscrew, next hunt lorenzo and just waiting for the good moment and ¡whoala!, lorenzo now behind from stoner and the rest of the history all we know, Pedrosa are getting better with his recovering and now is four in the championship, honda must maintain the guard because yamaha will take the chance at the first attempt.

At ESPN coverage of the race, they talked about Dovi will be moved to another team but with official package, also simoncelli will have official support too, the bad is for elias, looks like than the door of the leader class for him will be closed soon.

Honda and Yamaha are fighting the championship, that's great, the bad is with ducati, looks like than the whole team efforts for being faster and competitive the duc is useless.

¡Go Repsol Honda! now comes the summer break, waiting for brno race.

Total votes: 121

This is the second race this season that Lorenzo has been hunted down and passed late in a race. I wonder whether the psyche of Lorenzo the Hound is different from Lorenzo the Hare. He is certainly a great hunter, as Sachsenring showed. Not slagging, just curious.

Total votes: 111

I've just registered on this web site because I got sick and tired of the childish negative comments that dominate Crash.net and was relieved to find a much more positive and interesting commentary from the fan base on this site. Please don't disapoint me now ladies! To be honest, I've been on the edge of my seat all season and not bored with any races! The real intrigue is in seeing who's taking a tenth here and losing a tenth there. It's a bit like saying rugby is boring, but if you understand the intense battle that is being fought out with every scrum that goes down, then you appreciate the spectacle all the more. Anyway, two big thumbs up for Casey. Congrats on such a great ride and for taking the game back Jorge.

Total votes: 118

Agree 100% Simon - I had my first look at Crash recently and went through the whole gamit of emotions reading the posts. Firstly incredulous that people could write such purile rubbish, then dismayed that fan boy dogma could keep getting regurgitated until it becomes "fact". That is from both sides of the Rossi / Stoner camps. Frustration followed by anger etc etc followed. Let's say that I'm not a fan of that site.

Having never been indoctrinated into the fan club mentality of sport, be it football of any code, basketball, golf ... whatever, I struggle with it; even more so when the posters appear to be older than 10 or 12 years of age. Perhaps it shows my age that I believe that any sport is most definitely greater than the individual, and in my experience the the most vocal patrons are the ones with the least experience in the subject or the skills to do it. I guess it's the talkers v's the doers.

Total votes: 115

Not sure it's less offensive to be told I'm a moron because I'm a fan of a rider/team/manufacturer, (they are rarely one and the same) than to be informed that my opinion is not the only one from someone who feels justified because of their own passion. It is the inability to accept that we all think differently, or that anyone else's opinion matters(jbs springs to mind and I suspect he fits into the do'ers!.) that causes the most issues and that has little to do with age. My old man is in his late 70's and still hates everything man united with a passion. I assure you though he has experince of and a vast knowledge(in print some of it) of the sport..

Total votes: 126

Hugelean, the post between was deleted before I got to read it, so I'm not sure whether you were offended by my post or the deleted one.

IF it was my opinion please be assured there was not offence implied by my lack of understanding of the "fan boy / fanatic mentality" - the total unacceptance of any good from any team / rider / manufacturer than the one you choose to follow. It is simply that I have not been through the indocrination process that seems to be so prevalent among football "fans", and also so prevalent in the Crash.net posts. Certainly the "being told I'm a moron" statement is a long stretch if you re-read what I've written.

I have been following MotoGp and earlier GP titles since the Gardner, Rainey, Lawson days. I enthusiastically followed both Rossi and Stoners careers from 125's onwards. Being a fan, does not in my mind make a fanatic. Being a fanatic does not necessarily make you a fan either. Glory in the success of the chosen, moan with the failures, but accept that other riders / teams earn some credit and kudos for a job well done. Is that not the true fan?

Total votes: 122

Muscapete it is pretty clear that there was no offense.
The problem is that what you say resonate with a lot of people but doesn't with the one you are talking about.
I also don't understand them and cannot see how you cannot respect proven champions like Rossi, JLo, Stoner, Pedrosa and so on.

But I believe there are people who confuse likeability with talent. Lorenzo may not be someone's cup of tea (it's not mine) but that shouldn't obfuscate his tremendous talent. Rossi has more WCs? To me sounds Rossi is great rather than Lorenzo is not good enough. He may have more in 10 years!

And on the other side there are pure fanboys (I know the kind you are talking about). The one that are happier when the opponent fails than when their cheered succeed.

Both of them are increasing here and as a consequence I sparingly comment now ... but among them there are very intelligent post that give great point of views. Let's say that swaying through the Stoner/Rossi stuff makes for finding great gems. And that's also because David is instrumental with an accurate moderation of the site which we should be extra thankful.

Total votes: 122

Just got home (San Diego area) from Laguna Seca and thought I'd add this thought. There is a huge difference between watching a processional race on the tube and seeing one in person. I stood up at the Corkscrew during morning warm-ups to get a feel for the differences between Supersport, Superbike, and Moto GP. They are all fast and certainly impressive, but the difference between Supersport and Superbike is nowhere near the difference between Superbike and Moto GP. As soon as those guys get their bikes pointed downhill after initial left-right, they are on the throttle hard and it's absolutely freakish how fast they go. Couple that with the noise they produce and it leaves you dumbstruct. The point I am trying to make is this: Although I prefer a battle, much like the one in Germany, to see these guys up close and getting a real feel for how fast they really are going puts you in a place where even a processional race is totally impressive. Concerning todays race, I thought it was very good. Lorenzo nailed the start and set a pace that at first I didn't think Pedrosa or Stoner would be able to match for long. When Casey decided that it was time to get a move on, it was absolutely mindbending to watch him work. Yes, there were only three real good passes today, but that was enough for me. Watching these guys work, all of them, was worth the drive.

Total votes: 132

is all that can seperate the top three on any given day in my books. These guys (Pedrosa, Stoner and Lorenzo) are so good, equally matched (as are their machines), and so inch perfect most of the time, that it really comes down to the rider & team that can dial the machine the best with the knobs and twiddly bits.

And yes those two passes Stoner put on the Spaniards were calculating, ruthless, clinical and reeked of big balled syndrome.

Total votes: 119

Totally agree, except that I do think that Stoner has a clear advantage over the other two in wet and changeable conditions. He is also better than anyone else on a difficult bike.

Total votes: 121

Great ride by Casey, for me the round the outside was less round the outside and more just blasting past him on the only straight with the hp of the honda something he used to do on the duke ala 2007 and 2008 he was way passed before the 1st corner. Defo found something for the race his pass on Dani was great though both JL and DP faded while Casey maintained his pace rather than the suggested miracle JLo would normally get stronger as the race unfolded. The frustration for both riders was there for all to see..Jlo actually looked relieved when Stoner passed him. Hopefully the next couple of weeks will see Dani and Jlo get fitter. Great win for Stoner that and it will build his confidence... but we need all riders at their best..
That includes Rossi, on the gp11 bar the two wet races Rossi was 10 to 25 secs ahead of Nicky every race, on the gp11.1 he can barely keep ahead of him. The gp11.1 is some way from an improvement if you ask me. Never seen Rossi so ragged and still going slowly he usually gets smoother the faster he goes. If it's the basis for next year Rossi could well end his career as a test rider for Ducatis misguided marketing department.. Ducatis position is untenable...

Total votes: 114

Rossi is far from finished. Worst case scenario, if the bike for next year isn't sorted he has options other than being a test rider for ducati!

1. Make his own team - he has the financial clout and can get the sponsors
2. Get on a honda - HRC are cutting down the squad next year for financial reasons it has been reported, but with the sponsorship Rossi brings in he could get a factory ride in a 3 man team - Imagine Rossi, Pedrosa, and Stoner all on the same equipment!
3. Many more options,

I think the problem, and this has been pointed out by other members on this forum, is not Rossi's, but rather Ducati's. If they fail to sort out the bike and Stoner is the only rider to have ever been able to ride it, then they are unlikely to ever get a rider of the calibre of Stoner, Rossi, Pedrosa, Lorenzo, in the team again. That creates a vicious circle where a small factory cannot compete because they don't have the rider, so they won't get the sponsors, which means even less money for development of the bike and attracting a top rider, which could mean in a couple of years no more Ducati in MotoGP as they withdraw and concentrate on WSBK where they have had considerable success.

I hope Ducati sort it out because whether you love him or hate him racing is always more exciting with Rossi in the front group. instead of just having Stoner Pedrosa and Lorenzo yesterday, imagine if Rossi (and spies) were in the mix too.

Final comment - I hate having to say this, but just in case the bashing begins, I don't hate Stoner - I think he's a fantastic rider, along with Jorge and Pedro too, and I also think Rossi is incredible also. I'm not a fan of Ducati, or Rossi, or Stoner etc... I'm a fan of MotoGP. Disappointed there was no Moto2 yesterday as it has been an excellent season and watching those crazy kids racing round Laguna would have been awesome!

Total votes: 135

Can't see HRC or Yamaha ever hiring Rossi again: they just don't need him. Maybe Dorna could convince one of them to hire Rossi for the good of MotoGP but somehow I doubt it. Of course Rossi isn't finished, he's only 32, and he won a race for Yamaha not so long ago, but the best solution by far is for Ducati to design a bike that Rossi can ride competitively. And losing Rossi from MotoGP is much less important than losing Ducati. Rossi has to retire eventually, but MotoGP needs competitive manufacturers for the future of the sport, and preferably more than just two.

Total votes: 123

Hytloday- Sorry, I wasn't trying to be overly negative. I totally agree that Rossi is someway from finished. I am a huge fan of his though to be honest a yamaha man(xs250 way back) I merely meant if things don't change, I also believe that money talks, with Honda short of funds and desperate to get back to dominating ways(something that is still not certain) they could easily be convinced to put a team together for Vale( they could lose 2 factory bikes this year) and there is also the possibility of Rossi returning to Yam, they also have serious sponsor issues. He has the opportunity to add to his tally but with the current regs the bike has to be very good also.. However, Rossi is nothing if not single minded and may not even consider a return to either manufcaturer and I have between nil and zero faith in ducati to build the jap copy necessary with the spec tyres to compete with the jap teams within a number of months..Given Honda and Yam have had 5 years at the current one.

Total votes: 114

Motogpmd - you make an excellent point about MotoGP post Rossi - definitely need at least 3 manufacturers in the hunt. Also, as many have speculated, post Rossi, and in the absence of another talismanic showman for the sport (although Simoncelli has been touted as flying the flag if he can keep the bike upright), audience numbers could dwindle and if we compound this with only having 2 competitive factories (Honda and Yamaha) then the sport could be in serious trouble. As much as a lot of people (myself included) look down somewhat on those who watch the sport for one man (idolatry) without those guys who make up the audience numbers there could be even more issues with televising the sport and promoting it (especially here in the UK where we haven't had a strong front runner for a long time)

Hugelean - no need to apologise, I think I was overly critical of your comment, I realise what you were trying to say. The point about Yamaha's sponsorship woes (especially surprising for me considering all the extra promo they're doing this year for their 50th) is a fine one, and you're absolutely right, money does talk.

One thing I will say is that with the lack of airtime Rossi's been having because of relatively poor results, it has given us a chance to see some more of the spotlight on other riders. Perhaps those who support Rossi will begin to have a second choice rider they would like to see do well when Rossi can't. Even if you love Rossi, you could also be supporting Jorge, or Stoner, Pedro for the win whilst hoping Rossi picks up 4th or 5th place (that being the upper limit of how well he could perform atm), which could be advantageous for life post Rossi.

Total votes: 108

Suppose hypothetically that Honda hired Rossi and kept Stoner and Pedrosa. And that they all turned out to be fairly equal riders, and on the tracks where the Honda had an advantage, they divided up the wins.

Suppose also that Yamaha gave only Lorenzo the strongest support, and that there were an equal number of tracks where the Yamaha was superior... and Lorenzo won all of them while the 3 Honda stars divided up 2nd to 4th.

Would that make Honda look better than leaving Rossi out in the wilderness?

Of course it would depend on the detail, but in the above scenario, the expected final points would be 19/race for JL, and 18.3/race for each of VR, CS and DP...

I'm actually a big admirer of Valentino, but realistically I think Lorenzo is faster than him on a Yamaha and I think Stoner would be faster on a Honda. So there is no reason for either Honda or Yamaha to hire him. While lots of people joked that not even he could have made the Suzuki competitive, it may well have turned out to be a better bike for him than the Ducati... if they could pay him.

Total votes: 106

Just a small thing. To me it wasn't HP that did it, it was a better exit out of the turn that set him up on the straight. He was doing it right behind lorenzo for a few laps on that turn. The best part was he chose an unexpected place for overtaking where Lorenzo could not close the door like he was everywhere else.
When the move was made, Lorenzo had the inside of the bend so Stoner had to get back to the inside quickly, and you can see when he does, the speed advantage is falling away rapidly.
It seems to me he planned that move every bit as well as the one on Pedrosa, and as I said, I don't think it was a 'blast down the straight with power' overtake.

Total votes: 120

Exactly, it had nothing to do with superior power or top speed. Otherwise why didn't Stoner or Pedrosa blast past Lorenzo any time they were close to him coming out of the last corner, as they were on several occasions? No, Stoner got out of the last corner perfectly, and Lorenzo made a small mistake. That's what accounted for the pass. A classic motor racing overtaking scenario.

Unfortunately there's a couple of people who like to discredit anything special that Stoner does. You know the stories "it's the bike not Stoner's skill", "someone was injured that's why Stoner won", "the other guy wasn't pushing because the championship was already decided" etc etc. This kind of stuff has been going on since 2007. Such a pity that some people are so besotted with Rossi that they can't acknowledge the brilliance of Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

Total votes: 107

+1
Better traction out of the corner.
Jorge gets it a bit wriggly and short shifts and Stoner - who had a few hundredths faster than Jorge on the previous few laps was clearly keen to get past and with the comparatively better drive he had the speed to ride past Jorge.
Goes to show that the difference ebtween a pass and getting stuck behind someone is sometimes down to one mistake in a whole race.
Jorge looked fast and clean up until then and riding in a more controlled fashion than Casey, so I was surprised to see him make that kind of mistake.

Total votes: 115

There is a lot of overtaking in short track ice skating, bicycle racing and several other (even motorized) sports. Yet to me, none of these sports brings as much excitement as MotoGP. Sure, I’d rather see a hard fought battle than a procession. But a race like yesterdays gives me plenty excitement.

Will Lorenzo run away?
Can Pedrosa follow? What does this say about his injury?
Is Stoner done and dusted? What does this mean for the championship?
Can Ben get back up front? Does he have an issue?
Will Simmo keep it rubber side down? Can he keep others out of trouble?
Can Valentino make it to the podium?
Will Hayden pass Valentino?
Can Bautista catch Hayden?
Can Stoner pass his team mate without hard feelings?
Can Stoner make it back to Lorenzo? Will his tires keep up?
Will Elias be in the way?
Can Lorenzo fight back?
Will Stoner do a stand up wheelie ;-)

Call it an obsession, but even without a ton of overtakes this is the stuff that makes a race exciting to me. And I’m not even talking about the racing pornography these guys are showing.

Total votes: 116

Seeing him compete with Rossi this year has made me think I've been underestimating Hayden for some time.

Total votes: 127

"As much as a lot of people (myself included) look down somewhat on those who watch the sport for one man (idolatry) "

With respect mate, I thought that sentence was a bit condescending and I reckon even you would admit who you were talking about. Everyone has a favourite rider. When anyone has passion for their favourite sport, be it football, tennis, golf, baseball, Formula 1 or even the "Rock Paper Scissors League" (yes it is a real "sport"!) they will have favourite riders/teams/players etc.

But for some unknown reason, it seems that if that person supports Valentino Rossi, they are seen as some clueless yellow-clad groupie that only follows MotoGP because of him. This is not true!

Some of us have been following this sport since the late 1980's (many even longer), have followed Rossi's career from the start as a pretty unique talent and are still interested in what happens next and will support him because we like the guy. He is at an all-time low right now but we still like the guy and support him. The vast majority don't "hate" the competition !Just because some Rossi "obsessives" out there (and a limited few post on popular Internet forums under many different names), please stop painting everyone with the same brush!

Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo are the next generation. They are superb racers and right now (and probably in the future) stronger riders than Rossi is now. Sunday's race was excellent and it was fascinating to see the new power-play between Lorenzo and Stoner. Have to admit though, was glad Casey won if only to spare us another "Spaceman" walk.

Those 2 are the future of MotoGP for the next few years for sure. But remember, one day they will be past their best, will start being beaten by younger and faster riders and their fans will have to put up with all their new detractors telling you how they were overrated and were never that good to begin with...

I hope Rossi does well and improves on the Ducati. In the meantime, I for one am enjoying the battles at the front. Am loving watching Stoner's raw aggression and Lorenzo's smooth stealth skill. Hope we get more like that until the end of the season. As always, there's more to bike racing than what you see on screen! Personally I want to see them stop being so pally with each other. Hope something happens that makes them hold a grudge, makes the racing more exciting! :-)

Total votes: 104

I was trying to make a point, about the future of MotoGP. I think you've taken what I've said out of context there. I think Rossi is a phenomenon, I have nothing against him or fans such as yourself who both love MotoGP and VR46. Moreover, the same principle about idolatry applies to people who only watch MotoGP for Stoner. I was commenting on a particular mindset that could apply to more than one rider and the impact of this mindset on ratings in the future and what it could mean for the sport.

Last year when VR was injured, ratings for MotoGP suffered, I was dismayed to find that people would stop watching because he wasn't racing. I wanted him back and racing again ASAP but the thought that I would stop watching the races until he returned is incomprehensible to me. Same would apply if people switched off if Pedrosa or Jorge were injured.

In no way shape or form was I trying to bash VR fans.

Ironically in trying to be insightful, I have, to you at least, been inciteful.

Total votes: 106

Fair enough Hythloday, I understand what you mean. Just this name-calling and putting down of riders (not aimed at you), makes my blood boil. Wasn't aimed at you in particular, just those who single out riders who beat their favourites and try and trash them. Then again, I'm sure if the internet was around in Sheen/Robert's days or Rainey/Schwantz/Lawson/Doohan's time we would have heard the same thing... No offence intended.

For what it's worth, Go #46! :-)

Total votes: 104

No offence taken, I was just concerned that I had unwittingly offended, and wanted to make sure it was clear that's not what I was trying to do.

Total votes: 114

Sometimes i think the description "Boring race" is a fair comment. Even Rossi said in a` After the flag video` earlier this season that we need more battles on the track.
The first race i ever watched was the King of Brands meeting in 1970, when i was 14, and have been either involved in or watching bike racing since then.
But looking back, i dont think i ever found any races boring in those first ten years or so [although plenty must of been]. Guess in them days i was full of passion and boiling over with enthusiasm for the sport. These days i dont go and watch many meetings but i always make a point of watching WSB and Motogp on tv,and i still consider myself a enthusiast, but im not so starry eyed as i was in the earlier days.
The point of this being, i am trying to understand why some people never think any race is a bit boring.

Total votes: 122